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Free land is a term to conjure with, if one may play on all the varied meanings of the word "free." In this instance, however, Loria deserves credit for consistency; he says definitely that by free he means gratuitous, and holds to that meaning. In the golden age land could be had for nothing. In the historical period land has not only cost a price, but in general a price beyond the means of the laborer. Loria expounds the matter by the formula v r+x, in which r is the maximum saving of the laborer and v is the value of access to the land. When the recipients of "income " have been threatened by such an invasion of their privileged position as would be involved by the rise of laborers to landownership they have either lowered the remuneration of the laborer, and so his savings, r, or have raised v, the value of access to the land, so that v should always exceed r by some difference, x. In this way Loria explains slavery both in the classic world and in the southern states of America, the serfdom of the Middle Ages, and the wage class of recent times.
Neither in this book nor in the Analisi della Proprietá Capitalista, in which Loria treats some of these matters in greater detail, has he given the reader any good reason to believe that the course of history was what he imagines it to have been. He commits the sin beyond forgiveness, from the historical standpoint, when he interprets the whole past in terms of our modern system of exchange. One is sometimes tempted to think that in Loria's mind there is no history, but only political economy stretching back over countless centuries of time. From what evidence he can get in the form of money contracts he constructs an image of how society might have economized itself into its present condition, but he fails to recognize that some of the most important material interests of former generations evaded expression in terms of exchange equivalents, and that society has always recognized other interests above the material. To one
acquainted with the sources of the early agrarian history of Europe nothing can be more grotesque than the picture of a class of "laborers" endeavoring to "save" enough prop
erty to "buy ""land." Loria has not presented a single bit of evidence to show that this process was actually in operation, and will of course be unable to do so. The individualism which is assumed throughout the book is itself a product of the last few centuries; and the web of social and political relations which ties the economic man to his place in the group grows more intricate as we trace it back in time, because the further back we go the less conscious and the less rational do we find it. Every student of institutional history recognizes the importance of the economic element in every period, and can prove the play of economic factors both in the rise and in the decline of serfdom. So far, however, from explaining the course of history by this one element, he knows that it is misleading to ascribe to it even a definite place in a hierarchy of history-making forces. It is both cause and effect. It is but one term in a series, meaningless until its relations with the other elements are understood.
One could easily take up the historical parts of Loria's book, page by page, and show his faults of omission and commission; but this task can be deferred until there is more chance than there appears to be at present that he will be taken seriously. The volume should not be dismissed, however, without some ophy of history.
Under the caption
further reference to Loria's general philosUnder the caption "Conclusion - The essential economic law," the reader finds a summary of the argument, which runs somewhat as follows. In the succession of economic systems there is a common element which "must of necessity relate to a series of phenomena universal and constant in character; and since it constitutes the common substance of a series of forms whose equilibrium is essentially unstable, it must contain within itself a factor of immanent instability. Now the process that is common to all the successive economic forms is the association of labour, a constant and invariable phenomenon in all ages; whilst the factor of immanent instability of all the changing social forms is the coercion that disciplines the association of labour.
The essential social contradiction can be eliminated, economic equilibrium can be established, only by means of a
profound transformation, affecting not merely the process of distribution, but also the process of production, relieving this latter process from the coercion which has hitherto environed it and restricted its efficiency; in other words by the destruction of the coercive association of labour and its replacement by the free association of labour."
The reader who is conversant with the work that economists, historians and sociologists have done to analyze and interpret the forms of association of labor will be shocked to hear that it is "a constant and invariable phenomenon." He must prepare, however, for an even greater surprise when he approaches the other element in Loria's philosophy, "the factor of immanent instability." The coercive association of labor, with all the evils that Loria imputes to it, was inaugurated by a decline in the fertility of land to a point at which the isolated laborer produced only a bare subsistence, and was constrained to submit to organization. The free association which will mark the coming millennium of coöperative production, "a perfectly stable and indestructible economic form, which finally closes the cycle of social transformations or of economic evolution," will result from a further decline in the productivity of the land, which "by rendering the product of isolated labour inferior to the subsistence of the producer, will at length altogether annul the reluctance to the association of labour, and will thus open the way for the institution of the spontaneous association of labour." Surely, since the time when Rousseau wrote of "compelling men to be free," no theorist has been bold enough to publish such
MARCONCINI'S L' INDUSTRIA DOMESTICA
"The Sweating System and the Minimum Wage Law" should be the English title for this book. And the author's central thought can be condensed within a single sentence. The sweating system, or wage labor in the home, is a great and widely spread evil throughout the world; and no other remedy can be as effective and as prompt as the minimum wage law.
Of the six formal parts into which the whole book is divided one (11-38) treats of wage labor in the home in the development of the forms of production, a second (39-154) treats of the extent of wage labor in the home, a third (155-285), of present conditions of wage labor in the home, a fourth (286– 325), of the causes of the evils, and a fifth (326-778), of remedies. Then follow (780-847) appendices giving texts of bills, bibliographies, and an elaborate analytical table of contents. Each of the six parts is divided in its turn and with careful discrimination. Thus the part which treats of present conditions has eight chapters, on wages (155-197), living expenses (197-203), hours of labor (203-212), environment of labor (212-224), hygiene in relation to the worker (224-247), hygiene in relation to the workers' families (247259), hygiene in relation to the public health (259–268), and the question of morals (268-285). And the chapters have their sections, and the sections have their sub-sections. For the most part, all is in admirably logical arrangement.
In a general way, the range and nature of the expositions and discussions of parts two and three, perhaps also of parts one and four, can be taken as matters of course. The author believes wage labor in the home to be an entirely natural form
1 L'industria domestica salariata nei rapporti interni e internazionali. Federico Marconcini. Con prefazione di Achille Loria. Pp. 847. F. Bertinatti, Torino, 1914. L. 12.50.
• In fairness to the author it must be stated that he protests at length (pp. 282–285) against the term, sweating system, and that he would insist upon something like an accurate translation of the Italian title. He holds that the sweating system is found out-of-doors, in factories, in mines, "whenever a poorly-paid laborer is forced to work long hours in unsanitary places."
of productive effort in modern industry, not a mere survival or an excrescence; and he believes also that it has elements, or at the least possibilities, of great good. Of course, he finds the sweating system all over the world; and, of course, he finds extremely hard conditions of life for the workers, great distress for the first sufferers and great peril, social as well as physical, for other classes. The causes of these sad and serious conditions are many: simplicity of tasks and consequent lack of training and need for training in the workers, the extreme division of labor, the very sharp competition among employers and among workers, the practices of contracting and sub-contracting, lack of knowledge and conscience in society at large, unwise charity, intemperance, the introduction of machinery, and so on. But chief among the many causes is counted the absence of organization among the workers.
To match and counteract the many causes of evil there are and must be many remedies. Quite in harmony with the teaching as to causes is a steadfast insistence that only the organization of the workers, with its equalization of bargaining or fighting strength as between employer and employed, can be a full and permanent remedy. Other measures, of sanitation, education, coöperation, and so on, through a score or more, have their merits, small or great, probable or certain; but only the organization of the workers can assure a permanent relief.
But home workers are not organized. earnest efforts have failed to effect organizations of more than local and trivial importance here and there. The workers are too poor, too ignorant, too weak, too little in touch with one another, too much crushed, too hopeless; and all these unhappy conditions are due, in last analysis, to low wages. Only better pay can cure. Employers will not increase wages voluntarily; they cannot without endangering their own positions. The pressure of consumers and of public opinion can accomplish nothing really worth while. The labor laws of a hundred years have brought no relief to home workers. Only the direct compulsion of the state, through