Press enter after choosing selection

Farm Wages

Farm Wages image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

Farmers are planning the campaign for the coming season, and the questions are, what crops shall be raised and what help will be required to raise them ? In order to answer these questions satisfactorily, it is necessary to - -j ■■ i k ■ . ■ ■■■ of cultivation. In the calculation of tliis cost wages are an important factor, and it is, doubtless, trae in many parts of the country that the price of labor has not fallen equally fast witli the price of farm products and other things which the laboi'er requires for consumption in his family. The purchasing power of a dollar is about twice as great now as when the currency was at its highest degree of inflation, but it is difflcult to adjust capital and labor to this altered condition of the medium of exchange. The farmer grumbles because his products sell so low, and the laborer because his wages are reduced ; each very naturally jealous for his own rights and inclined to tlirow the blame of a diminished income upon the other. Both will be wiser if they will candidly consider that, while products and labor have depreciated, currency has also depreciated, and as currency is the standard by which commercial values are estimated, labor and products, both being in the same scale of the beam, must fall together as currency rises. Labor falls more slowly than produce, but finally gets down to the same level just as surely as water in the two partitions of a wateringtrough. This is inevitable, and is all right ; but when the flow into one side of the trough diminishes we are alarmed, not thinking that the outgo on the other side has also decreased, and that the trough, though carrying less water than before, still remains full. In flush tunes much more money passes through the hands of farmers and laborers, but it goes as easily as it comes. We are by no means certain that farmers and farm-hands are not saving as much in these days of contraction as they did when the currency and prices were inflated. If they are not, they certainly can if they will accommodate their expenses to their comes ; do as (lancera do, change their step when the tune changes. While f ully believing that the wages of farm laborers should be reduced about in the same ratio wlth the decrease of the volume of currency and the price of products, we desire to say to farmers that it is impossible to desígnate a flxed price that will compénsate all kinds of farm laborers for a day's work. There is as much difference in the men we hire as in the horses we purchase, but we are inclined to discrimínate much more closely between the horses than between the men. There should be no uniform price for farm labor. In a manufacturing establishment, where men work more like machines, performing the same work day after day, something like a uniform rate ot wages may be al!owed ; but on a farm there is suoh a variety of work, and so much that calis for the exercise of good judgment, that one man may be cheap at $2 per day, and another dear at half that price. To do the general work of a farm, unless the master or some competent overseer is constantly with the workmen, requires more brain power than to tend a carding-machine or spinning-jeniy, and a man who is competent for all kinds of farm work, and is faithful in inaking the most of his time and team, is cheap even at high wages. The impression has been quite common that farm work is muscle work, and henee the custom of a pretty uniform rate of farm wages. If we hire one man at $1 per day or $30 per month, the next one demands the same ; or, if a neighbor hires at one price, we are asked to pay as much. This is all wrong. Farm work is not simply muscle work. If skilled labor is demanded anywhere, it is on the farm. Ditching is conaidered one of the lowest kinds of farm work. "He is only fit for ditch1 ing" is a proverbial expression ; but a


Old News
Michigan Argus