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The New International, June 1941


The Editor’s Comments

The TNEC Report


From New International, Vol. VII No. 5 (Whole No. 54), June 1941, pp. 102–3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


THE PUBLICATION OF THE REPORT of the Temporary National Economic Committee, more popularly known as the T.N.E.C., reveals nothing especially new about the true nature of American capitalism. It does show, however, though not with the power of a vigorous pursuit of its subject, an accentuation of long existent tendencies of native monopoly capitalism. In a study adding up to a great many volumes, we are again told that the polarization of wealth in the United States proceeds without interruption and that there is an ever-increasing concentration of economic ownership and control in the hands of the “Sixty Families”; that economic recovery for the American bourgeoisie, under the regimes of Roosevelt and his successive New Deal and War Deal, has been secured, but that none of the death-dealing contradictions of America’s social order, unemployment, etc., have been solved.

Understandably enough, the bourgeois press, organs of big business by whom it is owned or upon whom it is dependent, published enough scraps of the report to avert the charge of a conspiracy to keep from the public the indictment of the capitalist order, which is the essence of the T.N.E.C. findings. But the press did succeed in so circumventing the report that within a week the findings of the T.N.E.C. have no more life than a dodo bird.

What were some of the revelations of the report? Namely:

Examined from another point of view, it is found that those earning more than $5,000 a year make up only 8.4 per cent of all “consumer units” in the country. They saved $5,000,000,000 in 1938-39, or one and a quarter billion dollars more than 97.5 per cent of all consumer units receiving less than $5,000 a year.

T.N.E.C. continues:

“Today a state of unbalance exists, and it seems likely that under present conditions unbalance will continue and perhaps become even more pronounced ...

“The persistence of mass unemployment in the U.S.A., despite marked economic recovery and the growing emphasis of technological advance, should cause grave concern to all thoughtful persons who seek the preservation of democracy.”

With great labor our giants have given birth to a gnat! These Rooseveltian saviors of democracy can do no better since they are of a piece with the social order which they indict and whose natural, though destructive, aspects they seek to stem.

The committee understands that it cannot do anything fundamental about the conditions which it has investigated, for that would mean tampering with the foundations of capitalism – heaven forbid! At that, we are certain that the new apostles of American imperialism, Messrs. Hacker, Hook, Eastman, et al., could do no better. But perhaps the committee already knew that when they demonstrated that capitalism means deepening class relations, the increase of wealth at one pole and poverty at the other, and the impossibility of solving the existent social contradictions on the basis of capitalism.

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