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plant is big enough to make two articles.

 

The automobile is designed to carry; the tractor is designed to pull--to

climb. And that difference in function made all the difference in the

world in construction. The hard problem was to get bearings that would

stand up against the heavy pull. We finally got them and a construction

which seems to give the best average performance under all conditions.

We fixed upon a four-cylinder engine that is started by gasoline but

runs thereafter on kerosene. The lightest weight that we could attain

with strength was 2,425 pounds. The grip is in the lugs on the driving

wheels--as in the claws of the cat.

 

In addition to its strictly pulling functions, the tractor, to be of the

greatest service, had also to be designed for work as a stationary

engine so that when it was not out on the road or in the fields it might

be hitched up with a belt to run machinery. In short, it had to be a

compact, versatile power plant. And that it has been. It has not only

ploughed, harrowed, cultivated, and reaped, but it has also threshed,

run grist mills, saw mills, and various other sorts of mills, pulled

stumps, ploughed snow, and done about everything that a plant of

moderate power could do from sheep-shearing to printing a newspaper. It

has been fitted with heavy tires to haul on roads, with sledge runners

for the woods and ice, and with rimmed wheels to run on rails. When the

shops in Detroit were shut down by coal shortage, we got out the

_Dearborn Independent_ by sending a tractor to the electro-typing

factory--stationing the tractor in the alley, sending up a belt four

stories, and making the plates by tractor power. Its use in ninety-five

distinct lines of service has been called to our attention, and probably

we know only a fraction of the uses.

 

The mechanism of the tractor is even more simple than that of the

automobile and it is manufactured in exactly the same fashion. Until the

present year, the production has been held back by the lack of a

suitable factory. The first tractors had been made in the plant at

Dearborn which is now used as an experimental station. That was not

large enough to affect the economies of large-scale production and it

could not well be enlarged because the design was to make the tractors

at the River Rouge plant, and that, until this year, was not in full

operation.

 

Now that plant is completed for the making of tractors. The work flows

exactly as with the automobiles. Each part is a separate departmental

undertaking and each part as it is finished joins the conveyor system

which leads it to its proper initial assembly and eventually into the

final assembly. Everything moves and there is no skilled work. The

capacity of the present plant is one million tractors a year. That is

the number we expect to make--for the world needs inexpensive,

general-utility power plants more now than ever before--and also it now

knows enough about machinery to want such plants.

 

The first tractors, as I have said, went to England. They were first

offered in the United States in 1918 at $750. In the next year, with the

higher costs, the price had to be made $885; in the middle of the year

it was possible again to make the introductory price of $750. In 1920 we

charged $790; in the next year we were sufficiently familiar with the

production to begin cutting. The price came down to $625 and then in

1922 with the River Rouge plant functioning we were able to cut to $395.

All of which shows what getting into scientific production will do to a

price. Just as I have no idea how cheaply the Ford automobile can

eventually be made, I have no idea how cheaply the tractor can

eventually be made.

 

It is important that it shall be cheap. Otherwise power will not go to

all the farms. And they must all of them have power. Within a few years

a farm depending solely on horse and hand power will be as much of a

curiosity as a factory run by a treadmill. The farmer must either take

up power or go out of business. The cost figures make this inevitable.

During the war the Government made a test of a Fordson tractor to see

how its costs compared with doing the work with horses. The figures on

the tractor were taken at the high price plus freight. The depreciation

and repair items are not so great as the report sets them forth, and

even if they were, the prices are cut in halves which would therefore

cut the depreciation and repair charge in halves. These are the figures:

 

COST, FORDSON, $880. WEARING LIFE, 4,800 HOURS AT 4/5 ACRES PER HOUR,

3,840 ACRES

 

3,840 acres at $880; depreciation per acre .221

 

Repairs for 3,840 acres, $100; per acre .026

 

Fuel cost, kerosene at 19 cents; 2 gal. per acre .38

 

1 gal. oil per 8 acres; per acre .075

 

Driver, $2 per day, 8 acres; per acre .25

---

Cost of ploughing with Fordson; per acre. .95

 

