Reflections and Speeches

Tomas Bata

Translation by Otilia M. Kabesova


We can see him in front of us in the middle of a crowd of men with rough, determined faces and work-worn hands - in the midst of cobblers, tanners, salesmen, engineers, masons, brick-makers, road-menders, carpenters, farmers and almost all the occupations where man handles with his hands, struggles with it, kneads it and works it until he transforms it into a piece of bread for himself and a benefit for others.

We can see him, a man among men, proudly and arduously coping with the difficulties of their jobs, searching for ways and words, attacking encouraging, providing strength, enthusiasm, determination and faith.

We can see him in the midst of teachers, physicians, chemists and other intellectuals - listening intently with a hidden fire in his half-closed blue-gray eyes, and seizing the heart of the matter and people in a single sally.

And we can also see him bent over small pieces of paper, carefully, honestly and thoroughly weighing each word, playing with it, polishing it and testing its impact on the hearts and souls of people he has to win over for actions he saw and believed in himself in the first place.

There was something apostolic in the man standing astride of the ages with all the tenacity and ambition of his virile intelligence; he never sidestepped a problem but found pleasure and reward in solving it.

His faith in people and their common sense was captivating; and just as captivating by its simplicity was his way of expressing his ideas.

We consider it our duty to preserve the spiritual legacy of Tomas Bata, as it appears in his reflections and thoughts. We are convinced that we will thus set an example not only to ourselves, but also to those who, burdened by their own work and difficulties, are searching for an example to follow.

These are not academic or theoretical reflections of an economist, sociologist, philosopher or politician, allowed to use freely his phantasy and to let his thoughts and beliefs create an artificial, closed world without any responsibility whatsoever to the real world.

These are speeches of a man whose words were followed by deeds; they cannot, therefore, be separated from his work. He will, undoubtedly, be best understood by those who, while accomplishing their daily work feel that nothing living is ever finished and that life may be grasped in the infinity of gestation, birth and aspiration, exactly as it was understood and lived by Tomas Bata.


Our life is the only thing in the world we cannot consider as our private property, as we have not contributed to its generation. It was only loaned to us with the obligation to pass it on to posterity improved and augmented.

Our contemporaries, but particularly our posterity have therefore the right to demand that we render account for our life. This book should serve as such an account.

Tomas Bata

Table of Contents

Foreword (Prof. Milan Zeleny)

Introduction to English Translation of "Reflections and Speeches" (Thomas J. Bata)

The Historical Example of Thomas Bata

(Foreword to the Second Czech Edition by Antonin Cekota)

Chapter I.

My Beginnings: On My Own - My Adolescent Dream About Gentlemen - How I Became Friend with Machines - How I Became Entrepreneur - The Time of Searching - How Was the First Military Order Received in Zlin - How Tomas Bata Perceived the Problem of 1918 - Enthusiasm - Collaborators - Heat - Bad Times -Factory Lunches - To My Collaborators! - To Our Public - Friends! - The Road to Improvement - The Speech of the Boss to the Participants of a Competition in Cutting on September 17, 1922 - Collaborators! - Holidays - The Profit Sharing of Workers - Autonomy of the Workshops

Chapter II.

The Organizer: Awakened Forces - The Fundaments of Self-Management - Obstacles to Self-Management - Education to Affluence - Parents and Children - Business and Confidence - Open Accounting - Self-Management of the Workshops -Self-Management in Practice - Management of the Enterprise - Planned Economy - Planning - Education to Leadership - A Perfect Machine - Concentration - Our Dining Room - Labor Regulations - Study of Mathematics

Chapter III.

The Industrial Manager: Freedom of Trade - What do I Wish to Our Business? -Technical and Organizational Progress in the Production - Obstacles to Progress in Production - Cheating in Business - Bata's Views on Transportation - Why to Spend 10 Billion Crowns on Road Construction? - Transportation, Roads and People - My Economic Philosophy - Friendship in Holland and in Our Country

Chapter IV.

The Educator: The Object of Schools - The Purpose of Education - Training in Economic Management - School and Family - Remarks on School Reform - Savings-Management - Property and Knowledge - Speech to Engineering Apprentices - The Evening Business School - The Business School - Construction, Education, Housing - The School for Young Men - New Education - To Young Men About to Choose Their Career - Young Men! - The Road to Honor, Power and Wealth -Personal Discipline and Improvement - How to Become an International Entrepreneur - Let us Learn from the Best - Sense of Enterprising and Work - Health and Peace Through Self-Discipline

Chapter V.

The Citizen: Communal Elections in Zlin in 1923 - Our Enterprise and the Town of Zlin - Friends! - Our Work Program - Greater Zlin - The Municipal Elections of 1927 - More Confidence - Cooperation Between Industry and Agriculture - Our Needs and Agriculture - The New Agricultural Production - New Thinking - Our New Work Program - The Growth of Business and Crafts in Zlin - The Trade Question - The Zlin of Old - Citizens - Why a Greater Zlin? - My Goal - How I Look at Our Municipal Government

Chapter VI.

The Statesman: Public Accounting - The Land Budget and Investments - Project of the Organization of Land Finances - My Donation for the Acquisition of Telephones - Why Do I Oppose a Land Loan Issue for 250 Million Kc - The Main Problems of Land Economic Management - The Value of Civic Honor - The Regulation of the Management of Moravian Waterways - Moravians! - Project

Chapter VII.

The Pioneer: The First Trip to India in 1925 - From Holland - America-Europe -The Flight to India in 1931 - The First Day of the Airtrip - Aviation and Human Interdependence - Christmas over the Desert - The Future of the Desert - The Journey from Egypt to Palestine - From Bushire to Beludshistan - Fleeing a Storm - Taurus - From the Indian Notebook - After Return

Chapter VIII.

The Collaborator: Labor Day Holiday - Labor Day Speeches, 1924-1932: Collaborators! - Friends! - Friends and Collaborators - My Collaborators-Our Dear Guests - The Guilt is Primarily Mine - Friends! - My Collaborators, Our Dear Guests -Friends and Collaborators - The Last Labor Day of Tomas Bata - The English Way in Comparison With Our - Financial Reconstruction of Banks - Enough Money But Little Trust - Correspondence - Leaving the Job-Failure at Work-Firing - Defender - New Production Trends - The Falsified Certificate of Proficiency -My Reply - The Anti-Bata Congress of Shoemakers in Brno - To the National Shoemakers' Congress in Prague - My Recollections - Open Letter

Chapter IX.

The Man: My Relationship to Work - Bata and Edison - Funeral Observance for Thomas Alva Edison in Zlin - The Duties of Leaders - The Method of Justice -Americanism - Cold - Mountains - Heroism - Machines and People - Problems with Using Machines - The Successor Problem - The Last Message - The Forest Cemetery in Zlin - The Personality of Tomas Bata and His Family - The Batas-Shoemakers for 300 Years - The Work Continues

My Beginnings

My first skill which I remember was a prayer. My pious mother taught me the "Our Father" very early, together with "Hail Mary" and "I Believe in God". I often had to demonstrate my arts to visitors and it rarely happened that I would not receive a kreuzer for my efforts.

When I was six, I started making shoes from worthless leather cuttings, stretching them over that lasts of my own making. From such cuttings one could produce shoes about as big a thumb, but they were shoes nevertheless and they were in demand by the admirers of the youthful "entrepreneurship".

One pair of such shoes required a full day of diligent work. Their price fluctuated between 4 to 10 kreuzers. This was a pretty good reward if we consider that the value of four kreuzers was a "fourther" - a coin from pure copper of the size of today's crown. The value of 10 kreuzers represented a "sixer" - made of pure silver, of the size of today's twenty-heller.

Before the Easter holidays, together with the other boys from our area, I took part in the collective enterprise called "rattling".

We elected our "boss". Those who did not come on time were given a mark. One mark represented a penalty of one kreuzer.

I did not want to get a mark. For the morning rattling my brother and I used to wake up at four o'clock, but rarely did we manage to catch up with the boys at our gathering place. So, there was always plenty of "marks".

Each day I added up our treasurer's income and before starting the division I had all the earnings added and multiplied and the total divided by the number of rattlers. However, the "boss" and his treasurers arrived at a different count.

According to their count, everybody should have barely a half of what was due.

Bitterness, anger and even revolt which such injustices inspired in me cannot be measured.

I asked my father for help, but he declared that this is how the world works and he preferred to pay his money for the losses I suffered. He shared only in my sorrow over the human wickedness. At that time I already became distrustful of cooperatives.

When I was allowed to go to fairs, the circle of my enterprises started to widen considerably.

At the beginning I provided only assorted services to the merchants: helping them in and out of their boots, carrying their shoes - that sort of thing. Such services were paid mostly in the form of "drink money". My rewards started at zero and ended at about two kreuzers level.

All such earnings I saved at the post office. The money was deposited in the following way: one bought postage stamps for five kreuzers each and pasted them on a card. When there was ten stamps on the card, the postmaster entered the deposit in the saving book.

Antonin Bata, Tomas Bata's father, * 1.8. 1844 in Zlin - † 5.9. 1905

When I was ten, my mother died. With her I lost not only the solicitous mother's care, but that of my father's as well. Two years later we moved from Zlin to Uherske Hradiste.

My father was born entrepreneur. He was attracted to everything demanding courage - but he lacked persistence. The first obstacle he encountered spoiled his appetite for the old and instilled his hope for some new project.

My father was a smoker and he used to meet with his neighbors in the tavern. In those days sitting in the pub and smoking were inseparably associated with the concept of manliness. Yet, he always cautioned us to avoid the weakness of smoking. Because he knew that words were to weak to keep human wants under control, he guided our education with great ingenuity by deeds, work and enterprising. First he gave us the opportunity or he showed us how to make money - then he allowed us to keep our earnings. In this way he suppressed the intensity of our desires and taught us the tending of capital.

Both my and brother's life were closely interconnected with our father's business. When business was good we had enough to eat, when it went badly- there was hunger.

At twelve I understood quite clearly what had to be done in order to avoid hunger. At fourteen I had the whole sales part in my own hands: it meant that I already held the hunger firmly by its horns.

I completed the four-year public school in Zlin. At the beginning of my fifth year we moved with our parent to Uherske Hradiste and I entered the German school there: there was none other. Only few pupils actually knew German - I did not know any. The classes in Zlin were in Czech. My school attendance was poor because I was needed for watching.

I neglected the first two month of school and that of course detracted from my further schooling because I missed the beginning. In spite of everything, my older brother Antonin managed to get very good grades at this school.

In Uherske Hradiste I did not learn anything and the little I brought with me from Zlin - I almost entirely forgot.

Our father did respect education, but it was often necessary to put business before school. There were no books or newspapers at our home, with the exception of farmer's almanac which was needed around because of the county fairs. Businessmen then considered books and newspapers a luxury, suitable perhaps for the gentlemen.

When I reached fourteen, I dropped out of the school and entered the apprenticeship at my father's. At this time I also met with my first book which contained something else than the almanacs.

One day the son of our journeyman Sirocka brought us "The Pictorial History of the Czech Nation".

Although I liked books, the best school of my life was my employment. My father could expand the shop very soon because I managed to sell our products at fairs in surrounding towns. Now we started to have plenty of everything and most of all money.

My father bought the raw material on credit from Koditsch & Co. in Vienna. The money he took in he deposited in silver guldens in our armoire. My self-confidence grew together with my success at work. One day I determined that I am not sufficiently recognized: the journeymen did not want to unlearn their boxing of my years and even father was not appreciative of my work. I decided to stand up on my own feet.

