The Condition of Labor
RECONSTRUCTING SOCIAL ORDER
By JAMES L. DONNELLY, Executive Vice-President of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association
Delivered before the Serra Club of Chicago, June 2, 1944
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 620-625.
I HAVE been requested to discuss the Encyclical letter of Pope Leo XIII on "The Condition of Labor," and the Encyclical letter of Pope Pius XI relating to the same subject matter entitled, "Reconstructing Social Order" or "Forty Years After." I assume that my listeners today are familiar with these Encyclical letters and I shall not, therefore, undertake a detailed analysis of them. You will recall that the first of these letters was issued by Pope Leo XIII on May 15,1891. The second was issued by Pope Pius XI on May 15, 1931,—on the fortieth anniversary of the issuance of the original letter by Pope Leo XIII.
The letter of Pope Pius XI, frequently called "Forty Years After," recites the benefits to all concerned, and particularly the workingman, which resulted from the original Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, and implements and amplifies the principles which were enunciated by Pope Leo and suggests additional procedures for making effective the principles enunciated in both of the Encyclical letters. Among the principles enunciated in these letters are:
1. That all men, irrespective of their economic status, or the character of their employment, are of equal dignity.
2. That from the standpoint of eternal happiness, "money and the other things which men call good and desirable" are unimportant,—that the only consideration that is important "is to use them aright."
3. That the principle of private property,—as opposed to the philosophy of socialism,—should be encouraged.
4. That friendliness and good understanding between all classes and economic groups is essential to spiritual and economic well-being.
5. That the right of the individual to join workingmen's organizations, to have proper working conditions, reasonable hours of employment and just wages, should be emphasized, should be respected and should be protected.
6. That all economic groups,—employers, workers, farmers, professional men, etc.,—should be encouraged to organize in order to promote the spiritual and economic well-being of their respective members.
7. That the state should safeguard the rights of all citizens with "strict justice toward each and every class" but "that the law should not undertake more, nor go farther, than is required for the remedy of the evil or the removal of the danger."
8. That although "workingmen's associations should be so organized and governed as to furnish the best and most suitable means 9 * * for helping each individual member to better his condition to the utmost in body, mind and property * * * they must pay special and particular attention to piety and morality," and while employers should treat their employees fairly and pay just wages, that wage scales "either too low or too high will cause unemployment*"
9. That those who "overwhelm" employers with unjust burdens and prevent the employer from making "enough money to pay the workman a just wage" are "guilty of grievous wrong."
10. That all associations, whether of workmen, employers, or other economic groups, should be managed on principles "compatible with Christianity and public well-being," with avoidance of violence and disorder.
11. That the primary concern of the individual should be his spiritual well-being, "to return to real Christianity in the absence of which all plans and devices of the wisest will be of little avail."
12. That the church should cooperate actively in accomplishing the objectives indicated by the principles so enunciated.
Objectives of Encyclicals
I conceive the primary objectives of these Encyclical letters
a. Universal conformity to the ideals and principles of Christianity.
b. Payment of just wages, provision of reasonable hours of employment, proper working conditions for workers, and proper consideration for, and protection of, legitimate interests of employers.
c. The realization of harmonious and cooperative relations between all economic groups.
d. Conformity to the principle of private property,—private ownership as opposed to Socialism and Communism.
I am sure that all Catholic laymen are in accord with these objectives and will cooperate in every appropriate manner in their accomplishment. However, there may properly be some difference of opinion regarding questions of procedure,—regarding methods advocated to attain the objectives of the Encyclicals. I will accordingly comment on several of the current proposals.
Review of Methods Suggested for Making Encyclicals Effective
One of the most prominent leaders in the important work of making the Encyclicals effective, in an address before the Chicago meeting of the Catholic Conference on Industrial Problems on February 21, 1944, made certain suggestions regarding this subject which are, I believe, fairly typical of the views of many of the leaders in this activity.
The speaker advocated a system under which "all employers, workers, professional persons—all—would be organized. They would elect representatives from their respective Industry or Profession to deal for them, and these representatives with government representatives assisting and guiding them but not dictating to them, would in actual practice
operate the Industry or Profession. Thus the direction of the system would be tripartite. The representatives would be from the three groups—management, workers, and government."
