"The Third Component"
LEADERSHIP THAT INSPIRES CONFIDENCE
By HUGO A. BEDAU, San Francisco Sales Manager, Marchant Calculating Machine Co.
Delivered before the Conference of The Pacific Coast Electrical Association Annual MeetingFresno, Cal., October 23, 1942
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. IX, pp. 137-142.
DR. FREDERICK LOOMIS in his new book, "The Bond Between Us" speaks of a third component. He describes it as the quality or degree of sympathetic understanding and unwavering confidence that is present in every mutually satisfactory interview between a doctor and his patient. In that relationship, there are three elements—the Doctor, the patient, and the third component, which is the faith, confidence and sympathetic understanding which each holds for the other.
In business, too, there is a third component. It is that priceless ingredient of relationship between management and the workers of industry. It is the electric current of confidence, faith and mutual understanding that must flow between capital, management, customer and wage earner.
Therefore, business must be mindful of this third component if it is to continue to be the backbone of our economy. The purpose, then, of this talk is to urge business both large and small to set up the machinery to develop the understanding of how to deal more successfully with people—how to develop the third component. This important and powerful element must be strong and healthy, if we are to work our way upward and onward to a better and more secure social, economic and political life in the years ahead.
Every man in this audience is vitally concerned with future planning. Any smug attitude of complacency or wishful hope of preserving the old order has no place in the thinking or actions of intelligent men today. We tried to preserve the old order following the last war. You know the result.
We recognize today that the one weak link in the great chain of business management during these past decades has been the failure in understanding the human aspects of life. We are finally coming to the realization that we are human beings and not just so much sales potential to be pushed around by a few thoughtless and selfish businessmen—men whose vision and understanding is shown by their belief that life will go on in the same old way forever and ever.
There are two grim realities that have faced humans since the beginning of time. The first is death, which we can't do anything about, and the second is the eternalness of change, which we can do something about. We are today concerned with the changes that have so dramatically and forcefully hit our business system as it has been developed down through the years. Everything we have held near and dear to us has been affected, and we wonder what the future has in store for us.
Here are a few of the problems that face us today. They are the kind of problems that make future planning so necessary. I believe that we have business leadership that can and will be helpful by making a contribution to their solution. Top management in many corporations today indicate the desire to develop plans to—
1. Continue to give employment at adequate wage levels to over sixty million workers.
2. Put back into industry every employable soldier released from the armed forces.
3. Make a new appraisement of women in industry.
4. Utilize fully the tremendous productive capacity that will be developed during this war period.
5. Develop to the fullest new techniques, new methods, new procedures, new products and services created by science and research so that they may be distributed economically to the benefit of all the people.
6. Study foreign markets and prepare for a new type of business relations with all Nations throughout the world.
These are problems that must be met with courage and understanding, and I believe that the underlying issue in each one is the human equation. Then let us take a quick look at our shortcomings, so that we can change the error of our ways and begin to receive favorable acceptance for the marvelous accomplishments of American business, instead of everlasting damnation.
It is just beginning to dawn in the minds of the most objective thinkers among our business leadership, that industry is a social as well as a commercial force. We are beginning to realize that management is first a problem of human beings; that production is first a problem of human beings; and that sales is first a problem of human beings. And I believe that future planning is first a problem of human beings. Therefore, we must evaluate the contrasting attributes of management and of labor in our endeavor to find a solution of today's problems, and set up a more workable plan for the future conduct of our business society.
The new responsibilities of leadership should be defined. A new yardstick of successful management must be accepted by businessmen. Business leadership, along with all other leadership, must be willing to stand the searchlight of investigation and evaluation of accomplishments and failures. Those men who do not prove themselves qualified will be replaced by men who have the aptitude and qualifications to be successful leaders under these new conditions.
We must find hope in the future and see if we can envision a better day ahead. We must determine if business—in so far as it is to operate under our system of American free enterprise and our American democracy—can be projected into the future as the vehicle that the 135 million people of these United States will select for their first and only choice of a means of traveling the road ahead.
