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Strife

development resulting from heavy investments of capital, damp

CHAP.

XVIII class strife. Had Germany realized her program of conquest, her class struggles would have died away before the dazzling prospects of loot, dominion and exploitation presented to Germans of every social degree. Failure, on the other hand, quite logically brought on the social revolution.

4. The switching of the people's interest to non-economic va- interen rieties of good allays the strife between Haves and Have-nots. economic

Goods When men imagine a rosy future to be won by ridding them- Lessons selves of wasteful or weakening vices or by achieving good Over the health thru the practice of personal hygiene, their minds are of Wealth taken off questions of wages and profits. The gospel of “Cut out booze!” soothes labor. The same is true of the pursuit of self-improvement, the quest of culture, etc. Then immersion of both classes in a common current of suggestion and discussion qualifies their antagonism. Attention and like reaction to wars, calamities, adventures, heroic deeds, athletic contests, momentous inventions and discoveries constitute a binder for classes which are being thrust apart by economic developments.

5. Class strise is damped by the shifting of attention to spiritual blessings, which are never "a bone of contention " because there is always " enough to go around.” A Catholic economist ob

" serves that “ By equalizing all men, rich and poor, as partakers oi the same religious mysteries, it (Christianity) teaches them to regard inequalities of wealth and power as minor matters." Employers do well to finance the evangelist with the message, "Get right with God!” The rich have good reason to want the masses to be deeply concerned about “salvation." 6 A huge exploited class may be kept inert, provided there class will

W11 are enough ladders by which those who would agitate and lead it Long Re.

main Quiet tray climb out of their class. The American labor movement il Continu

ally Its was retarded by the fact that the frontier afforded haven to the

Leaders strong discontented spirits among the wage-earners — the natural Escape Leaders who would have welded and wielded their class had they Higher sayed with it. Then too, in an early day there was a chance for a workinginan to "get ahead” and become an employer. The ending of free land and the concentration of industry in the last decade of the nineteenth century closed these exits, altho there is still the chance of being promoted to foreman or superintendent or making a career in politics. The average wage

into a

Class

lient

a Mediat

CHAP.

earner, however, has given up hope of becoming a capitalist and XVIII has made up

his mind that he must remain a wage-earner. Here is the secret of the great growth of class consciousness among wage-earners in the last twenty-five years.

Knighthood or ennoblement of a few successful commoners has a magical effect in tranquillizing a commonalty. Educational opportunities, politics, access to the professions, facilitate the escape, from peasantry or working class, of individuals who would have been its inspirers, organizers and leaders. Moreover, for one who escapes upward there will be ten hopers making no outcry over their lot. There is, then, nothing like diffusion of

opportunity to keep questions of social justice from being raised. Charity an Emol

7. Undoubtedly the practice of charity, the relief of distressed members of one class by philanthropic members of the opposing class, has a mollifying effect. A great capitalist testifying in 1914 before the Federal Commission on Industrial Relations said, “If it were not for what has been done and what is being

done we would have revolution in this country." Growth of

8. As society becomes complex there are more on-lookers to ing Ele

inject impartial mediating opinion into class struggles. In the European Dark Ages a trading class interposed itself between lords and serfs. Later the growth of the town burghers blurred the clear-cut distinctions of the feudal system. Formerly the Christian Church as arbiter between contending classes exerted a restraining influence. In modern times the conflict between proprietors and laborers has become like a law suit before a jury, owing to the rise of the liberal professions, the coming up of the "fourth estate,” i.e., the newspapers, the formation of an army of educators and the appearance of a corps of independent moulders of opinion – writers, lecturers and artists. This causes the issue to turn less on economic or physical power and more on reason and justice. Still, there is no denying that such juror

, groups as newspapermen, lawyers and engineers, are more or

less dependent on the capitalists. The State as Impar.

ment

9. The social tension is relieved when law and State rise above tial Keeper the suspicion of being the tool of any class. Manhood suffrage Lists ends the open political advantage of one class over another. The

servants of the state instead of being drawn from the favored class are now trained men recruited from every social level and therefore in some degree impartial. As umpire the democratic

of the

state sees to it that the opposed classes fight it out according to

CHAP.

XVIII the rules laid down. Consequently one thinks as citizen rather than member of a class. A study of the votes on the twenty-six most radical social-reform measures which in five years were submitted to the voters of Oregon shows that in four cases out of five capitalists and laborers voted alike. In other words the average difference between their support of radical measures was twenty votes in a hundred.

The boards of education in American cities are composed chiefly of business and professional men. Nine-tenths of their members fall outside the class which makes up five-sixths of the population. This want of representativeness is a misfortune in some respects, but it is neither intended nor resented. If it were, the voters would speedily correct it.

