SEPTEMBER 5, 1952
NEW YORK, Thursday—A very interesting report was sent me the other day, written by a man who went to the first forum on standards in the Middle East, which was sponsored by the International Labor Organization. The writer represented the American Standards Association, which concerns itself with a variety of interests, with special emphasis on standardizing things that would make for safer driving on our roads!
The encouragement to business all over the world to cooperate in reaching better standards all the time will have a great effect if our business representatives take the lead. It may change an attitude that now exists in many parts of the world about American business.
The idea most prevalent is that profits are our only motive and that we have little or no concern about people. If it was found, however, that our factories in New Delhi or Karachi, or any other place in the Asian world, set the highest standards for health and safety for the employees and were ready and willing to cooperate in getting these same standards adopted and installed in other similar places of business, I think we would soon find a change in the climate of opinion.
A young European wrote me a letter the other day in which he said he had been in this country only a short time, but he felt if we could change from a purely competitive economy to a cooperative one we might find among Europeans a different attitude and a greater willingness to work with us.
We have always been so competitive among ourselves that I think it would be difficult for us to understand how it would be possible to develop greater cooperation.
Nevertheless, we might achieve better results both for ourselves and our competitors, and it may be that there is something in the young European's criticism. The American Standards Association does try to make everyone live up to better standards, which in a way does away with certain types of competition.
In any case, the report of the trip taken by one of the ASA people, which trip included many smaller Asian countries and Australia and New Zealand, was to me most interesting. The delegate who made the report showed great sensitiveness and perception in his contacts with the Indian people.
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I am in New York City today to keep a number of appointments and will return to Hyde Park tomorrow.
I always feel it is so much warmer in the city than in the country. I wore a coat to town and on arriving at my apartment I wondered how I ever dreamed that I might need one.
The weather-wise in our Hyde Park neighborhood tell us that we will have a long autumn, with no frost until fairly late, but following the first frost there will be a long and hard winter. I don't mind the winter too much, but I rejoice in a long, warm autumn, which prolongs the life of the flowers in the garden.