Northern Wisconsin Agricultural and Mechanical Association / Transactions of the Northern Wisconsin Agricultural and Mechanical Association, including a full report of the industrial convention held at Neenah, Wisconsin, February, 1886. Together with proceedings of the Association for 1884, to January 1, '86
Vol. XI (1886)
Bright, C. M.
Taxation, pp. 273-306 PDF (6.8 MB)
AGRICULTURAL AND MECHANICAL ASSOCIATION. 235 wealth and power, and the distance that separates the two classes will grow as rapidly. The increasing millions of the people, cut off from their equal right to the use of the land, forced to pay to the fav- ored landholders a tribute for the right to live, must grow poorer. The condition here will be as it is in Europe. There will be competition among laborers for a chance to work. Wages will go down. The pauper class will increase. This is the condition the world over, where land is monopolized. Where it is not monopolized, wages are high and there is no pauper class. The reason, and I believe the only reason why wages are higher in the United States than in Europe, is because there is not yet such a close monopoly of the land as in Europe. But wages here are on a constantly decreas- ing scale. This is because rents increase, and by rents under- stand not amounts paid for the use of land by the tenant to the landlord, but the value of its use, occupied by tenant or the owner himself. If land increases in value, it is because the rent increases. And if rent increases, the return to labor and capital must decrease. The productive power of labor has been doubled and quadrupled within fifty years in all civilized countries. But wages have not advanced, because rents have increased and swallowed up the results of the increased production. As civilization advances wealth increases, but wages are driven lower because rents advance. LaDd monopoly in Europe has produced a condi- tion of things that forces the tremendous tide of emigration to this country, where land monopoly if it is not checked, and an overstocked labor market are preparing a condition of things for the laboring class, such as the world has never seen. We are a young people, but we have given the world some startling examples in making millionnaires and paupers already. Give the subject time enough to make a picture of what we will be able to show the world in another hun- dred years, with the population there will be then! It is a poorly managed government that has no thought of the future. The condition of things that, under the present order, is coming to this country, as it has come to Europe, will be
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