The Living Wage (Classic Reprint)
Mr. Philip Snowden has given us, in his contribution to a series which I have the honour to edit, a very vital and illuminating contribution to a great controversy of the day. His essay is wide in its outlook, clear in its reasoning, cogent in its conclusions. It cannot fail to produce a great effect on public opinion at a formative period in this great debata.
The demand for a 'living wage' - for a fixed limit, below which in any trade or employment sheer competition shall not drive the earnings of tho working man or woman - is the direct result of the human experience of the last hundred years. For it is now almost a century since Great Britain turned its back on the principle of fixing wages by law. Led by the economic thinkers of the early nineteenth century - who reflected the needs of a time which required, above all things, a plentiful supply of labour free, fluid and cheap - our grandfathers rushed to repeal every check in the power of the open market to give to every labourer his price. Human labour - so they preached-differed in no way from any other human commodity. Its price should be governed
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