Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 66.djvu/536

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Without a robust constitution and average physical strength, the immigrant can not cope successfully with the hardships which he will be called upon to endure in his new home. The immigrant of poor physique is not able to perform rough labor, and even if he were able, employers of labor would not hire him. The large employers of labor expect and demand men physically strong enough to do a fair day's work. The only place where the immigrant with a poor physique can make a living is in the large city, where he becomes either a parasite or a competitor of American skilled labor. The unfair competition of this type of immigrant can be better understood if one takes into consideration his standard of living and the system of sweat-shop production.

There is no longer demand for foreign skilled labor in the United States. Skilled labor in its ratio to unskilled labor among Americans has steadily increased until now the American skilled laborer can supply every demand, and each foreign skilled laborer who comes here comes as a competitor of our own workmen. On the other hand, the demand for unskilled labor is increasing in proportion to the decrease of American unskilled laborers. This demand will continue until our present industrial and commercial expansion ceases. New lands are opened up by settlement or by irrigation. Intensive methods of farming make possible a great increase of rural population, and this agricultural expansion creates an increased demand for manufactures. Thus our industrial and agricultural expansion progress side by side, and for this progress we must have plenty of brawn and muscle—unskilled labor. Americans can fill the requirements of the skilled laborers and mechanics, but if capitalists had to depend on native Americans for the unskilled labor necessary for their projects, these projects would never be carried to completion, or, if attempted, would be certain of financial failure.

The introduction of improved machinery, with its enormous effect upon our power of production, made necessary increased numbers of unskilled laborers and without these sturdy workers the use of machinery would not be successful financially or otherwise, and we should retrogress to the position of manual production which we occupied twenty-five years ago. Immigration and machinery are both charged with displacing American labor and depressing wages, but they are simply new forces demanded and made necessary by the expansion of our industries. To prohibit either is to paralyze industry, to stand still as a producing power, and to stand still is only the temporary pause before retrogression begins. Commercial prosperity is simply this expansion of industry and trade consequent upon the development of new resources. This development is the result of capital invested. Capitalists before investing invariably demand assurance that sufficient labor is forthcoming to carry out the proposed work, and that the compensa-