Surely, the hopes and ambitions of each and every one of us in this room today are inescapably tied up in the subject which has been laid before you gentlemen these past two days. But, it seems to me that all of your planning will go for naught if we do not intelligently investigate the full significance of the third component in business.
The record shows that our free enterprise society has given the man on the street more of the material things of life than has any other society of man in all recorded history. Yet, it has definitely failed to attain the same degree of accomplishment in its handling of the human relations between management and the worker.
During this conference, you have talked of the wonders and accomplishments of our great research laboratories, and the achievements of science and engineering which will give us glass stoves of greatly superior performance ability; plastic kitchens of undreamed of efficiency and glamour; blankets with the sheen and beauty of the richest silk and wool, yet made of spun glass; window screens of triple the life of bronze, made in many pastel shades out of plastic; wood products of a new form and utility; and countless devices and instruments using electricity to perform the menial tasks of life. All this challenges the imagination!
If we think that we have been living in a machine age with a high standard of living, what would we think if we could look into the future this afternoon and see the marvelous things industrial research and invention has waiting to be released for mankind? These great advancements have been created and developed by Free Enterprise to eliminate human drudgery and to make our lives a fuller and richer experience.
Nevertheless, it is entirely possible that all of this could become an illusion—a dream so close to realization, yet which can slip out of our grasp, because we have proven to be unworthy. Why? Because of the inadequacies of some of our leadership which had become imbued with the philosophy of the divine right of kings, and the belief that the good old days of the Harding and Coolidge administrations were established in perpetuity. Because men have not yet learned to adjust their thinking to the two simple and fundamental laws of life—the sureness of death and the eternalness of change.
We are challenged by the question of "Why plan?" Can we build up a soundly conceived conviction that planning for peace is first possible; second, desirable; and third, imperative? Have we reduced this whole matter of planning for the future down to the significant elements that affect the lives of each and every one of our citizens? For example, a 60 to 80 billion dollar national income, our average for the prosperity years, seems to be capable of supporting a certain amount of national debt. Can we service or pay off a national debt of 200, 250 to 300 billion dollars on a 60 to 80 billion dollar national income? The answer is NO! It is, therefore, reasonable to believe that a national debt in excess of 200 billion dollars will require an annual national income of somewhere above 100 billion dollars, possibly 110 to 120 billion dollars. Just what do we propose to do to create a national income of 110 billion dollars, in view of our experience of what it takes to produce a national income of 60 to 80 billion dollars? Surely, some sort of planning is going to be necessary to solve the problemof how to produce such a stupendous national income in peace time economy.
If the lessons of history are worth anything, we find that in other countries, the distress of a post-war period has always developed somewhat in the following fashion:
1. Repudiation of debt through default, revolution or reorganization.
2. Sharp reduction of interest on government debt.
3. A sizeable increase in commodity prices.
Some very definite plans must be developed that will make it possible to maintain an economy which will eliminate the necessity of our facing the usual post-war economic tragedies. There are many other problems. For example, women who are now being promoted to executive jobs who will be reluctant to step down or out when our soldiers return from foreign fronts. Some men doubt whether women should be advanced to the full job of the executive, or whether the job should be split up in units with the thought in mind of planning today to meet the problems which will arise at the end of hostilities. These are matters of grave concern to the many men who left good jobs to enter the armed forces and who wonder what their lot will be upon their return.
During the last two decades, women have demonstrated their ability to be equal co-workers with men in our business society. Many men don't like the idea, but the fact remains that women are in industry today, not so much because of the war, but because they have value and great ability. They will demand and secure pay based on their skill and not according to tradition. Women have been given a pretty raw deal by man throughout the ages. But it now looks as though there were a new deal ahead for women. I believe we are witnessing the end of a "man's world."
Another matter of great importance is how we shall utilize the vast production facilities which are being developed today. Aluminum production will, undoubtedly, be 7 to 10 times greater than it was before the war, and plastic production will increase in like amount. The same degree of expansion holds for practically all fields of industry.
Will we let 50 to 75 per cent of these facilities go unused? How then will we find a way to continue to keep production at peak levels at the end of hostilities?
Another point, how are we going to maintain an employment level of approximately 60 million people at the conclusion of this war? These are just a few of the many real problems which must be met courageously, if we are to win the peace as well as the war.
