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This Mr. Churchill effectively denies.


"In most instances," he says, "the best employers in the trade are
already paying wages equal or superior to the probable minimum
which the Trade Board will establish. The inquiries I have set on
foot in the various trades scheduled have brought to me most
satisfactory assurances from nearly all the employers to whom my
investigations have addressed themselves.... But most of all I have
put my faith in the practical effect of a powerful band of
employers, perhaps a majority, who, whether from high motives or
self-interest, or from a combination of the two--they are not
necessarily incompatible ideas--will form a vigilant and instructed
police, knowing every turn and twist of the trade, and who will
labor constantly to protect themselves from being undercut by the
illegal competition of unscrupulous rivals."


Mr. Churchill claims that employers who are trying to pursue such
trades with modern machinery and modern methods are more seriously
hampered by the competition of the "sweaters" than they are by that of
foreign employers. "I cannot believe," he concludes, "that the process
of raising the degenerate and parasitical portion of these trades up to
the level of the most efficient branches of the trade, if it is
conducted by those conversant with the conditions of the trade and
interested in it, will necessarily result in an increase in the price of
the ultimate product. It may even sensibly diminish it through better
methods."[62] Mr. Churchill is able to point out, as with most of the
other reforms, that in one country or another they are already being put
into effect, the legislation against "sweating" being already in force
in Bavaria and Baden, as well as in Australia, under a somewhat
different form.

But the most striking of the British labor reforms has yet to be
mentioned. Not only were the present old age pensions established by the
common consent of all the political parties, but a law has now been
enacted--also with the approval of all parties (and only twenty-one
negative votes in Parliament)--to apply the same methods of state
insurance of workingmen to sickness, accidents, and even to
unemployment. The old age pensions were already more radical than those
of Prussia in that the workingmen do not have to contribute under the
British law, while the National Insurance Bill as now enacted surpasses
both the former British measure and the German precedent in everything,
except that it demands a lesser total sum from the government. In the
insurance against accidents, sickness, and unemployment the government,
instead of contributing the whole amount, gives from two ninths to one
third, one third to one half being assessed against employers and one
sixth to four ninths against employees. At first this reform, it is
expected, will cost only about $12,500,000, and it will be several years
before the maximum expenditure of $25,000,000 is reached. But the
measure is radical in several particulars: it applies to clerks,
domestic servants, and many other classes usually not reached by
measures of the kind,--a total of some 14,000,000 persons; it provides
$5,000,000 a year for the maintenance of sanatoria for tuberculosis and
creates new health boards to improve sanitation and educate the people
in hygiene; and it furnishes physicians and medicines for the insured,
thus organizing practically the whole medical force and drug supply as
far as the masses are concerned.

In fact, the whole scheme may be looked on not so much as a measure to
aid the sick and wounded of industry financially, as to set at work an
automatic pressure working towards the preservation of the health,
strength, and productive capacity of the people, and incidentally to the
increase of profits. As Mr. Lloyd George said in an interview printed in
the _Daily Mail_: "I want to make the nation more healthy than it is.
The great mass of illness which afflicts us weighs us down and is easily
preventable. It is a better thing to make a man healthy than to pay him
so much a week when he is ill."

Mr. Lloyd George points out that the German employers have found that
the governmental insurance against accidents has proved a good
investment:--


"When Bismarck was strengthening the foundation of the new German
Empire, one of the very first tasks he undertook was the
organization of a scheme which insured the German workmen and their
families against the worst evils arising from these common
accidents of life. And a superb scheme it was. It has saved an
incalculable amount of human misery to hundreds of thousands and
possibly millions of people.

