In studies of economic distribution the bases of the wage-system are usually taken for granted. Yet the factors which brought the system into being will clearly be determining elements in any distribution of income which is raised upon this base. The story of the rise of wage-labour can be traced most clearly, perhaps, in the mining industry; for, it is that one can view plainly those factors which were often elsewhere obscured by other details and bent by refracting influences. One can find in the institution of “free mining“ a condition of classless individualism which is probably much purer than ever existed in most of the towns. The direct effect of the rise of monopoly on the artisan and small master stands out with especial clearness, so that one can study in its simplest characters the transitional relation established between the worker and the monopolist.