Recently, Milo Perkins, Executive Director of the Board of Economic Warfare said, "We lost our battle to avoid this war, because the world was unable to distribute what it had learned to produce." If that was true as the result of our productive capacity and distributive ability during the past five to ten years, what will be the outcome when we have increased our productive capacity five to ten times or more on a countless number of our economic fronts. Charles E. Wilson, while President of General Electric, recently said, "To spend money, time and some of our talents in preparing for what is ahead is not an unpatriotic shirking of the immediate job, but a logical and tremendously important decision."
We seem to know how to build and develop new refrigerators, stoves, electric washing machines, dishwashers, streamlined automobiles and a countless variety of material things, but we have not learned to overcome the bottleneck in the solution of our economic, social and political ailments which is the lack of understanding of human beings.
There are a number of corporations which have been actively engaged in research and development work. Youmen who are largely trained as engineers are well aware of the general direction of the thinking of these far-sighted corporations and of the splendid results they have obtained. You know that great sums of money, energy and searching investigation have made possible their innumerable discoveries and scientific achievements. It follows that because they put so much into this phase of life's work, there has been and will be much to take out.
The foregoing is aptly illustrated by Mr. R. D. Fosdick of the Rockefeller Foundation, who recently made the following statement, "It has been estimated that of all the money spent on research in Great Britain and in the United States, one-half of the total goes for industrial research and for the underlying pure research in physics and chemistry. Of the remaining half, 50 per cent is spent on research in connection with military questions. Of the remaining quarter of the total sum, the larger part is devoted to research of agriculture and the branches of biology that support it. Further down the line is research in medicine and health. Finally, comes the social sciences with an infinitesimal fraction of the total devoted to their development. For research in the humanities, the amount is relatively so small as to be scarcely discernible."
Little wonder then that business leadership has failed in so many instances in its relations with people. The result is that the worker, from his point of view, has been able to find a defender, or worse yet, a crusader for his interest only in the labor racketeer and in punitive legislation. The dramatic success of the New Deal was due to its emphasis on, and understanding of, the social needs of the public and, more especially, the wage earner.
It is clearly seen why we have made so much progress in industrial research and so little or seemingly, no progress in our dealings with human beings. We are good in the first, because we have spent so much time and money and have so thoroughly conditioned our minds to the fundamentals of developing the material things. We seemingly know little of the other, because we have wilfully blinded ourselves to the equally important element of the human side of our business society and have, therefore, given it no time or study and have not conditioned our minds to be receptive to an understanding of the human values.
It is imperative that we give the same degree of thought, energy and money for the study of human relations, as we have given to the development of our material successes. Management has the habit of giving attention to the problems that are already apparent. In this new case, the problem is to define the problem. It is important that business should search for the basic qualities that make for job satisfaction on the part of the worker.
Harry Bridges is a classic example of the result of the inability of a small group of businessmen to understand or give a damn about the rights of the people. Prior to 1934 Bridges was destined to be an obscure longshoreman until a few businessmen, through their refusal to give consideration to the needs and ambitions of decent human beings and their families, made it possible for him to become a martyr, in the eyes of many people, in the attainment of better working conditions and more pay for the workers.
Do the workers credit business with foresighted leadership, with understanding of human needs and human decency, and with the will to introduce better working conditions and more pay? In their minds, business did everything possible to resist normal, decent human advancement. These people are of the opinion, unfortunately, that it took a Bridges and a militant labor union to attain these goals for them. Obviously, we cannot blame the people for their indictment of business leaders.
Therefore, business hangs its head in shame because of the tragic blunders of a few men in top management positions. Due to lack of vision and understanding and little knowledge of decent human values, our whole business society has been severely harmed. The result is that many corporations and objectively minded men who can deal with labor justly and with human understanding, have had their efforts nullified by the stupidity and arrogance of a few men—men who refuse to accept the third component as a necessary and desirable element of business.
Labor racketeers know how to use to advantage management's vulnerable spots. As evidence of their ability to lead, they present their case direct to the people. Management has seemingly never learned to take the people into their confidence.
