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ACCLAIMED AS A GREAT EDITORIAL WRITER ... OUTSTANDING AND FEARLESS ON RADIO AND LECTURE PLATFORM Figure NOW HEAR DR. RUTH ALEXANDER Columnist, New York Mirror, and Hearst Newspapers, Coast to Coast. in Challenging, Timely Talks WHICH WAY AMERICA? What the State Gives Away It Takes Away Formula For Freedom SEE INSIDE SPREAD ONE OF THE PLATFORM'S TRULY GREAT SPEAKERS Dr. ALEXANDER'S prize winning editorial Sunday Mirror NEW YORK DAILY MIRROR, JANUARY 27, 1949 What the State Gives Away It Takes Away By DR. RUTH ALEXANDER LAST SUNDAY I said it made no difference who owns the instruments of production as long as the product or national dividend is large and is consumed by the people. I want to elaborate today. It makes no difference whether one, a few, or many own our tools as long as they are in private hands. When they are owned or operated by the State that is something else again and it makes all the difference in the world. In any society the State is merely the name used to describe a group of men in power—for the time being or life, as the case may be. These men, the State, do not make their living by creating and exchanging goods and services in the market place. Dr. Alexander They are not in trade, as the British snobs used to say: They are in politics. They are not producers. They are parasites who live off the productive efforts of the citizen-taxpayers. There is nothing wrong about that unless government becomes so swollen with bureaus and their administrators, bureaucrats, that the taxpayers are bled white. In any case, the state produces nothing. Everything it has it gets. Everything it gives away it first must take away. If the State decides to give Mr. Voteright Smith free room and board, free education, hospitalization, etc., etc., etc., it must first take away the money to pay for these services from Mr. Taxpayer Jones. THERE IS NOTHING FREE. When the State owns or operates industry it can afford to operate it at a loss. It has access to unlimited tax money with which it can subsidize its losses. But private industry cannot operate at a loss for long. Unless it can keep its cost of production low enough to make an annual profit it must shut up shop. Which do you think will operate more efficiently—the State which has no incentive to make a profit or private industry to which profit is a matter of life and death? And which will result in the largest product, the greatest national dividend, the biggest piece of pie to be cut by us all? Efficiently operated industry, looking for a greater and greater reward, or inefficiently operated industry, indifferent alike to profit or loss? You don't need me to answer that. Just use your own COMMON SENSE. Dr. ALEXANDER'S editorials widely quoted Calling for a showdown on words, and noting correctly that honest labeling would cut straight across the issues of the day, the distinguished economist, Dr. Ruth Alexander, has this to say: Socialism and its end-product, communism, could never be sold to the people of the United States in those words. We have repudiated, by name, the Socialist candidate for President, Mr. Norman Thomas since 1928. Similarly, we repudiated the Communist candidate, Mr. Earl Browder, in 1936 and 1940. But we have bought most of Mr. Thomas' Socialist ideas, and some of Mr. Browder's, SOLD IN DIFFERENT PACKAGING whose contents were described in words that cunningly omitted 'Socialist' or 'Communist.' FOREIGN IDEAS have been sold to us by FAMILIARNAMES, which caught us off guard. The commonly accepted meanings of our national words, such as liberty, have been distorted to mean the exact opposite. Our modern self-styled liberals' have sought to alter radically the institutions for which our forefathers stood, while plagiarizing the very language of those forefathers. (Chicago Herald-American, Thursday, July 28, 1949) Text of Transcribed Broadcast in the Series AMERICA, SPEAK UP! PRESENTED BY AMERICA'S FUTURE, INC. CAPITALISM By Dr. RUTH ALEXANDER BILL SLATER, Master of Ceremonies SLATER: It's my pleasure to introduce a Doctor of Philosophy who is also a Master of Exact and Simple Language; even makes the so-called dismal science of economics understandable and interesting; a lecturer known from coast to coast and a columnist for the New York Sunday Mirror and other Hearst newspapers—DR. RUTH ALEXANDER, what's on your mind? ALEXANDER: DEFINITIONS, Bill Slater. It's high time we cleared away the cobwebs of misunderstanding about our great American system of private capitalism. If private capitalism does not survive, democracy cannot survive. And much of our confused economic thinking and wayward political acting stem from misunderstanding of what capitalism really means. ALEXANDER: The correct definition of private capitalism is the voluntary exchange of goods and services on a competitive basis. Private capitalism is not identical with the somewhat loose term free enterprise to which even New Dealers and One Worlders pay lip service in their recent evangelical conversion to American principles. Freedom is not, and never can be, an absolute term. It is always relative. Hence free enterprise is a