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didn't care a pin. It was no different in the office from what it was in

the shop. The law of equivalents was broken just as much by managers as

by workmen. Practically nothing of importance is secured by mere demand.

That is why strikes always fail--even though they may seem to succeed. A

strike which brings higher wages or shorter hours and passes on the

burden to the community is really unsuccessful. It only makes the

industry less able to serve--and decreases the number of jobs that it

can support. This is not to say that no strike is justified--it may draw

attention to an evil. Men can strike with justice--that they will

thereby get justice is another question. The strike for proper

conditions and just rewards is justifiable. The pity is that men should

be compelled to use the strike to get what is theirs by right. No

American ought to be compelled to strike for his rights. He ought to

receive them naturally, easily, as a matter of course. These justifiable

strikes are usually the employer's fault. Some employers are not fit for

their jobs. The employment of men--the direction of their energies, the

arranging of their rewards in honest ratio to their production and to

the prosperity of the business--is no small job. An employer may be

unfit for his job, just as a man at the lathe may be unfit. Justifiable

strikes are a sign that the boss needs another job--one that he can

handle. The unfit employer causes more trouble than the unfit employee.

You can change the latter to another more suitable job. But the former

must usually be left to the law of compensation. The justified strike,

then, is one that need never have been called if the employer had done

his work.

 

There is a second kind of strike--the strike with a concealed design. In

this kind of strike the workingmen are made the tools of some

manipulator who seeks his own ends through them. To illustrate: Here is

a great industry whose success is due to having met a public need with

efficient and skillful production. It has a record for justice. Such an

industry presents a great temptation to speculators. If they can only

gain control of it they can reap rich benefit from all the honest effort

that has been put into it. They can destroy its beneficiary wage and

profit-sharing, squeeze every last dollar out of the public, the

product, and the workingman, and reduce it to the plight of other

business concerns which are run on low principles. The motive may be the

personal greed of the speculators or they may want to change the policy

of a business because its example is embarrassing to other employers who

do not want to do what is right. The industry cannot be touched from

within, because its men have no reason to strike. So another method is

adopted. The business may keep many outside shops busy supplying it with

material. If these outside shops can be tied up, then that great

industry may be crippled.

 

So strikes are fomented in the outside industries. Every attempt is made

to curtail the factory's source of supplies. If the workingmen in the

outside shops knew what the game was, they would refuse to play it, but

they don't know; they serve as the tools of designing capitalists

without knowing it. There is one point, however, that ought to rouse the

suspicions of workingmen engaged in this kind of strike. If the strike

cannot get itself settled, no matter what either side offers to do, it

is almost positive proof that there is a third party interested in

having the strike continue. That hidden influence does not want a

settlement on any terms. If such a strike is won by the strikers, is the

lot of the workingman improved? After throwing the industry into the

hands of outside speculators, are the workmen given any better treatment

or wages?

 

There is a third kind of strike--the strike that is provoked by the

money interests for the purpose of giving labour a bad name. The

American workman has always had a reputation for sound judgment. He has

not allowed himself to be led away by every shouter who promised to

create the millennium out of thin air. He has had a mind of his own and

has used it. He has always recognized the fundamental truth that the

absence of reason was never made good by the presence of violence. In

his way the American workingman has won a certain prestige with his own

people and throughout the world. Public opinion has been inclined to

regard with respect his opinions and desires. But there seems to be a

determined effort to fasten the Bolshevik stain on American Labour by

inciting it to such impossible attitudes and such wholly unheard-of

actions as shall change public sentiment from respect to criticism.

Merely avoiding strikes, however, does not promote industry. We may say

to the workingman:

 

"You have a grievance, but the strike is no remedy--it only makes the

situation worse whether you win or lose."

 

Then the workingman may admit this to be true and refrain from striking.

Does that settle anything?

 

No! If the worker abandons strikes as an unworthy means of bringing

about desirable conditions, it simply means that employers must get busy

on their own initiative and correct defective conditions.

