The text is taken from my copy of FIELDS, FACTORIES AND WORKSHOPS: or Industry Combined with Agriculture and Brain Work with Manual Work, Thomas Nelson & Sons, London, Edinburgh, Dublin and New York, 1912.
Small Industries and Industrial Villages (continued)
- Petty trades in Germany: Discussions upon the subject and
- conclusions arrived at--Results of the census taken in 1882, 1895, and 1907--Petty Trades in Russia--Conclusions
THE various industries which still have retained in Germany the characters of petty and domestic trades have been the subject of many exhaustive explorations, especially by A. M. Thun and Prof. Issaieff, on behalf of the Russian Petty Trades Commission, Emanuel Hans Sax, Paul Voigt, and very many others. By this time the subject has a bulky literature, and such impressive and suggestive pictures have been drawn from life for different regions and trades that I felt tempted to sum up these life-true descriptions. However, as in such a summary I should have to repeat much of what has already been said and illustrated in the preceding chapter, it will probably more interest the general reader to know something about the conclusions which can be drawn from the works of the German investigators,1 and to know the conclusions that may be drawn from the three censuses of industries which have been made in Germany in the years 1882, 1895, and 1907. This is what I am going to do.
Unhappily, the discussion upon this important subject has often taken in Germany a passionate and even a personally aggressive character 2 On. the one hand the ultra-conservative elements of German politics tried, and succeeded to some extent, in making of the petty trades and the domestic industries an arm for securing a return to the "olden good times." They even passed a law intended to prepare a reintroduction of the old-fashioned, closed and patriarchal corporations which could be placed under the close supervision and tutorship of the State, and they saw in such a law a weapon against social democracy. On the other hand, the social democrats, justly opposed to such measures, but themselves inclined, in their turn, to take too abstract a view of economical questions, bitterly attack all those who do not merely repeat the stereotyped phrases to the effect that "the petty trades are in decay," and "the sooner they disappear the better," as they will give room to capitalist centralisation, which, according to the social democratic creed, "will soon achieve its own ruin." In this dislike of the small industries they are, of course, at one with the economists of the orthodox school, whom they combat on nearly all other points. 3
Under such conditions, the polemics about the petty trades and the domestic industries are evidently doomed to remain most unproductive. However, it is pleasant to see that a considerable amount of most conscientious work has boon made for the investigation of the petty trades in Germany; and, by the side of such monographs, from which nothing can be learned but that the petty trades' workers are in a miserable condition, and nothing whatever can be gathered to explain why these workers prefer their conditions to those of factory hands-there is no lack, of very detailed monographs (such as those of Thun, Em. 14. Sax, Paul Voigt on the Berlin cabinetmakers, etc.), in which one sees the whole of the life of these classes of workers, the difficulties which they have to cope with, and the technical conditions of the trade, and finds all the elements for an independent judgment upon the matter.
It is evident that a number of petty trades are already now doomed to disappear; but. there are others, on the contrary, which are endowed with a great vitality, and all chances are in favour of their continuing to exist and to take a further development for many years to come. In the fabrication of such textiles as are woven by millions of yards, and can be best produced with the aid of a complicated machinery, the competition of the hand-loom against the power-loom is evidently nothing but a survival, which may be maintained for some time by certain local conditions, but finally must die away.
The same is true with regard to many branches of the iron industries, hardware fabrication, pottery, and so on. But wherever the direct intervention of taste and inventiveness are required, wherever new patterns of goods requiring a continual renewal of machinery and tools must continually be introduced in order to feed the demand, as is the case with all fancy textiles, even though they be fabricated to supply the millions; wherever a great variety of goods and the uninterrupted invention of new ones goes on, as is the case in the toy trade., in instrument making, watch-making, bicycle making, and so on; and finally, wherever the artistic feeling of the individual worker makes the best part of his goods, as is the case in hundreds of branches of small articles of luxury, there is a wide field for petty trades, rural workshops, domestic industries, and the like. More fresh air, more ideas, more general conceptions, and more co-operation are evidently required in those industries. But where the spirit of initiative has been awakened in one way or another, we see the petty industries taking a new development in Germany, as we have just seen that being done in France.