relative and somewhat meaningless expression. There has always been some government supervision of enterprise, but the bridge from capitalism to socialism had not been crossed until the experiments beginning in 1933. SLATER: Dr. Alexander, you made your definition of private capitalism so easy to understand. What did the word mean originally? ALEXANDER: The word capital was used originally as an adjective applied to those stocks of goods which had been voluntarily saved up and retained for use in the future. Thus private capitalism appears, at once, in its true light of a surplus economy rather than the scarcity economy of state capitalism, or socialism. The purpose of this accumulated stock of goods was, and is, to feed, clothe and lodge the people. Their riches or their poverty, their employment or their unemployment, depends SOLELY on the supply of accumulated capital goods to be used up in consumption. Capitalism is dynamic when the amount of capital goods is sufficient to allow for experimental production or innovation from time to time. Capitalism becomes static when stocks of capital goods approach the minimum necessary for subsistence. SLATER: Taxes are worrying almost everybody. How do taxes affect private capitalism? ALEXANDER: Taxes obviously reduce capital stocks of goods. In our modern United States, apparently completely indifferent to unlimited debt, we automatically reduce our productive capacity and our reserve for new tools by excessive taxation. Excessive taxation, therefore, for whatever purpose, can convert our dynamic capitalism into a static capitalism, and reduce us to that minimum standard of living which would be the answer to the socialists' and communists' prayer. SLATER: Dr. Alexander, do you think people generally are becoming more interested in the importance of new tools? ALEXANDER: Yes, I do. Private capitalism—to which I limit my defense throughout—is interested primarily in production. It utilizes every incentive to attract the worker to exchange his goods or services at the highest possible rate, because only thus can he accumulate enough to invest in the future creation and development of tools. Now, since the owners of tools receive a return for the use of their tools in addition to payment for their labor or services, their total return may exceed that of the worker who has accumulated no surplus for investment and must depend solely on his labor for his living. SLATER: Is that where the class cleavage comes in? ALEXANDER: Yes, Mr. Slater, the question of distribution then rears its ugly head—and capitalism takes the rap. It gets blamed for those inborn differences in self-denial, judgment, and expert service which enable one man to create and retain an excess over and above his fellow man. Capitalism is said to create inequalities—an absurd and ridiculous thesis, since inequalities are an integral part of all creation; and economic inequalities are but the result of natural inequalities in endowment that are measured today in routine tests of the armed forces, the schools, industrial and psychological laboratories. SLATER: Then I take it, Dr. Alexander, that tools or machines are end products of accumulated stocks of capital goods, and that their accumulation has been made possible by somebody's self-denial and expert judgment. But what about poverty, under capitalism? ALEXANDER: Great wealth is a by-product of capitalism, but great poverty is not. Capitalism did not create poverty. Capitalism inherited poverty from its predecessor, socialism. The assumption that all capitalists are rich is totally false. There are penny capitalists as well as dollar capitalists. There are personal capitalists—who own their car and radio—as well as industrial capitalists—who own their factory. It is not that the poor are poorer under capitalism than under its predecessors, feudalism and socialism, but that the rich are richer. This fabulous system has done more, indeed, to alleviate poverty and diffuse wealth than any other system in history. SLATER: Then, Dr. Alexander, what do we need most to remember about our fabulous system? ALEXANDER: The most important point about private capitalism—especially today—is that under it all relationships are voluntary. A man may or may not accumulate capital stocks of goods for future investment. It rests with him. But under state capitalism a man is forced by law to accumulate capital stocks of goods to be paid out in taxes—not for his own future benefit but for the sake of some mythical social whole. Under private capitalism the owners control the accumulation of their tools, and the workers control their choice of their jobs. Under state capitalism the politicians control both. This very distinction is denial of the accusation that capitalism is, per se, monopolistic in character. State capitalism, or socialism, is monopolistic. Private capitalism is rooted and grounded in competition. SLATER: Then this thing called competition needs to be defined. ALEXANDER: Yes, Bill Slater, it certainly does. Competition means that a man makes his living by giving to his fellow man a product—goods or services—better and cheaper than that of his competitors. His fellow