 

The experience of the Ford industries with the workingman has been

entirely satisfactory, both in the United States and abroad. We have no

antagonism to unions, but we participate in no arrangements with either

employee or employer organizations. The wages paid are always higher

than any reasonable union could think of demanding and the hours of work

are always shorter. There is nothing that a union membership could do

for our people. Some of them may belong to unions, probably the majority

do not. We do not know and make no attempt to find out, for it is a

matter of not the slightest concern to us. We respect the unions,

sympathize with their good aims and denounce their bad ones. In turn I

think that they give us respect, for there has never been any

authoritative attempt to come between the men and the management in our

plants. Of course radical agitators have tried to stir up trouble now

and again, but the men have mostly regarded them simply as human

oddities and their interest in them has been the same sort of interest

that they would have in a four-legged man.

 

In England we did meet the trades union question squarely in our

Manchester plant. The workmen of Manchester are mostly unionized, and

the usual English union restrictions upon output prevail. We took over a

body plant in which were a number of union carpenters. At once the union

officers asked to see our executives and arrange terms. We deal only

with our own employees and never with outside representatives, so our

people refused to see the union officials. Thereupon they called the

carpenters out on strike. The carpenters would not strike and were

expelled from the union. Then the expelled men brought suit against the

union for their share of the benefit fund. I do not know how the

litigation turned out, but that was the end of interference by trades

union officers with our operations in England.

 

We make no attempt to coddle the people who work with us. It is

absolutely a give-and-take relation. During the period in which we

largely increased wages we did have a considerable supervisory force.

The home life of the men was investigated and an effort was made to find

out what they did with their wages. Perhaps at the time it was

necessary; it gave us valuable information. But it would not do at all

as a permanent affair and it has been abandoned.

 

We do not believe in the "glad hand," or the professionalized "personal

touch," or "human element." It is too late in the day for that sort of

thing. Men want something more than a worthy sentiment. Social

conditions are not made out of words. They are the net result of the

daily relations between man and man. The best social spirit is evidenced

by some act which costs the management something and which benefits all.

That is the only way to prove good intentions and win respect.

Propaganda, bulletins, lectures--they are nothing. It is the right act

sincerely done that counts.

 

A great business is really too big to be human. It grows so large as to

supplant the personality of the man. In a big business the employer,

like the employee, is lost in the mass. Together they have created a

great productive organization which sends out articles that the world

buys and pays for in return money that provides a livelihood for

everyone in the business. The business itself becomes the big thing.

 

There is something sacred about a big business which provides a living

for hundreds and thousands of families. When one looks about at the

babies coming into the world, at the boys and girls going to school, at

the young workingmen who, on the strength of their jobs, are marrying

and setting up for themselves, at the thousands of homes that are being

paid for on installments out of the earnings of men--when one looks at a

great productive organization that is enabling all these things to be

done, then the continuance of that business becomes a holy trust. It

becomes greater and more important than the individuals.

 

The employer is but a man like his employees and is subject to all the

limitations of humanity. He is justified in holding his job only as he

can fill it. If he can steer the business straight, if his men can trust

him to run his end of the work properly and without endangering their

security, then he is filling his place. Otherwise he is no more fit for

his position than would be an infant. The employer, like everyone else,

is to be judged solely by his ability. He may be but a name to the

men--a name on a signboard. But there is the business--it is more than a

name. It produces the living--and a living is a pretty tangible thing.

The business is a reality. It does things. It is a going concern. The

evidence of its fitness is that the pay envelopes keep coming.

 

You can hardly have too much harmony in business. But you can go too far

in picking men because they harmonize. You can have so much harmony that

there will not be enough of the thrust and counterthrust which is

life--enough of the competition which means effort and progress. It is

one thing for an organization to be working harmoniously toward one

object, but it is another thing for an organization to work harmoniously

with each individual unit of itself. Some organizations use up so much

energy and time maintaining a feeling of harmony that they have no force

left to work for the object for which the organization was created. The

organization is secondary to the object. The only harmonious

organization that is worth anything is an organization in which all the

members are bent on the one main purpose--to get along toward the

objective. A common purpose, honestly believed in, sincerely

desired--that is the great harmonizing principle.

