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Title: Creative Impulse in Industry - A Proposition for Educators
Author: Marot, Helen, 1865-1940
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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_A Proposition for Educators_








The Bureau of Educational Experiments is a group of men, and women who
are trying to face the modern problems of education in a scientific
spirit. They are conducting and helping others to conduct experiments
which hold promise of finding out more about children as well as how
to set up school environments which shall provide for the children's
growth. From these experiments they hope eventually may evolve a
laboratory school.

Among their surveys the past year, one by Helen Marot has resulted in
this timely and significant book. The experiment which is outlined at
the close seems to the Bureau to be of real moment,--one of which both
education and industry should take heed. They earnestly hope it may be
tried immediately. In that event, the Bureau hopes to work with Miss
Marot in bringing her experiment to completion.










A friend of mine in describing the Russian people as he observed them
in their present revolution said it was possible for them to accept
new ideas because they were uneducated; they did not, he said, labor
under the difficulty common among educated people of having to get rid
of old ideas before they took on new ones. I think what he had in mind
to say that it is difficult to accept new ideas when your mind is
filled with ideas which are institutional. The ideas which come out of
formal education, out of the schools, out of books, are ideas which
have been stamped as the true and important ones; many of them are,
as they have proved their worth in service. But as they represent
authority, they pass into a people's mind with the full weight of
an accepted fact. The schools, the colleges, and the books are
not responsible primarily for the fixed ideas; every established
institution contributes fixed ideas as well as fixed customs and rules
of action. The schools and colleges circulate and interpret them.
The movement for industrial education in the United States is an
illustration of this.

The ideas which we find there have not sprung from schools or colleges
but from industry. The institution of industry, rather than the
institution of education, dominates thought in industrial education
courses. It is the institution of industry as it has affected the life
of every man, woman and child, which has inhibited educational thought
in conjunction with schemes for industrial schools. No established
system of education or none proposed is more circumscribed by
institutionalized thought than the vocational and industrial school

Educators have opposed the desire of business to attach the schools
to the industrial enterprise. They have rightly opposed it because
industry under the influence of business prostitutes effort.
Nevertheless, hand in hand with industry, the schools must function;
unattached to the human hive they are denied participation in life.
Promoters of industrial education are hung up between this fact of
prostituted industry and their desire to establish the children's
connection with life. They have tried to meet opposing interests; they
have not recognized all the facts because the facts were conflicting,
and their minds as well as their interests, institutionally speaking,
were committed to both.

This was the impasse we had apparently reached when the war occurred;
it is where we still are. But ahead of us, sometime, the war will end
and we shall be called then to face a period of reconstruction. The
reconstruction will center around industry. The efficiency with which
a worker serves industry will be the test of his patriotic fervor, as
his service in the army is made the test during this time of war. All
institutions will be examined and called upon to reorganize in such
ways as will contribute to the enterprise of raising industrial
processes to the standard of greatest efficiency.

The standard of mechanical efficiency as it was set by Germany was one
of refined brutality. During the progress of the war, the significance
of that standard is being grafted into the consciousness of the common
people of those nations which have opposed Germany in arms. It is the
industrial efficiency of Germany, uninhibited by a sense of human
development that has made her victories possible. It is that
efficiency which has kept a large part of the world on the defensive
for over three and a half years. Germany's military strategy is, in
the main, her industrial strategy; it represents her efficiency in
turning technology to the account of an imperial purpose.

But those organizations of manufacturers and business politicians who
believe that the same schemes of efficiency will function in America
will call upon the people after the war, it is safe to predict, to
emulate the methods which have given Germany its untoward strength.
While it is these methods which have made much hated Germany a menace
to the world and while the menace is felt by our own people, the
significance of the methods is but vaguely realized. It is probable
that after the war it will be said that it was not the German
methods which were objectionable, but that it was their use in an
international policy. Before the time for reconstruction comes, I hope
we shall discover how intrinsically false those methods are; and how
untrue to the growth process is the sort of efficiency Germany
has developed. I hope also that we shall realise that a policy of
paternalism has no place in the institutional life of our own country.
Before the war these German methods bore the character of high
success, and they had a large following in this country. There are
indeed many thousands of men and women in the United States, who,
while giving all they most care for, for the prosecution of the war
against Germany still support industrial and political policies and
dogmas which are in spirit essentially Prussian. The professional
Reformer here in America is not even yet fully conscious that German
paternalism (a phase of German efficiency) is the token of an enslaved

The German educational system as much if not more than its other
imperial schemes has been instrumental in developing the German
brand of industrial efficiency. The perfection in Germany of its
technological processes is made possible as the youth of the country
has been consecrated and sacrificed to the development of this
perfection in the early years of school training. Parents contribute
their children freely to an educational system which fits them into an
industrial institution which has an imperial destiny to fulfill. Each
person's place in the life of the nation is made for him during his
early years, like a predestined fact.

American business men before the war appreciated the educational
system which made people over into workers without will or purpose of
their own. But the situation was embarrassing as these business men
were not in a position to insist that the schools, supported by the
people, should prepare the children to serve industry for the sake of
the state, while industry was pursued solely for private interest.
Their embarrassment, however, will be less acute under the conditions
of industrial reconstruction which will follow the war. Then as
patriots, under the necessity of competing with Germany industrially,
they will feel free to urge that the German scheme of industrial
education, possibly under another name, be extended here and adopted
as a national policy. In other words as Germany has evolved its
methods of attaining industrial efficiency, and as the schools have
played the leading part in the attainment, the German system of
industrial education, private business may argue, should be given for
patriotic reasons full opportunity in the United States. If the German
system were introduced here, of course it is not certain that it could
deliver wage workers more ready and servile, less single-purposed
in their industrial activity than they are now. It was in Germany a
comparatively simple matter for the schools to make over the children
into effective and efficient servants, for, as Professor Veblen
explains, the psychology of the German people was still feudal
when the modern system of industry, with its own characteristic
enslavement, was imposed, ready-made, upon them; the German, people
unlike the Anglo-Saxon had not experienced the liberating effects of
the political philosophy which developed along with modern technology
in both England and America.[A]

[Footnote A: Thorstein Veblen.--Imperial Germany and the Industrial

First, then, it is not certain that the system of German industrial
education would succeed; and, second, if it did succeed it is not the
sort of education that America wants.

America wants industrial efficiency, it must have efficient workers if
it holds its place among nations, and American people will prove their
efficiency or their inefficiency as they are capable of using the
heritage which industrial evolution has given the world. But what
shall we use this efficiency for? For the sake of the heritage? For
the sake of business? For the sake of Empire?

Business knows very clearly why it wants it, but as a rule most of us
are not clearly conscious that we need, for the sake of our expansive
existence, to be industrially efficient. We are not even conscious
that industry is the great field for adventure and growth, because we
use that field not for the creative but for the exploitive purpose.

It is the present duty of American educators to realize these two
points: that industry is the great field for adventure and growth;
that as it is used now the opportunities for growth are inhibited
in the only field where productive experience can be a common one.
Shortly it will be the mission, of educators to show that by opening
up the field for creative purpose, fervor for industrial enterprise
and good workmanship may be realized; that only as the content of
industry in its administration as well as in the technique of its
processes is opened up for experiment and first-hand experience,
will a universal impulse for work be awakened. It is for educators,
together with engineers and architects, to demonstrate to the world
that while the idea of service to a political state may have the power
to accomplish large results, all productive force is artificially
sustained which is not dependent on men's desire to do creative work.
A state as we have seen, may invoke the idea of service. It might
represent the productive interests of a community if those interests
sprang from the expansive experience of a people in their creative

In the reconstructive period educators may have their opportunity to
extend the concept that the creative process is the educative process,
or as Professor Dewey states it, the educative process is the process
of growth. The reconstruction period will be a time of formative
thought; institutions will be attacked and on the defensive; and out
of the great need of the nations there may come change. Educators will
find their opportunity as they discover conditions under which the
great enterprise of industry may be educational and as they repudiate
or oppose institutions which exclude educational factors.

It is for educators to realize first of all that there can be no
social progress while there is antagonism between growth in wealth
(which is industry) and growth in individuals (which is education);
that the fundamental antagonisms which are apparent in the current
arrangement are not between industry and education but between
education and business. They must know that as business regulates and
controls industry for ulterior purposes, that is for other purposes
than production of goods, it thwarts the development of individual
lives and the evolution of society; that it values a worker not for
his potential productivity but for his immediate contribution to the
annual stock dividend; or if, as in Germany where his productive
potentiality is valued in terms of longer time, it is for the imperial
intention of the state and not for the growth of the individual or the
progress of civilisation.




