This section is from the "The Science Of Wealth" book, by Amasa Walker.
Other things equal, the man who has received merely a common-school education will obtain higher wages in any employment than one who is entirely illiterate. He has some mental discipline, will therefore be more intelligent and capable, will better understand and recollect the directions of his employers, better comprehend the nature of his duties. If need be, he can keep an account of what he does. He has in some measure learned to think; he will have a higher sense of self-respect, and be more reliable.
The difference in favor of a workman who is so far furnished with intelligence that he can do his own share of thinking, instead of relying entirely upon his employer for every exercise of judgment and forecast, is very great to the employer. If the latter is compelled to supply all the head-work, he must be in constant attendance, and exercise the utmost vigilance. Five stolid workmen will cost him as much time as ten intelligent ones, and a great deal more care, vexation, and loss. Hence intelligent labor is worth more, and will bring more.
Another important consideration in connection with this part of our subject is, that the educated laborer will be more likely to appreciate his true interests, and save a part of his earnings. Every dollar he saves and accumulates in theshape of property, of whatever kind, will render him more independent; and the more independent he is, the more likely he will be to get fair wages. He becomes, to a, certain \ extent, a capitalist, and can measure strength with capital on better terms.
The man who has nothing upon which to subsist to-day must work to-day, at whatever price, or starve; while he who can get on for a fortnight without employment may choose whether he will work for less than a fair price to-day or not.
This is a matter of great importance to the laborer; for the natural advantage the capitalist has over him is, that the latter can wait a little, while the former must work now. The laborer or employe of whatever kind (for all are subject to the same law) should strive earnestly to make himself as independent in his position as possible. Hence, self-denial and economy, when exercised by those who live on wages or salaries, are amply repaid by better terms of service. There is a homely adage, "that a man is poorer for being poor," which laborers, of all others, should bear in mind.