xt7kh12v6014_339 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7kh12v6014/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7kh12v6014/data/2008ms006.dao.xml Benham Coal Mines. (Benham, Ky.) 151.0 Cubic feet 302 Boxes The Benham Coal Company records (151 cubic feet, 302 Boxes; dated 1911-1973) focus primarily on the early years of Benham Coal through the 1940s, including office files, Employee Benefits Association records, files on accidents and safety, and photographs. archival material English University of Kentucky This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed.  Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically.  Physical rights are retained by the owning repository.  Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws.  For information about permissions to reproduce or publish, contact the Special Collections Research Center. Benham Coal Company Records African American coal miners--Kentucky--Harlan County Coal miners--Kentucky--Harlan County Coal mines and mining--Appalachian Region Coal mines and mining--Appalachian Region--History. Coal mines and mining--Kentucky--Benham--History Company towns--Kentucky--Benham 1919-1920 text 1919-1920 2015 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7kh12v6014/data/2008ms006/2008ms006_32/2008ms006_32_10/25734/25734.pdf 1919-1920 1920 1919-1920 section false xt7kh12v6014_339 xt7kh12v6014 INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER COM PANY

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 Why present prices of manu-
factured articles go hand
in hand with the high
prices of farm products.
Published july, l9l9
A From Data Prepared and Distributed
By {he
Frank B. White, Managing Director

An examination of the piice history during and following the great wars
of the past, particularly the Civil War, from 1861 to l865, and the Franco-
Prussian War, from july, l870, to February, I87l, indicates that for a con-
siderable period after a war closes, there is little if any downward trend in
It is also a matter of price history that the price of commodities does not
come down until the cost of living comes down, that wheat is the indicator of
the cost of living, and that as goes the price of wheat, so goes the price of all
manufactured articles. `
A well-known authority recently said that the real barometer of the
trend of prices is to be found at the grain elevator in the country town; that
until the price of wheat paid to the farmer at the elevator is reduced, there
can be no reasonable expectation of recessions of moment in the prices of
manufactured articles.
85% of Steel Cost is Labor
This follows because of the fact that wages are and must be determined
by the cost of living, that 85  of the cost of that great basic commodity, steel,
is labor, that labor cannot go down until the cost of living goes down, and
that while labor remains upon its present basis, the price of steel and all
products manufactured from steel cannot recede materially.
It is true that some recessions have occurred where it was possible that
the price reductions could be made out of the profits of the manufacturers,
such for example as a small reduction of 35 cents per hundred in the price of
The effect of this on farm tools may be illustrated in this way: A gang
plow selling for approximately $lZ5.00, for which IOOO pounds of steel in the
rough is required to manufacture, represents on the new basis a saving of $3.00
in the price of the steel, while as against this, the price of labor required to
build this gang plow has advanced since the armistice was signed to entirely
counteract the saving.
Referring again to the history following the Civil War, in l867, two years
after the war closed, it is found that the price of wheat and pig iron was sub-
stantially higher than was the price of these commodities respectively at the _
opening of the war. L
While the price of wheat, due to the shortness of the Franco—Prussian  
war, did not increase greatly, it remained for two years after that war on  
substantially as high a plane as it was during the war, and because of the "
rehabilitation problems involved, the price of pig iron and iron bars was —
materially higher than at the close of the war. l
At the close of the Civil V/ar, one-half of the nation was on the verge of
starvation. During that war, however, because of the character of the
explosives used, and the fact that the fighting was largely done in the open l
country, there was very little destruction of property, so that the main `
problem was to raise food to take care of the hungry people.
. . »
The Franco-Prussian War, on the other hand, was of short duration,
was fought in thickly populated districts, at a time when explosives had been Q
more highly developed, resulted in the capture of several cities, and Hnally
the bombardment of Paris, and consequently involved considerable destruc- {
tion of property. {
The \Vorld Wzir which has just closed reveals both of these conditions {
to an exaggerated degree. We have much of the world on the verge of starva- g
tion. We have such destruction of property as the world never before  
2 %

