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showed farmers how to raise corn. He "made Iowa corn and Iowa hogs; agriculturally he made Iowa. Iowa tried to make him Governor, but quite contentedly he went on preaching evangelically the divine. practicality of corn and hogs.
He received a telegram from Cyrus H. McCormick one day. He had read of more than one corporation partly bad, therefore wholly bad; he suspected one corporation bad meant all corporations were bad; he had grown prejudiced by the tyranny of what he saw taken as a type, and he was very, very far from seeing that the normal good corporation is the right hand of national plenty, the only promise of industrial peace.
He thought he knew big business men. He thought the big business men in the International Harvester Company wanted to make use of his reputation. He got another telegram. He found himself in Chicago one day, and by way of adventure emboldened himself to face the sturdy, brown-eyed President of the International Harvester Company, a trust, just indicted, previous to election time, for conspiracy in restraint of trade.
"I can do a lot more for the farmer than to sell him farm machinery," he countered.
"We don't want you to sell farm machinery," the President fired back at him; 66 we have men who can do that."
The shrewd, blue-eyed, bearded little pedagogue says he wondered what in the world the sturdy corporation head did want. They exchanged views. After a day together they abruptly discovered that they had the same views. They agreed. They shook hands. The professor got enthusiastic while the President went on:
"If you live in a farm community, Holden,' he said, "you expect to help a little in that community, don't you? You want to help build schools and roads and help things along all you can, don't you? You wouldn't be a good citizen if you didn't. Now a corporation has responsibilities just as great as those of a citizen, probably greater. If a corporation does business in a community, I can't understand why it shouldn't help that com
"But my hopes," said Professor Holden, "my ambitions, are with Iowa, my native State. I want to do for Iowa."
"We want you to do for Iowa all that you hoped to do, and more. We want you to extend the boundaries of Iowa and do as much for the whole Nation, and then Canada."
Professor Holden hardly believed what he heard. He had begun to see that his State would not help him do all he hoped to do, and here was a corporation asking him to do infinitely more, not only in his State, but in all the States. He had suspected that all this corporation had been doing for years in the way of educative work had been for advertising purposes; he believed that its lecture courses and its co-operation with schools, colleges, States and nations had been mostly selfish. Now, he confessed quite. frankly to himself, either his estimate of corporations, and notably of this corporation, was direfully wrong or he was being deceived.
He scrutinized the man before
"I believe that a corporation is a public servant, intended for service and not primarily for personal and selfish money-getting," Mr. McCormick went on earnestly. do not want to make this the biggest corporation in America, Professor Holden, but we do hope to make it one of the best."
Professor Holden listened to the full, even sentences that carried so much of significance to America in them.
"We are not looking to the immediate dollar. It is true your work with us may benefit the farming world, and so benefit us eventually, but your work will also benefit the man who is buying machines of our competitors, and benefit the man who buys no machines whatever. We recog
nize the existence of a condition in this country that must be changed. We see a way, through you, of carrying valuable lessons to the farming world. We are part of that farming world. As we make our machines more efficient and more durable, the farmer is benefited; as we effect economies such as those that have enabled us to keep the price of farm machinery down while everything else has gone up, the farmer again is benefited; and so, too, as the farmer grows more efficient and more prosperous, as more acres are brought within the domain of cultivation,
THE "BIG BUSINESS"
MAN AS A SOCIAL WORKER
and more scientific knowledge is applied to the farm, we are benefited. The revolution in harvesting the wheat of the world which was inaugurated by the senior McCormick and Deering has about reached the apex of its possibility. There must be a new revolution in farming, which we have long recognized, and in which we want to lead, for the mutual benefit of all."
Professor Holden considered. "How much help can I have?"
"Enough to start an alfalfa train; you can come back for more."
