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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/73

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PENDING PROBLEMS FOR WAGE-EARNERS.

chapters Work in the Factory, and The Material Condition of my Fellow-Workmen, the American student and operative will recognize abuses still existing in Germany which our more progressive establishments have eliminated. The contrast also in rates of wages and quality of living with wage-earners in America will excite sympathy, but will also weld the American more firmly to the belief that the condition of the wage-earner in this country is a happy and fortunate one by comparison; that its stability must not be jeopardized by countenancing socialistic agitation.[1]

In the chapters on Political Tendencies of my Fellow-Workmen and Social Democracy the student of industrial sociology will find much valuable information. In the chapters on Moral Conditions, and Education and Religion, ethical questions are plainly discussed. The final chapter, on Results and Demands, will interest all readers. It is shown that the labor question is not merely a wage question with the vast majority of the laboring class. It is only one factor in the movement—perhaps the most tangible, but not the most important or determinative one. "There is an ardent longing on the part of the whole class of factory labor for more respect and recognition, for greater actual and social equality in addition to the formal and political equality which is theirs already. . . . It is the irresistible impulse to a larger intellectual freedom, the craving for the benefits of knowledge and education, and for a fuller understanding of those high and lofty problems of the human soul which, despite the universal pursuit of wealth and externals, rise up before humanity today, new riddles in new forms. All this, rough, discordant, full


  1. On entering the shops, Mr. Göhre received twenty pfennige (4 8 cents) per hour. Compulsory deductions were made for assessments for sick-benefits, insurance, fines for lateness or carelessness, etc. Men working at the vise earned fifteen to twenty-one marks ($3.60 to $5.04) per week; their foremen, $5.28 to $6.72; drillers working on time, $3.60 to $4.56. "Piece workers" made considerably more. A specially skilled workman "would receive as much as forty marks ($9.60) per week." It thus appears that the highest wage of the most skilled operative slightly exceeds the lowest wage for unskilled labor in this country. The home life of the men was shown to be on a plane far below that of the average wage-earner in America. Some suggestive and important information is to be gathered from a book just issued by the British Board of Trade, giving the statistics of wages paid for manual labor in Great Britain. From this it seems that the average earned by men is $6.03 a week; by women, $3.08; by boys, $2.24; and by girls, $1.56. These are the averages of the wages of 816,106 persons. In Scotland the rates are lower than in England by ten and in Ireland by some twenty per cent. The best-paid trade is that of builders, and then, in order, distillers, brewers, metal workers, engineers, sawmill workers, coach builders, and printers. Railroad men average five dollars a week. The chances of earning ten dollars a week are not common. Thirty-seven per cent of the printers, thirty-three per cent of the tinplate workers, thirteen per cent of the shipbuilders, eleven per cent of copper and brass workers, and ten per cent of coopers attain that amount. On the whole, the report indicates that wages in all British trades are on the increase, but at a very slow rate of progress.