Now, in nearly all the petty trades in Germany, the position of the workers is unanimously described as most miserable, and the many admirers of centralisation which we find in Germany always insist upon this misery in order to predict, and to call for, the disappearance of "those mediaeval survivals" which "capitalist centralisation" must supplant for the benefit of the worker. The reality is, however, that when we compare the miserable conditions of the workers in the petty trades with the conditions of the wage workers in the factories, in the same regions and in the same trades, we see that the very same misery -prevails among the factory workers. They live upon wages of from nine to eleven shillings a week, in town slums instead of the country. They work eleven hours a day, and they also are subject to the extra misery thrown upon them during the frequently recurring crises. It is only after they have undergone all Sorts of sufferings in their struggles against their employers that some factory workers succeed, more or less, here and there, to wrest from their employers a "living wage "-and this again only in certain trades.
To welcome all these sufferings, seeing in them the action of a "natural law" and a necessary step towards the necessary concentration of industry, would be simply absurd. While to maintain that the pauperisation of all workers and the wreckage of all village industries are a necessary step towards a higher form of industrial organisation would be, not only to affirm much more than one is entitled to affirm under the present imperfect state of economical knowledge, but to show an absolute want of comprehension of the sense of both natural and economic laws. Everyone, on the contrary, who has studied the question of the growth of great industries on its own merits, will undoubtedly agree with Thorold Rogers, who considered the sufferings inflicted upon the labouring classes for that purpose as having been of no necessity whatever, and simply having been inflicted to suit the temporary interests of the few--by no means those of the nation. 4
Moreover, everyone knows to what extent the labour of children and girls is resorted to, even in the most prosperous factories--even in this country which stands foremost in industrial development. Some figures relative to this subject were given in the preceding chapter. And this fact is not an accident which might be easily removed, as Maurice Block--a great admirer, of course, of the factory systemtries to represent it. 5 The low wages paid to children and youths are now one of the necessary elements in the cheapness of the factory produced textiles, and, consequently, of the very competition of the factory with the petty trades. I have mentioned besides, whilst speaking of France, what are the effects of concentrated "industries upon village life and in Thun's work, and in many others as well, one may find enough of ghastly instances of what are the effects of accumulations of girls in the factories. To idealise the modern factory, in order to depreciate the so-called "mediaeval" forms of the small industries, is consequently to say the least-as unreasonable as to idealise the latter and try to bring mankind back to isolated homespinning and home-weaving in every peasant house.
One fact dominates all the investigations which have been made into the conditions of the small industries. We find it in Germany, as well as in France or in Russia. In an immense number of trades it is not the superiority of the technical organisation of the trade in a factory, nor the economies realised on the prime-motor, which militate against the small industry in favour of the factories, but the more advantageous conditions for selling the produce and for buying the raw produce which are at the disposal of big concerns. Wherever this difficulty has been overcome, either by means of association, or in consequence of a market being secured for the sale of the produce, it has always been found-first, that the conditions of the workers or artisans immediately improved; and next, that a rapid progress was realised in the technical aspects of the respective industries. New processes were introduced to improve the produce or to increase the rapidity of its fabrication; new machine-tools were invented; or new motors were resorted to; or the trade was reorganised so as to diminish the costs of production.
On the contrary, wherever the helpless, isolated artisans and workers continue to remain at the mercy of the wholesale buyers, who always--since Adam Smith's time--"openly or tacitly" agree to act as one man to bring down the prices almost to a starvation level-and such is the case for the immense number of the small and village industries their condition is so bad that only the longing of the workers after a certain relative independence, and their knowledge of what awaits them in the factory, prevent them from joining the ranks of the factory hands. Knowing that in most cases the advent of the factory would mean no work at all for most men, and the taking of the children and girls to the factory, they do the utmost to prevent it from appearing at all in the village.
As to combinations in the villages, cooperation and the like, one must never forget how jealously the German, the French, the Russian and the Austrian Governments have hitherto prevented the workers, and especially the village workers, from entering into any sort of combination for economical purposes. In France the peasant syndicates were permitted only by the law of 1884. To keep the peasant at the lowest possible level, by means of taxation, serfdom, and the like, has been, and is still, the policy of most continental States. It was only in 1876 that some extension of the association rights was granted in Germany, and even now a mere co-operative association for the sale of the artisans' work is soon reported as a "political association" and submitted as such to the usual limitations, such as the exclusion of women and the like.6 A striking example of that policy as regards a village association was given by Prof. Issaieff, who also mentioned the severe measures taken by the wholesale buyers in the toy trade to prevent the workers from entering into direct intercourse with foreign buyers.