Professor Holden started his alfalfa train. He took soil-booming, land-booming, nationbooming alfalfa-the crop that requires no new farm tools-to the farmers of a halfdozen States. His advance agent or the county agent for the State--got the farmers together to co-operate in caring for the train, in furnishing autos to it, and furnishing meals. Professor Holden, the apostle of the farm, with his corps of experts, then came whizzing to meetings in fields, in back yards, front yards, at farm granges, in school-houses, churches, wherever a few score men could be got together. He talks in the vernacular; he speaks ever in terms of the person who listens; that is why he is a great teacher. He showed how to test soil, to doctor it, to raise alfalfa on it. He preached the joy of production so infectiously, he stimulated farmers to educate themselves so successfully, that, like classmates who have learned together, they were usually found co-operating when the follow-up man came along.
The train last year did a lot for a quarter of a million farmers in a half hundred counties in the Middle West, and now there are seven trains.
These seven trains have worked thoroughly-North, South, West-in States all the way from Montana to Mississippi. In Mississippi, to illustrate, in co-operation with the National Department of Agriculture, a railway, a college, business clubs, and business boards of trade, Mr. McCormick's emissaries traveled 900 miles by rail, 4,500 miles by auto, conducted 249 meetings, reached 17,579 persons with a new gospel of diversified farming to supplant the one-crop, poverty-bringing custom of the South.
It is all very well to say that this work constitutes good advertising calculated to influence United States judges and the general public. It wouldn't make much differ
ence if it were so. But the writer, who is journalist enough to have predilections for nothing except the common welfare, after an accidental trip with the alfalfa train last year, after observing that perhaps half the farmers instructed believed that it was the Government and not the International that was helping them, doubts, even with the Government suit against the company hanging fire, that the motive in Mr. McCormick's admirable work is the gaining of advertising. Business men very often practice what they preach, and few of them deceive and stand cross-examination in the outer office and draw issues between welfare work and dividends in the inside office. If the company has been after advertising, it has done a poor bit of work and got small return for a million dollars or two.
The alfalfa train is selected, in fact, as an example illustrative of much and symptomatic of much more. It shows what a great corporation can do if it will or if it must. shows that as soon as a corporation with normal stock, normal dividends, and careful management has fought its way out of the competitive battlefield it can afford to make the National interests its own interests. shows how great its social and industrial service can be, and it points to what havoc can be wrought to a vital industrial potentiality by disclaimers who shy their castors into the political ring or skate too carelessly over the surface of industrial things.
Holden, the patriotic Socialist, wants cheaper food, therefore more food, and inevitably more farm machinery, to make the United States the first agricultural nation in the world. That is precisely what Mr. McCormick wants. What patriot can want anything less? And what person can hope, even when the millennium has been passed a half-dozen miles, that industry in America can be dissociated from nationalism, or that social welfare can be dissociated from industry? Hope lies rather in social and industrial aims being synonymous.
There are evidences of the spirit of Mr. McCormick other than the alfalfa train and the educative lecture and bulletin courses the Harvester Company has been spending a great deal to give through the past years. It happens that Government examiners and other social investigators find conditions in the twenty Harvester plants admirable, and the worker everywhere in them a worker reckoned worthy of more than his hire.
They find twenty superintendents made absolutely responsible for the welfare of forty thousand employees. They find that before there was even agitation for minimum wage laws the company had established its own law. It established also, before any State compensation statute, its own compensation laws. And six years ago it established a pension system without kicking out all its old employees preparatory to doing so ; and every year since then it has subscribed fifty thousand dollars to help develop a mutual benefit association to which three-fourths of the forty thousand employees now belong. There are other manifestations, even in the four plants abroad, it is said, of a healthy cooperative spirit that finds expression in safety, sanitation, provisions for the Americanization of foreigners, the education of grade school apprentices, for medical inspection and treatment of every one, for tuberculosis work that has brought, in the Chicago plants at least, the consumptive rate in this, a not too healthy industry, down below that of the surrounding community. The Harvester Company, in short, is a social institution a great deal more in consonance with American spirit than an organized charity society, necessary though such society is till the State and corporation and partnership each prevent its quota of poverty and incapacitation as well, or even a little better, than the International. It is indeed a sort of settlement house in its neighborhood, and its neighborhood is its factories, wherever its workers live. In clubhouses and elsewhere it recreates. It anticipates social legislation, experiments in it, educates.
