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Ford ideals : being a selection from Mr. Ford's page in The Dearborn Independent online

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FROM






MR. FORDS PAGE'




LIBRARY

UNIVt.RM f Y OK
CALK ORiMIA

SAN DIEGO



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375



FORD IDEALS



Being a Selection from

"Mr. Ford's Page"

in
THE DEARBORN INDEPENDENT



Published by

The Dearborn Publishing Company

Dearborn, Michigan
1922



Preface



FROM the first number of The Dearborn Independ-
ent under the presidency of Henry Ford, there has
been presented weekly a department entitled "Mr.
Ford's Page" in which it is sought to offer the ideas
of Mr. Ford upon various questions.

This page has enjoyed a very wide reading both at
home and abroad and has been frequently reproduced
in many languages and in many parts of the world.
Its soundness and substantiality, its dependence upon
the force of ideas rather than exuberance of statement,
no doubt account in large measure for the number
of friends it has made.

The present selection for preservation in a volume
has been occasioned by the demand of readers of The
Dearborn Independent not only for back copies of
certain numbers of "Mr. Ford's Page," but also the
very wide request for the "page" in book form. This
is the sole reason for the present volume's existence.
The selection has been made upon the principle of
popularity as expressed by our readers, and also upon
the principle of diversity, that the reader may have a
variety of subjects to consider. A glance at the table
of contents will indicate the wide range which the
discussions cover.

One characteristic of the page will be immediately
apparent to the reader, namely, that independence of
thought has not brought with it fantastic angles or
impossible counsels. It is not independence that makes
for unsoundness ; a lack of independence is the fruit-
ful cause of unsoundness because it seeks to square
life with what is wrong to begin with. Independence
is always giving life a chance to get upon a right basis.
It is a constant renewal, a constant liberation from the
human tendency to warpcdness. Common sense is
the most dynamic and independent force on the planet.

The question has often been asked what part Mr.
Ford personally takes in the preparation of "Mr.



PREFACE

Ford's Page." Every essential part. He supplies the
ideas. Very often he supplies the words in which his
ideas are set forth. He does not manipulate the type-
writer nor does he occupy himself with the detail of
seeing the copy through the press, but the entire in-
spiration, the point of view, the resistless analysis, the
ripeness of judgment, are his. Without him there
would be no "Mr. Ford's Page."

This volume is sent out in the confidence that it
represents a fair selection of the material that has
appeared up to this time.

February, 1922.



Opposite Views And Both Right ! 9

"No Help Wanted" An Untrue Sign 13

Managers Must Share the Blame 17

On Taking Sides 21

Wrong Ripens and Rots a Fact Worth Considering 25

Poisons That Creep Into Industry 29

Be Very Careful of Success 33

Who Is the Real "Owner"? 37

"Swelled Head" in Business 41
Regarding Charity, Welfare Work and O.her Matters 45

Where High Wages Begin 49

The Army Is Never "Laid Off" 55

Prevention Is Better Than Sympathy 61

Success Plays Xo Favorites 67

Personal Relations Their Importance for Life 74

Cultivate Your Own Market 81

"Labor and Capital" Are False Terms 87

The Right of a Man to His Work 94

The Fear of Change 99

How Much Domestic Trouble Is Preventable? 106

Farming the Food-Raising Industry 113

"A Few Strong Instincts and a Few Plain Rules" 119

The Farmer Nature's Partner 124

Limitations Are Guide Posts, Not Barriers 129

All Men Are Created Needful 134

Can You Make Your Job Bigger? 139

A Nation of Pioneer Blood 144

Human Nature and the Social System 149

The Modern City A Pestiferous Growth 154

Catching the Boss's Kye 159

Patriotism an Inclusive Emotion 164

False "Success Philosophy" 169

Competition and Co-operation 174

Land Is the Basic Fact 179

Ideals Versus Ideas 184

What Is Fducation Cargo or Motive Power? 189

When in Doubt Raise Wages! 194

Humanity Is Our Basic Wealth 1<>9

Managers and Men Are Partners 204

New Paths to Fame 20''

Let Fvery Man Think for Himself 214

I'niversal Training Yes. for Usefulness 21 l )