8 HORSES COST, $1,200. WORKING LIFE, 5,000 HOURS AT 4/5 ACRE PER HOUR,

4,000 ACRES

 

4,000 acres at $1,200, depreciation of horses, per acre. . . . 30

Feed per horse, 40 cents (100 working days) per acre . . . . . 40

Feed per horse, 10 cents a day (265 idle days) per acre. . . 2.65

Two drivers, two gang ploughs, at $2 each per day, per acre. . 50

----

Cost of ploughing with horses; per acre. . . . . . . . . . . 1.46

 

At present costs, an acre would run about 40 cents only two cents

representing depreciation and repairs. But this does not take account of

the time element. The ploughing is done in about one fourth the time,

with only the physical energy used to steer the tractor. Ploughing has

become a matter of motoring across a field.

 

Farming in the old style is rapidly fading into a picturesque memory.

This does not mean that work is going to remove from the farm. Work

cannot be removed from any life that is productive. But power-farming

does mean this--drudgery is going to be removed from the farm.

Power-farming is simply taking the burden from flesh and blood and

putting it on steel. We are in the opening years of power-farming. The

motor car wrought a revolution in modern farm life, not because it was a

vehicle, but because it had power. Farming ought to be something more

than a rural occupation. It ought to be the business of raising food.

And when it does become a business the actual work of farming the

average sort of farm can be done in twenty-four days a year. The other

days can be given over to other kinds of business. Farming is too

seasonal an occupation to engage all of a man's time.

 

As a food business, farming will justify itself as a business if it

raises food in sufficient quantity and distributes it under such

conditions as will enable every family to have enough food for its

reasonable needs. There could not be a food trust if we were to raise

such overwhelming quantities of all kinds of food as to make

manipulation and exploitation impossible. The farmer who limits his

planting plays into the hands of the speculators.

 

And then, perhaps, we shall witness a revival of the small flour-milling

business. It was an evil day when the village flour mill disappeared.

Cooperative farming will become so developed that we shall see

associations of farmers with their own packing houses in which their own

hogs will be turned into ham and bacon, and with their own flour mills

in which their grain will be turned into commercial foodstuffs.

 

Why a steer raised in Texas should be brought to Chicago and then served

in Boston is a question that cannot be answered as long as all the

steers the city needs could be raised near Boston. The centralization of

food manufacturing industries, entailing enormous costs for

transportation and organization, is too wasteful long to continue in a

developed community.

 

We shall have as great a development in farming during the next twenty

years as we have had in manufacturing during the last twenty.

 

 

CHAPTER XV

 

WHY CHARITY?

 

 

Why should there by any necessity for almsgiving in a civilized

community? It is not the charitable mind to which I object. Heaven

forbid that we should ever grow cold toward a fellow creature in need.

Human sympathy is too fine for the cool, calculating attitude to take

its place. One can name very few great advances that did not have human

sympathy behind them. It is in order to help people that every notable

service is undertaken.

 

The trouble is that we have been using this great, fine motive force for

ends too small. If human sympathy prompts us to feed the hungry, why

should it not give the larger desire--to make hunger in our midst

impossible? If we have sympathy enough for people to help them out of

their troubles, surely we ought to have sympathy enough to keep them

out.

 

It is easy to give; it is harder to make giving unnecessary. To make the

giving unnecessary we must look beyond the individual to the cause of

his misery--not hesitating, of course, to relieve him in the meantime,

but not stopping with mere temporary relief. The difficulty seems to be

in getting to look beyond to the causes. More people can be moved to

help a poor family than can be moved to give their minds toward the

removal of poverty altogether.

 

I have no patience with professional charity, or with any sort of

commercialized humanitarianism. The moment human helpfulness is

systematized, organized, commercialized, and professionalized, the heart

of it is extinguished, and it becomes a cold and clammy thing.

 

Real human helpfulness is never card-catalogued or advertised. There are

more orphan children being cared for in the private homes of people who

love them than in the institutions. There are more old people being

sheltered by friends than you can find in the old people's homes. There

is more aid by loans from family to family than by the loan societies.

That is, human society on a humane basis looks out for itself. It is a

grave question how far we ought to countenance the commercialization of

the natural instinct of charity.

