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Why I Fight - J.T.Lang

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From J. T. LANG ‘WHY I FIGHT?’ /A NATIONAL CHAPTER “Edward Filene’s treatise is called ‘Successful Living in this Machine Age;’ his thesis may best be summed up by the following short citation from his work: ‘The great opportunity for the masses of mankind to rise above the struggle f ...Read more


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From J. T. LANG ‘WHY I FIGHT?’ /A NATIONAL CHAPTER

“Edward Filene’s treatise is called ‘Successful Living in this Machine Age;’ his thesis may best be summed up by the following short citation from his work: ‘The great opportunity for the masses of mankind to rise above the struggle for existence and to partake of the life of which those artists and poets and preachers are for ever talking, lies in the extensions and perfection of mass production methods, and in an understanding of the truths upon which those methods are based; in other words, we have discovered the business necessity for high wages, low prices, a shorter workday, with more leisure, more money, and an ever higher standard of living for all.”

As private High Finance has proved itself both incompetent and unwilling to provide the opportunity outlined above, in the mistaken belief that it is thus protecting the interests of its shareholders—a decimal percentage of the population at most—Labor realises that only by the control of banking and credit, hitherto the close preserve of monopolistic vested interests, can the people secure conditions for successful living in Australia.

Filene’s definition of Mass Production should intrigue even the most bitter opponents of Labor in the Chamber of Manufactures and Employers’ Federation, causing them to pause perhaps before they file their next submission for a lower basic wage: “Mass Production is not simply large-scale production. It is large-scale production based upon a clear understanding that increased production demands increased buying, and that the greatest total profits can be obtained only if the masses can and do enjoy a higher and ever higher standard of living. For selfish business reasons, therefore, genuine mass production industries must make prices and lower, and wages higher and higher, while constantly shortening the workday, and bringing to the masses not only more money but more time in which to use and enjoy the ever-increasing volume of industrial products. Mass Production, therefore, is production for the masses. It changes the whole social order. It necessitates the abandonment of all class-thinking and the substitution of fact-finding for tradition, not only by business men, but by all who wish to live successfully in the Machine Age.

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