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The CHAIRMAX. It is of considerable consequence to the producer of pig-iron whether he is to get his money back or not.
Mr. Moody. That thing has been tested by experience.
Mr. Moody. You cannot sell when it is cheap, but you never fail to sell when it is dear. There is a point for consideration. It is within your distinct recollection (your books will show it at any rate) that when your product was selling at the very highest figure there was the greatest demand for it. The CHAIRMAN. Certainly; and because the demand was great the price went up.
Mr. Moody. That is exactly it, and now, when the prices are the lowest, the sales are the least.
The CHAIRMAN. The price is down because there is no demand for pig-iron. That is the fact.
Mr. Moody. At the very time that you sold your product at the highest figure, and when there was the greatest demand for it, all the people were employed.
The CHAIRMAX. Certainly; because there was a demand for pig-iron, which put up the price. It was because it was being used in the public and private enterprises that were going on and that were absorbing labor; but when those enterprises collapsed, then the demand for pig-iron ceased, and therefore there is a low price for it, and there is no employment for labor. Now tell us how we are to get employment for labor so as to get a higher price for our pig-iron.
Mr. Moody. Pig-iron, perhaps, does not apply so universally as some other products. The CHAIRMAN. I use it merely as an illustration of demand and supply.
Mr. Moody. Let us take an article which will illustrate the subject a great deal better or fully as well, and which enters into general consumption as pig-iron does not.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any raw material that enters into more general consumption than pig-iron ?
Mr. MOODY. Yes; take grain for example—wheat and food products.
Mr. Moody. Now, in food products there is precisely the same difficulty that there is in regard to pig-iron-low prices and no sales. When food was at the very highest prices, then, there were the largest sales.
Mr. Rice. The committee has heard you and our chairman get two or three times to a point on some particular question, and then you have escaped from it and have not given us a practical answer. Mr. Hewitt took the article of pig-iron as an illustration. You may take the article of food. I do not care whether it is pig-iron, or food, or what not. I want you to tell us how these people that are unemployed can be put to work—some way by which those who employ them can afford to pay them without exhausting their own capital. You have escaped from that proposition three or four times. I understood you to say that that is to be done by setting everybody at work, and that when everybody is at work they will have the means to buy, so that there will be a greater demand for products than there is now.
Mr. Moody. Exactly so.
Mr. Rice. That is your solution of the problem. And you expect that Mr. Hewitt, instead of having three thousand men at work, shall set six thousand men at work?
Mr. Moody. I do not expect Mr. Hewitt to do that.
Mr. Moody. I do not expect any manufacturer to do it until there is a demand for his products.
Mr. Rice. How is that demand to be made ?
Mr. Moody. That demand can be made and would be made by giving work to the unemployed.
Mr. Rice. It will not be made until these men get to work, will it; and until they get some money to spend in purchasing products ?
Mr. Moody. Whenever there is a law, or an agreement which amounts to a law, by which people shall be employed but one-half the time that men are now employed, there will be a demand for products, because there will be only half the amounts produced that there is at present.
Mr. Rice. You mean that men are only to work half the number of hours that they work at present ?
Mr. Moody. I mean that they shall only work whatever length of time is necessary, whether it be one hour, two hours, ten hours, or twenty hours.
Mr. Rice. Would you have that accomplished by legislation ? Would you have a law passed by which the hours of labor shall be limited to four or six or eight?
Mr. Moody. I know no other way of doing it.
Mr. Rice. What authority would you have make such a law--the State or the nation!
Mr. MOODY. It must be made by the nation.
Mr. Rice. Is there any constitutional authority in Congress to make a law limiting the hours of all labor? for you must make it apply to all.
Mr. Moody. To all without exception.
Mr. Moody. I have not examined it as a constitutional or legal proposition, but I bave examined it merely in this way.
Mr. Rice. You very properly decline to answer my question. I would not answer it myself.
Mr. MOODY. I want to go a little farther
Mr. RICE. Allow me, if you please. You wrote a book, a copy of which you have handed to the chairman. How many hours a day did you work in writing that book ?
Mr. Moody. I should have to ask my wife.
Mr. RICE. Did you work sometimes more than six hours a day?
Mr. MOODY. I rather think that some days (in working, in thinking over the inatter, and in examining) I have worked twenty-four hours good.
Mr. Rice. Is that thinking any less laborious and exhausting a work than working with one's hands!
Mr. Moody. I would rather go into the field and take a scythe and mow, than sit down and study and write as I did in preparing that book.
Mr. RICE. Should you be limited by law to six or eight hours' work with your brain?
Mr. Moody. In my mind the proposition that I make does not run to that.
