Labor-saving Machinery. —What is to be the ultimate result of the constant “ improvement ”in machinery? It is easy to answer that by cheapening processes of production, articles which only the wealthy could formerly enjoy are brought within the reach of the poor, and that in this way the consumption is great’y increased, and a market opened for the increased supply. Up to a certain point that works admirably, but may there not be a point beyond which it will not work ? Does the demand increase in a ratio sufficient to furnish employment to those whom improvements in labor saving machines throw out of work, and if it has done so in the past, will it continue to do so in the future.? A person visiting a cottonmill will be struck by the loneliness of the vast halls in which the weaving is done. Busy minds are constantly seeking means to make it more lonely—that is, to reduce the number of persons necessary to carry on the work. A vast change has been wrought in this respect during the past decade, and the end is not yet, by any means, indeed, in some branches of manufacture it is claimed that the machinery has been made so nearly perfect that one person can tend a large roomful of machinery and have but little to do at that. Should the advance in this direcriou of labor saving be as great in the next decade as in that which has passed, it is difficult to believe that the old arguments will hold good. There is much food for earnest thought in this.
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