As a human experience, the act of creating, the process of fabricating
wealth, has been at different times as worthy of celebration as the
possession of it. Before business enterprise and machine production
discredited handwork, art for art's sake, work for the love of work,
were conceivable human emotions. But to-day, a Cezanne who paints
pictures and leaves them in the field to perish is considered by the
general run of people, in communities inured to modern industrial
enterprise, as being not quite right in his head. Their estimate is
of course more or less true. But such valuations are made without the
help of creative inspiration, although the functioning of a product
has its creative significance. The creative significance of a product
in use, as well as an appreciation of the act of creating, would
be evident if modern production of wealth, under the influence of
business enterprise and machine technology, had not fairly well
extinguished the appreciation and the joy of creative experience in
countries where people have fallen under its influence so completely
as in our own.

It is usual in economic considerations to credit the period of
craftsmanship as a time in the evolution of wealth production that was
rich in creative effort and opportunity for the individual worker.
The craftsmanship period is valued in retrospect for its educative
influence. There was opportunity then as there is not now for the
worker to gain the valuable experience of initiating an idea and
carrying the production of an article to its completion for use and
sale in the market; there was the opportunity then also as there is
not now, for the worker to gain a high degree of technique and a
valuation of his workmanship. It is characteristic of workmanship that
its primary consideration is serviceability or utility. The creative
impulse and the creative effort may or may not express workmanship
or take it into account. Workmanship in its consideration of
serviceability oftentimes arrives at beauty and classic production,
when creative impulse without the spirit of workmanship fails. The
craftsmanship period deserves rank, but the high rank which is given
it is due in part to its historical relation to the factory era which
followed and crushed it. While craftsmanship represented expansive
development in workmanship, it is not generally recognized that
the Guild organization of the crafts developed modern business
enterprise.[A] Business is concerned wholly with utility, and not like
workmanship, with standards of production, except as those standards
contain an increment of value in profits to the owners of wealth. It
was during the Guild period that business came to value workmanship
because it contained that increment. In spite of business interest,
however, the standard of workmanship was set by skilled craftsmen, and
their standards represented in a marked degree the market value of the
goods produced by them.

[Footnote A: Thorstein Veblen; Instinct of Workmanship, pp. 211-212.]

While the exploitation of the skill of the workman in the interest of
the owners of raw materials and manufactured goods, had its depressing
and corrupting influence on creative effort, the creative impulse
found a stimulus in the respect a community still paid the skill and
ability of the worker. It was not until machine standards superseded
craft standards and discredited them that the processes of production,
the acts of fabrication, lost their standards of workmanship and their
educational value for the worker. The discredits were psychological
and economic; they revolutionized the intellectual and moral concepts
of men in relation to their work and the production of wealth.

As machine production superseded craftsmanship the basis of fixing
the price of an article shifted from values fixed by the standards of
workers to standards of machines, Professor Veblen says to standards
of salesmen. It is along these lines that mechanical science applied
to the production of wealth, has eliminated the personality of the
workers. A worker is no longer reflected in goods on sale; his
personality has passed into the machine which has met the requirements
of mass production.

The logical development of factory organisation has been the complete
coördination of all factors which are auxiliary to mechanical power
and devices. The most important auxiliary factor is human labor. A
worker is a perfected factory attachment as he surrenders himself to
the time and the rhythm of the machine and its functioning; as he
supplements without loss whatever human faculties the machine lacks,
whatever imperfection hampers the machine in the satisfaction of its
needs. If it lacks eyes, he sees for it; he walks for it, if it is
without legs; and he pulls, drags, lifts, if it needs arms. All of
these things are done by the factory worker at the pace set by the
machine and under its direction and command. A worker's indulgence in
his personal desires or impulses hinders the machine and lowers his
attachment value.

This division of the workers into eyes, arms, fingers, legs, the
plucking out of some one of his faculties and discarding the rest
of the man as valueless, has seemed to be an organic requirement of
machine evolution. So commendable the scheme has been to business
enterprise that this division of labor has been carried from the
machine shop and the factory to the scientific laboratories where
experiment and discovery in new processes of technology are developed,
and where, it is popularly supposed, a high order of intelligence is
required. The organization of technological laboratories, like the
organization of construction shops to which they are auxiliary, is
based on the breaking up of a problem which is before the laboratory
for its solution. The chemists, physicists, machinists and draftsmen
are isolated as they work out their assigned tasks without specific
knowledge of what the general problem is and how it is being attacked.
Small technological laboratories are still in existence where
the general problem in hand is presented as a whole to the whole
engineering staff, and is left to them as a group for independent and
associated experimentation. But even in such cases the technological
content does not necessarily supply the impulse to solve the problem
or secure a free and voluntary participation in its solution. Those
who are interested in its solution are inspired by its economic value
for them. In all technological laboratories, either where the problem
is broken up and its parts distributed among the employees of the
laboratory, or where it is given to them as a whole for solution, it
is given not as a sequence in the creative purpose of the individuals
who are at work on it, nor is its final solution necessarily
determined by its use and wont in a community. Problems brought to
the laboratory are tainted with the motive of industry which is not
creative, but exploitive.

The tenure of each man employed in production is finally determined
not by any creative interest of his own or of his employer but by
whether in the last analysis, he conforms better than another man to
the exigencies of profits. If profits and creative purpose happen to
be one and the same thing, his place in an industrial establishment
has some bearing on his intrinsic worth. Under such circumstances his
interest in the creative purpose of the establishment would have a
foundation, and he himself could value better than he otherwise would
his own part in the enterprise.

The economic organization of modern society though built on the
common people's productive energy has discounted their _creative
potentiality_. We hold to the theory that men are equal in their
opportunity to capture and own wealth; that their ability in that
respect is proof of their ability to create it; a proof of their
inherent capacity. It is a proof, as a matter of fact, of their
ability to compete in the general scheme of capture; their ability to
exploit wealth successfully. While the prevailing economic _theory_ of
production takes for granted men's creative _potentiality_ there is no
provision in our industrial institution for the common run of men to
_function_ creatively. There is no attempt in the general scheme for
trueing-up or estimating the creative ability of workers. In the
market, where the value of goods is determined, a machine tender has a
better chance than a craftsman. The popular belief is that the ability
of workers has native limitations, that these limitations are absolute
and that they are fixed at or before birth. This belief is a tenet
among those who hold positions of industrial mastery. Managers
of industry for instance who control a situation and create an
environment, demand that those who serve them meet the requirements
which they have fixed. They do not recognize that industrial ability
depends largely on the opportunity which an individual has had to make
adjustments to his surroundings and on his opportunity to master them
through experiment. A factory employee is required to do a piece of
work; and he does it, not because he is interested in the process or
the object, but because his employer wants it done.

In Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic countries, where people have fallen most
completely under the influence of machine production and business
enterprise, and where they have lost by the way their conception
of their creative potentiality, work is universally conceived as
something which people endure for the sake of being "paid off." Being
paid off, it seems abundantly clear, is the only reason a sane man can
have for working. After he is paid off the assumption is his pleasure
will begin. A popular idea of play is the absence of work, the
consumption of wealth, being entertained. Being entertained indeed
is as near as most adult men in these countries come to play. Their
Sundays and holidays are depressing occasions, shadowed by a forlorn
expectancy of something which never comes off.

The capacity of the French people for enjoying their holidays is much
the same as their capacity for enjoying their work. This, no doubt, is
a matter of native habituation. But however they came by it, it has
had its part in determining the industrial conditions of France. The
love of the people for making things has resisted in a remarkable way
the domination of machine industry and modern factory organization.
The French work shop, averaging six persons, is as characteristic
of France as the huge factory organization with the most modern
mechanical equipment is characteristic of American industry. As the
workers in these shops participate more intimately in the fabrication
of goods they come more nearly to a real participation in productive
enterprise. This close contact with the actual processes of production
gives the workers a sense of power. A sense of their relation to the
processes and their ability to control them engenders courage. Indeed
it is the absence of fear, rather than the absence of work, that
determines the capacity of men for play.

It was not accidental that the movement of the French workers for
emancipation emphasized a desire for control of industry. The
syndicalism of France has expressed the workers' interest in
production as the labor movements of other countries have laid stress
exclusively on its economic value to them. The syndicalists' theory
takes for granted the readiness of workers to assume responsibility
for production, while the trade unionists of England, Germany and the
United States ask for a voice in determining not their productive but
their financial relation to it.

It is the habit of these other peoples to credit the lack of interest
in work to physical hardships which the wage system has imposed. But
the wage system from the point of view of material welfare has borne
no less heavily on the French than on other workers. It is also
difficult to prove that the physical hardships of modern methods of
production are greater than the hardships of earlier methods. The
truth is that neither hardships nor exploitation of labor are new
factors; they have both, through long centuries, repressed in varying
degree the inspirational and intellectual interest of workers in
productive effort. It is not the economic burdens which followed the
introduction of machinery and the division of labor that distinguish
these new factors in industry, but the discredit which they throw
around man's labor power. They have carried the discredit of labor
in its social position further than it had been carried, but this
is merely a by-product of the discredit they cast on the skill and
intellectual power which is latent in the working class. In this
connection the significant truth for civilization is that while
exploitation of labor and physical hardships induce the antagonism
between labor and capital, modern factory organization destroys
creative desire and individual initiative as it excludes the workers
from participation in creative experience.