When one examines with more than a superficial attention the life of the small industries and their struggles for life, one sees that when they perish, they perish-not because "an economy can be realised by using a hundred horsepower motor, instead of a hundred small motors "-this inconveniency never fails to be mentioned, although it is easily obviated in Sheffield, in Paris, and many other places by hiring workshops with wheel-power, supplied by a central machine, and, still more, as was so truly observed by Prof. W. Unwin, by the electric transmission of power. They do not perish because a substantial economy can be realised in the factory production-in many more cases than is usually supposed, the fact is even the reverse-but because the capitalist who establishes a factory emancipates himself from the wholesale and retail dealers in raw materials; and especially, because he emancipates himself from the buyers of his produce and can deal directly with the wholesale buyer and exporter; or else he concentrates in one concern the different stages of fabrication of a given produce. The pages which Schulze-Gäwernitz gave to the organisation of the cotton industry in England, and to the difficulties which the German cotton-mill owners had to contend with, so long as they were dependent -upon Liverpool for raw cotton, are most instructive in this direction. And what characterises the cotton trade prevails in all other industries as well.
If the Sheffield cutlers who now work in their tiny workshops, in one of the above mentioned buildings supplied with wheel-power, were incorporated in one big factory, the chief advantage which would be realised in the factory would not be an economy in the costs of production, in comparison to the quality of the produce; with a shareholders' company the costs might even increase. And yet the profits (including wages) probably would be greater than the aggregate earnings of the workers, in consequence of the reduced costs of purchase of iron and coal, and the facilities for the sale of the produce. The great concern would thus find its advantages not in such factors as are imposed by the technical necessities of the trade at the time being, but in such factors as could be eliminated by cooperative organisation. All these are elementary notions among practical men.
It hardly need be added that a further advantage which the factory owner has is, that he can find a sale even for produce of the most inferior quality, provided there is a considerable quantity of it to be sold. All those who are acquainted with commerce know, indeed, what an immense bulk of the world's trade consists of "shoddy," patraque, "Red Indians' blankets," and the like, shipped to distant countries. Whole cities-we just saw-produce nothing but "shoddy."
Altogether, it may be taken as one of the fundamental facts of the economical life of Europe that the defeat of a number of small trades, artisan work and domestic industries, came through their being incapable of organising the sale of their produce--not from the production itself. The same thing recurs at every page of economical history. The incapacity of organising the sale, without being enslaved by the merchant, was the leading feature of the Mediaeval cities, which gradually fell under the economical and political yoke of the Guild-Merchant, simply because they were not able to maintain the sale of their manufactures by the community as a whole, or to organise the sale of a new produce in the interest of the community. When the markets for such commodities came to be Asia on the one side, and the New World on the other side, such was fatally the case; since commerce had ceased to be communal, and had become individual, the cities became a prey for the rivalries of the chief merchant families.
Even nowadays, when we see the co-operative societies beginning to succeed in their productive workshops, while fifty years ago they invariably failed in their capacity of producers, we may conclude that the cause of their previous failures was not in their incapacity of properly and economically organising production, but in their inability of acting as sellers and exporters of the produce they bad fabricated. Their present successes, on the contrary, are fully accounted for by the network of distributive societies which they have at their command. The sale has been simplified, and production has been rendered possible by first organising the market.
Such are a few conclusions which may be drawn from a study of the small industries in Germany and elsewhere. And it may be safely said, with regard to Germany, that if measures are not taken for driving the peasants from the land on the same scale as they have been taken in this country; if, on the contrary, the numbers of small landholders multiply, they necessarily will turn to various small trades, in addition to agriculture, as they have done, and are doing, in France. Every step that may be taken, either for awakening intellectual life in the villages, or for assuring the peasants' or the country's rights upon the land, will necessarily further the growth of industries in the villages.
