But the real cause will be clear if you
will consider that since labor must find its
workshop and reservoir in land, the labor question
is but another
name for the land question, and will reexamine
your assumption that private property in land
is necessary and right. ...
You assume that the labor question is a question
between wage-workers and their employers. But
working for wages is not the primary or exclusive
occupation of labor. Primarily men work for
themselves without the intervention of an employer.
And the primary source of wages is in the earnings
of labor, the man who works for himself and
consumes his own products receiving his wages
in the fruits of his labor. Are not fishermen,
boatmen, cab-drivers, peddlers, working farmers — all,
in short, of the many workers who get their
wages directly by the sale of their services
or products without the medium of an employer,
as much laborers as those who work for the
specific wages of an employer? In your consideration
of remedies you do not seem even to have thought
of them. Yet in reality the laborers who work
for themselves are the first to be considered,
since what men will be willing to accept from
employers depends manifestly on what they can
get by working for themselves.
You assume that all employers are rich men,
who might raise wages much higher were they
not so grasping. But is it not the fact that
the great majority of employers are in reality
as much pressed by competition as their workmen,
many of them constantly on the verge of failure?
Such employers could not possibly raise the
wages they pay, however they might wish to,
unless all others were compelled to do so.
... read the whole letter