Signs of the Times

[W. L. MacKenzie King in Ottawa Citizen, Ontario, Canada]

What has been—one might still say, what is—the accepted view of industry? Is it not too largely that of a revenue producing process, whereby some men are enabled to earn a bare livelihood and others to reap and amass enormous fortunes? Consider for a moment what industry is. It is the means by which the resources of the earth are transformed by human intelligence and human labor into commodities and services available for human use. In that vast process of transformation, multitudes of men and women spend the whole of their lives. Upon the strength and persistence of their efforts depends the satisfaction of the needs and comforts of the whole human society. This being the case, should our conception of industry not be changed? Instead of regarding it primarily as an institution for the purpose of creating wealth, to be divided as economic necessity and power may determine, should industry not be regarded as in the nature of social service, and the workers in industry as truly regarded the sustainers of life as those who have served in its armies and navies are its noble defenders?

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June 14, 1919
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