Altruism, clearly. Ha!

Continuing to try and sort out some thoughts as per this.

In 1898 the United States legislature created an Industrial Commission charged with investigating industrial life and proposing legislation. The 1902 Final Report of the Industrial Commission stated that while in a “lower stage of civilization” injuries may have been just as common, but they arose from a different cause: “personal carelessness on the part of the workers.” In more recent conditions, however, each worker was “but a single private in an army,” working “in a great institution, over the conditions of which he has little control.” The machines employed used motor power of their own and working conditions were “chiefly determined by his employer and his fellow-workmen.” (893-894.) Under these condition, legal regulation of the work place was necessary. The individual worker could no longer control working conditions nor avoid injury by being prudent.

The report noted two separate but related goals with regard to accidents – accident compensation and accident prevention. (Page?) The report emphasized that workers were at least interested in the latter as the former. “The original legal doctrine regarding employer’s liability in England and America was based on the principle of individual responsibility for acts of negligence. (…) It has been abundantly shown in the experience of the different countries that this simple principle, so equitable in theory, has failed in practice to meet the requirements of a developing system of industry.” (932-933.) The report quoted other reports from England, Germany, and Austria with regard to accidents’ cause. (933-934; cross ref with Eastman?)

938-939, info on state laws limiting employers’ liability.

** **

Washington State, Seventh Annual Report of the Industrial Insurance and Medical Aid Departments For the Twelve Months Ending September 30th, 1918; The Workmen’s Compensation Act

Here –

The report states

“there is a certain inherent hazard in industry; that men will be hurt by reason of their employment therein, just as machinery may become broken in that same industry, and that the cost of those injuries, whether to the men or the machinery, is justly chargeable to the industry. Therefore no question of fault is to be considered, but for the man who is injured in the course of employment there shall be a definite, sure and certain relief.” (5.)

“The common law system governing the remedy of workmen against employers for injuries received in hazardous work is inconsistent with modern industrial conditions. In practice it proves to be economically unwise and unfair. Its administration has produced the result that little of the cost to the employer has reached the workman and that little only at large expense to the public. The remedy of the workman has been uncertain, slow, and inadequate. Injuries in such works, formerly occasional, have become frequent and inevitable. The welfare of the state depends upon its industries, and even more upon the welfare of its wage-worker. The State of Washington, therefore, exercising herein its police and sovereign power, declares that all phases of the premises are withdrawn from private controversy, and sure and certain relief for workmen, injured in extra hazardous work, and their families and dependents is hereby provided regardless of questions of fauly and to the exclusion of every other remedy, proceeding, or compensation, except as otherwise noted in this act; and to that end all civil actions and civil causes of action for such personal injuries and all jurisdiction of the courts of the state over such causes are hereby abolished, except as in this act provided.” (Section 6604-1 of the Washington Workmen’s Compensation Act, quoted in 7th annual report p5-6.)

Police power, from here,

“in U.S. domestic law, a term used to designate the power exercised by a state or municipal government to enact legislation regulating private interests for the protection of the safety, health, and morals of the people, the prevention of fraud and oppression, and the promotion of the public convenience, prosperity, and welfare.

The precise scope of police power is difficult to define. It covers, for example, the maintenance of the peace by the police; the licensing of some trades and professions; the regulation of rates charged by public service corporations; the regulation of security issues by so-called Blue Sky laws, which are statutes intended to prevent fraud in the sale of stocks and bonds; the regulation of hours of labor; and such health regulations as quarantine and compulsory vaccination.”

See – The Police Power: Patriarchy and the Foundations of American Government. By Markus Dirk Dubber.
The Fabrication Of Social Order: A Critical Theory of Police Power by Mark Neocleous

From the OED, Statistic, etymology.

[ad. G. statistik n. statistisch adj., F. statistique adj. and fem. n., ad. mod.L. statisticus, f. *statista (It. statista) STATIST. Cf. It. statistico adj., statistica n., Sp., Pg. estadístico adj., estadística n.
The earliest known occurrence of the word seems to be in the title of the satirical work Microscopium Statisticum, by ‘Helenus Politanus’, Frankfort (?), 1672. Here the sense is prob. ‘pertaining to statists or to statecraft’ (cf. STATISTICAL a. 1). The earliest use of the adj. in anything resembling its present meaning is found in mod.L. statisticum collegium, said to have been used by Martin Schmeizel (professor at Jena, died 1747) for a course of lectures on the constitutions, resources, and policy of the various States of the world. The G. statistik was used as a name for this department of knowledge by G. Achenwall in his Vorbereitung zur Staatswissenschaft (1748); the context shows that he did not regard the term as novel. The F. statistique n. is cited by Littré from Bachaumont (died 1771); Fr. writers of the 18th c. refer to Achenwall as having brought the word into use. The sense-development of the word may have been influenced by the notion that it was a direct derivative of L. status STATE n.]


