Thursday, May 17, 2007

Josiah Warren, Reply to E. C.

J. W., "Reply to E. C.," Free Enquirer, 2, 42 (Aug 14, 1830), 332.

For the Free Enquirer.

REPLY TO E. C.

It gives me much pleasure to answer any objections or enquiries which, like the above, are made in the spirit of honesty and candor; and I wail endeavor to do so as far as experience has furnished me with the power; but further than this, (as it would be merely theoretical) T should prefer to leave to future experiment.

You ask for the detail of our practice in Cincinnati, or an, answer to several questions or objections proposed. You must be aware that, as the exchange of labor is the basis of society, a delineation in detail of all its ramifications must be the work of time and well-chosen opportunity: besides, I might, in so doing, weary you with a perusal of ideas already familiar, and omit those which most require illustration, or proof. This view of the subject induces me rather to answer objections or enquiries as they may arise, so that when they cease to be offered, the subject may be considered sufficiently explained.

Objection 1. The shoemaker feared that the Magazine would require a larger stock than his capital could furnish, and that a large assortment to suit all tastes would depreciate by lying on shelves. Answer. This was obviated with us by making only such as the demand called for; which demand was made known at the Magazine by a report for that purpose.

Objection 2. "One could work only eight months in the year at his trade, and therefore could not exchange equally with those who would work all the year." Answer. Upon the principle of Equal Exchange, competition is annihilated; therefore all motive to keep each other ignorant for the sake of profit is destroyed, and he who could only work eight months at one branch, would be freely taught by others any other branch at which he could work the remaining four months, and he would pay his teacher only for the time employed in teaching him. In this manner we have had printing, shoemaking, tayloring, blacksmithing, and some other branches, in a few hours or days, put within the reach of those who, by the common practice of serving seven years apprenticeship, had been induced to suppose they were too old, or too young, or too dull, to learn to be useful.

Objection 3. "One said that his tools coat more than those of another trade" &c—Answer. The wear and tear of tools, machinery, shop-rent, &c. is estimated as so much labor consumed in the production of the articles, and adds so much to their prices.

J. W.

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