NAME THAT ECONOMIST!

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It will, for instance, appear to them manifestly unjust and by no means conducive to the object in view, to prevent an old man taking service at the best wages he can command, because those wages do not happen to be trade union wages. I have been informed that, as a consequence of obtaining a contract with the London County Council, which has fallen in with the views of trade unionists in this matter, a certain firm had to choose between dismissing a number of old workmen whose ability was failing, and employing them at a rate of wages which they were unable to earn. This crusade against the aged has without doubt thrown many very worthy persons out of employment, and in some places has increased the rate of pauperism. A similar policy is pursued with regard to the young and the less competent. Young men just out of their apprenticeship, and those who have not established a reputation for competence, are occasionally dismissed or rejected because the employer does not see his way to employ them at the wages of a fully competent man. This denial of a right of market prevents them from ever becoming competent, and they are left to deteriorate in the ranks of the unemployable. Society is then left face to face with the insoluble problem of how to employ an aggregation of the least competent labourers collected from all points of our industrial system. This difficulty of the unemployed is of our own creation. Collectively, the unemployed are the unemployable. Remove these restrictions, and in small numbers, here a few, and there a few, this residuum will be distributed throughout our national industries by the ordinary action of Free Exchange. All will not exchange at the same price, for there are different qualities of labour, but all will exchange at a price which at the moment is an advantage to all concerned, and that price must always be an upward tending price.






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