"Each industry, for example, all the personnel, employers and employees alike, in the textile industry would through their freely elected representatives and with the guidance but not dictation of government, determine wages, hours, and prices in the textile industry and work together for its common good. The same would be done in steel, transportation, agriculture, and all the rest. Finally, all the Industries and Professions would be linked together on a tripartite basis in a national body. This national body would be made up of representatives of management and workers from the Industries and Professions, with the government sitting with them as guide and friend but not as dictator. The purpose of this national parliament would be to maintain, so far as it can be done, the proper balance in prices and wages among the various Industries and Professions." (Italics my own.)
This program is substantially in accord with the principles of the National Recovery Act which was held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision. Although the experience with that Act was of relatively short duration there were certain conclusions which can be drawn from that experience which, it seems to me, are quite clear. These are:
1. That prices to the consumer were increased instead of reduced.
2. That monopoly was encouraged through waiver of the provisions of the Anti-Trust laws, which enabled the various economic groups involved to agree upon prices, production and conditions of employment.
3. That domination of entire industrial groups by the larger and more powerful units in the industry resulted.
4. That inefficient, uneconomic and high cost production firms were permitted to continue in business,—which firms, in a free competitive market, would have been obliged to increase their efficiency or be eliminated.
5. That another costly governmental bureaucracy, involving new and additional tax burdens on all taxpayers, was created.
6. That additional and undue domination of management and labor by the government was involved.
It seems entirely clear that if the NRA had not been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court that it would have continued to cause unduly high costs to the consumer, that it would have reduced opportunities for employment, that it would have been particularly injurious to the smaller units in industry, and that it would have resulted in everincreasing governmental controls which would have been undesirable from the standpoint of management, the worker and society generally.
War Labor Board
The same spokesman in the same address also referred to the success of the tripartite system in several industries, and referred particularly to the National War Labor Board. I believe I accurately reflect the viewpoint of the great bulk of employers who have had actual experience with the War Labor Board when I say that the tripartite system, under the WLB, is tripartite in name only. The representatives of labor on the WLB and on the WLB panels are professional advocates of the cause of organized labor. These labor spokesmen, in their vote on controversial issues coming before the WLB, invariably support the position of the particular organized labor group involved in the dispute, irrespective of the merit of that position. The public representatives, in most instances, are selected because of their known predisposition to the cause of organized labor. They are, in most instances, well-meaning individuals with limited experience in business affairs and with only an academic understanding of the realities of employment relations and of the problems confronting management. By their vote they almost universally support the viewpoint of organized labor on controversial issues. The representatives of industry, in many cases, are men who speak only for themselves and whose policies do not in fact reflect the composite viewpoint of industry. They do not in fact, in many instances, speak in a representative capacity.
The result has been that industry generally has lost confidence in the fairness and the confidence of the War Labor Board. (Recent developments indicate that many organized labor groups are also losing confidence in the War Labor Board.)
An example of the inequitable, highly discriminatory policies of the War Labor Board is furnished by the policy of the WLB in forcing the un-American "closed shop" and "check off" upon employers and their loyal employees under the guise of so-called "union maintenance" and "union security." The practical effect of this policy is that a workman cannot work in a plant producing war materials for the armed forces unless he belongs to a labor union and pays dues to union labor leaders—dues which are deducted from his pay and turned over to the union labor leader by the employer.
Some persons undertake to justify the policy of the WLB in connection with so-called "union maintenance" on the premise that such policy has reduced strikes and dislocation in war industries. The real deterrent to strikes has been the realization on the part of all concerned that strikes are unpopular and unpatriotic while the country is at war. I submit that the practical effect of the "union maintenance" policy of the War Labor Board has been to incite labor union organizers in war production plants throughout America to raise the "union shop" or the "closed shop" issue in these plants; to agitate the issue to the point of endangering production of war materials and thus to force that issue in the hands of the War Labor Board, where they may reasonably expect to get the camouflaged "closed shop" in the name of "union security" or "union maintenance,"
The so-called "escape clause" which is included by the WLB in the "union maintenance" provisions of employment contracts is of no practical value in protecting the workman who does not wish to be obliged to belong to any organization or obliged to pay tribute to any person as a condition of the right to work.