A great corporation, which we all know, had a management employee committee of which the president was a member. At a certain meeting, the workers were told to be frank and speak out, since each person sat in the committee as an equal; if there was any criticism of the company, its policies or management, the worker's representatives were to lay the cards on the table in a man-to-man fashion. One honest but naive worker, a foreman of standing and ability, took these words at face value and told the president what the employees thought of certain of his acts. Imagine the astonishment of the committee when they witnessed the high-and-mighty president literally lay out the foreman in thin slices and unmercifully bawl him out before the group, demanding that the foreman present proof of his statement.
You can well believe that $100,000 or more of that firm's public relations, advertising and welfare appropriations went down the sewer when that story went the rounds of the 3,000 employees. This is a tragic example of the self-esteem of a poor, misguided corporation head who believed himself more important than the worth of his entire organization. This president surely had no knowledge or understanding of the third component in business.
This is only one example that dramatizes our need to learn to accept whole-heartedly the fact that the problems of production are basically problems of human beings—that the problems of management are basically problems of human beings—that the problems of distribution are basically problems of human beings—that the problems confronting the country for the past decades and today, are the problems of human beings; and above all, we must accept the fact that the problems of future planning are essentially problems of human beings.
How then can we justify the fact that we spend a total of 99.9 per cent for research in material things and only 1/10 of 1 per cent or less in the study of the humanities—the thoughts, habits, desires, ambitions of "we, the people?" Practically nothing for man, but everything for material things. Nothing for the understanding of the very things that mean most to every one of us. Nothing for the creation of that vital spiritual quality that makes for faith, confidence and understanding between worker and management—nothing for the development of the third component.
Labor union leaders know that the Banker-Attorney-Retired Business Man Directorate of many corporations are more interested in retaining their equity and the highest possible rate of return on their investment, than they are in objectively considering the broad, human problems of that industry or their business enterprise. It is for no other reasons than these that business has, during the past decade, so completely lost the confidence of a large number of our people and that labor unions have made such tremendous strides forward.
We have an example of the result of this condition whenwe see that this year will be the most profitable in the history of labor unions. Dues collections are running today in excess of 144 million dollars. This is over 24 million dollars a year better than in 1941. Both the C.I.O. and the A. F, of L. are storing up a vast sum which they, undoubtedly, propose to use in the most effective fashion. They will not only consolidate their gains, but will strike out for new and greater advantages as the next decade progresses and as business finds itself vulnerable at the transitory period between the wartime and peacetime economy.
I don't need to tell you gentlemen that powerful forces are at play to regiment our lives in the post-war period and end forever our American concept of individual freedom. Ideologies are being projected that will end our free enterprise and with it, our system of distribution, with its marketing, merchandising, selling and advertising, and will substitute a socialistic order that will make each of us subservient to the state. Unless we act now, the collectively managed society with government controlled distribution is just around the corner.
James Burnham in his recent book, "The Managerial Revolution," gives you the story in dramatic detail as to the true significance of a bureaucratic society which is its own judge and jury, makes its own rules and regulations, and exercises the power to inflict penalty and deny you the right of appeal to a court of law. If you have not read this book, I beg that you do so immediately. The tremendous progress made to date in converting our nation to a "new order" of our own is not fully recognized by most businessmen. It has been a most insidious force, stealthily creeping upon us under the guise of emergency and temporary expediency. I suggest you also read the new book by Stuart Chase, "The Road We Are Traveling," sponsored by The Twentieth Century Fund.
In the lights of events, our conception of economics has been most naive. The downfall of Germany has been proclaimed by our business leaders for the past 15 years. Yet, it seems that Germany has completely forgotten the economics of Adam Smith and the principles set forth in his "Wealth of Nations." They seem to go on without regard to the fundamental economics we Americans have clung to so tenaciously. I sometimes wonder if the tons of gold stored at Fort Knox may some day find their place in a Sears-Roebuck catalog or on a ten-cent store counter as souvenirs of a dead economic era.
