Shall Industry or Bureaucracy Plan Our Economic Environment?
A FOURTH "HOUSE" IN DEMOCRACY
By ARTHUR A. HOOD, Director of Dealer Relations, Johns-Manville Corporation, New York City
Delivered before the Cleveland Sales Executive Club, Cleveland, Ohio, April 19, 1943
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. IX, pp. 425-433.
WITH each new victory of our armed forces we witness a heightened interest in post-war planning. Rightfully post-war planning is taking its place as a definite part of our home front victory effort.
Such planning is not only accepted as our duty to the men and women on the fighting front, but it is now generally recognized as a vital weapon in the combined job of winning the war and the peace to follow.
However, Burns was right when he said, "The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglee".
It now appears probable that even the carefully laid plans of Hitler and his geo-politicians and Tojo and his jingoists will completely misfire.
Likewise, much of our industrial post-war planning to date stands in grave danger of becoming—to use a legal cliche'—incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial.
This danger was spot-lighted in the recent release of the all-out plan of the National Resources Planning Board.
The post-war planning of American Industry suffers more from its limitations than from its quality. As behavior is influenced by both heredity and environment, so industrial planning, to be effective, must include the heredity of individualism and the environment of necessitous cooperation.
And yet our business planning today at the levels of the individual enterprise, the association, or even the National Organizations of Industry is almost completely subjective in its approach.
Even the newly formed Committee for Economic Development is largely concerned with such subjective matters as post-war production, distribution, financing, employment, market analysis, costs, etc., and quite significantly defers such environmental considerations as post-war plans for more effective cooperation between labor, management, agriculture and government. This hereditary approach to planning is entirely consistent
with our past history. Our business heritage for generations has been the freedom of individual enterprise to plan its own individual future as a corporation, a branch of an industry, or even an industry, within the law.
But the hard cold fact of today and tomorrow is that our subjective individualism in planning is conditioned and controlled by the environment in which business functions.
Our two World Wars and the scientific developments of their period prevent any possible return to the individualistic environment in which industry functioned up to the turn of the century.
Prior to the World War era we had an economic background for individualism—today our economic background is that of interdependence.
Yes, liberty today has a different meaning—perhaps a less selfish meaning—than it had in the days when Patrick Henry preferred death to its loss.
Patrick Henry could return from the Virginia Assembly to an estate that was his castle—a self-contained production and consumption unit that was actually independent of others for essential supplies. He had an economic background for his cry for his kind of Independence—and most of America was similarly situated in 1770. Then 80% of Americans occupied the properties from which they secured their livelihood. The freedom they sought was for freedom from property confiscation.
Today less than 20% of Americans completely own the property from which their livelihood is secured—80% of us work for others and even the 20% who today own and operate their own businesses or farm properties are totally interdependent with the rest of us for the necessities of life. The interlocking of the interests of all the people—in the community, the state, the nation, the world,—is the most influential factor in our civilization today. The significance of this is just beginning to be widely recognized.
If you doubt this interdependence, think of the house you slept in last night! Literally thousands of hands in 88 different industries provided the 30,000 parts of your shelter! Think of the clothing you wear—of the meals you had in the last 24 hours and the hundreds of hands that made these services available to you! If we should cease to cooperate in our country, our civilization would collapse within a short time and I am afraid many of us would starve.
The success of our whole economy depends on the interrelated functioning of its separate parts. We must cooperate to live, and economic cooperation must be planned!
If a group of our leading citizens met today in Constitution Hall at Philadelphia to draw up a Declaration regarding the rights of men in our modern economically interdependent world, they would perforce write a Declaration of Interdependence.
Fortunately our modern peers would have to make no major change in our revered Declaration of Independence. Just one word would make it a Declaration of Interdependence. Where it reads "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness", it might be modernized to read, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Mutual Happiness".
The key problem in this machine-age of civilization, with its intensive scientific development and its world-wide condition of interdependence, is to reconcile the intuitive craving of the individual for liberty with today's requirement for cooperation in the search for happiness.
The Liberty we are fighting for and most of us are willing to die for is the right to cooperate, coordinate, and to discipline ourselves voluntarily rather than to have our lives ordered by others without our consent.
Liberty may be limited in four ways: by arbitrary edict, bylaws written with or without the consent of those governed, by voluntary cooperative action, and by ethics.
Our freedom today in the United States is glorified by the self imposed ethical and legal disciplines which we have mutually set up as liberty-limiting factors in our civilization. Our present culture, our comforts, conveniences and luxuries have all been made possible by the ever growing disciplines and curbs to individual greed.