Although the Encyclicals emphasize the advantages to individuals of membership in organizations and although these letters encourage individuals to join such organizations, particularly workmen's organizations, the Encylcicals state that individuals should be free agents, that they should be free to join or not to join.
It is stated in Pope Pius's Encyclical letter that:
"Just as the citizens of the same municipality are wont to form associations with diverse aims, which various individuals are free to join or not, similarly, those who are engaged in the same trade or profession will form free associations among themselves, for purposes connected with their occupations." * * *
The WLB has served as a useful function in stabilizing wages during the war period. However, that function could have been discharged through existing and permanent agencies of the Federal Government without the necessity of setting up another new bureau. If the policies which the War
Labor Board has followed on controversial non-wage problems are any criterion of the probable procedure of this or any similar agency in the post-war period, I am confident that such agency would not have the confidence of the great majority of employers and that it would not in its policies and methods tend to promote the welfare of the workers, of management, or of society.
We are, of course, familiar with the fact that many of those who are actively and earnestly engaged as leaders in the important work of implementing and making effective the Encyclicals, emphasize the importance of workmen's organizations and advocate that workers join these organizations. It is appropriate, therefore, to examine the record of organized labor in this country.
The National Labor Relations Board and the War Labor Board have not only protected the right of labor to bargain collectively, but have resorted to every conceivable device to encourage the unionization of industry and promote the domination of industry by organized labor agents. As a result of this government compulsion exerted on industry, the numerical and financial strength of organized labor has grown materially in the last several years. The question arises, therefore, as to whether this newly and quickly acquired power in the hands of labor agents will prove to be an asset to industrial workers and to society. During most of the period in which this newly acquired influence of organized labor leaders has been effective in industry generally the government has been the primary, and in many instances, the sole customer of industry. Therefore, there has not been an opportunity to test the effect on our peacetime economy of widespread unionization of industry. There are, however, a number of major industries which have been unionized for a number of years and where the "closed shop" has prevailed for an extended period and upon whose experience we may draw in estimating the probable experience of industry generally in the future with collective bargaining. These industries have included the coal mining, railway, construction and men's clothing industries.
If the performance of union leadership in those industries is a criterion of the probable performance of union leadership in the manufacturing industry generally in the postwar period, we are justified in being concerned over the probable disruptive effect of union labor policies upon our economy and upon society generally.
The men's clothing industry in Chicago, which has been unionized for 25 years, presents an accurate picture of collective bargaining in actual operation. A short time ago one of the leading clothing manufacturers in the Chicago district made the following significant statement: "The clothing industry in Chicago is far from being in a prosperous condition and for 15 years has gradually declined in volume, profit and the number of workers. In fact, the Chicago market is a shadow of its former activity; it has 10,000 workers instead of 40,000; it has 10 firms in place of 70. It is my contention that the signal weakness of collective bargaining is that it became a vehicle for the 'closed shop'—for the exploitation of the workers by their leaders and for the frustration of management, by unwise and absurd restrictions upon production; the result is increase in prices, diminished volume of sales and consequent unemployment. The ever-present need for seeking higher wages, irrespective of whether they are warranted or not, arises from the fact that such demands appear to be essential to prevent any doubt on the part of the workers, as to whether they should continue their membership and loyalty to the organization. These efforts to increase wages, particularly when the general price level is falling, is attempting the impossible, for there is a direct relationship between employment and wage rates."
The experience of those industries, which have been unionized over the years in which the "closed shop" has prevailed, demonstrates that the union leaders have promoted policies which have resulted in unduly high labor costs; that they have ignored the competitive conditions in those industries; that they have placed undue restrictions on production; that they frequently encouraged strife and misunderstanding between workers and management; that they have failed to encourage efficiency and productiveness among the workers and that they were indifferent to the importance of the maintenance of our free democratic enterprise system.
These union leaders were essentially interested in the amount of dues which they collected from the workers. They were indifferent to the welfare of the industry with which they were bargaining and in general were a barnacle on the economic life of every industry in which they played a dominant role.
