Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/20

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
10
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
EMPLOYMENT. American. English.
Keepers, per day. $1 47 $1 61
Keeper's helper, per day. 1 35 81
Common laborer, per day. 1 00 75
Carpenter, per day. 1 23 1 05
Blacksmiths, per day. 1 23 and 1 00 1 13

With this we compare American and English wages in non-protected occupations.[1] Mr. Wells gives from the last census the

EMPLOYMENT. American. English.
Carpenters, per week. $14 00 $9 45
Bricklayers, per week. 20 00 9 45
Masons, per week. 18 00 9 45
Locomotive-engineers, per week. 27 00 7 30 to 12 15

average pay of the railroad employés of this country as $450 per annum; and that of the iron-workers as $312. The difference in the degree of skill required is not obvious, nor apparently sufficient to explain the great discrepancy. Lastly, we may cite the statistics brought together by Mr. Gunton in his "Wealth and Progress," and compiled from the concurrent data and results of Giffin, Mulhall, Levi, the United States census, and other great authorities. The comparison is made between several countries, none of whom have a tariff anything like as high as that of the United States. Mr. Gunton thus states the "rise in actual wages" in non-agricultural occupations, making the most favorable allowance to France and Germany, as follows:

Wages
per week.
Increase
since 1850.
Hours of labor
per week.
England. $7 44 $2 40 60
France. 5 04 1 72 72
Germany. 3 84 1 62 75
United States. —— (1 87) About 66

These are very surprising facts, which merit careful attention. The very idea that American workingmen are not in every way in a better position than the English is so strange that we are naturally incredulous. The fact that we have such vast quantities of land, practically free, inviting the poorly paid to settle, would seem to be a sure defense of high wages, and doubtless is such. But there is an explanation, though it is probably but a partial one, in the effects of the tariff. The cost of living has been constantly rising in this country, while that in England has been fall-

  1. These figures are given for New York and London in the Government publication, "Labor in Foreign Countries," pp. 635 and 1663 to 1667.