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Problems of Humanity - Chapter III - The Problem of Capital, Labor and Employment
CHAPTER III

The Problem of Capital, Labor and Employment

In a unique sense we stand today at the dawn of an entirely new economic age. This is increasingly obvious to all thinking people. Because of the triumph of science - the release of the energy of the atom - the future of mankind and the type of the incoming civilization is unpredictable. The changes which are imminent are so far-reaching that it is apparent that the old economic values and the familiar standards of living are bound to pass away; no one knows what will take their place.

Conditions will be basically altered; along certain lines, such as the distribution of coal and oil for lighting, heating and transportation, is it not possible that in the future neither of these planetary resources will be required? These are two instances of the fundamental changes which the use of atomic energy may make in future civilized living.

Two major problems will grow out of this discovery - one immediate in nature and the other to be later developed. The first is that those whose large financial interests are bound up in products which the new type of energy will inevitably supersede will fight to the last ditch to prevent these new sources of wealth from benefiting others. Secondly, there will be the steadily growing problem of the release of man power from the grueling labor and the long hours today required in order to provide a living wage and the necessities of life. One is the problem of capital and the other is the problem of labor; one is the problem of established [67] control of the purely selfish interests which have for so long controlled the life of humanity and the other is the problem of leisure and its constructive use. One problem concerns civilization and its correct functioning in the new age and the other concerns culture and the employment of time along creative lines.

It is not useful here to prophesy the uses to which the most potent energy hitherto released for man's helping can or will be put. Its first constructive use was to end the war. Its future constructive use lies in the hands of science and should be controlled by the men of goodwill to be found in all nations. This energy must be safeguarded from monied interests; it must be turned definitely into the usages of peace and employed to implement a new and happier world. An entirely new field of investigation opens today before science and one which they have long wished to penetrate. In the hands of science, this new potency is far safer than in the hands of capital or of those who would exploit this discovery for the increase of their dividends. In the hands of the great democracies and of the Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian races, this discovery is safer than in other hands. It cannot however be kept in these hands indefinitely. Other nations and races are discovering this "secret of release" and the future security of humanity is, therefore, dependent upon two things:

  1. The steady and planned education of the people of every nation in right human relations and the cultivation of the spirit of goodwill. This will lead to a complete revolution of the present political regimes, which are largely nationalistic in their planning and selfish in their purposes. True democracy, at present only a dream, will be founded on education for goodwill.
  2. The education of the children of the future in the fact of human unity and the use of the world's resources for the good of all. [68]

Certain nations, because of their international character and the multiplicity of races which compose them, are normally more inclusive in their thinking and planning than are the others. They are more prone to think in term of humanity as a whole than are the others. Such nations are the United States, the British Commonwealth of Nations and the united Soviet Socialist Republics. Many nations and races constitute these three Great Powers - the central triangle at the heart of the coming new world. Hence their opportunity to guide mankind at this time and their innate responsibility to act as world leaders. Other races have no such inherent capacity. They are not, for instance, successful colonists and are more nationalistic and exploiting in their approach to "subject races". For the three Great Powers, the fusion of the many elements composing their nationals into a united whole has been a necessary conditioning impulse. The basic intention of the United States is the well-being of all within its national jurisdiction and the "pursuit of happiness" is a familiar citation of this intent; the fundamental principle governing British rule is justice for all; the underlying motive of the U.S.S.R. is right living conditions, opportunity for all and the general leveling of all separative classes into one thriving group of human beings. All these objectives are good and their application to the life of humanity will guarantee a happier and more peaceful world.

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