Collective bargaining has not proved beneficial to the industry involved or to society because the contract has been, in the great majority of instances, uni-lateral. The terms of the contract have been forced by pressure groups which have refused to accept legal responsibility for their acts and which have been motivated in their demands principally by reasons of expediency.
Many labor leaders have further impaired the confidence of all elements in society, including thousands of individuals who belong to unions, by their political activities. The primary occupation of some of these labor leaders is the use of enormous sums of money derived from union dues and assessments to carry on political activities, with the stated purpose of dominating the policies of the legislative and executive branches of our government.
I do not wish to imply by what I have said about the record of organized labor that all labor leaders are insincere and expedient; that all labor unions have been dominated by selfish consideration or that the labor movement has not, in specific instances, benefited its membership as well as society. I have the good fortune to know leaders of organized labor in this locality for whom I have the highest esteem. As a matter of fact most of the laws and statutes oi Illinois pertaining to employment relations are the result of cooperative effort between the representatives of management and of labor. The first Illinois Workmen's Compensation Act, approved by the General Assembly in 1911,-was a joint product of representatives of industry and labor. All major changes which have been made by the Illinois General Assembly in that Act since its original adoption have been made pursuant to the recommendations arrived at in conferences between the representatives of those groups.
The Illinois Occupational Diseases Act, the Illinois Health and Safety Act, and the Illinois Unemployment Compensation Act also have been the results of cooperative effort of this character. The codes relating to health and safety in Illinois industry which are adopted by the Illinois Industrial Commission are the result of joint action by representatives of industry and labor.
Moreover, I fully recognize the legal right of the workman to join a union and to engage in collective bargaining through his properly chosen representatives, free from coercion or influence from any source. I know that such rights are generally recognized by the employer. The criticism I have engaged in relates to the labor movement as a whole. Moreover, I believe that the views I have expressed represent the conviction of the great majority of employers as well as of persons in all walks of life who have studiedthe labor movement and who are familiar with the practical aspects of labor union policies.
It seems clear that the ideals of the advocates of the tripartite system hereinbefore referred to will not be realized as long as organized labor as a whole continues to carry on in conformity with the basic policies it has adhered to in the past.
We hear and read frequent criticism of employers, and the alleged sins of commission and omission of employers are continuously, fully and eloquently portrayed. I am sure it would be in conformity with provisions as well as the objectives of the Encyclical letters if some emphasis was placed by all concerned on the inadequacy of other economic groups and particularly organized labor. The following excerpts from the Encyclicals are significant. Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical letter, while emphasizing the responsibilities of the employer to the worker also states:
"Each requires the other; capital cannot do without labor, nor labor without capital. Mutual agreement results in pleasantness and good order; perpetual conflict necessarily produces confusion and outrage. Now, in preventing such strife as this, and in making it impossible, the efficacy of Christianity is marvelous and manifold. . . . Thus Religion teaches the laboring man and the workman to carry out honestly and well all equitable agreements freely made, never to injure capital, nor to outrage the person of an employer; never to employ violence in representing his own cause, nor to engage in riot and disorder; and to have nothing to do with men of evil principles, who work upon the people with artful promises, and raise foolish hopes which usually end in disaster and in repentance when too late." And also:
"It is clear that they must pay special and principal attention to piety and morality, and that their internal discipline must be directed precisely by these considerations; otherwise they entirely lose their special character, and come to be very little better than those societies which take no account of Religion at all." . . . (Pope Leo XIII)
Pope Pius XI m his Encyclical letter, while also placing emphasis upon the responsibility of the employer to pay just wages and provide equitable hours of employment and furnish proper working conditions, also states:
"Among these precautions the first and most important is that, side by side with these trade unions, there must always be associations which aim at giving their members a thorough religious and moral training, that these in turn may impart to the labor unions to which they belong the upright spirit which should direct their entire conduct. Thus will these unions exert a beneficent influence far beyond the ranks of their own members. . . .
