[Second Edition, Enlarged]
THE WORKERS: WEALTH TO THE NATION
BY CHARLES M. DUPUY
"Whether the sure way to
supply people with tool and materials and set them to work, be not a
free circulation of money, whether silver or paper." -- BISHOP
The steady and profitable employment of the people should be the highest
aim of government. Its encouragement to thrift and industry is all-important
to social progress. Generally idleness is distasteful. Men like to be
usefully and profitably employed. Organized for action, their highest
pleasure is in activity. By wise legislation all the people should be
encouraged to use their wasted faculties so as to become a hive of busy
bodies -- either of brain or hand.
Millions Lost by Idleness.
As it stands to-day, there is a sad lack of opportunity. With the exhaustless
productiveness of the earth to mine, to cultivate, to explore, the channels
of industry are everywhere blocked and gorged, and the hand of labor
is palsied. The earth teems with raw material, awaiting the magic transformation
of man's energies; but labor stands idle in the market-places, and capital
lies piled up uselessly in the banks. Millions of men are either in
enforced idleness, or are unprofitably employed.
The waste of productive energy may be counted by the daily loss of millions
of dollars, and yet all this is, but an atom in comparison to the miseries
of the people, the shipwreck of human life, and the general demoralization
from enforced idleness.
Want of the employment leads to discouragement, hopelessness, and despair.
It overflows almshouses, charitable institutions, prison-houses, and
penitentiaries. It degrades manhood. It ruins families.  Misery,
crime, and suicide follow in its wake. It supplies ready victims for
Enough for All.
The world is neither over-populated, nor are its crude products all
utilized. Properly organized there is ample room for all -- from the
lowest to the highest -- without conflict, and without pressure. Man
is paying a heavy penalty for all his imperfect organization of society,
in the large loss of material prosperity that would otherwise be promoted.
Better food, clothing, shelter, recreation, and amusements, are needed
for the comfort of all. More farms should be cultivated, manufactures
developed, metals mined, railroads built, rivers and harbors improved,
machinery originated and perfected.
Opportunities naturally exist for the energies of all, but man's selfishness
towards man has discouraged industry, by sanctioning for ages, through
law and usage, the excessive value of money and interest, thereby causing
deprivation and suffering to the many for the benefit of the few.
The Love of Power the Drawback.
The instinctive craving of humanity has always been for higher civilization,
but the love of power has checked its progress. In all ages the sway
of poer over weakness has been supreme. Its reign, unlike that of kings,
has been an unbroken dynasty from the beginning. No race or time is
peculiarly responsible for its tyranny. It springs spontaneously in
the breast of man. It is most often for power that wealth is eagerly
accumulated, long after it has gratified all other desires.
Even many of the poor, without considering the chances against them,
hope, some day, themselves, to gratify this love for power; but failing
to have laws enacted for the just distribution of wealth, they are usually
disappointed. It is estimated that two-thirds of all the wealth in the
country is already in the hands of three per cent of the population,
and is is still rapidly concentrating. In view of this, what chances
for wealth are within the grasp of the poor?
Labor watches with a jealous eye the growth of capital, the exponent
of power; but capital is always on the alert to guard its interests.
Each now recriminates the other, and both stand glaring and defiant;
but it may be the province of this generation to work these discordant
elements into order and harmony. It can only be accomplished by increasing
the profit of industry and lessening
 that of capital; by enlarging the volume of money and reducing interest.
The impoverishment of the people through an inability to earn and consume
has curtailed markets; while the ever-increasing productiveness of improved
machinery has constantly added to the embarrassment, by producing commodities
in excess of the limited demand. To-day, one man does what would have
been the work of a hundred fifty years ago. The steam-power of eight
tons of coal, is sufficient to make 40,000 miles of cotton thread in
ten hours, equal to the hand-labor of 70,000 women! A few shoe-making
machines now displace a whole village of cobblers. Consumption does
not keep pace with the production by machinery. Markets become glutted.
Unhealthy competition, struggling for life, establishes unprofitable
prices. Then, the spindles, the workshops, the counting-houses are brought
to a stand-still, and labor is left to wait as best it may, in idleness
and distress, until consumption has overreached production, and new
life is infused into a profitable industry.
These uneven pulsations of activity and idleness follow in continuous
succession. Now exhausted markets stimulate excessive production to
supply urgent wants and then the quick action of machinery paralyzes
these markets. The remedy is to enlarge markets, through the currency,
by enabling the people to interchange the results of their labor. By
perfecting machinery without creating a more general consumption, financial
depressions will be increasingly aggravated.
Universal Consumption not Extravagance.
Some believe a larger consumption by the people generally, is a dangerous
encouragement to extravagance. They confound the enlarged necessities
of a higher civilization with the recklessness of dissipation. They
forget that increasing consumption is a token of progress, in favorable
contrast with the simple wants of barbarism. The undeveloped virgin
soil, the home of naked savages, is valueless until the activity of
civilization gives impetus to production.
