BREAKING NEWS! Prophecy Fulfilled! – Trade War Started – Looming to Trigger World War III?  

 The Plain Truth Personal from Herbert W. Armstrong March, 1971  

Trade War Looming to Trigger World War III?

  IN MY MEETING WITH Prime Minister Eisaku Sato of Japan in December (see Personal in February 1971 issue), he mentioned the past general economic trade wars as one of the factors leading to World War II. And right now a new trade war — especially in textiles and footwear imports — is a definite threat. This could affect not only every person in the United States and Canada, but all the peoples of the world. I feel our readers need to understand some of the factors that now pose this danger. The people of the United States enjoy the highest living standard in the world. But WHY? How did we come to such a condition of affluence? Very few understand. I want to give you the reason. Today we live in a world much changed from the world of a hundred years ago. Frightening changes have occurred — and at a fast-accelerating pace. The whole world went along on a comparatively even keel from the dawn of history until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Suddenly knowledge began to increase — especially in science and technology. Nearly all modern inventions have appeared in the last 170 years. In the brief span of a lifetime the world has passed with accelerating speed through the age of invention, the age of science and technology, the machine age, the nuclear age, and now the space age. Ninety percent of all the scientists who ever lived are living today! It APPEARS to be a progressive world, suddenly newly enlightened and fantastically advanced. This modern world has produced awe-inspiring inventions, incredible labor-saving devices, dazzling luxuries undreamed of a single century ago. Today we have instantaneous communication worldwide. We fly around the world in two days and orbit the earth in 90 minutes. The miracles of radio, television, full-color sound motion pictures, hi-fi stereo sound reproduction — all these, and more, entertain an amusement-hungry world. A fascinated, entranced world now looks ahead to the magic push-button dream-world of Century 21, when human labor will be all but banished — a world of leisure, luxury and license. Isn’t this a world of breathtaking PROGRESS? So it seems. And in no country are these advances so universally enjoyed as in the United States. But there is another side of the world picture. Today all peoples are not enjoying this materialistic dream-world “progress.” Millions in other lands are ill-fed, hungry, even starving — wracked with disease — living in poverty, illiteracy, filth and squalor. True progress is not measured by the criteria of gadgetry, mechanical devices, material possessions, and the fatal concept — held by too many in the United States — that labor is a curse and idleness a blessing. This is a very deceptive world. With all the vaunted “progress” it remains a hard, cold fact that NEVER BEFORE was the world filled with so much discontent, unhappiness and suffering — never before so much ill health, mental disturbance, frustration and suicide — even in the affluent countries. Never before so many broken homes, so many divorces, so much juvenile delinquency, crime and violence. Youth is in revolt. Campuses are filled with violence. Morals have degenerated into the cesspool. Yet in this sick, sick world, the United States has the highest living standard ever enjoyed by any people. The American working class is living on a standard higher than that enjoyed by the very rich a hundred years ago. Its largest class is its burgeoning middle class. How did this all happen? An incident I experienced will illustrate. On January 5, 1914, the Ford Motor Company made banner newspaper headlines nationwide. Basic wage rates at the time, in the automobile industry, were $3.40 for a 9-hour day. Ford announced a raise in pay to $5 for an 8-hour day. It was sensational news. At the time I was in the Editorial Department of the largest trade journal in the United States. My editors sent me immediately to Detroit. They wanted an exclusive interview and article on the story. The Ford plant at the time was out north in Highland Park. I saw Henry Ford, but he himself was not familiar with the details of the new plan. Perhaps few realize that Henry Ford was primarily a mechanic, not a business man. Yet he had the shrewd business sense to apply three ideas that made him one of the wealthiest men in the world. (1) He had the sense to know that he could make more money selling a low-priced “flivver” to the MASSES than a high-priced car to the few. (2) He had the practical business sense to surround himself with men who WERE experienced and able business men. And (3) he was shrewd enough to retain to himself 100% ownership of the business.   