JANUARY 25, 1951
NEW YORK, Wednesday—I left the country rather sadly yesterday morning, for I am going to spend nearly a week in cities—a few days in New York City and a few days in Washington, D.C. While I wouldn't like to be shut off completely from cities because of the interest and stimulation they afford, I much prefer my life in the country!
Twice a day my little dogs and I tramp roads that are either snowy and icy, or during a brief touch of spring, extremely muddy. But always nature seems to wear a different face. Sometimes the bare branches are etched against a gray and smoky sky; sometimes it will be blue. And there will be clouds at sunset time edged with gold and brilliant red. Nature has a way of displaying her lights and color and shadows that would seem hard to believe if you saw them in paintings.
Then there is an open fire to return to, tea and a book, or sometimes friends and pleasant conversation. Life in the country does have many deep values that cannot be found in the hustle and bustle of a city, though I suppose some people learn to live quietly and at peace even in a city.
I have just read an article printed in the winter Yale Review of 1951, called, "Mobilizing the Economy: Old Errors in a New Crisis," by Eliot Janeway. I recommend it to all citizens who need to be reminded of the past in order to face the present more intelligently.
Mr. Janeway goes back to the Wilson Administration and World War I, analyzing the mobilization difficulties at that time and the difficulties of the days that always follow a wartime mobilization. He goes through the mistakes and successes of World War II, and presents our present day situation.
The plain truth, of course, that comes out of all this is that the rules that govern wartime economy are entirely different from the rules that govern our peacetime activities.
In wartime, he maintains, you should mobilize all your resources. Competition, which is the heart of peacetime economy, must change completely and become cooperation. This is not always an easy lesson for business to accept. There must be allocation of resources and control of prices.
In other words, in wartime or in preparation for mobilization, you have a controlled and planned economy. When you return to a peacetime basis in which competition is the regulating factor, you should do it gradually in order to absorb the stresses and strains that are bound to be felt in a readjustment of this kind.
This is the third time we have been through all this. Yet, how many of us have taken the trouble to review the past, to accept the inevitable, to discard old mistakes and accept their lessons and go on from there?
It would pay the government and the people of this country to look up what was accomplished by Ferdinand Eberstadt, according to Janeway, and to begin with a controlled-materials plan—CMP, as it was called. Even so, Mr. Eberstadt received the reward that comes to many good public servants. He was dismissed. But, according to Mr. Janeway, his work was of great value and I think the time has come to get together those who know something of the past, accept the mistakes, and do better in the present.