PROFIT SHARING IN THE UNITED STATES.
One of the greatest advantages resulting from the present system of economic freedom is the great scope given for variation of social types. Through individual initiative these variations are produced, to be developed or annihilated by social forces as the variations are or are not conformable to the existing social environment. In a study of such variations, either in an attempt to determine the action of social forces upon them as exemplifying social progress, or in an estimate of their statical value to the existing system, it is essential to distinguish between the many similar variations in the same direction. This is not done in the study of the subject under consideration. The wage system, now well established for a century, has shown a decided tendency to vary. This variation is chiefly in the direction of the admission of the laborers into a share of the product, in addition to their participation as wage receivers. But to designate all such variations, or even many of them, "profit sharing," is manifestly improper. The fact that a type indicates a tendency to vary in a given direction is prima facie evidence of the expediency of some such change, to the type at least. But of these many variations one is to be selected, while the many fail to conform to the requirements of the environment. To judge then of the merits of such a tendency in a given direction, by averaging the success of these many variations is illogical; no less so is it to estimate the value of any one variation by a similar general average. It is essential for either purpose to study each variation separately. Only by such a relative study and estimate can a trustworthy judgment be reached.
Hence, for the present purpose, such a definition of terms as the following cannot be accepted. "The term profit sharing may be applied to any arrangement whereby labor is rewarded in addition to its wages, or in lieu of wages, by participation in the