"The condition of any particular business and of its owner must also come into question in settling the scale of wages; for it is unjust to demand wages so high that an employer cannot pay them without ruin, and without consequent distress amongst the working people themselves. . . . If, however, the business does not make enough money to pay the workman a just wage, either because it is overwhelmed with unjust burdens, or because it is compelled to sell its products at an unjustly low price, tffose who thus injure it are guilty of grievous wrong; for it is they who deprive the workingmen of the just wage, and force them to accept lower terms. . . .
"A just wage is one sufficient for ordinary domestic needs. The state of business has to be considered in determining a just wage, for to demand wages higher than a business can stand and survive, is to spell ruin to the business and to the worker. Capital, labor, government must combine in settling the question of the just wage. A scale of wages either too low or too high will cause unemployment. . . ."
Relationship of Government to the Individual
You are, no doubt, also aware that among those occupying positions of leadership in the constructive effort to make effective the principles enunciated in the Encyclical letters are some who advocate the assumption of an increasingly important role by the government, particularly in connection with employment relations and social problems. They not only have endorsed various types of labor legislation such as the National Labor Relations Act, but they also have advocated broad legislative programs which are designed to protect persons against the vicissitudes and hazards of life as a matter of right. They also advocate other governmental controls. I am sure that it is not necessary for me to say that employers are not opposed to reasonable and desirable regulatory legislation and that they are sympathetic with proper efforts to provide for the indigent, the aged and the unemployed. I submit, however, that developments will eventually demonstrate that union labor leaders and others who collaborated in the passage of such labor legislation as is typified by the National Labor Relations Act, have in effect turned over the interests of the American worker into the hands of public office holders, notwithstanding the fact that the history of the labor world movement throughout the world unequivocally shows that every time the cause of labor has been placed in the lap of the government, labor eventually gets the worst of it. History also has fully demonstrated that legislative attempts to substitute freedom from want for freedom of opportunity destroy the moral fabric of the people, destroy individual initiative, result in waste and extravagance of public funds, invite governmental bureaucracy and unnecessary governmental regulations over the lives and conduct of the individual, and frequently result in the bankruptcy of the government itself.
Lasting social and economic progress is achieved gradually and any program which ignores the past, which refuses to consider economic and natural laws and the frailties of human nature, and which undertakes to correct every economic and social ill by legislative panacea and executive mandate is bound to fail.
The danger of undue intrusion by the state into the affairs of the individual as well as the dangers inherent in undue governmental paternalism is well portrayed in the following excerpts from the Encyclical letters:
"If by a strike, or other combination of workmen, there should be imminent danger of disturbance to the public peace; or if circumstances were such that among the laboring population the ties of family life were relaxed; if Religion were found to suffer through the workmen not having time and opportunity to practice it; if in workshops and factories there were danger to morals through the mixing of the sexes or from any occasion of evil; or if employers laid burdens upon the workmen which were unjust, or degraded them with conditions that were repugnant to their dignity as human beings; finally, if health were endangered by excessive labor, or by work unsuited to sex or age—in these cases there can be no question that, within certain limits, it would be right to call in the help and authority of the law. The limits must be determined by the nature of the occasion which calls for the law's interference—the principle being this, that the law must not undertake more, nor go further, than is required for the remedy of the evil or the removal of the danger." . . . (Pope Leo XIII)
"There naturally exists among mankind innumerable differences of the most important kind; people differ in capability, in diligence, in health, and in strength; and unequal
fortune is a necessary result of inequality in condition. Such inequality is far from being disadvantageous either to individuals or to the community; social and public life can only go on by the help of various kinds of capacity and the playing of many parts, and each man, as a rule, chooses the part which peculiarly suits his case. . . . (Pope Leo XIII)
"To suffer and to endure, therefore, is the lot of humanity; let men try as they may, no strength and no artifice will ever succeed in banishing from human life the ills and troubles which beset it. If any there are who pretend differently —who hold out to a hard-pressed people freedom from pain and trouble, undisturbed repose, and constant enjoyment—they cheat the people and impose upon them, and their lying promises will only make the evil worse than before. There is nothing more useful than to look at the world as it really is—and at the same time look elsewhere for a remedy to its troubles." . . . (Pope Leo XIII)
"The prudent Pontiff had already declared it unlawful for the State to exhaust the means of individuals by crushing taxes and tributes; 'The right to possess private property is derived from nature, not from man; and the State has by no means the right to abolish it, but only to control its use and bring it into harmony with the interests of the public good.'" . . . (Pope Pious XI)
"The State should leave to these smaller groups the settlement of business of minor importance. It will thus carry out with greater freedom, power and success the tasks belonging to it, because it alone can effectively accomplish these, directing, watching, stimulating and restraining, as circumstances suggest or necessity demands. Let those in power, therefore, be convinced that the more faithfully this principle be followed, and a graded hierarchical order exist between the various subsidiary organizations, the more excellent will be both the authority and the efficiency of the social organization as a whole and the happier and more prosperous the condition of the State." . . . (Pope Pius XI)
What Industry Means to Society
The many advantages which have accrued to all elements to society through our free competitive enterprise system are well known to men identified with industry and business but are frequently not understood or disregarded by those who do not have the responsibility of meeting payrolls and satisfying stockholders.