The new discoveries in inorganic power and their application to
industrial enterprise are possibly more far reaching in their effect
on the adjustment and relationships of men than they have been at any
other time in the last century and a half. Whatever the world owes
to these discoveries and their applications it cannot afford to lose
sight of a fact of great social significance, which is, that people
have accepted mechanical achievements, not as labor saving devices but
as substitutes for human initiative and effort. They have not, indeed,
saved labor to the advantage of labor itself, and they have
inhibited interest in production. Outside of business enterprise and
diplomacy--the political extension of business--mechanical devices
have lost the surprise reaction and resentment which they originally
set up. As a competitor with human labor they have established
themselves as its fit survivor. The prophesy of Theophrastus Such
seems to have been already fulfilled, and any new machine added to
those already in power in the Parliament of Machines can scarcely add
to the worker's sense of his own impotency. The business valuations
which were evolved out of craftsmanship and which were further
developed under the influence of the technology of the last century
and a half, emphasized the value of material force, and repressed
spiritual evaluations, such as the creative impulse in human beings.

Modern industrial institutions are developed by an exclusive
cultivation of people's needs and the desire to possess. They are
developed independently, as we have seen, of any need or desire to
create. The desire to possess is responsible for the production of a
mass of goods unprecedented and inconceivable a century and a half
ago. The actual production of all of these goods is unrelated to
the motive of men's participation in their production; the actual
production in relation to the motive is an incident. The sole reason
for the participation in the productive effort is not the desire for
creative experience or the satisfaction of the creative impulse; it
is not an interest in supplying the needs of a community or in the
enrichment of life; it is to acquire out of the store of goods all
that can be acquired for personal possession or consumption. There is
no more fundamental need than the need to consume; but for the common
run of men as a motive in the creation of wealth, it is shorn of
adventure, of imagination and of joy.

The ownership of many things, which mass production has made possible,
the intensive cultivation of the desire to own, has added another
element to the corruption of workmanship and the depreciation of its
value. Access to a mass of goods made cheap by machinery has had its
contributing influence in the people's depreciation of their own
creative efforts. As people become inured to machine standards, they
lose their sense of art values along with their joy in creative
effort, their self regard as working men and their personal equation
in industrial life.

Where the motive of individuals who engage in industry is the desire
to possess, the rational method of gaining possession is not by the
arduous way of work but of capture. The scheme of capture is a scheme
whereby you may get something for (doing) nothing; nothing as nearly
as possible in the way of fabrication of goods; something for the
manipulation of men; something for the development of technology and
mechanical science; and high regard for the manipulation of money.
"Doing nothing" does not mean that manual workers, managers of
productive enterprises, speculators in the natural resources of wealth
production and manufactured goods, as well as financiers, are not busy
people, or that their activity does not result in accomplishment. They
are indeed _the_ busy people and their accomplishment is the world's
wealth. Nevertheless the intention of all and the spirit of the scheme
is to do as near nothing as possible in exchange for the highest
return. _The whole industrial arrangement is carried on without
the force of productive intention; it is carried forward against a
disinclination to produce_.

I have said that industry was shorn of adventure for the common
man. Adventure in industrial enterprise is the business man's great
monopoly. His impetus is not due to his desire to create wealth but to
exploit it, and he secures its creation by "paying men off." Commonly
he is peevishly expectant that those he pays off will have a creative
intention toward the work he pays them to do, although in the scheme
of industry which he supports the opportunity provided for such
intention is negligible. An efficiency engineer estimated that there
is a loss in wealth of some fifty per cent, due to the inability of
the business man to appraise the creative possibilities in industry.

When exploitation of wealth is referred to, those who own it are
generally meant. But exploitation of wealth is the intention of
the worker as well as of the business man. To get, as I have said,
something for (doing) nothing is the dominating _motif_ in the
industrial world. It is supposed to reflect the self-interest of
individuals, to reflect, that is, their economic needs.

This motive of circumscribed self-interest during an era of political
and industrial expansion has been adopted by philosophers as the guide
as well as a clue to conduct; it was hailed by them as a sufficient
and complete motivation for wealth creation; they used it as a basis
of a theory for race progress resting solely on the efforts of men to
satisfy their material needs through their ability to capture goods.
This motive together with the possibilities which machine production
opened up for wealth exploitation, gave birth to the dismal science of
Political Economy; it suggested the materialistic interpretation
of history, and brought to earth utopian schemes of brotherhood.
Political science is dismal because it is an interpretation of
dismal institutions. It may be ungenerous to speak slightingly
of institutions which have yielded such great wealth, which have
transformed inert matter into productive power and brought in
consequence the whole world into acquaintanceship and rivalry. It
would be ungenerous if it were not for a fact which has become
poignant, that the exploitation of wealth and undigested relationships
are to-day the outstanding menace to civilization.

The present world conflict has made it clear that relationships cannot
remain undigested; that they are not in their nature passive. They are
either integrating in their force or disintegrating. Socialism has
undertaken for two generations to prove that exploitation, carries
with it its own seeds of destruction. The position of the socialists
is passing out of theory and propaganda through the hands of
diplomatists, into statutes. Both the socialists and their successors
would eradicate exploitation by repressing it. The socialists would
repress it by shifting ownership of wealth from individuals to the
state, while the diplomatists, through the same agency, would regulate
those who own it.

It is an historical fact as well as a psychological one that you do
not get rid of traits or institutions except as you replace them with
something of positive service, or greater competitive value. The
institution of capitalism exists not because of its predatory
character, but because in spite of its exploitation it _promotes_
industry, and labor and other industrial technicians do not. As our
industrial institutions have grown out of a predatory concept instead
of a creative one, as capture has been rewarded rather than work, as
the possessive desire has been stimulated and the creative desire
has been sacrificed, as employers of men and owners of machines have
engaged in production because of their interest not in the process or
in the use of the product, but in the reward, as wage workers have
hired out for the day's work or continued during their adult life in
their trade without interest in its development, because like their
employers they wanted the highest cash return, wealth exploitation
has come to be synonymous in the minds of men with wealth creation. A
creative concept which could survive and inhibit the predatory concept
must rest on such elements of creative force as are now absent from
our industrial institution.

It is almost axiomatic to say that a system of wealth production which
cultivated creative effort would yield more in general terms of
life as well as in terms of goods, than a system like our own which
exploits creative power. It is obvious that the disintegrating
tendency in our system is due to the fact that production is dependent
for its motive force on the desire to possess. It is also obvious that
a rational system of industry which sought to give that desire among
all men full opportunity for satisfaction would also undertake to
cultivate the creative impulse for the sake of increasing creative
effort The result would be an increase in production. As logical
as this observation may be, it is not so obvious how such a social
transformation as this implies, may be effected.

Every advance in wealth creation which has become an institutional
part of an economic system has been impelled and sustained by the
material interests of people who at the time held the strategic
position in the community. The world has progressed, or retrogressed,
as the most powerful interests at any time adjusted the institutions
and customs governing wealth production to their own advantage. As
the controlling interests in our present scheme are the business
interests, it is the business man, not the workman, who directs
industry and determines its policy as well as the general policy of
the nation in which it operates. It is to the advantage of private
business run for private gain, to control creative effort for the
purpose of appropriating the product, and to inhibit free creative
expression as an uncontrollable factor in the enterprise of

The appalling and wanton sacrifice of life which are incident to the
evolution of machinery and the division of labor seem to demand at
times their elimination. In weariness we are urged to retrace our
steps and go back to craftsmanship and the Guilds. But it is idle to
talk about going back or eliminating institutionalized features of
society. We cannot go back, we have not the ability to discard this or
that part of our environment except as we make it over. The result of
this making over might be vitalized by methods which had belonged
to earlier periods, but neither the methods nor the periods, we can
safely say, will live again. Neither our own nor future generations
will escape the influence of modern technology. It will play its part.
It may be a part which will lead away from some of the destructive
influences which developed in the era of craftsmanship and which
dominate the present. But a society too enfeebled to use its own
experience will not have the power to use the experience of another
people or of another time. It is beside the point to look to some
other experience or scheme of life and choose that because it seems
good, unless the choice is based on a people's present fitness to
adapt that other experience or other scheme of life to their own
experience. The proposition to revert to an earlier period suggests
nothing more than the repetition of an experience out of which the
present state of affairs has evolved.

Nor is there ground for the hope that in time institutions and
relationships will be regulated on principles of altruism. It is not
apparent indeed that such regulations would yield even the present
allowance of happiness incident to our own immature method of
capturing what wealth we can without relation to social factors. As
unfortunate as we are in pursuit of that blind method, it is safe to
predict that the world would be a madder place than it is to-day if
every one devoted himself to doing what he believed was for the good
of everybody else.

