Monday, May 11, 2015

The Lost Speech of Peter S. Grosscup, VI: People-izing the Corporation


The first principle of economic justice as defined by Kelso and Adler and refined by CESJ is participation.  The institutions of the common good must be open to participation by everyone.  That is why the principle of participation — participative justice — leads off the three principles of economic justice.  After all, if the system isn’t working the same (or nearly the same within reasonable parameters) for everyone, it really cannot be said to be a just system.

What will happen without "Five for the Family"
That is one reason why the “Five for the Family” campaign is so important.  In order to implement and maintain participation for everyone, our leaders first have to know about it.  Only then can we make the necessary changes in the system so that it works for the benefit of everyone.  That’s why Grosscup said that —

The Corporation Should Be an Institution of the People

Judge Grosscup
What government is to mankind politically organized I have already said the corporation, as an intermediary is to industry organized. It is the pride of free institutions that they have diffused among the people the political power of the mass. But that is not the secret of successful free government. The secret of the success of free government is, that by opening to the people the door to power they have awakened a universal instinct among men, and have created the capacity to successfully exercise that instinct; so much so that it can be safely said that the successful government of the people, by the people, for the people, is not the product so much of the institution itself as of the opportunity that the institution opens up. And what can be done with the political instincts of mankind can be done with any instinct deeply imbedded in human nature.

"All men (and the rest of you guys) are created equal."
It is for the reconstructed corporation, then, as an effective, trustworthy medium through which to work out one of the deepest and most insistent of human instincts, that I plead. I hold it up, it is true, as the ultimate fundamental solution of the merely economic problem of competition. But it is not an economic cause solely that I plead. It is a human cause. In the day when the conscience of this country went under the leadership of Lincoln the supreme human inquiry was, shall there be put into course of ultimate extinction the system whereby men were not permitted to eat the bread earned in the sweat of their own brows. It was a mighty moral and political inquiry. In our day that inquiry is settled. There is now no cloud upon the brow, no shackle upon the arm of any American anywhere. Before the law they all stand equal. But the same great movement in the affairs of men that has carried that great question into the western horizon has brought up over the eastern horizon this other great truth, written almost as long ago and by the same great hand, that it is not by bread alone that men live. And the question I put to you now in closing is, will you not, in declaring in favor of amendments of the Sherman Act that will put that act in accord with the economic necessity of the times, declare also in favor of such thoroughgoing reconstruction of the corporation that it — the medium through which almost alone is wielded the world’s industrial energies — will be put in accord with one of the deepest human instincts of all times.

"Capital Homesteading Now!"
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That’s it for the speech.  It was pretty short by the standards of the day, but we’re sure you’ll agree that it was a bit more substantive than some of what you’ve read or heard.  Some people have expressed interest in obtaining a copy of the speech.  We’ll see what we can put together for a free download.

#30#

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