The Right to Work

The Right to Work

The Right to Work

The Right to Work


Public work is a way of creating something for public use. It may be a bridge, a school, or any other needed property or service. Normally, the bridge is built so the community will have a bridge, but incidentally it provides work for people.

Public work may also be a way of using or salvaging labor that would otherwise waste in idleness. For administering public work of this kind, a beginning is made with people who need employment. Labor is engaged so that people may earn a living, and a bridge is built incidentally.

This book attempts to discuss some of the essential elements and characteristics of public work to give employment. It is written with a bias in favor of more public employment when and where it is needed. It is written on the assumption that if unemployed labor is not used, it will be lost, and the cost of idleness will return in some other form.

The reader may wish that more had been said here about the public work of states, counties, and municipalities. I realize that these political subdivisions of the United States do spend vast sums of money, but not a great amount of such money is spent for the kind of unemployment relief with which this volume deals.

The reader may be disturbed because more has been said in these pages about the work activities of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) than about other Federal work agencies. There are two reasons for this: (1) I am better acquainted with the work activities of WPA; and (2) during the two years of operation of the Federal Works Program, WPA has provided more than eighty per cent of the jobs made available to relief workers.

Some readers may be disappointed because I have included no "inside" information and no gossip about how the administrative wheels go 'round. I hope that enough has been said to indicate . . .

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