by Sydney J. Chapman (translated and condensed by the Sandwichman)
Next, suppose that an agreement between employers, tacit or overt, is impossible, and that each employer will make what arrangements he can when he can. What hours, then, will competition among employers tend to bring about, when humanitarian considerations and any resistance from the workers are ruled out?
Suppose the efficiency of labor at the time is that associated with a customary working day of ten hours. The product of the last fraction of the tenth hour could not be zero, for if it were ten hours would not be worked. The ultimate effect of extending the working day beyond nine hours is loss, not because the product of the last fraction of the ninth hour is zero, but because the product of the last fraction of the ninth hour just equals the ultimate reduction of the product of the other hours occasioned by the lengthening of the working day.
Hence, on the assumption that employers are perfectly far-sighted but that agreement between them as to working hours is lacking, the disposition on the part of each employer to reduce hours to nine would be weakened if each employer could not depend upon keeping workers after he had brought them to the level of efficiency associated with the nine hours' day. The reforming employer would run the risk of paying the whole cost of the labor value created by shorter hours and getting little in return; other employers might secure and exhaust the new labor value, and no permanent good would be effected. Nor would there be any more guarantee in the conditions supposed that the nine hours' day would be retained, if instituted, for an employer could always snatch a temporary advantage by extending hours and paying slightly higher weekly wages. This is a general proof that, on the assumption made as regards the intelligence and foresight of employers and in the absence of agreement between them, the hours resulting in the maximum product would not necessarily establish themselves, no force on the side of the working people being supposed operative.