1930s >> 1930 >> no-309-may-1930

Book Review: The Workers’ Share

The Workers Share: A Study in Wages and Poverty, by A. W. Humphrey. Published by George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 92 pages, 2/6; cloth bound, 3/6.)

This little work is a compact handbook of information on the wealth and poverty which exist side by side in capitalist society.

Part I, “Evidence of Statistics of Wages and Wealth,” gives facts and figures relating to wealth distribution over the past three-quarters of a century, together with the authority for the various statements.

Part II, “Evidence of Social Investigation,” gives the summing-up of the poverty problem by many well-known social students: Booth, Shewell, Bell, Bowley, Rowntree, etc.

Part III, “Present-day Wages and the Poverty Line,” includes an estimate based on Ministry of Labour figures of the cost in 1928 of purchasing the bare necessities of the “Rowntree” Poverty Line. The cost in March, 1928, of purchasing the articles which in July, 1914, cost 35s. 3d. (the Poverty Line) was 59s. 7d.

For contrast, the author gives particulars of the average earnings of workers in different industries. The average earnings cf all male workers in industries covered by the 1924 Ministry of Labour Inquiry was 56s. 3d.

The price 2s. 6d. seems somewhat high for a work of 92 pages, but the book is a mine of information, most of it not easily accessible otherwise, and not elsewhere brought together in one handy volume. It will prove of great value to propagandists.

Edgar Hardcastle