Ford argued that high wages were essential for economic and moral reasons. As he wrote in his autobiography:
What good is industry if it be so unskillfully managed as not to return a living to everyone concerned? No question is more important than that of wages — most of the people of the country live on wages. The scale of their living — the rate of their wages — determines the prosperity of the country. ~ Slate
It seems from my recent reading that the early 20th century was full of prominent businessmen and leaders who knew that high wages—and therefore a thriving population—were key to America’s success.
We need to re-learn this lesson.