The people of the United States are better educated, better paid, work shorter hours and enjoy longer lives and greater opportunities for culture and recreation than any people in any other country in the history of the civilized world. Our social progress has marched hand in hand with the material progress that has given us the highest standard of living on earth. Productive enterprise—the unsurpassed ability of American manufacturers to produce goods of the highest quality, in the shortest time, and at the lowest price —has made this progress possible. Notwithstanding however, the dependence of society upon the welfare of our manufacturing industry there are many persons in this country,—some of them in positions of responsibility—who assume a hostile attitude toward the manufacturing industry. It is a common practice for these critics to seize upon isolated transgressions as the basis for general attacks upon industry and business or as the basis for the advocacy of drastic legislative "reforms." In many instances, this attitude of hostility is manifested by those who have found it politically expedient to deprecate industry and industrial management, In other instances this critical attitude arises out of lack of understanding of industrial facts and problems, and of the contributions which industry has made to the common good.
Many of these misunderstandings are due to the failure of businessmen and business organizations to fully acquaint the public and non-industrial groups with the facts regarding industry and business.
Two of the most universal misconceptions regarding industry have to do with the size of industry and with the relationship between the welfare of industry and the welfare of the individual citizen.
Size and Ownership of Industry
Most people, when they think of industrial corporations, of the very large units in industry whose securities are listed on one of the big stock exchanges and whose financial experience is frequently portrayed in the financial sections of our daily press.
As a matter of fact, although there are over 185,000 manufacturing establishments in the United States, there are less than 600 manufacturing establishments listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the New York Curb Exchange, and the Chicago Stock Exchange combined.
There are in Illinois approximately 12,000 manufacturing establishments. Over 86 percent of these firms employ less than 100 persons each. These relatively small manufacturing firms, many of them operating on a close margin and with limited finances, are particularly susceptible to the disturbing effect of unwise legislations, unfair tax burdens, agitation by organized labor leaders, and needless governmental interference.
The stock ownership of manufacturing corporations in the United States is distributed among 15,000,000 persons in all walks of life. A recent survey among 110 large corporations revealed that 86 percent of the stock was owned by persons holding 100 shares or less. Therefore, any program that injures industry not only injures all those living in the area in which the industry is located, including the workers, the butcher and the candlestick maker, as well as everyone else in the community who is directly or indirectly dependent upon the welfare of industry, but also millions of individuals in all walks of life throughout the United States who are dependent in whole or in part for their income upon the continued prosperity of industrial enterprise.
Some understanding of the direct relationship between the welfare of manufacturing industry and that of the community in which an industry is located is furnished by a survey regarding the effect upon a community of the discontinuance of operations by a certain industry—an average size industry—as a result of labor difficulties, and the failure of law enforcement. This plant employed 70 people. It had a plant investment of $50,000 with an annual payroll of $88,000. The survey revealed:
"The company had a plant investment of $50,000. The 70 people employed by the firm and their families required the services of a number of professional men—doctors, dentists, lawyers—as well as several grocers, butchers and bakers. These families spent $33,440 for food. Merchants selling clothing and shoes received $10,120. Furniture was purchased worth $5,080. Automobile dealers received $7,685. These 70 people spent on amusements and other recreation $4,840 and the taxable valuation represented by these expenditures amounts to over half a million dollars. The $88,000 placed in circulation by these 70 people was pyramided again and again until the annual trade this small group started exceeded $500,000."