 experienced, consequently the demand for food products and for materials to
rehabilitate the devastated countries is many times greater than were similar
demands after the other wars referred to.
We must therefore draw the conclusion from the history of the past that
these same problems are bound to create a condition of under-supply in the
food markets of the world, and consequent high prices for food, labor, and
manufactured commodities.
Lower Labor Prices Doubtful
It is also doubtful if the price of labor will recede materially from its
present level. After the previous wars mentioned above, labor did not
— recede to the pre-war plane.
Secretary of Labor Wilson in an address given in Chicago on June 3rd,
°'Wages will not be lowered until the cost of living is lowered.
"There will most probably be a shortage of labor instead of a lack of
jobs for returning soldiers. We are short about 2,400,000 workers and face
to face with a labor shortage if we could only get back to pre-war activities.
"During the past six weeks conditions have greatly changed. Last week
9,000 more men were employed than were demobilized."
Secretary Wilson's reference to the high cost of living may be taken to
apply largely to the price of wheat, which is the basis of living costs.
_]ulius Barnes, President of the Crain Corporation of the United States
Food Administration, in an address delivered on May lst, in St. Louis, at the
Seventh Annual Meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, U. S. A., said:
"During this coming year the United States must supply large quantities
of food. The sale price of that food in view of the unusual influences that
prevent a full and a fair refiection of a world's price freely made by supply
and demand, is a question for serious consideration.
"The average price received by the American grower for wheat under the
stabilized basis for the past two years has been $2.06 per bushel. The average
price received by the British grower in the same period according to the official
reports has been $2.28 per bushel. The guaranteed prices of the other con-
suming countries for the present year runs as follows:
France ......................... $3.96
Spain ............ . .............. 3.96
ltaly ........................... 4.34
Holland ......................... 3.25
, Norway ........................ 4.52
  Portugal ..... . .................. 6.43
i "While one importing country of the Western Hemisphere, Brazil, has a
l; guaranteed price to its growers of $2.65. If these countries, most of which
i produce a larger yield per acre, consider those prices fair assurance to their
i growers, can they, with good grace, object that an American price of $2.26,
l netting our farmers $2.06, is taking advantage of their necessities?
l Former Exporters of Wheat are Now Importers
"The resale price can be fairly placed finally, but it cannot be done by
’ fixing our eyes on the fortunately large promise in America. We must not
, close our eyes to the fact that the exporting countries—countries which
` previously contributed largely to the world`s supply, have become, because of
Y war and famine, importers from our own stock instead. Besides bread grains,
{ they did furnish formerly $50,000,000 bushels additional of food grains, corn,
i barley, and oats. and they can furnish none of these today; nor is there any
Q promise that the coming harvest year will reinstate them in export ability
  to the slightest degree.
i "The enormous food vacuum of Central Europe must fall largely on
i America, and it is Heaven°s direct blessing that American crops do promise to
i meet this strain of world obligation."
' 3

 The price history also shows that after the wars of the past considerable
time has been required to get back to a new normal standard of prices.
Usually this time has been from B to l2 years, and during that period price
recessions have been so gradually made as not to be materially disturbing to
If we can draw any conclusion therefore, from the history of the past, it
is that it should be our plan to go on doing business in a normal way, confident
that any possible loss that may be met through a decline in prices would be
of small amount and not to be considered as against the profit to be made by
conducting our affairs upon a sane, efficient basis.
From the farmer's standpoint, it is to be remembered that the commodities
that he produces are in the greatest demand throughout the world, and are
therefore bringing a price relatively higher than the things that he buys,
consequently it is to his profit that he should procure such equipment as is
required to minimize the use of high priced labor upon the farm, and to
produce the maximum of these food crops, so necessary to the world's welfare,
and so immediately prohtable to the farmer himself.
ln other words, while the average cost of the equipment that the farmer
buys in the operation of his farm has gone up 80%, the average selling price
of the products produced upon the farm has advanced approximately I25%,
as in the case of wheat, and 300% or 400%, as in the case of pork. ln the
last analysis, the farmer`s market and the price he gets for his products
must always depend upon the ability of labor to buy them.
Prices Not Under Control of One Nation
The present level of prices is not a condition that is peculiar to the
United States alone. It is an international condition, and the subject should
no longer be discussed as one which applies to the interests of the United
States alone. This is clearly illustrated by a consideration of America°s
present national debt. Today it is in the neighborhood of $25,900,000,000,
as compared with about $l ,000,000,000 at the time the United States
entered the war. Of this gigantic sum, $l0,000,000,000 represents loans to the
Allied Governments, which amount will be repaid in time to the United
States by the countries to whom it was lent. Generally speaking, there are
two means by which this money would come back—either through the pay-
ment of gold, or through the medium of goods from foreign countries.
If the general level of prices in this country was to drop, and the present
level of prices in the countries to whom American loaned this money remain
at or about the present level, the people of the United States would have to
pay for their goods many more dollars than they are paying today. There-
fore, the adjustment in values is, in a sense, international, and from the
point of view of Amcrica's loans to the Allies, the adjustment downwards ,
in this country should follow the downward adjustment in the other countries.
ln other words, the question of price is a world condition and should be `
universal if this country is to play its part in foreign commerce.
The balance of Americas present indebtedness will have to be paid
largely through taxation, and a rapid reduction in values in this country i
will prolong and make more difficult that task.
During the last few years, the rapid rise in prices has necessitated an
increased circulating medium. Labor receivedits pay in cash, and, as earn-
ings have materially increased, more cash is needed in the country to meet ,
the pay rolls. The Federal Reserve System of the United States has provided i
for this increased circulation,and a downward movement in values should
necessarily be gradual so as to accommodate the financial situation to them. I
Readjustment in Values Will Be Gradual
While inflation in values is not desirable, any readjustment in values
will necessarily have to be gradual—otherwise the whole structure of com-
4 .

