By Peter Richardson

ISBN-10: 1349048895

ISBN-13: 9781349048892

ISBN-10: 1349048917

ISBN-13: 9781349048915

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It is, therefore, only in the underground workings that any field remains for labour-saving devices. Here their adoption is at present limited, and, to all appearances, must be so to a great extent permanently, by the peculiar character of the work to be done. 84 Charles Perrings recently also drew attention to his differential capital composition of Rand mining when he noted the necessarily high 'unskilled labour coefficient' in respect of its mining operations. However, his argument that the constant price of gold fixed a ceiling of admissible aggregate costs, and the inflexibility of mining techniques meant that mining capital could not respond to increases in the price of any one factor of production relative to others 'by an adjustment of method', whilst correct in broad terms ignores two important factors which became apparent in this crisis.

As the controlling power in the recruiting districts, its attitude determined the whole question of access to the labour market in China. Further, the question of official hostility to the scheme was crucial in determining the price at which recruiting would be undertaken in China. The dangers of arrest and squeeze by local officials were likely to be much greater in the absence of any controlling regulations, and recruiting consequently more expensive. A similar problem of government attitude had presented itself in India, when the idea of importing Indian coolies for work in the mines had been mooted in late 1903.

It was in its final form in October-before the reported TLC findings became public knowledge. 6 This was a full two months before the request for such legislation was introduced into the Legislative Council, by none other than the president of the Chamber of Mines, Sir George Farrar. ' 8 This Ordinance 9 was indeed 'most workable', because it was much more than a simple enabling statute. Its history prior to its introduction shows that it was a central element in the Chamber's strategy of controlling the risks of class conflict in the Transvaal consequent on Chinese importation.

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Chinese Mine Labour in the Transvaal by Peter Richardson


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