The hope of social revolutionists that private business would
overreach itself and defeat its own purpose, grew out of the
expectation that its tribute exactions would draw the subjects of
capital together in a common defensive movement; that the movement on
account of its numbers would overturn business and that in place of
private management democratic control would be instituted. Some
such outcome, sooner or later, seems inevitable if civilization is
scheduled to advance. The labor union movement, unlike the political
socialist revolutionary movement, undertakes in its operation to
supply labor with a certain working content, which the administrative
scheme of industry has excluded from the experience of its workers.
But this content is not sufficient to stimulate the imagination of the
trade unionists with the thought that the world of industry is the
field of creative adventure. Their conception born of experience is
not so flattering. It would be a brave man who would undertake to
convince the twentieth century adult wage earner, involved in modern
methods of machine production, that his poverty is less in his
possession of wealth than in his growth and in his creative

The industrial changes which the labor movement proposes to make are
on the side of a better distribution of goods. A better distribution
would have a dynamic significance in wealth production, if the
actual increase which labor secured in wages and leisure were a real
increase. But exploiting capital provides for such exigencies as high
wages by increasing the price of products, thus reducing the wage
earners' purchasing power to the former level. High wages fail to
disturb the relative portion of capital and labor even more than they
fail to affect the purchasing power of the worker.

It is often suggested that if the state assumed control of industry
the blight of business could be removed. But in the transfer we would
not necessarily gain opportunity to enjoy the adventure which industry
holds out. Industry as a creative experience, it is safe to predict,
would be as rare a personal experience and as foreign an influence
in social existence under state management as it is under business
management. The state would curb the amount of wealth exploitation
possibly, but would not alter the universal attitude toward wealth
production, which is to take as much and give as little as one can get
off with.

Although political socialism may be the economic sequel of private
capital there is no foundation for the belief that it will of itself
induce creative effort or stimulate creative impulse. The faith back
of the socialist movement that desirable attributes like the creative
impulse, which men potentially possess, will begin to operate
automatically and universally as soon as there is sufficient
leisure and food for general consumption, is blind and historically
unwarranted. The signs are that a socialist state would lean
exclusively on the consumption desire for production results, just as
the present system of business now does. Neither fat incomes nor large
leisure have furnished the world with its people of genius. In spite
of the inhibiting influence of exploitation, they have come, what
there are of them, out of intensive application to some matter
of moment. Possibly they would come, and more of them, from the
work-a-day world under socialism with the inhibiting influence of
organized exploitation removed, but more of them would not insure a
democracy in industry or elsewhere. Nothing insures that short of
a strong emotional impulse, a real intellectual interest in the
adventure of productive enterprise.

The creative desire is an incident or a sort of by-product of the
economics of socialism as it is of classical economics; neither
one nor the other depends on its cultivation. Either is capable of
achieving mass production, but neither insures a democratic control of
industry, neither provides for growth, for education in the productive
process. A democracy of industry requires a people's sustained
interest in the productive enterprise; their interest in the
development of technology, the development of markets, and the release
of man's productive energy.

It happens that in machine production and in the division of labor
there are emotional and intellectual possibilities which were
non-existent in the earlier and simpler methods of production. As
power latent in inorganic matter has been freed and applied to common
needs, an environment has been evolved, filled with situations
incomparably more dramatic than the provincial affairs of detached
people and communities. Although this technological subject matter,
rich in opportunities for associated adventure and infinite discovery,
is not a part of common experience, it exists, and if called out from
its isolation for purposes of common experimentation, it is fit matter
for making science a vital experience in the productive life of the

Industry under the direction of business will not open up the
adventure with its stimulating factors to its subservient labor force,
unless it happens that the present methods fail, in time, to carry
forward industrial enterprise on a profit-making basis; or unless
labor develops the power which springs from desire for creative
experience, to undertake the direction and control of industry.

The present is better than any time earlier in the history of
technology for the development of a concept of industry as a socially
creative enterprise. As craftsmanship extended and intensified an
interest in personal ownership, it magnified the value of possessions;
as it deepened the desire for protection of private property and
the strengthening of property laws against human laws, it was not
a _socializing_ force. While the craftsmanship period strengthened
personal claims on workmanship and interest in it, mechanical power
and division of labor have impersonated industry.[A] In the labyrinth
of mechanical processes and economic calculation it is not to-day
possible for a worker to think or speak of a product as his. He has no
basis for ownership claims in any article; even the price is arranged
between buyer and seller and he is not the seller. An article owes its
existence to an infinite number of persons and its place in the market
to as many more.

[Footnote A: Thorstein Veblen--Instinct of Workmanship, Chapter V.]

A worker's claim to the product of his labor is merged in an infinity
of claims which makes the product more nearly the property of society
than of any one individual. And this merging of claims which has
resulted in the submerging of all wage workers, has set up the new
educational task of discovering the possibilities for creative
experience in associated enterprise.

While an article manufactured under business conditions is the product
of enforced association, we have in this condition the mechanics of
a real association. As it now stands, the association is one of
individuals, with the impulse for association and for creative effort
left out. The interests of some ninety workers associated together in
the making of a shoe are not common but antagonistic, except as they
are common in their antagonism to the owner of the shoe on which they
work. They hang together because they must; their parting is the best
part of a working day.

And yet the practice of dividing up the fabrication of an article
among the members of a group instead of confining the making of it
to one or two people, opens up the possibility of extensive social
intercourse, and has the power, we may discover, to sublimate the
inordinate desire for the intensive satisfaction of personal life.
Although the division of labor has given us a society which is
abortive in its functioning like a machine with half assembled parts,
it offers us the mechanics for interdependence and the opportunity to
work out a coördinated industrial life.



As machine power rivalled hand work, promoters of industry until
recently relied for its advancement on the perfection of technology,
giving little thought to the perfection of labor. It was confidently
assumed that labor, out of its own necessities, would adapt itself
automatically to the new requirements of the machine, and to the
shifts of business interest. When it was discovered that there were
limitations to labor's voluntary adaptation under the conditions laid
down, intelligent business in America decided that the responsibility
for realizing labor's adaptation or "labor's coöperation" as they
call it, must be assumed by the management of industry and that that
management must be scientifically worked out and applied.

Scientific management is scientific as it subjects the labor
operations on each job, each specific job to be performed in a
factory, to a testing out of the energy consumed; to discovering
how to secure labor's maximum productivity without waste of time or
energy. It is scientific as the manager's state of mind towards the
physical and psychological reactions of the workers is one of inquiry
and a readiness to accept, as facts of mechanical science are
accepted, the reaction of the workers. A scientific manager, or
engineer as he is often called, bears the same relation to the labor
force in a factory that an electrical engineer bears to the electrical
equipment. If his attention to the emotional reaction of the workers
is less detached than scientific standards require, it must be
remembered that he is trying to make adjustments which must first of
all meet definite business conditions. Where the reactions of the
workers interfere with the whole scheme of business administration,
(and interfere they ceaselessly do), he has to substitute measures
which are not strictly speaking scientific. On these occasions he
adopts humanitarian schemes, which are generally spoken of as welfare
work. It is the introduction of these schemes which look like a "slop
over" from science to charity, that makes it difficult for outsiders
to tell just what scientific management is and what it is not.

Mr. Frederick W. Taylor, the founder of scientific management, was
capable of scientific detachment in studying working men in relation
to the specific job. He was able more notably than others had been
before him, and more than many who have followed him, to extend the
impersonal state of mind, which he enjoyed in the study of inorganic
energy, to his study of human energy. Mr. Taylor's interest did not
emanate from sympathy with labor in its hardships; his interest was
centered in an effort to conserve and apply labor energy with maximum
economy for wealth production. Mr. Taylor awakened the consciousness
of industrial managers to the fact that the energy of workers like the
power of machinery is subject to laws. He demonstrated that it was
possible in specific operations to discover how the highest degree of
energy could be attained and the largest output result, without
loss through fatigue. He showed how efficiency could be enhanced by
transferring the responsibility of standards of work from the workers
to the managers. He formulated, as a business and industry doctrine,
that a definite relation between the expenditure of labor energy and
the labor reward could be established; that the wage incentive, if
applied to labor in relation to energy expended, would yield, or might
be expected to yield increased returns. These incentives, rewards,
stimuli, which employers could apply would produce, he stated with
unscientific fervor, the workers' initiative. The inability of Mr.
Taylor and other scientific managers to distinguish between initiative
and short lived reaction to stimulus is simple evidence that their
scientific experiments were confined to comparisons which they could
make between a yield in wealth where the stimulus to labor is weak,
and a yield where it is strong. They will not discover what a worker's
productivity is, or might be, when incited by his impulse to work, nor
will they secure labor's initiative, until they release the factors,
latent in industry, which have inspirational, creative force.