man is both judge and jury of his worth expressed in his product. Every capitalist, large and small, faces a continuous plebiscite of customers. Every sale is a vote for or against him. He is completely at the mercy of his fellow man—the customer. He is not at the mercy of the socialist state, beyond adherence to fair trade practices. SLATER: But what about the alleged brutality of competition? ALEXANDER: What about the brutality of monopoly? Come to think of it, what about the brutality of human nature? The socialist state is a total monopoly. It makes the competition of capitalism look like a piker. Competition is not cruel. It is just. But justice is often mistaken for cruelty—when the decision is unfavorable to the individual in question. Competition is a technique of production that has released human energy to the utmost—for the first time in history. Capitalism is the latest thing in economic fashions. Socialism is reversion toward the dark days of the tribal state wherein all are responsible for each—though it is being sold today as the new order. SLATER: Then you're for competition? ALEXANDER: Yes, Bill Slater, I am, decidedly. Because of the competitive aspect of capitalism, capitalism is the only possible basis for democracy. SLATER: Then would you say, Dr. Alexander, that freedom and private capitalism stand, or fall, together? ALEXANDER: Parliamentary democracy and private capitalism move together with the precision of parallel lines. In a democracy the people can have whom they want. Under capitalism they can have what they want. The powerful weapon of patronage is in the hands of the people. As voters they can reward or punish. As customers they can reward or punish. Thus a capitalist democracy is truly a PEOPLE'S STATE. It does not claim the absurdities of a utopia. It says honestly to its citizens: We give you a fighting chance. That is all anyone else has. Come along with all—in freedom. Shoulder your share of the burden we all must bear to support the social institution of Liberty, and its running mate, Responsibility. Freedom and democracy are not pledges of care and coddling. They give equal rights and equal chances to carry the responsibilities involved in a free society. Each is set on his own feet—and given leave to run. But he must take upon himself responsibility for the endurance and the swiftness of the race he runs. DR. RUTH ALEXANDER Columnist, New York Mirror, and Hearst Newspapers, Coast to Coast. Honored by Freedoms Foundation Figure What This Country Needs is a Thousand RUTH ALEXANDERS To Wake Up America! By nationwide demand Dr. Alexander has expanded her prize winning editorial WHAT THE STATE GIVES, THE STATE TAKES AWAY into a full length lecture. Another of her talks, WHICH WAY AMERICA was included in Representative American Speeches; 1948 - 1949, the classic reference book for schools of speech in all Universities. Dr. ALEXANDER is one of six women among 225 orators in the 12 volumes. A list of speaking engagements filled by Dr. ALEXANDER includes practically all the Town Halls, scores of business men's organizations and conventions, Universities and Colleges from Columbia University to the University of Hawaii, teachers conventions and women's clubs. A GREAT CONVENTION SPEAKER RECENT COMMENTS ON THIS DYNAMIC ADDRESS ... Dr. Alexander was superb. To say that we were delighted with her message is an understatement. The combination of scholarship and intense conviction in an address that is delivered with such charm and humor is rare indeed. We look forward to having Dr. Alexander again.—FINDLEY M. TORRENCE, Sec'y., Ohio Association of Retail Lumber Dealers. That speech is a corker. It is the best statement of our plight that I have ever seen.— FRANK E. GANNETT, Pres., Gannett Newspapers. Your constructive thought, forceful delivery, and inspiring presentation challenged the thinking of every member of your audience. Your message is one that is needed throughout the country.—PAUL S. COLLIER, Sec'y-Mngr., Northeastern Retail Lumbermen's Association. Perfectly marvelous ... A knockout.—JAMES S. KEMPER, Chairman, Mutual Insurance Co. Available as a Convention Speaker and for a Limited Number of Other Speaking Engagements For Details Write or Wire her Personal manager — FRanklin 2-5122 H. M. McFADDEN, 134 North La Salle Street, CHICAGO 2, ILL.
|Title||Dr. Ruth Alexander|
|Topical Subject (LCSH)||
|Personal Name Subject||Alexander, Ruth|
|Digital Collection||Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century|
|Contributing Institution||University of Iowa. Libraries. Special Collections Dept.|
|Archival Collection||Redpath Chautauqua Collection|
|Rights Management||Educational use only, no other permissions given. U.S. and international copyright laws may protect this digital image. Commercial use or distribution of the image is not permitted without prior permission of the copyright holder.|
|Contact Information||Contact the Special Collections Dept. at The University of Iowa Libraries: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/contact/index/|
|Number of Pages||5|
|Digitization Specifications||Scanned at 600 dpi, 32-bit color. Master image available in tiff format.|