Mr. McCormick grows enthusiastic as soon as welfare work is mentioned. "Welfare work is an unfortunate name," he repeats. "It suggests charity, but wherever you find it mixed with charity you find it resulting in failure. No American wants charity."
"You are doing welfare work, then," one observes, casually," to placate labor-"
Mr. McCormick glared over his silverrimmed glasses. He ran his chair forward on its casters, caught his hands hard on the edge of his table, then worked them farther and farther across its glass top, till he rose.
"We have done nothing to placate labor," he said, decisively. "We have no trouble with labor. We built up our welfare work at first because, as I said, it is right to do so. We did not even know then that it increased the efficiency of the worker."
"And yet you have machines that cripple-"
He went on so earnestly that there remained little room for doubt: "We do not contract for a machine without stipulating that it be made as safe as possible before it leaves its factory. It is only natural for us to want our machines absolutely safe, because we hold ourselves responsible not only for the safety of our employees but for their general health, which is a much broader problem."
"But suppose that one of your machines, a patent for which you hold, a valuable machine, persisted in injuring men."
He listened attentively.
Suppose that you do your utmost to make this machine safe, and yet it goes on injuring men. You realize that the supremacy of your company in a certain field rests on your using this machine. That fact would make the machine very valuable industrially, wouldn't it?"
"Yes, it would," he assented.
"But the machine goes on nipping off right arms, and you can't make it safe.”
"That machine would go out of the works," he burst in, so conclusively that one abruptly remembers hearing that he drew the issue clearly in a directors' meeting-welfare work or dividends-and won a reduction in dividends before the meeting was done.
"But suppose," he was asked, "you had a whole factory of such machines, then logically the whole factory would go?"
"There can be no dispute if the question is merely humanity versus industrial supremacy," he said, evenly. "To supply the needs of man, miners go down into mines and lose their lives, and they are heroes, and fishermen go out in dories, and engineers send locomotives coursing down steel rails and kill. But beyond the necessary requirements of man no employer is justified in maintaining any machine, or any factory, that kills. There can be no issue between the death of one man and the use of a machine so long as the only motive in the keeping of that machine is the gaining of industrial supremacy."
He shoved his chair back, rose to his feet, sauntered to the window.
"You said that welfare work increases efficiency-it pays?"
He turned about. "Yes, it increases efficiency;
it pays. It pays because it increases
the sense of co-operation."
He lingered on the word "co-operation." He has caught the real spirit of that word
THE "BIG BUSINESS" MAN AS A SOCIAL WORKER
one can, to pander to public opinion, and when legislation and the unions and patriotic agitators jack pay up then to hold to universal encouragement of every institution that enhances large families, that fosters amusements, the saloons, every expenditure that can help keep the worker mercilessly at toil. There are corporation despots who have been feudal despots calmly watching the labor volcano seethe. Though prices go low or high, though feudal lord be textile king or street-car potentate, feudal business warfare has to go. Mr. McCormick has progressed from the field of feudal business; he and his men are well on the way to the "something new."
"You say the big unit," he is asked, "the unit growing bigger and bigger, is inevitable?"
He nodded. Yes," he said, decisively. "You say that welfare work helps co-operation, co-operation helps efficiency, and the one rule of business is the rule of efficiency?" He caught in enthusiastically. "Your diagnosis is excellent," he exclaimed. "We are going forward to something There is tremendous promise in the growing sense of co-operation everywhere. There is something new
"Is, I believe, mutuality--absolute business mutuality."
He smiled, went back to his desk.