Consumption stimulate industry. The usefully busy cannot be very vicious.
The brigands on the world's moral highways generally do not come from
the ranks of trained industry. They are usually the fungous growth of
idleness, entailed on society like hereditary disease. A plague or fever
receives prompt attention  to ensure abatement; while idleness, more
hurtful, and yet remedial by legislation, for ages has been overlooked.
The Remedy is a Wider Consumption.
The real want is a wider range of consumption among the whole people
everywhere, so as to open large markets, by the most active interchange
of their diversified labor. Great broad channels of consumption are
needed, in which to pour exhaustless streams of production, until all
the people are supplied with the necessities and comforts of life.
Millions fully employed increase largely their purchasing ability, and
by their moderate consumption are created wider and more stable markets
than are furnished by the most wasteful extravagance of the few rich.
Assume our 45,000,000 of population are comprised in nine million families,
whose weekly earning are each increased ten dollars. Here is annually
4,680,000,000 of dollars of increased power to purchase the enlarged
products of industry!
If man will continue to improve labor-saving machinery, he must find
a way to dispose of its increased production, by larger general consumption,
or else stagnation and distress will be more and more frequent.
How to Create a Wider Consumption.
By simply allowing labor the unrestricted use of money to accomplish
its exchanges, a universal stimulus will be infused, both to create
and to market the product of man's energies. This free supply will cheapen
interest, and low interest, by adding to the profits of producers, will
lessen that of capital, thereby encouraging the activity of production.
This needed encouragement will cause more acres to be tilled, more metals
mined and fashioned, more good manufactured -- in short, will absorb
mans wasted faculties in producing wealth and prosperity. Millions of
idle people will then be able to earn the means to purchase the products,
both of machinery and human labor, and generally to supply the increasing
necessities of civilization.
The vast stimulus to increased production from the earth, some may call
inflation; but an inflation which fosters industry, and creates universal
happiness and comfort, by utilizing more largely the crude wealth of
the earth, is just the kind of inflation the country requires.
Money has been compared to a bridge, built and maintained  at public
expense, for the easy transfer of labor and products, on which no toll
charge can be rightfully claimed through class legislation to favor
the few. Are not bank unwisely allowed to toll the people's money? At
one time, by largely discounting private notes, in exchange for bank
credit, they expand values; at another, by withholding help, precipitate
public ruin. A sound national, full legal-tender paper money, maintained
always sufficient for their exchanges, would stop bank inflation and
an unreasonable toll on the public.
Money should be the tool of handicraft, not its master. Its value should
no longer be gauged by laws which hamper the growth of industry. New
wants suggested by discovery and invention beckon us onward to higher
civilization, and the circulating medium should no longer be arbitrarily
determined by quack theories, but be clothed with an expansive power,
like postage stamps, proportionate to the industrial exigencies of the
people, and at rates that shall not paralyze national growth!
Excessive Interest is Ruin to Industry.
Unjust laws for the undue increase of capital at the expense of labor,
are charged with dwarfing the industries, though excessive interest,
thereby retarding civilization. The draft of capital is too heavy. It
concentrates wealth in few hands, and condemns the many to hopeless
Laws in all ages have not been made in the interest of a broad humanity,
but to perpetuate wealth and power for the benefit of the few. Laws
allow an estate of six millions of dollars, in forty years at six per
cent., to be compounded to ninety-eight millions of dollars, while its
possessor may live in idleness. Custom give to the world's workers barely
sufficient compensation for the most economical support of a family,
while failing health or employment too often brings dependence. Do laws
and customs promote social progress and general prosperity, which restrict
the host of workers to the barest necessities of comsumption, in order
to build up a few towering fortunes?
The rental or mortgage of a store or farm, worth $10,000, at sever per
cent. net, compounded for seventy years, will produce $1,270,000, equal
to one hundred and twenty-seven stores of like value. With all the investment
of brain, toil, and capital, the uncertain chances of business in that
period have bankrupted more than one occupant of that store, as statistics
show ninety-seven per cent. of merchants fail.
 The combined capital of the Rothschilds, mostly accumulated in the
present century, is estimated at $3,400,000,000, or nearly equal to
the funded debt of England. Law allows this thrifty family to invest
its immense wealth at high usury, in its bargains and loans; but at
only six per cent. per annum they double it in less than twelve years!
What is to become of producers all over the world, if the accumulation
of interest are not in some way legally legally lessened? Living men,
by labor, by production, furnish the traffic for railroad dividends,
for mortgage interest, for rents, and all the sources of revenue of
capitalists, which is so rapidly compounded.
From the wisdom of a large experience in compounding money, Lord Bacon
says: "Usury bringeth the treasure of a nation into a few hands;
for the usurer being at certainties, and the other at uncertainties,
at the end of the game most of the money will be in the box." "It
beats down the price of land. It dulls and damps industries and new
inventions. It is the canker and ruin of estates, which in time breed
a public poverty."
