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The United States Steel Corpo Street conception and control, show ration, for example, with more than that the function of the owner is less 85,000 shareholders and a quarter of important than economists have been a million employees, has good reason disposed to fancy. Our heroics to step lightly when others are ex- about our captains of industry apcited. The “trust” came out of our pear to have been premature. It is last panic in better shape than when not essential that every concern have it went in. Between 1915 and 1922 its Pooh-bah. The technique of it experienced, as did other busi- management and control can be apnesses, boom prices and then a bust plied, it is now clear, either under the period. The prices of steel and pig- Pooh-bah or under a group of finaniron were multiplied, roughly, by ciers, banking houses, and absentee four, and then dropped off with dis- stockholders. This seems to me one concerting suddenness. But instead of the most interesting developments of flinging money around during the that has come out of the drift of inhigh times, the Steel Corporation dustry from one-man or one-family soberly paid off its debts and in- control into the hands of syndicates creased its surplus. When the crash and groups. It makes evident that a came it was clear-headed and well going enterprise can keep going heeled; and even the losses of the de- without a Master Mind. pression did not pull it back to where Among the stockholders are emit had been when the boom began. ployees. In twenty-two large con
It would seem that every business cerns there are now more than man should be crafty enough to ac- 300,000 employees listed as partners, complish this sort of thing, but the and they own nearly half a billion fact is that not even the majority of dollars' worth of stock. It has been them do. Speculators were prob- estimated that employees the coun
. ably even less cautious, and invest- try over own perhaps $700,000,000 ors not so timorous as the specula- worth of stock. That is but a drop tors. (For there are bears as well in the bucket, to be sure; for we roll as bulls among speculators.) The up higher and higher the totals we tendency is to buy on a rising market, put into stocks and bonds. The new and to keep buying, regardless of the securities offered in the first half of fact that a falling market may be 1926 aggregated more than four biljust around the corner. It is possi- lions, at a time when Great Britain ble that level-headedness in such was issuing less than two thirds of a crises is one of the advantages of billion. In this country the figure transfer from one-man domination was the highest for any year, and to banking-group control. Bankers seven tenths of the new issues of are notoriously cagy.
stocks, debentures, and bonds were A single dominant personality at for corporate financing. Of the inthe top is no longer a sine qua non of stances which I have cited, only two
I successful industrial enterprise. The were included in this period, and Woolworth stores, representing par- those not the largest. I have not tial group management, and General sought to catalogue recent flotations, Motors, representing complete Wall but to pick up instances here and there which would illustrate a prin- who seeks only to reap a present ciple of modern finance and reveal profit, there seems a better prospect certain trends.
that production may be made to keep One of those trends is the spread step with the general good. Now of employee-partnership, and that we have found how workable is another is the general spread of a diffusion of partnership and a shares into millions of hands. The distribution of prosperity, industry Pennsylvania Railroad alone has can be brought into closer relation 140,000 stockholders. Now, if it to large public benefits. Those who does not make so much difference, seek to avail themselves of its beneso far as earnings are concerned, how fits through the stock markets must industry is owned, if it is possible to accept the risks which all business get along without the kind of owner enterprises undergo.
THEY CAN STILL SING
RUTH M. GORDON
They who feel ecstasy in early May
I have long wondered why some from the point of view of the people one doesn't write a grammar from the who are using the language, the point of view of the human race. speaker and the hearer. The only The books we study must have been important grammar is that which composed by men who never talked. brings them together. Even if the They dissect language after it has formal grammar were correct, Shakbeen used, and upon the fragments spere and his audience would need they meditate in logical evolutions, only a few pages of it, and we need but they neglect the vital thing, the
But the children still behavior of words in flight from my learn, or try to, that nouns are abmind to yours. Grammar as a sub- stract or collective, common ject of study is a structure imposed proper; that “certain proper nouns upon speech by pedants more inter- become common nouns when used in ested in the structure than in the a special sense"; that nouns have speech. The genuine grammar, the gender-or if in spite of grammars natural and inevitable relations be- they obviously haven't, then they tween words when the words are have common gender. But did any intelligible, is, like some other pro- human being ever find use for these found things in nature, simple. definitions as he spoke or wrote?
