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THE DIE-AXiBOlIiH iDD'EPNiDEInr
5 Labor: What Is the Outlook for the Future? WHATEVER the outlook for the future may be and whatever the outcome of the future may be, Labor must be and will be not only the corner stone but the whole foundati on The whole end and aim of all earthly endeavor by mankind is simply to assure the continuance of the human race and to make certain the perpetuation of the racr : That children may be born and that their parents may be able to shield and protect them during their helpless years; that children may be assured of healthy bodies with which in turn they may do their share of the world's work and transmit the vital spark to their posterity; that children's minds may be developed so that they may cope with the ever-increasmg problems of complex civilization ; that the c hild and the man may be able to have his bread by right ot and by virtue of ,bor; and that there shall yet be spared enough hours r sleep and recreation and spiritual and mental wth so that life may be made worth living and ih. refore the perpetuation of the race be a thing u th while. Bread and in the Scriptural ienic I take it the w i covers the human necessaries becomes the ma terial foundation upon which the race ii built and the Divine command is: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" and then the Divine words go on with the U t that should teach us the vanity of it all, for the hill text reads: "In the sweat of they face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken : for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return." It is the command of heaven, then, that man can live and the race can be continued only by virtue of labor. Everybody lives by work either by his own work or the work of another. But the sweat of the brow is no longer the symbol of work. It no longer identities labor. As human ac tivity has been specialized there have come trades and professions. Some involve manual labor almost solely, ome involve mental effort almost solely, but a greater part combine in varied proportions the labor of the hand with the labor of the mind and there is quite as much Biblical sweat involved in the labor of the mind M there is involved in the labor of the hand. "I-abor: What is the Outlook for the Future?" The outlook for the future is dark indeed as long as there shall continue an effort to defy the decrees of heaven and to live without working. Capital is the stored up labor of yesterday. Capital M the child of the union of human labor and endeavor with the fruitfulness of Mother Earth and her re sources of forest, held and mine. When Capital seeks to multiply itself without Iabor it t an unholy child. When Labor seeks to func- n b limitation of effort rather than by the accept ance of its obligation, it invites its own ruin. In the beginning of things, primitive man as an in dividual supplied his own needs by his own efforts and ! the needs of his family. When specialization first b :an and one tilled the field while the other tended the Hocks, the foundation of business was laid in i business is merely a device or machine for -facilitat-t unction of Labor and the end of Labor is MOS of the present generation and the assur tning generation of human brings, Lab r i ipital, Business, are the means to the great end I ife, i;.r.c we me today to the point where this Divine scheme ings is so reversed and up-ended that Labor. Capital and Business regard Life and living not as the end; not as the master purpose, but as a pilgrim treading the road from the cradle to the grave and with I 11 gates erected the whole length of that journey for the purpoc of exacting an increasing trib ute? If that is true then the life journey of humanity ktci journey of despair. W hen Labor says that it will function only six hours a day and only five days in the week, has it im proved its condition? No. W n n Capital, which is stored up labor, seeks to multiply itself not by sweat but by a stroke of the pen. by a writing up of inventories or of values, by an issue of securities, has it helped itself? No. Wall Street Journal of August 7. 1919, told us th.. in the four years from December 31, 1914, to Dc nbi 11, 1918, 104 industrial corporat Kins representing out I mall part of the aggregate industrial wealth oi country, ifter paying billions of dollars in war taxi after having distributed record-breaking dividends! added a total of nearly two billions of dol thf working capital. Tract ically all of this in cr .ime from surplus earnings. This, too, is a part of the high cost of living. ! he great enhancement in claimed land values is "t: tl er burden. In cities and towns, the rent charge on business and on the public Is increased without benefit in return. In farm lands the increase is of no real benefit. The crops are no greater and the capital invested in sales in the future is arbitrarily increased. The farmer who is tanning today gt no benefit. The tenant tanner is Put under further burden and the difficulty of the tanner oi tomorrow getting capital to buy land for , starl U BVeree td. The land speculator is the only winner and he wins at the expense of the tenant, busi ness man. farmer and public. In the end it is all a What is the cost of living high or low? The cost ot living is the price of the ticket from the cradle to uifVC' rhere aro no return trip tickets. yien Ibor shirks its duty and when Capital ex acts fictitious toll. each has nmed the price of the ticket and each has cut the value of the dollar. So that the Witt which we take as the quart cup with which to measure values, has become a pint cup, though we -rf jt a (,uart th i various dollars are like the strips marked on th rai,roa(1 mileage ticket and with undue limitation of effort of Labor and fictitious increase in values By WILLI AM B. COLVER MIMBBg federal trade commission Igjv EP I 2Te as aHl I jK -15. imNaaS a wl t & x -' '.gB Ir a (C) Harris 4 Ewino WILLIAM B. COLVER claimed by Capital, the coupon in the mileage book now carries us half a mile instead of a mile. When the workman takes from his envelope $8.00 instead of $4.00 he finds that the $8.00 is worth no more as a payment on the cost of his journey through life than the $4.i Hi which he tok from his envelope a fen years ago. When the dividend which is the wages ot Capi tal, which is stored up labor, is increased from 15r" to 3"'' the profit is bit I paper one; those dollars do not mean the good old dollar of our daddies. 