Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/114

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

long ago disappeared, and is no longer here to be laughed at. He was succeeded by one who stayed at home and worked in his own kitchen. The other went out of business because he came in. He drove the other out, and out to stay; he will never return; he demonstrated to people that the old cobbler was not the best resource for foot-gear, and the moment this was made plain the old system went under; he saved time in packing and unpacking, in traveling to and fro, in waiting, and in many ways made it more convenient all round, so that it was cheaper for customers and better for the workman to have the new system.

Later on the kitchen workman had to abdicate in favor of a man with a shop, a grindstone, shelves, better light and heat, and numerous appliances impossible in a farmer's kitchen. When this man had held the fort a while, the regular manufacturer, with a large building for cutting, sorting, storing, and caring for goods, put in an appearance, and the man with the small shop and comfortable loafing quarters stepped out in the same way and for the same reason that his predecessors had. The new-comer could do better service for less money; the manufacturer came because the world knew what it wanted and sought him. The world wanted some one capable of stopping the enormous wastefulness of the old system. The newest man has made the old cobbler and his ways appear ridiculous, and the operative of today lives better than the well-to-do farmer of 1786. If the old way is the better, there is nothing in the way of returning to it, only the one fact that people can not afford to. Let him that thinks the old plan the better start out with his bundle of lasts and kit and try to earn a living in the good old way.

Attempts at co-operation thus far have generally shown a strong if not fatal tendency to failure because of the difficulty of commanding the requisite skill and faithfulness in management. Co-operators are not willing to pay the price for service which their business needs in order to succeed. They always stand on the theory that the men who conduct great enterprises get too much for doing the business and the operatives too little. In course of time, and usually not very long time, their scheme goes down. This is because in the nature of things no hired person on a salary of fixed amount will all the time keep his wits alive and study into the small hours of the night devising ways and means to make money for other people. They propose in their constitution to take from capital and skill a portion of the profit that has usually been accorded to them and give it to labor; but after thousands of experiments during forty or more years of good business in this country there is hardly a single case of such undoubted success as to warrant the assertion that demonstration of feasibility has been attained. The combined skill of all the co--