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Average wage rates in St. Louis, Mo., and Manchester, England, in 1889 and
ADVANTAGES OF AMERICAN LABOR. A great deal has been written and said about the superior advantages which American labor holds over the labor of other countries. In August, 1901, a wealthy Scotch manufacturing firm sent a delegation of workmen to the United States to investigate practical conditions and compare them with British conditions of labor and wages. There were twelve men in the party, selected by popular vote from their fellow-workmen in the shops, and representing the following trades: Pottery, painting, decorating, upholstery and woodwork, engineering, railways, building, mining, textile working, metallurgy, coach building, and electricity.
The delegation visited Pittsburg, Cleveland, Buffalo, New York, Paterson, Fall River, Trenton, Philadelphia, East Liverpool, Ohio, and Niagara, crossing over into Canada.
The report •made when they returned, after a thorough investigation of the practical features of the artisan's life, was very complimentary to the American mechanic and artisan, and showed that under the beneficent economic policies which now prevail in this country the American working man enjoys many advantages over his neighbor across the water.
They reported that the ordinary craftsman received more cash in return for his labor in the United States, and thus could command many and more varied luxuries than his British cousin, but, at the same time, he has to pay far more for these luxuries than he would on the other side of the Atlantic. A frugal American artisan, however, has it within his power to save money, which is denied his British rival. The very fact that the American receives more money in hand at the week's end gives him this opportunity to save, because the British workman seldom receives the same
amount, and, therefore, is denied any opportunity of hoarding the needful for a rainy day."
The delegation reported that the United States will not only provide for its own wants in the near future, but will be, in addition, able to supply a great portion of the wants of the civilized world.
During the past thirty years it has been noted that in textile fabrics alone America has gone to the front, and in the flax, silk, hemp, and similar industries the Americans can now hold their
The trade of India and Scotland, to a large extent, still depends on the buyers in the United States, but year after year it is becoming more evident that the buyer will not only produce his own goods but will quote to the merchant who was originally a seller. In such a commodity as binder twine, for instance, it is not a great number of years since the American farmer used British-made twines. Now the British market is overrun with the American production, thus reversing the former order of things.
Wages in America total far more as compared with British pay. This increase may be placed at one-half to two-thirds more than is earned in England and Scotland. The men from whom this was learned were mechanics, factory workers, dyers, stonecutters, and various other trades.
The delegation reported that not in a single instance did they find the American workman paid lower wages than the British workman.
The delegation reported that the climatic conditions of America to a certain extent favor the workingman and the workingman's wife. Looking back upon the pottery district of Trenton, and even in the larger city of Philadelphia, it was with pleasing satisfaction they noted the evening promenade of the sexes. Hatless the ladies came; coatless, often, were the gentlemen. The ladies' dresses of light material, minus gloves, and even with arms bare, carried a comforting look under the cloudless skies. The houses of the working classes were enticing externally, and the inside arrangements far ahead of workingmen's houses in England or Scotland.
They visited Paterson, N. J., and studied the textile industry. Here they learned that the all-important item of wages shaded British pay bills, and that even women gained almost as much hard cash within the walls of a Paterson factory as males do in England. It was intensely gratifying to them to note that female labor was assessed at greater value than it is abroad, and as it should be in a great many instances where it certainly is not.
They reported that for one tipsy man in America they would see twenty in England. They did not see half a dozen tipsy men on the continent, and in Glasgow, say, during the same time, they would have been able to view a hundred.
EXCHANGE VALUE OF FARM PRODUCTS.
PRICES OF RAW MATERIALS COMPARED WITH PRICES
OF MANUFACTURED ARTICLES, 1896 AND 1901. During the last few years, when prices in general have advanced, it is interesting to determine in what degree the producer of the farm products has been benefited by the rise.
The table which follows has been prepared from official figures recently published, and shows the per cent of advance in 1901 as compared with 1896, the commodities being grouped as in the original source. The comparisons are between wholesale prices, as in the language of the original report “They are more sensitive than retail prices' and more quickly reflect changes in conditions.”
Comparing 1901 with 1896, farm products show an advance of 49.30 per cent, that is for every $100 received from the sale of farm products in 1896 the farmer received in 1901 $149.30 for the same quantity.
Food, etc., advanced 26.37 per cent; cloths and clothing 10.62 per cent; fuel and lighting 14.57 per cent, etc. It is seen that the advance in farm products has been from two to four times as great as the advance in any of the other groups.
