lectual keenness, (3) disease-resisting power, (4) length of life. No employer who desires to maintain the efficiency of his working force, and what employer does not desire to do so, can afford to tolerate for a moment any one of these four conditions.
He can not afford to work with a labor force which is devitalized physically. Even though modern industry does not demand of the majority of operatives great physical strength, it does demand a good physique, since neither work requiring strength, dexterity nor brain power can be carried forward efficiently and enduringly in the absence of physical stamina. "A sound mind in a sound body" is a good old saying, which holds true in a vast majority of cases.
Intellectual keenness and foresight in the wage worker is one of the essential factors in the success of the employer. Workers must be interested in their work; they must work for the firm; they must apply themselves seriously to the tasks in hand. All of these and many other commonly named requirements are impossible to attain in the face of mal-nutrition, bad housing and insanitation.
Sickness is one of the greatest foes of the manager. Hands are "off." They have headaches, colds, and like ailments in endless profusion. Irving Fisher estimates that in the United States 3,000,000 persons are at all times seriously ill; while the "well man" loses four or five days every year from minor ailments, such as colds, headaches and the like. Much of the illness is preventable and would be impossible if men and women were not devitalized by low standards of living.
Employers have perhaps their greatest difficulties in replacing men who drop out of the work because of sickness or death, yet the average length of life in the United States is only half what it might well be. Men born in American cities of native white parents live on the average only 31 years. The length of life in America is astoundingly short, and short because men and women have not the wherewithal to maintain efficiency—a fact which is fully established by the enormously higher death rates among the working classes. When a man or woman drops out of your factory, and you struggle for years to fill his or her place, you are often striving to cure what you might more easily prevent—early death due to low living standards.
Efficiency is an essential item in the success of any business—not the efficiency of any one man, but of the entire working group. Although efficiency is so intimately connected with success, on the one hand, it is no less closely related to standards of living, on the other. The efficiency which leads to success can, therefore, be secured only by maintaining living efficiency through the payment of efficiency wages.
- "Modern Social Conditions," W. B. Bailey, New York, The Century Co., 1906, p. 227.