The “family wage”
The following resources are pertinent to a discussion at Steve Skojec’s blog:
“The capitalistic era has served to loosen the sacred bond holding together that most intimate moral community, the family, which is the original cell-unit of human society. Moreover, communistic socialism (as advocated by certain of its exponents) wants to dissolve that bond completely. The social system of human work, on the other hand, requires the restoration of the family. It calls for the solidarity and unity of the family so that parents can be to their children and children can be to their parents what the natural order of things calls for. The reform of the family is not primarily the responsibility of the economic system, but the way in which an economy is organized must not at any time stand in its way or contribute to the destruction of the family. In the very nation where “natural freedom” became the big thing, the engineer and economist LePlay urged the state to intervene and regulate child and female labor. He called for a new social policy which would everywhere restore the woman, the mother, and the children to the bosom of the family; and he urged an end to Sunday labor, and also shorter hours of work so that the father would again become a part of the family. He urged that a family wage be paid to the father, which would enable him to act as and remain its sole support. It is, of course, easier for the father to take his rightful place in the family where he has that measure of economic independence which was the priceless advantage enjoyed by the middle class in earlier times and the upper classes before the age of the factory worker dawned. The maintenance and strengthening of the middle class is, therefore, not a mere economic issue. It goes beyond that and is a problem of great moral and social significance.” (Page 137)
“Wages represent that crucial portion of the national income on which the great majority of people are dependent for their livelihood. The wage, therefore, has to be sufficient so that even the unskilled worker will have enough to live on at a decent human standard which corresponds to the level of cultural advancement achieved by the particular society in question. It has to provide that not only for him alone, but it must also enable him to support his family as befits his station in life; and it must do this also when possible along with some sharing in the profits.”
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