Each of these rightful limitations on our liberties makes those which remain all the more precious!
But there is an insidious danger in the habitual and all too prevalent resort to Washington whenever an environmental problem arises. Like a cancer on our economic body, this practice, if not checked, may ultimately cause the death of free enterprise.
Today there is a constantly growing stream of post-war environmental considerations which will condition and control the results of individual or subjective group planning in our municipal, county, state, or national life.
To be definitive, let us review a few of the more important environmental problems, the answers to which will control the economic life of every man, woman and child in America.
Eleven Major Environmental Considerations Which Will Control the Functioning, and Condition the Results, of Subjective Post-War Plans
1. How to remove war-time restrictions on our economic liberties and reconvert to peace time production and distribution, while simultaneously preventing a disastrous inflation?
2. How to maintain the full productivity of our industrial machine and provide full and continuous employment (including demobilized military) at fair wages in private enterprise?
3. How to assure the continuous application of sufficient purchasing power to absorb full production and thus prevent another major depression?
4. How to find and establish a basis for a working partnership between labor, agriculture, and industrial management?
5. How to prevent that type of unwise social-economic legislation detrimental to the general economic welfare which is usually brought about through the compromises, manipulation and trading of groups and "blocs"?
6. How to provide adequate incentives to creative action on the part of venturesome capital and brains while financing a high cost government and liquidating an enormous public debt?
7. How to balance our budget, stabilize world monetary policies, and adjust the American economy to the world economy in a manner that will prevent future wars while simultaneously maintaining a high degree of national sovereignty?
8. How to build an industrial Democracy into the best form of government on earth and then release it to (not impose it upon) all peoples who crave the best form of government?
9. How to develop world trade without serious penalties to our economy under a condition of widespread disparity between real wages in various countries?
10. How to develop constructive attitudes and aptitudes in the man on the street together with an understanding of machine-age economics so that he will vote intelligently in the public interest?
11. How to find and establish the correct relationship between planning by private enterprise and that of the planning members of the government, and to create, under a democratic form of government, a truly representative independent economic planning body separate from, but paralleling, the legislative, judicial and executive "houses" of municipal, county, state and national governments—a "Fourth House of Democracy"?
A citizenry engaged in commerce must cooperatively undertake the planning for a solution of these environmental problems if the freedom of enterprise is to be perpetuated.
There are three areas in which post-war planning, to be effective, must be correlated and coordinated; the subjective, the environmental, and the legislative. Both the environmental and the legislative concern the conditions under which the free enterprise system operates—the former is the province of "can do", the latter of "can't do".
Let us attempt a definition of each of these three planning areas:
Subjective economic planning is that in which the action and the results are planned to directly benefit the individual, the corporation, the group or "bloc" doing the planning without specific consideration of ways and means of reconciling such planning with the general economic welfare.
Environmental economic planning is that area in which private enterprise cooperates in securing action and results for the economic benefit of all concerned without resorting to legislation.
Legislative economic planning is the area in which private enterprise defaults and forfeits its birthright in proposals for laws which restrict the free play of competitive enterprise-laws which are often decidedly not in the interest of the general economic welfare.
We must and will have all three of these divisions of planning, but they should be kept in proper balance and conducted by the right people.
Heretofore planners in private enterprise have customarily recognized but two areas of planning—the subjective and the legislative.
When faced with needed cooperation from another segment of our economic life, instead of taking the hard road of voluntary agreements, ethics, and disciplines, it is, and has been, the general practice to sponsor a "law" to take care of the matter.
If we continue on the road of pressure-group-imposed economic legislation we appear certain to dig our own graves for our liberties. Unabated this policy leads directly to a Totalitarian economic state.
The alternative is the cooperative planning, by free private enterprise, of mutually beneficial action. We must unite into an ail-American economic cooperative group in order to live and prosper in peace.
The area of environmental economic planning holds the one hope for the perpetuation of that economic freedom which underlies all other freedoms.
In an interdependent economy the most important area of economic liberty is the freedom to plan cooperatively without government interference.
Tomorrow's measure of the freedom of enterprise will be the extent of what free enterprise can do in the general economic welfare without resort to government intervention.
If it is evident that environmental considerations control the results of subjective planning, isn't it equally apparent that as long as free enterprise can and will plan its environment cooperatively and effectively, government is also limited in the sphere of economics?
If this condition should exist the only economic legislationwhich could be sustained would be that which the free enterprise system cooperatively advocated and supported in the interest of the general economic welfare.
Thus, we would have a government for the people rather that a people economically controlled by the government.
