Page 21


1.0*VIM. “6.0m . ..141#,%104,40141,-, going on in your own communities. We are asking the youngsters to have faith in a system which we can no longerlefine realistically for them. Interestingly enough, the establishment, or the leaders of Soviet Russia, as well as all the other socialist nations find themselves in the same dilemma as we in the United States; in fact, their situation is much worse. They make sacrosanct the economic theories of Karl Marx, and what they have been worshipping is even less true. Gardner C. Means, in The Modern Corporation and Private Property, delineated it poignantly when he said: “The real difference between the system operating in Russia today and that in the United States is concerned with power and who makes the decisions.” He explains, through a comparison of the Russian economy and our own, and given our fifty per cent tax structure and then the ensuing tax on dividends paid by the corporations, that in net effect there is only a three or four per cent difference in the total take by government in Russia as compared with the United States. The meaningful difference is that though the percentage is low it is that which enables us to have freedom vs. their dictatorial or centralized control. Means sums it up: In a very real sense the money paid in dividends to stockholders is the price we now pay, not only for supplying part of the capital required by enterprise, but also, and more importantly, for the widespread dispersion of initiative and decision-making. What concerns me is that this so-called widespread dispersion of initiative and decision-making is being lessened in our country as one company after another is merged. The net effect is that fewer and fewer people are really making the decisions that affect all of us. This results in our being misled once again. We are a nation that truly believes in democracy the best democracy is that in which the most people have an opportunity to participate in the decision-making. If there is one axiom to which we must subscribe, it is that efficiency must become secondary to the consideration of the quality of living of our people. If it is more efficient in the production of goods to involve the polluting of a river but such pollution reduces the quality of the living of the people of that area, then we must settle for a little less efficiency or profit to insure a better life for the people who reside in that area. Let’s pause here for a moment and consider why we are installing computers: we know that in the end they will be more economic, and will require less manpower. We’re all concerned with employing labor-saving devices. Here’s the dilemma: we’re faced with a population explosion, and yet, whether we are talking about the administrative offices of governments, business, or labor unions, we seek to employ fewer and fewer people. Look at how this administration has approached the problem of inflation: five million are unemployed! That’s seemingly the best answer we have. It’s not particularly uncomfortable unless you are one of the unemployed. Suicide, as referred to by Lincoln, for this nation can only occur if we fail to understand the dynamic of the society; de Jouvenel said: There is a continual dying of possible futures. And two mistakes are common: to be unaware of them while they are, so to speak, alive, and to be unaware of their death when they have been killed off by lack of discovery. The real tragedy is that so many of the things that we are doing contribute to irreversible results; such as, polluting a lake, permitting youngsters to live in poverty which results in permanent brain damage for so many, the phasing-out of the small community, and most important of all, the rigid requirement of total conformity that we impose upon all people almost from time of birth. live there are very few independent businessmen, remaining as compared with the number we had just a short ten years ago. Our Enterprise in even this small community is becoming less Free. I suspect the same is an accurate description of what is Charles A. Reich, in his The Greening of America, states: . . . a true definition of the American crisis would say this: we no longer understand the system under which we live, hence the structure has become obsolete and we have become powerless; in turn, the system has been permitted to assume unchallenged power to dominate our lives, and now rumbles along, unguided and therefore indifferent to human ends. Certainly what concerns so many of us is that we are becoming less spiritual realistically, and I suspect it’s because we have been worshipping things rather than God. We talk about God but we really don’t seem to mean it. We have substituted status and materialism for Him, and that’s why our kids are in an unbelieving mood. As one theologian said as he lamented the lack of faith in our people: “We want to be thrilled to death but we’re dead to thrill.” Please understand: I am not saying we are a Godless, insensitive, ‘stupid nation of people; the American genius that has built this nation is to be commended, and the leaders in business and government and labor are good men . . . certainly this statement is ninety-nine per cent accurate, and that’s why I think these things are worth talking about. We are a nation that does want to do the right thing; we just need some leadership to show the way . . . we need statesmanship in business, in government, and in labor. We suffer from myopicness shortsightedness; we need to develop an organic point of view. What’s good for business is not necessarily good for everyone. What’s good for government is not necessarily good for everyone. What’s good for labor is not necessarily good for everyone. But, what’s good for the people is good for all three. This is America’s quest: to begin to understand and implement this concept. Anyone in business that has dealt with the SEC and the FTC and the FDIC and the CCC, and the thousands upon thousands of local, state and federal government bureaus has to be in a state of jitters. Ninety-nine per cent of all executives I know don’t worry about doing anything illegal consciously; what scares them to death and myself as well are the violations in which one might be involved unknowingly. When you’have big government, big business, and big labor unions, life becomes too complex, too indeterminate. If one is even a Medicare patient, he is overwhelmed as he becomes totally submerged under the weight of paper. If you are a chief executive officer of your bank, you readily appreciate this fact; you are even more aware that every time you want to make an important decision, you have to confer with a lawyer, a CPA, a public relations firm, and most times, with some government bureau. We have a society with built-in frustraters. The ills of our society; such as, racism, pollution, poverty, and this mad war in Vietnam, are the tip of the iceberg. The bigness of Things and the Littleness of People are the base of it. The Gallup Poll shows that 70% of the American people want out of this war now! We are a democracy in which the government is supposedly responsive to the will of the people. The people want out, and the government says we stay in. And then we wonder why so many are losing faith with the system. What’s really necessary -is the fragmenting of the power processes in the society and this, whether we relate them to business or government or labor. People have to once again become visible, and tower over bureaucracy, instead of being submerged by it. This land of ours is for me still the last best hope for humanity. If we who are the leaders will take heed from a Spanish philosopher, who said “In order to give light to others one must first set fire to himself. . . . and approach this task with a dedication of love love as defined by Goethe when he said “Love has power to give in a moment what toil can scarcely reach in an age.” .. then it will be done here on earth as it is in Heaven.