I asked my father to pay me the dowry of 200 guldens, inherited from my mother, which he had arranged to redeem from the orphan's trust when we ran into some very bad times. But my father wisely ignored my request. So I left without money. I settled down in Vienna where my sister Anna worked as a servant at the time. She contributed thirty guldens to my "small capital", I supplied the élan of my youth and I started on my own. I set up a small workshop at my relatives in Döbling.

I started with mikado-shoes. That was my misfortune. My father started producing this kind of footwear shortly before my departure with big hopes for the future but without any experience. I took over both his hopes and his ignorance and in addition started the business from the wrong end. Instead of selling a part of produced goods first and then continued with the production, I sinked my entire capital into the first production.

I did not know the language and I did not know the market. Finished goods I could not sell because they did not satisfy the requirements of the market. Fortunately, my father was out looking for me. He needed me. My cousin explained that I cannot work without a "card" and that police had already inquired about me: I have to go to Hradiste to apply for my trade permit. So I went back to Hradiste and there I remained.

After coming back to my father I took charge of the sales again. But I did not like the selling at fairs anymore. I saw too many disadvantages in it. So I listened very carefully when market men talked about delivering their goods to Prague. I brought a map and found the location of Prague.

When my father gathered from my talk that I do know how to read a map and railway schedule, he allowed me to take a journey and gave me 50 guldens. During my travels I lived on rolls and slept in waiting rooms. Besides other deficiencies the ignorance of writing bothered me most. I did know how to write but I had to admit that nobody could read what I wrote. I was ashamed to give merchants copies of such contracts. There were many other things that I had to be ashamed of.

It was above all my handwriting and grammar, untidy clothing, ignorance of manners in better society and finally my age of sixteen. Sometimes the merchants would look me over and considered it an offense to their trade when such a smudgy - faced boy like me has ranked himself among the travelling salesmen. They often endeavored and succeeded in taking my courage away.

In other persons - and these were apparently the friends of youth entrepreneurship - my young age produced enthusiasm. They were enthusiastic about seeing a young Moravian coming to offer them a business contact. Altogether I spent fourteen days travelling, I brought home a large number of orders and from the 50 guldens brought back home full 35 guldens.

The discovery of Prague and the new way of selling were for our business the same as the discovery of America was for Spain.

Now it really started. Now it was possible to keep expanding our production beyond limits because the new way of marketing was not bound in space. My father saw himself approaching closer to his dreams and his dreams used to be daring even if his pockets were empty. I remember one incident which happened when we were still poor and which even today afford me the insight into the character and plans of my father.

It was at the fair in Hradiste. My father was standing in the circle of fellow shoemakers and said, pointing at the smoke-stack of Mayo's sugar works: "My boys shall one day have a smoke-stack just like that."

The fair was bad and nobody had any groschen in their pockets. Everybody was secretly wishing to hear: "Let's go and have something to warm up." But when it happened it turned out to be too much for their numbed bodies and sunken minds. This was actually a blasphemy to our collective misery.

Shoemakers drew closely around my father and started cursing him and ridiculing him. I was afraid for him and even angry with him and imprudent utterances. But my father did not give in and the growling shoemakers dispersed back to their stands.

In those days there were not yet as many smoke-stacks as there are today. In the region known to our marketmen there were only two: in Hradiste and in Napajedla. The one in Hradiste belonged to the Mayos, rich and lofty Jews, and the other one belonged to Count Baltazzi.1) It was unheard of that some ordinary person of the Czech (or as we used to say Moravian) origin would ever dared to aspire to something like that. That's why the shoemakers were so upset and could not forget and forgive my father for many fairs to come.

1) Aristide Baltazzi (1853-1914) was an excellent horseman and horse-breeder. He married Maria Theresa, Countess of Stockau, and through her he came into possession of the famous Napajedla stud, which he made known the world over.

Anna, Tomas and Antonin Batas, the founders of Bata Enterprises

On My Own

In the year 1894 we parted with my father's business forever: that is I, my brother and my sister Anna. Our father now paid out mother's dowry with interest and without hesitation. For all three of us it amounted to about 800 guldens.2)

2)A monetary unit, from Dutch guilder or golden (florin), in Czech "zlatka" or "zlaty", meaning "golden" or "piece of gold".

His generous act required courage. It is not easy to lose both able partners and a good deal of the capital, all at once. But our father never was short of pride, courage and the desire to do good for his children.

In 1894, my brother Antonin registered in his name a shoemaking business in Zlin. According to trade law I was registered as his journeyman. But there was a quiet understanding that all results will divided equally between the three of us.

Our independent entrepreneurship was motivated by our desire for better life. We started a modem business. We established precise working hours from 6 in the morning till 6 in the evening, with a one-hour lunch break at noon. We introduced wage payments on a weekly basis, for us and our journeymen; this was then considered infeasible for small businesses.

In those days it was customary that wages were paid to journeymen only as the sales money were taken in. There was no fixed and regular working day. One usually worked from daybreak until about 10 o'clock at night and on Saturdays or before fairs until the next morning. At the same time the "Blue Monday" was honored until the next work itself too seriously.

The young people between 18-20 years of age do not usually need much money in order to feel rich and we have enjoyed our riches to the fullest.

Although we did keep our promise not to smoke or drink, as we pledged to our father, we did use up our freedom by wasting our time. We have cultivated numerous contacts with "better" society and were ashamed for our work.

Equipment and material was bought on installments, via six-month bill of exchange which was usually extended when payable.

One year after we invented our "better life", our creditors started to grow increasing by weary of further extending our bills and thus perpetuating our business glory: they emphatically demanded their own. My brother was about to enter his military service and considered it inevitable that our business should fall apart and we should declare bankruptcy.

Our one-year independence thus ended with the loss of the entire invested capital of 800 guldens, besides that we also managed to squander about 8000 guldens of our creditor's money. It did sound impossible but it was true.

Until that time I have never burdened my brain by thinking about what is bankruptcy. Even subconsciously I was laughing at slogans like "The debts don't get wet" and such; suddenly I was staring the bankruptcy in the eyes and my hair started to bristle. I saw that bankruptcy is actually death and I wanted to live. My longing for physical existence was equally strong as my opposition to moral death. The penalty which I imposed on my body and life took the form of labor and self-denial to repay for the flightiness of the first year of our independence: it was my guarantee that never again would anything like that happen in my life.

There was no bankruptcy. Our creditors, when they saw my transformation, did not insist on immediate debt repayment and some of them have remained my friends until this very day. I managed to repay all our debts within two years, at no detriment to creditors whatsoever.

During the years 1922 and 1923, after the revaluation of the crown, there was time of general declarations of debt settlements in our republic. Some innocent establishments fell into the settlements, but of course some others took advantage of the seemly opportunity. Business ethics and mutual trust started to decline rather rapidly. Even the best did not appear to be good enough.

At that time I found it useful to explain my views on bankruptcy as follows:

Our enemies are broadcasting that we are bankrupt. My associates walk around me fearful for their jobs and incomes. Our customers look at their shoes and search their conscience whether it was not precisely that hundred they just saved on their price which caused the disaster invented by our competitors and spread around by unfriendly press. I must tell my workers and customers the truth because I do want them to believe me again next time. Our slanderers were incorrect when they wrote about my riches. I do not possess my wealth. I only have shoes for my customers. That's the same kind of possession as telescope represents for an astronomer or violin for a musician. Without it I could not give my workers work and my customers the shoes. I would then be about as useful to the world as a musician without his instrument.

That I am not a bankrupt you can realize very easily because you know that a bankrupt wants his creditors to forgive him and they would not forgive him if he would keep insisting that he was not bankrupt.

It is more difficult to convince you that I cannot ever be a bankrupt. These are the reasons: First, I come from the old world when people still believed that bankruptcy was dishonorable deed, especially so when a bankrupt ended up better off and his creditors worse off. Second, I already learned during my adolescence how to overcome bankruptcies.

When I was 18 I took part in founding today's establishment under the name of my elder brother and with participation of my sister with total capital 800 guldens. We considered ourself to be rich. We did not lack neither time nor money for our pleasures. But within a year we lack the money to pay our debts and for goods. Futile distrainments only disclosed no assets and the books showed numerous unpaid bills of exchange. At that time my brother started his three-year military service, when I recognized that a balance sheet deficit does not yet imply bankruptcy. In assessing the assets, businessman rarely takes into account his energy, diligence and business talent - yet, these are his greatest assets.

But I did not possess even these assets. I was brought up in bourgeois town and I used to look down on physical work as something undignified. I did not know of any other kind of work. Yet, I did not go bankrupt. The shame I felt for the bankruptcy of my brother's establishment, for which I shared the responsibility, taught me to work and save both time and money. With my own labor I overcame the bankruptcy and paid off my creditors in full. Thus I came to the conviction that bankruptcy is a question of morals. As to the rest, I am sure that many of you remember the story well.

There are also bankruptcies caused by misfortune, there are even bankrupts who do not wish to survive their shame. But neither these nor the light-minded, well fed and happy bankrupts represent any guarantee for the creditors. To creditor, the only guarantee is a businessman willing to pledge to his creditors not only all of his visible possessions, but willing to give himself in the form of work performed perhaps to the collapse.

On such human virtues stand large enterprises, big banks and empires. Germans call it "Geschäftstreue" (business trust) and Schiller wrote a great poem about it: "Die Burgschaft" (guarantee).

I do not wish to dissuade you from withdrawing your savings from the company savings bank. I just want to tell you that before you entrust your savings to the big palaces you should take a good look at how high are the moral values of people who work in them.

My neighbors, the shoemakers in Zlin, found themselves often in the similar situation as I did, the difference was that for many of them bankruptcy led to their physical death. In the worst predicament of all of us was actually my uncle Frantisek Bata. He was the first shoemaker I robbed of his independence. I visited him just before establishing our own independence. He lied in his bed, buried in the straw. All his clothing was stacked upon him and even though it was early in the afternoon his little chamber was in almost total darkness: his window was covered with something to prevent drafts. It was very cold.

I looked around for some fuel and food. But near the small and rusty iron stove was nothing suitable for fire.

Obviously he had not made any fire for a long time. On the bed there was a chunk of very hard bread, gnawed and nibbled over a on all sides. My uncle finally freed his head from the rags and tatters in order to see the visitor: he recognized me immediately. When I asked if he was sick, he insisted that he just caught a bit of cold. He was very much at a loss. He apologized about the looks of his home.

I told him that I would send something to eat, but he refused. He pointed to the piece of bread and said he still has four guldens "for the hides" and that he will be able to sell something again. He was proud and would rather die than ask for a bite to eat. But he was not a good craftsman, not even a mediocre one.

One could see that at fairs when he was among the others. On his pole he had at best four pairs of small shoes and he was happy when he sold two pairs and took in three guldens. My uncle was very slow but he was not lazy. Even this hibernation in bed served its purpose: it was February and there were no prospects for business.

There were of course many people like my uncle in the area: hiding in bed during the times of worse prospects, avoiding the expenditures for fuel, light, clothing and partly even for food. Those who did not put up the light through the entire winter, arguing that they did not earn enough for that, they were many.

My uncle was very hard-working and persevering but nobody in the area was looking for such rare virtues. There was not yet today's dead-end local railway in our area.

I taught him how to sew children's babouches. He made 20 pairs a week. Even such modest but permanent and regular income helped him back to health, even his threatening cough went away. Moss caulking disappeared from the window, the chamber air was fresh, there was a fire regularly flickering in the stove and a clean sheet appeared on a made-up bed.

My Adolescent Dream About Gentlemen

When i finished the four-year local school and started the apprenticeship at my father's shop, it was clear to me that human society is divided into two kinds of people: gentlemen and non-gentlemen.