And thus we achieve a government of laws rather than a government of economic bureaucrats.
Don't mistake but what we must and will have planners in the government—but their province, in the free environmental area of economic planning, should be legislative and advisory, and not dynamic and genetic
This is the most important issue before America today—whether our environmental planning shall be entrusted to a group of politically appointed "Brainsters" or whether we the people shall independently generate the plans within our own body-economic.
Let us not be misled by the present revolt in Congress against bureaucrats appointed by the executive office—this is merely a shift of emphasis from an Executive deputization of Environmental planning to Congressional deputization of power to bureaucracies.
There is now a bill in Congress designed to set up an Environmental planning structure responsible to Congress.
Neither type of bureaucratic control presents a very appetizing prospect to Private Enterprise.
In all fairness, there is no reason to believe that there exists in Washington any group of planners who are deliberately trying to set up a state controlled economy.
Most governmetal planners are patriotic Americans trying to do a needed job upon which industrial leadership is defaulting—the job of environmental economic planning.
The greatest danger to our democracy is that we will continue to default, in post-war economic planning, to the politicians and bureaucrats. This is the easy road—the line of least resistance, and, therefore, most tempting.
We must recognize that the opiate of our masses today is the prospect of living under the "beneficent slavery" of a state controlled economy.
It is a very simple thing to live under a dictatorship, with all thinking and planning done for the citizen. It is never easy to think and to plan. That is the hard way, the disciplined way.
But cooperative thinking and planning on the part of the citizenry is the essential difference between democracy and the free enterprise system on the one hand and totalitarianism and a state controlled economy on the other. One is freedom—the other slavery!
We must accept the fact that the disciplines of the citizen in an interdependent functioning democracy are increasingly spartan.
There are many reasons why we should not permit environmental planning to remain with the bureaucracies. Let us consider a few:
1. The bureaucrat, whether responsible to the Executive Office or to Congress, usually puts partisan parties, reelection to and perpetuation in, office, and regional and "bloc" self-interest ahead of the public good. We cannot have effective environmental economic planning in a "Pork-Barrel" atmosphere with the approach of, "I've got to have mine for my constituency—or for my political lieutenants!"
2. It is a demagogic technique to divide and conquer! The heretofore existing inability of management and labor to find a formula for unity has certainly played into the hands of the bureaucrats and given thousands of unnecessary bureaucrats jobs. Labor and management will never find unity under political auspices because the party system and the politician both thrive on their disunity.
3. Political planners have police force behind their planning. Economic limitations and regulations should not be enforced by police action until voluntary action by private enterprise in the public interest has been tried and has failed. There is a wide difference between the flexibility in a voluntary agreement and the rigidity of a law—that is why the bureaucrats are so powerful in negation and find it so difficult to give industry a "go ahead" program.
4. When a satisfactory economic pattern is established it should be continued until a change is indicated which should have nothing to do with political personalities, parties, or the timing of an election, except coincidentally.
5. Planning by government bureaucracies has a tendency to sacrifice freedom to a theoretical efficiency usually extremely wasteful in the long run.
6. Political expediency nearly always takes precedence over the highest public good in appointments to bureaucracies. This is accentuated in peace time. If this is frequently true concerning appointments from the highest office, then how much more true it will be among the rank and file of bureaucratic appointments.
7. It is impossible to administer the multitudinous details of an economy from a central government without terrific wastes, heart-breaking injustices, and widespread inequities. When these come to light the bureaucrat frantically imposes further restrictions on our industrial liberties and thus the cancer of bureaucracy grows until our freedom dies!
8. In economic planning consistency, continuity and follow-through are all important—these are difficult to achieve in the political sphere of a Democracy with its automatic partisan opposition.
9. Possibly we might even question the competency of the legal profession to do a better over-all job of environmental economic planning than representative men selected from administrative positions in all branches of private enterprise—and yet an overwhelming majority of our legislators are lawyers.
10. Remove disunity in political planning and you lose Democracy—remove disunity in economic planning (labor and management) and you receive efficiency and increased prosperity!
11. If economic environmental planning is not divorced from government, we are fostering the very thing we fear—totalitarian economic state. Only by separating the generic economic planning function from the governmental can we retain the freedom of action inherent in a democracy.
12. This issue is economic not political. Bureaucratic administration of the economy would be equally inefficient in the hands of any political party. The evil is inherent in bureaucracy itself.
While there is no reason why government employees who earn their livelihood in that way should not have representation among all other groups in the environment planning bodies, there should be no general leadership or dominating participation on the part of politicians in our planning. In fact, just the opposite must be true. The leadership and direction in post-war planning must be in the hands of representatives of private enterprises as a fundamental to securing
energetic compliance with the planning on the part of free private enterprise.
