NOVEMBER 16, 1943
NEW YORK, Monday—I have an appeal in the mail asking me to remind people that on this Thanksgiving Day, though we can really feel thankful since the war news looks better, we must not forget that, until we have actually won the war, we cannot be neglectful of even the smallest service we can render.
The Fat Salvage Committee is afraid that Thanksgiving Day will be one of the days when the housewife will feel she does not have to perform this unglamorous task of saving fat. When you think of all the people in the country who will perhaps be having a little better dinner than usual on this day, we realize it is one of the most important days on which to save. Therefore, I add my reminder to that of many other people who will probably be helping in this campaign.
Last night I spoke at a forum held in a church in Essex, Connecticut. This is a serious group which is inaugurating a series of talks on postwar problems. postwar problems are so closely tied to present day problems, however, it is difficult sometimes to disentangle them. What we do today on the control of the cost of living will affect how we live in the postwar world.
A woman wrote me the other day that she is starting a movement in her community to make people save and buy only what they need. She feels that this will control inflation. That sounds very simple and it is one way to help, but no one way controls anything as complicated as inflation.
I find that many people do not even understand the first principles. They do not realize to what a great extent our economy has changed during the war. Instead of making the ordinary things which you and I buy every day of our lives, the majority of producers have changed their machinery and their products.
They are making things for the use of the military services, or for the use of other people who are fighting with us. They also must have not only the materials with which to fight, but a minimum amount of civilian goods on which to live. Therefore, with a reduced amount of civilian goods at home, and a high percentage of employment, so that people have more money to use than usual, there is less to buy.
If they do buy, the competition forces up the price of the article, unless there is a limit put on prices. Unless all of us do without anything which we do not absolutely need and save our money for the day when all this production for war can be turned back into production to meet civilian needs, we shall develop black markets and contribute to inflation.