The attitude of Mr. Taylor and his followers, however, differs from
that of the ordinary manager who maintains an irritated disregard of
the disturbing elements instead of accepting them and, as far as is
consistent with business principles, allaying or cajoling them. The
significant contributions which scientific management has made are in
line with the experiments originally introduced by Mr. Taylor. They
call for the study of each new task by the management, for discovering
the economy in the expenditure of labor energy before it is submitted
to the working force; the standardizing of the task in conformity with
the findings; the teaching of the approved methods to the working
force; the introduction of incentives which will insure the full
response of labor in the accomplishment of the task. Beside the
standardizing of tasks and the relating the wage to the fixed
standard, scientific management has made intensive experiments in
the scheduling of the various operations to be performed, which are
divided among the working force, so that no one operation is held up
awaiting the completion of another. It has shown in this connection
that work can be "routed" so that the time of workers is not lost. The
most successfully managed factories also plan their annual product
so that employment will be continuous. They have discovered that the
periods of unemployment seriously affect the personnel of a labor
force and they estimate that the turnover of the labor force which
requires the constant breaking in of new men is an item of serious
financial loss. The Ford Automobile Works at one time hired 50,000 men
in one year while not employing at any one time more than 14,000. They
estimated that the cost of breaking in a new man averaged $70.00. To
reduce this cost, they instituted profit sharing, as an incentive for
men to remain. Other factories have estimated the cost of replacing
men from $50.00 to $200.00. A rubber concern in Ohio has a labor
turnover of 150 per cent. In connection with the effort to reduce the
turnover in the labor force the management of well organized factories
takes great care to estimate a worker's value before employing him.
The policy of transferring a man from one department to another where
he is better suited yields evidently valuable results. In factories
where there is effort to hold labor, to make employment continuous,
the turnover has been reduced in some cases to as low as 18 per cent.
Generally, however, it is still high; frequently as high as 50 per
cent, and 50 per cent is still considered low, even in factories which
have given the subject much consideration.

There is a tendency in developing the mechanics of efficiency, as they
relate to labor, to establish for machine production standards of
workmanship. Long and weary experience has proved that wage earners
under factory methods and machine conditions are not interested in
maintaining standards of work. The standards which are set by the
scientific management schemes of efficiency are not, to be sure, the
qualitative standards of craftsmanship but they are qualitative as
well as quantitative standards of machine work. The tendency to
establish standards should have educational significance for workers.
It would have, if the responsibility for setting standards as well
as maintaining them rested in any measure with the workers; it would
have, that is, if the workers had the interest in workmanship, which
as things now stand they have not. The point in scientific management
is that efficiency depends, wholly depends they believe, on
centralizing the responsibility for setting and maintaining
workmanship standards, on transferring the responsibility for
standards of work from workers who do it, to the management who
directs it done. I have learned of only one manager who realizes
that although the factory workers are not to be trusted to maintain
standards, a management nevertheless will fail to get the workers'
full coöperation until it arouses their interest in maintaining them.

The manager is Mr. Robert Wolf, who illustrated this point at a
meeting of the Taylor Society in March, 1917. In describing the
process of extracting the last possible amount of water from paper
pulp, he said:

    "Our problem was to determine the best length of time to keep the
    low pressure on, as the high, pressure is governed entirely by the
    production coming from the wet machine. After having determined
    that three minutes of low pressure ... gives maximum moisture
    test, we furnished each man on the wet machines with a clock and
    asked him to leave this low pressure on just three minutes. As
    long as the foremen kept constantly after their men and vigilantly
    followed them up we obtained some slight increase in the test; but
    it required a constant urging upon our part to focus the attention
    of the men upon this three minute time of low pressure.... We
    realized finally that in order to get the results we were after,
    it was necessary for us to produce _a desire_ upon the part of
    our men to do this work in the proper way ... so we designed an
    instrument which would give us a record of the time lost between
    pressing operations, also the number of minutes the low pressure
    was kept on. It took us something over a year to perfect this
    machine, but after it was finally perfected and a record of the
    operations made, we found that the men actually were operating at
    an average efficiency of 42 per cent, and our moisture test was
    running about 54 per cent. Our next step was to post a daily
    record of the relative standing of the men in the machine room,
    putting the men who had the best record at the top of the list, in
    the order of their weekly average efficiencies. (The efficiency of
    low pressure, which proved to be the most important factor, was
    computed by calling three minutes of low pressure 100 per cent and
    two minutes either way 0 per cent.) As a result of simply posting
    this record our efficiencies rose to over 60 per cent and our
    moisture test increased a little less than 1 per cent. Some of the
    best and most skilled men had an efficiency of over 80 per cent,
    but quite a large percentage of them were down below 50 per cent.
    We therefore decided that it was necessary to have the foreman
    give more detailed information to the men as to what the machine
    meant and how their efficiencies were obtained and to put the
    instrument which did the recording into a glass case in the
    machine room where all the men could see it. Each foreman took a
    portion of the chart and one of the celluloid scales by which, we
    obtained the efficiencies and explained in detail to each one of
    the men how their records were calculated. As a result of this,
    our efficiency rose from 60 per cent to 80 per cent in less than
    four weeks, and it has remained at 80 per cent ever since--(ever
    since being over two years)--enabling us to get a moisture of over
    56 per cent."[A]

[Footnote A: Bulletin of the Taylor Society--March, 1917.]

This was accomplished, Mr. Wolf told them, without resorting to piece
work or bonus or any of the special methods of payments, their
men being hired by the day throughout the entire plant. Mr. Wolf
accomplished the result by giving meaning to a meaningless task,
by letting the men see for themselves how they arrived at results,
letting them see the different processes of getting results and
knowing on their own account which were the most valuable.

There may be other managers who appreciate the value of letting men
in on the experimental effort of getting results but it is not the
practice to do so and it is opposed to the idea of transferring
the responsibility from the workshop to the manager's office or
laboratory. Because of this practice the educational value of
establishing standards of workmanship is lost so far as the workers
are concerned. Mr. Wolf's criticism of orthodox scientific management
and his conclusions are illuminating; they are indeed revolutionary
in nature as they come from a manager of a successful industrial

    "Our efforts, ever since we began to realize the workman's point
    of view, have been not to take responsibility from him. It is our
    plan to increase his responsibility and we feel that it is our
    duty to teach him to exercise his reasoning power and intelligence
    to its fullest extent. There is _no advantage gained by
    stimulating a man's reasoning power, and through this means his
    creative faculty, if the management relieves the man of the
    responsibility for each individual operation_. The opportunity
    for self expression, which is synonymous with joy in work, is
    something that the workman is entitled to, and we employers who
    feel that management is to become a true science must begin to
    think less of the science of material things and think more of
    the science of human relationships. Our industries must become
    _humanized_, otherwise there will be no relief from the present
    state of unrest in the industries of the world.

    "In this connection it might be well to observe that our
    experience in the pulp industry has been that instructions which
    go _too much into detail_ tend to deaden interest in the work. We
    realize fully the value of sufficient instructions to get uniform
    results, but we try to leave as much as possible to the judgment
    of the individual operator, making our instructions take more
    the form of constant _teaching of principles_ involved in the
    operation than of definite _fixed rules_ of procedure. It is
    necessary to produce a desire in the heart of the workman to do
    good work. No amount of coercion will enlist him thoroughly in the

    "The new efficiency is going to reckon a great deal more with the
    needs of the individual man; but in order to do this, it must have
    some philosophical conception of the reason for man's existence.
    _It is beginning to be understood that when we deny to vast
    numbers of individuals the opportunity to do creative work, we are
    violating a great universal law_."

Scientific management is sacrificing educational opportunity latent
in the realization of workmanship standards in the same way that
machinery sacrificed it. They both curtail the workers' chance to
discover first-hand what the processes of fabrication are, the
processes in which they are involved; they must adopt ready-made
methods of doing their work, they must accept them out of hand without
questioning, or chance to question, their validity. Workers endowed
with good health and moral vigor resist these attempts to put
something over on them, irrespective of their good or evil results.

The workers have resisted machinery not only because as individuals
they were thrown, out of jobs for a time or lost them permanently, but
because the machine imposed on them a method of work, of activity over
which they had no control. Scientific management has undertaken to
gather up whatever bits of initiative the machine had not already
taken over and to hand back to the workers at the bench directions
for them to follow with a blind ability to accept instruction. It is
incredible to factory managers that workers object to being taught
"right" ways of doing things. Their objection is not to being taught,
but to being told that some one way is right without having had the
chance to know why, or whether indeed it is the right way. This
resistance to being taught, it seems, is nothing more nor less than a
wayward desire of a worker to do his own way because it is his way,
and of course from the managers' point of view, that is stupid. It
is stupid, but the stupidity is in the situation. What does this
waywardness of the worker to do his own way suggest? Not that he has
a way worth bothering about but that he wants to exercise the
quality which all industrial managers agree he does not possess--his
initiative. Now a man who has the desire to exercise initiative and
does not know how to put anything through is not only a useless person
in society but the most pestiferous fellow in existence. Allowing that
he is does not mean that he has not the power of initiative or that he
could not have learned to put this initiative to good use, if at any
time in his manhood or youth he had been taught to use it, instead of
being required to follow the accepted ways of doing things without
having had the experience of trial and error. Schools and factory
management give workers scant opportunity to discover whether they
have initiative or have not.

