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When visiting the Sioux, I was led to the wigwam of the chief.It was just like the others in external appearance, and even within the difference was trifling between it and those of the poorest of his braves.Having accepted these, it follows that there must be great scope for the exercise of special ability in the merchant and in the manufacturer who has to conduct affairs upon a great scale.
Formerly articles were manufactured at the domestic hearth or in small shops which formed part of the household.
The master and his apprentices worked side by side, the latter living with the master, and therefore subject to the same conditions.
Each caste is without sympathy for the other, and ready to credit anything disparaging in regard to it.
Under the law of competition, the employer of thousands is forced into the strictest economies, among which the rates paid to labor figure prominently, and often there is friction between the employer and the employed, between capital and labor, between rich and poor. The price which society pays for the law of competition, like the price it pays for cheap comforts and luxuries, is also great; but the advantage of this law are also greater still, for it is to this law that we owe our wonderful material development, which brings improved conditions in its train.
The experienced in affairs always rate the MAN whose services can be obtained as a partner as not only the first consideration, but such as to render the question of his capital scarcely worth considering, for such men soon create capital; while, without the special talent required, capital soon takes wings.
Such men become interested in firms or corporations using millions; and estimating only simple interest to be made upon the capital invested, it is inevitable that their income must exceed their expenditures, and that they must accumulate wealth.But whether the change be for good or ill, it is upon us, beyond our power to alter, and therefore to be accepted and made the best of. In the manufacture of products we have the whole story.It applies to all combinations of human industry, as stimulated and enlarged by the inventions of this scientific age.The price we pay for this salutary change is, no doubt, great.We assemble thousands of operatives in the factory, in the mine, and in the counting-house, of whom the employer can know little or nothing, and to whom the employer is little better than a myth. Rigid castes are formed, and, as usual, mutual ignorance breeds mutual distrust.When these apprentices rose to be masters, there was little or no change in their mode of life, and they, in turn, educated in the same routine succeeding apprentices.There was, substantially social equality, and even political equality, for those engaged in industrial pursuits had then little or no political voice in the State.What were the luxuries have become the necessaries of life.The laborer has now more comforts than the landlord had a few generations ago.The contrast between the palace of the millionaire and the cottage of the laborer with us today measures the change which has come with civilization.This change, however, is not to be deplored, but welcomed as highly beneficial.