'Labor: What is the Outlook for the Future?" The outlook for the future is that Labor and it offspring, Capital, must stop blowing soap bubbles and must come back into the Divine order of things which layi t fiat all shall eat bread in the sweat of the face. If Labor and Capital were united, as they should be, in the effort to do their duty to eat the bread in the sweat of the face then the future would become brighter as we removed the burdens artificially placed upon them. I think it would be a great blcvsing and a great step toward the reduction in the cost of living it at this moment the whole scheme of excess profit tax could be abolished. There never was so bad a device in busi ness as the device called "cost plus," and the excess profit tax is in its essence, a "cost plus" scheme. Under a "cost plus" arrangement, say of 10r profit on cost, one can increase his profit by one dollar only by wasting nine other dollars and we have that curious and impossible situation of attempting to create wealth by wasting it. In the excess profit tax when a concern has reached beyond what is considered to he its normal in profit ableness, the lUfplui is partially taken from it by in creasing percentages. What follows? Waste and e travagance; or an effort to make as much profit with the excess profit tax in operation as th ugh it were not in operation and that is 1 e by charging excess profit tax to COSt It meani the collection from all the people. when the f ' I excesi profit tax rate ha- been reached, of a dollar ui necessarily, in order that 40r; may be add d to divi ible profit. And the profit tax or any other tax is not paid by the taxpayer, It is parsed on. it must be passed OB, in the price of the product to the purchaser of the product, and. a it pas t on and on, it grows, like a snowball rolling downhill, until it reaches the public. nd the public, whether represented by a railroad president, a skilled mechanic, a farmer, a merchant, a day laborer or financier, having had the composite tax bill of all his predcecs-ors . vCd to him. raises the price of his own labor whether that labor be stored up labor in the form of Capital, labor 'ot the h tnds, or labor of the mind, to meet the new "cost of living." So, the distressing process having made a com plete circle, it starts, again, the endless spiral upward. The Federal Trade Commission was created in ld4 to administer a simple principle of law declared by Congress in the words: "That unfair methods of com petition in commerce are hereby declared unlawful." That declaration would seem to be the ittmmmg up in eleven words of the ethics of American business. Those eleven words contain and state, the Bill-of- Rights, the Declaration of Independence and tli Con stitution, of American business. Those words mean that ar.y concetti which leekl to engage in any business mfl be given the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in that business without let or hindrance from ar.y other concern engaged in that business. The law should add, or in any competing business. And it means that each business concern is guaran teed the right to work out its own salvation; to make the measure of its own prosperity and to survive or perish according as its industry, its efficiency and its fair-dealing shall entitle it to life and growth or shall condemn itself to death. That principle means that cannibalism hall not be practiced in Commerce. The Federal . Trade Commission has applied itself to the inspiring duty of administering that great prin ciple. In doing so it has incurred the displeasure of certain great institutions which do not want unfair prac tices to be abolished in our commercial world. And by reason of incurring that displeasure, the Federal Trade Commission has found itself to be the mot thoroughly maligned and misrepresented bodv in the government today. AT THE cost of millions of dollars in printer's ink; iby the creation of publicity departments and by the enlistment of many minds in many professions, it has been sought to make the public at large and the busi ness world in particular, to believe that the Federal Trade Commission is the enemy of business, is hostile to prosperity and looks askance at profits and at growth. That is not true. The Federal Trade Commission has been painted as being armed with a sword and running amuck in the market place. That is not true. True, the Federal Trade Commission was armed by Congress with a sword, but it was also given a shield and when a business concern, complaining that unfair practices in competition are being waged aeainst it by its competitors, comes to the Federal Trade Commis sion, and invokes the protection of this principle of law laid down by Congress, the Federal Trade Com mission extends its shield over that business and with the sword drives back the aggressor. Many of the complaints that come to the commis sion are discovered, upon examination, not to be well founded and such are dismissed. Let us see the record. The first complaint was filed upon the organization of the commission in March, 1915. and in four years and a half 1401 applications for the issuance of formal complaint are made with the commission, the commission takes no action against the concern complained against until it shall have had made such reasonable preliminary examination as will determine whether or not it seems reasonable to be lieve that the plaint may be a just one. If the com plaint is ill-founded, it is dismissed without public notice or knowledge and without bringing di-tress to the concern complained against. Of the 1401 applications for complaint thus re ceived up to the first of September of this year. 673 or about one-half have already been so dismissed with out notice and without public knowledge. Of the re mainder, 392 are now in process of such preliminary examination with the rea-onable prospect, based on pat experience, that about 200 of them will similarly be dismissed without notice and without public knowledge. That leaves only 33o of these 14 1 applications made to the commission by complaining business coi cerns which have been found to be of prima facie merit and in these cases the formal complaint of the commission has been issued. Of this number 176 had been disposed of on Septem ber firt and 160 of them were going through the orderly processes of trial laid sVrWfl by the Act of Congress. Of the 176 that were disposed of, 23 were dismissed, the respondents in those cases having mack a suf ficient snowing of defense to overcome the prima facie case which appeared on the preliminary examination. In the remaining 153 cases, the commission's order to cease and desist from the prac mplained of was issued and in 134 of those i the order of the commission was issued by and with the consent of the respondent. And let me say that mis points to an important fact, which is that in 134 CS ant of 153 cases where the business c cent, after an examination of its conduct and the effect of its conduct upon its competitor has been sh nvn and brought to his atten tion through the production of witnesses and the marshalling of evidence on both sid s thr lUgh the amination and cross-examination by attorneys, the merican busmcsi man. seeing that t! e p ictice is un fair, has voluntarily agreed to acce; t the ord. r t ItOC it. I believe that u i record of whi h American busi ness can well be proud and the commission is proud ol being an actor in such a performance. In the remaining 19 cases the Concerns complained about by other business concerns resisted I i the end and the order to cease and desist wa ncverthek issued. When the Federal Trade Commission Usues its or der against ar.y given practice and if the respondent concern believes the judgment to be unfair, the courts are Open, Appeal may be had to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals and flu nee to t ho Supreme I Ml ot the United States and in all these cases only six have been so appealed for court review. To recapitulate then; out of 1401 complaints laid before the commission, 840 have been finally disposed of, and in 843 of those case the judgment of the com mission lias been accepted.