Low Interest a Necessity.
The march of civilization demands that capital shall be afforded at
a low cost to labor, so as to quicken industry in its largest production
from the exhaustless bounty of the earth, for increasing civilization
is dependent upon the activity of industry.
He who now invests, and reinvest, a moderate sum at 6 per cent. per
anum interest, during the period of an ordinary life, generally aggregates
larger and surer gains than the man who add his own industry to a like
sum for a similar period, in the chances of business. This is too sadly
the fruit of a general bitter experience to need proof. The deduction
is that interest rules too high. Low interest quotations are now a farce
to every ninety-nine thousand borrowers. A favored few rich pocket its
advantages, to lend at higher to workers. It is discouraging to labor,
that loans, in the large average, realize better profit than the combined
force of brain, hand, and capital. It is an encouragement to prey on
labor, instead of practicing it, and counts against production and civilization.
High interest and usury lessen production, and absorb the bread of industry.
Low interest fosters and widens industries. With their growth they are
more and more interchanged. Active markets are created in new directions.
The simple requirements of the rustic cabin change to aspirations for
the refinements of civilization, and an increased impulse to industry
is the premium paid for the attainment. Thus the dormant faculties are
exercised; activity take the place of sluggishness; consumption is increased,
and production is enlarged. They stimulate each other, furnishing nourishment
for growth, as food vitalizes the blood and renews the life.
Industry Accumulates on Three per cent. per Annum!
After supporting life, statistics show that, usually, three per cent.
is the highest annual increase of material wealth, and whatever interest
capital receives above this sum tends to concentrate it to the prejudice
of industry. Every one per cent. unjustly taken from labor, to add to
capital, doubles the difference between them; that is, on per cent.
goes to strengthen capital, and on per cent. to weaken production.
The enormous increase of money, by additional percentage, is rarely
appreciated. One thousand dollars compounded for three hundred and sixty
years, at one per cent., is $37,574, while at six per cent. it is 1,073,741,824!
It is of historical record, that two hundred and fifty years ago, the
Dutch bought Manhattan Island of the Indians for $24. Had this small
sum been compounded at seven per cent. per annum, it would now aggregate
more than the value of the city and county of New York. The whole wealth
of the nation would be absorbed by the compounded accumulation of $100,000
at seven per cent. for three hundred and sixty years.
What patent of nobility does capital rightfully possess, that it should
be allowed to concentrate its gains more rapidly than labor? Without
labor, can it build, sow, reap, mine, or take any part in the world's
work? It is dead and valueless without labor; while labor, performing
all these offices, and vitalizing capital itself, is naturally its peer.
Why then should lifeless capital, in few hands, hold millions in bondage!
Labor must be Better Paid.
In order both to sell and to purchase with increased activity, human
labor must be better paid. It is the only way to create large and stable
markets. While human labor is better paid, automatic machine labor will
cost less and less, as it is perfected by discovery and invention.
A hundred horse-power engine, under the direction of five or six men,
with automatic machinery, may accomplish in one day the hand labor of
five or six thousand; and although the cost of  wages, fuel, and
other requirements may be largely increased, nevertheless, as machinery
is improved and perfected, the average cost of its products will be
constantly diminished. In this way, while human labor will advance,
machinery will nevertheless cheapen production.
It is true, invention will supplant human labor more and more; but still
the constant expansion of consumption will give full scope to the faculties
of man in newer and wider avenues. A large remuneration will increase
his ability to purchase these cheapened products of machinery; and so
the comforts, refinements, and embellishments of a higher civilization
will be widely diffused, and down-trodden humanity will be more and
more elevated. Sir John Barnard Byles says of the results of invention
and improvement: "Men do not dream of prosperity which is in store
for all orders of the people. The riches of nature will yet rain into
the laps of the starving poor."
Co-operation of all Labor Essential.
The industries which are every year more banding together, scarcely
yet comprehend the magnitude of their mission. Employer and employed
array themselves in needless opposition, weakening the force of both,
and diverting their common strength from the common enemy.
In the contests where the employers "lock out," or where combined
labor asserts itself in "strikes," the true issue of the battle
is not understood. Both "strikes" and "lock-outs,"
by lessening production, are enemies to civilization. Employers and
employed should sympathize together more sincerely. With less distrust,
they would comprehend that the real enemy of both is the unjust standard
of money, which, through unfair interest, is constantly swallowing the
fruit of labor.
The employer is only the middleman between labor and consumers; and
the competition between all middlemen to secure business, generally
guarantees as fair an equivalent for labor as can be afforded. All middlemen
alike, those who buy, sell, or advance on products, are forced, by competition,
to moderate profits for services, but all alike are victims to the demands
of capital -- in rents, in bank interest, in usury, which in the end
must be charged to producers. The difficulty is not with the excessive
charges for services of middlemen, but in the absurd scarcity of money,
which thereby keeps industry and production in the power of higher interest
than it can earn.