Strike Profiteers Are the Cau-e <if Strikes 224

Unrest Is \i>t Disorder 22')
F.mpKiyment Is Greater Than "Fmployer" or "F.mplove" 234



CONTENTS

Profit and Cost in a Day's Work 239

Who Is the Producer? 244

All Are Members of the Consuming Class 249

Every Man Needs Elbow Room 253

The Need of Social Blueprints 257

Party Politics 261

Honest and Dishonest Propaganda 265

Grow Along With the Business 269

Revolutions Not Promoters of Progress 273

The Obstructionist 277

Would the Farmers Strike? 281

Who Is Their Boss? 285

The American Shop 289

The Small Town 293

Man's Laws and Nature's Law 297

The Fact Shortage 301

Should Married Women Work? 305

The Story of Jones 309
What It Costs for War

Paying for Greed's Mistakes 317

Administration Versus Government 321

Loyalty Has Two Sides 325

What Shall Prevent War? 329

The County Fair 333

The Old Ways Were Good 337

It Is Imperfect But It Works 341

A New Year 345

How It Will Be Solved 349

Lining Up on Your Own Side 353

Change Is Not Always Progress 357

In Bondage to a Reputation 361

Depression, First Step Back to Normalcy 365

Flattery Used as Bribery 369

Inflated Prosperity the Real "Bad Times" 373

Choosing and Being Chosen 377

Can You Stand Friction? 381

If You're Settled You're Sagging 385

When Not to Borrow Money 389

Tariff Taxes Transportation 393

Illusions Are Not Faith 397

What Makes Immigration a "Problem"? 401

The Three Foundation Arts 405

A Few Remarks on Education 409

Common Life Is Standard and Best 413

Discouraging People From Thinking 417

Getting Rid of Fear and Failure 421

The Exodus From the Cities 425

Use Is Better Than Economy 429

Interest Robbery in Bonus Loan 433

On Being Fit for the New Era 437

Much Nonsense in Titles 441

Developing Talent in a Small Community 445

Parties Are Born, Not Made 449



Opposite Views And
Both Right!

MOST of the things which people say they see, are
actually seen. There is no imagination about it.
The pessimist who sees things going to pieces, is not
deluded; he is correctly reporting what he actually
sees. The optimist who sees things soaring up to the
height of perfection is an equally good reporter he
is not fooling us or himself he sees what he says
he sees.

But the trouble is, too many people are doing all
their seeing within too narrow limits, and while their
reports of what they see are true, they are not com-
prehensive. There is nothing more likely to be mis-
leading than a field of vision so narrow as to leave out
part of the points. It is like seeing the elephant so
limitedly as to report only his tail or tusks. The
animal appears quite differently in a comprehensive
view.

Now, all this has an important application to
the state of mind in which many people find themselves
today. There are perhaps more minds focused on
economic problems than ever before, more people
thinking, or perhaps it is more truthful to say they
are wondering, about the conditions which have be-
fallen human affairs.

Tt is probably true that though we arc all looking
and wondering, we do not sec very much as yet ; but
it is still a mighty fact that the minds of the people
are focused on their affairs. Formerly we left it all
to the government or destiny ; but now the govern-
ments have failed us, and destiny is not a thing to take
without co-operation. And there is a million-fold
more chance of seeing when we arc looking than when
we are not. That is the attitude of people today ; they
are looking, and presently they will see.

Some people see certain things going to pieces.



FORD IDEALS

They see correctly. Certain established customs,
methods, processes, institutions, traditions we have
been accustomed to lean upon, are undoubtedly going
to pieces, and they are going to pieces irrecoverably
too.

It is that last element the irrecoverability that
strikes fear to many people. They thought that "nor-
malcy" meant the recovery of the old things, the re-
establishment of the old way, the restoration of the
old habitual leaning-posts. Most people thought of
"normalcy" in that way as yesterday come back.
But yesterday is not coming back.

The old world is dead, dead, dead. It is beyond
recovery. God himself will not restore it, and Satan
cannot.

That is the a b c of the new alphabet, namely, the
old world is dead. Not dying, but dead. The things
you see going to pieces are its funeral, its decay.

If people would only learn this a b c, it would
save them from a great deal of confusion.

