The Organization of Industry

labor, motion, production, bodies, industrial, human, systematic and training

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The real importance of labor has been much obscured by two equally persistent, but equally vain, attempts to unduly exalt its significance. The attempt has been made, first, to find in the amount of labor that has been expended upon the production of an article an explanation of its present value ; but the attempt has failed to supply either a satisfactory economic theory of value or a practical guide to its measure ment. It has been attempted, secondly, to show that wages are, or should be, in proportion to the actual sacrifice involved in the labor for which wages are paid. Without anticipating further the discussion of distribution and of individual income, it may be said that the sacri fice at most measures the cost of such labor to the laborer, not its value in the market, and can account therefore only for a minimum share in distribution — a minimum to which any consid erable body of producers seldom sinks.

Labor, then, bodily exertion involving some degree of sacrifice, either of pleasure or comfort, —is an essential in all wealth production. Labor in all its forms either produces or resists motion. Displacement of material bodies, or a rearrangement of their parts, is the utmost that labor can It is seldom that the entire series of motions which the production calls for is accomplished by human labor alone. When bodies have been placed in the proper situation, natural forces operate through ma chines in the same way as through the human body. Invention is continually transferring new portions of the series to machinery, but the necessity for labor remains. The increased use of machinery has not, and probably will not, cause a sufficient increase in the amount of wealth produced to meet the new wants devel oped with social progress. We may look for fewer hours of labor each day for those whose working day now greatly exceeds the limits of efficiency ; we may look for a release from bru talizing forms of labor ; but it is scarcely pos sible that there will be a decrease in the 1 Man has no other means of acting on matter than by mov ing it. — Mill, Principles of Political Economy, People's Ed., p. t6. See also Gide and Fawcett on this subject.

aggregate demand for labor, a decrease, in other words, in the advantage which society will realize from the possession of a high de gree of human energy ready to be applied to industrial labor.

Looking again upon labor as a moving of material bodies, it will be seen that its effi ciency depends upon : first, the quantity of motion produced ; second, the precision of the motion ; third, the certainty that the motion will be produced at the right time and with suffi cient rapidity ; fourth, the certainty that the motion will be in the right direction, or, more generally, that of several possible motions ex actly the right one will be made. The quan

tity of motion which the individual laborer can produce — the number of times that he can re peat the series of motions for which his posi tion in the industrial mechanics calls— depends upon the quantity and quality of his food, on the clothing and shelter with which he is pro vided, and on the other conditions of a high degree of human energy, some of which were enumerated in the paragraphs on that subject.

Precision, promptness; rapidity, and the de gree of judgment necessary to guide the work man in the selection of tools, and of the right use to be made of them at the moment when they are to be used, —these are qualities which require training and systematic encouragement. We are not concerned here with the intelli gence necessary to invention, to discovery, or to that kind of superintendence which requires frequent decision of new questions, least of all with the intelligence necessary to initiate new industries or to modify seriously the methods of production employed in those already estab lished ; but with the qualities necessary in any efficient labor, even when directed by others. Whatever may be said of the higher types of intelligence, it is certain that by proper train ing these qualities may be developed in every class to some extent. The industrial efficiency of the nation would be vastly increased if by schools of manual training ; by technological schools ; by courses in the public schools in cooking, sewing, carving, drawing, singing; by systematic courses in athletics ; and by every other possible means the future workingmen —that is to say, all women and men — were taught more completely the use of their bodies, were trained to keep their organs under better control, and to move them with grace and pre cision, and, when necessary, with promptness, rapidity, and force. The attempts at this kind of instruction have been numerous, but seldom continued for a sufficient time, or introduced over a sufficient area to afford any test of its efficacy. We need a State policy of popular education, framed with this pressing industrial need in view, applied persistently without too careful regard to local prejudices, and including adequate provision for systematic training of the teachers in the courses which they would be expected to add to those already given.

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