 merce will sustain serious losses and, generally speaking, be more detrimental
than a continuation of the present level of values.
The foregoing points—especially with reference to the country's national
debt——are mentioned to emphasize the fact that the present level of prices is
not alone a problem of the United States, but a world problem, and one that
cannot be worked out alone by the United States but only in connection with
the other principal countries of the world.
To reduce values substantially in this country today would seriously
hamper America's buying power in foreign countries, possibly to the point
where the liquidation of its loans to them would become an impossibility.
The money raised through the Liberty and Victory loans has largely
been expended on the high price basis of the present time. Should commodities
decline so that the public is compelled to pay these taxes upon a basis where
the purchasing power of crops is materially less than at present, it would
require more units of crop production to pay the farmer's taxes than it does if
the price of commodities remains high.
In other words, if a farmer has to pay a tax of $100.00 this can be dis-
charged with 50 bushels of wheat at $2.00 per bushel, when wheat is selling
on that basis. lf, on the other hand, wheat is only selling at $l .00 per bushel,
it would require l00 bushels of wheat to discharge the same tax.
Liverpool has been the world's market for grain. A review of the guar-
anteed prices as outlined by Mr. Barnes above must indicate that during the
present crop year the obligations of foreign governments to their own farmers
are such that there is no reasonable chance of a decline of wheat either in
Liverpool or other European markets which will carry that commodity below
the price guaranteed by this Government to the American farmer.
An illustration of the tremendous world demand for foodstuffs as reflected
in the price, lies in the fact that when the Food Administration ceased to
control the price of hogs on a basis of $l 7.50, and left this price to be deter-
mined by the normal law of supply and demand, live hogs went up approx-
imately $4.00 per hundred beyond that basis.
Present Farm Crop Prices to Continue
All of these facts lead to the conclusion that the demand for food is so
great throughout the world that the American farmer can properly anticipate
the maintenance of approximately the present prices of farm crops until
American production is equal to or greater than the demand throughout the
Therefore, as the cost of living determines the price of labor, and the
price of labor in turn hxes the price of manufactured products, there is no
anticipation of a decline in the price of those products for such period of time
as the cost of living remains high.
Another notable increase in production costs is the spread of the adoption
· of eight hours as a standard day, without any reduction in pay, where formerly
the day’s wages was based on nine or ten hours' work.
The railroads new under Government operation are showing a loss of
~ over $2,000,000 per day. Before these roads can be turned back to private
ownership in a solvent condition there must be substantial increases in freight
rates. The better thought on this subject indicates that the increases may
approximate Z5'?}. Such increases are bound to add to the cost of com-
modities which the farmer has to buy.
E These deductions and conclusions are fundamental and basic. Business
i of all kinds needs to be encouraged and stabilized, confidence stimulated and
j operation energized, to the end that we may carry on aggressively and con-
t structively during these readjustment days.

Because of the large inventory of materials on hand at the time of the
armistice, more than enough to provide a normal output of farm machines
and equipment for l9I9, recent tendencies of material quotations are inter-
esting only for their possible effect on future implement and equipment prices.
It is well to state that these effects might be counteracted by the behavior of
labor prices, which may be forced higher by the higher cost of living.
The market is softening on such items as pig iron, bar and sheet steel,
coal, fuel oil, etc., as may be observed from the following table comparing
market prices as of February 20, and june 4, l9I9.
Mkt. Price Feb. 20, l9l9 Mkt. Price june 4, l9l9 "
Pig lron ....... . .$3I.OO gross ton furnace $26.75 gross ton furnace I
Bar Steel ...,.... 2.65 cwt., Pittsburg 2.35 cwt., Pittsburg
No. 28 Gauge Black ll
Sheet Steel, . . 4.70 l00 lbs., Pittsburg 4.35 l00 lbs., Pittsburg
Cotton Duck ..... .85 yard, Chicago l.05 yard, Chicago ;
Melting Coal ..... 5.35 ton, Chicago 5.20 ton, Chicago
Steam Coal ...... 3.36 ton, Chicago 3.21 ton, Chicago
Fuel Oil ...... . . . . .05% wine gal., Chicago .05  wine gal., Chicago
Linseed Oil ....... l.45 wine gal., Chicago l.50 wine gal., Chicago
White Lead ....... .05   lb., Chicago .08% lb., Chicago
Zinc Oxide ....... .09%; lb., Chicago .08% lb., Chicago
Steel Chain ...... . .12 lb., Chicago .ll lb., Chicago
Pine Crating
Lumber ...... 33.00 per M ft., Chicago 35.00 per M ft., Chicago
Lumber .......... 56.00 per M ft., Chicago 70.00 per M ft., Chicago
On the other hand, there has been an increase in the market price of
cotton duck in the last three months from 85¢ to $l .05 a yard, an increase of
better than 23 per cent. Lumber of all kinds, also, has increased since
February 20th, the general average increase in the market price of t