Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/94

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Unemployment Insurance.—The establishment and promotion of unemployment insurance, especially amongst unskilled and unorganized labour, is of paramount importance in averting distress arising from unemployment, and is of such national importance as to justify, under specified conditions, contributions from public funds towards its furtherance. The commission further state that this insurance can best be promoted by utilizing the agency of existing trade organizations, or of organizations of a similar character. They are of opinion that no scheme of unemployment insurance, either foreign or British, which has been brought before them, is so free from objections as to justify them in recommending it for general adoption.

Labour Colonies.—The commission recommend their establishment and use. (For these see Vagrancy.)

Four out of the seventeen members of the commission, being unable to agree with their colleagues, issued a separate report, which is very nearly as voluminous as that of the majority. Their recommendations were more drastic than those of the majority, and had for their aim Minority Report. not a reform of the poor law as it exists, but its entire breakup. The minority agree with the majority in recommending the abolition of workhouses, but instead of setting up new authorities, they consider that the duties of the guardians should be transferred to the county authorities, with an appropriate distribution among four existing committees of the county council. They recommend that the education committee become responsible for the entire care of children of school age. That the health committee should care for the sick and permanently incapacitated, infants under school age, and the aged requiring institutional care. The asylums committee should have charge of the mentally defective and the pension committee of the aged to whom pensions are awarded.

The minority consider there should be some systematic coordination, within each local area, of all forms of public assistance and, if possible, of all assistance dispensed by voluntary agencies, and they recommend the appointment, by the county or county borough council, of one or more responsible officers, called “registrars of public assistance.” Their duties would be to keep a register of all persons receiving any form of public assistance within their districts; they would assess the charge to be made on individuals liable to pay any part of the cost of the service rendered to them or their dependants, and recover the amount thus due. They would also have to consider the proposals of the various committees of the council for the payment of out-relief, or, as the minority prefer to term it, “home aliment.” Other various duties are allotted to them in the report.

The subject of unemployment was considered by the minority and they made the following recommendations:—

Ministry of Labour.—The duty of organizing the national labour market should be laced upon a minister responsible to parliament. The ministry of labour should have six distinct and separately organized divisions; viz. the national labour exchange; the trade insurance division; the maintenance and training division; the industrial regulation division; the emigration and immigration division, and the statistical division.

National Labour Exchange.—The function of the national labour exchange should be, not only, (a) to ascertain and report the surplus or shortage of labour of particular kinds, at particular places; and ('b) to diminish the time and energy now spent in looking for work, and the consequent leaking between jobs; but also (c) so to dovetail casual and seasonal employments as to arrange for practical continuity of work for those now chronically unemployed.

Absorption of Surplus Labour.'—To reduce the surplus of labour the minority recommend (a) that no child should be employed, in any occupation whatsoever, below the age of fifteen; no young person under eighteen for more than thirty hours per week, and all so employed should be required to attend some suitable public institution for not less than thirty) hours per week for physical training and technical education; (b) the hours of labour of railway, omnibus and tramway employees should be reduced to a maximum of sixty, if not of forty-eight in any one week; and (c) wage-earning mothers of young children should be withdrawn from the industrial world by giving them sufficient public assistance for the support of their families.

Regularization of the National Demand for Labour.—In order to meet the periodically recurrent general depressions of trade the government should take advantage of there being at these periods as much unemployment of capital as there is unemployment of labour; that it should definitely undertake, as far as practicable, the regularization of the national demand for labour; and that it should, for this purpose, and to the extent of at least £4,000,000 a year, arrange a portion of the ordinary work required by each department on a ten years’ programme; £40,000,000 worth of work for the decade being then put in hand, not by equal annual instalments, but exclusively in the lean years oi the trade Cycle; being paid for out of loans for short terms raised as they are required, and being executed with the best available labour, at standard rates, engaged in the ordinary way. That in this ten years programme there should be included works of afforestation, coast protection and land reclamation; to be carried out by the board of agriculture exclusively in the lean years of the trade cycle; by the most suitable labour obtainable, taken on in the ordinary way at the rates locally current for the work, and paid for out of loans raised as required.

Trade Union Insurance.—In view of its probable adverse effect on trade union membership and organization the minority commissioners cannot recommend the establishment of any plan of government or compulsory insurance against unemployment. They recommend, however, a government subvention not exceeding one half of the sum actually paid in the last preceding year as out-of-work benefit should be offered to trade unions or other societies providing such benefit.

Maintenance and Training.—For the ultimate residuum of men in distress from want of employment the minority recommend that maintenance should be freely provided, without disfranchisement, on condition that they submit themselves to the physical and mental training that they may prove to require. Suitable day training depots or residential farm colonies should be established, where the men's whole working time would be absorbed in such varied beneficial training of body and mind as they proved capable of; their wives and families being, meanwhile, provided with adequate home aliment.

Authorities.—The Report and Evidence of the Royal Commission of 1905–1909 is a library in itself on the subject of pauperism. The contents of the various volumes are given supra. Other important publications are Report and Evidence of Royal Commission on Aged Poor (1895); Report and Evidence of Select Committee of House of Commons on Distress from Want of Employment (1895); Report of Departmental Committee on Vagrancy (1906). See also the references in the bibliography to Charity and Charities; and Sir G. Nicholls and T. Mackay, A History of the English Poor Law (3 vols., 1899); the publications of the Charity Organization Society; Reports of Poor Law Conferences. For list of subjects discussed, see index to Report of Central Conferences.

POPAYAN, a city of Colombia, capital of the department of Cauca, about 240 m. S.W. of Bogota, on the old trade route between that city and Quito, in 2° 26′ N., 76° 49′ W. Pop. (1870), 8485; (1906, estimate), 10,000. Popayan is built on a great plain sloping N.W. from the foot of the volcano Purace, near the source of the Cauca and on one of its small tributaries, 5712 ft. above the sea. Its situation is singularly picturesque, the Purace rising to an elevation of 15,420 ft. about 20 m. south-east of the city, the Sotara volcano to approximately the same height about the same distance. south by east, and behind these at a greater distance the Pan de Azucar, 15,978 ft. high. The ridge forming the water-parting between the basins of the Cauca and Patia rivers crosses between the Central and Western Cordilleras at this point and culminates a few miles to the south. Popayan is the seat of a bishopric dating from 1547, whose cathedral was built by the Jesuits; and in the days of its prosperity it possessed a university of considerable reputation. It has several old churches, a college, two seminaries founded about 1870 by the French Lazarists, who have restored and occupy the old Jesuit convent, and a mint established in 1749. The city was at one time an important commercial and mining centre, but much of its importance was lost through the transfer of trade to Cali and Pasto, through the decay of neighbouring mining industries, and through political disturbances. Earthquakes have also caused much damage to Popayan, especially those of 1827 and 1834. The modern city has some small manufacturing industries, including woollen fabrics for clothing, but its trade is much restricted, and its importance is political rather than commercial.

Popayan was founded by Sebastian Benalcazar in 1538 on the site of an Indian settlement, whose chief, Payan, had the unusual honour of having his name given to the usurping town. In 1558 it received a coat of arms and the title of “Muy noble y muy leal” from the king of Spain—a distinction of great