Such classifying into gentlemen and non-gentlemen is taking place already among the schoolchildren. Those who went on to high school were young masters and those who went into apprenticeship were condemned among non-gentlemen for all times to come.

The life of students had to resemble the life of future gentlemen and so it was quite natural that students went for their walks with professors right after four. This was recognized by their parents and even by their brothers who performed necessary manual tasks for them so that they could continue their walks. We apprentices, both in crafts and in business, we had to work long into the night.

I myself have decided to become an apprentice. But I also wanted to be a gentleman or at least to become one and gain my entry into better and cleaner rooms, among the "better" people. So I tried to mingle with the students and for that purpose I had to undergo such flights and troubles that it is impossible to count or describe them.

When I learned my gentleman's speech by reading books during my noon and evening breaks and procured my gentleman's clothes, I was ready to approach the small groups of the noble society of students. I soon noticed that citizen ropemaker's son - also apprentice - was watching me very attentively. He was the only apprentice who managed to stay with the students.

For many occasions I listened adoringly to their gentlemanly talks, looking for an opportunity to show that I too knew how to talk nicely and a form coherent sentences. There was this talk about whether to return home from an outing or whether to continue a bit further. Grasping unhesitantly such a rare moment, I remarked that it would be better to go home because a storm seems to be gathering its forces. The ropemaker, disguised as a student, reminded me that they knew better what to do than a cobbler's apprentice. That was a blow. It's hard to remember what happened after that. I know only that all of us turned silent and that in the later years I regretted not giving the ropemaker a good hiding, even though in those days roughness and combativeness of youth was yet recognized.

Although my father was glad to see me in the society of gentlemen, he did not tolerate my high-society whims during the working days. After finishing my apprenticeship at 18 I become convinced that I was ripe for independence. I moved both my elder brother and even still elder sister to form a company so that we could all become manufacturers and masters. My father realized dowry. He reminded us and especially me, that I was taking also experience and business knowledge acquired during my travels undertaken for his money. He did not want to profit from it, he just wanted to indicate that I should not underestimate the dowry which comes from him. He was right.

With choosing the place where to settle we did not have too many headaches. It was a matter of sentiments. We decided for Zlin because that's where we were born: we ignored its remoteness from a railroad or even from a larger trading town; it provided absolutely no conditions for our trade.

Our Business was registered in the name of my brother Antonin in Zlin. I was still under the age of 18. According to law I became my brother's journeyman. We rented two small rooms and soon filled them up with machines and material, all about, of course, without money: machines on installments, material for bills of exchange. Production was factory-like right from the beginning. It did not bother us at all that our factory had only two windows. We decided our working day from 6 in the morning till 7 in the evening, with one hour break at noon. In Hradiste we started at daybreak and labored until the bedtime, at about 10 p. m. We did not provide meals for our workers. Our payday was regularly on Saturdays, not as it was then customary in business to settle worker accounts in the spring and in the fall, but mainly during separation. That proved to be a reasonable measure: it was copied after the factory shops where I used to work sometimes as a worker, trying to learn about the usefulness of some machines on behalf of my father.

Things were more difficult with the work we set for ourselves. We did went to work also at 6 in the morning (also in winter), alternately each of us one day. But it did not help our work because we were ashamed of it. Now, as an independent, I could show off my knowledge of the better society and its demands. We actually went to work in our Sunday clothes, played an afternoon hour of billiards in the cafe and then went for a small glass of beer among the better people. During the day I argued with my brother about who should do the gentleman work and who the non-gentleman work. Consequently, neither kind of work was done, except the signing of bills of exchange which my brother, as a firm owner or chef, actually signed with great ceremony and ostentation.

So it went, from fall until next spring. In the spring, the only change in our occupation was that my brother stopped signing any new bills because there was no credit. Instead he started signing extensions of their maturity because there were no money to pay them off. At the end of the summer our creditors lost their customary respect of a supplier to his customer. They commenced to threaten us with law suits. The suits soon came, together with distrainments. I actually had to pledge all our goods, i. e. all our possessions, to the credit bank in Prerov. With the 800 guldens I paid off our worst creditors who were already pulling us down into poverty and humiliation.

Oh, those black capitalists souls, oh, the unjustice of this world. We worked at least as much as all the other masters and even more, because we started at 6 while the gentlemen arrived at 8 or even at 9; we certainly spent the least. In the pub we often ordered only the small beer: they actually laughed at us and the innkeeper became suspicious. We did not smoke. Still, we were just about to be expelled from the society of gentlemen, we were supposed to stop being industrialists.

At that time my brother was entering his three-year military service. When we realized that there were still about 8000 guldens worth of our bills in circulation, several thousand guldens of non-convertible debts, and assets of only about 1000 guldens, my brother told me to declare bankruptcy and left. When we failed to pay additional bills the gates of hell have arched over me. All, people and creditors especially started to carry out justice. They told me quite openly what they thought of us for a long time, when we were still gentlemen. It became obvious that they were very concerned about whether I understand them fully. Into their educational work they put even more effort than the teachers who priests who used to teach me morals at school, and more energy than the teachers who taught me long division or how to find Silesia on a map. Ever so slowly I started to see that these black capitalistic souls were right and that the life of a gentleman was unfit for a man who did not somehow secure safe access to the state or local treasury.

I stopped going to the society of gentlemen, that is to restaurants and cafes, and thus I gained some time to think more about life. I started to calculate how much I could earn if I devoted every moment to work, including even the despised worker's labor - the ungentlemanly one.

As a piece of ice does not melt at once, even if thrown into the greatest heat, so my desire to resemble gentlemen was not overcome all at once. Therefore, at first, I placed my cobbler's stool so that nobody could see me working but I could see easily all comers. Nobody was supposed to see how low I sank. But that was for a short while only. Very soon the work conquered my entire person. All blessings of all my life have started on that day. I came to understand the foolishness of mimicking the lazy people, masters or non-masters alike. In work I started to discover more and more grace and inner satisfaction.

Through performing all worker's jobs I discovered new roads to material savings and worker task simplification. Now I did not mind the lack of money or credit. I was selling my finished goods in Vienna to those who paid cash on delivery - of course, for the prices dictated by them. I showed the order to the supplier of raw materials and asked for a week-long credit against the bill. They laughed, but they did try me with small amounts. I carried the hides on my back from the midnight train at the Otrokovice station to Zlin (10 kilometres). During the night, one worker and I have cut the hides up and issued them to workers in the morning. Workers then worked days and nights until completing the whole task. Then the workers slept and I journeyed through the night to deliver the goods and bring new material and money for the wages.

Sometimes I gave the creditors or paid for the hides more money and there was not enough left workers. In such cases they got only retainers for bread. But even of the bread they often needed more than they had money for. Those who had some credit often voluntarily gave up their retainers for the sake of their even poorer colleagues. But even when the pile on the table shrank to mere sixers, which I wanted to salvage for my own household and for my sister, somebody even hungrier showed up I could not resist those begging eyes rivetted to the remaining sixers. My sister did cry some, that there was no bread in the house for more than a week, and no credit too, because we forgot to pay the baker several times. So I worked, in the midst of volleys from dissatisfied creditors and dispite my considerable and frequent payments.

Jewish creditors were much calmer. They were probably quite well informed by their co-believers from Zlin. They knew already that one cannot achieve anything through execution; they obviously also learned that I pay my debts with something nobody could distrain - that I pay my debts with my blood.

During the Christmas holidays we needed more money for our workers. I travelled all over Austria in order to collect money for the delivered goods from our smaller customers. It was wet and I went almost barefoot. I wrote to my sister that I would like to have leather shoes made for Christmas. We did not yet make leather shoes at that time. When I was approaching Zlin, actually running because my shoes had no soles and it was bitterly cold, I was passing people going to the morning service.

I did not sleep for the whole week, except perhaps somewhere on a bench in a III-class train. So I woke up quite late and my sister was already at church service. Beside the bed I found my new shoes. I joyfully put them on, ready to go to the tavern, among the gentlemen again, for the first time after a very long period. But alas! As soon as I took my cue-stick to play some billiards, there was this shoemaker from the other, non-gentleman room and he started rather obviously looking my shoes over. "And who is going to pay for them shoes here, you gentleman-beggar?" shouted the cobbler, pointing to my shoes and looking around the gathered society of gentlemen.

Such a trashing could not remain without its good effects. Never again did I ever put on a piece of wear without first convincing myself that it was already paid in full.

It was also apparent that people were quite sure that my education was not yet complete and that it required their continued effort and care.

At the year's end I took my inventory. I wrote up carefully and even over carefully all my possessions and debts. A teacher from an industrial institute kindly and clearly arranged the inventory according to the book-keeping rules. The inventory was not absolutely necessary because I carried every little cutting, every little debt and the overall state all in my head. Nevertheless, it was useful and beneficial because all those various and scattered numbers finally received their totals.

It turned out that my assets were now almost equal my liabilities. It was no surprise to me, but it was a big surprise for those who needed a proof of my little miracle. But it was neither miracle nor a good luck. It was the result of my new ability to utilize time properly. Better utilization of time allowed quicker turnover, quick turnover facilitated cash payments and ready cash brought cheaper buying.

I was ahead of my learned and educated competitors in all areas. I bought my own material, I cut it and I clipped it, I distributed it among the workers, I myself inspected and accepted each and every pair, I paid my workers and I did all the booking and accounting: all with the greatest speed and at considerable savings of time, material and money. My skills reached such proficiency that during a single Saturday I was able to take care of 100 workers for the whole week: evaluate quality of their work, count their product pair by pair, issue new work for the coming week, record the accepted and issued work for each worker separately, into their own work-books, calculate and pay their wages and account and record all the customer-supplier affairs normally related to production or sales. As a result, I was able to devote the entire week, except Saturday, to work.

The books showed that my assets were still a little less than nothing, but I already felt like rich and independent entrepreneur. I knew that it was only a matter of a short while before all my creditor troubles stop and I would have the right to stand up to anybody.

In the middle of 1896 I stood close to that long-yearned-for goal. One day there was a message about the bankruptcy of Koditsch & Co. in Vienna. On the first day, I did not pay much attention, but felt rather sorry for my father, knowing how carelessly he signed bills to that firm, as we, i. e., my brother, also did only a year ago.

My affairs with Koditsch were all in order and when my brother told me once that the company was asking us to sign some bills, with the assurances that, as always, they would pay them out to themselves, I forbade him to sign anything. Besides, my brother knew that we do not buy from that firm any more.

The next day I received a despairing letter from my brother: in spite of my explicit orders, he was not able to resist the urgings of one of the firm's partners, who recited to him all the kind deeds his firm extended to our father and to us; besides, he assured him, Mr. Tomas, that is I, will never have to know about the signed bills. He signed for about 20 000 guldens of such bills. In fear I turned towards the door, to assure myself that executors are not yet entering. I dashed to the corridor, grabbed my bicycle and started towards Uherske Hradiste.

Startled looks of passers by reminded me that I was riding without any head-cover. Because in those days such thing was considered a sign of definite madness, I returned back for my hat.

In Uherske Hradiste I spoke with dr. Konecny who appreciated my entire tragedy with his whole heart. Without supper and without light we sat, talking late into the night. I left for Vienna the same night having reached full understanding that I had to pay.

The fact that I received no countervalue did not matter at all. It might have been relevant in dealing with Koditsch Co. directly, but it was of no use against those who the Koditsch's bills actually purchased. These must be paid first and then the money sought directly from the bankrupt Koditsch. There was of course a service as invalid, on the paragraph which declared all bills signed by a soldier in active service as invalid; on the other hand, the business was under brother's name.

In Vienna I promised to pay brother's obligations to all creditors of Koditsch Co. The amounts involved were many times higher than my earned, small and still young capital.

