Giant Business: Threat to Democracy: The Autobiography of an Insider

Giant Business: Threat to Democracy: The Autobiography of an Insider

Giant Business: Threat to Democracy: The Autobiography of an Insider

Giant Business: Threat to Democracy: The Autobiography of an Insider

Excerpt

No man, I have supposed, should presume to write an autobiography unless he is old and wise, has achieved something substantial and lasting, and has lived intimately with the great, whom he can name, describe and quote. I cannot meet any of these qualifications. Moreover, I have never been strongly attracted by biography in any form, because it has seemed to me often to subordinate ideas and principles to people and conventional forms, to emphasize the links rather than the chain and to concentrate on the moment at the expense of the years. With these restraining convictions, or notions, I was not only indifferent but, at first, opposed to the suggestion that I should write mine.

Biography is often subject to the common error of closing the books too soon in the judging of people and their activities. If it is true, as often seems to be the case, that "the demons of our sires become the saints whom we adore," it should be clear that any single life span is too short to pass final judgment in. Principle is more important even than immediate justice to any individual where it results, in the long run, in greater justice to numbers of people. The men who have made the world have disagreed with it and yesterday's dissents often lead tomorrow's thought.

But I can record an economic and social viewpoint based upon actual experience in both big and small business, and this may best be revealed in an autobiography. I have been persuaded that there could be no objection to my writing one which attempted to put first things first, emphasized causes over effects, and referred to individuals and their interests, including my own, as collateral material.

In America, the individual man has substantial, natural rights which he can, under the Constitution, require everybody, in-

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