Social Aspects of Industry: A Survey of Labor Problems and Causes of Industrial Unrest

By S. Howard Patterson | Go to book overview
test of individual ability by the elimination of acquired advantages or disadvantages.Economic success has often been interpreted as victory in the economic struggle for existence. But the possession of great wealth may be the result of inheritance rather than of individual acquisition. Again, individual acquisition is not an absolute test nor a perfect measure of economic production. Great fortunes may have been acquired by fortuitous circumstances, over which the individuals themselves have had little control. Again, they may have been acquired by unsocial if not illegal methods. A great economic ideal is the adjustment of individual acquisition to individual production along socially desirable lines.Among the chief causes of economic inequality and large fortunes are the dynamic character of modern economic life and the present system of individual enterprise. Inflation, wars, trusts, industrial consolidations, and rising land values are some specific causes of great fortunes. Among the chief causes of their persistence are the unmodified right of inheritance, the trusteeship device, the failure to tax large incomes, inheritances and excess profits at progressive rates, the failure to absorb at least a portion of the unearned increment from land, and the inability effectively to regulate trusts and public utilities.Economic inequality has serious social and economic effects. It makes impossible the production of necessities for all before the production of luxuries for the few. Hence, it reduces the total utility experienced by American society in the consumption of our great economic prosperity. Glaring economic inequality is represented on the one hand by the miserable living conditions and the high death rate of a large portion of our population, and on the other hand by the wasteful and conspicuous consumption of a fortunate few. The striking social contrast between the very rich and the very poor is an important cause of industrial unrest. It is mitigated to some extent, on the part of some wealthy philanthropists, by the new concept of large fortunes as public trusts.
Conateral Reading
ATKINS W. E. and LASSWELL H. D., "Labor Attitudes and Problems", chap. 15.
BOUCKE O. F., "Principles of Economics", vol. 2, chaps. 18, 19, and 20.
BYE R. T., "Principles of Economics", chap. 8.
BYE R. T. and HEWETT W. W., "Applied Economics", chaps. 23, 24, and 25.
CARVER T. N., "Essays in Social Justice", chaps. 6, 7, and 8.
CATLIN W. B., "The Labor Problem", chaps. 7 and 8.
ELY R. T., "Evolution of Industrial Society", pp. 473-484.
HAYES E. C., "Introduction to the Study of Sociology", chap. 7.
KING W. I., "Earned and Unearned Income", Annals of American Academy of Political and Social Science, May, 1921.
MARSHALL L. C., "Readings in Industrial Society", chap. 10, part 2, A, B, C.
SEAGER H. R., "Principles of Economics", chap. 11.

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