Page:American Journal of Sociology Volume 11.djvu/880

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


by law give work to provide for the improvident. However, it is the duty of the state to give relief, and that well planned, to the epileptic, the blind, and mentally afflicted who swell the ranks of the suffering poor. Germany sets the example in this respect.

If those who constantly encourage the poor to look to* the state to remedy social conditions would frankly recognize that the question is far more moral than either political or economic, they would save much disappointment. Let them preach reformation from within, rather than assistance from without. C. Baumgarten, in Economic Review, October, 1905. S. E. W. B.

Dangerous Trades. The International Conference on Dangerous Trades this year, at Berne, where a plan for protective legislation for all workers in dan- gerous trades was brought within the range of practical politics, suggests this paper. There are two kinds of industrial dangers: (i) risk of accident; (2) peril, because of unwholesome conditions, involving use of poisonous materials.

Take the first class. The annual tale of industrial accidents is appalling. The willingness of the manufacturer to accept official counsel is an encourage- ment. The number of accidents would be reduced by three remedies : ( i ) pro- viding dangerous machinery with effective guards ; (2) maintaining proper fencing about the machinery ; (3) limiting the hours of labor. Age is an element in reckoning the number of accidents ; young girls and children are allowed to manipulate dangerous machinery. Risk of accident is the chief peril in bottling of beer and aerated waters. This can be remedied by wearing of masks and guards ; but employers are not always careful in noting breaches of these special rules.

Passing to the second class, trades less visibly perilous, we find occupations inducing or predisposing to disease, undermining health, and thus affecting the future of the race. Pre-eminent are the "dusty" trades ; e. g., miners, lead- workers, chimney-sweeps, etc. The remedy for reducing disease and death is special rules, intelligently and conscientiously put into practice. Witness the nearly complete victory over necrosis in match-making factories ; the lessening number of cases -of plumbism among workers in lead. Rules for protection is not enough ; we must seek ways to render the trades harmless. Let science eliminate the injurious materials used in manufacture. France is showing England the way in this respect. Of course, the special rules are limited by conditions. The faithful observance of every rule in a set is necessary if the set achieve a purpose.

Besides these dangerous trades, there are also trades e. g., the hatters trade, vulcanizing of india rubber ; lifting excessive weights, and extreme specialization which expose to infection by anthrax spores. Steaming is the remedy.

In conclusion, two reflections : First, where regulation of dangerous trades is attempted, the regulations should be real. The second points to an extension of legislation also. Ought not sufferers of diseases from occupation to be eligible for compensation? But more important than compensation is preserva- tion. Let science make wholesome the hitherto injurious occupations. Constance Smith, in Economic Review, October, 1905. S. E. W. B.

The Unemployed. In dealing with the problem of the unemployed advances should be made along the following lines: (i) Restore the land to its proper use by a constructive policy of home colonization ; (2) attempt to solve the problem of the physical deterioration of town children, by better safeguarding the life of the child both before and after birth, by medical examination on entering school, and supervision throughout school life, and by feeding the necessitous school children ; (3) raise the minimum age of employment, abolish child vagrancy, continue compulsory education by evening classes till the age of six- teen or seventeen ; (4) a more equitable system of taxation and rating ; (5) reduction of the hours of labor; (6) the discouragement of the breeding of the unfit ; (7) the diminution of the temptations to drunkenness and betting. G. P. Gouch, in Contemporary Review, March, 1906. S. E. W. B.