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Sweatshops at SeaMerchant Seamen in the World's First Globalized Industry, from 1812 to the Present$
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Leon Fink

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834503

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877807_fink

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A Sea of Difference: The International Labor Organization and the Search for Common Standards, 1919–1946

A Sea of Difference: The International Labor Organization and the Search for Common Standards, 1919–1946

Chapter:
(p.145) 6 A Sea of Difference: The International Labor Organization and the Search for Common Standards, 1919–1946
Source:
Sweatshops at Sea
Author(s):

Leon Fink

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807877807_fink.9

This chapter argues that, contrary to the romantic view of seafaring, the realities of the age of steam presented a rather different picture. Though sailing vessels continued to carry a substantial portion of the world's trade up to World War I—even if these often applied steam engines as auxiliary means of propulsion—the twentieth-century configuration would be one of iron hulls and steam engines. The transformation also inevitably complicated an older comradeship below deck. Employers increased the percentage of unskilled workers: not only was the crew now divided between deckhands, firemen or engine-room coal stokers, and stewards, but the distinctions in pay and status between officers and engineers on the upper end and “ratings” on the lower grew ever starker.

Keywords:   ratings, seafaring, age of steam, World War I, steam engines, status

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