“To the students [of Glasgow University] I address this appeal.
“Reject these attitudes.
“Reject the values and false morality that underlie these attitudes. A rat race is for rats.
“We’re not rats. We’re human beings.
“Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of promotion and self-advancement.
“This is how it starts, and before you know where you are, you’re a fully paid-up member of the rat-pack.
“The price is too high. It entails the loss of your dignity and human spirit. Or as Christ put it, “What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?”
“Profit is the sole criterion used by the establishment to evaluate economic activity.
‘From the rat race to lame ducks.’
“The vocabulary in vogue is a give-away. It’s more reminiscent of a human menagerie than human society.
“The power structures that have inevitably emerged from this approach threaten and undermine our hard-won democratic rights.
“The whole process is towards the centralisation and concentration of power in fewer and fewer hands.
“The facts are there for all who want to see.
“Giant monopoly companies and consortia dominate almost every branch of our economy.
“The men who wield effective control within these giants exercise a power over their fellow men which is frightening and is a negation of democracy.
“Government by the people for the people becomes meaningless unless it includes major economic decision-making by the people for the people. This is not simply an economic matter.
“In essence it is an ethical and moral question, for whoever takes the important economic decisions in society ipso facto determines the social priorities of that society.
“From the Olympian heights of an executive suite, in an atmosphere where your success is judged by the extent to which you can maximise profits, the overwhelming tendency must be to see people as units of production, as indices in your accountants’ books.
“To appreciate fully the inhumanity of this situation, you have to see the hurt and despair in the eyes of a man suddenly told he is redundant, without provision made for suitable alternative employment, with the prospect in the West of Scotland, if he is in his late forties or fifties, of spending the rest of his life in the Labour Exchange.
“Someone, somewhere has decided he is unwanted, unneeded, and is to be thrown on the industrial scrap heap. From the very depth of my being, I challenge the right of any man or any group of men, in business or in government, to tell a fellow human being that he or she is expendable.”
~ Jimmy Reid