In short, we want government in industry in an umpiring and regulatory capacity—even on an advisory and consulting basis—, but not on planning and operating terms.
Principles Involved in Environmental Planning by Private Enterprise
Before discussing a structure for Environmental Planning by Private Enterprise, let us consider some of the principles involved in such planning.
First, Environmental Planning by Private Enterprise does not mean total economic planning, but it is planning for as much environmental freedom for private enterprise as can be found consistent with the general welfare.
Two limitations will govern Environmental Planning by industry—
(a) The inability to arrive at an agreement concerning, and/or implementation for, what is best in the public interest, and
(b) The need for economic legislation to protect us from each other.
Faced with the latter we should improve the former. Second, the motive of Environmental Planning by private enterprise should be to reconcile private profits with general welfare. Tens of thousands of instances of such reconciliation give rise to the hope that this may become universal in our planning. At this point subjective planning becomes both environmental and effective!
To achieve this we must attain a scientific impersonal objectivity in our approach to a problem, together with sufficient disinterestedness to adjust our personal welfare to the general good.
Third, our planning should be based on the self-evident truth that "there is nothing cyclical about our needs and wants"—they grow in a rising curve with the population growth. Based on this truth we should find a way to prevent extreme booms and depressions.
Fourth, full employment is not a cause but an effect, the cause of which is the continuous application of sufficient buying power to absorb full production.
If we have buyers eager for the products of full employment at high productivity and with the money to pay for them, we can have full employment.
If free enterprise can solve this problem of employment by creating a high consumption society, in the solution of this one problem we will have gone a long way toward the perpetuation of Democracy.
That would be what is known as "Making Democracy Work"!
Fifth, the most important principle governing Environmental Planning is that all persons for whom planning is done and who must activate the plans must be represented by their ablest and most objective leadership.
The keynote of the last world revolution was "Taxation without representation is Tyranny".
The slogan of the present revolution may well become "Environmental Planning without representation is Tyranny".
This slogan is not generally articulate as yet, but each of us will find it in our intuitive resistance to bureaucratic planning.
Under this new need for full and complete representation of all those planned for, industry will be understood to include everyone who is industrious. All of our great professional, commercial, agricultural, and labor organizations willrecognize that they are a part of an over-all industrial structure which must have a planning body representing all of its important parts.
Labor is industry. Agriculture is industry. Education is industry. Everyone who earns a livelihood is industrious, therefore a part of industry.
All people earning incomes in any walk of life have a common basis of unity in an interdependent economy. "We must establish that unity in a structure which will perpetuate it.
Our planning must seek and foster unity on the part of all concerned at every step. It must operate in an area of voluntary agreement and must continuously push back the frontiers of such an agreement. Matters that appear irreconcilable as between certain individuals, groups and "bloc" must be courageously and determinedly tackled and bases for agreement found.
We Need A Philosophy for Environmental Planning!
Perhaps no better an underlying philosophy for environmental planning could be found than that laid down by the French philosopher, Montesquieu, who had such an influence on Jefferson and other members of our Continental Congress. His philosophy was summed up in the following quotation:
"If I knew something beneficial to myself but harmful to my family, I would drive it out of my mind. If I knew something advantageous to my family but injurious to my country, I would forget it. If I knew something profitable to my country but detrimental to Europe—or profitable to Europe and detrimental to the human race, I would consider it a crime."
To cope with the post-war world we will need an enlarged set of loyalties. Perhaps we can dig deep into the main springs of human nature to find the pattern of these loyalties. PATRIOTISM might be compared to the paternal affection or loyalty we learn in early childhood. As we grow into adolescence, we learn a second affection and loyalty for our brothers and sisters in family life. Then as we reach the responsibilities of maturity we develop a third loyalty to the family as a unit.
Isn't it evident that in this new world of demonstrated interdependence we must develop a PATRIOTISM that crosses racial, religious, political, economic and national boundaries into the concept of an economic brotherhood of man? And even beyond this should we not hold a MATRIOTISM or mature loyalty to mother earth, to humanity as a whole?
Just as we do not sacrifice any loyalty to our parents, in our loyalty to our brothers and sisters or to the family unit in our domestic life—neither will we be any less patriots in embracing these other loyalties in our international life!