Revolutionary Wage Plan   The man who invented the whole revolutionary pay scale idea was Mr. John R. Lee, a Ford executive. The $5 per day wage scheme involved a whole new production system, and a revolutionary new sociological program. Mr. Lee, I found, had submitted his sensational new plan to Mr. Ford and his top executive board. All had approved it, and Mr. Lee was made head of the new Sociological Department and given the responsibility of administering the new plan. “Mr. Lee,” I began, “you are now paying by far the highest wages in the automobile industry — or perhaps ANY industry. I’d like to get all the facts about it.” His response was surprising. He smiled, shook his head. “No, Mr. Armstrong,” he replied “we do NOT pay the highest wages, but on the contrary we pay the LOWEST wages in the industry.” “B-but,” I stammered, “don’t you now pay a standard minimum scale of $5 for an 8-hour day, and don’t the other factories pay only $3.40 for a 9 hour day?” “Yes, quite true,” smiled Mr. Lee, “but still we are paying the LOWEST wages in the industry, even though our men are the HIGHEST paid in the industry. You see, we don’t measure the ACTUAL wage scale in dollars paid, but by the amount of production we receive per dollar paid. Our sales volume is by far the largest in the industry. This has made it possible for us to MASS-produce. We have installed an assembly-line system of production. We are more highly mechanized than other companies. This mass MACHINE production means that we now receive 100% more production per man, while we pay only 47% more for it. This means our workers are paid 47% more for one hour less work per day, and we make more profit. The company gains, and our employees gain.” That was my first direct personal experience with the fast-rising mechanized MASS-production by conveyor-belt and assembly-line methods. The United States is a BIG country — especially compared to countries like England, France, Italy, Spain, Japan. The only other mass-population countries — China, India, Russia — were then backward countries industrially. The smaller nations did not have mass markets. Mechanized mass-production got a much later start in those countries. With machine production, in some instances, one man can produce as much with the machine as 10 or 12 men can produce by hand. The Ford Motor experience, at the outset, doubled production per man. One other factor entered into America’s exceedingly high living standard.   Two Philosophies of Life   Prior to the organization of labor unions, employers paid wages as low as circumstances allowed — on the whole. There are the two overall broad philosophies as a WAY OF LIFE. This world, I repeat again and again, lives on the “GET” philosophy. The other is the “GIVE” way of outgoing concern for the good and welfare of others equal to one’s own self-concern. It’s difficult to make human nature see that the latter is the MORE PRACTICAL way, that pays off bigger in the end. When capital and management held the reins, they took every selfish advantage. It may seem surprising to most, but this was even foretold in the Bible (James 5:1-6). Then came the union labor movement, with the weapon of the strike. It has had its abuses, too. Have people forgotten the Herrin (Illinois) Massacre and the Los Angeles Times explosion? It’s a matter of human nature. Whoever has the POWER uses it for selfish advantage regardless, usually, of the harm to others. But, as mechanized MASS-production developed in America, union pressures spiralled wages with it. New industries appeared, producing new appliances, new entertainment devices, new luxuries. And the accompanying higher wage scales created mass markets among the working class. The American living standard became the highest in the world. But union leaders and wage earners are afflicted with the same human nature as employers. Prosperity usually goes to the head of the newly prosperous. The shoe had been now shifted to the other foot. Under labor unionism the employer was envisioned as the enemy. Human nature is bent on GETTING all it can, at the same times giving as LITTLE as possible. Constantly labor demanded shorter hours and increased benefits, along with higher wages. It was even willing to accept higher wages, giving NO WORK in return. When, for example, the railroads adopted the diesel engine, replacing the coal-burning steam engine, there was no need for firemen shovelling coal. But the unions forced the railroads to continue hiring firemen (feather-bedding) who continued to ride in locomotives with absolutely nothing to do. It has been not at all uncommon for a union leader to say to a worker: “Hey, buddy, slow down there. You’re working too hard. Pretty soon you’ll have everybody working as if their hearts were in their jobs.” It’s true, of course, that in many trades union men are better trained and more skilled than non-union. But it’s also true that the general union philosophy is that of delivering the LEAST amount of work possible, while employing the weapon of the strike to force the highest possible wage.   