J. S. Tindall
[Reprinted from Land and Freedom,
The first man who was condemned to labor and live by the sweat of his
brow, when applying his labor to the earth and its resources, had as
wages his whole product. It was immaterial whether he claimed this
product as a landlord, a capitalist or a laborer, the product was his
So today to the land-owning farmer, using his own improvements and
tools products of his previous labor it is also immaterial whether he
accept his crop as wages, rent for land or as interest on his capital;
it is his all. But if there were three persons between whom to divide
the product, one representing labor, a second representing capital and
a third representing land, it would make a vast difference to each
just how the crop was divided.
It is plain that if the landlord as rent were to get more, then
between them capital and labor must get less.
Now, since the production of commodities is not complete until they
are marketed and are in the hands of the consumer, the producer must
hire the warehouseman, the railroads, the commission man, the
wholesaler and retailer, and in most cases a manufacturer or
processer, and pay them out of the price paid by the consumer.
Therefore, it makes a vast difference to the producer on what bases
they charge him, because he can have only what is left after their
charges are paid.
No farmer or other producer, it would appear, has reason to complain
about the general wage scale, because working for wages is their line
and the labor market is their line and the labor market is practically
an open market, where all have equal opportunity to engage in any
occupation which pays best.
Nor should any complain of the rates usually charged for the use of
capital, because all can invest their capital where it will draw the
largest pay, the same as labor. So it appears competition should
fairly well equalize the earnings of both in all trades.
But how about land, a factor which both labor and capital must employ
if they do anything? Is the supply of land open to competition, and
does the law of supply and demand regulate rent the same as it
regulates compensation paid labor and capital? What effect does this
factor land have on the retail price of products and the share that
labor and capital receive? What share of present retail prices
represents land rent or interest on capitalized land values?
Labor complains that wages are low as compared to retail prices. The
farmer says the same thing about prices paid him for his products.
We all acknowledge that lack of purchasing power is the main cause of
industrial depression. Is it not possible that excessive
capitalization of land space in our industrial and trade centers,
mines, water power, etc., is exacting an undue share that is unearned,
thus reducing the purchasing power of labor and true capital?
Perhaps this would be a good field for one of Mr. Hoover's