The Specialisation of Processes.— It is sometimes said that the minute subdivision of labor resulting from advanced speoialization of processes is all wrong, and that we should return more nearly to handicraft work. To what extent is this claim well founded, and how, if at all, do the interests of the individual and of society at large and in the long rim conflict in any solution which may be evolved? On the one hand, through the expertness which results with specialization of labor, and through the increased use of machinery, goods are more cheaply produced. Sooner or later the selling price must thereupon be lowered, resulting in turn in an increased demand for the product. This increased de mand must be supplied by additional labor, which reacts beneficially on the worker either through more constant employment at the same wages or through the same amount of employ ment at higher wages. Society at large of course also benefits. On the other hand, in certain industries and fdr comparatively short periods of time the individual workers, upon the sudden introduction of labor-saving ma chinery, have suffered through being thrown out of employment and through being unable to secure new work or work to which they could adapt themselves. Here society at large and in the long run benefits at the expense of the individual. It may at least be fairly said that there are elements both of strength and of weakness in the modern factory system of pro duction, and if so, how are we to preserve the strong points and at the same time eliminate the dangers of this method? Is it, or is it not, a fact that there is and of necessity must be monotony in industry? That there is in many cases seems indisputable, but how about the necessity of it— are not ways being found, and may there not be other ways found to alleviate and in cases to eliminate monotony, secure the advantages of high specialization of labor, and at the same time retain free scope for indi viduality and personal initiative? Such meas ures as the interchange of work and workers, the establishment of definite and proper tasks of short duration and the payment of a bonus for accomplishment of each, allowing and ex pecting on the part of each operative a more detailed knowledge of each step in the processes in which he is engaged, the various industrial partnership and profit sharing plans, the sug gestion box and welfare work— such measures and many others may play their part here. These considerations, together with the very recently widespread extension of fatigue studies, form a comparatively open field in the realm of industry.
The Economic Dependence of the Em ployee.— Grave social problems arise through the economic dependence of the employee on his employer. Previous to the industrial revo lution the apprentice or journeyman who had saved up a few dollars or who, in absence of these, had attached to himself a few regular customers, could withdraw from his employer and set up in business for himself. With the introduction of machinery and its accompany ing demands, however, all this was changed; he could then no longer work for himself at his option because he lacked the necessary capital or the lcnowledge of the proper handling of capital, or the knowledge of all technical processes involved, with which to start his busi ness, and he must perforce join the masses of hired workers dependent on the capitalistic en trepreneur. This change brought with it actual or implied obligations on the part of the em ployer, with corresponding obligations on the part of the employee. Foremost among the former was the social obligation of paying at least a living wage.— unfortunately not always translated into achon.. Regularity of employ ment was another obligation. Proper working
hours comprised an obligation notoriously over looked until recently. The obligation of the worker as well as of the employer in regard to the determination of a proper day's work and a proper day's pay is constantly claiming the attention of the industrial world. Then how far beyond the providing of the bare necessities of life does the employer's duty extend? The attempt to answer this question plunges us at once almost hopelessly into the realms of reasonable costs and justifiable profits, of relative abilities and commensurate re wards, of standards of living and opportunities for advancement The paying of at least a living wage, however, the maintenance of proper working conditions, accident insurance and the prevention of accidents and the pro vision for open channels for advancement — all these and many other duties which the employee can little effect, devolve as social obli gations upon the management rather than upon the men, due simply to the relative economic positions of the two. It is correspondingly in cumbent upon the employee to give his em ployer honest and whole-hearted co-operation and similarly to refrain from using unjustly to the detnment of the management any power he may possess or obtain through collective action.
The Aggregation of Capital and Plant.— So much for some of the broader aspects of some modern industrial problems viewed par ticularly from the standpoint of the employee. No less vital questions anse in the case of the employer. The very increase in size of plant and consequently in amount of capital involved, bring forth organization and managerial prob lems and policies only distinctly related to any questions of human relations. The mere act of keeping the wheels in motion smoothly re quires organization and system to a degree un known previous to the development of modem methods of production. Add to this the keen, worldwide competition, involving as this does the necessity of operating at a high efficiency in order to be able to survive in industry at all, and it must necessarily follow that these com plex modern requirements of production must be met by complex modern methods of manage ment. Where shall my plant be erected and how shall it be laid out; what is the minimum amount of equipment and labor necessary ; how shall my business be organized and admin istered; what system of controlling each of the innumerable plant activities shall I use? Am I producing more cheaply than my competitors but losing money on the whole because my methods of buying or selling are archaic? What means of increasing production or de creasing costs with a given amount of labor and equipment may I take, and what are the interacting effects of these methods upon the larger questions suggested; how shall I deal with my employees, both individually and collectively, in order to attain the industrial ends of economical production, sale at a profit and growth to the point of diminishing returns with maximum prosperity for employer and employed? From among the scores of dif ferent ways in which each of these problems may be answered, how, for my particular case, am I to !mow and to utilize the one best way? It is upon this phase of the broader industnal problems — the technique of production and distribution— that a large part of the more recent literature on the so-called '