OCTOBER 19, 1951
HYDE PARK, Thursday—I was interested in hearing the first report via radio from my son, Franklin Jr., who is on a survey trip to Europe and the Middle East. He declared that the average day's pay for a workman in Spain is about 75 cents in United States money, plus some allowance for families with children.
I am not surprised at the 75 cents nor at the allowance figure. The latter has been one of the things debated in the discussion on social and economic rights in the Commission on Human Rights.
Groups opposed to birth control, and some other groups, feel that a man's pay should be supplemented according to his needs. Other groups feel that a man's pay should be based on his skill and ability to produce, that he should be responsible in planning his own life and his own family, and that the responsibility of the community should cover only such things as are beyond the individual's control, such as sickness and disaster.
It is obvious that when conditions make it impossible for people of low income or even of medium income to cover the cost of illness that the community must bear the burden. It is the community that suffers if proper medical care is not available to all its citizens. It is also obvious in the case of mass disaster or individual disaster that people may need temporary help.
But the permanent help, which is advocated merely because of the size of a man's family, seems to some groups not to be based on a tenable economic theory. This is becoming an increasingly important subject for discussion since the students of population are telling us that unless certain changes or allowances are effected we could easily have a world faced with starvation in a measurable number of years.
It is always interesting to me how many subjects are tied together when we begin to discuss any of these basic questions. We have to know much of what the scientists are saying and doing, much about various religious beliefs, and certain mental and physical situations. All these things enter into wise social and economic planning.
I was shocked yesterday to read of the assassination of the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Ever since I first met Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan in Paris I had great respect for him.
India, in which so much pacificism has been preached for a number of years, seems nevertheless to suffer as much as the rest of the world from individuals who feel that they must take the law into their own hands. It will be well for all of us when everywhere in the world we live by law and not by force. The Prime Minister accomplished much for his country and I know that his wife, who is thus suddenly bereaved, always stood by him in his work and on her own did much for the women of Pakistan. The women of this country will, I know, want to send her their sympathy in her great loss. I hope she will feel that she can go on with his work by continuing to lead the women of her own country.