“Old Bill” Suggests—
Industrial relations would be much simpler if it were possible to clarify the discussion by keeping the question of wages separate from all the indirect attempts to gain a bargaining advantage.
Hours of labor, for instance, really have nothing to do with the rate of compensation per hour. There is no reason, except for the idleness of machinery during the hours of shut-down, why labor should work any longer than it finds desirable.
As production of wealth increases with each new application of machinery, the compensation of the individual reaches a point at which leisure appeals more than additional earning power. The trend will always be toward shorter hours until we reach an earning power sufficient to cover travel and educational periods in intervals of full time output.
More pay for less work is an entirely proper sharing of the reward for improved methods that turn out more goods with less work. But agitation can never divide more than has been produced.
ROYAL F. MUNGER.