In this light it is extremely interesting to see the figures as to the distribution of the German industries into a small, middle-sized, and great industry, which are given by three industrial censuses taken during the last thirty years. But for these figures I refer the reader to the Appendix. 7
Petty Trades in Other Countries
If it were worth extending our inquiry to other countries, we should find a vast field for most interesting observations in Switzerland. There we should see the same vitality in a variety of petty industries, and we could mention what has been done in the different cantons for maintaining the small trades by three different sets of measures : the extension of co-operation; a wide extension of technical education in the schools and the introduction of new branches of semi-artistic production in different parts of the country; and the supply of cheap motive power in the houses by means of a hydraulic or an electric transmission of power borrowed from the waterfalls. A separate book of the greatest interest and value could be written on this subject, especially on the impulse given to a number of petty trades, old and new, by means of a cheap supply of motive power. Such a book would also offer a great interest in that it would show to what an extent that mingling together of agriculture with industry, which I described in the first edition of this book as "the factory amidst the fields," has progressed of late in Switzerland. It strikes at the present time even the casual traveller. 8
Belgium would offer an equal interest. Belgium is certainly a country of centralised industry, and a country in which the productivity of the worker stands at a high level, the average annual productivity of each industrial workman--men, women, and children--attaining now the high figure of at least £250 per head. Coal mines in which more than a thousand workers are employed are numerous, and there is a fair number of textile factories in each of which from 300 to 700 workers are occupied. And yet, if we exclude from the industrial workers' population of Belgium, which numbered 823,920 persons in 1896 (1,102,240 with the clerks, travellers, supervisors and go on), the 116,300 workpeople who are employed in the coal mines, and nearly 165,000 artisans working single or with the aid of their families, we find that out of the remaining 565,200 workers very nearly one-half--that is, 270,200 persons-work in establishments in which less than fifty persons are employed, while 95,000 persons out of these last are employed in 54,500 workshops, which thus have an average of less than three workers per workshop. 9 We may thus say that--taking the mines out of account more than one-sixth part of the Belgian industrial workers are employed in small workshops which have, on the average, less than three workers each, besides the master, and that four-tenths of all the work-people are employed in factories and workshops having on the average less than thirteen work-people each. 10
What is still more remarkable is, that the number of small workshops, in which from one to four aids only are employed by the master, attains the considerable figure of 1,867 (2,293 in 1880) in the textile industries, notwithstanding the high concentration of a certain portion 11 of these industries. As to the machinery works and hardware trades, the small workshops in which the master works with from two to four assistants or journeymen are very numerous (more than 13,300), to say nothing of the gun trade which is a petty trade par excellence, and the furniture trade which has lately taken a great development. A highly concentrated industry, and a high productivity, as well as a considerable export trade, which all testify to a high industrial development of the country, thus go hand in hand with a high development of the domestic trades and small industries altogether.
It hardly need be said that in Austria, Hungary, Italy, and even the United States, the petty trades occupy a prominent position, and play in the sum total of industrial activity an even much greater part than in France, Belgium, or Germany. But it is especially in Russia that we can fully appreciate the importance of the rural industries and the terrible sufferings which will be quite uselessly inflicted on the population, if the policy of the State is going to be now the policy advocated by a number of landlords and factory-owners--namely, if the State throws its tremendous weight in favour of a pauperisation of the peasants and an artificial annihilation of the rural trades, in order to create a centralised great industry. 12
The most exhaustive inquiries into the present state, the growth, the technical development of the rural industries, and the difficulties they have to contend with, have been made in Russia. A house-to-house inquiry which embraces nearly 1,000,000 peasants' houses has been made in various provinces of Russia, and its results already represent 450 volumes, printed by different county councils (Zemstvos). Besides, in the fifteen volumes published by the Petty Trades Committee, and still more in the publications of the Moscow Statistical Committee, and of many provincial assemblies, we find exhaustive lists giving the name of each worker, the extent and the state of his fields, his live stock, the value of his agricultural and industrial production, his earnings from both sources, and his yearly budget; while hundreds of separate trades have been described in separate monographs from the technical, economical, and sanitary points of view.
The results obtained from these inquiries were really imposing, as it appeared that out of the 80 or 90 million population of European Russia proper, no less than 7,500,000 persons were engaged in the domestic trades, and that their production reached, at the lowest estimate, more than £150,000,000, and most probably £200,000,000 (2,000,000,000 roubles) every year. 13 It thus exceeded the total production of the great industry. As to the relative importance of the two for the working classes suffice it to say that even in the government of Moscow, which is the chief manufacturing region of Russia (its factories yield upwards of one-fifth in value of the aggregate industrial production of European Russia), the aggregate incomes derived by the population from the domestic industries are three times larger than the aggregate wages earned in the factories.
The most striking feature of the Russian domestic trades is that the sudden start which was made by the factories in Russia did not prejudice the domestic industries. On the contrary, it gave a new impulse to their extension; they grew and developed precisely in those regions where the factories were growing up fastest.
Another most suggestive feature is the following : although the unfertile provinces of Central Russia have been from time immemorial the seat of all kinds of petty trades, several domestic industries of modern origin are developing in those provinces which are best favoured by soil and climate. Thus, the Stavropol government of North Caucasus, where the peasantry have plenty of fertile soil, has suddenly become the seat of a widely developed silkweaving industry in the peasants' houses, and now it supplies Russia with cheap silks which have completely expelled from the market the plain silks formerly imported from France. In Orenburg and on the Black Sea, the petty trades' fabrication of agricultural machinery, which has grown up lately, is another instance in point.