 

I pity the poor fellow who is so soft and flabby that he must always

have "an atmosphere of good feeling" around him before he can do his

work. There are such men. And in the end, unless they obtain enough

mental and moral hardiness to lift them out of their soft reliance on

"feeling," they are failures. Not only are they business failures; they

are character failures also; it is as if their bones never attained a

sufficient degree of hardness to enable them to stand on their own feet.

There is altogether too much reliance on good feeling in our business

organizations. People have too great a fondness for working with the

people they like. In the end it spoils a good many valuable qualities.

 

Do not misunderstand me; when I use the term "good feeling" I mean that

habit of making one's personal likes and dislikes the sole standard of

judgment. Suppose you do not like a man. Is that anything against him?

It may be something against you. What have your likes or dislikes to do

with the facts? Every man of common sense knows that there are men whom

he dislikes, who are really more capable than he is himself.

 

And taking all this out of the shop and into the broader fields, it is

not necessary for the rich to love the poor or the poor to love the

rich. It is not necessary for the employer to love the employee or for

the employee to love the employer. What is necessary is that each should

try to do justice to the other according to his deserts. That is real

democracy and not the question of who ought to own the bricks and the

mortar and the furnaces and the mills. And democracy has nothing to do

with the question, "Who ought to be boss?"

 

That is very much like asking: "Who ought to be the tenor in the

quartet?" Obviously, the man who can sing tenor. You could not have

deposed Caruso. Suppose some theory of musical democracy had consigned

Caruso to the musical proletariat. Would that have reared another tenor

to take his place? Or would Caruso's gifts have still remained his own?

 

 

CHAPTER XIX

 

WHAT WE MAY EXPECT

 

 

We are--unless I do not read the signs aright--in the midst of a change.

It is going on all about us, slowly and scarcely observed, but with a

firm surety. We are gradually learning to relate cause and effect. A

great deal of that which we call disturbance--a great deal of the upset

in what have seemed to be established institutions--is really but the

surface indication of something approaching a regeneration. The public

point of view is changing, and we really need only a somewhat different

point of view to make the very bad system of the past into a very good

system of the future. We are displacing that peculiar virtue which used

to be admired as hard-headedness, and which was really only

wooden-headedness, with intelligence, and also we are getting rid of

mushy sentimentalism. The first confused hardness with progress; the

second confused softness with progress. We are getting a better view of

the realities and are beginning to know that we have already in the

world all things needful for the fullest kind of a life and that we

shall use them better once we learn what they are and what they mean.

 

Whatever is wrong--and we all know that much is wrong--can be righted by

a clear definition of the wrongness. We have been looking so much at one

another, at what one has and another lacks, that we have made a personal

affair out of something that is too big for personalities. To be sure,

human nature enters largely into our economic problems. Selfishness

exists, and doubtless it colours all the competitive activities of life.

If selfishness were the characteristic of any one class it might be

easily dealt with, but it is in human fibre everywhere. And greed

exists. And envy exists. And jealousy exists.

 

But as the struggle for mere existence grows less--and it is less than

it used to be, although the sense of uncertainty may have increased--we

have an opportunity to release some of the finer motives. We think less

of the frills of civilization as we grow used to them. Progress, as the

world has thus far known it, is accompanied by a great increase in the

things of life. There is more gear, more wrought material, in the

average American backyard than in the whole domain of an African king.

The average American boy has more paraphernalia around him than a whole

Eskimo community. The utensils of kitchen, dining room, bedroom, and

coal cellar make a list that would have staggered the most luxurious

potentate of five hundred years ago. The increase in the impedimenta of

life only marks a stage. We are like the Indian who comes into town with

all his money and buys everything he sees. There is no adequate

realization of the large proportion of the labour and material of

industry that is used in furnishing the world with its trumpery and

trinkets, which are made only to be sold, and are bought merely to be

owned--that perform no service in the world and are at last mere rubbish

as at first they were mere waste. Humanity is advancing out of its

trinket-making stage, and industry is coming down to meet the world's

needs, and thus we may expect further advancement toward that life which

many now see, but which the present "good enough" stage hinders our

attaining.