 

Professional charity is not only cold but it hurts more than it helps.

It degrades the recipients and drugs their self-respect. Akin to it is

sentimental idealism. The idea went abroad not so many years ago that

"service" was something that we should expect to have done for us.

Untold numbers of people became the recipients of well-meant "social

service." Whole sections of our population were coddled into a state of

expectant, child-like helplessness. There grew up a regular profession

of doing things for people, which gave an outlet for a laudable desire

for service, but which contributed nothing whatever to the self-reliance

of the people nor to the correction of the conditions out of which the

supposed need for such service grew.

 

Worse than this encouragement of childish wistfulness, instead of

training for self-reliance and self-sufficiency, was the creation of a

feeling of resentment which nearly always overtakes the objects of

charity. People often complain of the "ingratitude" of those whom they

help. Nothing is more natural. In the first place, precious little of

our so-called charity is ever real charity, offered out of a heart full

of interest and sympathy. In the second place, no person ever relishes

being in a position where he is forced to take favors.

 

Such "social work" creates a strained relation--the recipient of bounty

feels that he has been belittled in the taking, and it is a question

whether the giver should not also feel that he has been belittled in the

giving. Charity never led to a settled state of affairs. The charitable

system that does not aim to make itself unnecessary is not performing

service. It is simply making a job for itself and is an added item to

the record of non-production.

 

Charity becomes unnecessary as those who seem to be unable to earn

livings are taken out of the non-productive class and put into the

productive. In a previous chapter I have set out how experiments in our

shops have demonstrated that in sufficiently subdivided industry there

are places which can be filled by the maimed, the halt, and the blind.

Scientific industry need not be a monster devouring all who come near

it. When it is, then it is not fulfilling its place in life. In and out

of industry there must be jobs that take the full strength of a powerful

man; there are other jobs, and plenty of them, that require more skill

than the artisans of the Middle Ages ever had. The minute subdivision of

industry permits a strong man or a skilled man always to use his

strength or skill. In the old hand industry, a skilled man spent a good

part of his time at unskilled work. That was a waste. But since in those

days every task required both skilled and unskilled labour to be

performed by the one man, there was little room for either the man who

was too stupid ever to be skilled or the man who did not have the

opportunity to learn a trade.

 

No mechanic working with only his hands can earn more than a bare

sustenance. He cannot have a surplus. It has been taken for granted

that, coming into old age, a mechanic must be supported by his children

or, if he has no children, that he will be a public charge. All of that

is quite unnecessary. The subdivision of industry opens places that can

be filled by practically any one. There are more places in subdivision

industry that can be filled by blind men than there are blind men. There

are more places that can be filled by cripples than there are cripples.

And in each of these places the man who short-sightedly might be

considered as an object of charity can earn just as adequate a living as

the keenest and most able-bodied. It is waste to put an able-bodied man

in a job that might be just as well cared for by a cripple. It is a

frightful waste to put the blind at weaving baskets. It is waste to have

convicts breaking stone or picking hemp or doing any sort of petty,

useless task.

 

A well-conducted jail should not only be self-supporting, but a man in

jail ought to be able to support his family or, if he has no family, he

should be able to accumulate a sum of money sufficient to put him on his

feet when he gets out of jail. I am not advocating convict labour or the

farming out of men practically as slaves. Such a plan is too detestable

for words. We have greatly overdone the prison business, anyway; we

begin at the wrong end. But as long as we have prisons they can be

fitted into, the general scheme of production so neatly that a prison

may become a productive unit working for the relief of the public and

the benefit of the prisoners. I know that there are laws--foolish laws

passed by unthinking men--that restrict the industrial activities of

prisons. Those laws were passed mostly at the behest of what is called

Labour. They are not for the benefit of the workingman. Increasing the

charges upon a community does not benefit any one in the community. If

the idea of service be kept in mind, then there is always in every

community more work to do than there are men who can do it.

 

Industry organized for service removes the need for philanthropy.