Business stands indicted because it has not been able to offer a plan to solve any of these five problems,—unemployment, national debt, idle capital, agricultural depression and distribution of technological developments. Politicians, social reformers and organized labor did offer solutions to these problems and many others,—though I will not comment on the merit of the solutions offered. Yet, everyone knows that business leadership did not have a plan in 1929, nor in 1933, nor in any year since.
Instead of doing something to effect a cure for our economic ailments many business men have confined their efforts to defending or excusing business blindly or have acted like abused children. It seems that there are many people who want to go through life picking daisies, hoping that some one is holding the bull.
I am deeply concerned by a study that is on my desk today that represents an incomplete survey of opinions of top executives on the subject of future planning. This survey has been conducted on the Pacific Coast during these past two months, and I believe you would be astonished by the comments of these men. The concensus is that over one million people have come to the West Coast in the past year, and this will represent a tremendous new market for
all conceivable products and service. Also, that we now have basic industries, such as, steel, aluminum, magnesium, shipbuilding and airplane building. Then they feel that in addition to this, there is the stupendous back-log of demand being built up daily. They believe that the net result will be a post-war boom that will make possible a perpetual period of the most rosy prosperity imaginable.
Many of those interviewed are irritated by any reference to the need for planning for the future. They say that we must win the war now, and we will meet the post-war period when we get there. Fewer than 10 per cent of those interviewed indicate any objective interest or concern whatsoever for the social, economic or political problems now in being or surely to evidence themselves at the end of hostilities. Little wonder then at the confidence of the political visionaries, labor planners, social and economic reformers who have every faith that their plans will not be thwarted by the presence of intelligently informed and articulate defenders of our constitution and of free enterprise.
It seems we never learn. There have been plenty of signposts to indicate our national and world problems, but we have ignored them all. Your copy of "Mein Kampf" told you ten years ago what kind of business and political competition we were going to have in Europe and throughout the world. The Japanese and their twenty-one demands on China twenty-one years ago gave us the blueprint for today's events. Little hunchback Homer Lea, thirty years ago wrote most vivid stories in his books, "The Valor of Ignorance" and "The Days of a Saxon." We ridiculed and ignored his messages that so accurately forecast the future.
We have been persistently unwilling to face the fact that we have encountered a social and economic revolution and that the revolution has been one of the people crying out for recognition of human values.
Our Creator has a plan to chastise human beings for their sins and, according to his plan, the best results are achieved under pressure. Today, we are under pressure. The Weaver of Destiny sometimes looms with rather coarse hemp. What is needed is a major surgical operation on the corruption of the soul. These thoughts might clear up for us the reason why business leadership has had such trying times to face during this past decade.
One of the fundamental elements of future planning, if we are to retain our free enterprise society, is that of reaching a clear-cut understanding of what it takes to make a worker happy on his job. Very simply stated, job happiness is the belief on the part of the worker that his job makes possible the attainment of his personal aspirations and the ambitions he holds for his wife and family. Workers want a reasonable degree of contentment in their work, they want achievement, a sense of satisfaction in a job well done— they want recognition. These are basic desires of decent, self-respecting human beings. Businessmen are beginning to recognize this approach to their labor problems.
We must discover whether the wage earner accepts his job as one that gives him satisfaction, contentment and security. There is no job happiness for the worker unless it exists according to his judgment—not that of management. The great majority of workers want to give an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. It is up to management to see that this most desirable result is accomplished, so that the wage earner is a co-worker with management in the development of a successful business operation.
When all is said and done, it is what the customer actually thinks that counts in the development of sound customer relations. So too, it is what the worker actually thinks about his job, his company, its leaders and his futurein terms of his economic needs and ambitions and sense of satisfaction in doing his daily work that counts most.
This is the problem-solving approach business should take. Our efforts will fail until we catch that point of view. Labor union leadership, knowingly or otherwise, has caught the spirit of this idea and has preached this philosophy to their people from the viewpoint of their special interest.
I believe you will agree that it is too often the case that management has sat in its ivory tower watching financial sheets and auditor's reports and has forgotten all about that human being on the production line doing his daily task. So, the worker wandered off into strange territory where he was button-holed by people with selfish interests who exploited him to the limit. What management should do is regain his friendship and confidence. Both labor and management are natural partners in our American business society.
