The industrial situation among this people is far from their ideals; capital and labor still have their troubles, but both are becoming adjusted to the plan of sincere co-operation. On this unique continent the workers are increasingly becoming shareholders in all industrial concerns; every intelligent laborer is slowly becoming a small capitalist.
Social antagonisms are lessening, and good will is growing apace. No grave economic problems have arisen out of the abolition of slavery (over one hundred years ago) since this adjustment was effected gradually by the liberation of two per cent each year. Those slaves who satisfactorily passed mental, moral, and physical tests were granted citizenship; many of these superior slaves were war captives or children of such captives. Some fifty years ago they deported the last of their inferior slaves, and still more recently they are addressing themselves to the task of reducing the numbers of their degenerate and vicious classes.
These people have recently developed new techniques for the adjustment of industrial misunderstandings and for the correction of economic abuses which are marked improvements over their older methods of settling such problems. Violence has been outlawed as a procedure in adjusting either personal or industrial differences. Wages, profits, and other economic problems are not rigidly regulated, but they are in general controlled by the industrial legislatures, while all disputes arising out of industry are passed upon by the industrial courts.
The industrial courts are only thirty years old but are functioning very satisfactorily. The most recent development provides that hereafter the industrial courts shall recognize legal compensation as falling in three divisions:
1. Legal rates of interest on invested capital.
2. Reasonable salary for skill employed in industrial operations.
3. Fair and equitable wages for labor.
These shall first be met in accordance with contract, or in the face of decreased earnings they shall share proportionally in transient reduction. And thereafter all earnings in excess of these fixed charges shall be regarded as dividends and shall be prorated to all three divisions: capital, skill, and labor.
Every ten years the regional executives adjust and decree the lawful hours of daily gainful toil. Industry now operates on a five-day week, working four and playing one. These people labor six hours each working day and, like students, nine months in the year of ten. Vacation is usually spent in travel, and new methods of transportation having been so recently developed, the whole nation is travel bent. The climate favors travel about eight months in the year, and they are making the most of their opportunities.
Two hundred years ago the profit motive was wholly dominant in industry, but today it is being rapidly displaced by other and higher driving forces. Competition is keen on this continent, but much of it has been transferred from industry to play, skill, scientific achievement, and intellectual attainment. It is most active in social service and governmental loyalty. Among this people public service is rapidly becoming the chief goal of ambition. The richest man on the continent works six hours a day in the office of his machine shop and then hastens over to the local branch of the school of statesmanship, where he seeks to qualify for public service.
Labor is becoming more honorable on this continent, and all able-bodied citizens over eighteen work either at home and on farms, at some recognized industry, on the public works where the temporarily unemployed are absorbed, or else in the corps of compulsory laborers in the mines.
These people are also beginning to foster a new form of social disgust—disgust for both idleness and unearned wealth. Slowly but certainly they are conquering their machines. Once they, too, struggled for political liberty and subsequently for economic freedom. Now are they entering upon the enjoyment of both while in addition they are beginning to appreciate their well-earned leisure, which can be devoted to increased self-realization.