 

And we are growing out of this worship of material possessions. It is no

longer a distinction to be rich. As a matter of fact, to be rich is no

longer a common ambition. People do not care for money as money, as they

once did. Certainly they do not stand in awe of it, nor of him who

possesses it. What we accumulate by way of useless surplus does us no

honour.

 

It takes only a moment's thought to see that as far as individual

personal advantage is concerned, vast accumulations of money mean

nothing. A human being is a human being and is nourished by the same

amount and quality of food, is warmed by the same weight of clothing,

whether he be rich or poor. And no one can inhabit more than one room at

a time.

 

But if one has visions of service, if one has vast plans which no

ordinary resources could possibly realize, if one has a life ambition to

make the industrial desert bloom like the rose, and the work-a-day life

suddenly blossom into fresh and enthusiastic human motives of higher

character and efficiency, then one sees in large sums of money what the

farmer sees in his seed corn--the beginning of new and richer harvests

whose benefits can no more be selfishly confined than can the sun's

rays.

 

There are two fools in this world. One is the millionaire who thinks

that by hoarding money he can somehow accumulate real power, and the

other is the penniless reformer who thinks that if only he can take the

money from one class and give it to another, all the world's ills will

be cured. They are both on the wrong track. They might as well try to

corner all the checkers or all the dominoes of the world under the

delusion that they are thereby cornering great quantities of skill. Some

of the most successful money-makers of our times have never added one

pennyworth to the wealth of men. Does a card player add to the wealth of

the world?

 

If we all created wealth up to the limits, the easy limits, of our

creative capacity, then it would simply be a case of there being enough

for everybody, and everybody getting enough. Any real scarcity of the

necessaries of life in the world--not a fictitious scarcity caused by

the lack of clinking metallic disks in one's purse--is due only to lack

of production. And lack of production is due only too often to lack of

knowledge of how and what to produce.

 

* * * * *

 

This much we must believe as a starting point:

 

That the earth produces, or is capable of producing, enough to give

decent sustenance to everyone--not of food alone, but of everything else

we need. For everything is produced from the earth.

 

That it is possible for labour, production, distribution, and reward to

be so organized as to make certain that those who contribute shall

receive shares determined by an exact justice.

 

That regardless of the frailties of human nature, our economic system

can be so adjusted that selfishness, although perhaps not abolished, can

be robbed of power to work serious economic injustice.

 

* * * * *

 

The business of life is easy or hard according to the skill or the lack

of skill displayed in production and distribution. It has been thought

that business existed for profit. That is wrong. Business exists for

service. It is a profession, and must have recognized professional

ethics, to violate which declasses a man. Business needs more of the

professional spirit. The professional spirit seeks professional

integrity, from pride, not from compulsion. The professional spirit

detects its own violations and penalizes them. Business will some day

become clean. A machine that stops every little while is an imperfect

machine, and its imperfection is within itself. A body that falls sick

every little while is a diseased body, and its disease is within itself.

So with business. Its faults, many of them purely the faults of the

moral constitution of business, clog its progress and make it sick every

little while. Some day the ethics of business will be universally

recognized, and in that day business will be seen to be the oldest and

most useful of all the professions.

 

* * * * *

 

All that the Ford industries have done--all that I have done--is to

endeavour to evidence by works that service comes before profit and that

the sort of business which makes the world better for its presence is a

noble profession. Often it has come to me that what is regarded as the

somewhat remarkable progression of our enterprises--I will not say

"success," for that word is an epitaph, and we are just starting--is due

to some accident; and that the methods which we have used, while well

enough in their way, fit only the making of our particular products and

would not do at all in any other line of business or indeed for any

products or personalities other than our own.

