Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/544

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need of trades-unions in this country than in America. Undoubtedly, English trades-unions have brought about great reforms in the condition of factories, as to the hours of labor, in regard to the employment of children, etc.; and there are indications that the alleged restrictive policy of trades-unions, express or implied, is gradually being modified."

American Workingmen promoting Expansion.

Whatever be the merits of the points at issue between employers and organized labor, it is evident that the existing conditions are not only unfavorable to the increase of Great Britain's competitive energy, but actually handicap her in the effort to adapt herself to the industrial exigencies which we have created. The advantage we enjoy in this particular is rendered all the more formidable from what seems to be a growing tendency in the United States toward a more harmonious cooperation between labor and capital, as was strikingly shown in the recent conference of employers and labor leaders in New York which resulted in the creation of a permanent board of conciliation. American workingmen generally, instead of seeking to limit output, strive to increase it, and they find their reward in the cheapening of production, which enables the manufacturer to compete in foreign markets and thus get rid of the surplus beyond the demands of home consumption, with the result of keeping his factory going and giving steady employment to the operatives throughout the year.

Competitive Energy but partly developed.

It may be assumed that, whatever the symptoms of a falling off in our sales abroad, the causes are not to be found in any decline of our industrial efficiency or in a more strenuous competition on the part of Europe. It is evident, however, that, if we would again attain the rate of progress of a year ago and keep it against all comers, we must avail ourselves of something more than the indigenous resources that have been described. As yet, we can not be said to have made full use of our powers. It must not be forgotten that, as has frequently been pointed out, our sudden and surprising success in invading Europe with manufactured goods was due, not to concerted and systematic effort on our part, but to the need of finding outlets for surplus product and the unlocked for recognition by European purchasers of the superiority of many articles of American manufacture. To a very great extent, our goods have sold themselves in the European markets, and that, too, in the face of high tariffs, of the hostility of industrial interests, and of a very general indisposition on the part of our manufacturers to adapt their styles, patterns, etc., to the tastes or prejudices of foreign consumers.