« AnteriorContinuar »
Q. Does that report give the percentage of the Chinese in poor-houses and prisons as compared with other races ?-A. Yes.
Q. What is the percentage ?-A. I think it is a very large percentage, but I cannot give you the figures.
Q. By a large percentage I suppose you mean more than one-half. Now, there are only about 200,000 Chinese in the country altogether, and if half of them are in prisons and poor-houses, and not competing, there are only a hundred thousand left outside to compete with other workingmen!-A. I did not say that half of them were in prison; I am speaking of the percentage, compared with other prisoners, whatever it may be.
Q. What is the percentage, compared with others ?-A. I say it is a large percent. age, but I cannot give the exact figures. But I say that the percentage of Chinese in prisons is larger than that of any other class, foreign or native.
Q. You think the percentage of Chinese in the prisons of California is larger than the percentage of any other class I-A. Yes, that is what I say; I do not state that there are 100,000 of them, or any other particular number.
By Mr. THOMPSON: Q. But you do say that the proportion of Chinese in the prisons of California is larger in proportion to the whole number of the people of their race in that State than the proportion of any other nationality 1-A. Yes, sir.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. Do you include paupers, also ?-A. No, sir; I leave out paupers, because I don't think the Chinese ever become paupers; they can live on rats and mice.
Q. Then you object to having a race here that can live on a little -A. Yes; a race who can work a great deal and live on a little. I say that their presence is detrimental to the country.
Q. Then if we could find a race that required a very large amount to keep them in good working order, it would be a good thing to introduce them here, you think!-A It would, indeed.
By Mr. THOMPSON : Q. Then why do you object to capitalists, who don't labor at all, according to your view of labor, but do consume a great deal, for they are said to be extravagant -4 I don't object to a capitalist being extravagant.
Q. But capital lives on labor, as you put it. Now the less labor the capitalist does, and the more he consumes, the worse it is for the country, as you put it, is it not 1-A. No, sir; I didn't put it in that way. I say that capital is aggressive npon labor because it takes seven-eighths of the profits accruing from labor,
Q. In other words, capital requires so much to live on ?-A. I don't say whether it requires it or not; I say it takes it.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. I understand your view to be that in proportion as a man consumes much and does little, he is a benefactor to the community. The less a man produces and the more he eats and drinks the better the condition of society, according to yourview!A. No, sir; I didn't say anything of the kind.
Q. You said you objected to the Chinese as a race that eat little and produce much, and that it wonld be a great advantage if we could find a race that would eat a great deal and produce little in proportion to what they consumed.-A. Well, I will state it in my own way and leave you to draw the inference. I say that any race that comes here and performs hard labor, works a great deal and does not consume in preportion, is detrimental to the welfare of the community.
By Mr. THOMPSON: Q. What would you say about a race that consumed a great deal and produced nothing 1-A. That is another question altogether.
Q. But would such a race suit you I-A. That may be a deduction drawn by you. but I am making a proposition of my own. I hold that the Chinese come here and work for little or nothing. They work like prisoners under the control of over en who make them work from morning until night, and hence, of course, they produce a great deal. If we have any over-production, as claimed, I hold that the Chinese are a part of the cause, because they work a great deal and do not consume.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. Is it good or bad for the community to have a surplusA. I must answer that in my own way. It is good if the community can use it first for themselves and then dispose of the surplus; but in my judgment it is no benefit to any community to hair a great deal, or to have a surplus if they cannot use it. If we hare over-prudarfs*** now I ask why are we hungry and naked?
Q. But my question is this: Is it, in your judgment, a good thing for the community to consume as fast as it produces and so to have no surplus, or is it a good thing for the community to accumulate a surplus which will enable it to go on with great works of improvement, and which can be transferred into the form of fixed capitall-A. I am perfectly willing to have a surplus. In fact, I think the surplus would enrich the community if it were sold in foreign markets; but to have a surplus, and at the same time to be suffering, I think is the height of folly.
Q. It certainly is unfortunate, but I am asking now about the broad principle, whether it is an advantage to a community to purchase more than it consumes and so to have a surplus ?-A. It should produce more than it consumes.
Q. Then how do you make out that a race which produces a great deal and consumes very little is an injury to the community 1-A. Simply because what they produce goes into the hands of a few.
Q. But what can the few do with it; they cannot consume it 1-A. They can invest it in bonds and draw their interest from the government.
