'Are We Medieval?' The Worker, 2 January 1904
Criticism, democracy, economy, guild, industrialisation, labour, legislation, medieval guilds, McKenzie, politics, Professor Thorold Rogers, progress, trade, trade bosses, trade guilds, trade unionism, wages, workers, working conditions.
This article from Brisbane publication The Worker rebukes derisive comments published by a London journalist mocking Australia’s legislation concerning workers as a reversion to medieval trade laws. Responding to McKenzie’s quip that ‘Under the guise of the most advanced democracy you are reverting to regulations which strongly resemble the rigid conditions and strict trade laws of medieval life’, the author of the article cites research arguing that medieval workers were comparatively better off than modern workers, and suggests that the old trade guilds only failed when they started admitting the bosses into their membership. With a swipe at the British economy and working conditions, the author concludes that Australian workers will not be frightened by medievalism if it means better conditions and more pay: ‘We who go back 2000 years for our religion have no need to be ashamed of reverting a few centuries to pick up an economic hint or two. We go backwards sometimes to progress’.
TROVE: National Library of Australia, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71036792
2 January 1904, p.3