Security for the People: Ways of Maintaining Full Employment and High Farm Income

Security for the People: Ways of Maintaining Full Employment and High Farm Income

Security for the People: Ways of Maintaining Full Employment and High Farm Income

Security for the People: Ways of Maintaining Full Employment and High Farm Income

Excerpt

For the first time in American history, we had continued mass unemployment during the entire decade of the 1930's with nine million unemployed workers as recently as 1939. The major cause was the exaction of monopoly prices by a few large mass-production industries. This situation stands out in sharp contrast to earlier depressions, particularly those before the turn of the century, when large and small industries maintained a high level of production by lowering prices.

Monopoly is not limited to business organizations; it is a deep-rooted tendency projecting itself into all phases of human activity. All organizations, whether religious, educational, social, political, or economic, with age tend to get hardening of the arteries and try to prevent any changes which would disrupt the vested interests of the men running them. One of the biggest problems of mankind is to use the wisdom and knowledge of the ages for the public weal without curbing the initiative and creative efforts of each succeeding generation. In our economic organization the main problem is largely that of balancing competition, which permits freedom of opportunity and individual initiative, with such regulation from the state as has proved to be highly desirable in protecting public health and safety and in increasing productivity. This does not mean that regional or municipal government operation of certain segments of our economy is impractical or undesirable, for in certain restricted areas the public has already benefited by governmental operation of business. Under our democratic form of government, however, the greatest progress in improving living standards has been made under competition and free enterprise.

The purpose of this book is to stimulate thinking on ways of maintaining full employment and high farm income within the framework of a competitive system of free enterprise. During the past two decades free enterprise cooperatives and labor unions have made remarkable progress in curbing monopolies and restoring a balance of power between farmers, labor, and urban industry. Their activities have brought "rules of the game" into our economy without resort to nationalization of industry characteristic in England and other European countries.

Monopolies in American business, however, have become so deep-rooted that there is real danger that within the next ten to fifteen years they will again bring about continued mass unemployment. If we expect to preserve a competitive system of free enterprise, immediate concerted action by farmers, labor, and urban industry is needed.

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