The world has shrunk a thousand times in the recorded history of the development of civilization. When that Willkie of his day, Mr. Demosthenes, stood on his Grecian Rostrum his voice might possibly have been heard within the radius of a city block. The other night the voice of Willkie was heard on every spot of this globe where men had cars to hear and brains to understand. In terms of transportation and commercial intercourse, the shrinkage has been equally great. The world today is but a sheriff's bailiwick of even a century ago!
We must think and plan in world terms! There is a blood guilt on Americans of our generation. Except for our blind selfish isolationism after the 1918 Armistice Day, all of this present chaos and suffering might havebeen prevented. Prior to the Armistice of 1918 we failed to plan environmentally for that post-war era!
If we depend on impulsive and unconsidered action again at the cessation of hostilities, this time the same world tragedy could happen again. Those of us who believe that there is a Providence shaping the affairs of men can imagine God marking time waiting for man to realize his responsibility to his fellow men. Is it presumptuous to imagine a just God asking himself, "Must I beat man to his knees with sorrow and suffering before he will come to a realization that his hope is in cooperative planning for the good of all men"?
The next point in a philosophy for post-war planning is that it must utilize the forces of education and persuasion instead of arbitrary force. The force of public opinion in a democracy is the most powerful force in the world once it is aroused, but it can only be aroused through experience and education.
That is why it is so important that there should be widespread participation on the part of the citizens of all walks of life in economic planning for their future as participation in planning is a practical technique for education and understanding.
Furthermore, adequate compliance on the part of those who must act in the plan is far more probable if such factors have had a voice or representation in the planning.
Another point in the philosophy of environmental planning is that the public interest will be the first consideration. Instead of Caveat Emptor—"Let the buyer beware," in the future we will have Caveat Vendor—"Let the seller beware."
The operation of a business or a professional establishment will be considered as a privilege granted by the public and will imply a responsibility to the public.
Fortunately, there is nothing inconsistent between the highest public interest and the principle of private profit.
To state this another way the freedom to make a reasonable profit is one of the essential liberties for every citizen in a democracy and is entirely reconcilable with the most enlightened public interest.
If we accept the fact that our interests are interlocking, we are most self interested when we cooperate most efficiently! Therefore, self interest, self preservation and self protection for individual or group all involves cooperative planning and coordinated action. Thus environmental planning capitalizes on human nature instead of trying to change it!
We Need a Structure for Environmental Planning!
Probably one of the main reasons that private enterprise has generally defaulted on environmental planning is because American Industry has failed as yet in setting up an adequate and truly representative structure for such planning.
For an example: Most commercial organizations and their post-war planning committees exclude labor, agriculture, education and other professionals from their membership.
Certainly it would be hard to find representation of management, capital and agriculture on the post-war planning committees of organized labor (and don't think they haven't got planning committees).
The first specification of our needed structure would be that it should embrace every fundamental classification of the economy.
Perhaps as few as eleven classifications could cover the field:
(1) The agricultural, food and textile groups.
(2) The shelter and construction groups.
(3) Labor and Personal Service Groups.
(4) Finance and Savings Groups.
(5) Transportation Groups.
(6) Communications and Educational Groups.
(7) Manufacturing Groups.
(8) Raw Materials, Mines and Power Resources Groups.
(9) Distribution Groups.
(10) Health, Safety and Governmental Groups.
(11) Miscellaneous amenities.
If these fundamental classifications were included in planning groups, adequate expression of the general economic welfare should be had.
The structure should be adaptable to environmental planning at every level from International problems to the grass root problems of the smallest community.
This would mean representative planning bodies at the following levels: Community, municipality, county, state, regional, national, and, later, continental, hemispheric, oceanic and world levels.
It would seem logical that these environmental planning groups should parallel, but be independent of, the legislative, administrative and judicial bodies in municipal, county, state and national governments.
By so organizing, the environmental planners could cooperate and coordinate with the governmental groups on the one hand and the subjective groups on the other and the needed integration of the three areas of planning could be achieved.
Subjective planners could take to such groups for counselling that part of their intra and inter-company, intra and inter-branch, and inter-industry problems which involve environmental considerations.
Governmental planners in turn could consult with, and secure the endorsements of, the environmental groups on proposed economic legislation for the public benefit.
In time these environmental planning bodies could be a genetic element in proposing economic legislation.
Eventually, economic legislation generating with politicians and bureaucrats would have difficulty securing passage without the expressed approval of the proper environmental planning body in the free enterprise system.
In reality this suggested environmental planning structure or vehicle is a Fourth "House" in Democracy.
If such economic planning bodies do succeed in perpetuating the free enterprise system, they can rank in importance with the other three houses of Democracy.
