Creating capital - by Frederick Lockwood Lipman - PDF ebook

Creating capital, money-making as an aim in business

Creating capital

Excerpt from the introduction:

The object of this paper is to discuss money-making; to examine its prevalence as an aim among people generally and the moral standards obtain among those who consciously seek to make money. 
The desire to make money is common to most men. Stronger or weaker, to some degree, it is present in the mind of nearly everyone. 

Now, how far does this desire grow to be an aim or object in our lives, and to what extent is such an aim a worthy one? 

The typical money-maker as commonly pictured in our imagination is a narrow, grasping, selfish individual who has chosen to follow lower rather than higher ideals and who often is tempted, and always may be tempted, to employ illegitimate means for the attainment of his ends. The aims he has adopted are made to stand in opposition to the practice of certain virtues. 

Thus we contrast profits and patriotism; enriching one*s self and philanthropy; getting all the law allows and justice; taking advantage of the other fellow and honesty; becoming engrossed in acquisition and love of family. Now, such contrasts obviously prove nothing more than that money-making is and would be a vicious aim if pursued regardless of these virtues, and it could well be replied that/considerate on of patriotism, philanthropy, love of family, etc., must in themselves impel one to earn and to save. 

That there are other sides to the picture is recognized, however, even by the loose thought of the day. The man who earns his living, for instance, it views as one who in so far is performing a fundamental duty. Indeed, the world scorns him who cannot or will not support himself and his family. But this is only to say that one must work today to meet the expenditures of today. Is this the limit?

 Is it a virtue for him to work in order to spend, but a vice for him to work in order to save? What are the considerations to be observed by a man in deciding whether or not he should adopt money-making - — that is, the acquisition of a surplus beyond his current needs — as one of his definite aims in life? One consideration relates to our country. 

The United States is now understood to be spending about $25,000,- 000 per day in carrying on the war. In the last analysis, this amount must be paid out of the past savings and the savings from the current earnings of the people of the United States. 

The wealth of the nation consists mainly of the sum of the w^ealth of its citizens. We are therefore told to seek increased earnings and to economize in our expenditures in order to enhance the national wealth. The duty here is perfectly clear, but even if we did not have war conditions to teach us as a patriotic responsibility the necessity of earning and saving a surplus, the obligation would still be there. We owe a similar debt to our state and to our city or district. And nearer still comes the duty to one*s family and to one's own future, the duty of providing for the rainy day, for old age. 

And it will be observed that money-making in this sense is directed to the acquisition of net income, it relates to that portion of one's earnings that is saved from current expenditure and becomes capital. 

Then we must also consider the duty to society. As we look out upon the surrounding evidence of civilization — buildings ^nd railroads and highly cultivated fields, the machinery of production and distribution, the shops full of useful commodities — and then cast our thought back to a time not very many years ago when all this country was a natural wilderness, we may begin to realize the magnitude of the wealth, the capital, that has come into being since then, every particle of which is due to the earnings and savings of somebody, to the surplus not consumed by the workers of the past, their unexpended and unwasted net balances year by year. Universities, churches, libraries, parks, are included in the wealth thus handed down to us. 

Our lives today may be richer and broader through this inheritance created by the industry and abstinence of our forefathers. 

Their business careers, now closed, we regard as the more successful in that they earned and saved a surplus, that they had a net income to show as the result of their work. But these savings of the past were ac- cumulated, after all, by comparatively few of the workers; not by the many, who lived from hand to mouth, happy-go-lucky, spending and enjoying in time of abundance, suffering in time of poverty and stress, making no provision even for their own future, still less recognizing any duty to their country or to posterity to produce economically and regulate their expenditure wisely so as to carry forward a surplus. 

As far as this majority is concerned we might yet be living among rocks and trees, without shelter, lacking sure supplies of food, with fig leaves to cover our nakedness. And today the same conditions obtain. How many persons are to be found among one's acquaintance who feels and act upon any responsibility for doing their "bit" in the creation of capital? Very few. Rather than exert himself to work with this in view, on the one hand, and to abstain from unnecessary consumption, on the other hand, the ordinary man will make to himself every excuse. 

He will contemn money-making as a sordid aim, readily exaggerating itself into a vice; he will dwell upon the obligations and other considerations of a higher life, this being defined as something generous and noble, a something compared with which money-making cannot be regarded as a worthy object but must be included in the class of unpleasant necessities, not to say indecencies, which ought to be relegated to the background of life; he will summon up pictures of extreme poverty.

the book details :
  • Author: Frederick Lockwood Lipman
  • Publication date:  1918
  • Company: Boston, Houghton

  • Download 2.2 MB - 88 pages

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