Mr. Wolf finds that "while it is possible, under certain conditions,
to compel obedience, there is no possible way in which a man can be
compelled to do his work willingly and when he does it unwillingly he
is far from being efficient. He must have the opportunity to enjoy
his work and realize himself in its performance." "In our plant,"
he remarks, "we never made it a practice to determine arbitrarily
standard methods for performing an operation, for we believe that
the men who are actually doing the work have generally as much to
contribute as the foremen and department heads in deciding standard
practices; and because we give the workman the chance to have the most
to say about the matter, he is willing to conform to the standard,
because it really represents a concensus of opinion of the men in his
particular group." It is significant in this connection to remember
that he does not pay the men by special methods to get the return. "I
am not necessarily opposed to piece work or task and bonus methods
of payment.... We have been able to obtain splendid results without
resorting to a system of immediate money rewards." He thinks it is
better to pay the workers liberally so that they "can forget this
economic pressure and do good work because of the joy that comes from
the consciousness of work well done."

Scientific management like ordinary management as a matter of fact
does not want to cultivate initiative in the rank and file of workers;
it would like to find more of it; and its eternal expectation is that
enough of it will rise out of the oppressive atmosphere of the factory
system to supply its limited needs. Scientific management especially
wants this, as it must have more foremen and teachers to carry forward
its advanced schemes of organization. But every manager will tell you
that industry does not produce men with sufficient initiative to
fill these positions. Their estimates of the number of men found in
industry who have initiative varies from one to five per cent. The
rest they believe are born, routine workers. They speak of their
limitations as native. Managers do not stop to consider that their
judgments are based wholly on the reaction of the mass of wage workers
to the special stimuli which they offer. They say also that high
school and college boys show up very little if any better in respect
to initiative than the lower school product. The truth is that schools
and colleges are more concerned with passing on the standards of an
older generation to a younger, and the younger that generation is
the less it is entrusted with opportunity to make its own first hand
inquiries. That is, the lower schools which deal with a generation at
its most plastic time, furnish the higher schools with minds inured to
the pressure of accepting subject matter without independent inquiry
or curiosity.

Factory management like college and school management, instead of
depending on the subject matter to interest the workers, instead of
opening up to them the factors of interest in industrial enterprise,
has adopted incentives for getting the required work done. Enlightened
school practice, out of long failure to get the children's initiative
by the artificial stimulus of rewards for work done, now depends upon
the content of the subject matter and the children's experiments with
it, to develop their desire to do the work. The practice of depending
on school rewards instead of interest in subject matter is largely
responsible for superficial knowledge and lack of ability to think as
well as to act. As schools fail to incite the interest of the children
they train them to put through this and that task and reward them for
it without having added to their power of undertaking tasks on their
own account. Indeed, as they fail to give them the chance to do that,
they actually decrease whatever power they may have had.

The doing of tasks in factories for the sake of rewards, gives the
workers experience in winning rewards. As they are interested only
in the reward, they carry away no desire or interest in the work
experience. As the method of doing the work is prescribed in every
detail and their only requirement, under scientific management, is to
follow directions with accuracy, they are trained to do their tasks as
the children in school are trained. They are trained in routine, and
to do each task as it is given. This is not education, it is training
to do tricks. The worker does not take over what can be called
experience from one task to another. He forms certain motor habits,
called skill. But under the efficient methods of scientific management
the acquirement of this skill is robbed even of the educational value
that it had under the unscientific method of factory work, which
within its limited field, left the worker to discover by trial and
error what were the best methods of getting results. Moreover, the
standards of workmanship which scientific management sets up are not
the worker's own standards; he has had no part in the making of
them or in deciding on the comparative merits of the results. He
accomplishes the results as he follows directions, not for the sake of
the result, not for the sake of good workmanship, but for the reward.

As I have said scientific management has given the subject of
incentives the same careful thought that it has given to the study of
lost energy. The two important incentives for inducing the response
of labor to productive enterprises which scientific management has
carried forward in their applications, are wages and promotion.
The general assumption is that the wage as an incentive has no
limitations, except the physical limitation of a human being in
response to stimulus. And surely it is true that the chance to "make
money" is to-day the most powerful stimulus in use. But thoughtful
managers of industrial enterprise tell you, incredible as it may seem,
that the worker's objection to applying himself to his task is not
invariably overcome by anticipation of the wage return; he will slack
or be perverse or throw over a job in the face of opportunities to
earn as good a wage or a better one than he can get elsewhere. It is
well known that workers joint unions in the face of opposition of
employers and at the risk of losing permanent positions.

A resourceful manager in one of the most intelligently managed plants
in the United States told me that women were less susceptible than men
to the wage incentive. He found that many of them are content when
their wage covers a sum which represents for them their personal
requirements; that they cannot interest them in trying for more. On
that account the manager takes up the case of the individual girl to
see if her ambition to earn more money cannot be stimulated. They find
sometimes that a mother requires her daughter to give in her whole
wage at the end of the week and that the girl has no pleasure in the
spending of it; they visit the mother and persuade her to let the girl
keep a proportion of her wage and point out to the mother that she is
limiting the girl's ambition. They also find girls who have entire
control over the spending of their wages, who are without ambition to
earn over and above a certain sum because that sum will meet their
own recognized needs. The case of these girls the management tries to
cover by encouraging them to save for vacations and other purposes
which they offer by way of suggestion. In both of these instances the
management undertakes to create new wants or ways of realizing wants
which were not recognized by the workers themselves. The satisfaction
of these wants may or may not be in the direction of extending
experience and expanding contacts. But that is neither here nor there.
The point is, the manager of the industry has used an incentive for
increasing production which has no relation to production itself.
He is forced to do this because he fails to make the process of
production a matter of interest to the worker. The processes of
production do not of themselves as we know compel the workers'
application or stimulate their desire for productive enterprise.

It is in the nature of the case impossible to increase the wage
incentive indefinitely. One large and scientifically managed plant has
made remarkable provisions for staving off the time when the dead line
is reached. They have taken stock account of the labor power they
require, the amount of energy which each worker possesses, for the
purpose of evaluation and payment. They have undertaken to cover as
separate items each condition which affects a worker's relation to
his job. They rate as separate items the worker's proficiency,
reliability, continuity in service, indirect charges, increased cost
of living, and periods of lay-off; they rate him according to the
number of technical processes he is proficient in, whether or not he
is engaged on more than one; they rate him if he attends the night
school connected with the factory and shows in this way a disposition
to learn other operations than, those he already knows. Why, they
wonder, does only ten per cent of the force take advantage of the
school and what, they are eager to find out, can they do further to
secure the men's coöperation. For "coöperation," they say, "in a
special way deserves credit, since it is unexpected ... certain well
defined acts of coöperation will bring extra reward." Their rewards so
carefully calculated did not seem to enlist response as spiritual in
its nature as coöperation. It seemed that they had reached "the dead
line" where wage stimulus fails to draw its hoped for response.

To get from the workers the highest efficiency the scientifically
managed plants pay for a task a stated rate based on piece or time; if
the task is performed within the time set and the directions for doing
the task as laid out by the management, are followed, the worker
receives in addition to the regular rate, a bonus. Mr. H.L. Grant,
while working with Mr. Taylor, discovered that there was weakness in
the system of paying bonuses, and the weakness was not overcome until
he devised a method of paying the workman for the time allowed plus
a percentage of that time according to what he did. This method he
declares constantly induced further effort and overcame what they
discovered was the weakness in a flat bonus. As fair or as superior as
this bonus may be in relation to the prevailing rate in the market,
managers say that the workers are apt in time to fall below the
standard as their work becomes routine, unless the incentive after a
time is increased or changed in character. In other words the wage
incentive is like a virus injection. The dose is not continuously
effective, except as the amount is increased or altered.

A usual method of keeping alive the financial incentive is profit
sharing and schemes for participation in profits, but they are rewards
of general merit and bids for continuity of service; they have no
direct relation to the workers' efficiency and compliance with
standards which distinguish the wage rewards of scientifically managed

Promotion, the incentive second in importance to the wage incentive,
is of assistance in postponing the time when the dead line for the
worker is reached. Nothing better illustrates the limitations of
promotion in this respect than the fact that in factories where
the turnover is the lowest, the opportunity to promote the workers
decreases; it falls in proportion to the length of their term of
service. That is, chances for promotion are the lowest in factories
where conditions otherwise are favorable to the worker. In the factory
where the turnover is only 18 per cent the management says that
promotion is a negligible factor. Where the turnover is high there is
greater opportunity in plants scientifically managed than in others to
promote men, as the scheme of organization calls for a larger number
of what they call "functionalized foremen" and teachers in proportion
to the working force.

