Tag Archives: Communism

FDR’s Bill of Economic Rights

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation
    Comment: Notice the specific types of employment that FDR had in mind when he mentioned an economic right to a job. It was not just any job. And it wasn’t necessarily a job you (necessarily) wanted.[1] Rather, it was limited to “industries[,] shops[,] farms[,] [and] mines.” These jobs, when we reflect on them, are typically: manual-labor intensive (depending on the industry/shop but typically across the board for farms and mines), involve long hours (beyond the standard 8-hour workday that is commonplace today), offer little pay (in comparison to, say, jobs in the technology industry), etc. Suffice it to say that part of the problem with this first economic right, as it is initially proposed by FDR, is that it is no longer in-tune with the contemporary economic landscape. That is to say, we have fewer farms, mines, and even shops than we used to (all things considered). Instead, we have increasingly flexible and immaterial economic structures in place (e.g. the ‘gig’ economy). This right needs to drop the second half of the clause and redefine what it means by ‘useful and remunerative.’

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Innocence, Ignorance, and Inconsistency in Graham Greene’s The Quiet American

     Graham Greene’s novel, The Quiet American, properly characterizes and criticizes a strand of American idealism, particularly in regards to international politics, that was prevalent during the middle to middle-late 20th century. During the 1950s, the United States was becoming an international superpower. World War II had been devastating for numerous countries around the world, but the United States stood to benefit tremendously given that it played a significant role in ending the war and establishing the peace terms of the Treaty of Versailles.
     The United States’ military, economic, and cultural successes that were derived from their victory in World War II imbued their government, media, and general citizenry with a reinvigorated sense of national purpose and pride. And because the United States had entered the war later than their allies had, their war resources, troop levels, and overall morale were not as deplenished as England’s or France’s. As a result, the United States took their newfound role of being the leading advocate for liberal democracies (in the economic sense) quite seriously in hopes that these successes would be replicated globally. Expansion of this American idealism was the impetus behind many decisions made at the international, national, and local levels within American society.
     Yet not all were as impressed by the United States’s new international presence, English author Graham Greene being one of them. Greene’s criticism of this particular form of American idealism centers around three distinct yet interrelated psychological concepts: ignorance, inconsistency, and, ultimately, ignorance. Individually, each one of these traits carries with it potentially negative consequences. When combined, these negative consequences are compounded and made more complex. Greene’s novel does an excellent job of providing concrete examples to these abstract concepts within the context of historically relevant environments. Continue reading