The capacities of the Russian domestic industrial workers for co-operative organisation would be worthy of more than a passing mention. As to the cheapness of the produce manufactured in the villages, which is really astonishing, it cannot be explained in full by the exceedingly long hours of labour and the starvation earnings, because overwork and very low wages are characteristic of the Russian factories as well. It depends also upon the circumstance that the peasant who grows his own food, but suffers from a constant want of money, sells the produce of his industrial labour at any price. Therefore, all manufactured goods used by the Russian peasantry, save the printed cottons, are the production of the rural manufacturers. But many articles of luxury, too, are made in the villages, especially around Moscow, by peasants who continue to cultivate their allotments. The silk hats which are sold in the best Moscow shops, and bear the stamp of Nonveautés Parisiennes, are made by the Moscow peasants; so also the "Vienna" furniture of the best "Vienna" shops, even if it goes to supply the palaces. And what is most to be wondered at is not the skill of the peasants -agricultural work is no obstacle to acquiring industrial skill-but the rapidity with which the fabrication of fine goods has spread in such villages as formerly manufactured only goods of the roughest description. 14
Much more ought to be said with regard to the rural industries of Russia, especially to "how how easily the peasants associate for buying new machinery, or for avoiding the middle man in their purchases of raw produce-as soon as misery is no obstacle to the association. Belgium, and especially Switzerland, could also be quoted for similar illustrations, but the above will be enough to give a general idea of the importance, the vital powers, and the perfectibility of the rural industries.
The facts which we have briefly passed in review show, to some extent, the benefits which could be derived from a combination of agriculture with industry, if the latter could come to the village, not in its present shape of a capitalist factory, but in the shape of a socially organised industrial production, with the full aid of machinery and technical knowledge. In fact, the most prominent feature of the petty trades is that a relative well-being is found only where they are combined with agriculture : where the workers have remained in possession of the soil and continue to cultivate it. Even amidst the weavers of France or Moscow, who have to reckon with the coinpetition of the factory, relative well-being prevails so long as they are not compelled to part with the soil. On the contrary, as soon as high taxation or the impoverishment during a crisis has compelled the domestic worker to abandon his last plot of land to the usurer, misery creeps into his house. The sweater becomes all-powerful, frightful overwork is resorted to, and the whole trade often falls into decay.
Such facts, as well as the pronounced tendency of the factories towards migrating to the villages, which becomes more and more apparent nowadays, and found of late its expression in the 'Garden Cities' movement, are very suggestive. Of course, it would be a great mistake to imagine that industry ought to return to its hand-work stage in order to be combined with agriculture. Whenever a saving of human labour can be obtained by means of a machine, the machine is welcome and will be resorted to; and there is hardly one single branch of industry into which machinery work could not be introduced with great advantage, at least at some of the stages of the manufacture. In the present chaotic state of industry, nails and cheap pen-knives can be made by hand, and plain cottons be woven in the hand-loom; but such an anomaly will not last. The machine will supersede handwork in the manufacture of plain goods. But at the same time, handwork very probably will extend its domain in the artistic finishing of many things which are now made entirely in the factory; and it will always remain an important factor in the growth of thousands of young and new trades.
But the question arises, Why should not the cottons, the woollen cloth, and the silks, now woven by hand in the villages, be woven by machinery in the same villages, without ceasing to remain connected with work in the fields? Why should not hundreds of domestic industries, now carried on. entirely by hand, resort to labour-saving machines, as they already do in the knitting trade and many others? There is no reason why the small motor should not be of a much more general use than it is now, wherever there is no need to have a factory; and there is no reason why the village should not have its small factory, wherever factory work is preferable, as we already see it occasionally in certain villages in France.
More than that. There is no reason why the factory, with its motive force and machinery, should not belong to the community, as is already the case for motive power in the abovementioned workshops and small factories in the French portion of the Jura hills. It is evident that now, under the capitalist system, the factory is the curse of the village, as it comes to overwork children and to make paupers out of its male inhabitants; and it is quite natural that it should be opposed by all means by the workers, if they have succeeded in maintaining their olden trades' organisations (as at Sheffield, or Solingen), or if they have not yet been reduced to sheer misery (as in the Jura). But under a more rational social organisation the factory would find no such obstacles : it would be a boon to the village. And there is already unmistakable evidence to show that a move in this direction is being made in a few village communities.