Many a bright pupil has asked Would the knowledge of them solve how the grammar now taught could a single difficulty of expression? help him to read or write. Many a Hundreds of thousands of children writer, whose formal training in are at this moment learning that grammar was defective, has written sentences ask questions, or make well. If like Shakspere he reaches statements, or express commands. unassailable fame, the grammarians Well, what of it? If the children exercise much dialectic to prove he didn't notice this of themselves, what was following their rules after all. would they miss? Now they have We suspect he was following rather the information, what are they to the genuine laws of speech, which we do with it? wish we knew. If we are told his These are some of the useless pages. genius rose superior to the rules of But much of the formal grammar is grammar, we are skeptical;we suspect from the writer's or speaker's point the rules were either useless or wrong. of view highly questionable or ob
We make our criticism, that is, viously incorrect. Most of the textbooks begin with the definition of cisian ought to say "than you can the sentence, either because the run.” To such a mind an unfinished grammarian thinks the sentence is comparative is distressing; “Tom is the simplest unit of discourse, or the taller" becomes for them "the because he wants the students as taller of the two." soon as possible to write the kind To think of sentences in this way of sentence which is easiest for theme- is to assume that human speech as readers to correct; he wants every we normally hear it is shrunk from sentence to have a subject and a some elaborate and complete form predicate. All might yet be well, it wore in an ideal age, when man if the human mind were not full of parsed as he talked. But primitive other kinds of sentence. As it is,
As it is, man, so far as we know, did not begin the student usually meets at the with subtleties and afterward simplify beginning of the book two definitions his utterance. Like us, he defined which contradict each other. The the completeness of his sentences in first tells him that a sentence is a terms of intelligibility, not of subject group of words expressing a complete and predicate. We, like him, are thought. The second tells him that sometimes eloquent in a single grunt. a sentence must have a subject and a You say, “Smith is a fine fellow, predicate. Yet the student knows, isn't he!” and I, not liking Smith, from the conversation of the teacher say “Umph!” or of any one else, that complete The old grammar misleads me thoughts are often, perhaps usually, badly, I think, when it defines the expressed without subject or predi- passive voice. The formula is that cate. “How much?” we ask the in the passive voice the subject is shopkeeper. “Twenty-five cents.' not active but is acted upon-"He Nothing could be more explicit than was lifted from the car.” This this question and its answer; each ingenious definition ignores the reais a complete sentence.
son why we use passives, and it imThe grammarian has an argument plies what is not true, that the hearer against me, however. He says that thinks of the pronoun in the above the examples just cited are really sentence as the subject. To the abbreviations. "How much?” is hearer the relation of subject, object, colloquial brevity for "How much is and indirect object remains the
same, this?” and “Twenty-five cents” is a whether you say "He told me the loose way of saying “This is twenty- truth” or “I was told the truth,” five cents." If you ask me, “Is it “The explosion lifted him from the raining?" and I say, "No," what I car” or “He was lifted from the car.” am trying to say, according to the The difference is that in the passive grammarian, is, "No, it is not rain- voice the real subject or active agent ing.” Elaborate speakers, trained is not mentioned, either because the in this school of complete grammat- speaker doesn't know, or, more often, ical construction, feel uneasy with because he doesn't wish to tell. The such a sentence as “I can run faster passive voice occurs usually in such than you”; they carry the pattern statements as “I was told that you out to "than you can. A real pre- said so-and-so about me!"
Similarly the old grammar teaches does. And if you really name a that pronouns stand for certain thing, you have made a statement nouns, which are their antecedents. about it. When I propounded wisFrom that doctrine I get the im- dom to my small neighbor, he pression that pronouns are substi- said, "Apple-sauce!” A complete tuted for something we already have statement-but is “apple-sauce” a in mind. Experience leads me to verb? believe, however, that we have pronouns in mind before we are aware Our one purpose in speech is not to of the nouns, and nouns are at last illustrate grammar but to make oursubstituted for pronouns. “I, Ham- selves understood. If our thoughts let the Dane,” and “This my son” are crude, then a crude expression follow the order of nature for pro- satisfies us; if our ideas are subtle, nouns and nouns. Children think then we must convey the subtlety to of the broad, general name first, and the audience; but in either case we say he, she, it, until we force precision follow a simple process. We produce on them by asking who is he, she, or sounds which we hope will call up it. If, as some of us believe, the our meaning, and if we suspect the ultimate success of expression is meaning has not been called up, we finding the perfect name, the noun add other sounds. I say that a which can stand alone, independent garage is a building in which autoof grammar,
then it is not surprising mobiles are kept, and a church is a that the beginning of talk should building in which religious services have the sort of looseness which are held, and a hotel is a building in pronouns facilitate. I know the which travelers find shelter. In all books tell us to substitute the pro- three cases I have called the thing noun in order to avoid repetition a building, but to make myself of the name, and certainly awkward clearer I have added something. repetitions should be avoided, but This process, the most elementary it is just as awkward to repeat he kind of definition, contains all that or she as to repeat Tom or Mary. is vital in grammar, from the speakFor the speaker or writer, the use of er's or the writer's point of view, a pronoun is to be vague and general, all that is important in word relaand sometimes that is what we wish tions, sentence structure, paragraph to be.
structure, or total form. Of course One last illustration. The gram- if I could find a sound which would mar tries to make me believe there define the garage or the church or is an essential difference between a the hotel without aid from additional noun and a verb. The noun gives sounds, I'd use that fine word, and the name of a thing, "water," and so escape the necessity of grammar the verb makes a statement about altogether, as the child did when he it, “Water flows." But when you said “apple-sauce.” But in most have made a statement about a cases, when I have called a thing by thing, you have named it; "water" one name, I add another to be speconnotes the flowing and the freezing cific. It is as though I sharpened and the everything else that water the pencil, not by cutting away, but