I worked my way out of this crisis relatively soon. Although the deficit between assets and liabilities was larger than in the first crisis, larger moral values were also present. My trust in work and the trust of suppliers customers and employees in me.

Yet, this crisis did bring about moral harm to our family: it caused the bankruptcy of my father. I was not able to save him. Only in later years I was able to pay creditors damages caused by father's bankruptcy, to the extent I was able to find them and validate their claims.

How I Became Friend With Machines

One day I realized that I would not be able to fulfill a delivery contract, namely the contract we had with a well known firm H. H. in Vienna. With this company we closed contract on delivering summer canvas shoes with leather soles which until then were not being produced in our lands.

I overestimated my educational abilities. I thought that I would be able to teach the hand production of tack and "turned over" shoes much larger number of workers than I actually managed within such short time period.

My name was again in danger, this time in connection with the reliability and fulfillment of our delivery agreements. Only something extraordinary could help here. Machines? Between me and machines was a large gaping abyss. I used to read Tolstoy's books proclaiming return to simple and primitive life and I became one of his worshippers. In my ears also ringed the words of my business neighbors who talked about machines in the same way as Austrian general staff discussed enemy armies.

I did not have time for philosophizing. The issue was timely fulfillment of accepted obligations and any help was to be considered, wherever it came from.

Cutting of bottom parts was difficult work and I resolved to buy a book-binding press and try to use it for punching out the sections. It did not work. It was necessary to redesign it as a whole.

This was a huge undertaking. Because of meager technical experience, inadequate knowledge and isolation of our lands, it required more energy than building our new power station.

But the success was considerable and my animosity towards machines was seriously rent. The biggest problem was production of bottoms and it still remained unresolved. I journeyed to Prague to see Mr. Vrana, shoemaker in Vinohrady and publisher of "Obuvnicke listy", asking for his advice on shoemaking, but now they were looking for manual shoemakers again and the use of machines was on the decline.

I came to Prague in light, canvas shoes and luster clothes, without a bag. Disregarding the discouraging reply of Mr. Vrana, I left directly for Frankfurt a. M. Some company wrote us from Frankfurt about their shoemaking machines. I left their address at home, but the policeman in Frankfurt obviously knew about the shoemaking machinery more than all of us together and he sent me to Moenus A. G. I was hardly able to gather sufficient courage and enter the representative palaces of the rich companies of Frankfurt, in my poor clothes and with even poorer knowledge of German language.

I was amazed. I was looking only for punching and sewing machines about which I did hear, and suddenly I became transported in the midst of an empire of incredible variety of machines. I saw machines designed for performing all shoe-making tasks, no matter how small. But alas! All these machines were steam-driven only and I did not have a steam engine nor could I dare to even think about acquiring one. Also the prices of these machines were well beyond my means.

I therefore bought only some hand tools: ingeniously constructed pliers, cutters and magnetic hammer. My head was on fire during the entire trip back home.

I was not worried about fulfilling my obligations anymore. They suddenly became quite petty alongside these giants of steel, capable of performing a hundred times, or even thousand times more than all my obligations altogether. I was fully satisfied with discovering the sources of enormous power, even though unavailable to me at that time.

My head was burning from confronting my views on human society, the view of life derived from the vantage point of my twenty years and from the books of Tolstoy, poems of Svatopluk Cech (his "The Blacksmith of Lesetin" and "Songs of the Slave" I knew by heart) and all our literature about Czech Brethren; the view learned also from listening to people around me.

I was a collectivist and even something like a communist, but a socialist I was for sure.

The contemporary capitalist society I considered to be good only for bad people, like vampires and idlers. I dreamt about the simple life of Tolstoy. As soon as I pay off my (i. e., my brother's) debts and manage to earn a bit more, then I'd buy a small farm and I'd sow only enough to maintain myself and my family.

Cities exist only to enslave farmers and factories exist only to enslave workers; merchants exist to live as parasites from the work of others.

If I should need a spade or tools, they would be produced in a socialist factory, as described by Zola in his "Work".

But from the window of my train, I saw the Rhineland and its factories - and some of them were making shoes.

One could see nice human dwellings and strong, healthy and well-clothed people. The steamers on the Rhine were tugging multitude of large ships and I was busy calculating how large were the inventories of human necessities stored within them - and all that for all those people here. I guessed already where all this wealth and affluence came from. There, from those giants of steel, who on human command can produce anything necessary for human life. There, on the Rhine, the ships were taking to the sea the surplus products of those people, to be traded overseas for goods which they still lack; and these are stored in those ships over there, coming slowly down the Rhine in long lines. And in my feverish head there was being erected the smokestack prophesized by my father and I stood in the midst of these giants of steel, ordering them to work, calling: "Work, work!"

Right away there was the socialist in me. He chased away the image of factory owner and called me names of vampires and slavers. No! I will not become the hated capitalist! I will not, I kept reassuring myself, as soon as I have earned a little to buy a small farm.

The socialist was driven out of me by my uncle Bata, Vlcek and many workers whom I often visited and saw how that regular even if small income did improve their lives.

These people often looked at me with fearful eyes, whenever they heard some doubts about Bata's ability to survive: as if their lives and not mine were at risk.

Is it permissible to abandon such people? What are they going to do in the meantime, before that collectivism or some socialist order comes?

How I Became Entrepreneur

At home I found numerous prospects of Keats A. S. I correctly sensed that in that vast empire of enormous machine might there will be some appropriate dwarf who will save me. I found him in the Keats catalog. It was a punching apparatus which increased workers productivity many times over and assured the fulfillment of orders on time.

I myself had learned to control the steel dwarfs perfectly and I also taught the others. I supplied them with appropriate work organization and with the help of additional minor technical improvements I expanded the production which by its quality and cost surpassed even the large factories organized to produce the same with larger capital.

Our books soon showed rapidly growing side of assets and equally rapidly declining side of liabilities. My wealth soon exceeded the amount necessary for buying that small farm and certainly more than I needed for myself, or even for my brother and my sister.

As long as I was on the defensive against foreign capital, as long as I fought to defend the honor of myself, my brother and my sister, as long as I worked to provide for the necessities of life - until then all my work was justified by the moral values derived from and maintained by my immediate surroundings.

Now I lost that firm grounding under my feet. It did not bother me during my work. After all, I did only what was desirable and necessary to other people. I provided them with the work they were seeking and which they urgently asked me, I sold only to those who wanted to buy and who expressed satisfaction with my products.

It was quite different however, when I took and hour off and went among the better people for a small talk. Or if I opened a newspaper or picked up a book. From all sides and from all comers I was shouted at: "You leech, you slaver..." There was not yet my name associated with all this, but attacked there was the ideal which was starting to take shape in my mental shop: the ideal which was supposed to become a new moral foundation of my work and which now had to struggle hard for its existence with its older brother-socialist.

My friends were apologizing for me, insisting that I do not belong in that evil society because my production is very small; to me it was like they were simply saying that I am only lesser than the others.

I did not wish to be a villain. I thought and read about cooperative enterprise but I recall the experience with my brother, when each and every work was talked over, but none was done.

I saw everywhere the bad result of cooperatives, even of those consisting in which my brother did recognize this right.

And how would the things go in some such corporation where all profits would have to be distributed among co-workers?

How would we then buy that steam engine needed to utilize the help of those German and American giants of steel? There was no way out. I had to stay in my place and become that hated and loathed industrialist, leech and slaver, in order to serve the people.

After such decisive victory, the steam engine of 8 HP soon came, together with the steel helpers, the first real factory building also came, together with my father's foreseen smokestack, even though only metal-plate one.

In 1904 there were already three smokestacks smoking. We were buying small, older steam engines which did not work well and there was always the need to obtain new, better power sources and new, larger factory building, together with additional specialized machinery.

I did not trust my knowledge, acquired through work and travels in Europe, to start so many new ventures with confidence.

In that same year I left for America, accompanied by three young workers.

There I found many beautiful things, but most of all I liked the people. They did not wallow in prejudices about honor or dishonor of work. Such questions were resolved by their grandfathers long time ago.

Selling newspapers in the streets was good enough and acceptable for the son of high official, son of millionaire or son of worker. There were no students-gentle-men.

You could only see rolled up sleeves and joyful work. A six year old boy appeared big enough to his father as to be allowed to create his own possessions and to make his own decisions about it. Son was being led towards independence. He was not to feel his father's dominance. He was to become an equal citizen.

I am businessman - you are businessman, our skills are recognized by how much each of us earns. Father's eyes brighten when hearing about his son's new dollar, son is proud of his father and each of his new successes. Such attitudes are then transported from the family to the public. Mr. Miles showed me the factory of his competitor and said: "Can you imagine how capable that man must be if he can earn enough to pay one million dollars of income tax?" Interesting was that this Mr. Miles himself earned less than nothing, having increasingly more debts than assets. Nevertheless, he was very proud of his more skillful competitor. The soul of American man was not shackled by doubts whether or not an individual can amass wealth.

Such doubts were very much alive in the subconsciousness of our own society, thanks to old Slavonic law which was replaced only by force by Roman law. According to the Slavonic law, all community members brought and collected the fruits of their work in one barn. The products were then distributed among community members by the chief, according to his conscience and best judgment of need, not according to individual labor and merit. This was the old family socialism. Subconscious reverence for Slavonic law has been kept alive in the Russian literature, especially by Tolstoy. This also provided very fertile soil for the new socialism of Marx, which is essentially the same idea, but extended to the whole of society.

Concerning machines and work organization I did not find much new in America. This was to be expected with respect to machines, because for long time I maintained active correspondence with local machine factories. In the organization of machinery only the layout was of interest. I was changing my layouts several times a year and finally invented the pattern which even in America they considered to be best.

But the skills of workers were great. On some machines they were achieving ten times higher performance than our own workers.

Therefore i worked there as a factory worker, knowing fully that it is futile to tell people how to work and not being able to show them. I also wanted to experience with my own body the difficulties in attaining such high performances. From home I brought a high regard for my own skills. I was convinced that I can work skillfully on all shoemaking machines, but in America this self-confidence brought much harm upon me.

When asked what work I can do, I answered proudly that all and every work. The factory receiver only smiled and said "not needed", an answer I could not understand and explain for a long time. Finally I managed to advance so far as to be put on the line of job applicants and tested in one kind of work. I finally understood the legitimacy of receiver's contemptuous smile: I realized that in my lifetime I could not master all work to such perfection of performance as it was then normally required in America.

For some time I worked under the patronage of my landlord Berka in one bad factory in Lynn. I wanted to stand up on my own feet. The work was hard to find. Those who had work used to wake up before 7 in the morning, those who did not have work have to wake up before 5 in order to stand before the gates of some remote factory well before the work started.

So, I felt fortunate to see myself with rolled up sleeves - this coat of arms of America nobility - taking a test at one or the other machine. The foreman followed all my movements very intensely. I did not even have to look at his face in order to read my fate in it.

I was told by the laughter of other applicants, waiting behind me with equally rolled up sleeves, waiting for me to fail. They did not have to wait long.

Such tests I sometimes underwent about twenty a day and six times as many in a week. My mind became depressed and dispirited. I was fully absorbed in thoughts and feelings of a worker. I did not care about the dollars imported from America. I wanted American dollars. I wanted to measure myself directly with American man.

Once, on one such journey, I said to myself that I would not eat until I get a job.

And I got it.

From a rover and useless man all of a sudden I became a nobleman. My hands were tom and bruised, but my head was sitting firmly in its place.

With these personal notes ends Tomas Bata's own narrative about the beginnings of his work The task will be finished, but the notes remained but a torso. In the second part we shall continue by coherent and orderly publication of speeches with the help of which Bata guided and build his work.

