By Hon. DAVID A. WELLS.
ECONOMIC DISTURBANCE SERIES, No. VIII.
THE causes of the almost universal discontent of labor, which has characterized the recent transitions in the world's methods of production and distribution, and which, intensified by such transitions, have been more productive of disturbances than at any former period, (for, as previously shown, there are really no new factors concerned in the experiences under consideration), would seem to be mainly these:
1. The displacement or supplanting of labor through more economical and effective methods of production and distribution.
2. Changes in the character or nature of employments consequent upon the introduction of new methods — machinery or processes — which in turn, it is claimed, have tended to lower the grade of labor, impair the independence and restrict the mental development of the laborer.
3. The increase in intelligence, or general information, on the part of the masses, in all civilized countries.
To a review of the character and influence of these several causes, separately and in detail, attention is next invited.
And, first, as to the extent and influence of the displacement of labor through more economic and effective methods of production and distribution. Of the injury thus occasioned, and of the suffering attendant, no more pitiful and instructive example of recent date could be given, than the following account, furnished to the United States Department of State, of the effect of the displacement of hand-loom weaving in the city of Chemnitz, Saxony, by the introduction and use of the power-loom:
- Report of United States Consul George C. Tanner, Chemnitz, December,, 1886.