Freeman

ARTICLE

The ABC's of Modern Economics

MAY 01, 1960 by RALPH BRADFORD

Q

is for Quality. People or things

Possess it or not. The degree of it springs

From reaching for standards.

The best you can do Is strive for the quality label—for you.

R

is for Reason, to which we appeal

To bolster our causes, with fervor and zeal,

Until it says no to our gain or our pride—

Then Reason is ridiculed, damned, and denied.

S

is for Satan, who used to be feared

And hated by all who were properly reared;

But Satan assumes many forms, and his double,

Old Something-for-Nothing, accounts for our trouble.

T

is for Truth, which is central in life,

But seldom observed in its fullness.

The strife Of living obscures it, and over it falls

The shadow of doubt—and yet ever it calls.

U

is for Us and our Union of States,

Where each has the freedom to earn what he rates;

But some who contend that the rates are unequal

Would tax, seize, and squander, ignoring the sequel.

V

is for Victory, sweet to the taste

For only a moment—the product of waste

And death and destruction. The danger of winning

Is this: that your troubles are only beginning.

W

stands for the Wisdom that springs

From deep understanding of men and of things.

Transcending intelligence, higher than knowledge,

It can’t be transmitted, or taught in a college.

X

is the symbol of subjects obscure

And objects unseen, with a mystic allure:

The yet-undiscovered, impending and vast,

Is greater than all we have learned in the past.

Y

is for Youth, no better or worse

Than in Cicero‘s day—except for the curse

Their blundering elders, through many a year,

Have fastened upon them: the torment of fear.

Z

is for Zoo, where the monkeys look out

On you and on me as we amble about,

With a hint of contempt in their simian eyes.

And sometimes I’m stopped with this shocking surmise: That

a modern millennium well might begin,

If we let them all out, and they locked us all in!

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

May 1960

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For centuries, hierarchical models dominated human organizations. Kings, warlords, and emperors could rally groups--but also oppress them. Non-hierarchical forms of organization, though, are increasingly defining our lives. It's no secret how this has benefited out social lives, including dating, and it's becoming more commonplace even in the corporate world. But it's also now come even to organizations bent on domination rather than human flourishing, as the Islamic State shows. If even destructive groups rely on this form of entrepreneurial organization, then hierarchy's time could truly be coming to an end.
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