THE LONG DAY AND THE PROBLEM OF INDUSTRIAL FATIGUE
INCREASED LEISURE AND IMPROVED WORKING CONDITIONS
1. Human Conservation. -- Excessive hours of labor represent a form of industrial exploitation which is not confined only to women and children, but which also involves a large portion of our adult male workers. Human conservation requires a restriction of the hours of all laborers and an improvement of working conditions in all kinds of employment.
In Chap. VII was discussed the inadequacy of the wages of many adult male workers to maintain a decent standard of living for their families. It is also true that the hours of labor are often the longest and the conditions of work the most fatiguing among those labor groups which suffer the most from inadequate wages. Human conservation involves not only a living wage but also the reduction of the long working day and the improvement of general conditions of employment. The quantitative side of human conservation is that of fewer hours of work, and its qualitative side is that of a reduction of the strains, discomforts, and hazards of modern industry.
The invention of power machinery has made it possible to increase output and to decrease the hours of work. Modern technology has not only increased our national prosperity, but it has also offered the possibility of increased leisure. These gains of the Industrial Revolution, however, were not realized immediately by the workers in the form of higher standards of living and shorter hours of work. It was not until after the development of effective collective bargaining that labor organizations began to attack successfully the evils of subnormal standards of living and excessive hours of work.
The modern increase of power machinery, the introduction of new processes, and the spread of scientific management have increased still further our industrial productivity, so that more wealth than formerly can now be produced in a still shorter time. Although modern industry is characterized by new hazards, greater monotony, and increased strain, it also offers the possibility of higher wages and shorter hours. Hence, a study of industrial efficiency must be supplemented by a consideration of these various problems of human conservation. Industry exists for man and not man for industry.
Increased productivity must be accompanied by shorter hours of work, as well as by increased wages. Under the lure of piece work and