Mr. RICE. That is you would have a law which would practically apply to those who work at manual labor, and would not apply to those who work at mental labor ? Professor Sumner may work 12 or 14 hours a day in his laboratory or study, but the man who digs ditches or works in the field must not work more than six or eight hours a day. Is that the way you would have it?
Mr. Moony. I would have it in this way: that all employed labor, all persons working for wage, if you please, or for salaries, in any productive occupation-anything that enters into the physical consumption of man-should be limited to a certain number of hours, whatever the circumstances may show to be necessary.
Mr. RICE. A farmer has certain seasons during which great activity on his part is requisite to harvest his crops. At other seasons he can lie off and rest. He hires men in the hay season or in the harvesting season. Would you have him confined to the same number of hours employment during those active seasons as during the seasons of the year when work is light and there is little to be done?
Mr. MOODY. I do not see how the farmer in his employed labor can escape the general rule.
Mr. Rice. Then you would require him to work his men in the hay time or harvest time only a certain number of hours?
Mr. MOODY. I do not see how he can escape the rule. But he may adopt the method suggested in another matter by the chairman; that is, he may make shifts--working the same machinery during the working or full hours of the day, but employing different gangs of men.
Mr. RICE. That is, he may work one set for six hours, and then work another set for six hours, and so on?
Mr. MOODY. Yes.
Mr. Rice. Do you think that he could find workmen handy to set them to work in gangs that way?
Mr. Moody. Fully as handy as he does at present; for I think that, there being a general rule of that kind, industries would adapt themselves to it.
Mr. Rice. Take the railroads. The engineer runs his engine, say from Buffalo, or from one point to another; would you have him confined to a certain number of hours ?
Mr. MOODY. That is what has been done, and what has been done at the very time when the railroads were being run to the greatest possible advantage. Railroad hands have been running a certain number of miles a day.
Mr. Rice. I accept your answer. Which is the more exhausting labor, that of an engineer on railroads or that of hoeing corn or gathering potatoes ?
Mr. MOODY. I cannot see that the question of exhaustion enters into the subject at all.
Mr. RICE. Are not some kinds of manual labor more exhausting than others ?
Mr. Rice. Would you have the man who worked at the lighter labor confined to the same number of hours as the man who worked at the more exhaustive labor ?
Mr. MOODY. I cannot conceive the possibility of making a distinction in favor of classes or against classes. The rule whenever adopted must be uniform as it is now, There is a general rule, by common consent, at the present time, limiting the hours of labor to ten. Within my recollection, and undoubtedly within yours, the limit has been 12 hours, 15 hours, and 16 hours; and I apprehend that when an adjustment is made, as I conceive it certain to be made, this rule will be as general in the readjustment as it has been and as it is at present.
Mr. Rice. We probably agree in that exactly. We have worked down from 16 hours a day to 9 or 10 hours a day. That is what labor generally has done.
Mr. Moody. Undoubtedly; and under this very influence.
Mr: Rice. May we not trust to the same influence to work the hours of labor down in accordance with the necessities of human nature and the advanced condition of the laboring classes? May we not trust to the same rules to operate hereafter that have brought the hours of labor down from 16 to 10 hours a day? And is it not better to leave the thing patiently to await the operation of those natural laws, aided by the increased intelligence of the laboring classes, than it is to undertake to accomplish it by any harsh arbitrary rules of legislation ?
Mr. MOODY. We might wait and leave it to what you call the course of events; but that necessarily carries with it long delay and a procrastination of the evils.
Mr. Rice. Do you not always have to wait for the fruit to be ripe before you pick it?
Mr. Moody. But I hold that it is absolutely ripe now, and we ought to pick it Mr. Rice. Then pick it, or tell us how to pick it.
Mr. Moody. I appear before this committee for the purpose of showing how it may be picked, and I say that it may be picked by carrying on this process of the reduction of the hours of labor, which commenced with 16 hours, and has gone through to 14 hours, 12 hours, 10 hours, and 8 hours.
Mr. THOMPSON. Is not the theory of your views simply this, that the combined capacity of machinery and muscle produces more than there is a demand for! Is not that the prime evil of which you have spoken?
Mr. Moody. It is exactly that; only to a far greater extent than is indicated by the form in which you have put the interrogatory.
Mr. THOMPSON. Assuming that that is the evil to which your attention is directed, and about which your advice is given, you suggest that that evil can be modified, if not eradicated, by continuing the use of machinery or enlarging the time of its use, and by diminishing the hours in which human labor shall be combined with machinery in the production of the articles necessary for consumption ?
Mr. Moody. I do not exactly understand your interrogatory.
