FEBRUARY 4, 1959
NEW YORK. Tuesday—Judging from the news emanating from Moscow these days, it appears that the Soviet Communist party's ruling Presidium thinks that capitalism is having a harder and harder time to succeed, and it insists that it will have to give way to a really progressive system which they call socialism.
Of course, the Soviet Union is putting most of its emphasis on the development of heavy industry and the modernization of its steel industry to catch up with the United States, which seems to have succeeded fairly well under its capitalist system—or else the Soviet Union would not be having such a time to catch up.
The Soviets seem to ignore for some reason the fact that capitalism is no more static than their own type of socialist economy which, incidentally, is probably not considered by the real socialists as representing what they consider true socialism.
Capitalism in the U.S. is successful, I believe, first because we had great natural resources and second because our people are flexible enough to change when change is needed.
The changes made in our country during the great depression of the `thirties are what saved our capitalist system. And if we are wise we are going to continue to adjust our system of capitalism to our needs.
The really important thing is that people be free to make their adjustments and their own decisions in these areas, that it be not something imposed upon them from the top but that the people as a whole understand the needs and work for them and accept whatever changes need to be made.
We have been fortunate in the U.S. in having for the most part enlightened people in business and usually in government, and we hope that this will continue.
All of us agree that we need to fight inflation, but the means of fighting it are the point on which many of us disagree. I think we lose more by cutting down on production through unemployment than we could possibly lose if we had full employment and full production and in that way brought down prices.
Wages cannot come down unless prices come down. People cannot have more unless more is produced.
In the past two days I have been to Pittsburgh on Monday and to Philadelphia on Tuesday. Both of these engagements were for lectures and I was only gone during the middle of the day.
This is rather a peripatetic week, even though I do sleep in my own bed all but one night. Now I have been invited to visit an integrated housing area in Brooklyn and I shall report my observations in another column.