The essential difference between this House of Planning and the other three houses of democracy is that the Fourth House powers will be confined to the power of contractual agreements and voluntary ethical standards mutually arrived at, the power of enlightened public opinion, and, finally, the power of necessary implementing legislation screened through the other Three Houses of government!
Thus economic freedom will be assured and perpetuated! The final part of this framework for planning will be the consciousness on the part of every citizen of being represented in that planning which concerns him.
It is probable that every American citizen could be classified in one of not more than 200 basic walks of life. If everyone in each of these walks of life were conscious of representation in the national planning bodies, and if all citizens had a voice in selecting those representatives who participated in the planning with which they are concerned, they would have the same feeling of participating in the economic structure of the country as they do through voting on the political structure of the country.
A citizen who participates in government through voting for political representatives is called and considers himself a member of the electorate.
To create a name, looking to the future, a citizen who participates in post-war economic planning either directly or through representatives he has assisted in selecting, may be called and may consider himself a part of the ECONOMATE.
The essential difference between the Electorate and the Economate is that the electorate is made up of the body of citizens functioning on the political plane, while the economate is made up of the citizenry functioning in the plane of cooperative private enterprise. (These two planes combine at the social level or in society as a whole.)
In the electorate, the considerations and representation are geographical, by population, precinct and district.
The economate, on the other hand, is concerned with means of livelihood. The representatives are not selected geographically, but on the basis of classifications of the means of livelihood.
When we citizens think and vote as a member of the Electorate we look at "Business," "Commerce" and "the economy" as a thing apart—more or less invidiously exploiting us.
As members of the Economate we would learn to look at industry and the economy as a thing in which we have a direct and personal interest—the thing that makes it possible for us to enjoy the standards of life and liberty we have.
All cooperative planning in the combined interest of private enterprise and the general welfare, whether individual company, industry, community, state or national, could be identified as "Fourth House" work.
This Fourth House structure could start in the grassroots, with community planning bodies, or might begin at the top with a Supreme National Planning Council and a People's Economic Assembly—or it could proceed simultaneously from both ends. It will only be effective, however, when it penetrates through to the grassroots so that all of our actual and potential leadership would have a conscious part in economic planning.
The Fourth House structure in the American Economy is partially built in the thousands of post-war planning groups now in existence.
Any existing post-war planning group, whether (a) company, (b) industry, (c) civic or (d) social, can become a Fourth House unit by the following simple steps:
(1) Enlarging the representation in the group to include the viewpoint of labor, agriculture, education and such additional classifications of the over-all American economy to assure the reconciliation of the general welfare with the subjective planning being done.
(2) Treating the environmental aspects of the subjective plans under consideration.
(3) Tackling specific environmental problems which should concern the group.
Techniques for Planning
After the formation of a planning body, the planning techniques follow in rather obvious sequence. The first step is to set down the objectives of the environmental planning.
When this is done it will be found almost invariably that even the simplest problem is interlocked with a larger picture.
For example, a small business or professional group might set up a post-war planning committee. Their objectives will undoubtedly include the growth and development of their business and service in the post-war era. They will want tomaintain the employment of their present employees, if possible.
It will be immediately seen that the disposal of their full peacetime production and the maintenance of their full employment is not entirely in their hands but is dependent upon what the other fellow does! Even the largest corporations find this to be true.
Economic planning objectives, therefore, must be correlated, cooperative and coordinated. Detailed objectives for the larger planning groups could run into the hundreds if not thousands, but, for purpose of definition we might segregate five vital objectives in our local, national and international economic life that could be tackled right at the start by any planning group, small or large, local or national:
(1) Full and continuous post-war employment of all employables. If we could provide continuous jobs with fair wages for all, we would go a long way toward solving racial, religious and class antagonisms.
(2) Adequate and profitable distribution of the products and services of such total employment. This involves a solution for the lag in purchasing behind production because of the accumulation of uninvested cash savings.
(3) The production of more and better products and services for the public, for less money, with higher wages.
(4) The finding of a basis of unity between local management, labor and agriculture.
(5) The segregation of the causes of serious depressions and the preparation of plans to avoid them.
Local fields for environmental planning include Housing, Recreation, Education, Sanitation, Taxation, and scores of others.
After setting down the objectives the next step would be research. One type of research would be to determine the kind of a community, the kind of an economy, the kind of a nation and the kind of a world, the man on the street really wants. This, in itself, could be one of the finest educational movements in all history.
To determine through research the material, machinery, money and manpower resources, with which the group may work, past procedures must be analyzed. Wastes and inefficiencies must be reduced insofar as possible.
Essentially research should be directed at securing all of the economic facts available and such political facts as are concerned with the economy.
The third step following the securement of all the available facts would be to analyze and synthesize the products of the research, segregating the important weaknesses and key problems in the economic structure, estimating future possibilities, relating the facts to environmental realities and determining the principles and policies which should govern procedures.
Facts must be interpreted as they relate to environmental considerations primarily and subjective considerations secondarily. This is an extremely difficult but essential process.
The next step would be the organization and mobilization of men, money, materials and machinery for cooperative action.
This includes setting up vehicles for cooperative action, charting the courses, establishing patterns, detailing the program, implementing the program with the necessary human, physical and financial structures and coordinating and correlating all activities.
The fifth step is the education and training of all personnel involved in the cooperative actions to be taken. This
is one of the most vital and important points in the entire structure of post-war planning!
This educational program must start among the "tops" of industry and permeate centrifugally and centripetally to every strata of the economy.
Some of our older industrial and professional leaders have developed thought patterns that are intolerant of change. These men, secure and comfortable in their position of leadership, are more concerned with the preservation of, and the return to, the pre-war status quo than with any other consideration. They look back at the pre-war world and call it good. They overlook the fact that the final end of subjective planning was a global war in which all civilization is involved.
A favorite expression of subjective industrial leadership, when challenged with environmental problems, is, "those are the things we can do nothing about."
Is this not in reality an abili—an alibi which is the essence of default? Is there any problem in the economic sphere that industrial leadership can do nothing about?
American social and political thought today might be classified in five divisions: the reactionary-conservative, the conservative, the liberal-conservative, the liberal and the radical-liberal. A basis for possible future unity in thought is found in the facts that no reactionary is willing to admit his Toryism and few radicals will admit that they are extreme. The reactionaries think they are conservatives and the radicals call themselves liberals!
Thus there is a healthy tendency to gravitate toward middle of the road thinking and the middle road is ever the road of democracy.
Today, however, right-wing elements accuse the liberals of holding the "illusion that collectivism is liberty." The left-wingers maintain on the other hand that the conservatives have a delusion that any cooperative planning is totalitarian.
This leaves us common men caught between the horns of illusion and delusion on a point of semantics!
Meanwhile our economic boat is being swept in a Niagaralike current toward the abyss of state control.
Are we willing to admit that we cannot be free and at the same time plan cooperation on economic levels? If this is so, God help American civilization! If it is not true, why all this resistance to cooperative planning?
It is disheartening that the very leaders who profess the greatest abhorrence of bureaucratic control are the ones who are rowing us downstream through their refusal to recognize the need for and to organize for environmental planning under the Free Enterprise System.
All through history in time of revolution the elite have found themselves in the shadow of the Guillotine before they came to their senses. This must not happen to America!
Fortunately in American industrial, political and professional life we also have enlightened leaders that are above this criticism of entrenched-leaders-in-general and those enlightened leaders are the hope of our free enterprise system.
Somehow, they, the enlightened leaders, must convert the balance of the actual and potential leadership in the country. Then this education must seep down through the rank and file of industrial and professional life until every citizen is enlightened as to the disciplines in living under a free government and within a free enterprise system. Then—, we will no longer be a nation of "Economic illiterates."
After the necessary education has been had, post-war plans can be translated into action and the results will be in proportion to the efficiency of the planning.
No Utopias are in the offing! The course of the economy in a democracy is never smooth. A part of the price of free-
dom is a continuous adjustment to necessary disciplines, a continuous compromise with the chisler, the irreconcilable, the recalcitrant and the reactionary.
If the leaders of private enterprise do not set about organizing economic planning soon, and adequately, we may find ourselves without freedom in our enterprise.
If "industry" is not concerned sufficiently to work out an environment plan for the perpetuation of free enterprise in an economy of plenty, it must expect governmental control, bureaucracy and regimentation.
These problems must be solved and we cannot shrug them off as is so often done.
By dodging this issue we plant the seeds of further depressions and war, further social and economic catastrophies and calamities.
Cooperation, not conflict, must guide government, business, labor and agriculture in their service to the people.
Environmental Planning seems to be an opportunity to inject a new dynamism into any and all industrial organizations.
Why not attempt everywhere a mobilization of local disinterested leadership—actual and potential—in an environmental planning structure?
Every man with the capacity and willingness to plan for the general economic welfare should participate.
As fast as truly representative groups are formed they could assign specific environmental problems for study, research, and answers.
The whole project could be locally centered in a parent committee large enough to embrace every local classification of economic life and embracing the ablest leaders, both objective and subjective, in each classification.
