To the Editor
DECEMBER 01, 1985
Limited space will preclude our printing all the thoughtful letters we receive. Letters may be edited for purposes of clarity or space. Send your comments to:
To the Editor
Foundation for Economic Education
Irvington, New York 10533
On Equal Rights To the Editor:
I find it strange that Michael Bordelon in his “A Conservative Declaration” (September, 1985) finds that the Declaration of Independence gives no content to its famous equality clause, “that all men are created equal.” That clause is followed immediately by the equally famous one which declares: “That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights . . . .” If the language means anything, the two clauses are linked and the thought expressed very clearly im plies that the equality of all men lies in their equal possession of natural rights.
Dr. Bordelon also ignores the principle of equality of all before the law. While not explicit in the Declaration, it was certainly an operative principle in most American constitutions, with the regrettable exception of women and slaves.
It is noteworthy that Kenneth McDonald in “Routing the Fabians” (October, 1985) fixes on the principle of equality before the law as the remedy for fending off the special interest groups who demand special privileges of an economic character. This was precisely the approach used in the days of Jefferson and Jackson to break the privileges of groups seeking economic advantages through government-granted monopolies, subsidies, tariffs, licensing, and regulation of businesses.
The brilliant Jacksonian editor, William Leggett, used the slogan “Equal Rights” to challenge those who sought economic advantage through government privileges. He used the principles of laissez-faire, the free market, and equal rights, to rally the people against the new aristocracy arising through their enjoyment of government-granted privileges. Those searching for a new rhetoric to rally the forces of freedom in today’s statist society would profit from reading Leggett’s defense of equal liberty in his Democratik Editorials: Essays in Jacksonian Political Economy, edited by Lawrence White (Indianapolis: Liberty Press 1984).
New York, NY
The Moral Battle
To the Editor:
It is encouraging to see articles extolling “The Morality of Capitalism” (September, 1985). More articles illuminating the moral superiority of the free exchange of property, ideas, and services need to be written and widely publicized.
The connection between the private property order and individual choice, with its basis in morality, is the arena in which the battle between the socialist ideology and that of free men must be fought. The arena is not “which system is more efficient.” The free market wins the efficiency contest hands down.
This article stands in stark contrast to the pronouncements of the Bishops’ pastoral letters or the National Council of Churches who see little moral virtue in the free market. The defense of the free market has to be made in the arena of the “permanent things”—of morality—or the battle is lost.
And Thank You!
To the Editor:
When I was a young man, still wet behind the ears, spending my time playing instead of learning, I never had time to notice what was happening to my country.
So I and many others like me stared blindly about as the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, and Patrick Henry were being buried under a mountain of Marxist nonsense. And never was heard an opposing word. Well, fortunately for me, almost never.
For, even then, there was FEE keeping the truth alive. Through The Freeman and other publications, it gave us the intellectual ammunition to do battle with the enemies of freedom. The Freeman offered rational antidotes to the day-to-day poison we were being taught. It has passed the torch to new generations of Americans. That is an incredible job, one still unknown to most people and yet one of the most courageous and admirable undertakings of the twentieth century.
So let me take this opportunity to say, thank you, to all of the people at FEE, past and present, for being there and raising a standard for all to see. Keep up the good work.
New City, NY
To the Editor:
I have always admired Henry Hazlitt. His books—among them Economics In One Lesson, his book on inflation, and The Great Idea—are all superb. Nevertheless, I was surprised by his article on “The Limitations of Profit-Sharing” (September, 1985).
My basic motivation for becoming a profit sharing consultant has little to do with profit sharing as such—to me profit sharing is a means to an end. By making employees partners through profit sharing, one is laying the foundation for trust and mutual interest on which to build an effective program of education on the economic facts of business life. Furthermore, if businessmen in America were successful in meeting this challenge, there would be no trade imbalance.
A few years ago, attending the Annual Conference of the Profit Sharing Council of America, I heard the extraordinary story told by Mr. John McConnell, Chairman of Worthington Industries in Columbus, Ohio. In the 14 years since cash profit sharing was installed, some $22.5 million have been paid out. In 1978, $6.4 million were distributed to some 800 individuals. The average production worker received just under $10,000 on top of a salary of $12,000.
The results? Whereas productivity as measured by sales per employee attained a median level of about $60,000 in the metal manufacturing business, and $58,000 for all industries, at Worthington productivity averaged $176,000 per person in 1978.
As regards profits, Worthington’s total return to investors—price appreciation plus cash dividends—for the past ten years of 34 per cent annually ranked as second among Fortune’s 1000 largest companies in 1978.
I enthusiastically support incentive profit sharing.
Sartell Prentice, Jr.