The purchasing power of farm products in 1901 increased materially over 1896. The same quantity of farm products would purchase in 1901 18.15 per cent more food than in 1896. It would also purchase 34.97 per cent more cloths and clothing; 30.31 per cent more of the articles included in the group, fuel and lighting; 25.02 per cent more metals and implements; 19.49 per cent more lumber and building materials; 20.01 per cent more drugs and chemicals; 26.55 per cent more house furnishing goods; and 27.05 per cent more of the articles included in the miscellaneous group.
This shows that no one has been benefited by the advance in prices as much as has the farmer; that in 1901 the price of farm products was 49.30 per cent, or almost one-half greater than in 1896 ; that even when the advance in price of other articles is considered, the purchasing power of farm products in 1901 was, when compared wivh other groups of articles, from 18.15 per cent to 34.97 per cent greater than in 1896.
No imperial designs lurk in the American mind. They are alien to American sentiment, thought, and purpose. Our priceless principles undergo no change under a tropical sun. They go with the flag.-President McKinley at Boston, February 16, 1899.
The following table shows the comparisons: .
Comparative advance in the price of farm products and other groups of com
modities, 1901 compared with 1896.
It is interesting to notice in the tables which follow the comparative advance in the price of certain related commodities. The average price in 1901 has been compared with the average price in 1896. In practically every case the raw material advanced more than the finished products.
The first table shows that live cattle advanced 32.05 per cent, while fresh beef advanced but 12.82 per cent; beef hams 27.81 per cent, and mess beef 24.12 per cent, an average advance of 21.58 per cent for beef products, which the wage-earner must buy, against 32.05 per cent for cattle, which the farmer has to sell. From this it is plainly seen that the advance is benefiting the proper onesthat is, the farmers. With the same weight of live cattle 17.04 per cent more fresh beef or 8.61 per cent more beef products could be purchased in 1901 than in 1896.
Hogs advanced 71.78 per cent, bacon 80.98 per cent, hams 13.99 per cent, and mess pork 74.74 per cent. An arerage advance for bacon, hams, and mess pork of 56.57 per cent, against 71.78 per cent for live hogs. Again the profit is easily traced to the stock raiser and feeder. With the same weight of live hogs 9.71 per cent more products could be bought in 1901 than in 1896.
Sheep which the farmer sells advanced 16.90 per cent, mutton which the workingman buys advanced but 7.96 per cent. With the same weight of sheep 8.28 per cent more mutton could be purchased in 1901 than in 1896.
Corn advanced 92.63 per cent, while corn meal advanced but 49.22 per cent. With the same quantity of corn 29.09 per cent more corn meal could be purchased in 1901 than in 1896.
Wheat which the farmer raises advanced 12.06 per cent, while wheat flour for everybody's use declined 4.17 per cent. That is, with the same quantity of wheat 16.94 per cent more flour could be purchased in 1901 than in 1896.
Raw cotton advanced 8.92 per cent, cotton bags 10.26 per cent, calico declined 4.74 per cent, cotton flannels advanced 1.60 per cent, cotton thread 20,58 per cent, cotton yarns 5.70 per cent, denims 5.92 per cent, drillings per cent, ginghams 4.89 per cent, cotton hosiery declined 5.08 per cent, print cloths advanced 9.24 per cent, sheetings 4.52 per cent, shirtings 1.02 per cent, and tickings declined 0.52 per cent. The average advance for cotton goods being but 4.26 per cent, against 8.92 per cent for the raw cotton. With the same quantity of raw cotton 4.47 per cent more manufactured cotton goods could be purchased in 1901 than in 1896.
Wool shows an advance of 36.83 per cent, blankets (all wool) 13.33 per cent, broadcloths 38.39 per cent, carpets 12.97 per cent, flannels 18.03 per cent, horse blankets (all wool) 21.04 per cent, overcoating's (all wool) 21.45 per cent, shawls 20.09 per cent, suitings 19.48 per cent, underwear (all wool) 8.31 per cent, women's dress goods (all wool) 45.61 per cent, and worsted yarns 40.19 per cent. An average advance for woolen goods of 23.54 per cent, while the raw material -wool-advanced 36.83 per cent. Or with the same quantity of wool 10.76 per cent more manufactured woolen goods could be bought in 1901 than in 1896.
The table follows:
Comparative advance in price of certain related commodities, 1901 compared
12.82 Beef hams Mess beef.
Average for beef.