‘The Square Deal —Or The Oblong? -- By: William I. Fletcher

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 075:297 (Jan 1918)
Article: ‘The Square Deal —Or The Oblong?
Author: William I. Fletcher


‘The Square Deal —Or The Oblong?

William I. Fletcher

[In sending this communication, a short time before his death (June 15, 1917), the distinguished and lamented author wrote, “Twenty years ago (January, 1897) you printed an article for me on ‘The Master-Passion.’ Ever since I have been mulling over a complementary article which I have at last written out, and I now enclose it with the wish that, if it is acceptable, it might appear with a note calling attention to its predecessor.” It is needless to say that the two articles treat in a masterful way the most sensitive points in modern sociological speculation.—Editor.]

A merchant of my acquaintance heads his advertisement in the local paper with the motto “On the Square “followed by his name enclosed in a rectangular figure which, however, is not square but oblong. My first thought on seeing this was that it might seem to hint that his dealings were not as broad as they were long, — rather a sinister meaning. But as I thought a little about the vaunted “square deal” I soon saw that it falls far short of the Christian, that is the fraternal, ideal, and that the oblong figure is a much truer type of dealings which conform to that ideal, that is, of dealings in which one gives, or tries to give, more than he gets. Since Jesus, the great discoverer in morals, called attention to the unquestionable fact that “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” the men of good will in all pursuits have sought that blessedness, and have been not quite satis-

fied with their part in any transaction in which the element of giving did not exceed that of receiving. And it is quite true, though it sounds paradoxical, that in every truly honest trade or dealing both parties are gainers.

All human industry, trade, or business is merely the collecting, preparing, and distributing of the products of the earth, that is of the gifts of God with which the earth is stored; every addition to the wealth of men or of nations is drawn ultimately from that great storehouse. “God giveth the increase” in the sense that man can really add nothing to the resources available to mankind; his part it is to share in God’s work, and by various processes of separating and combining and working over, to add values for human use to the raw products of the earth; nothing is more glaringly false than the statement often made that what one gains another loses.

All gains from business must, in the last analysis, be regarded as wages for service rendered to the community, although the man in business generally fixes the rate at which he shall be paid and collects his pay from the business as it passes through his...

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