Readings on the Relation of Government to Property and Industry

By Samuel P. Orth | Go to book overview

But I think that if it were to prove cheaper, it would only do so in the derogatory sense of being cheap and nasty. Apart from the laxity which might attend the administration of a state-wide insurance fund (in which the workmen themselves have no interest other than the obtention of relief), not to mention the lack of inducement to the employer under such a system to keep his operations up to a high standard of efficiency (for in private insurance the premium would be adjusted to the risk of the particular establishment), it is not a sound principle for a state to embark in private business; and particularly is this true of a business like insurance, which not only involves hazard and risk, but is essentially conducted on these principles, and depends for its success upon a much wider field of "averages" than is embraced within state lines. As to whether the elective system, with its freedom of choice, is less burdensome in the matter of the cost of compensation, it may be observed that in many jurisdictions juries have become imbued with the spirit of the times, and are giving much higher verdicts than formerly; and so under some elective laws it is found that the cost of employers' liability is almost as great as the cost of compensation.

The practice of other states in the formulation of compensation laws has been to appoint a commission, with an adequate appropriation, to conduct an exhaustive examination of the subject. Much general information, both of a practical and theoretical nature, is now available in a convenient form, as a result of investigations already conducted. The question, however, in its particular application to local conditions, is by no means clear; and if Maryland is to adopt a workmen's compensation act, one of the most important considerations should be the probable effect that any act, either as to the scope of the obligation or scale of compensation, would have as an additional tax on our local industries. Pending the adoption of a real compensation act, however, we may feel reasonably assured that Chapter 837, of the Acts of 1912, will prove neither mischievous nor beneficial.


REPORT OF COMMISSION ON EMPLOYERS' LIABILITY, TOGETHER WITH THE EVIDENCE AND TESTIMONY TAKEN
REPORT TO GOVERNOR

Many States have passed employer's liability laws, most of them based upon the reports of investigating commissions. The New Jersey commission's work is typical of the better class of these reports, and the New Jersey law is, in many respects, a model statute. -- EDITOR'S NOTE.

-462-

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