If but one thing were accomplished,—i.e., a united expression of the kind of a world local people would like to live in, that in itself would be worth while.
The president of a great manufacturing association made a speech not so long ago trying to tell us what we were fighting for! He said first, "We are not fighting for a bottle of milk for every Hottentot," and then, "We are fighting for the American Way of Life and the American Standard ofLiving."
There are many who think that he was just about 100% wrong, that what we are really fighting for is the kind of a world in which the American Way of Life and the American Standard of Living will not be subject to armed aggression every twenty years!
If that involves the increasing of the amount of milking done, maybe we ought to set about it.
What is the individual's statement of what we are fighting for? What is the group's? The community's idea.
In about 300 years of the American Way of Life we have built up about 400 billions of dollars of property wealth. In about three years we are going to spend most of it in a second world war! Must we go through this again and again? The sum total of human achievement in the six thousand years of recorded history is a world in which one thousand seven hundred millions of the two billion people on the planet are organized for the purpose of killing each other.
Doesn't your blood grow warm over the prospect of what 1700 million people might accomplish if they organized to cooperate instead of to kill each other?
Most of us are in hourly dread of the postman with the black-bordered envelope announcing the loss of a son or some other loved one on the field of battle.
Is all we have to look forward to twenty years from today a similar announcement concerning our grandsons? Only environmental planning can prevent that.
It would be tragic—yes fatal! for us to assume that we could stop this trend toward a government controlled economy with an anti-planning crusade.
Neither ridicule nor bitter political antagonism will affect the outcome. Only better and sounder planning by private enterprise will turn the tide.
The man on the street is on the march to a better economic environment, and he means to have it. He has had a taste of full employment and top production and he likes it. Environmental planning is here to stay. We as a people made the costliest mistake in history at the close of the last war. We may make a still more costly mistake if we do not, separate and apart from our bureaucracies, realistically attack the environmental problems of economic interdependence.
Is it too much to ask that every American leader should undertake such environmental planning—at least in terms of expressed convictions on environmental economic matters and in cooperation in their establishment?
Every business and professional man should get his teeth into post-war planning, insofar as his time and energy and capacities permit.
Every American should develop a leadership mentality and the sense of responsibility that should go with it—a leadership that leads as a matter of obligation rather than a craving for prestige or power—a leadership that embraces fellowship and team-work—that doesn't insist on calling signals at every point and all the time! By starting planning in a small way, if we have never done it before, we enter an apprenticeship for state, national and world leadership. Through intelligent followership, we develop the capacity for more enlightened leadership.
America must lead in the post-war world because the ideals for which the common peoples of the world are fighting have their finest expression in American standards of life and living. Some one has said, "The strength of America is not solely in our material resources, in our armaments, in our factories, in our scientific development, or in the mechanical abilities or capacities of our citizens, but more importantly
in the courage, the faith, the imagination, the pioneering spirit, the crusading power of our people!" To quote Renan:
"To have common glories in the past, to possess a common will in the present, to have achieved great things, to be determined on still greater achievements—these are the essential things for being a people!"
We are a great people but we have far to go both nationally and internationally.
George Washington's comments about the avoidance of "entangling alliances" in his farewell address, have given much comfort to the isolationists.
It is to be regretted that more people do not know that George Washington in his more mature reflection, from retirement at Mt. Vernon, wrote these prophetic words to General Lafayette:
"I am a citizen of the great Republic of Humanity. I see the human race united like a great family by brotherly ties. We have sown a seed of liberty and union which will gradually spring up throughout the earth. One day on the model of the United States of America there will be created a United States of Europe. The United States will be the legislator for all nationalities."
Will modern post-war America rise to this vision of George Washington? I believe that we will—through disinterested and cooperative planning! by a free people!
The die is cast. "To plan or not to plan" is no longer the question.
The issue is clean cut. Shall we abandon environmental economic planning to Bureaucracy with an inevitable loss of our remaining economic freedoms?—or will a free private enterprise organize to perpetuate its own existence?
You, Mr. American Citizen—especially you leaders of American industry, are making the decision.
Apathy, indifference, and a "Let George Do It" attitude are equivalent to a vote for bureaucracy.
Only dynamic, crusading action will suffice.
Leaders of American Enterprise—think of the tremendousuplift you would give to the men and women in our armed forces, and those of our allies as well, if it were announced on a world-wide hook-up that the business leaders of the United States had united with organized labor, agriculture and all other segments of American economic life in planning a cooperative post-war economic environment within a democratic pattern of government.
Economic freedom is your heritage, men of American industry.
I am confident you will care for your own!