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The Regulation Of Wages

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rt again beeomes necessary for us to insist that Hie governor shall reviso and prun e froau his stock of tconoruic wisdom certain fall'acies wliii-U are ealeultóed to breed more trouible 'than profit. Not long sinee the governor announced that he would be píeased to sign a bilí fixing ;i minimum wage scale in tliis statte. At the Alfrer club banquet last weet he leclared in favor of a comptilsory eightbour l'avv. IL Mr. I'ingree does nö( know (Mat both oí fliese propositioiis -are cliimerical and outside the provlace of legislatiou, then lie can witüi pToflt to himself and his eansttfltuents acquire -a knowle'dge of the fundflmenfal principies which always h'ave and al'ways will gwy-ern ihe vate of wa ges. The goveruor's pToposKion to regúlate the hours and the wüges of labor y statute is jiot a new one. Our PJnglisli .'inc.'stors wresfüed xv;tii K very early iu the liistory of parl'lamentary government. And often since have superficial otossrvers attempted similar regiila-bioaa At oi;e time, shortly after 't'he first great Tide, af immigration Wad seit in for ica, and an Ímpetus was glvea to English trade iwhTefc incrensed (he flenrand for l'aibor, while inimigTjvtnon decreasèd the supply, wages rose to soeh 'an ex'tent tha't Parliament considered 'it neeessary to pass an act fixing a maximum Sealo of wages above ■which. it should lie unlawfuí for employés to pay or lab-orers to receive. It is hardly neteessíaTy to sítate tbta.1 all atteinpits to fix either a maximum ot u mimimum scale oí wages 'y ötatute h'ave 'been ïmsueeessful. And the reason is no1! to sewk. rI" : . wagea oí labor will ever be reguteted by the rofation of supply to deniand and can never in any inetianee exceeü the pfice of tlie produots ot' labe;1. The ques'tio-n of the supply and der.and fov is a basie one and cannat be rejrulat'ïd by superíU-kil statuics. The measure wïüch would iucrease tlie demand or decrease the supixly af labor íuust do moTé than eu!act th.'iit the price for a certa in -i,i ss of laibor shall be so miR-h per day or no man símil work more tlvan so mauy hours per week. tt must beg+n tut the o'ther end and increase tlie opportnnítíeas iX labor by destroying those monopolios oí natural opportunities vfhieh are the real catise of low wages. If the governor will stu-k (o kis text -and eo-mpel those corpoia'tions -svho are wexlng fat trom the prwilts of franrhis vs wliich resit as a tax upon the people lie vi!l nave dor.e more to advan;e the canse of labor thaii it is posslble for him to do in any ■ather way. The value of ;i public fmachise depends apon its power in secure for its possessors sonu'ihin.u1 for notlninar. Xo sDOeial orivileee. whic'h by vh'tue of this power is vahlable, can le granited 'without phieing :i iburden wpon the oomnrunjty. All 'taxes must be dPawn f rom the weaïth of the community; that wealih is the product of labor and the burilen pi taxation uïtinrately falls upon iiiin, who by his la'bor ereates the weaïth "wïöi w-hicih they are paid. It wooJkl lie ioteresting could we aseertain witli certainty wtiïit the exact pxiten't of the. builden which the special privileges whieh liave been glven afway in the state of Michigan places opon the toilers. It is safe to say tnait it would Tbe a most munificent sum, the unearaed increimeitt which makea millionaires oí t'lie few at the expenee of th niany. Nor is the piHpoaitioii to Irwrease the wages by decreasslng the liours of labor in the line of sound eeononiics. We earmot inerease the srapply otf wealth by decréaálng its prodiuctSon, nor can we hope to inerefise tLc share which göes l" labor by döcrcasing tlie sum tolal whk-li is to be d5vided. 'Wh'at would we think of the orty of a farmer who should refuse to cu'tirate mere than eigïit om of every ten of lus' acres? Wïia'i would wo tliink of any man wlio having the necessity tor a cértain arricie ii ml tlio capadty to produce it s!n;ii!il short oí satisfying liis waurtsï A cömipuïsory ei.ulit-hour Ea'w can be defended only apon the assumption .i! we lïave a surplus of natiou.ü wealih. Kut we have nof. Neither bittVe we too ïiiany workers. In a land capaWe of suöttuirang 500,000,000 in comfort and plenty it is folly to contend tliat 70.000,000 ure cnywdlug eaeh otlicr. .We 'have none too ïoamy vorkers and wc vill roí aave too mucli wealfh anti] the wants of every one sh'all havo been witislil. Whai is ■w'anted is not a stoortening of th produetion of weadth but a reoi-ganization of society wülcSi shali guarantee to eadh nis just and proper share in taal whicli i.s the product of bis toil. These öbservations are conamended to the tíaréful comsidei'aifioo of thi "friend of Bhe poople."


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Ann Arbor Democrat