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for arbitration becomes a mere maneuver for position; useless, because there is no means of holding the parties responsible under the award; worse than useless, because it offers a false pretense of settlement without the reality.
How then can our fundamental difficulty be met? Only by a process of prevention. For the failure to adopt this means the corporations are gravely responsible. Their leaders are in a position of public trust and responsibility; if they do not meet this responsibility they are severely to blame. Even where the men are technically wrong on the subject matter of a strike, it indicates a deeper failure of duty on the part of the general management to have allowed such a state of things to arise. Even in the case of a mutiny, while we take sides against the men in the interest of public safety and public order, we reserve severer blame for the officers who have shown themselves incompetent to prevent it.
That managers have a public duty in this respect is by no means a new idea. In the labor troubles of 1877 it was strongly urged by Mr. Adams, then Massachusetts Railroad Commissioner. Some of his best and most vigorous writing deals with this question. As an indirect result of those strikes, a beginning was made in this direction by relief associations like that of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. These things are good as far as they go. They create a bond of interest between the employee and the corporation. They mark an abandonment of the posi tion that the corporation will pay wages as long as the workman is in good health, and that it is none of the company's business what happens afterward; a position which has caused many employees, first, to seek insurances in labor organizations, and then, by a natural process, to look to those organizations as the representatives of his true and permanent interest.
But such relief associations can by no means solve our difficulty. They do something, but not enough. The workman often dislikes to have anything like a deposit of money with the corporation. It looks as if it were a sort of security for his good behavior, even though the company is scrupulously careful not to treat it as such. Many employees are suspicious of everything of this kind; and such suspicion is not to be wondered at.
We must go one step farther, and create a feeling of permanence and loyalty in the railroad service.
This can be done, for it has been done in Europe. There the railroad employees feel that they have a permanent position, and an assurance of promotion. They feel that their interests are identified with those of the system on which they work. Of the two thousand strikes of the past decade in England, hardly a dozen were connected with railroad operation, and none of these were of grave importance. After a recent accident on the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway the employees held a meeting, and offered voluntarily to bear their share of the loss by contributing, in a body, a week's wages. This offer was not accepted by the directors, who said that the stockholders were better able to bear the loss than the employees; but it is significant as showing a state of feeling, on both sides, quite in contrast with that to which we are accustomed.
How can such a result be brought about? Not by any scheme of profit-sharing; such systems are usually too complicated either to be applied to the railroad organization or to be felt as a moral force by the men. It is better that the employee should receive his payment in the form of wages or salary, and that he should have an incentive to good work in the assurance of advancement when his work is worth it.
Two things are necessary to create this feeling. First, stability of position. There should be no removals except for cause, and the justice of this cause should be subject to the judgment of an impartial tribunal. Railroad officials are afraid of restricting their powers of dismissal in this way, but they do not realize the harm which they are often doing by their present system. A removal with real cause to-day often looks arbitrary, simply because the cause is kept secret; and the indirect effect of a few cases of this kind on the general feeling in the service is most disastrous. Secondly, the higher officials must be chosen with more reference to their capacity as leaders of men. The present system of selection in the business world lays too exclusive stress upon men's technical capacities. It selects the leaders of business with the mixture of qualities, good and bad, which fit a man for money-making. In the face of the present
difficulties we need more of those qualities which move men and not money, which secure to the leader the confidence and the loyal devotion of those who are under him. It may be that in these labor troubles we have the beginning of a reaction against the system which values a man according to his capacity as a money-making machine.
It is useless to deny that there are special difficulties in introducing this reform in America. Permanence of employment is less easy to give where the conditions of the railroads change so rapidly from day to day. A system like that of Germany, where the majority of the employees are often regarded as salaryreceivers rather than wage-receivers (though their average annual earnings are little more than half those of employees in this country), would be impossible here. The rapid reductions in rates which stimulate economy at every point greatly increase the difficulties of American managers in dealing with their employees. Any attempt on the part of a single corporation to insist upon high character among its men, and to pay them accordingly, may be thwarted by the necessity of reducing expenses to the level set by less responsible competitors, a difficulty from which most state railroads are free. The threat of enforced reductions by legislative authority still further complicates the trouble. Out of the gross receipts must be paid the wages of the employees and the profits of the company. If the wages are reduced the employees suffer directly; if the profits are reduced the investment of capital is diminished, and with it the opportunity for profitable employment of railroad men. The short-sighted attempt of some managers to save profits by reducing wages cannot always be defended; but whatever policy the managers adopt, the final result of forced reductions in rates must be more or less to the disadvantage of the employees.
Great as are these special difficulties, we need not regard them as insuperable. They must be met, unless our managers are prepared to accept state ownership of railroads as an alternative. For the public is not likely to allow the continuance of a system which involves from time to time absolute stoppage and paralysis of business. If our railroad managers can prevent this stoppage, well and good; if not, they must not expect to hold
their present position of leadership. It is not so much a question whether the change would be an improvement as whether we should be able to resist the demand for such a change.
For the United States there is the strongest reason for believing that such a result would be undesirable. We know how public business is habitually mismanaged; and there is no instance even among the foreign countries with the best civil service, of state railroad systems conducted on the American standard of efficiency. But a large section of the public, more or less misled as to the evidence, believes in state railroad ownership, and desires to see it introduced into the United States. As long as this is merely a vague popular demand there is little to fear from it. The conservative forces of industrial society are strong enough to resist it. But if the leaders under the present system confess their inability to meet a vital public necessity, that confession will give overwhelming force to the demand for a change. Those of us who distrust the present tendencies toward state socialism must see to it that our system of industrial selection under private enterprise shall do the work which modern social organization requires.
For this purpose it must bring to the front not merely leaders of dollars but leaders of men. Thus and only thus can the corporations fulfill their responsibilities to the public, and at the same time retain the rights which they at present hold. This is a lesson to be learned from the railroad strikes.
ARTHUR T. HADLEY.
THE HASTE TO BE RICH.
WATER is refreshing to a thirsty throat, whether it be drunk from a wooden bucket or from a golden vase. The vessel counts nothing in the refreshing. Why will men confound human happiness with the condition that happens to circumstance it? Is not happiness the thing that men wish, and does it make any difference whether it come in a palace or a cottage? "Yes, a mighty difference," cries my neighbor; "give me my happiness in a palace, and you may have yours in a cottage." And half the world echoes my neighbor's dictum. Neither my neighbor nor half the world know that they are uttering a very stupid fallacy. They are confounding the shell and the kernel. They are supposing that happiness with a palace covering is a different thing from happiness with a cottage covering. They have yet to learn that happiness is happiness wherever found; that it is a spiritual state, and worth just as much in one place as in another. "Ah! but happiness is conditioned on outward circumstances," my neighbor and half the world cry, "and the palace is exactly the thing that brings it." Now, neighbor, you think you have me nonplused, but stop. I grant you that a spiritual state, such as happiness is, is influenced by outward circumstances, but it is not conditioned by them. The mind is too free for such a bondage. The mental state does not flow from the outward circumstances, although it may receive impressions from them. Happiness is contentment with surroundings, not the creature of surroundings. Its root is in the mind, not without. So all that my neighbor and half the world, who began by differentiating palace happiness from cottage happiness, and then stepped down to making the palace rather than the cottage the creator of happiness, now can say is, that contentment has a better soil to flourish in when in a palace than when in a cottage. They have to grant that cottage happiness is as good as palace happiness, and