“The hope that poverty and ignorance may gradually be extinguished, derives indeed much support from the steady progress of the working classes during the nineteenth century. The steam-engine has relieved them of much exhausting and degrading toil; wages have risen; education has been improved and become more general; the railway and the printing press have enabled members of the same trade in different parts of the country to communicate easily with one another, and to undertake and carry out broad and far seeing lines of policy; while the growing demand for intelligent work has caused the artisan classes to increase so rapidly that they now outnumber those whose labour is entirely unskilled. A great part of the artisan classes have ceased to belong to the “lower classes” in the sense in which the term was originally used; and some of them already lead a more refined and noble life than did the majority of the upper classes even a century ago.”

Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics, 1890, Book I, Chapter I, §3

 

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