My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Tuesday—A little item in a recent newspaper tells us how much the British have denied themselves during the past few years under their food rationing system. In 1953 sugar and sweets ceased to be rationed and in the first half of this year Great Britain spent 168 million dollars more on sweets than in the comparable period of 1952. What a craving there must have been for sweets among people and how they must have actually denied themselves something that they longed for!

I have always had a great respect for the way in which the British people accepted the rationing because they were told it would help the British economy, and I think there are few people who would have had as little in the way of black market transactions as the British have had. From the top down it was considered an obligation to live up to the rationing and I think they deserve great praise.

Food Minister Rt. Hon. Gwilym Lloyd George says, "this increase is due in part to the long years when sweets were rationed and also to the maintenance of a high level of employment and of general prosperity."

Actually I have been told that the people as a whole in Great Britain have had a better diet under the rationing system than before, and children especially are able to have things that perhaps their parents would not have considered that they could afford in pre-rationing days.

It has probably been a period of education in food habits for the people and also the general levelling of living standards which has been going on has brought a wider distribution in the lower middle class and among the very poor than every before.

Great Britain has been having something of a similar experience to that which the last 50 years has seen in the United States. Over there today, the very rich are less rich. There are still some very poor, but an enormous broadening of the middle group has occurred and from my point of view this makes for a stronger United Kingdom just as it does for a stronger United States. It is the best defense against communism there is.

I frequently wish that we could stress to our own people the extraordinary advances which have been made under a democratic system of life. How far ahead of totalitarianism we have gone! Partly because of our great good fortune in having a broad land in which there were no barriers set up, but also because of the freedom of our people to take the opportunities that came our way.

We have used our own initiative and gradually increased the well-being of the mass of people through the backing we gave to governmental measures and the wise use of our vote in the choice of government officials who had the well-being of all the people at heart.

The nation's English teachers in Los Angeles have made some very wise recommendations as to the way books, teachers and discussions shall be used in schools and colleges. I hope these recommendations will be widely read.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL