DECEMBER 1, 1947
EN ROUTE TO GENEVA, Sunday—As I sat in church on Thanksgiving Day, the minister reminded us that Christianity must not be considered too narrowly. It is not the possession of one people, one nation or of any group of peoples and nations, but covers the world. It has survived sometimes under persecution, sometimes through compromises, sometimes through withdrawal or by going underground. But it has survived from the days of the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages on through all the different economic and cultural systems that have followed down through the centuries to the present time.
Yes, Christianity has great vitality. On the other hand, economic systems seem to have great flexibility and to adjust themselves to the circumstances of time and place. In many parts of the world today there is a trend, brought about largely by the economic conditions which follow war, to an increasing amount of socialization of what are known as basic industries affecting the life of the people. In some places this trend has been going on for some time and the change is slow.
This, of course, is not in any way connected with the Communist system, which is again a somewhat different type of economy. But it looks as though in Europe, and in some other parts of the world, there will have to be an increasing amount of government ownership. Perhaps the pattern of Sweden and Norway, where private enterprise and government ownership have existed side by side for some time, may meet the needs of the present situation in Europe, and also of those apparent in other parts of the world.
Here in the United States we still feel that our present private enterprise system can give to our citizens the greatest opportunity for well-being and the greatest reward for individual effort, under proper regulation. Ever since the war, however, we have heard a good deal of argument as to whether certain things, such as railroads and utilities, should not be government owned and operated.
Feeling that there might be some advantage in getting to my readers the arguments on both sides, I obtained from the head of one of our railroads, which is admittedly well run, the information and the argument against nationalization as he saw it. I obtained, on the other hand, the ideas of one of the leading labor leaders in the railroad field, who feels strongly that nationalization should go through. Still another labor leader, in the same field, feels there is no necessity for nationalization.
To give you these points of view will require several columns. But since one is always a little uncertain when one flies the ocean, I am leaving these columns to be published while I am in transit. The facts, as presented by the two different groups, will prove, I hope, to be both interesting and important.