 

It used to be taken for granted that our theories and our methods were

fundamentally unsound. That is because they were not understood. Events

have killed that kind of comment, but there remains a wholly sincere

belief that what we have done could not be done by any other

company--that we have been touched by a wand, that neither we nor any

one else could make shoes, or hats, or sewing machines, or watches, or

typewriters, or any other necessity after the manner in which we make

automobiles and tractors. And that if only we ventured into other fields

we should right quickly discover our errors. I do not agree with any of

this. Nothing has come out of the air. The foregoing pages should prove

that. We have nothing that others might not have. We have had no good

fortune except that which always attends any one who puts his best into

his work. There was nothing that could be called "favorable" about our

beginning. We began with almost nothing. What we have, we earned, and we

earned it by unremitting labour and faith in a principle. We took what

was a luxury and turned it into a necessity and without trick or

subterfuge. When we began to make our present motor car the country had

few good roads, gasoline was scarce, and the idea was firmly implanted

in the public mind that an automobile was at the best a rich man's toy.

Our only advantage was lack of precedent.

 

We began to manufacture according to a creed--a creed which was at that

time unknown in business. The new is always thought odd, and some of us

are so constituted that we can never get over thinking that anything

which is new must be odd and probably queer. The mechanical working out

of our creed is constantly changing. We are continually finding new and

better ways of putting it into practice, but we have not found it

necessary to alter the principles, and I cannot imagine how it might

ever be necessary to alter them, because I hold that they are absolutely

universal and must lead to a better and wider life for all.

 

If I did not think so I would not keep working--for the money that I

make is inconsequent. Money is useful only as it serves to forward by

practical example the principle that business is justified only as it

serves, that it must always give more to the community than it takes

away, and that unless everybody benefits by the existence of a business

then that business should not exist. I have proved this with automobiles

and tractors. I intend to prove it with railways and public-service

corporations--not for my personal satisfaction and not for the money

that may be earned. (It is perfectly impossible, applying these

principles, to avoid making a much larger profit than if profit were the

main object.) I want to prove it so that all of us may have more, and

that all of us may live better by increasing the service rendered by all

businesses. Poverty cannot be abolished by formula; it can be abolished

only by hard and intelligent work. We are, in effect, an experimental

station to prove a principle. That we do make money is only further

proof that we are right. For that is a species of argument that

establishes itself without words.

 

In the first chapter was set forth the creed. Let me repeat it in the

light of the work that has been done under it--for it is at the basis of

all our work:

 

(1) An absence of fear of the future or of veneration for the past. One

who fears the future, who fears failure, limits his activities. Failure

is only the opportunity more intelligently to begin again. There is no

disgrace in honest failure; there is disgrace in fearing to fail. What

is past is useful only as it suggests ways and means for progress.

 

(2) A disregard of competition. Whoever does a thing best ought to be

the one to do it. It is criminal to try to get business away from

another man--criminal because one is then trying to lower for personal

gain the condition of one's fellow-men, to rule by force instead of by

intelligence.

 

(3) The putting of service before profit. Without a profit, business

cannot extend. There is nothing inherently wrong about making a profit.

Well-conducted business enterprises cannot fail to return a profit but

profit must and inevitably will come as a reward for good service. It

cannot be the basis--it must be the result of service.

 

(4) Manufacturing is not buying low and selling high. It is the process

of buying materials fairly and, with the smallest possible addition of

cost, transforming those materials into a consumable product and

distributing it to the consumer. Gambling, speculating, and sharp

dealing tend only to clog this progression.

 

* * * * *

 

We must have production, but it is the spirit behind it that counts

most. That kind of production which is a service inevitably follows a

real desire to be of service. The various wholly artificial rules set up

for finance and industry and which pass as "laws" break down with such

frequency as to prove that they are not even good guesses. The basis of

all economic reasoning is the earth and its products. To make the yield

of the earth, in all its forms, large enough and dependable enough to

serve as the basis for real life--the life which is more than eating and







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