Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

little of the diseases of animals, and but little appreciated the direct relation existing between healthy condition of the stock industry and prosperity of the commonwealth. Since then they have learned that the stock diseases may spread from herd to herd, and from state to state; that they not only affect the purity of the food in the market, but tend directly to affect the cost of living of the whole people. So, the protection of Mr. Jones' stock has become of almost as much interest to the commonwealth as a whole as to the stock industry, or even to Mr. Jones himself.

The same appreciation of relationship has come about concerning banks, insurance companies, building and loan associations and the other important agencies whereby incidental industry is carried on. Today insurance is a proper part of every man's assets and investments and, for the general good of the commonwealth rather than for the security of the individual, it is necessary not only that some, but that all insurance companies shall be sound in organization as well as reasonable in the rate charged upon the people and the other industries. Under existing economic conditions so many of the citizens must invest and save by means of the building and loan association systems, and any failure of that system acts so directly upon the average of the population at large, that the safety of the building and loan companies has become an affair of the whole people. Through hard experience our country is learning that the stability of business depends, to a very great extent, upon the regularity of flow of the money supposed to be in circulation, and that the failure of a depository: licensed by the government to hold in safe keeping a portion of that money, affects directly and most injuriously not only the whole community but the whole commonwealth wherein the failure may occur. Banks are now recognized to be licensed agencies of government, performing, among their services in private industry, a governmental duty, for the failure of which government feels responsibility, and upon the performance of which the safety of other industries must depend. Likewise concerning our metal mines, where once we regarded the enterprise as the speculation of the individual, now we comprehend it as an individualized, indispensable industry, the condition of which affects the welfare of the country, and most directly the prosperity of every large city and every extensive farming community in our own state. We know now that the temporary depression of the metal mining industry lost to the cities and farming communities of Colorado from $8,000,000.00 to $10,000,000.00 worth of business per year.

We learn that the demand throughout the nation for our industrial metals, such as lead, zinc, copper and iron, is doubling in each twenty years. We find that through lack of devices, facilities or inventions capable of saving the metals out of the ore, a very large percentage of the metal produced from our mountains is lost, and permanently lost (Doctor Holmes, director of the National Bureau of Mines, estimates the total loss or waste of mineral wealth in the United States to amount to $1,000,000.00 per day, and it is safe to assert that in the metal mining industry alone it will amount to two-thirds of that sum). Through this broader view, this better understanding of the mining industry and its relation to business, we are made to realize that any assistance which might prevent the present unavoidable loss of metals, would make mining a thriving, sound and permanent business, would create a profitable home market for the other industries of the state, and would add immensely to the current as well as the permanent wealth of Colorado. Thus it comes home to us that the whole people are directly interested in mining; and that neither the state nor the federal government can afford to withhold from the industry any reasonable governmental assistance.

These same principles likewise apply to the other divisions of industry. Not only have the relations between different branches of enterprise become more close; but a broader knowledge and comprehension of the needs of individual industries, and the bearing of those needs upon the condition of the whole people, have been brought about. Government extends, because industry demands and the whole people approve.

The regulation of industry is merely the reverse application of the same knowledge, the same comprehension, the same understanding of the relation between enterprise and enterprise, and the bearing of all upon the public weal. The close relationship between one branch of business and another, between one class of workers and the populace in general, between the products of an organized industry and the people who must constitute its marketall serve to make as strong the demand for state regulation here as for government assistance there. It is better to aid and regulate the stock industry than to have diseased meat or higher-priced food; it is better to help horticulture than to have blighted orchards; it is better to regulate coal mining than to suffer mine explosions and entombment of men; it is better for the whole people to aid the metal mining industry than for the whole people to suffer because of its decadence; it is better for the state to assume the burden of building and supervising state highways than not to have the highways.

As to those agencies of public service included under the term of “public utilities”, all of the reasons which tend to make reasonable regulation of other industries desirable, apply with full force; and, in addition, these utilities, from their very nature, tend to compel the commonwealth to exercise supervision. As a general rule, they are owned and operated through corporations licensed by the state; and cover a field of enterprise wherein, from the nature of the conditions, the service must be a monopoly; and render service which the patrons have no choice in accepting: or rejecting but must use and must pay for. It seems to be not a question of whether supervision by the state of public utilities will be assumed, but merely of when. And, as advocated sometime since by President Vaile of the Telephone Company, reasonable regulation by the government ought to contribute as much

to the soundness and permanency of such semi-public enterprises as it contributes to the good service of the people.

As to the bureaus serving specially the interests of labor, it would seem proper to include them in the same general department with regulation of industry; but labor, instead of taking position as a division of industry, is a foundation. If any criticism is to be made of the bureaus concerning labor it would seem to be that they are not broad enough in scope and are not founded to delve deep enough into the economic elements affecting the welfare of men who work. Labor is broader than any particular class of workmen. Its condition is not measured by wages received, but is just as directly affected by cost of living. It is not sufficient to learn and record the number of accidents. More than one state has already recognized the duty of government, not only to guard against accident but to aid in lessening the calamity of accident. Employers' liability insurance does not meet the necessity. What is needed is an insurance to protect the family of the workman injured, as well as the employer, and at the same time to avoid the waste of money in litigation concerning the financial burden of the accident. Governmental agencies pertaining to labor and the economic condition of those who work will necessarily extend.

Another field in which the state is being called upon, and will be called upon, to give aid to industry, relates to the relative proportion or, we might say, the equalizing of industries.

For instance, at this time the state does much to aid agriculture to produce crops, and goes so far as to maintain a bureau of immigration in order to bring in more farmers to raise more crops; but the product of agriculture must have a market, and a large percentage of that product demands a local market in the immediate community; so, unless the home market keeps pace with farm products, the bringing in of more farmers does not accomplish prosperity for agriculture. In many sections of the state abundant water-power is going to waste where mills, and

[ocr errors]

possibly factories, might be profitably operated, thus creating market and making better proportion between the industries. Again, there may be a good market for products that could be manufactured or produced at home, but, nevertheless, are shipped in from outside the state. There seems to be no question but that a considerable percentage of the product of industry is needlessly sacrificed one way or another in long distance freight. This merely illustrates the importance of a field for assistance to business in which there is no agency and no power to do the work, unless it shall be undertaken through the good offices of the state.

On the whole, the state's activities in aid of and in regulation of industry will extend rather than retreat. The extension is not a matter of reform nor of attempt to transact business by legislation. It arises out of the better understanding of business conditions and business relations. It is simply a supplying by the whole people of their aid in some proportion to their actual financial interest. Industry takes the lead and legislation merely follows. While these extensions of state activity require new laws and new agencies of administration, it does not mean that we are entering upon an era of excessive legislation. The old conditions to which former laws applied pass away, and with the coming of new conditions legislation must follow, or else leave fields of human activity unserved and unprotected by the laws of the land.

EXPLOITATION OF INDUSTRY.

But there is another general condition which has grown out of modern economic progress in our country, which, in my judgment, must have much bearing upon the industrial department of government, and must have much weight in impelling the government to extend its domain. This condition consists of the prevalent and very general exploitation of industry—the taking from those who must buy a charge over and above all reasonable competitive profit; a tribute above normal price; and for which

« ZurückWeiter »