It is as I have said, on account of the necessity of these positions
in the general scheme that managers of factories are interested in
finding more men who have initiative, than industry under their
direction has produced.

Before scientific management was discovered, business management and
machinery already had robbed industry of productive incentives, of the
real incentive to production; a realization on the part of the worker
of its social value and his appreciation of its creative content. All
that was left for scientific management to gather together for its
direction were bits of experience which workers gained by their own
experimental efforts at how best to handle tools. Their efforts it
is true were not sufficiently great in this direction to promise
progressive industrial advance. The margin for experiment which was
still theirs was not sufficiently largo to insure continued effort
inspired by an interest in the work.

When we have taken into full account the repressive effect of
scientific management on initiative, we may well admit an advantage:
educationally speaking, the repression is direct. The workers are
fully aware that they are doing what some one else requires of them.
They are not under the delusion that they are acting on their own
initiative. They are being managed and they know it and all
things being equal (which they are not) they do not like it. The
responsibility they may clearly see and feel rests with them to find a
better scheme for carrying industry forward. The methods of scientific
management are calculated to incite not only open criticism from
the workers but to suggest that efficient industry is a matter of
learning, and that learning is a game at which all can play, if the
opportunity is provided.

Scientific managers have hoped that their plans to conserve energy
and increase the wage in relation to expenditure of energy would meet
little opposition. They also have hoped that the paternalistic feature
of welfare work would allay opposition. But I am not inclined
to include the welfare schemes in a consideration of scientific
management; they have little light to throw on what educational
significance there is in the efficiency methods which scientific
management has introduced in industry. The playgrounds attached to
factories, the indoor provisions for social activity, the clubs, while
not having an acknowledged relation to the scientific management
of the factory and while repudiated by some managers, are a common
feature of plants which claim to be scientifically managed. There are
scientifically managed plants which object to the recreational and
other features which have to do with matters outside the province of
the factory, on the ground that it is a meddling with the personal
side of people's lives. "A baseball game connected with the factory,"
said the educational manager of a certain plant, "has the effect of
limiting the workers' contacts; it is much better for them, as it is
for every one, not to narrow their relationships to a small group, but
to play ball with the people of the town." It is significant that this
concern deals with the union and conforms to its regulations. Whether
this more generous concept of the workers' lives yields more in
manufactured goods than one that confines the activity of the workers
to the factory in which they labor, scientific management, so far as I
know, has not discovered.

The very nature of the welfare schemes suggests that they are inspired
more out of fear of the workers' freedom of contact than launched on
account of comparative findings which relate strictly to the economy
of labor power. The policy of leaving the workers free, it was clear
in the instance just cited, had been adopted out of a personal
preference for freedom in relationships. The introduction of clinics,
rest rooms, restaurants, sanitary provisions, and all arrangements
relating directly to the workers' health have a bearing on efficiency
and productivity which is well recognized and probably universally
endorsed by efficiency managers, even if they are not invariably

Scientific management wants two things; more men in the labor market
to fill the positions of functionalized foremen, more men than modern
industrial society has produced; and it wants an army of workers who
will follow directions, follow them as one of the managers said, as
soldiers follow them. It wants this army to be endowed as well with
the impulse to produce. It may by its methods realize one of its
wants, that is, an army of workers to follow directions; but as it
succeeds in this, as it is successful in robbing industry of its
content, and as it reduces processes to routine, it will limit its
chances to find foremen who have initiative and it will fail to get
from workers the impulse to produce goods.

During the last four years, under the stress of a consuming war every
stimulus employed by business management for speeding up production
has been advanced. Organized efficiency in the handling of materials
has increased the output, as increased rewards to capital and labor
have stimulated effort. But the quantitative demand of consumption
requirements is insatiable. It is not humanly possible under the
present industrial arrangements to satisfy the world's demand for
goods, either in time of war or peace. It was never more apparent than
it is now, that an increase in a wage rate is a temporary expedient
and that wage rewards are not efficient media for securing sustained
interest in productive enterprise. It is becoming obvious that the
wage system has not the qualifications for the coördination of
industrial life. As the needs of the nations under the pressure of war
have brought out the inefficiencies of the economic institution, it
has become sufficiently clear to those responsible for the conduct of
the war and to large sections of the civil population, that wealth
exploitation and wealth creation are not synonymous; that the
production of wealth must rest on other motives than the desire of
individuals to get as much and give as little as particular situations
will stand.

In England and in the United States, where the individualistic
conception of the industrial life has been an inherent part of our
national philosophy, the governments, with cautious reservations, have
assumed responsibilities which had been carried in normal times by
business. Because business administration had been dependent for its
existence on a scheme of profiteering it is not in the position where
it can appeal to labor to contribute its productive power in the
spirit of patriotic abandon. But governments as they have taken over
certain industrial responsibilities are in a better position to make
such appeals to capital as well as to labor.

The calculable effect of the appeal to capital to assume the
responsibility is in the long run of passing importance, as under the
present business arrangement that is the position capital occupies. In
other words, the appeal will mark no change in capitalist psychology
as it promises to do in the case of labor.

The calculable effect on labor psychology may have revolutionary
significance. It is quite another sort of appeal in its effect from
the stereotyped and familiar one of employers to labor to _feel_ their
responsibility. That appeal never reached the consciousness of working
men for the reason that it is impossible to feel responsible or to be
responsible where there is no chance of bearing the responsibility.
Experiencing responsibility in industry means nothing more nor less
than sharing in the decisions, the determination of procedure, as well
as suffering from the failure of those decisions and participating in
their successful eventuation. As the governments in the present case
have made their appeals to labor they have carried the suggestion of
partnership in responsibility because the government is presumably the
people's voice and its needs also presumably are the common needs and
not the special interests of individuals. It is hardly necessary to
point out that it was not the intention of government officials who
made the appeal to excite a literal interpretation; they did not
expect to be taken so seriously and up to date they have not been
taken more seriously than they intended by American labor. All they
mean and what they expect to gain, is what employers have meant and
wanted; that is labor's surrender of its assumed right to strike
on the job, its surrender of its organized time standards and its
principle of collective bargaining. But when officials speak in the
name of a government what they mean is unimportant; what it means to
the people to have them speak, and the people's interpretation of what
they say, is the important matter.

These appeals of the governments in this time of war to the working
people have the tendency to clear the environment of the suggestion
that common labor, that is the wage earning class (as distinguished
from salaried people, employers and the profiteers pure and simple)
are incompetent to play a responsible part in the work of wealth
production. A responsible part does not mean merely doing well a
detached and technical job; it means facing the risks and sharing in
the experimental experience of productive enterprise as it serves the
promotion of creative life and the needs of an expanding civilization.
As the appeals of the governments at this time bear the stamp of a
nation's will, its valuation and respect for common labor, there
is the chance, it seems, that they may carry to the workers the
energizing thought that _all_ the members of the industrial group must
assume, actually assume, responsibility for production, if production
is to advance. Equally important in the interest of creative work is
the power of these appeals to shift the motive for production from
the acquisitive to the creative impulse. In the midst of the world's
emergency, driven by the fear of destruction the nations have turned
instinctively to the _unused_ creative force in human and common
labor, that is to the ability of the wage earner to think and plan. If
the response of labor is genuine, if with generous abandon it releases
its full productive energy, it is quite certain as matters now stand
that neither the governments nor the financiers are prepared to accept
the consequence.

If labor in answer to these appeals gains the confidence that it is
competent to carry industrial responsibility, or rather that common
labor, together with the trained technicians in mechanics and
industrial organization are competent _as a producing group_ to carry
the responsibility, one need we may be sure will be eliminated which,
has been an irritating and an unproductive element in industrial life;
I mean the need the workers have had for the cultivation of class
isolation. As the workers become in the estimation of a community and
in their own estimation, responsible members of a society, their more
rather than less abortive effort to develop class feeling in America,
will disappear. Under those conditions concerted class action will be
confined to the employers of labor and the profiteers, who will be
placed in the position of proving their value and their place in the
business of wealth creation. On this I believe we may count, that
labor will drop its defensive program for a constructive one, as it
comes to appreciate its own creative potentiality.