10. The submission of the pleas and claims of contending Class Conclasses to the objective scientific investigation of government and Brought

Before the private bureaus and of university scholars is another hopeful Baroti modern tendency. It blunts the weapons of falsehood, camou

Science flage and sophistry, enforces closer agreement between the classes in their assertion of fact and strengthens the side less able to state its case.

tentions

THE STRUGGLE OF CLASSES IN MODERN SOCIETY The modern "social" question has been created neither by The Ma

chine as labor agitators nor by capitalist greed. It arose inevitably out Root of of the development of machine industry. About the middle of

Discord the eighteenth century began a series of inventions which caused the textile industry to be translated from the worker's home or shop to the factory. Instead of owning his tools he worked the machinery owned by others and became a wage-earner. Since then the factory system has extended to branch after branch of manufacturing, until the handicraft system is dead and we are committed without reserve to industrialism. Moreover, in nearly all branches the mass of equipment util- Enormous

Expansion ized in aid of production has enormously increased. The volume of the of capital per worker is constantly greater and from this flow Capital

Factor in very interesting consequences. To-day when a hundred cotton- Production mill operatives strike they tie up perhaps ten times as much capital as a hundred operatives who struck eighty years ago. Stoppage is ten times as costly to the capitalist as it used to be

CHAP.
XVIII

vidual Workman Becomes a

and therefore he is more restless when tied up by a strike and resorts to more ruthless measures to break the strike. The strikers realize this and become heedless of public interests in their endeavor to foil the strike-breakers. Of necessity, then, the parties to the labor conflict tend to become more reckless and lawless in their tactics.

Along with the growing prominence of the capital equipment, goes a tendency toward larger production units. Every census shows that the average plant in almost every branch contains more capital and employs more men. Automatically this diminishes the importance of the individual workman to the employer and augments the importance of the employer to the workman. In a ten-man shop, the employer loses one tenth of his force and of his profit, if one disgruntled workman quits him. In a hundred-man shop, he loses only one per cent., so that, as units grow, the protesting workman is less and less considered. On the other hand, the bigger the units, the fewer, so that it becomes less likely that the workman, without changing his residence, can

find another factory in his line to employ him. The Indi. This automatic belittlement of the individual wage-earner gives

rise to an irresistible movement toward the organization of labor. Midget

Those who work in factories not theirs, with machines not theirs, on materials not theirs, under conditions they have no voice in determining, and turn out a product that belongs to some one else, discover that they have an interest in common, Only when combined can they compel the employer to pay heed to their grievances and claims. The union of the employees of a single concern may equalize them with their employer as respects power to inflict loss, but it does not equalize the two parties in respect to holding-out power. Hence, the workers unite themselves into wide unions in order to insure themselves

financial support during a strike. Workers The hope cherished a generation ago that by cooperative proand CapItalists Be- duction the workers would in time come to own the equipment tinct with which they work has quite withered. There is no prospect

whatever that the ownership of industrial capital will be disseminated through the working class. On the contrary, there is a clear tendency toward the concentration of wealth. The parties interested in machine industry more and more segregate into two groups very unequal in size - the capitalists, who con

come Dis.

Classes

tribute no personal exertion to industry, and the much larger

CHAP.

XVIII body of workers, who may own their homes but hold merely a trifling amount of share capital. Since the capital factor in industry constantly expands, the Precarious

Position of share of the total product going to ownership grows. The time the Cap

italist may come when half or two thirds of the social income will be Class claimed in the name of property. Moreover, less and less is this sharing automatic. It is affected by the temper of the workers, their degree of organization, their feeling about their union, the state of the law, the spirit of the courts, the attitude of public officials, the tone of the press, the pulpit, and the platform, and the tenor of the instruction of the young. Hence, the more active portion of the capitalist class endeavors to spread over society an invisible net of control. The class has lost most of its political defenses — hereditary upper houses, restricted suffrage, indirect election, party control, the unlimited use of money in politics — but it is not without secret compensating gains. The agitation for the total overthrow of private capitalism and the substitution of an untried public capitalism naturally alarms captalists and stimulates their endeavors to control opinion. As quietly they draw together and develop weapons and tactics to repel attack, their leaders and agents become more formidable, not only to attackers, but to inoffensive individuals and interests which stand in their way. So the capitalist class not only defends itself, but aggresses at a time when aggression is madness. This is why the position of social-minded persons identified with seither class, who wish to investigate and consider until it becomes clear what economic system will be best for society as a whole, becomes constantly more difficult. Industrialism, child of the power-driven machine, moulds society with appalling power and causes its members more and more to cluster at opposite pules of the social spindle. The situation is grave and no one can tell how much graver it will become before an adjustment 2 ill be found which will pull this thorn from humanity's flesh.

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