down in order to raise up the poor. The
lop 5 per cent of the population, from
the standpoint of income, used to get
a highly disproportionate share of the
total national income. In the period
between the two world wars, this 5 per
cent got about 28 per cent of the total
national income, even after taxes. In
recent years, they have been getting only
17 per cent of it after taxes. But most
of the formerly rich are still very well
ofr indeed. They are simply getting a
smaller slice of a much bigger pie.
FATTER SLICE OF BIGGER PIE
Meanwhile, great numbers of the
American people — factory workers,
farmers, office workers, engineers, doc-
:ourse, abolish! tors—are actually getting a much fatter
1 American if" slice of this bigger pie. They are the
ling out a mi5" chief beneficiaries of today's social
IMC ill li .11
till neelected »'
reading of "j
gleet cil ;
ically or ment
;red a bad run
I here are many things worse than
high taxes, as anyone who remembers
the great depression will agree.2
(tin- massive social revolution, which
lias spread prosperity to all, did not
come about through redistributing a
, , ^ I static amount of income. The redistribu-
in the percental tio" has been dynamic —that is, it has
W II Tod*! orea|ed infinitely more production while
■gt making an infinitely wider distribution.
The fabulously rich are still fabulously rich. They are not getting less
than they used to get, but the ratio is
ill different because millions of others are
bef°* "ow petting more.
In other words, the graduated income
who are really1 tax; the influence of the labor unions;
neasures and " "le progressive economic and social
I did not exis' legislation of the federal and state
the outdated i •'! governments; and the new attitude of
the great corporations themselves- have
extent the cha*! helped to level off America's economic
expense of th*| an^ social terrain, not by mashing the
the status of ^ l>ealts down, but by bringing the valleys
that the AmerK*
not an averal
it is not accurj
have been pu
—Wide World '
We have opened up for American
industry a mu frontier the purchasing
power of the formerly poor.
Il is true that fewer Americans today
work for themselves than formerly.
Nearly half of all gainfully employed
Americans are on the payroll of a
corporation. If we leave farmers out of
our reckoning, the proportion is even
larger. Hut this doesn't mean what it
would have meant a generation ago, for
the very nature of the corporation itself
During the old days the "capitalists"
(the people who had the money to start
'"'l"'i'ations and to provide them with
the cash they needed for their opera-
ions) controlled business. This is still
rue today of most small, young businesses; but it is scarcely true of the
mature, large corporations which set
the pace for American business.
The corporation manager of today
FACTS FORUM NEWS, January, 1955
—Wide World Photos
both farmers and labor are protected by what amounts to a floor under
In the U.S.
has to be adept in dealing with the
government, with labor, with his consumers, and with the power that lies
behind all of these — public opinion.
And he must be able to work with professional men, for business is becoming increasingly professionalized.
COMPANIES NOW SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS
The great corporation of today is a
social institution which plays a much
more comprehensive part in its employees' lives than it used to. Today's
company in general thinks of itself not
merely as a money-making enterprise—
though it must of course make money—
bill as a social institution, too.
It would be inaccurate to say that the
corporations of today are more virtuous
than those of old. But we can say that
the important ones have to act more
virtuously than before—or at least to
act with a fuller sense of the value of
a good reputation with their employees,
their stockholders, their consumers,
their governmental investigators, and
the general public. They have found
that good business depends at least partly
upon good deeds. Most of their executives—especially the younger ones—are
acutely conscious that business lost the
favor of the public during the 1930's
largely because of the mulishness of the
business moguls of that time. America's
leading business executives behave quite
differently today. They are deeply conscious of their public responsibility.
The old Socialist idea was that
corporations were soulless and government officials were public servants.
Nowadays our corporations are showing
that they, too, can act like public servants. They not only can — they must.
It is obvious to all that this is an
era of big government — of almost
irresistibly expanding government. Even
before Korea, the federal government
was spending almost eighty times as
much money, per year, as in 1900. It
was actually spending, in a single year,
an amount of money bigger than the
whole national debt during the 1930's.
Most of the colossal increase is of course
due to military spending; but even the
nonmilitary spending has been going
up by leaps and bounds.
Won't everything start collapsing
when defense spending declines substantially?
The answer is no. Our economy has
been equipped with a number of stabilizer-. Some of these stabilizers are even
now at work. Others will come into play
as the economy shows signs of weaken-