"Wherever I went in Germany, north or south, and whomever I met,
whether it was an _employer_ or a workman, a _Conservative_ or a
Liberal, a Socialist or a Trade-union Leader--men of all ranks,
sections and creeds, with one accord joined in lauding the benefits
which have been conferred upon Germany by this beneficent policy.
Several wanted extensions, but there was not one who wanted to go
back. The employers admitted that at first they did not quite like
the new burdens it cast upon them, _but they now fully realized the
advantages which even they derived from the expenditure_, for it
had raised the standard of the workman throughout Germany." (My
italics.)[63]


It is not only worry and anxiety that were removed, but definite and
irregular sums that workers or their employers had formerly set aside
for insurance against accident, sickness, and old age, were now
calculated and regulated on a business basis more profitable to both
parties to the labor contract. It is true that in Germany the employers
only pay part of the cost, the rest being borne almost entirely by
employees, while in Great Britain--as far as the old age pensions
go--the government pays all, and is likely to pay a considerable part,
perhaps a third, in the other insurance schemes. But the plan by which
the government pays all may prove even less costly to the employing
class, since landlords and inactive capitalists on the one hand and the
working people on the other, pay the larger part of the taxes--so that
state insurance in this thoroughgoing form is perhaps destined to be
even more popular than the German kind.

The most radical provision of the new bill is that which deals with
unemployment. Though applying only to the engineering and building
trades, it reaches 2,400,000 people. It proposes to give a weekly
allowance to every insured person who loses employment through no fault
of his own, though nothing is given in strikes and lockouts. And it is
intended to extend this measure to other employments. This is only the
first installment.

It is probable that Mr. Churchill's project that the State should
undertake to abolish unemployment altogether is the most radical of all
the proposed policies, excepting only that to gradually expropriate all
the future unearned increment of land.


"An industrial disturbance in the manufacturing districts and the
great cities of this country," says Mr. Churchill, "presents itself
to the ordinary artisan in exactly the same way as the failure of
crops in a large province in India presents itself to the Hindoo
cultivator. The means by which he lives are suddenly removed, and
ruin in a form more or less swift and terrible stares him instantly
in the face. That is a contingency which seems to fall within the
most primary and fundamental obligations of any organization of
government. I do not know whether in all countries or in all ages
that responsibility could be maintained, but I do say that here and
now, in this wealthy country and in this _scientific_ age, it does
in my opinion exist, is not discharged, and will have to be
discharged."[64]


Mr. Churchill proposes not only to guard against periods of unemployment
which extend to all industries in the case of industrial crises, but
also to provide more steady employment for those who are unoccupied
during the slack seasons of the year or while passing from one employer
to another. Above all he plans that the youth of the nation shall not
waste their strength entirely in unremunerative employment or in
idleness, but that every boy or girl under eighteen years of age should
be learning a trade as well as making a living. Few will deny that the
program of Mr. Churchill and his associates in this direction marks a
great step towards that "more complete or elaborate social organization"
which he advocates.

One of the most significant of all the measures by which Mr. Churchill
plans to lend the aid of the State to the raising of the level of the
working classes is his "Development" Act. The object of this bill, in
the language of Mr. Churchill, is "to provide a fund for the economic
development of our country, for the encouragement of agriculture, for
afforestation, for the colonization of England (the settlement of
agricultural land), and for the making of roads, harbors, and other
public works." Stated in these terms, the Development Act is a measure
of "State Socialism" for the general industrial advance of the country,
but the main argument in its behalf lies in that clause of the bill
which provides, to quote from Mr. Churchill again: "that the prosecution
of these works shall be regulated, as far as possible, by the conditions
of the labor market, so that in a very bad year of unemployment they can
be expanded, so as to increase the demand for labor at times of
exceptional slackness, and thus correct and counterbalance the cruel
fluctuations of the labor market."[65]

We have seen that Mr. Churchill has justified these measures, not as
increasing the relative share of the working classes, but as adding to
the total product. They are to add to the industrial efficiency of the
nation as a whole, and so incidentally to bring a greater income to
all,--but in much the same proportions as wealth now distributes itself.

In this country Mr.



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Keywords: sickness, employment, methods, nation, parties, british, development, increase, organization, pensions
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