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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)

Page 285

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
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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