But the point is this : those who say that everything
they see is going to pieces, are telling the truth, because
their eves ore focused on the things u'hich belonged
to the old era. The old era is dead, and is being
buried bit by bit. Every day another fragment of
it falls into dust.

Now, if that is all that you see and it will be all
that you see if it is all that you look for no wonder
you have the feeling that everything is going to pieces.

But if you turn around and see what is coming
swiftly up behind your back, as you gaze apprehen-
sively into the past, you will get the other half of the
field of vision : you will see the things that are to be.

Perhaps you have seen the oak take color in com-
pany with other trees in the autumn. Then came the
rains, and the other trees let go their leaves ; not so
the oak, only a few did he let fall. Then came the
winds, and the branches of the other trees were left
ragged; but the oak held most of his leafage. Then
came the frost, and all the trees were stripped clean
and bare of leaves; but the oak leaves shriveled a bit
and took on the tone of old Cordovan leather, but for
the most part clung to the parent boughs. They are



OPPOSITK VIEWS AND BOTH RIGHT !

a cheering sight in winter, those shriveled leaves that
defied the frosts of autumn ; they are a cheering sight
as they defy the winter's snow and blast. Then win-
ter begins to wane, and spring is a promise in the
air, and green things begin to appear, but still the oak
holds tenaciously to last year's foliage. A little later
and the leaves begin to f all in spring. If you had
not looked around upon the earth to see what else
was transpiring there, if you did not know what com-
pensating work was being done, you might well think-
that at last every leaf in the world was about to go.

But this is the fact : the leaves that stayed longest,
that we had learned to associate with stability those
are the leaves that fall before the new leaves appear.

In the social order, is it not our seemingly most
strongly established things that are beginning to
nutter down? Are not the most solidly essential
services the ones that are now most under doom?
Certainly, as anyone who focuses his vision only on
the passing things will tell you. It is the collapse of
the most dominant methods and institutions that alarms
most people. Well, it need not alarm anyone. When
the leaves of the strongest tree fall, spring is here.
If you will widen your field of vision you will soon
see other things springing up to take the place of that
which is passing.

So, you have a choice. You can sit and look at the
fading out of all that made the old "normalcy" and
you can wail about calamity to come ; or you can stand
up and watch the new era come in, looking for your
place in its ranks. If you do the latter, you will see
an entirely different state of facts. It will not be
imagination, or mental suggestion, or this foolish
mysticism of pretending things are all right whether
they are or not; it \vill be fact the thing is true, the
new era IS here.

A business man in a small town said it all very
well the other day. Said he: "I just try to accustom
myself to the thought that 1 have waked up in a new
world. I don't know just what kind of world it is
going to be. but 1 know it is my duty to keep on the
watch to find out so that I may be readv for it. I
know there is going to be a new wav of salesmanship.



FORD IDEALS

and I am trying to find out what it is. I know I shall
have to keep wider awake, and I am trying to find
out on what lines. I am in a new world and I have
got to learn about it all over again. The only things
that have carried across from the old world into the
new are Service and Honesty but you can drop the
'Honesty' and save time, for when you say 'Service'
you say it all."

That is the attitude ! That man was awake to the
fact that the new era is here ; he wanted to be alert in
all his senses when it tried to teach him something. He
says he hasn't learned much yet, but he has learned the
basic thing without which he could not learn any-
thing at all he has learned that the world is new.
If that plain fact could be dinned into people's heads
and hearts, so that even without understanding it com-
pletely, it could become the time-beat of their thinking,
a great deal would have been accomplished.

Certainly many things are going to pieces. They
ought to ! And if you look at them long enough you
may get the impression that everything is going to
pieces. You should turn around and look the other
way, and see the New Era marching up the side of
the hill. Then you will see that although the ruin of
all our own stupid, inefficient, unjust and unproductive
methods is unavoidable and good, the real cause of
their disappearance is the New Way which is pushing
them out.

While you are looking, be sure and see it all.



'No Help Wanted"
An Untrue Sign



THERE are good signs and bad signs, but the most
unwelcome and untruthful sign of all is that which
sometimes hangs in the windows of business places
"No Help Wanted." Or, perhaps, it is not untruthful ;
perhaps it is stating the exact truth, in which case it
is much worse. It is one of those straws which in-
dicate a certain mental current which, followed far
enough, tips the voyager over destructive falls and
into roaring abysses.