Mr. THOMPSON. I understand that you propose as a remedy or a modification of the evil, not to limit or lessen the use of machinery, but to limit or lessen the hours of the labor of individuals, duplicating the times, or tours, or shifts, so as to allow two men hereafter to do the work that one is doing now. Is that your remedy?
Mr. MOODY. Not by using shifts.
Mr. Moody. I said that it might be done in that way, although I admit that it might turn out to be a bad way of accomplishing it in the end. It might be accomplished in that way, but I do not think that that way would be acceptable even to the owners of machinery themselves.
Mr. THOMPSON. I admit the idea that this shift is somewhat an expedient, and is merely temporary in its operations, not permanent.
Mr. Moody. Shifts are only resorted to in extraordinary cases.
Mr. THOMPson. Now you propose that this expedient, which is used only on extraordinary occasions, shall be the permanent rule of production in this country, and that the hours of labor shall be fixed by law or agreement.
Mr. Moody. I beg your pardon. I do not propose this method of shifts. I deem that it would be, on trial, rejected, and that the very owners of machinery themselves, rather than continne it, would duplicate their machinery.
Mr. THOMPSON. That amounts to the same thing.
Mr. Moody. But what I do hold is distinctly this, that it can be accomplished not by enlarging the time for the use of machinery, but by limiting the time for the use of machinery and enlarging the construction of machinery:
Mr. THOMPSON. What would you gain if you assume that machinery can be used now the number of hours in a month that it is used, and that a healthy man can work the number of hours in a day (either by brain or by hand) that he now works, if you reduce that to a much shorter period ?
Mr. Moody. The gain would be that, in place of having half of the people idle and our market destroyed, we should have all the people employed and a healthy market.
Mr. THOMPSON. Do you believe that the hours of labor (whether of literary or professional men, or manual laborers) are too great for the health and well-being of the individual ?
Mr. Moody. That is a question that is not at all pertinent to the present discussion, although I do not object to answering it.
Mr. THOMPSON. Assuming that the hours are not too long now, how would society be benefited by forcing a man to labor only half the time that he can labor without injury to himself?
Mr. MOODY. Society would gain by supplying employment to the idle. There would be the gain to society.
Mr. THOMPSON. Then you would compel the producing classes of the country in all departments of labor to double the number of individuals who are engaged in producing a given quantity of goods simply because the labor of men who are now unemployed would then come into use?
Mr. Moody. I would not compel the productive industries of the country to double the quantity of production.
Mr. THOMPSON. I did not say that, but you would compel them to double the number of men engaged in production.
Mr. Moody. I would compel them to do it simply because their own salvation, their market, their interests, their everything depend upon the employment of the whole community.
Mr. THOMPSON. In short, I understand you to give as the prime cause of the depression in business that the productive capacity of the country is beyond the demands of the country?
Mr. Moody. Yes; I accept the proposition in that form.
Mr. THOMPSON. And now you propose to remedy that evil, or that vice, by limiting the hours which individuals shall work. You would have no more work done, but you would have more men engaged in doing the same work that is now being done?
Mr. MOODY. Yes. Mr. THOMPSON. And you would thereby equalize to some extent the rights of those who are working ! Mr. Moody. It is not a question of rights.
Mr. THOMPSON. Well, the hours of labor. That, you think, is the cause of the trouble, and that is your remedy for it?
Mr. MOODY. That is my remedy for it.
Mr. Thompson. Under your sliding scale the time must come when, by the increased use of machinery, two hours a day would be sufficient to run the machinery and to produce all that the country can consume!
Mr. MOODY. I believe that it is within the line of Divine Providence that the time will come when a man, in place of working ten hours a day for his animal existence, may, by the use of his brain and by mechanical devices, if you please, be required to work only two hours.
Mr. THOMPSON. You recollect the anecdote of the Irishman who was asked to buy a stove because it would consume only half the amount of fuel, and who said that he would buy two stoves so as to consume no fuel at all. Now, if your principle be carried out, the time may come when it will be necessary to perform no labor at all, and when there will be nothing for man to do.
Mr. Moody. Then, inasmuch as fire will destroy all structures, you might as well say that we shall have no fire; or, inasmuch as water will drown, you might as well say that we shall have no water. I conceive that illustrations of that kind, by anecdotes, do not touch the point; they only serve to divert attention from the real question in discussion, and turn inatters into ridicule.
Mr. THOMPSON. Not at all, I beg your pardon. That was the logical sequence of your statement, that the hours of labor were being reduced, and that if necessary they would be in the future further reduced. Now, there is no limit to the capacity of machinery, and so, as they are in proportion to each other, there is no limit to the reduction of the hours of labor.
