Freeman

ARTICLE

Wirk

MAY 01, 1959 by E.F. HUTTON

Mr. Hutton is the well-known industrialist, investment banker, and author of the column, “Think It Through.”

John Hartford, of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Com­pany, hung a sign on the wall of his office. It read: “Ache and Pain Dept. Wirk."

He said, “I spell ‘work’ with an ‘i’ because I’m the only one around here who wirks."

Of course, he was “sorta” joking, because the A. & P. gives jobs to 100,000 folks, and it just couldn’t become the greatest food store in the world unless they wirked.

It couldn’t have lasted and grown for 100 years without a lot of aches and pains. But they all get cured by wirk.

If Mr. Hartford had lived in Ben Franklin’s time, the old philosopher would have put him in Poor Richard’s Almanac. He’d have told young folks: “If you’d get ahead in the world, put ‘i’ in your wirk."

A young man, applying for his first job, who doesn’t ask when his pension will begin, or how many paid holi­days he’ll have, and so on, is sure to get and hold a good job.

A golden age is opening up for such young men and women. For they will have less competition than ever before!

The idea today is that you can have wealth without wirk. Just vote yourself rich!

That’s what the politicians tell us.

But unless Ben Franklin and John Hartford were com­pletely wrong, we’ll find that the output of society can’t be greater than the input of wirkers.

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

May 1959

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Unfortunately, educating people about phenomena that are counterintuitive, not-so-easy to remember, and suggest our individual lack of human control (for starters) can seem like an uphill battle in the war of ideas. So we sally forth into a kind of wilderness, an economic fairyland. We are myth busters in a world where people crave myths more than reality. Why do they so readily embrace untruth? Primarily because the immediate costs of doing so are so low and the psychic benefits are so high.
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