The Time of Searching

Everybody who delves deeper into the life of Tomas Bata will find that this man, both a human being and an entrepreneur, grew stronger only by overcoming crises. In dealing with his business crisis we see how nineteen year old Bata overcame his personal crisis at the same time. There is a change in views and change in character. What are the characteristics of this change? Bata realized that business is not easy that it is not private affair and that the question of business survival derives from the service to others. He was not yet able to do always more than words: deeds. At that time he started producing and selling his "batas"; very cheap, light canvas shoes, so cheap that "anybody could wear them".

There are no direct records about Tomas Bata's view of his period of his business education. How did he deal with mental struggles in which, as the notes found after his death indicate, was entangled the spirit of a young, unusually talented and passionately feeling man? What were the struggles which transformed the worshipper and reader of Russian philosopher of passive simplicity into a man of iron will? What urges caused young Tomas Bata to abandon his dreams about simple, isolated life of a farmer and to plunge with all his heart into the industrial work, broad and noisy markets of the whole world? We do not know. All his document speeches, which are being published on the following pages, show already mature, well balanced man who knows his road and his goal, man who does not quiver even in the mightiest of storms and confusions of nations, in which all civilized mankind has been tossed about during the past twenty years.

When was Bata's idea of self-management born and why? Only one of his occasional speeches gives a distant answer to this most significant question. In it he says: "In America I liked the better and more equal relationship between worker and employer: I am master, you are master, I am businessman, you are businessman. I wished that such way of life would also pervade us here in Zlin. I wished that we would all become equal, somehow”.

In the world of business and industry one cannot survive simply with wants and wishes. Especially when in 1908 his brother died and the direction of business remained in the sole hands of Tomas Bata. Every single day one can demonstrate that people want income, banks want interest and customers want shoes: the ideals which are not manifested in money and success are of interest to no one. It is therefore necessary to give people work, money and shoes first, and more of it than anybody else could

In the meantime, the war came. Legends are being told about Bata's wealth acquired during the war. Never was this diligent, honest and extremely deliberate businessman closer to his fall as right after the war and as in consequence of the war. The two factory buildings of Bata Enterprises were in 1914 placed under military supervision and must bear the break in leadership authority where the last word belongs to military organs. From the war they emerge with four factory buildings, full of machines which are mostly unsuitable for the new civilian production. There is of course also a huge liability and a small asset. Liability is the enormous debt of the old broken state which did not pay for its goods and the concurrent duty to pay heavy taxes and property rates to the new state. The only asset were the people - the same people whose transfer from the army to production saved their lives and whose health was preserved and maintained through the factory provisions. These are the assets with which Tomas Bata started again: fighting the economic crisis, poverty and opposition from the left and right, he put through the implementation of his youthful dream about self-management of work. His was the giant effort, aimed towards establishing the economic engine of human society on firm and reliable tracks and securing it with energy and fuel, so that it could run and serve.

Let us note how is this period of struggles and searching reflected in Bata's public speeches.

How Was the First Military Order Received in Zlin

The industry of our town was until the World War producing canvas shoes and sandals. That is, light domestic footwear.

Immediately after the mobilization against Serbia it has become clear to all, both customers and industrialists, that there is no need for that type of industry any longer. All factories stopped in that same hour when I brought the news of war from the district headquarters in Uherske Hradiste.

I just happened to be present there when dr. Janustik, our current county executive, received the mobilization order.

In a few minutes I was, by automobile, back in Zlin.

The mobilization order was very strict. All recruits had to reach their regiments within 24 hours.

The next day I drove to Otrokovice to meet the passenger train. I wanted to change to the express train in Hulin and proceed to Vienna for the purpose of obtaining work contract from the military. I missed the train and so I started after it.

The driver was Hubacek. He was an able boy, with good and trustworthy horses, and knew how to keep them in good order. We decided to sacrifice the horses. During the entire journey we kept standing up in the carriage, reins in one hand and the whip in the other. I with my watch in hand, my eyes following the jerking of seconds and the passing of milestones alongside the road. The problem was not to allow horses to fall too far before reaching our goal - and Hubacek understood this very well. The smoke from the express we spotted just at the sugar plant in Hulin. There was no hope. But the horses, as if understanding that having received their life from man they are also obliged to give their lives for man if needed; they performed the impossible. We still did not reach the station. I jumped out, crossed the railway pavement, through some freight trains, on of which was slowly moving, I entered the express from the other side. In Vienna I arranged nothing and got nothing. They told me the same story as they told to so many other applicants.

They are, they said, two old consortia (corporations), one for the land-defense army and the other for the army of the ministry of war. Both of them have 15-year contracts for supplying boots and shoes. The return journey was very sad. People at home were waiting whether they will be asked to go to work or to war. Frightened by those modern, cruel and death-dealing weapons, they saw certain death in joining the army. From that day on I went to Vienna almost all the time, either on my racehorse Elka or by train.

There was no time to spare. Our strict sergeant Kvapil did not allow any postponements and I received the news in Vienna that he was taking in the workers in handcuffs when they were late with their conscriptions. People were waiting at the station for a telegram from me.

By the third day I pocketed an order for 50 000 "siegl" military shoes, but at price which were of little interest to me.

It was at noon, several minutes before the departure of the express train from Vienna. There were no available cabs in the vicinity of land-defense ministry. In long jumps I ran towards the Ring. My legs used to be in a good order then. There were plenty of carriages there, but they were all occupied by officers arriving from the station and joining their regiments: I would not dare to take them up, not yet. I jumped into an empty cab going in the opposite direction. After a short fight with the cabdriver we managed to agree that he would take me to the North station. The amount I paid him was enough to buy a new horse. We caught the train.

The very same day I called on our mayor Stepanek at the city hall. I told him that I wish to distribute my order among all local factories and that I propose to establish suppliers' consortium in Zlin.

This first order was issued in the name of T. & A. Bata Zlin and was distributed among T. & A. Bata, Frantisek Stepanek, Kuchar brothers, Antonin Cervenka and Ludvik Zapletal, according to the number of punching machines. There was a great enthusiasm for it among the citizen of Zlin. I did not deserve all the thanks I received from them. It was not really so difficult to obtain the order because during my stay in Vienna the World War just broke out. It only looked difficult, especially to those who stayed at home and lost their courage for a while.

All owners of participating factories were young and healthy men, mostly soldiers, and they employed large number of workers, also mostly eligible for military conscription. It was by chance that I was the only non-soldiers among them. Fortunately, all these factory owners survived the war in good health and without harm. It was again by chance only that I was the one to suffer a serious injury. This was not caused by war. It was brought about by my haste which, as it was later demonstrated, turned out to be much less important than I thought at the time.

My arrival from Vienna was welcomed by people waiting at the local station and their joy seemed to be without bounds when stepping off the train I told them that I brought work.

During the war the plant was under military supervision. Our production reached its peak in 1917: 10 000 pairs of shoes produced daily by 5 000 employees. Of course, the critical shortage of leather forced us also into the production of wooden clogs, about 5 000 daily.

During the war we employed in our large numbers of men and soldiers from the whole county and their families were provided for from our company co-op. No matter what highs were the food prices reaching in the whole Austria, our company was selling both meals and groceries to about 35 000 people at prices only marginally higher than at the peacetime, and it paid the difference from its own means. This particular circumstance assured that the political collapse of Austria and consequent political upheavals and wild ideas by passed our firm in relative calm.

The firm, together with a number of other shoemaking factories working on contracts, was much more seriously affected by the economic upheavals. The long duration of the war and the changes in production required investments in machines which were mostly unsuitable for the civilian production and had to be redesigned.

Market situation was in the sign of total exhaustion. Raw materials were scarce and their prices terrible. People-customer went barefoot, but with money.

Bata, after changing the production, was set to continue in its pre-war price policy, but there was very little understanding from most businessmen. They did not want lower the prices when the demand was unlimited and supply truly precious. Bata therefore started to build its own retail outlets, introduced unified and firm prices of goods and slowly consolidated the enterprise for the new work.

During the years when on all sides and all businesses the political influences were felt, Bata succeeded in convincing its employees about the harmfulness of such influences and earned their trust. In 1922, during the great industrial and monetary crisis, when hundreds of firms were declaring bankruptcies and additional hundreds were stopping their work, Bata carried out radical act which gained him sincere sympathies of the public. He reduced the prices of all his products in one day by 50 %. Judicious and careful businessmen considered it foolish and waited for Bata to collapse. Bata survived. At a fast pace he sold out his inventories, changing thus frozen capital into a liquid one while maintaining the level of production. He reduced overhead and curtailed losses. And from the year 1923 we can trace the steady and large growth of the enterprise, which grew from the 4 factory buildings at the time to some 50 factory objects in Zlin and 20 in Otrokovice as of today.

During these years of 1918 - 1923 the long years of apprenticeship of Tomas Bata had peaked and ended. During these years he attained highest and yet fully balanced expenditure of his energies. He knows what he wants and he wants a lot; he also knows how to get it. During the time of unprecedented destruction of material and moral values, in times of excessive vacillation and nihilistic mistrust, Bata comes to see his own salvation and the salvation of mankind in work. He sees that the old habits, relationships and unity of people were ripped apart and he feels that on these old foundations one cannot build any longer, one has to start again, from the beginning. But how? Bata did not find his solution all at once. All his speeches between 1918 and 1923 show that in addition to straggling for the survival of business, he also fought for the final resolution of the larger problem. He comes to it only in his speech on profit sharing and in expressing his views in booklet "Wealth for All".

How Tomas Bata Perceived the Problem of 1918

This becomes clear from the introductory article of the first issue of the first volume of the company journal "Sdeleni" (Communication) from May 25, 1918.

The war created special situation in all areas. With great tension and as never before we follow the news from public life and the course of war, climbing of prices, and so on. This is because these phenomena deeply affect our family conditions. Today we cannot close ourselves in before these facts. They search us out right in our homes and family circles and draw us out into their whirl. Wishing it or not, we have to acknowledge their existence and more: every one of us has to struggle with them. So, even if in the background, we too join in the struggle, at least for maintaining our health and preserving our bodies. For us here this struggle is eased by the availability of well paid jobs. Factory worker can balance large price increases by the possibility of larger earnings and thus - if things did not get worse - today he could be still satisfied.

In the fight for today we often and easily forget about the struggles for tomorrow. Even the war will end one day. Surely, every one of us is yearning for that moment, but only a few realize that the peace will not immediately remove all our worries. The transition from war to peace economy will take more than one day. It will take a long time before the situation becomes settled and orderly, before we free ourselves from the mercy of haphazard fluctuations in public affairs. This transitional period will mean, for a man dependent on wages, a still new struggle to be waged to overcome the transitional difficulties towards the peace economy.

It is therefore necessary not to forget the tomorrow in our worries about today. Already now we have to take interest in assuring the possibility of large earnings in the future. How is the factory production going to pass through the transition, how is it going to be able to pay its employees - these are big question marks of the future. But there are still other questions. Many soldiers will return home, many who lost large incomes due to their absence; they will all want to share in the large earnings which were afforded to their luckier comrades who remained free from military service. And they will need these earnings because they will want to live, whatever their initial living conditions may be. What would happen if our factory, for whatever reasons and including the unfavorable industrial climate, had to curtail its production? How are we going to take care of those who would not be able to remain employed?

But there will be even further problems. There is no more pressing problem today than housing. Current situation, when people are piled up in lodging houses, receiving neither beneficial rest nor comfort and lacking even the most fundamental sanitary conditions, cannot be allowed to continue. Apartments will be needed. Can there be anything more beautiful than sunshine, warming up the air even in the shade, so that it pleases to remain and linger, as in a warm bath.

