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this a fair illustration of the way laborsaving machines augment production and necessitate reductions in prices, in order to make possible the sale of the increased product, and both of these without causing wages to be lowered. Reductions in the force of help in a factory because of the introduction of a labor-saving machine are not unknown, but I believe such cases are exceptional.
Reductions in the force of help in a factory because competing factories have introduced labor-saving machinery are more common; and, in the factories which are forced into a secondary place, there may be both a reduction in the number of hands and a reduction in the rate of wages, but an important distinction should be noticed, The progressive factory has taken steps which lead toward the absorption of the non-progressive factory's business, and in time the progressive factory, assisted by other labor-saving machines, may reach the point where it will employ most of the skilful workmen in its line, pay higher wages than other factories, turn
out more goods, turn out goods of better quality, and be able to sell goods at a profit while other factories are getting no profit or, perhaps, are making a loss.
Both in farming and in manufacturing success is achieved by the use of highpriced laborers, such as are able to work with machinery, and in this way the market prices of almost everything are reduced. Scarcely ever does an employer reduce his wage-rate in order to lower the prices of his product.
That would be working backward. If obliged by competition to reduce his wage-rate it would be as a last resort, for he knows that dissatisfaction among his men may result in cutting down his product of goods and in losing his best
If beaten by competitors, he must adopt their ways, or find out still better ways for himself.
He may increase his product, and by so doing make just as much money, but with a lower percentage of profit; he may buy materials to better advantage; he may stop waste; he may satisfied with a lower rate of dividend or interest or profit; he may twist and turn
about in every conceivable way to put himself on the level of his competitors, but, generally speaking, if he reduce his wage-rate or the number of his workmen he will jump from the frying-pan into the fire. The natural road to low cost, and, therefore, the ability to sell at low prices, is through machinery and high wages. In some countries the traditional penny a day is still the rate of wages, and in those countries, doubtless, this little sum may be as much as employers can afford to pay, for employers who have the benefit of this nominally cheap labor are not beating employers elsewhere, except as helped by climatic peculiarities. The rate of wages per day is of no importance to employers; the rate of wages, or the sum paid in wages, in proportion to results, is all
But even if successful employers do pay high wages, still, do not labor-saving machines take the place of some laborers, considering the country as a whole ? A small number of men accomplish as much as formerly was accomplished by a large number. Where are these now useless men? Again we have an assumption to deal with. Instead of a small number of men now doing what a large number used to do, a larger number of men are doing much more than the increase in number would indicate. The cheapening of goods by the use of machinery has brought more and more goods, in greater variety, within the reach of a constantly growing number of buyers, extending over vast territories, and continually advancing in power to buy and in desire to consume.
Who now 'is satisfied with only so much as satisfied his father? Who cannot see that the luxuries of yesterday are the necessities of today? Progress means an ever increasing demand for new goods and more goods and an ever increasing ability to obtain them.
And no class in the community is so sure to be benefited by a progressive industrial movement as is the wage-earning class, for not only is it natural that prices should go down, but it is natural that wages should go up. And this is merely showing that the theory of progress agrees with the facts