The moral and physical advantages which man would derive from dividing his work between the field and the workshop are selfevident. But the difficulty is, we are told, in the necessary centralisation of the modern industries. In industry, as well as in politics, centralisation has so many admirers ! But in both spheres the ideal of the centralisers badly needs revision. In fact, if we analyse the modern industries, we soon discover that for some of them the co-operation of hundreds, or even thousands, of workers gathered at the same spot is really necessary. The great iron works and mining enterprises decidedly belong to that category; oceanic steamers cannot be built in village factories. But very many of our big factories are nothing else but agglomerations under a common management, of several distinct industries; while others are mere agglomerations of hundreds of copies of the very same machine; such are most of our gigantic spinning and weaving establishments.
The manufacture being a strictly private enterprise, its owners find it advantageous to have all the branches of a given industry under their own management; they thus cumulate the profits of the successive transformations of the raw material. And when several thousand power-looms are combined in one factory, the owner finds his advantage in being able to hold the command of the market. But from a technical point of view the advantages of such an accumulation are trifling and often doubtful. Even so centralised an industry as that of the cottons does not suffer at all from the division of production of one given sort of goods at its different stages between several separate factories : we see it at Manchester and its neighbouring towns. As to the petty trades, no inconvenience is experienced, from a still greater subdivision between the workshops in the watch trade and very many others.
We often hear that one horse-power costs so much in a small engine, and so much less in an engine ten times more powerful; that the pound of cotton yarn costs much less when the factory doubles the number of its spindles. But, in the opinion of the best engineering authorities, such as Prof. W. Unwin, the hydraulic, and especially the electric, distribution of power from a central station sets aside the first part of the argument. 16 As to its second part, calculations of this sort are only good for those industries which prepare the half-manufactured produce for further transformations. As to those countless descriptions of goods which derive their value chiefly from the intervention of skilled labour, they can be best fabricated in smaller factories which employ a few hundreds, or even a few scores of operatives. This is why the "concentration" so much spoken of is often nothing but an amalgamation of capitalists for the purpose of dominating the market, not for cheapening the technical process.
Even under the present conditions the leviathan factories offer great inconveniences, as they cannot rapidly reform their machinery according to the constantly varying demands of the consumers, How many failures of great concerns, too well known in this country to need to be named, were due to this cause during the crisis of 1886-1890. As for the new branches of industry which I have mentioned at the beginning of the previous chapter, they always must make a start on a small scale; and they can prosper in small towns as well as in big cities, if the smaller agglomerations are provided with institutions stimulating artistic taste and the genius of invention. The progress achieved of late in toy-making, as also the high perfection attained in the fabrication of mathematical and optical instruments, of furniture, of small luxury articles, of pottery and so on, are instances in point. Art and science are no longer the monopoly of the great cities, and further progress will be in scattering them over the country.
The geographical distribution of industries in a given country depends, of course, to a great extent upon a complexus of natural conditions; it is obvious that there are spots which are best suited for the development of certain industries. The banks of the Clyde and the Tyne are certainly most appropriate for ship-building yards, and shipbuilding yards must be surrounded by a variety of workshops and factories. The industries will always find some advantages in being grouped, to some extent, according to the natural features of separate regions. But we must recognise that now they are not at all grouped according to those features. Historical causeschiefly religious wars and national rivalries-have had a good deal to do with their growth and their present distribution; still more so the employers were guided by considerations as to the facilities for sale and export-that is, by considerations which are already losing their importance with the increased facilities for transport, and will lose it still more when the producers produce for themselves, and not for customers far away.
Why, in a rationally organised society, ought London to remain a great centre for the jam and preserving trade, and manufacture umbrellas for nearly the whole of the United Kingdom? Why should the countless Whitechapel petty trades remain where they are, instead of being spread all over the country? There is no reason whatever why the mantles which are worn by English ladies should be sewn at Berlin and in Whitechapel, instead of in Devonshire or Derbyshire. Why should Paris refine sugar for almost the whole of France? Why should one-half of the boots and shoes used in the United States be manufactured in the 1,500 workshops of Massachusetts? There is absolutely no reason why these and like anomalies should persist. The industries must be scattered all over the world; and the scattering of industries amidst all civilised nations will be necessarily followed by a further scattering of factories over the territories of each nation.