Competing With Other Nations   American unionism has lacked the vision to see that in actual fact it is COMPETING with foreign labor. It has not foreseen that the development of instantaneous communication and rapid transportation worldwide is now throwing it into direct competition with workers in other countries willing to give a loyal, honest day’s work for half or less than half the American wage standards. Other countries have now gone to mechanized MASS PRODUCTION. They are competing now for MASS MARKETS. They are looking with competitive eyes at the lush AMERICAN markets where they can undersell American manufacturers. For they, too, now utilize the machine for mass production; and their workers are willing to work loyally for half, and less, of the wage the United States manufacturer must pay. The Common Market in Europe has resulted in providing mass markets for European mass production. Volkswagen has not only found a European mass market, but has reaped a bounteous harvest on the American market. So has Toyota of Japan. Let me give you a comparison. Let me show you what the American laborer — demanding higher and higher wages with constantly increased other benefits, while giving as little as he can get away with — is actually competing against. Yoshiaki Matsuura, age 49, is an assembly line foreman at Toyota Motor Company. He makes it a rule to come to work half an hour early every day. He gets no extra pay for this extra donated time. He asks for none. He does not threaten to strike. His superior in the company considers him no different from the average of Toyota’s 37,000 workers. It is because of this typical Japanese-type loyalty to employer — they consider it a national patriotism, because it helps the nation compete with other countries — that Toyota is becoming the fastest growing automobile manufacturer in the world. They produced 1,471,211 cars last year. They are now number 5 in the world, and may soon pass Chrysler and Volkswagen. Wages in the United States are twice that of Europe, four times as high as Japan. However, the Japanese worker receives fringe benefits — such as low-cost housing and others. And what about comparative cost of living? I do not have exact statistics at hand, but in England living costs do not seem to be much different from those in the United States. How do the English, then, live on half the wage? Their living standard is much lower. The average English living room is hardly half as large as the average American. The average English home has no “fridge” as they call it. Dairies advertise a method for keeping milk COOL. They drive smaller cars, and a far smaller percentage of the population own cars.   National Loyalty Lacking   How about company loyalty in the United States? The question sounds like a joke. When even the company union had agreed to a temporary 20-week 10% pay cut in order to save their jobs by keeping the Hamilton Watch Company in business, some 250 dissident employees hired a lawyer to block the pay cut by court action. Even though it threatened to put their company out of business! When President Nixon and Secretary Shultz suggested that unions should moderate their demands, to prevent pricing their employers out of business, a nationally known labor leader retorted that no union leader would scale down his demands — even in the national interest. The attitude in America seems to be: “What! Me act in the national interest?” But in Japan Yoshiaki Matsuura says: “We Japanese have been brought up in the concept that our own needs are secondary to serving others.” Do not mistake. Do not misunderstand me. I am completely in favor of what is BEST in the interest of the American worker. But I want my readers to stop and think. Because our fellow American workmen are NOT working in their own best interests! Look where these trends are leading. When American workers are trying to get all they can get — and at the same time giving as little as they can get away with — even to giving NOTHING (as the railroad firemen) — and Japanese and German workers, in THEIR national interest, are working for half the wages or less, and working with the fervor of loyalty and patriotism, it means we are headed one of two ways: Either we start raising high tariff barriers against other countries, starting a TRADE WAR which in time will trigger the nuclear war that will DESTROY us — or, American workers are going to have to MEET the competition of the workers in other countries, by lowering living standards. Obviously American workers are not going to choose to do the latter. And if they don’t — well, THE HANDWRITING IS ON OUR NATIONAL WALL. Prime Minister Sato suggested to me that both his country and ours would do well to learn the lesson of history. Mr. Sato has been friendly to the United States. He was friendly to me personally. For six years he has built a reputation for maintaining smooth relations with the United States. Japan is the chief trading partner and ally of the United States in the Pacific. Japan today has no military establishment. Some United States forces are still there. But we should not lose sight of the fact that Japan has become so POWERFUL ECONOMICALLY that it COULD build a military force of very great power very rapidly. Prime Minister Sato has said he has no intention of reviving militarism in Japan. But Mr. Sato’s political future may be riding on what happens in the textile dispute. And Representative Wilbur Mills (D-Ark.), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in Washington, said flatly on January 20, “We still mean business!” in regard to shoving through a textile-footwear import quota bill in Congress. If American tariff barriers should result in throwing many thousands of Japanese out of work, would some future Japanese Prime Minister decide to put them to work in a Japanese MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT? Let’s hope it doesn’t happen. But THE PROBLEM IS EXCEEDINGLY GRAVE! ]]>

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