The American Economy-Attitudes and Opinions

By A. Dudley Ward | Go to book overview

13
Freedom

Individual freedom as a value and a right was generally taken for granted in both the individual interviews and the discussion groups, and recognized as a fundamental part of our American heritage. It was also understood, however, that interpretations of individual freedom or applications of it as a principle of human relations vary under changing conditions. A perennial problem is involved in the questions: freedom of whom, from whom or what, and for what? Various aspects of that problem entered especially into the discussions.


1. THE INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEWS

The attitudes of the 503 persons interviewed, in regard to incentives to work, plans for the future, choice of housing, possible change of occupation, education of children, etc. indicate obviously the assumption of a wide range of individual freedom. If this range has narrowed in some respects during the past fifty years -- as for example, in exploitation of virgin lands, in unregulated economic enterprise, in lightness of taxation -- yet in more respects, and for a vast majority of our people, the range of freedom has been immensely widened. We have freedom of a far greater portion of our population, from destitution, unrelieved incidence of misfortune, oppression, and lack of opportunity, and for development and use of one's potential abilities. Perhaps nowhere else in the world does freedom, thus broadly interpreted, prevail so widely through a whole nation.


2. THE DISCUSSION GROUPS

Working Women's Groups

In some of these groups, while a wide range of freedom was tacitly assumed, some flaws were noted, indicating an ideal society had not yet been attained (if it ever could be), and that progress in human relations (which is possible) is a never-ending road, with many byways and obstacles.

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The American Economy-Attitudes and Opinions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgment v
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • Part I - Work 1
  • 1 - Why People Work 5
  • 2 - Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction in Work 16
  • 3 - Labor Unions 30
  • 4 - The Use of Leisure 38
  • 5 - Retirement from Work 51
  • 6 - The Training of Youth 54
  • 7 - Security 66
  • 8 - Status 80
  • Part II - Moral Standards and Problems 91
  • 9 - A Complex of Standards 93
  • 10 - Honesty as a Standard 104
  • 11 - The Standard of Justice 126
  • 12 - Etkcs of Spending 133
  • 13 - Freedom 144
  • 14 - Influence of Religion and the Churches 154
  • 15 - Evaluation 163
  • Appendix 1 - The Interviewers' Questionnaire 173
  • Appendix 2 - The Discussion Groups 182
  • Index 197
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