Philanthropy, no matter how noble its motive, does not make for

self-reliance. We must have self-reliance. A community is the better for

being discontented, for being dissatisfied with what it has. I do not

mean the petty, daily, nagging, gnawing sort of discontent, but a broad,

courageous sort of discontent which believes that everything which is

done can and ought to be eventually done better. Industry organized for

service--and the workingman as well as the leader must serve--can pay

wages sufficiently large to permit every family to be both self-reliant

and self-supporting. A philanthropy that spends its time and money in

helping the world to do more for itself is far better than the sort

which merely gives and thus encourages idleness. Philanthropy, like

everything else, ought to be productive, and I believe that it can be. I

have personally been experimenting with a trade school and a hospital to

discover if such institutions, which are commonly regarded as

benevolent, cannot be made to stand on their own feet. I have found that

they can be.

 

I am not in sympathy with the trade school as it is commonly

organized--the boys get only a smattering of knowledge and they do not

learn how to use that knowledge. The trade school should not be a cross

between a technical college and a school; it should be a means of

teaching boys to be productive. If they are put at useless tasks--at

making articles and then throwing them away--they cannot have the

interest or acquire the knowledge which is their right. And during the

period of schooling the boy is not productive; the schools--unless by

charity--make no provision for the support of the boy. Many boys need

support; they must work at the first thing which comes to hand. They

have no chance to pick and choose.

 

When the boy thus enters life untrained, he but adds to the already

great scarcity of competent labour. Modern industry requires a degree of

ability and skill which neither early quitting of school nor long

continuance at school provides. It is true that, in order to retain the

interest of the boy and train him in handicraft, manual training

departments have been introduced in the more progressive school systems,

but even these are confessedly makeshifts because they only cater to,

without satisfying, the normal boy's creative instincts.

 

To meet this condition--to fulfill the boy's educational possibilities

and at the same time begin his industrial training along constructive

lines--the Henry Ford Trade School was incorporated in 1916. We do not

use the word philanthropy in connection with this effort. It grew out of

a desire to aid the boy whose circumstances compelled him to leave

school early. This desire to aid fitted in conveniently with the

necessity of providing trained tool-makers in the shops. From the

beginning we have held to three cardinal principles: first, that the boy

was to be kept a boy and not changed into a premature working-man;

second, that the academic training was to go hand in hand with the

industrial instruction; third, that the boy was to be given a sense of

pride and responsibility in his work by being trained on articles which

were to be used. He works on objects of recognized industrial worth. The

school is incorporated as a private school and is open to boys between

the ages of twelve and eighteen. It is organized on the basis of

scholarships and each boy is awarded an annual cash scholarship of four

hundred dollars at his entrance. This is gradually increased to a

maximum of six hundred dollars if his record is satisfactory.

 

A record of the class and shop work is kept and also of the industry the

boy displays in each. It is the marks in industry which are used in

making subsequent adjustments of his scholarship. In addition to his

scholarship each boy is given a small amount each month which must be

deposited in his savings account. This thrift fund must be left in the

bank as long as the boy remains in the school unless he is given

permission by the authorities to use it for an emergency.

 

One by one the problems of managing the school are being solved and

better ways of accomplishing its objects are being discovered. At the

beginning it was the custom to give the boy one third of the day in

class work and two thirds in shop work. This daily adjustment was found

to be a hindrance to progress, and now the boy takes his training in

blocks of weeks--one week in the class and two weeks in the shop.

Classes are continuous, the various groups taking their weeks in turn.

 

The best instructors obtainable are on the staff, and the text-book is

the Ford plant. It offers more resources for practical education than

most universities. The arithmetic lessons come in concrete shop

problems. No longer is the boy's mind tortured with the mysterious A who

can row four miles while B is rowing two. The actual processes and

actual conditions are exhibited to him--he is taught to observe. Cities

are no longer black specks on maps and continents are not just pages of

a book. The shop shipments to Singapore, the shop receipts of material

from Africa and South America are shown to him, and the world becomes an

inhabited planet instead of a coloured globe on the teacher's desk. In

physics and chemistry the industrial plant provides a laboratory in

which theory becomes practice and the lesson becomes actual experience.