In the course of this evolution, the natural produce of each region and its geographical conditions certainly will be one of the factors which will determine the character of the industries going to develop in this region. But when we see that Switzerland has become a great exporter of steam-engines, railway engines, and steam-boats--although she has no iron ore and no coal for obtaining steel, and even has no seaport to import them; when we see that Belgium has succeeded in. being a great exporter of grapes, and that Manchester has managed to become a seaport--we understand that in the geographical distribution of industries, the two factors of local produces and of an advantageous position by the sea are not yet the dominant factors. We begin to understand that, all taken, it is the intellectual factor--the spirit of invention, the capacity of adaptation, political liberty, and so on-which counts for more than all others.
That all the industries find an advantage in being carried on in close contact with a great variety of other industries the reader has seen already from numerous examples. Every industry requires technical surroundings. But the same is also true of agriculture.
Agriculture cannot develop without the aid of machinery, and the use of a perfect machinery cannot be generalised without industrial surroundings : without mechanical workshops, easily accessible to the cultivator of the soil, the use of agricultural machinery is not possible. The village smith would not do. If the work of a thrashing-machine has to be stopped for a week or more, because one of the cogs in a wheel has been broken, and if to obtain a new wheel one must send a special messenger to the next province-then the use of a thrashingmachine is not possible. But this is precisely what I saw in my childhood in Central Russia; and quite lately I have found the very same fact mentioned in an English autobiography in the first half of the nineteenth century. Besides, in all the northern part of the temperate zone, the cultivators of the soil must have some sort of industrial employment during the long winter months. This is what has brought about the great development of rural industries, of which we have just seen such interesting examples. But this need is also felt in the soft climate of the Channel Islands, notwithstanding the extension taken by horticulture under glass. We need such industries. Could you suggest us any?" wrote to me one of my correspondents in Guernsey.
But this is not yet all. Agriculture is so much in need of aid from those who inhabit the cities, that every summer thousands of men leave their slums in the towns and go to the country for the season of crops. The London destitutes go in thousands to Kent and Sussex as bay-makers and hop-pickers, it being estimated that Kent alone requires 80,000 additional men and women for hop-picking; whole villages in France and their cottage industries are abandoned in the summer, and the peasants wander to the more fertile parts of the country; hundreds of thousands of human beings are transported every summer to the prairies of Manitoba and Dacota. Every summer many thousands of Poles spread at harvest time over the plains of Mecklenburg, Westphalia, and even France; and in Russia there is every year an exodus of several millions of men who journey from the north to the southern prairies for harvesting the crops; while many St. Petersburg manufacturers reduce their production in the summer, because the operatives return to their native villages for the culture of their allotments.
Agriculture cannot be carried on without additional hands in the summer; but it still more needs temporary aids for improving the soil, for tenfolding its productive powers. Steam-digging, drainage, and manuring would render the heavy clays in the north-west of London a much richer soil than that of the American prairies. To become fertile, those clays want only plain, unskilled human labour, such as is necessary for digging the soil, laying in drainage tubes, pulverising phosphorites, and the like; and that labour would be gladly done by-the factory workers if it were properly organised in a free community for the benefit of the whole society. The soil claims that sort of aid, and it would have it under a proper organisation, even if it were necessary to stop many mills in the summer for that purpose. No doubt the present factory owners would consider it ruinous if they had to stop their mills for several months every year, because the capital engaged in a factory is expected to pump money every day and every, hour, if possible. But that is the capitalist's view of the matter, not the community's view.
As to the workers, who ought to be the real. managers of industries, they will find it healthy not to perform the same monotonous work all the year round, and they will abandon it for the summer, if indeed they do not find the means of keeping the factory running by relieving each other in groups.
The scattering of industries over the country ----so as to bring the factory amidst the fields, to make agriculture derive all those profits which it always finds in being combined with industry (see the Eastern States of America) and to produce a combination of industrial with agricultural work--is surely the next step to be made, as soon as a reorganisation of our present conditions is possible. It is being made already, here and there, as we saw on the preceding pages. This, step is imposed by the very necessity of producing for the producers themselves'. it is imposed by the necessity for each healthy man and woman to spend a part of their lives in manual work in the free air; and it will be rendered the more necessary when the great social movements, which have now become unavoidable, come to disturb the present international trade, and compel each nation to revert to her own resources for her own main tenance. Humanity as a whole, as well as each separate individual, will be gainers by the change, and the change will take, place.
However, such a change also implies a thorough modification of our present system of education. It implies a society composed of men and women, each of whom is able to work with his or her hands, as well as with his or her brain, and to do so in more directions than one. This "integration of capacities" and "integral education" I am now going to analyse.