1. a. Construed as sing. In early use, that branch of political science dealing with the collection, classification, and discussion of facts (especially of a numerical kind) bearing on the condition of a state or community. In recent use, the department of study that has for its object the collection and arrangement of numerical facts or data, whether relating to human affairs or to natural phenomena.


Okay, so, speculating a little, more free writing as in the other post already linked to above –

The welfare of the state is the welfare of industry is the welfare of the workers, as stated by the Washington 7th annual report quoted above. The claim here is not “good functioning state causes good functioning industry causes healthy workers.” Rather, it means “unhealthy workers means problems for industry means poorly functioning state.” That is – securing the health of industrial workers is in the state’s interest. This securing may be in the interest of the working class, to the degree that they must continue as working class, but the claim is based on their position in a social relationship as working – surplus value producing – class, not a claim about the health of those persons as such. This is subtly indicated in the gendered terms used. It is also indicated in the comment that some injuries simply will happen.

Work is risky. Securing the workforce is not causing the absolute safety of the workforce (because to do so would mean not having them be a workforce anymore, since working is considered a risky activity). Rather, the securing consists in keeping risk levels acceptably low, which is to say, minimizing their cost (monetarily and in social conflict). This involves, as I already alluded to with regard to gender, a decision or decisions about who counts as workforce for what purposes. These decisions can have at least three sorts of effects. One is the nonpayment of certain activities, such as housework. (‘Effect’ here is a poor term, not least because the nonremuneration of activities like housework as well as considering them to be non-work pre-dates what I’m talking about. The decisions I’m talking about repeat this, and perhaps reinforce it.) Another is noncompensation for injuries incurred in the course of these activities (injuries while performing housework in one’s own home and other unwaged ‘nonwork’ activities, as well as injuries to domestics and other waged workers not considered workers for the purposes of injury compensation laws). A third is the exclusion of some people from waged work. (See “One-Eyed, One-Legged And One-Armed Men Need Not Apply – The Rise Of Second Injury Funds,” By Chris Boggs, part 6 of this. See also A History of Vocational Rehabilitation in America, By Carl Esco Obermann, with reference to an Oklahoma State Supreme Court decision in response to which employers fired thousands of disabled workers, p129. See also Workmen’s Compensation Law Journal.)

Related avenue of inquiry – dependency and legal personhood/full legal personhood.

(See Harry Smith, “From Deodand to Dependency,” American Journal of Legal History, 1967, 11: 389; find others. Relate to free labor ideology.)

Had another thought:

Bodies, spaces, risks, dependency. Risky bodies and risky spaces … workplaces went from being safe places – provided that the workers (men, really) were of the proper caliber/character – to being places of inherent and relatively indiscriminate risk. During this shift the configuration of dependence and independence changed. Men became more like those who had previously been considered dependents, in that they were to be managed rather than self-determining. At the same time, men were still considered the least dependent and the law was formulated for men who had dependents. Some who were considered dependents lost some options in this transition. For instance, the shift from common law to standard compensation meant lower awards for women in large part due to the removal of juries from the process. Disabled workers lost out as well, in that their bodies became construed as a risk for employers who were now required to insure their workplaces. Insurance also fed into physicals for workers to rate their acceptability in terms of how much of a risk they were to employ. When they were employed, they were often left out of the socialization of risk that applied to ‘able-bodied’ workers. (I wonder, was there also an effect on workers who didn’t speak English? Were they screened out? Or did they not count in some other way, perhaps less likely to file claims? [Might make a sort of map, charting constituencies, attitudes/ideas held by them and experiences endured by them, attitudes/ideas toward them and where these appear – such as those embodied in policies, and the phenomena entering into changing any of these])

Emery and Emery, A Young Man’s Benefit: The Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Sickness Insurance in the United States and Canada, 1860-1929; “To minimize an adverse selection of risks” the Odd Fellows statutes “barred from membership “any person who is totally deaf, dumb, or blind, or who is afflicted with any chronic, incurable disease, or who at the time of his admission was not in good health.” Although not required to do so, most lodges elected a lodge physician whose duty was to ascertain the health of candidates for initiation. If the lodge also had a lodge practice agreement with the physician, then its capitation plan payment gave the physician an extra incentive to refuse applicants with poor health.” (42; note to self, briefly review some of the literature on risk society.)