Page 9, 14th April 1939

14th April 1939
Page 9
Page 9, 14th April 1939 — LAST WEEK'S SCRUPLE

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Discovering that he held shares in a company which did not pay a reasonable wage to its employees should John Brown sell out, even though by doing so he would lose a large sum of money?

I NOTICE that a number of our regular I subscribers to this feature are missing this week. I hope this is due to Easter and not to an uneasy conscience. Most readers who tried to solve last week's problem were agreed that John Brown need not sell his shares. A few are of the opinion that he may even overlook the company's injwitice simply because there is nothing to do about it.

F. Bridges (Liverpool) tieems to have suceeded in putting into the fewest words what others have endeavoured to show. He writes that as a shareholder John Brown has always a voice in the conduct of the company; as an exshareholder he. has none, All readers make the above point in one form or another.

James Lee (Middlesbrough) suggests canvassing other shareholders in an effort to make them " see the light" and writing to the newspapers with the same object. "If," he adds. "his scruple persists he could send a portion of his dividends to the Workmen's Sick Club, the St. Vincent de Paul or some similar philanthropic body." P. Myles (Dublin) would seem to have an easy conscience. He believes that if John Brown cannot make his influence felt at the company meetings " he need have no further scruples . . • He has done his best as an individual shareholder."

Writes M. K. (London, le.W.5): " The that at by selling out now be will help the underpaid workers is as false as when a small boy is told by his nurse that a poor child will go hungry if he wastes his food." But in guarded language he appears to believe that the shares should be sold as soon as they reach the original price which John Brown paid for them.

Mrs P. J. Virsich (Eastbourne) bases her decision that the shares should not be sold on the assumption that the company may be working (apart from this matter of underpaying its employees) on Christian principles.

Of those who insiet that John Brown must sell, W. J. PitzGerald (Birmingham) is the most interesting—certainly the most downright of the whole lot. He writes;

"John Brown should sell the shares.

" On his own showing he does not need the capital, in cash, to spend. He Is actually only spending the interest of 120 a year, so the question of affording a big los.s does not arise. "He will not actually perhaps be a loser because after all such a firm in these days may go bankrupt and he would then be glad he listened to his conscience and sold out in time.

"Whether the person who gets his shares does not possess a conscience is not any concern of John Brown. "When he sells out he will have 1200 cash to put in a bank say at 1 per cent. and his conscience will be at rest —a priceless asset."

Next is John Sutherland (Kensington, W.8): "John Brown must sell his shares, because, although he cannot increase the wages ef the employees, by selling he can henceforth live in harmony with the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church and in no way, either directly or indirectly, have a hand in 'daefrauding labourers of their Iges A firm line is also taken by Marjorie Quigley (Liverpool), who writes: " Of course, interest on the shares must be relinquished temporarily, and if

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