This book is addressed not to citizens but to people; not to government but to society; not to lawmakers but to businessmen. It is not an indictment; it is a remonstrance. It is not an assault by a foe; but the warning of a friend. It deals with a phase of business which is, in some measure, a fruit of this new age; not anew form of dishonesty, but an old one, as old as faith itself and the betrayal of faith; as in which springs not from man’s native dishonesty but from his weakness, whenever that weakness is exposed to the lure of easy gain.
The book deals primarily with graft in business, not with dishonesty in business at all, save only as dishonesty is a by-product of graft. For graft is in its essence a profit drawn off from some perfectly legitimate business enterprise for some unnecessary service, perhaps for some service forced upon it. It is a device by which men tap the ordinary processes of production and distribution to drain away for themselves some portion of the product without giving anything in return. It is a parasitic growth which devours the substance of business. Because of the appalling cost, business recoils from old-age pensions, unemployment insurance, other just demands upon its fruits by, those who really serve business, yet submits tamely to a tax upon its earnings through the medium of graft large enough to cover several times the requirements of these essential reforms.
This is not a book of revelations. It makes no pretension to bringing to light hither to unknown facts. It aims merely. to assemble the fragmentary and known facts into a complete picture. Whatever value it may have must be derived from the light it throws upon the volume and weight of] graft which it exhibits by massing the evidence.
I have not included racketeering among the forms of graft treated here. It has been omitted, partly because of the too specious objection that? it is something for which business is not responsible. It is supposed to be a form of violence by which men not in business levy tribute upon men in business. But this is far from the whole truth.
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