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"Freedom of Occupation": Excerpt from the Staats-Lexikon: "Trade and Manufacturing" (1845-1848)

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use of his products, and is also incapable of repairs. Therefore, there will still always be – regardless of the factory manufacture of wood and metal products, watches, and the like – work for watchmakers, locksmiths, gunsmiths, and joiners. Finally, there are also crafts that, while having to cede a portion of their products to manufacturing, can use their greater skills to supply far better products that guarantee them ample compensation and secure their existence. – It was mentioned at the beginning that freedom is not equivalent to isolation. After the abolition of a caste-like type of association founded on compulsion, one that no longer fits into the organism of the modern state and no longer achieves the aims put forth at the time of its establishment and development, the need for cooperation, paired with insight and common spirit, will be in a position to found free occupational trade associations. Such an association can comprise several occupational trades that complement or relate to each other. It will contribute to establishments and institutions for good preparation and further training, in other words, to the introduction of trade schools, to the purchase of publications and models; it will supervise the treatment and instruction of apprentices, traveling journeymen, and members who are sick, poor, and unable to work; it will support their members' widows and orphans, represent their interests before local government and public authorities. At the same time, these kinds of associations would also include elements leading toward further developments in labor relations, toward an organization of labor, as opposed to the disadvantages of the war of all against all and the overpowering competition of big capital against isolated small entrepreneurs. In a certain meeting place, all orders could be taken and finished goods exhibited for sale, which, as we already see, is starting to happen in the industrial halls of a number of cities; work could be distributed among the members of the association, and, with the cooperation of many, the advantages of the division of labor in a craftsman’s business could be put to use more extensively than is currently the case, where every master craftsman and journeyman assistant quickly undertakes this job and then that one, loses time to changing chores and tools, and cannot achieve the same degree of perfection in all branches. Yet what now engages thinkers as a social problem will be made practical by force of circumstance.

Source: Carl von Rotteck and Carl Welcker, eds., Das Staats-Lexikon: Encyklopädie der sämmtlichen Staatswissenschaften für alle Stände [The National-Lexicon: Encyclopedia of the Political Sciences for People of all Stations], 2nd ed., rev. and enl. Altona: Verlag von Johann Friedrich Hammerich, 1845-48, vol. 5, pp. 747-50.

Translation: Jeremiah Riemer

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