Regard the world from the point of view of the
"No Help Wanted" sign and you get a few instructive
glimpses for both employers and employes.

Is it not plain fact that in periods when the "No
Help Wanted" sign is most frequently displayed, that
is just the time when the most "Help Wanted" con-
ditions appear? It is rather strange, but it is true-
help is never so much needed as when the signs state
that it is not wanted.

What does the man looking for a job want?
he wants help. It is true, of course, to a certain ex-
tent, that he wants to give help also, but things have
become so turned around in this world that it will be
generally agreed by everybody that a man seeking a
job is seeking help. He is willing to pay for the help
with the service lie can render, but the main object
is to get the help he needs.

Now, in these times, when in so many places the
"No Help -Wanted" signs are seen, when the pressure
of a mismanaged world has dislocated all normal in-
dustrial operations, just what does that sign mean?
Does it really mean that no help is wanted? Does it
mean that no help is needed? Is there anv railroad
today that can hang out the "Xo Help Wanted" sign
and really intend the deepest significance of that state-
ment ? Is there anv government that can sav "No



FORD IDEALS



Help Wanted"? Is there any condition whatever on
the earth today that justifies that sign?

Every one of these is in the direst need of help.

The "No Help Wanted" sign is a limited state-
ment addressed only to the job seeker, and to him it
does not mean "No Help Wanted" at all ; it means
"We Have No Help To Give You."

If you would just abbreviate the sign to read "No
Help," as a general description of the slough in which
the world finds itself ; and then if you would put up
another sign "Have You Any Help to Offer?" as a
general description of the need of the world, you
would go far toward providing honesty in signs.

"Help Wanted" will always be the normal condi-
tion of a world of progressive beings, but the dif-
ference between that normal condition and the pres-
ent would be the fact that the needed help would
normally be obtainable. Everything seems to need
help now, but it is not obtainable.

There is doubtless a feeling of resentment in some
breasts when you say that the man looking for a job
is really looking for help. In recent years we have
been reared on a feeling that we have certain "rights"
which we ought to "demand." Yes, we have rights,
but "demanding" doesn't procure them. Our very
rights are given us by the help of others. One of
our rights is security of life and liberty never having
lived in a society where men are not sure of either of
these, we do not vividly appreciate these rights. But
we could not enjoy them were it not for the help of
others in preserving them for us.

The same way with security of property. Some
people sneer at that, too. Well, they wouldn't sneer
at it if they knew what the absence of it would mean.
Demagogues talked a long time about "putting prop-
erty rights above human rights," but it is very notice-
able that in Russia when they abolished property
rights, they abolished human rights also. When you
do not respect the things that a man has gathered
around him by his own labor for the use of his family,
you don't respect his right to life.- Robbery (a prop-
erty crime) and murder (a crime against life) go to-
gether, whether in the criminal records of our cities,



"xo HELP WANTED" AN UNTUUE SIGN

or in the "social revolutions" overseas. There is a
vital link between property and life, just as there is
between bread and life : bread is property ; and tho
right to bread is property, also.

So, we all have to have help, even in the most nor-
mal times. When the business concern places the
sign "Help Wanted" in its doorway, meaning that it
needs more employes, it is seeking help just the same
as the man who is looking for a job. The employer
confesses that he cannot live without help, and the
employe confesses the same thing; it is true of all of
us. We had better recognize it and cease our profit-
less flirting with fine-sounding fallacies which have
collapsed wherever and whenever the slightest pres-
sure of testing has been put on them.

The so-called government of Russia proclaimed
all the rights, real and imaginary, in the category of
wild anarchy. It has failed even to procure the right
of enough to eat. It was quite natural that Sovietism
should be a political failure as at present operated,
but why could not the Soviets raise wheat ? All that
Russia needed was bread. But even the simple laws
of seedtime and harvest were ignored by the so-called
"makers of the new world." Men who cannot feed
themselves are thereby dethroned from the place of
leadership.

We need "direct action" of a constructive sort.
The thing needed now is not theory, but something
that moves.

Suppose you are a man out of a job. You see a
shop which says "Xo Help Wanted" and you know,
of course, that the sign means that the shop needs
help before it can give any. Have you an idea that
will start another wheel turning? Have you any
help to give that shop? C'an you open any channel
for the outflow of its product? Can you serve as an
ignition point in its organization?