Suppose the action of a pump is being taught. The teacher explains the

parts and their functions, answers questions, and then they all troop

away to the engine rooms to see a great pump. The school has a regular

factory workshop with the finest equipment. The boys work up from one

machine to the next. They work solely on parts or articles needed by the

company, but our needs are so vast that this list comprehends nearly

everything. The inspected work is purchased by the Ford Motor Company,

and, of course, the work that does not pass inspection is a loss to the

school.

 

The boys who have progressed furthest do fine micrometer work, and they

do every operation with a clear understanding of the purposes and

principles involved. They repair their own machines; they learn how to

take care of themselves around machinery; they study pattern-making and

in clean, well-lighted rooms with their instructors they lay the

foundation for successful careers.

 

When they graduate, places are always open for them in the shops at good

wages. The social and moral well-being of the boys is given an

unobtrusive care. The supervision is not of authority but of friendly

interest. The home conditions of every boy are pretty well known, and

his tendencies are observed. And no attempt is made to coddle him. No

attempt is made to render him namby-pamby. One day when two boys came to

the point of a fight, they were not lectured on the wickedness of

fighting. They were counseled to make up their differences in a better

way, but when, boy-like, they preferred the more primitive mode of

settlement, they were given gloves and made to fight it out in a corner

of the shop. The only prohibition laid upon them was that they were to

finish it there, and not to be caught fighting outside the shop. The

result was a short encounter and--friendship.

 

They are handled as boys; their better boyish instincts are encouraged;

and when one sees them in the shops and classes one cannot easily miss

the light of dawning mastery in their eyes. They have a sense of

"belonging." They feel they are doing something worth while. They learn

readily and eagerly because they are learning the things which every

active boy wants to learn and about which he is constantly asking

questions that none of his home-folks can answer.

 

Beginning with six boys the school now has two hundred and is possessed

of so practical a system that it may expand to seven hundred. It began

with a deficit, but as it is one of my basic ideas that anything worth

while in itself can be made self-sustaining, it has so developed its

processes that it is now paying its way.

 

We have been able to let the boy have his boyhood. These boys learn to

be workmen but they do not forget how to be boys. That is of the first

importance. They earn from 19 to 35 cents an hour--which is more than

they could earn as boys in the sort of job open to a youngster. They can

better help support their families by staying in school than by going

out to work. When they are through, they have a good general education,

the beginning of a technical education, and they are so skilled as

workmen that they can earn wages which will give them the liberty to

continue their education if they like. If they do not want more

education, they have at least the skill to command high wages anywhere.

They do not have to go into our factories; most of them do because they

do not know where better jobs are to be had--we want all our jobs to be

good for the men who take them. But there is no string tied to the boys.

They have earned their own way and are under obligations to no one.

There is no charity. The place pays for itself.

 

The Ford Hospital is being worked out on somewhat similar lines, but

because of the interruption of the war--when it was given to the

Government and became General Hospital No. 36, housing some fifteen

hundred patients--the work has not yet advanced to the point of

absolutely definite results. I did not deliberately set out to build

this hospital. It began in 1914 as the Detroit General Hospital and was

designed to be erected by popular subscription. With others, I made a

subscription, and the building began. Long before the first buildings

were done, the funds became exhausted and I was asked to make another

subscription. I refused because I thought that the managers should have

known how much the building was going to cost before they started. And

that sort of a beginning did not give great confidence as to how the

place would be managed after it was finished. However, I did offer to

take the whole hospital, paying back all the subscriptions that had been

made. This was accomplished, and we were going forward with the work

when, on August 1, 1918, the whole institution was turned over to the

Government. It was returned to us in October, 1919, and on the tenth day

of November of the same year the first private patient was admitted.

 

The hospital is on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit and the plot embraces

twenty acres, so that there will be ample room for expansion. It is our

thought to extend the facilities as they justify themselves. The

original design of the hospital has been quite abandoned and we have

endeavoured to work out a new kind of hospital, both in design and

management. There are plenty of hospitals for the rich. There are plenty

of hospitals for the poor. There are no hospitals for those who can

afford to pay only a moderate amount and yet desire to pay without a

feeling that they are recipients of charity. It has been taken for

granted that a hospital cannot both serve and be self-supporting--that

it has to be either an institution kept going by private contributions

or pass into the class of private sanitariums managed for profit. This







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