Q. But when the capitalist buys bonds, the money which he pays is disbursed for something else ?-A. Not necessarily. It sometimes goes into Wall street and into the vaults of the banks; it is not necessarily used in the employment of labor.
Q. If you sell me a bond of $1,000 and I pay you for it, then you have got my $1,000. Now, what good is that $1,000 to you unless you make use of it 1-A. But I might turn around and buy another bond.
Q. Then the man who sold you that bond would have the $1,000, and it would be no benefit to him unless he made use of it 1-A. He might buy another bond, and so it would be a bond speculation all the time, and the laboring man would be kept out of employment.
Q. Then you think there would be a perpetual investment in bonds ?-A. Yes, sir ; bonds and stocks.
Q. Well, are not even bonds and stocks the representatives of property which is or has been productive for the benefit of the community 1-A. Sometimes the property is imaginary.
Q. Then the man who pays the money for a bond based on an imaginary basis has lost his money; he gains nothing 1--A. No, sir; he is played out.
Q. But the money, the $1,000, still circulates in the community, doesn't it?-A. Yes, but it may circulate in speculation.
Q. But after all the bonds are owned by somebody ?-A. No doubt about that; they are owned by somebody.
Q. What other points have you to presenti-A. I have a point in regard to machinery. I am not in favor of the destruction of machinery, because it is a factor of civilization, but I hold that the hours of labor shonld be decreased in accordance with the increase of machinery. Inventions should be for the benefit of mankind, and not for the benefit of inventors or owners.
Q. Suppose Mr. Edison by his invention reduces the price of light one-half, will you confiscate that invention for the benefit of the community, or would you allow him some reward for it!--A. I would discriminate according to what the inventions are. There are some inventions which in my judgment do not take away labor from the workingman; they are not labor-saving inventions.
Q. But at present the gas companies employ large numbers of laborers in handling the coal, filling the retorts, &e., and Mr. Edison proposes to displace many of those laborers, probably more than half, the result being that light will be reduced in cost onehalf; now is that a benefaction to the coinmunity or an injury ?-A. I hold that all inventions that bring with them simplicity and advancement in civilization are properto be encouraged, but I am very positive that as machinery increases the hours of labor must be reduced to correspond.
Q. Ah, your proposition now is different from what it was before I–A. No; I made that proposition at first.
Q. But you said that inventions should be for the benefit of the community and not for the benefit of the inventor?-A. Yes.
Q. Now you say that as machinery is introduced the hours of labor should be reduced 1-A. Yes. I put the two propositions together, you understand.
Q. You say there is no over-production at present l-A. No; I think there is underconsumption.
Q. Then if you reduce the hours of labor and consequently the time that machinery shall be run you reduce production still further, do you not l-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Then, of course, there will be less production than there is now ?-A. Yes.
Q. Then if there is no over-production and if we produce still less, as you propose, won't the suffering of which you complain be increased ?-A. There is no over-production now, simply because the people have nothing to buy our products with,
Q. Then if the people have nothing to buy with there must be more produced than the people can buy at present ?-A. That is a fact, but it is not because the people do not want the goods. If everybody was at work and earning we would still produce more than the United States could consume, and need not suffer.
Q. But you said at the outset that there were people enough to require and consume everything that had been produced heretofore, that there was no over-production. If that is so, and you still further reduce the hours of labor and the time during which machinery runs, you, of course, reduce the production still more. Now, will not that give us under-production and so increase the distress ?-A. I said that we have no over-production according to the present consumption.
The CHAIRMAN. Then I don't know what you mean by over-production.
The Witness. I mean by that, that we produce more than the nation does consume at this time for reasons I have given.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean that there has been more produced than the nation ought to consume?
The WITNESS. No; not more than it ought to consume.
The CHAIRMAN. But if you reduced the hours of labor, as you propose, and the hours during which machinery should run, wouldn't you necessarily reduce the production 1
The Witness. My proposition is that the hours of labor ought to be reduced if we have got too much labor-saving machinery.
The CHAIRMAN. Have we got too much?
The WITNESS. No; because we have under-consumption, owing to the fact that the people are idle, earning nothing, therefore cannot consume.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, can you give us a remedy to enable the people to consume more? Your idea just now was that a race that consumed little was a nuisance, and one remedy, I suppose, for the present evils is to find a race that can consume more.
