The Labor Movement.
WHAT IT IS TENDING TO.
The Bishop of Christclmrch, speaking at a meeting concerning early closing of shops, said :— The question of shorter hours for shop assistants, I may say, is only one part of the development of that great labor question, in which every intelligent man takes the deepest interest as it progresses day by day. We view it with a certain amount of alarm—we cannot help doing so—but also with a certain amount of hope. The great organisations are growing and determined, and will insist on lighter hours and heavier wages—(loud applause)—wait a bit till you" hear the finish of the sentence—than are consistent with market wages. It is quite possible, you will admit, for men to ask more than they are worth under present circumstances, and when they come to press and get an advance in wages and shorter hours, then people predict the breakdown of our commercial system. Ladies and gentlemen, there is looming in the not distant future great and terrible changes. If we look at them and see that the commercial system which has existed for some 300 years is not consistent with trades unionism what will follow 1 If men are asking for shorter ! hours and heavier wages that can be granted under the present commercial system, I ask again, what will follow ? Some people say chaos, universal bankruptcy, and breakdown of all commerce, and a harking back to a condition of semi-barbarism. I don't believe it for a moment. What I hope will break down is the system of unhealthy competition. It will break down the system of monopolies and commercial speculation. The sooner the better. It will break down the long existing conflict
between capital and labor, and -the sooner the better also. But are we only to have breaking down? I do not think so. I look abroad on what is going on, what is taking place amongst us, and see signs of building up. I see it in the popularity of such works as "Looking Backward." If, however, the theory which is laid down in "Looking Backward" is to be carried into practical effect I see, too, that the clergymen will have a great deal of work to do during the next hundred years or so in the direction of endeavoring to work a change in the human heart, for we are a pack of selfish creatures after all. Then I see the signs of a desire to build up, in the articles which app eared in our daily papers with regard to communities, socialistic and communistic. I see it in the railways—which in this country are splendid affairs—and in the Post Office system ; but you may rely upon it that when the State gets hold of you, my boys, j there will be no strikes for you. I see it in the spread of the principles of cooperation, in which I most thoroughly and sincerely believe. It has been kept back by jobbery and corruption, but it'still has managed to come to the front. All these, ladies and gentlemen, are signs of the construction of a new system which take the place of the old system of commerce, and the perpetual conflict which has been waged between labor and capital will come to an end.
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The Labor Movement., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2466, 16 July 1890
The Labor Movement. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2466, 16 July 1890
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