WHAT'S wrong with the world is told in rather a humorous way by B. G. Newton in Printer and Publisher.
"Eminent doctors are studying this apparently modern disease called holdoffitis, symptoms of which were first noticed in 1929. As a matter of fact, it has been known to the world for centuries, but never, it appears, in such virulent form as at present.
“It is insidious in its attack. Few realize they have contracted it until the germ is well-develojied. The disease, in the early stages, attacks the mental processes. Gradually, a normally courageous, optimistic and cheerful man or woman becomes fearful, pessimistic and morose. The world seems to be becoming darker. The victim becomes apprehensive of some impending disaster. He hoards his money to the end that it may be destroyed when the disaster comes. If he is an employer he may become obsessed with a desire to make the world even darker, and hasten its doom by discharging as many employees as possible. Instead of isolating himself, the victim spreads the disease by rushing about discussing his condition with all who will listen.
“His mind becomes muddled, and clear thinking is difficult. The sick man frequently gives himself up to a mixed contemplation of Russia's Five Year Plan, war debt cancellations, gold standards—both on
and off—the Manchuria question, duty and exchange, unemployment, politics, Gandhi. Empire preference, bi-metallism, railroads, business cycle, stock markets and Eddie Cantor. His memory becomes affected, and he forgets that the world has been just as dark before; tliat the sun shines brighter after each dark season. He forgets his obligations to society.
“The plight of the victim of this strange malady eventually becomes pitiful indeed. He prefers the companionship of other victims. He hates to hear of someone doing well. He wants to argue that the world is getting worse. He refuses to buy anything he can exist without. Adopting this mental attitude himself, he expects others to do the same. He stops his advertising because he believes that advertising would be an admission that he expects to sell, which would be
wrong. By his actions, rather than by his words, he conveys to his salesmen the idea that business cannot be secured.
“The ailment will run its course, no doubt, leaving after-affects that will vary according to the victim’s powers of recuperation. Some will be left more or less crippled, some will have chronic indigestion and ulcerated stomachs, superinduced by worry. Others will appear older, with hair turned grey. Some will have less hair, and others may have no hair at all. There will come a realization that much time, much money, and a lot of good employees were lost. New organizations must be built up. Lost ground, and lost prestige, must be recovered. While recuperating, everybody will be busy, feverishly doing the very things which they should have done to ward off and prevent the malady from which they are recovering.”
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