The Witxess. I will give you my views of how that can be changed. I have given my views upon the Chinese and we will let that pass. I say now, that if our people were all employed (and I can point out how they inight be employed), and were eant. ing, then there would be no under-consumption.
The CHAIRMAN. But how could the people be more employed than now if you reduced the hours of labor, and ran the machinery a less time Machinery now runs ten hours a day, and half of it in the country is running at the present time, and yet you say the people are not half employed, but you propose to run the machinery a less number of hours a day; how is that to add to the employment of the people!
The WITNESS. I will illustrate. Suppose I can make by hand ten coats a day and I can make the same ten coats by machinery in three hours, then by working only threr hours a day I can produce the same number of coats that I can produce by hand in ten hours a day's labor. That is my principle.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you stop the use of machinery and go back to hand labor! The WITNESS. I would not, because, as I said a while ago, machinery is a factor of civilization.
The CHAIRMAX. Then what would you do?
The Witness. I would reduce the hours of labor in proportion to the increase of machinery.
The CHAIRMAN. That is, you would restrict the hours during which machinery Bhould be run!
The WITNESS. Yes; so as to bring about the same amount of production that hand labor would give, working the ordinary number of honrs per day.
The CHAIRMAN. Wouldn't that make goods of every kind dearer?
The CHAIRMAN. Then you think that people can buy a dear article as easily as cheap one?
The Witness. Yes, sir; if they earn accordingly. I have always found the best times in the country where things are high. For the same reason I am in favor of a protective tariff.
The CHAIRMAN. Then if we were to reduce the hours of labor to three hours a day all would be prosperous and be able to buy goods at higher prices; is that your idea
The WITNESS. The immediate result would be that you would be able to employ sa many more men.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, you would employ more men, but would yon have more gools! The WITNESS. We would have the same amount of goods that we have now
The CHAIRMAX. Then you think that if all the laboring men were working three hours a day, and you distributed among them what is now paid for ten hours a das labor (for of course you cannot distribuite more than there is), then there being in,
goods produced, everybody would be able to buy them. In other words, a man now works ten hours a day and gets so much money, which at current prices will purchase so much goods. Upon your plan there will not be any more goods produced, and therefore there cannot be any more distributed; but you would distribute them differently, that is, those who are getting $1.50 a day would get a dollar a day, and those who now earn nothing would get half a dollar a day. How then could any body buy more goods than he can now?
The WITNESS. I am not speaking now about buying goods; I am speaking about employing labor.
The CHAIRMAN. I can understand how you could get along on your plan if you had a race that did not consume so much, but what you want is a race that consumes a great deal and produces little.
The Witness. I hold that your deduction does not necessarily follow from the proposition I laid down.
The CHAIRMAN. You propose to have people consume more than at present, and at the same time to produce less, because you propose to restrict the hours during which machinery is run. Now, I do not see how the community can acquire a surplus on that theory, although you admit that a surplus is a good thing.
The Witness. It will acquire a surplus when all the people are employed, whether they work ten hours a day or only one hour a day.
Mr. THOMPSON. The result that you desire from machinery is not to increase production, but to reduce the hours of labor?
The WITNESS. Yes, sir. Mr. THOMPSON. Then why not do away with the machinery and work all the hours that we work now on the theory that it is better to work than to be idle, even if it does not pay any money?
The WITNESS. Because, as I have said, machinery is a factor of civilization, and I would not go backward.
Mr. THOMPSON. But how is it a factor of civilization if you do not make use of it?
The WITNESS. I would make use of it. If I use the same amount of machinery and employ a greater number of men and work them fewer hours a day I do make use of machinery. Mr. Thompson. But you do not get the benefit of the use of machinery.
The Witness. If I employ ten men one hour a day, instead of one man ten hours a day, does it not amount to the same thing?
Mr. THOMPSON. Why not get rid of machinery altogether and go back to hand labor?
The WITNESS. Because machinery is easier to work. Why should a man work hard ten hours a day when he can do the same work more easily in one hour!
Mr. THOMPSOx. Then you think that idleness for three-fourths of the time is a factor of civilization ?
The WITNESS. I did not say that, and I do not mean that.
The WITNESS. No, because a man can employ in a very good way the hours that he is not working. It gives him an opportunity to improve intellectually.
Mr. THOMPSON. And the more leisure a man has the more effective is he as a factor of civilization ?