Mr. Moody. The loom, for example, has been carried to very great perfection, and its operations are produced with a great deal of rapidity, but there never will coine a period when some time will not be required in the process of weaving.. Time, practically, we say, is annihilated in production; but, positively, it is not annihilated." Positive time will be requisite, and, whatever that positive time is or may be, we must adapt ourselves to it, or disasters will attend the want of such relation.
The CHAIRMAN. What would be done with the idle time! A man would have a great many hours on his hands; what would he do with them? Would it not be a great hardship to prevent a man from using his muscle in some sort of useful manner?
Mr. Moody. The prevention of the use of muscle, as I propose it, would not apply to those persons who use their own muscle simply. There should be no limitation or attempted limitation for you or for me in using our own muscle.
The CHAIRMAN. Because it is not hired muscle.
Mr. MOODY. Exactly so; but the moment that you enter into the market with your muscle as a vendor, or as a purchaser, then it must come under the rule and condition of limitation. So, the farmer may use, by himself and his family, if you please, his means and his force for sixteen or twenty hours a day, as' was done in old times; but the moment he enters into the market as an employer he must employ labor on precisely the same conditions that every other person employs it. If he chooses to employ two or three or half a dozen shifts to do his work, he may do so; or if he deems it preferable to have half a dozen reapers at once he can do so. The Tribune formerly required all night to run its presses so as to get off its edition, but it has now got iniproved presses so that it can go to press at three o'clock in the morning, and have its whole edition printed off by four o'clock. But the Tribune runs its machinery in strict accordance to the powers of production. If the Tribune should insist on running its machinery for four, or six, or eight, or ten hours a day, the result would be that it would have a mass of papers for which it could find no market, and its whole business would be destroyed.
The CHAIRMAX. Going back to the blast furnace, you could not stop the steam engine every six hours. If you do it chills up.
Mr. Moody. There is where the shift comes in.
Mr. Moody. Just to meet the necessities of the existing conditions. I do not say now that the time of labor should be reduced either to eight, or to seven, or to six, or to any other number of hours; but what I do insist upon is that this matter should be thoroughly examined. I have only commenced to examine it, as I stated distinctly in my publication; but I have been stating facts or propositions here that require thorough examination, and I earnestly hope that that examination will be continued. The question of unemployed laborers is something which I wish to present to the committee, and in respect to which I have some facts and figures.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be glad to have them.
Mr. Moody. I think that they are of vast importance. I have given this matter a good deal of study. In this little volume of mine I adopt the popular estimates merely for the purpose of discussion, and I state that there are about three millions of people out of employment in this country. I stated distinctly in this publication that I had no means of verifying the estimates; that I had no data. Since that time I have obtained very important data on the subject. Massachusetts has a labor bureau which, most fortunately, has done the country some service, and which, with regard to statistics of labor, has done very important service. On the reports of this bureau I base my estimates entirely. In the report of 1875 you will find a table giving the reports of 55 of the main industries of that State. The number of persons employed in those 55 industries in 1865 was 225,979. Ten years after that (in 1875) the number employed in them was 248,313, leaving an apparent increase of persons employed in those industries of 22,334. This same report shows that the percentage of increase of population in that State was 30.38. That would give an increase in the population of the productive classes equal to 68,652. After the census of 1865 was taken there were disbanded from the forces engaged in the war of the rebellion 62,294 men in the State of Massachusetts. Add these two sums together and they show 130,946 persons added to the industrial classes and requiring employment. The increase in the persons employed from 1865 to 1875 was only 22,334, thus leaving 108,612 persons out of employment, or unaccounted for. This would give to the whole United States (estimating Massachusetts as constituting one twenty-seventh part of the population of the country, which is very close by the figure) 2,932,524 persons unemployed or unaccounted for.
The CHAIRMAX. You assume that all who are not accounted for are without employment.
Mr. Moody. They do not appear in the industries.
The CHAIRMAN. They do not appear in the industries of Massachusetts. Does it follow that they do not appear in the industries of other States ?
Mr. Rice. You have seen Mr. Wright's statement made by him within a few days?
Mr. Rice. Then that shows that you have not got more than one-half of the industries of Massachusetts included in your estimate. May not, therefore, the large portion of those who, you say, are unemployed have gone into those other industries that are not included in your estimate?
Mr. MOODY. I carry that thing through, I take the whole.
Mr. Rice. You have taken industries which employ only about one-half of the laborers of Massachusetts, and on those industries you base your figures as to the number of unemployed. You therefore have a fallacy at the beginning which runs through your entire calculation.
Mr. Moody. I take up that very point. I show that the total productive classes in 1865, in Massachusetts, were 425,000, and in 1875 were 580,000. The total increase in the whole productive classes was 122,795, while the total increase in the number of persons employed was only 45,000.
Mr. Rice. Is that in all the industries ?