Here is the idea reduced to simple terms. A business is a good business in relation to its ability to have the truck driver believe that his job makes it possible for him to enjoy a sense of purposefulness in his work, win recognition and reward for meritorious accomplishments on the one hand, and on the other to build a new home, buy a new suit of clothes, lay new linoleum on the kitchen floor or hang new paper on the living room walls, and give his children decent living conditions and equal opportunities. A businessman is a good business leader, as far as this truck driver is concerned, only to the degree that he evidences his ability to assist in bringing about these results in terms of the worker's point of view.
The people are firmly convinced that the profit motive yardstick, which gives relatively few men salaries in the upper five or six figure brackets, cannot comprehend the significance of the third component philosophy.
I realize that this presents a rather delicate subject, but from my experience, I do not believe that wage earners object to big salaries if they can be convinced that the man earns it,—the burden of proof rests with management. The wage earner will be amenable only to the degree that the executive is successful in demonstrating to him that he, as the president and leader, so manages the business that it is possible for the worker also to achieve his life's objective. Obviously, this demonstration of ability to lead applies to all members of the management-executive family.
The old idea of a 50-50 split, a horse for me and a rabbit for you, just can't be made to work any longer. This is one of the major public relations problems of business, so why not face it and find a workable solution in fairness to the top-salaried executive as well as the wage earner? It can be done—it must be done.
I am honestly enthusiastic for the future, because I believe business leaders are beginning to see the light and many have adjusted their thinking. Those of us who have faith in our business society and in the values to be gained from sound and considered planning for the solution of our social and economic problems, realize that the big job ahead for business is to win the good will and confidence of the people.
Business executives must demonstrate that they have the vision, understanding and ability to lead. We are in for the greatest battle in our history if we are to retain our American free enterprise society. This battle is not going to be fought on the deserts of Libya or in the Coral Sea or in Alaska or Europe. It is to be fought in the hearts and minds of businessmen and the people in these days.
The fight is a social and ideological battle. It can be won only if the issues are clearly understood, and decisions are reached after sound deliberations and only as action is taken now. To win, we must have a plan. We must have acceptable leaders. We must win the confidence of the masses.
I believe that our businessmen can give us the leadership and provide many of the answers for our wartime and postwar problems.
I thank God that there is ample evidence that we are making a start in solving human relations problems. I know men in top business leadership who sincerely desire the attainment of the third component. These men give unqualified acceptance to the philosophy that leadership, power, and wealth are rights and privileges to hold and exercise only so long as the individual thus honored can demonstrate his right to lead unselfishly, and with human understanding, sincere humility and love for mankind.
I have not been trying to say that management is totally wrong or that labor is wholly right. I believe the two can be reconciled. Just for the record, I think we can all agree that some labor leaders should have a good dose of the third component themselves, as many of them need it more than does the average businessman. However, that does not help us in our problem of setting business on the right track. To date, we have gained little by "the pot calling the kettle black."
I believe the greatest opportunity in America today lies in the field of business management. Many corporation executives are timid, cautious, and fearful of too sharp or too quick change. But I believe they will adjust themselves. Those men who adopt this new point of view and become objective thinkers have the opportunity to be recognized as leaders of our time. They will be the true patriots, giving our Nation once again the heritage which Washington, Franklin and Jefferson left us. Herein lies the opportunity for us to create sound human relations. In the future, public relations will be recognized as of equal importance in the management structure with finance, production, marketing and research. It will require equal skill and specialized knowledge. It will be the listening post of business, charged with the responsibility of interpreting the public—customers and wage earners—to management, as well as interpreting the policies and acts of management to the people.
How important it is that business should accept eagerly this challenge to lead! If our people only realized fully the stupendous achievements of our American business enterprise in doing the literally impossible in our war effort. Fortunately, there are indications that the people are becoming more open-minded and receptive to the case for business. They are beginning to recognize that their interests and those of informed business are one and the same. The great hour of opportunity is truly at hand!
Our fellow citizens, and I mean each of us, should be re-educated in the elementary facts about the founding of our great Nation and its unique development during these last 175 years. In our complacency, we have forgotten, or never learned, the story of what created the underlying structure which made possible our free enterprise society. Until we understand the peculiarities surrounding the establishment of our country, we are likely to be at a loss to meet the present day and future challenge to our business society.
