MACHINIST by J. L. Benvenisti
pletely irrelevant and inapplicable to the nature of a great part of modern business,
WHAT WENT WRONG (VII) IT has been my contention throughout this series of notes that our most dangerous weakness, even from the purely biological and material point of view, arises from the unphilosophic outlook on life.
The business of thinking is despised unless it can be related to some immediate result. This is the valuation of the 'so-called practical
I have gone so far as to say that our milLary reverses were due to a curious lack of awareness on the part of those who professed to lead us. I do not know whether the generals are to blame for the loss of Singapore. 1 am quite certain that we lost it because before the war the FinancialTrade-Union tie-up that was running the country were so uninterested in the whole business that some of them scarcely knew where to find the place on the map This fatal weakness and the resulting division between those whose business It is to supply goods and services in the way of business and those whose job it is to talk and expound has produced an intellectual chaos in public affairs which may result one day in grave (though quite needless) social disunion and consequent material loss.
LOOK at the level of information on Jai which discussion is caused on the moral and sociological aspects of contemporary business tile. Look especially at the utter ineptitude displayed when it comes to dealing with
the subject of profits. One lot of people go raging away at something they call " Capitalist Greed " as though avarice were the dominant economic motive.
The others talk of " incentive," " the reward of risk " (the reward of risk for holders of first-class and established industrial equities which have probably changed hands a dozen times since the original risk was taken —and paid for 1), all phrases com etNE would have thought it would
have paid our business leaders to develop an intelligent theory of their own practises showing just where they fitted into a general scheme and the type of end they were helping us to attain. But they have not clone so. It may, of course, be objected that the business man's outlook is often morally indefensible. That may upon occasion be true. But as a matter of fact, the business man is often much better than only theory he or anybody else has ever heard of (viz., the theory of laisser faire and economic individualism of a hundred years ago—nobody appears to have troubled to think up a better one). You thus get the ludicrous position that the decent, generous-minded and conscientious man is abused by his enemies as a kind of Scrooge, and defends himself by precisely the same arguments that Scrooge used when similarly taxed, because he has not had time to think up any better ones.
That is the kind of mess we have got into. Might it not pay us after all to waste some time on a little intelligent theorising?