The facts revealed by this survey are fairly typical of the relationship between manufacturing industry and the community in which it may be located. When you consider that Illinois has manufactured products in normal years well in excess of five and one-half billion dollars in value and that the average number employed in excess of 750,000, then the vitally important relationship of the livelihood of the great body of people in Illinois—irrespective of the line ofwork in which each may be engaged—and the welfare of industry, is entirely clear.
The development of our educational and religious institutions has been made possible largely through the earnings resulting from manufacturing enterprise and paid out in the form of wages, taxes, dividends and salaries; and the burden of any program which takes away fair profit from business, which impairs the efficiency of business, which circumscribes the productivity of business and which discourages business management, must eventually be borne by the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, and all others who are directly or indirectly the recipients of the benefits associated with our free competitive enterprise system.
Laymen Should Express Views
I have spoken quite frankly today about the tripartite system for the treatment of problems confronting the employer and the worker; about the policies and practices of organized labor; about the relationship of the state to the individual and about the contributions of industry to the welfare of society. I have spoken frankly not only because I entertain the convictions I have expressed, and because I wish to dissipate misconceptions regarding industry, but also because as a Catholic layman I recognize a right, as well as a duty, to express my views on some of the procedures which are being advocated to accomplish the purposes of the Encyclical letters.
I am sure that constructive, unselfish comments of Catholic hymen who are identified with business and industry and who are interested in the attainment of the objectives of the Encyclical letters will not only be welcomed by all concerned, but that such comments will contribute to the eventual solution of the many difficult problems involved in this undertaking. That the cooperation of all Catholics in this work was envisioned by the authors of the Encyclical letters is indicated by the following excerpts from the Encyclical of Pope Pius XI:
"No easy task is here imposed upon the clergy, wherefore all candidates for the sacred priesthood must be adequately prepared to meet it by intense study of social matters. It is particularly necessary, however, that they whom you specially select and devote to this work show themselves endowed with a keen sense of justice ready to oppose with real manly constancy unjust claims and unjust actions; that they avoid every extreme with consummate prudence and discretion; above all, that they be thoroughly imbued with the charity of Christ, which alone has power to incline men's hearts and wills firmly and gently to the laws of equity and justice. This course, already productive of success in the past, we must follow now with alacrity." . . ."
Christianity the Most Vital Consideration
In conclusion I quote two significant provisions. In the Encyclical letter of Pope Leo XIII it is stated that:
". . . since Religion alone, as We said at the beginning, can destroy the evil at its root, all men must be persuaded that the primary thing needful is to return to real Christianity, in the absence of which all the plans and devices of the wisest will be of little avail." . . .
In the Encyclical letter of Pope Pius XI it is stated: " . . . if We examine matters diligently and thoroughly We shall perceive clearly that this longed-for social reconstruction must be preceded by a profound renewal of the Christian spirit, from which multitudes engaged in industry in every country have unhappily departed. Otherwise, all Our endeavors will be futile, and Our social edifice will be built, not upon a rock, but upon shifting sand." . . .
These provisions of the Encyclical letters emphasize a belief that we no doubt all share in common, and that is that the first requisite to any program designed to assure real and lasting social and economic progress is the conformity by the individual to the fundamental teachings and ideals of Christianity. I feel sure that if all concerned will, in the first instance, concentrate upon that objective that eventual adherence to the other ideals and principles enunciated in the Encyclical letters will be simplified and facilitated.
That the basic consideration in all human endeavor in the conduct of the individual is well indicated in a little couplet from Ella Wheeler Wilcox's poem which reads:
"One ship drives east, another drives west
By the self same breeze that blows.
It is the set of the sail and not the gale
That tells them where to go.
"And so it is with the lives of men,
As we journey on through life,
It is the set of the soul
That determines the goal,
And not the peace or the strife."