There will be also supply problems and all those small other worries which will weigh heavily upon us because it will not be possible to solve them as easily as before the war. In addition to the needs of the body there will be new needs of the mind, especially educational needs. Today, every even slightly rational human being knows that education influences not only his moral side, but affects his earning abilities as well. The means of education are libraries, lectures, theatres, concerts, etc.

All of this cannot be a problem for just one man, but for all of us who derive their incomes from the factory. Perhaps some have already thought about it, some perhaps even exchanged their views. There is no other way than to keep returning to these ideas more often and take an honest position towards them.

While thinking about our future economic and social situation, we find ourselves on the road where the interests of employees meet with the interests of the employer. The closer the meeting point, the more benefits to both sides.


Tomas Bata's speech to the workshop producing welted footwear on November 17, 1918

I would like to tell you today how important it is to work with enthusiasm and particularly in this department. The intention of my speech is to provoke such enthusiasm in you.

All of you who were working here already before the war are certainly well aware that we are manufacturing now a completely different kind of merchandise; this is a novelty even to those who were working here all the time, because during the war we were making military footwear which demanded much less skill and specialization that do today's shoes.

What matters now most is to learn the new production method and to learn it fast.

The situation of our enterprise is not at all rosy. In order to pay your wages as well as the bills for goods delivered by our suppliers, we must produce a lot of footwear. Although shoes are in great demand, they still must be of good quality as retailers are not in a buying mood right now. They are clever and well aware that the products will be getting cheaper day by day and, consequently, they are not buying for fear of a loss. Some of them are afraid of looting, others of losses in rail transit, etc. Our travelling salesmen have a hard time to sell; already upon return from their business trip, they might find at home a letter from the dealer asking them to cancel the delivery. This has forced us to expand the network of our own outlets; due to our almost exhausted reserves of capital, we would have to stop our production as we could neither pay wages nor for deliveries of raw materials. But even in our own stores the sales are slow. Already at this time the public demands shoes of good, post-war quality. We must therefore make the effort to produce shoes which meet the needs of the population. The marketing task of the managers of our stores will thus be easier. We must deliver perfect, though inexpensive merchandise to our outlets. It is an extremely hard task for all of us, because, as I have already mentioned, this is a brand new manufacturing process and we have to familiarize ourselves with it. We can overcome this difficulty only by a full understanding of the importance of supplying our population with as inexpensive merchandise as possible - this will make our work easier and improve their well-being. All of us must keep in mind that we will become affluent only under one condition: if everyone's work is done so well as to be useful to others.

A worker who drives a tack in a spot which subsequently has to be stitched over, is helping to destroy affluence. As a result of such a mistake, the cobbler's thread tears and the person who later buys the shoes - for the last penny in his pocket maybe - loses the sole or, at least, gets water in his shoes. We must therefore adopt a general working morale which blackballs shoddy jobs; he who passes on to his coworker a piece of work unfit to be continued, cannot be considered an honest man. When the spreader opens badly the channel, the sole cannot be properly stitched on, adhesive cannot be applied and the folder is unable to close it. We are thus inconveniencing one another. The final result is a factory where each worker produces only 1 1/2 pairs of shoes instead of 10 pairs as it is customary in American factories.

And who is bearing the brunt of such conditions? All of us, naturally, and the least fortunate ones particularly. It is obvious that a country where one worker makes 1 1/2 pairs of shoes daily is worse off than the one where one worker makes 10 pairs. We can see it best when we compare our conditions with those prevailing in western countries, particularly in America. There, a worker can buy 2 pairs of good shoes for his day's wage. In our country, even the best paid worker cannot afford to buy them for his day's earning. As a matter of fact, with a daily production of only 1 1/2 pairs per worker, he could not buy them in any case.

A factory worker in America is better off than a factory owner in our country. Here, not even a factory owner can afford to buy an automobile, be it solely for business purposes, allowing him to visit more often and in less time his customers and suppliers. In America, every worker owns one for his personal convenience.

I do not intend to say that it is entirely your fault. We are all equally guilty. The workers may be more qualified there, but the factory owners, managers, etc., are just as much more clever. Consequently, in order to become as well-off as they are, it is most important that we attain the degree of their perfection. I have already outlined the road to such well-being. Every one of us must do his work as needed by the person it is intended for; this is, in the first place, the worker standing next to you.

The way Tomas Bata looked at his work and the people he worked with may be judged by the following speech of October 4, 1919, where, for the first time, he addressed them as "Collaborators". He was thanking them for their congratulations for the 25th anniversary of his entrepreneurial activities:


I decided not to commemorate the 25th anniversary of our work, because I am well aware that in our republic we need more leaders in work than in celebrations.

I was the more touched by your modest, simple statement, delivered at the appropriate place. Indeed, our "Information Bulletin" ("Sdeleni") is the very best place for it; it concerns all of us exactly in the same way as the 25 years of work together.

Your statement expresses so well your understanding of my endeavours and my activities, and this really pleases me. All my endeavour would have been to no avail, if there were not your understanding and the boundless, tireless enthusiasm emanating from it. I am not proud of these walls and the machinery, or the fact that according to the land register books they are my property. I am, however, proud of your capabilities, your valiant hearts and your diligent hands that built everything we can see before us and that forms the base for the important work still ahead of us.

To the results of our common work contributed as well our immediate and wider vicinity, and its understanding of our needs. We have benefited from the local primary and secondary schools and in exchange our neighbours found in our enterprise the school of life. Particularly the young generation is learning here to honour honest, assiduous work and to respect knowledge.

We are an enterprise of workers. Not one of us is of capitalist origin. Each one of us holds "the ladder of success" for his poor relatives by sharing with them the acquired experiences.

In this way the experience we acquired through our work is spreading fast into the wide vicinity and is becoming a precious possession of our people.

The greatest profit our vicinity is acquiring from our common work is the knowledge that a lasting success (of a businessman) requires to look only for a business profitable to all interested parties.


Tomas Bata.

Not only organizational problems however, stood in the way to reach our objectives. There was an old enemy Bata was fighting against all his life. Environmental conditions - lack of water. On September 6, 1921, the following article was published in the enterprise weekly "Information Bulletin" ("Sdeleni").


This year's heat is becoming a terrifying enemy of the people. Plants and animals are perishing and according to the latest disconcerting news, in Russia people are dying in droves from the deadening blows of this cruel enemy.

Due to undernourishment of people and animals, many contagious diseases appear, threatening entire regions of healthy population. Indeed, all of us feel tired and listless, a typical consequence of the heat.

This week as a result of all this, a night watchman fell asleep and a fire completely ravaged a large part of one factory department; many courageous employees helping to combat it were subsequently so tired that they were unable to secure a better production output; this resulted in lower pay. Thus, this week, the output and the wages declined by 5 percent, instead of increasing by 5 percent. The lack of water and its high temperature are driving the people in our tannery to despair; it even starts to cause serious problems to our engine room and our energy supply. Consequently, most of us are now engaged in a constant struggle with our common enemy - the excessive heat.

We must be well aware of our struggle and determined to win it. Only courageous work can save us. It will increase our performance and thus also our wages. It will enable us to export our products abroad and import raw materials, particularly food.

A well fed, clean man living an orderly life is much more resistant to infection. This was best proven during the war. All those of us who had no apparent symptoms of lung or cardiac diseases had to serve in the army; nevertheless, we were spared of all the illnesses rampant in other countries. It was a result of being better supplied with food. And food was gained by diligent and earnest work.

Let us therefore struggle against the feelings of tiredness, because they are the first step to our defeat, the first step to dying. Long live life!

January 1922 was an extremely cold winter month. The first onslaught of the population on stores selling industrially produced goods has stopped. On the horizon were appearing growing signs of a financial storm of inflation and deflation, which began to shock many European countries including Czechoslovakia. Nobody knew its laws, nobody dared to set its direction. This general incertitude could be felt also from Bata's first speech that year, on January 28, 1922.

Bad Times

Due to the rising value of our currency, we are selling our products in both western and eastern countries with great losses. Our stores, both here and abroad, are full of merchandise and we can only hope that the spring sun will bring us help. We are, of course, taking the risk of heavy losses which we have already experienced last spring and fall.

It will certainly be difficult for a layman to understand how shoes made from first quality butty leather, weighing a little over 1 kg can be sold in retail for 119.-Kc (which equals a wholesale price of approximately 95.- Kc), when at the same time a kilo of butt still costs over 100.-Kc. He will understand it even less when told that our enterprise last week, the workers' weekly earnings were as follows:

Tackers up to 710.-Kc, cutters 530.-Kc, welters 630.-Kc and girl stitchers 350.-Kc.

To sell best quality footwear cheaply while paying high wages to workers is an economic task we have decided to tackle. However, the present selling prices of our shoes are considerably lower than our production costs and we are making such sacrifices only to make enough money to carry on with our production till next spring, and to save the jobs of our workers.

The difficulties were growing and so were the adversaries. What was Bata doing? We can read about it in the 22nd issue of the "Information Bulletin of June 6, 1922:

Factory Lunches

A certain magazine, pretending to be a friend of the working people, is suggesting to the State Prosecutor's Office in Uherske Hradiste to intervene against me because I am coercing my employees to eat lunch in the canteen, which allegedly harms their family life. It is cited as an example that a certain woman left her husband because he couldn't, or even better was not allowed to come home for lunch. Should the State Prosecutor deem it necessary to ask me if there is some truth in it, I would have to say the following:

Our industry is going through hard times. As a result of low incomes and great unemployment, shoe consumption in our small country is negligible; consequently, only one-fifth of shoe factories, i.e. of their personnel are fully occupied. Due to a higher value of our crown, export slackened considerably. There is no more demand for shoes in any country, they have a shoe surplus everywhere. The shoe industry is protecting itself by high custom duties against the import of foreign shoes. And where the borders are still open, all the other countries want to export their surpluses there - namely America, unsurpassable in selling inexpensive shoes that went out of fashion. And there's always plenty of such shoes in America, because shoe fashions change there practically every four weeks. Under such circumstances, people are even capable of bad acts. As a consequence of these conditions, some Czechoslovak industrialists limited their production, some even stopped it entirely and others tried to improve the ability of their competition abroad by lowering the wages of their workers. I have attempted to solve this industrial recession by different means. I told my closest collaborators (no more than 10 of them) with titles of directors and managers, that we have to find a way out of this difficult situation without limiting either the production or the salaries of the personnel.

It was clear to all of us that in order to protect the enterprise from deterioration, the operation costs deficits have to be saved anywhere but to the detriment of our labour. Courageous and devoted management can make infinite savings on overhead, coal or unnecessary production work. And just as the fish begins to rot from the head, so can an organization's reform be started from the top only. We decided therefore to begin with ourselves, by forgoing our midday rest and by lunching at the factory canteen during our working time.

In spite of all this, I consider myself innocent as the labour protection law does not apply to the person of the employer. And my eight collaborators (not counting my brother) have accepted the invitation to join me at my table firmly convinced that those unwilling to make a personal sacrifice when the benefit of several thousands of workers and their families is at stake, are not fit to be labour leaders.

There are times when the fate of large enterprises is decided in a moment when it depends on throwing the weight of one's assets on the decisive scale pan. Which is the right road, however? Bata was never a speculator and he made his biggest and most courageous business decisions when absolutely sure about their future success. He based his decisions more on a greater certainty than on business cleverness. He based them on the consumer - his customer. What is good for the customer, will preserve and benefit me as well - that was the essence of Bata's inner confidence. Today, this truth is self-evident indeed, but in 1922, when it was believed that the only way how to stay in business and prosper is speculation, Bata's solution seemed to be sheer folly.

