Human Exploitation in the United States

By Norman Thomas | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV
THE CONSUMER PAYS

Four or five milk wagons break the stillness of the early morning hours rattling over the same streets. Four or five solicitors compete for business in the same block, and offer rival bribes to the apartment house superintendents. In this competition there is no benefit to the quality of milk; that is dependent on the honest enforcement of the law. There is not even an effort to reduce prices; they are fixed by open or tacit agreement by the two or three companies which dominate the situation. For this waste the consumer pays.

Landlords, speculative builders, realtors, banks and mortgage companies have tumbled over one another in a wild scramble for the profits of housing America. The result is that we, a nation of builders, live in flimsy houses and shacks and slums. For the wastes and extortion inherent in the great game of real estate against housing the consumer pays.

The electric power industry builds on top of the operating companies a bewildering and unstable pyramid of holding companies, each seeking to enhance the profits of the insiders. The whole process, according to Stephen Raushenbush, costs the American public an unnecessary million dollars a day. The consumer pays. He pays not only in a price for electricity in his home at least three times what his neighbor pays in Canada; often he pays in his inability to get power at all.

The oil, the coal, and other natural resources of a great continent have been wasted as no drunken sailor ever squandered his wages. The devastation of forests

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Human Exploitation in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Human Exploitation in the United States *
  • To My Wife *
  • Preface vii
  • Contents *
  • Introduction xiii
  • Chapter I Land and Those Who Live on It i
  • Chapter II Real Estate Vs. Homes 13
  • Chapter III Farming for Exercise 4
  • Chapter IV Men and Trees 72
  • Chapter V Mines and Miners 92
  • Chapter VI New Sources of Physical Energy 119
  • Chapter VII Working for Wages 137
  • Chapter VIII Working Conditions 164
  • Chapter IX Unemployment 183
  • Chapter X Women in Industry 215
  • Chapter XI Exploiting Our Children 231
  • Chapter XII the Negro 258
  • Chapter XIII the Labor Struggle 284
  • Chapter XIV the Consumer Pays 304
  • Chapter XV Little Owner, What Now? 327
  • Chapter XVI the Government as Exploiter 357
  • Chapter XVII in Conclusion 374
  • Bibliography 391
  • Index 399
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