       *       *       *       *       *

Judging from recent events in England, where the government appeals
to labor have had longer time to take effect, it seems that new brain
tracks in labor psychology have actually been created. English labor
apparently is beginning to take the impassioned appeals of its
government seriously and is making ready to assume the responsibility
for production. The resolutions adopted by the Labor Party at its
Nottingham Conference in November in 1917 covered organized labor's
usual defense program relating to wage conditions. The Manifesto which
was issued was first of all a political document, written and compiled
for campaign purposes. But the significance of the party's action
is the new interpretation which it is beginning to give industrial
democracy. It is evident where state ownership is contemplated that
the old idea that industry would pass under the administrative
direction of government officials, is replaced by the growing
intention and desire of labor to assume responsibility for
administration whether industry is publicly or privately owned. The
Party stands for the "widest possible participation both economic and
political ... in industry as well as in government." In explanation
of the Manifesto, the leader of the Party is quoted in the Manchester
Guardian as saying, that when labor now speaks of industrial democracy
it no longer means what it did before the war; it does not mean
political administration of economic affairs; it means primarily
industrial self-government.

       *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps an even better evidence of the intention of English labor in
this direction is the movement towards decentralization in the trade
union organization. This movement, known as the "shop-stewards"
movement is essentially an effort of the men in the workshops to
assume responsibility in industrial reconstruction after the war, a
responsibility which they have heretofore under all circumstances
delegated to representatives not connected directly with the work in
the shops. As these representatives were isolated from actual problems
of workshop production and alien therefore to the problems in their
technical and specific application, they were incapable of functioning
efficiently as agents of productive enterprise. This "shop stewards"
movement recognizes and provides for the interdependence of industrial
interests, but at the same time it concerns itself with the competent
handling of specific matters.

Such organization as the movement in England seems to be evolving, the
syndicalists have contended for as they opposed the German idea of
state socialism. But the syndicalists in their propaganda did not
_develop_ the idea of industry as an adventure in creative enterprise.
Instead they emphasized, as did the political socialists and the trade
unionists, the importance of protecting the workers' share in the
possession of wealth. They made the world understand that business
administration of industry exploited labor, but they did not bring out
that both capital and labor, so far as it was possible for each to
do, exploited wealth. That was not the vision of industry which they
carried from their shops to their meetings or indeed to their homes.
Their failure at exploitation was too obvious.

An interesting illustration of what would happen in the ranks of
the syndicalists if the business idea of labor's intellectual and
emotional incapacity for functioning, gave way before a community's
confidence in the capacity of labor--we have in the case of the
migratory workers in the harvesting of our western crops. The
harvesters who follow the crops with the seasons from the southern to
the northern borders of the United States and into Canada are members
of the most uncompromisingly militant organization of syndicalists,
The Industrial Workers of the World. On an average it takes ten years
for these harvesters to become skilled workers and these men, members
of this condemned organization, are the most highly skilled harvesters
in the country. On account of their revolutionary doctrines and their
combined determination to reap rewards as well as crops, they are
considered and treated like outlaws, and outlaws of the established
order they are in spirit. When the owners of the farms of North Dakota
realized that their own returns on the harvests were diverted in the
marketing of their grain, they combined for protection against the
grain exchanges and the elevator trusts. While developing their
movement they discovered that the natural alliance for their
organization to make was with the men who were involved with them
in the production of grain. And as the farmers have accepted the
harvesters as partners they have formed in effect a coördinated
producing combination. Without finally settling the problem of
agriculture, they have strengthened the production group and
eliminated strife at the most vital point.

In the period of reconstruction the industrial issues of significance
to democracy will be whether or not management of industry as it has
been assumed by the state for the purpose of war shall revert after
the war to the condition of incompetency which the war emergency
disclosed or whether state management shall be extended and developed
as it was in Germany after the Franco-Prussian War. Fortunately,
these evidences of a new interest of labor in industry as a social
institution, give us some reason to hope that we shall not be confined
to a choice between business incompetency and state socialism. The
evidence of the desire on the part of the labor force to participate
in the development of production is the factor we should keep in
mind in any plans for democratic industrial reconstruction. It is
inevitable that an effort to open up and cultivate this desire
of labor will be regarded by the present governing forces with
apprehension. The movement of labor in this direction is now looked
upon with suspicion even by people who are not in a position of
control. The general run of people in fact outside of those who
recognize labor as a fundamental force in industrial reconstruction,
conceive of the labor people as an irresponsible mass of men and view
their movements as expressions of an irresponsible desire to seize
responsibility. They are the men who are not experienced in business
affairs and therefore cannot, it is believed, be trusted. The
arguments against trusting them are the same old arguments advanced
for many centuries against inroads on the established order of
over-lordship. But over-lordship has flourished at all times, and in
the present scheme of industry it flourishes as it always has,
in proportion to the reluctance of the people to participate as
responsible factors in matters of common concern. Corruption and
exploitation of governments and of industry are dependent upon the
broadest possible participation of a whole people in the experience
and responsibilities of their common life. It is for this reason that
we need to foster and develop the opportunity as well as the desire
for responsibility among the common people.

After the war, it is to be hoped that America will undertake to
realize through its schemes for reconstruction its present _ideals_ of
self-government. As it does this, we shall discover that the issues
which are of significance to democracy are of significance to
education; for democracy and education are processes concerned with,
the people's ability to solve their problems through their experience
in solving them. If America is ever to realize its concept of
political democracy, it can accept neither the autocratic method of
business management nor the bureaucratic schemes of state socialism.
It cannot realize political democracy until it realizes in a large
measure the democratic administration of industry.



Statemanship in Germany covered "industrial strategy" as well as
political. Its labor protection and regulations were in line with its
imperial policy of domination. Within recent years labor protection
from the point of view of statesmanship has been urged in England and
America. The waste of life is a matter of unconcern in the United
States so long as private business can replenish its labor without
seriously depleting the oversupply. It becomes a matter of concern
only when there are no workers waiting for employment. The German
state has regulated the conditions of labor and conserved human energy
because its purpose has been not the short-lived one of private
business, but the long-lived one of imperial competition. It was the
policy of the Prussian state to conserve human energy for the strength
and the enrichment of the Empire. Whatever was good for the Empire was
good, it was assumed, for the people. The humanitarians in the United
States who tried to introduce labor legislation in their own country
accepted this naïve philosophy of the German people, which had been so
skilfully developed by Prussian statesmen, without appreciating that
its result was enervating. Our prevailing political philosophy,
however, that workers and capitalists understand their own interests
and are more capable than the state of looking after them, stood in
the way of adopting on grounds of statesmanship the German methods.

The American working man has never been convinced that he can get odds
of material advantage from the state. His method is to get all he
can through "pull," good luck or his superior wits. He could find
no satisfaction like his German brothers in surrendering concrete
interests for some abstract idea of a state. He could find no greater
pleasure in being exploited by the state than he now finds in
exploitation by private business. The average American values life for
what he can get out of it, or for what he can put into it. He has
no sentimental value of service, nor is service anywhere with us an
institutionalized ideal. We judge it on its merits, detached perhaps,
but still for what it actually renders in values.

In conformity with American ideals, wage earners look to their own
movements and not to the state for protection. Their movements require
infinite sacrifice, but they supply them with an interest and an
opportunity for initiative which their job lacks. The most important
antidote for the workers to factory and business methods is not
shorter hours or well calculated rest periods or even change-off from
one kind of routine work to another. As important as these may be,
reform in labor hours does not compensate the worker for his exclusion
from the directing end of the enterprise of which he is a part and
from a position where he can understand the purpose of his work The
trade union interference with the business of wealth production is in
part an attempt to establish a coördination of the worker which is
destroyed in the prosecution of business and factory organization. The
interference of the union is an attempt to bridge the gulf between
the routine of service and the administration, and direction of the
service which the worker gives.

I do not intend to imply that the labor movement is a conscious
attempt at such coördination. It is not. The conscious purpose is the
direct and simple desire to resist specific acts of domination and
to increase labor's economic returns. But any one who follows the
sacrifices which organized workers make for some small and equivocal
gain or who watches them in their periods of greatest activity, knows
that the labor movement gets its stimulus, its high pitch of interest,
not from its struggle for higher wage rates, but from the worker's
participation in the administration of affairs connected with life in
the shop. The real tragedy in a lost strike is not the failure to gain
the wage demand; It is the return of the defeated strikers to work, as
men unequipped with the administrative power--as men without will.

There could be no greater contrast of methods of two movements
purporting to be the same, than the labor movement in Germany and in
the United States. The German workers depended on their political
representatives almost wholly to gain their economic rewards. Their
organizations made their appeal to the sort of a state which Bismarck
set up. They would realize democracy, happiness, they believed, when
their state represented labor and enacted statutes in its behalf.

If Germany loses the war the chances are that the people may recognize
what it means for the people of a nation to let the title to their
lives rest with the state; they will know perhaps whether for the
protection they have been given and for the regulation of their
affairs and destiny they have paid more than the workers of other
countries, who, less protected by law, suffered the exigencies of
their assumed independence.

How much the German people depended upon the state and how much their
destiny is affected by it is illustrated better by their educational
system and its relation to industry than by any labor legislative
protective practices or policy.

George Kerschensteiner, the director of the Munich schools, in his
book on "The Idea of the Industrial School," tells us that the