1 The remarks of Prof. Issaieff--a thorough investigator of petty trades in Russia, Germany and France--(see Works of the Commission for the Study of Petty Trades in Russia (Russian), St. Petersburg, 1879-1887 vol. i.) were for me a valuable guide when I prepared the first edition of this book. Since that time the two industrial censuses of 1895 and 1907 have yielded such a valuable material, that there are quite a number of German works which came to the same conclusions. I shall mention them further on.
2 See K. Buecher's Preface to the Untersuchungen über die Lage des Handwerks in Deutschland, vol. iv.
3 The foundation for this creed is contained in one of the concluding chapters of Marx's Kapitall (the last but one), in which the author spoke of the concentration of capital and saw in it the "fatality of a natural law." In the "forties," this idea of "concentration of capital," originated from what was going on in the textile industries, was continually recurring in the writings of all the French socialists, especially Considérant, and their German followers, and it was used by them as an argument in favour of the necessity of a social revolution. But Marx was too much of a thinker that he should not have taken notice of the subsequent developments of industrial life, which were not foreseen in 1848; if he had lived now, he surely would not have shut his eyes to the formidable growth of the numbers of small capitalists and to the middle-class fortunes which are made in a thousand ways under the shadow of the modern "millionaires." Very likely he would have noticed also the extreme slowness with which the wrecking of small industries goes on--a slowness which could not be predicted fifty or forty years ago, because no one could foresee at that time the facilities which have been offered since for transport, the growing variety of demand, nor the cheap means which are now in use for the supply of motive power in small quantities. Being a thinker, lie would have studied these facts, and very probably he would have mitigated the absoluteness of his earlier formulae, as in fact he did once with regard to the village community in Russia. It would be most desirable that his followers should rely less upon abstract forinulae--easy as they may be as watchwords in political struggles--and try to imitate their teacher in his analysis of concrete economical phenomena.
4 The Economic Interpretation of History.
5 Les Progrès de la Science économique depuis Adam Smith, Paris, 1890, t. i., pp. 460,461.
6 See the discussions in the Reichstag in January, 1909, on the Polish Syndicates, and the application that is made to them of the paragraph of the law of the associations relative to language (Spraakenzaragraph).
7 See Appendix X.
8 See Appendix V.
9 Here is the distribution of workpeople in all the industries, according to the Annuaire, Statistique for the year 1909 : Artisans working single-handed or with the aid of their families, 165,000 establishments; very small industry, from one to four workpeople, 54,000 establishments, 95,000 workpeople; small industry, from five to forty-nine workpeople per factory, 14,800 establishments, 177,000 employees; middle-sized and great industry, from 50 to 499 workpeople per factory, 1,500 establishments, 250,000 employees; very great industry, above 500 workpeople per factory, 200 establishments, 160,000 employees. Total, 230,000 employers great and small; or 7 1,000 employers out of 7,000,000 inhabitants if we do not count the independent artisans.
10 When shall -we have for the United Kingdom a census as complete as we have it for France, Germany, and Belgium? that is, a census in which the employed and the employers will be counted separately --instead of throwing into one heap the owner of the factory, the managers, the engineers, and the workers-and their distribution in factories of different sizes will be given.
11 Pewile Industries : Artisans working single or with the aid of their families, 1,437; from one to four workmen, 430 establishments, 949 work-people; from five to forty-nine workpeople, 774 establishments, 14,051 workers; above fifty, 379 establishments, 66,103 workers.
12 Since 1907 the Russian Government has inaugurated this policy, and has begun to destroy by violence the village community in the interest of the landlord and the protected industries.
13 It appears from the house-to-house inquiry, which embodies 855,000 workers, that the yearly value of the produce which they use to manufacture reaches £21,087,000 (the rouble at 24d.), that is, an average of £25 per worker. An average of E20 for the 7,500,000 persons engaged in domestic industries would already give £150,000,000 for their aggregate production; but the most authoritative investigators consider that figure as below the reality.
14 Some of the produces of the Russian rural industries have lately been introduced in this country, and find a good sale.
15 Prugavin, in the Vyestnik Promyshlenvosti, June, 1884. S. also the excellent work of V. V. (Vorontsoff) Destinies ol Capitalism in Russia, 1882 (Russia).
16 I may add from my own experience that such is also the opinion of several Manchester employers: "I am saving a great deal by using municipal electric power in my factory, instead of the steam-engine." I was told by one of the most respected members of the Manchester community: "I pay for motive power according to the number of persons I employ -two hundred at certain times, and fifty in other parts of the year. I need not buy coal and stock it in advance for all the year; I have saved the room that was occupied by the steam. engine; and the room above it is not heated and shaken by the engine as it used to be."
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