What’s Work Worth? On Capitalism and John Lewis
Katie Rose Guest Pryal

Here in the UK another John Lewis is well known as the founder of a retail organisation. In 1957, speaking to the BBC about the business he spoke of the “perversion of capitalism”, saying:

“The present state of affairs is really a perversion of the proper working of capitalism. It is all wrong to have millionaires before you have ceased to have slums. Capitalism has done enormous good and suits human nature far too well to be given up as long as human nature remains the same. But the perversion has given us too unstable a society. Differences of reward must be large enough to induce people to do their best but the present differences are far too great.If we do not find some way of correcting that perversion of capitalism,our society will break down. We shall find ourselves back in some form of government without the consent of the governed, some form of police state.”


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