The importance of the subject with which the present work deals cannot well be over-estimated. Our age may properly be called the Era of Woman, because everything which affects her receives consideration quite unknown in past centuries. This is well. The motive is twofold: First, woman is valued as never before; and, second, it is perceived that the welfare of the other half of the human race depends more largely upon the position enjoyed by woman than was previously understood.
easingly to a minimum which will give but a bare living. For skilled labor the law may be regarded as elastic rather than iron. For unskilled, it is as certainly the tendency, which, if constantly repeated and so intensified, would end as law. Many standard economists regard it as already fixed; and writers like Lasalle, Proudhon, Bakunin, and Marx heap every denunciation upon it.
Were the fact actually established, no words could be too strong or too bitter to define this new form of slavery. The standard of life and comfort affects the wages of labor, and there is constant effort to make the wage correspond to this standard. It is an unending and often bitter struggle, nowhere better summed up than by Thorold Rogers in his "Six Centuries of Work and Wages,"--a work upon which economists, however different their conclusions, rely alike for facts and figures.
We must then admit in degree the tendency of wages to a minimum, especially those of unskilled labor, and accept it as one more motive for
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