It has to be remarked though, that it was not only a thought that helped Bata to bring a change to economic thinking of the post-war world. It was, above all, its implementation and speed.

And then came the exploit. Either - or: to stop or to work - to live or to die. Bata decided for life and found the words that captivated his collaborators as well as customers (August 26, 1922).

To My Collaborators!

To work or not to work?

Our enterprise was the first one to raise wages when the value of money kept falling. And although the value of our currency has been going up for two years already, still few weeks ago we were not considering to lower the wages.

Nobody expected that the exchange rate of our currency abroad would double as it happened in the past few weeks. Our government profited from this occasion by revaluating our currency, regarding it as an advantage for our country. This state of our currency however prevents the export not only of footwear but of all other industrial products as well. At the present time, we are selling our shoes abroad for half the price of our production costs. Local consumers wait for price reductions before buying. A farmer coming to our store tells us: "I have sold my wheat for half the price; as a consequence, I don't intend to make purchases unless I can buy shoes for half the price as well.”

We are standing on crossroads - either to stop the production and dismiss all employees - as many factories have already done - or to adjust our production costs to new circumstances.

The first solution would be the most profitable for our enterprise, as it would enable us to sell for appropriate prices and without losses all our fall stock and to purchase new stock only when the raw materials price would be adjusted to world prices. This, of course, would harm the entire economy and labour in particular.

We have, therefore, decided that in order to keep full production, we will lower our production costs so as to be able to sell shoes in average for half the price of last spring.

This considerable shoe price reduction can be no longer economized on overheads only and it became necessary to lower the wages of some employees and part-time workers by 40 percent and to adjust the piece work rates accordingly to this reduction. However, until an at least 50 percent overall price level reduction has been reached, we intend to supply our employees with food, clothing and other everyday items for half of the market price of last May.

At the same time, whole-page advertisements in daily newspapers announced to the population of the entire country:

To Our Public

Price reduction advertisement

In order

To enable our population to purchase fall footwear

To make trips to Germany unnecessary

To keep full production

Not to dismiss workers

To save the government unemployment support payments

To thrust the way for price reductions

To help to overcome speedily the great economy depression afflicting us as a result of the difference in buying power of our crown at home and abroad,

we have lowered shoe prices

from September 1st of this year in all our stores by an average of

half of this year's prices

We are, of course, unable to attain this price reduction by economizing on overheads only and are compelled to lower the wages of our workers by an average of 40 percent. On the other hand, we guarantee to supply them with consumer goods for half of the market prices of last May.

The Bata price reduction action also became soon known by a poster featuring a clenched fist smashing the word: "High Costs."

This poster, announcing to the public a reduction of prices, was displayed in the whole country. It had a tremendous psychological impact. In an atmosphere heavy with fears and apprehensions of incertitude caused by price increases, suddenly appeared an enormous fist smashing the only word hanging on all lips: High Costs of Living. It is one of the most famous posters that strongly influenced the thoughts of people and brought back their confidence and self-reliance.

The collaborators of the enterprises, more impressed and captivated by the man than by anything else, waited for explanation. It came in an article of 29 August 1922:


Your acceptance of our proposal to lower wages by 40 percent proves to me that you have fully understood my announcement sent to you in haste yesterday from Prague; you have got roughly acquainted with the situation of our industry resulting from our crown's exchange rate increase from 10 to 20 centimes (of French currency). The unfortunate fact is that the entire industry in our republic is in the same situation as our plant. Had the Czechoslovak crown gained slowly, the industry could have adjusted gradually to its exchange rate. Such a rapid increase however practically ruins the existence of the export industry which cannot absorb the losses until the crown would buy at home twice as much as only few weeks ago. Unfortunately, the life of industry does not provide for a short interruption and a subsequent problem-free continuation. By the withering away of our export industry, our economy, particularly the state economy, would find itself in a hopeless situation; without an immediate action commensurate with the importance of the event, a general decline of our economic life would follow.

The present crisis is therefore not limited only to our enterprise or not even to the industry as such - it is a crisis of the entire economy of the state. I am not an advocate of catastrophic leaps of our crown, on the contrary, I have from the beginning interceded for its stability giving our industry the advantage of calm. Our currency, however, has already made the step - better to say the leap. Besides, the decisions concerning the currency belong to politicians responsible for the governing of the state. Industrialists have to adjust to such decisions inasmuch as possible, because the improvement of economic life in a state requires in the first place law-abiding citizens mindful of public interests.

It is not enough for us to do now only something that would enable our factory to continue working. We must achieve that everybody, and mainly the export industry, could work and that our entire economic life would not be disrupted.

A glass worker in northern Bohemia who presently pays 170 Kc for his shoes cannot be satisfied with a wage paid in England, where the same worker can buy shoes for 15 shillings, an equivalent now of 97 Kc. Should the glasswork stop to export to England, the glass worker would lose his job and would not buy his shoes from us even for those 97 Kc. Moreover, the state will lose the income from direct and indirect taxes as well as that currency which helped to raise the exchange rate of our crown.

At present, it is not enough to shout at the state to lower the postage, import duties, taxes, etc. We all have to make our products cheaper and equalize thus the difference between the purchasing power of the crown abroad and at home. From 1st of September, we intend to lower shoe prices by an average of one half of those valid before 12th of March of this year; furthermore, we will supply all our employees with food, clothing and other current commodities for half-price as compared to May of this year - until the price level will fall by at least a half. As a compensation, we are asking for a 40 percent wage reduction.

Our factory will thus become the most affected in the whole country. The reduction will swallow up one entire half of our property without reducing our debts. You know well that our enterprise owns only to its employees and workers 5.9 million Kc on deposits in the enterprise savings bank at 10 percent interest. These, of course, are not the only debts we have. In order to pay interest on these debts, we will have to sell twice as much of our products as we do presently.

I have decided on this solution because I do not see in the given situation any other way out. In this way the industry - and our enterprise in the first place - will work at first with great losses, both in selling the products and procuring living necessities for its workers. I am convinced however that by increased production the losses will soon change into profits.

This transfer of losses from the consumer and worker to the entrepreneur will most certainly not please too many industrial enterprises; it implies great losses and demands in the first place an enormous personal effort of the entrepreneur. To overcome these difficulties, the entrepreneur cannot work only eight hours a day - even double the time will not be enough - but great depressions cannot be cured by little work, small means and small efforts.

As long as the industry will be willing to accept such sacrifice, it will be entitled to ask the government to adjust its own enterprises such as railroads, postal services, etc., to these conditions and to decide finally on the stabilization of our currency. The present increase of the crown's rate, made to the detriment of the entrepreneurs, may fully satisfy the banks and the savers. The rate quadrupled in the course of one year, i.e. from five to twenty centimes, so that the banks and savers equally quadrupled their gains. It is high time to make a definitive currency adjustment immediately. This would enable the saver to save and the industrialist to invest.

It would be a golden middle course and an end to the breakneck leaps which could one day actually break our neck.

The exploit was made. The heavy wagon of the large industrial body, in danger of stopping and getting stuck in the mud of the circumstances, started rolling again on new railways.

The Road To Improvement

From Prague reach us pleasant news that our action is well followed. Particularly the Prague shoe stock-rooms announce to us that they are adjusting to our prices.

The ironworks are announcing a price reduction of iron by 30-100 Kc for one ton, which is approximately by 30 percent. Due to this considerable price reduction, consumers will not stop using iron products. It started to be noticeable that people are turning away from using iron even where it was previously profitably done.

Our enterprise also had to start using wood where iron would have rendered much better service; this was entirely due to the high prices of iron. At the Loucka farm, for instance, where the water supply pipes are being extended by one kilometre, we are using wooden pipes instead of iron ones. We have calculated that although the wooden pipes will last only ten years, they will cost us half of the amount necessary to pay interest on the loan for iron pipes.

And just as the consumer had to renounce the use of iron or at least to limit its consumption to a minimum, so it happened with other merchandise as well. We do not hear mothers complain that their children have too many shoes or too much clothing and that they do not know what to do with it. More often, we are witnessing shortages of this merchandise and it is therefore hard to understand that under such circumstances people would stop production and fire the workers instead of discussing it with their employees and trying together to supply the consumers with products for affordable prices.

At present however, the textile industry is well on the road of serving the interests of the public by competing for the favours of the customers. If we continue on this road, we will soon have abundance in our country.

We will not see barefooted children in late autumn months any more, on the contrary, we will see the workers go to work in automobiles! Right now, only a few industrialists can afford it.

In the years following 1922 there were not too many speeches of a general program nature; but new ideas abounded and were put into practice in domestic organizational measures. Bata searched for ways how to preserve the half-price reductions while keeping his promise to the employees of greatly increasing their salaries. "Either sing, little bird, or perish" - was his motto at those times.

Thus, in the turmoil of struggles and suffering, reflecting as in a miniature the suffering and economic erring of the contemporary world, Bata found the way and solution in the management autonomy of the workshops and profit sharing of the employees. The ensuing speeches are the proof of it:

The Speech of the Boss to the Participants of a Competition in Cutting on September 17, 1922

To compete in work is noble. Those who lose in a competition are better people than those who purposely do not participate in it. All good qualities were built by competing. The goal of our competition is to increase the productivity of workers while increasing on the same scale their income and standard of living.

I am trying to solve the problem of how to sell shoes for prices as low as in America. We can achieve it only then when a worker in our factory will produce as many pairs of shoes as in American factories. We have to have, therefore, good technical equipment, good organization and good exploitation of time by the workers. In order to best utilize his time, a worker must be aware that he is primarily the one who profits; only then will he work as assiduously as on his own plot. It is the principle of our enterprise not to lower the rates when the workers will increase their output. It is our policy that only the workers should profit from higher productivity. Higher productivity helps the enterprise to save on overhead and that advantage benefits in the shortest delay the consumer in the form of reduced prices, maintained to assure continuous production.

However, not everybody was an enthusiastic follower. Smaller and bigger adversaries emerged as well - those who were directly affected by this revolutionary attitude toward the customer and the employee started contesting it. How and by what? By the most perceptible way existing in the business world: slander. How did Bata reply, how did he defend himself? Let us read the last speech of December 23, 1922.


I am neither an orator nor an author. Nobody asked me so far to be one. Our workers were satisfied with the highest wages, be it in the form of food or money, and customers were asking primarily good and priceworthy shoes. At the present time, however, the workers around me are afraid to lose their jobs and their savings and customers are looking at their shoes wondering if that particular hundred crowns bill they saved buying them recently did not cause the calamity invented by our competitors and spread by communist and small businessmen newspapers.

I have to tell the truth to my workers and customers, because I wish they would believe me for the second time as well. Those leading a smear campaign against us were wrong when they wrote about my wealth before and they are wrong again when they talk now about my bankruptcy. I do not possess a fortune - I have only shoes for customers and leather for workers. - It is a property similar to the telescope for an astronomer or the violin for a musician. If I did not have it, I could not give jobs to my workers and shoes to my customers. I would be worth just as much as a musician without a musical instrument.

But I am not bankrupt either and never will be. It is not hard for you to believe me, because you know that a bankrupt man asks his creditors to reduce his debts which they would not do if he denied the fact.

But it is more difficult to persuade you that I can never go bankrupt, and for the following reasons:

In the first place, I come from an old fashioned world where people still believed bankruptcy to be dishonest, particularly when the bankrupt fared well and the creditors badly. Secondly, I have learned already during my youth to overcome bankruptcy. I will immediately tell you how, as you can learn from it:

At the age of eighteen, I was one of the co-founders of this enterprise; it was operated under my older brother's name and my sister participated with a capital of 600 guldens. We felt like rich people and we lacked neither money nor time for merry-making. But a year later, we lacked money to pay the bills of exchange drawn against the merchandise. Distrains showed there were no assets, but the books contained many unpaid drafts. At that time, my brother started his three-years military service.