The man in the front office is tied in a knot by
business conditions can you untie him and set him
going again? lie is smothered in his mvn habit of
doing things can you show him a way to shake
loose and get into action again ?

The man who brings help with him is always wel-



FORD IDEALS

come.. The world wants help. It needs it. It will
reward the man who brings it whether to a little
broom-shop in the alley, or the biggest business in
the world.

If you can set the smallest business going, you
have done something at which the biggest men often
fail.

One point to consider is this : help differs with
the need. A year or two ago the world asked only
the kind of help which anybody could give, the help
of energy and labor to keep it moving in the way it
was then going. The kind of help then- asked was
virtually as easy as pushing business down hill.

But conditions have changed. Business arrived at
the foot of the hill in due time. And now it needs a
different kind of help.

There are, of course, thousands of theories, mil-
lions of ideas. But what counts now is help to get up
hill again. As a matter of fact, the world is through
with theories. The world has starved on the best
theories ever devised. What it asks is an object les-
son in something actually going. If a man can start
even a wheel-barrow, or dirt cart, he will take rank
among the people whom the world is waiting for, the
helpers that the world must have.

If a man can start himself going, even ; if he can
swing out of his rut and so organize his efforts to
start going and keep going at something which sup-
ports himself and renders an equivalent to others, he
has shown himself to be of the quality of world-
helpers.

Great hosts are out asking for help. If they could
start things for themselves by doing needed things
they never thought of before, it would send such an
impulse of energetic self-reliance through society, that
the tide would turn ; for the tide is turnable.



Managers Must Share the
Blame



THE government will not be in a position to ad-
vocate economy and efficiency in private business
until it has demonstrated these qualities in public
business. And the government will scarcely demon-
strate these qualities until it gets the idea that economy
is more than the cut-off of expenditure. Economy
has frequently nothing whatever to do with the amount
of money being spent, but with the wisdom used in
spending it. The expensiveness of government is due
to its inefficiency, and that cannot be cured by "saving
money." It can only be done by reorganization. And,
as reorganization frequently means the cutting out of
useless jobs, it is easy to understand how, in politics,
very little of it is undertaken.

Cutting out jobs has an inhuman sound and it can
be used with immense effect in rousing the prejudices
of thoughtless people. If formerly it required ten men
to do a piece of work, and a reorganization of ef-
ficiency enabled that same work to be done by nine
men, resulting in a decrease of one-tenth in the cost
to the public, there is danger of the habitual howlers
setting up a cry :

"Yes, but what about the tenth man who lost his
job? And what about the other nine men who must
work harder to make up the tenth man's work?"

The answers are, of course, quite simple and easily
understood by anyone who will use his mind.

In the first place, the fact that the work is now
being done by nine- men does not imply that the tenth
man is unemployed, lie is merely not employed on
that work, and the public is not unnecessarily carrying
the burden of his support by paving more than it ought
on that work tor after all, it is the public that pays!

An industrial concern that is wide enough awake
to reorganize for efficiency, and honest enough with



17



FORD IDEALS

the public to charge it necessary costs and no more, is
usually such an enterprising concern that it has plenty
of jobs at which to employ the tenth man. It is bound
to grow, and growth means more jobs. A well-man-
aged concern that is always seeking to relieve the labor
cost to the public is certain to employ more men than
the concern that loafs along and makes the public pay
the cost of its mismanagement.

That, then, is a point worth remembering ; the
tenth man was an unnecessary cost on that certain
commodity. The ultimate consumer was paying him.
But, the fact that he was unnecessary on that par-
ticular job does not mean that he is unnecessary in
the w^ork of the world, or even in the work of his
particular shop. It is a matter of seeing that produc-
tion costs no more than it should, and that the public
is not loaded with costs which good management can
avoid.

The public pays for all mismanagement. More
than half the trouble with the world today is the
"soldiering" and dilution and cheapness and ineffi-
ciency for which the people are paying their good
money. Wherever two men are being paid for what
one can do. the people are paying double what they
ought.

This should be understood. There is a feeling
that employers use efficiency to increase their personal
profits. The surplus of an industrial enterprise is



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