The WITNESS. Exactly. And another thing. If you employ ten or twelve men instead one, they consume as well as produce; while your machinery does not consime; it neither eats, drinks, nor wears clothes.
The CHAIRMAN. You say you have been a machinist ?
The CHAIRMAN. From your experience do you think it would pay to light up a steam-engine and set it going to run only one hour a day?
The WITNESS. No, it would not; but I do not insist upon one hour a day. My proposition is only that the hours of labor ought to be reduced in proportion to the increase of machinery.
The CHAIRMAN. But you want to limit the hours of machinery to such a number of hours as will give employment to every idle man.
The WITNESS. That ought to be done.
The WITNESS. That is a different question. Each individual for himself would investigate that.
Mr. RICE. I suppose you would have one set work five hours a day and another set work five hours a day, and run the machinery ten hours a day.
The WITNESS. Yes; that could be done.
The WITNESS. I think that the government ought to assume control over all railroads, telegraph lines, and canals, just as it does over the post-offices.
Mr. THOMPSON. The telephone lines too?
The Witness. Telephones are a different thing; but the government ought to assume control over railroads and telegraph lines for the benefit of the people.
The CHAIRMAN. Why not take possession of the iron-works also which supply the telegraphs and railroads with iron?
The WITNESS. I would have the government assume control over the railroads and canals because they are great thoroughfares pertaining to the interests of the people all over the country, while I have no interest in the iron-works or founderies. They are sectional, and established in the interest of individuals ; but every citizen of the United States is interested in railroads, canals, and telegraphs.
The CHAIRMAX. Having got possession of them, how would you regulate the hours of labor on them!
The WITNESS. That should be according to the principle I have laid down.
The CHAIRMAN. Take, for instance, a train running from here to New York. It is now a day's work, I believe, to run an engine about two hundred miles. You, I suppose, think that is too much and that the hours of labor should be reduced !
The Witness. Well, working on railroads might be exceptional.
The WITNESS. As a matter of course I always make exceptions where they are necessary. The question of production and consumption is a different thing from the question of running a railroad. Production and consumption do not apply to running railroads or telegraphs.
The CHAIRMAN. How would you pay the men working on the railroads-according to the time they ran!
The WITNESS. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Then one class of workingmen in the community would be permitted to earn more than another class of workmen of the same kind.
The WITNESS. Not necessarily.
The CHAIRMAN. The machinist running on a railroad would be permitted to earn the wages of ten hours a day while one working in an iron foundery would be permitted to work only five hours a day, and to earn only the wages of five hours a day.
The WITNESS. If he produces the same amount he is entitled to the same wages that would be paid for ten hours' labor.
The CHAIRMAN. But don't you think it would be a hardship to compel one man to work ten hours a day in order to earn the same amount that another man gets for five hours a day's work i
The WITNESS. That is just the case now, and that is what I intend to abolish.
The WITNESS. Men are working now, without labor-saving machinery, ten hours a day and getting a certain wages; working with labor-saving machinery they should get the same wages for five hours' work.
The CHAIRMAN. What would you do with farm laborers; would you work them only five hours a day!
The WITNESS. No, sir; I am speaking of cases where labor-saving machinery is nsed.
The CHAIRMAN. But is there no labor-saving machinery used on farms !
The CHAIRMAN. Then when a man working on a farm was running a reaper or a mower, you would let him work five hours a day, but when he was working in the old-fashioned way without labor-saving machinery, should he work ten hours a day!
The WITNESS. Yes; I lay down the principle; it will apply itself.
The CHAIRMAX. But is there anything interfering with its applying itself now! Is there any law which compels a man to work on a farm or in a machine-shop so many hours a day?
The WITNESS. I do not speak of making laws on the subject; I am giving this as one of the causes of the depression of labor and not for the purpose of having legislation in regard to it; that is not the idea. I have mentioned this as one of the causes of depression, and I suggest the remedy.
The CHAIRMAX. But who is to apply the remedy !
The CHAIRMAN. By what means do the people in organized communities express their views 1
The WITNESS. By meeting together.
The CHAIRMAN. But what is the object of the meeting? Is it not to secure legislation which will carry out their ideas ?
The WITNESS. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAX. Then if they had arrived at the conclusion that a man onght not to work more than five hours a day, wouldn't you have that provision put in the form of a law ?
The WITNESS. I do not know now whether I would.