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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 7, No. 3. May 3, 1944

[Letter to Salient from Fowdawis. May 3, 1944]

Dear Sir,—In the editorial of your last issue mention is made concerning the exorbitant prices of text-books for university students. No doubt we all agree with you that prices are too high, but why wait until after the war? This will mean the loss of several pounds to students who can do with every penny. Let me bring to mind that the N.Z. S.C.M. owns a bookshop which caters for the religious societies in New Zealand. Could not their scope be extended to cover all books needed for our universities throughout New Zealand? A liaison officer could be appointed at each university for contacting the students and bookshop, and in this way students would be sure of getting supplies, if available, and without the extra profits which the outside bookshops make.—Yours, etc., T.R.B.

Dear Sir,—There have been made in our press of late many valiant defences of what one would think comprised the foundation of a free state—the glorious system of private enterprise. It is generally regarded as the antithesis of that horrible thing "socialism"—an ideal which a politician recently referred to as "filling him with revulsion."

Private enterprise means that every individual, no matter what his merits, may compete in the struggle for supremacy that typifies our present "jungle" society, by availing himself of the weapon that is available to all—namely, profiteering; or more simply, by working entirely for his own financial success.

It is obvious that in such a system it is not merit that is rewarded. Those who can quickly perceive ways of extracting more money from the community are plainly more successful.

The alternative is socialism; that is, a state in which the guiding principle is planned production for community consumption; the people, through their representatives, shall organise both the production and the distribution. The fatuous objection that such a system would deprive the individual of all incentive and initiative is as fallacious as it is popular. Is the acquisitive instinct the only Incentive that human nature knows? Will the reward of bigger profits alone inspire men to exertion? Is our whole society then held together by the rotten ideal of making as much out of your fellows as a rather benevolent legal system will permit?

The questions answer themselves. The old "cut-throat" society is fundamentally immoral; social and economic security must now be the goal. The people must become ends, not means, not mere sources of profit. Let us give the much-vaunted ideals of unselfishness, and of service, a chance. Let us make sure that "freedom" means freedom to work, to serve our fellow men, and not freedom to exploit them.—I remain, etc.,