It was about 300 years ago that our forefathers began to leave Europe to escape political slavery, a regimented life, aimless existence and unlimited taxes. These good people wanted free speech, freedom of choice, freedom of religion in their political life. They wanted to be individuals—free persons with the right to think and act out of their own individuality.
These good folk established a government, and their government was the servant of the people. It was operated by a system of checks and balances. In the doing of all this, they created a new philosophy of life, the only one of its kind in all history. If we will but study the life and times
of Washington, Madison, Franklin, Hamilton and Jefferson, we will realize that these men did some of the most penetrating, objective thinking and the most far-sighted planning of any group of men in history.
These men and their fellow patriots sat down and care-folly studied and enumerated all of the elements of all previous societies and organizations of men. They studied and observed those events and conditions that always resulted in the oppression of the people. They planned a constitution that carefully avoided those pitfalls.
These men gave us a unique society. It is upon the framework of that society that our free enterprise and business economy were built. Then what did we do about all of this? Well, we sat down to enjoy it as if it would go on automatically forever and ever without change. We completely ignored the admonition that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.
If you have asked the average high-school student, as I have, about his attitude toward American History, you will And that he generally dislikes the subject. He believes it unimportant, uninteresting and without point. The teachers confirm this evaluation. The fact that 85% of our college courses do not require the study of American History seems to give support to this shameful situation.
To spread appreciation of the worth to each individual of our American way of life, and to increase the knowledge and understanding of our glorious history, which we Americans have failed to appreciate, are jobs every man in this audience can undertake at once. This Association can crusade for a great educational campaign, and in cooperation with other trade groups, a flood tide of favorable public opinion can be secured to support able business leadership. We must recognize the significant connection between our Constitution with its Bill of Rights and our free enterprise society. What a privilege is ours in doing this job!
I honestly believe that today and the years ahead offer the greatest opportunity for material and human development that has ever before been presented to man in any previous period in history. The future challenges the imagination. To take advantage of the developments that are already known and under way for the years of peace ahead, we must immediately bring into being the third component—that electric current of faith, confidence and mutual understanding between management and labor. This is an assignment that each of you can accept. You can set in motion a plan of action in your own business today. It may not be as simple as taking a daily dose of vitamin tablets,but it can be done and the results will repay the effort a thousandfold.
We must find a way to win the wage earner's agreement to the realization that his work possesses the elements of accomplishment, recognition, security and the means for him to attain his personal ambitions. Our new inventions and research developments for the post-war era will be of little moment, unless the knowledge of our individual achievements is brought into the life of each individual and made real to him and his family.
Get to work today! Make a convert of your typist, your shipping clerk, your factory worker. Demonstrate how important they are to you and how vital you are to them. Meet with them and take them into your confidence. Find out what they are thinking. Ask for their opinions and suggestions. Show them your many accomplishments. This is a job that you can do in grand fashion.
Each of you men here can ask yourself this question, "Do the workers in my business fully comprehend the significance of future planning to their lives?" "Do they see the accomplishments of our business and of all American industry as being vital to their happiness, contentment and security?" Do they have deep appreciation for what you are doing for them? Do they understand? Have you explained it to them? Do you enjoy their confidence? Have they faith in you? Will they gladly follow your leadership?
Men, this job can be licked by every businessman in every town in America, if he will put himself to the task. It's up to each one of you to develop the third component—that spirit of unwavering confidence, faith and mutual understanding between management and the wage earner. I am happy to say that there are many instances today where splendid progress is being made along this battlefront.
The moment of great decision is at hand. The power to bring about a favorable result is within your grasp. Men, let us create the leadership that will act now to inspire the confidence of the people before it is too late. Let us define the problem now. Let us make decisions now. Planning the objective thinking is a fighting man's effort to intelligently preserve our free enterprise society and our liberty.
Let us men of American industrial and commercial life assume the responsibility for making our full contribution to an enduring peace—an unending period of prosperity to follow our glorious victory on the battlefronts of the whole world!