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A Clerical Reformer.

The Rev. James S. Hill delivered a lecture at the Auckland Wesley Hall before the Anti-Poverty Society on * The More Equal Distribution of Wealth.' There was a crowded attendance. The lecturer said there was a need for a more equal distribution of wealth. The wage-workers of the Mother Country formed 97 per cent, of the population, and received 41 per cent, of the net earnings, the remaining 3 per cent, of population taking 59 per cent, of the earnings. Some of the attempts made to secure a more equal distribution of wealth had proved prejudicial. Trades unions had sometimes driven trade into other channels, and had not been able to give continuous employment, and wages had thus been less. In 1888 the loss from strikes in America equalled one month's wages of 350,000 men, or S£ per cent, of the whole wages. The lecturer dealt with some common fallacies respecting wages. First, as to too many workers. He pointed out that all wageworkers were also consumers, and therefore created a demand for other labor and products. Another fallacy was that if wages were too high they were unable to compete with foreign countries, and that cheap labor meant prosperity. This was not so. With regard to the first statement, six Englishmen could produce as much as twenty-four Frenchmen, seventy-five Italians, or 150 Indians, with the aid of their improved machinery. Anothor fallacy was that raising the rate of wages lessened the profits of capitalists. The lecturer showed that the amount of capital which could be properly invested in any country depended on the purchasing power of the population. He pointed out the profitable investment of capital amounted in Russia to L3B per head, wages 14s 6d per week, while in England the rate was L 260 per head, and wages 28s per week. The lecturer went on briefly to point out the way to increase the income of the workers, and he recommended diflerent methods of employing labor, profit-sharing, and co-opera-tion, which lead to less waste and diminished cost of supervision, and showed how these influenced incomes of workers. He urged great attention to technical education, and also that the working men doing their eight hours a day should consider the shopkeepers within a stone's throw of that hall who were kept woiking fifteon hours a day through their late shopping. He did not know ho >v far legislation could deal with late shopping and houra of trade, but in Newton one man prevented all the shops being shut at eight o'clock in the evening through bis holding out, and another man in Queen street prevented a drapers' Saturday afternoon holiday through similar conduct.

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Bibliographic details

A Clerical Reformer., Evening Star, Issue 8053, 1 November 1889

Word Count

A Clerical Reformer. Evening Star, Issue 8053, 1 November 1889