Capitalism: "In Our Hands: What We Have" (1950) American Economic Foundation



Tom Tom what do you want for breakfast what'd you say what do you want for breakfast our opener you want it hot or cold like never mind black candy make up your mind oh well while she gets x breakfast let's take a closer look at that pan the iron or for that pan came from the Mesabi Range so let's start there see what happened maybe it'll give us an idea of just what it is we have nature put the iron ore there but it wasn't worth anything until men came along men with tools these are the best workmen and the best tools on earth as you look at what it takes to make one steel pan think about why these men are so much better by their tools are so much better you you can't make a pan only with iron ore you need coal you need other raw materials limestone must be quarry [Applause] it takes a lot of know-how to make iron and steel coal must be reduced to cook before it can be used you need fluorspar manganese scrap iron scrap steel it takes all of this and more just to produce the basic steel this is what men can do if you give them a chance give them economic freedom economic freedom in this country means that you and everybody else is free to work to make things to produce that's one one you're free to buy himself to make a profit or a loss that's the second point and you're free to sale and to invest in more and better tools that's the third part and it all adds up to the great gift of economic freedom keep it in mind as you watch these men and their tools we've come a long way from nature but those sheets still have to be shipped somewhere before you can manufacture the pan let's see what happens next you run all right now the pan is about ready to be offered for sale a lot of Labor is already invested in that pan but you can't see the men who made it are all the tools they used you can't see the thousands and thousands of people whose savings are invested in those tools you can't see a thing like freedom either but it's they're a great gift of freedom freedom to work to make things to produce freedom to buy himself to bargain freely to exchange what we have for what we want freedom to save and to invest in the tools that multiply our productive power he didn't have to display that pan or try to sell it but he's free to try just as Mitch didn't have to come into this store she was free to make her own private individual choice free to be ruthless in her search for more and better goods and services at lower prices but she decided to come into this particular store to look for a pair that isn't the only pan she has a choice of iron steel copper bottom Salloum Onam but she selected this particular one now here's what really happens at the time she buys this pan she has hired all the workers and all the tools cleared back to the mine what she is able and willing to pay for that pam has to pay all the costs all the way back to nature including the cost of something else you can't see the cost of government and the cost of government remember is paid by all the direct and indirect taxes you pay well now we know something about where the pan came from how about the eggs well let's see nature supplied the land but men made it produced the fee for those chickens you can go in the egg business if you wanted that's what economic freedom mean one time bought the eggs he employed all the tools all the workers all the way back to the fine Tom had to work with tools to earn enough to buy that pan he had to work with tools to earn enough to buy the eggs he used money is the transfer agent huh you can't eat money or fry eggs in it but it's important and it's easy to be fooled about money how about a time what can you do with your take-home pay give it to midge if I didn't she'd bat my ears down and I would too but that's all right now let's look into what money is and what it does take time he works near the end of an assembly line and gets paid in dollars and cents for a work with tools and with materials supplied to him in other words one way to earn money is through work using your brains and muscles your skills your know-how for so many dollars and cents money has no fixed value it has no value except at the moment you buy something with it for example you seen the price of eggs jump around sometimes half a dollar will buy a dozen eggs sometimes more than a dozen sometimes lettuce in other words your take-home pay is worth what you can buy with it when you buy it and what you pay for anything remember has to cover all the costs of producing it transporting it and selling it plus taxes which must be paid to operate the federal state and local governments yeah but I didn't have to buy these egg they get too high we don't eat eggs that's your privilege so long as you live in a free country you didn't have to buy this house either that was my idea it means something go on your own home not that I own it yet nobody told you you had to buy it or that you couldn't buy anything we think is that every dollar we put into this house just like saving a dollar the house is real but the dollar value and don't forget this is what somebody will pay you for when you want to sell it or rent it we don't want to rent it just was nice to know you could if you had to that's the second way you can get big how do you mean there are two ways to earn money you can be paid for work any kind of work that produces goods or services or you can be paid for the use of something you save and bought something you own private company to get the tools and the materials you work with the conveyor belts and all the rest of what it takes to build an assembly line millions of people like you saved and invested their savings and stocks and bonds and it was their savings that made these tools possible this was the money that bought the land built the buildings and provided all the facilities power running water and thousands of other things that people ordinarily don't think about all of these things are tools and tools always come from the investment of savings let's put it this way if you rented a room in your house or the whole house would you expect to be paid for yeah sure why not if you saved and invested some money in your company would you expect to be paid sure only I don't have that kind of money you've got a life insurance policy haven't you yeah savings account in the bank yes a little one that's not like buying stock what do you think the insurance company or the bank for instance does with money use it best of I guess that's right money is a medium of exchange a transfer agent they take your money and buy an interest in private property the tools you work with so that every dollar you say it goes freely to work the fact that most people in this country have life insurance a bank account stocks or bonds means that practically all of us have invested in the tools that produce the goods and services and comforts our lives depend that's how we get our tools that's what happens with economic freedom the farmers work close to nature and most of them supply the manpower to both management and live they know where their tools come from and what it takes to maintain them to replace them with more and better – what we have in this country is so good and so successful that too many of us just take it for granted what we have started with the official purpose of our limited government and it grew because of our hard-won gift of freedom real individual freedom protected by law and the secret belt the best workman and the best tools honor and the most democratic way of getting more and better tools not through force savings and forced labor we're free to save and to invest in productive property in the tools that multiply our total production of goods and services 10 million workplaces while we're free to work to make things to produce free to buy or sell to make a profit or a loss free to try out new ideas new products new methods free they get more and still better tools which multiply our total production shorten our work hours and keep lifting our standard of living we have plenty of problems but with all the things we don't do with all our estate we do have political and economic freedom and we're far better off than the rest of the world that's what we have and if worth talking about let's talk about just exactly what we have in these United States and what it me you




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