A deficit in commercial accounts does not yet mean a bankruptcy. A businessman does not count his energy, hard work and commercial talents as assets and yet they are great assets. But I did not even possess such assets. I was brought up in a white-collar town, I considered manual work as almost dishonourable and I did not know how to do any other work. In spite of all this, I did not go bankrupt. The shame of a possible bankruptcy of my brother's enterprise in which I participated, taught me to work and economize time and money.

By my own work, I overcame bankruptcy and fully repaid my creditors. This convinced me that bankruptcy is a question of moral attitude.

Many of us, by the way, well remember this story.

There are also bankruptcies caused by a misfortune. And there are people who do not want to survive their shame. Such people, just as the reckless, well fed and happy bankrupt people, are no guarantee for the creditors. A guarantee for the creditor is only a businessman ready to surrender to his creditors not only his entire visible assets, but himself and his hard work as well.

On such human virtues are based great enterprises, banks and even empires. The Germans call it "Geschaeftstreue" (business fidelity) and Schiller wrote the great poem "Die Buergschaft" (The Warranty) about it.

I do not want to turn you away from taking out savings from the enterprise bank. I would only like to advise you not to entrust your savings to big establishments but to check the morale fiber of the people working there.

The belief in and respect to work represent in Bata's conception the most noble expression of human personality, because he observed how consciously honoured common work can heal the wounds of people afflicted by war and how it helps his region. He wrote to his collaborators about it on July 14, 1923.


Last week, we celebrated two holidays; one religious of Sts. Cyril and Methodius and one national of Master Jan Hus. Our factory was working on both days, regardless of the fact that there's not much to do and we are working mostly for the stock. By working on such days, we have no intention to say that we are venerating the patron saints or famous men of our nation less than others; we are convinced though that the memory of a saint or of a venerable man can hardly be profaned or insulted by honest work.

The power and well-being of a nation depends on the work of its citizens. We can best see it when we compare life in America with life in Turkey. In America, they are not even celebrating the anniversary of their greatest man, George Washington, who lives, nevertheless, in the hearts of all Americans. In Turkey, on the contrary, they observe each week three Sundays, as the Moslems celebrate it on Friday, the Jews on Saturday and the Christians on Sunday. Full time work cannot be done on either of these three days, as there is always some element missing.

That America means more to us than Turkey is evident from the fact that our people prefer to go to America to look for better work rather than to Turkey. However, it would be far more advantageous to our people if they could find work at home. We can achieve it when we take America, and particularly the hard working Americans as our example.

This should be taken into consideration by the people who are deciding about the transfer of holiday observations to Sundays and also by those who advocate the introduction of additional holidays. The more holidays we have, the more will emigrate our best and most qualified workers, who want to earn enough money for decent living. Our decision was accepted by all our employees with satisfaction. By working on these holidays, we enabled our employees to earn wages in the equivalent of 141,516 Kc. Had they not worked, they would have been deprived of the money earned and, furthermore, holiday loafing would have cost them money as well.

We will leave for awhile the chronological order of presenting Bata's speeches. During 1923 and 1924, they are mostly concerned with people who opposed him in the build-up of his native town and his economic achievement. These speeches will be published in a separate volume. During the same years however, the administrative base of the Bata System - autonomy of workshops and profit sharing of employees -was established. As much as Bata was sure about his decision, he did not change the organization of the entire enterprise at once. As always, he tried it in only one department, in order to find out about its practical effects and merits as well as its faults. And as always, he tried first to win the comprehension of all the people who would be working in that particular manner. We can see it from the following speech:

The Profit Sharing of Workers

(To the employees on 3rd floor of building 4, April 11, 1924.)

We are offering you to share profits not because we have a need to distribute money among people out of the goodness of our hearts.

We are pursuing other goals by this decision. It should help us to further lower our production costs and to enable workers to earn more while manufacturing cheaper shoes. I consider our products still too expensive and the wages too low. We are therefore offering you to share the profits your workshop will make. The independently working workshops or departments are small and consequently everybody should help to raise the profits in his workshop regardless of the fact that other departments might be working with a loss. The accounting is so simple that everyone can understand it and the account of profits and losses will be posted every week in the particular department. If certain weeks your department shows a loss, it would not be to your detriment, as you are not sharing losses.

At present, all departments have twice as many employees as used to be needed for the same output. You may increase your income either by piecework wage or by profit sharing if you use all your mental and physical capabilities. You are experiencing losses because you consider exclusively your own profit; you do not aim to pass on a well-done job to your co-worker to follow it up. The offered profit sharing should do away with this ill by arousing your interest in higher earning by fast and perfect work of the entire department as well as by a better conservation of raw material.

Do not fear that increased work efficiency would make you lose your job. Our goal is to produce ten times more than at present. Until now we were prevented to achieve it because we lacked clever, dedicated people ready to manage the new departments, we did not have enough skilled workers and finally there was penury of money. We intend to do away with all these shortcomings by assiduous work.

By profit sharing we intend to boost the moral and material well-being of the workers. A worker should understand our business, should grow and feel with it. We wish that all our workers become financial partners in our enterprise. We are accepting shares up to ten thousand crowns at ten percent interest and above that sum an interest by agreement. The deposited capital may be called in by either party instantly.

We wish that each of our workers strive to become a foreman and that his demeanour would allow us to promote him to foreman any time. We ask that you use your higher income to improve the living standard of your families and your education. Only thus can we hope that the enterprise will recover the invested funds through your increased capabilities, may they be applied to work for the enterprise or to public service of our country.

For the time being we are introducing profit sharing only in your departments, because due to their good organization and equipment, their products can compete on the world markets. We hope that during the coming summer, all the shoe factory departments can be improved so far as to be able to participate in the profit sharing venture.

We will not offer participation to those who are employed in our factory less than a year or are younger than 20 years. If however, we have an evidence that a young worker is supporting by his earnings his immediate family, he will be able to participate in the profit sharing. Those considered by the enterprise as undesirable will not qualify for profit sharing either.

Profit sharing privileges can be withdrawn anytime without reasons given to individuals or entire departments.

The income from profit sharing for the last week should amount to Kc 75.- per worker in workshop no. 3 and Kc 84.- in workshop no. 4.

By completely unnecessary losses, the remuneration in department no. 3 was lowered to Kc 54.- per worker and in department no. 4 to Kc 55.-. The causes of those losses are outlined in notices posted in each department.

I am convinced that the profit sharing income will soon amount to Kc 100.-per worker weekly if this provision meets with as much of your understanding as we are anticipating.

The provision proved successful. Even those who accepted it at the beginning with certain misgivings began to feel as if working for themselves. As under the influence of a magic wand, thousand of thoughts started to flash across people's minds: how to prevent losses, how produce better and earn more. More and more departments and workshops started to work according to the new manner. The work was developing in such a fast pace that builders were unable to keep up building new factories for thousands of new workers rushing to work in Zlin. At that time, Bata was dreaming his dream about liberating people from economic dependence and troubles. He firmly believed that in this way he will raise the standard of living to an unprecedented level - particularly of those just starting their careers. And after 1925 he left for a very short vacation, where he expressed his ideas, simply and modestly, in the brochure "Wealth for Everybody".

Autonomy of the Workshops

Wealth - duty

Poverty - excuse

I woke up one day with a merry song on my lips. It was a happy morning following an evening when I have finished work showing us the way how to accomplish the autonomy of workshops with the help of profit sharing of the employees.

The profit sharing of employees is obviously not a new idea. At the present time, it is used the most by the American entrepreneurs. They grant their employees a participation in sharing the yearly profits of the entire enterprise.

This is advantageous for the employees as well as for the enterprise, as long as it is voluntary, without the interference of laws. In this way, trust is built between both partners.

I was, however, looking for a way of employees' profit sharing which would help to establish an autonomy of the workshops.

It required the following measures:

1.    To account for the profit made in a shortest possible time, i.e. weekly.

2.    The participant should be able to calculate his participation himself.

3.    In a small department, the participation should enable each employee to participate in the workshop's management.

The present profit sharing, as it has already been introduced in all workshops, meets all these requirements. Nevertheless, the goal has not been reached. For already three years, we are paying considerable sums of money without achieving the material advantage for the enterprise I have originally expected.

It could not be achieved because we have envisaged the whole matter to be much easier than it actually is.

For a workshop autonomy, it is not sufficient to arouse the interest of people in its good management. It is not enough if people are aware that by delivering good work in good time, their additional earnings will reach as much as Kc 150.- weekly. Most certainly, everybody wants to make those extra Kc 150.-, but not everybody knows what to do to improve the workshop's management and not everybody is able or willing to do it.

In two and a half years, our operation improved considerably, the enterprises' profits and worker's wages increased and, in spite of steadily rising raw materials costs, the prices of our products could be reduced. How much did the profit sharing of the employees influence this progress? It is hard to express it in numbers, but I think that the influence was greater than anticipated.

We needed ten years to find the proper production and accounting organizations which have opened us this way. We should not be impatient if their objective was not apparent right at the beginning.

We will attain real success when our people learn to manage their work; the more they benefit by this, the easier it becomes. Our hitherto experience has taught us that it is more difficult to teach people to think independently than to teach them to obey.

This shows that we have already known the second while we are making a slower progress so far in the first.

Let us not be misled by those who insist that the majority of people works because they are hungry. Such people exist, of course, but not too many. Such people avoid our enterprise, we cannot use them and they cannot use us.

By profit sharing work became lucrative even to those who would have probably already left us in order to look for better opportunities.

The workshop autonomy is not only cheaper, it is also better. When actually doing the work, I know better than others where the snags are. It occurs even to the best boss that he leaves his work having forgotten to accomplish something. The better the selection of the workshop participants and the smaller the changes among them, the more successful will the autonomy be.

A person condemned by the foreman to pay damages for bad work will be more inclined to believe in injustice than when his colleagues, having the same fate, have made such decision. To do a good job requires trust - where it is lacking, the job is mostly badly done.

We have found in profit sharing the appropriate way how to help employees to property. It is clearly visible that since the time most of the employees have their money invested in the enterprise, the task of the management is much easier. We have to learn to distinguish those who appreciate this money from others who are only waiting for the day to get them back so that they can put them down the drain.

Such people do not belong among us. They will never be able to solve serious economic problems with us, because they are not interested to solve even their own.

We are well aware that we have done still very little in this respect. We know, that in our enterprise only the savings of the employees have doubled in the past year; we also know that the deposits in some of our local banks have recently considerably increased.

This however, is information concerning our employees in general; as far as the individuals are concerned, the information is less adequate according to the polls recently made. And even when we divide these savings by the number of employees, the sum concerning the individual is still negligible.

An employer who taught people to earn taught them only one third of what a person should know in order to become economically independent.

The second third is based on reasonable spending and only the third one on saving.

The first factory building built in 1906, a year after Tomas Bata's return from the U.S.A.

The Organizer

Awakened Forces

There were few people indeed who had the right notion about the way Bata - the organizer was achieving his extraordinary business, production and organizational successes. The surprising results of his talents lead most people to believe that behind all the achievements must stand a cool calculator and operator planning and plotting the execution of every step well ahead at his desk and dictating it later to those called upon to implement them. Nothing, however, could be farther from the truth.

In Bata - the organizer, the artist conquered the scientist. His technically inclined spirit served the philosopher and the poet of a realistic vision. - All the organizational skills therefore began and ended with the people. A master connoisseur of the human soul and a technically precise appraiser of human abilities, he was well aware that his powerful personality strongly influenced people and made them increase their own working capability. He was able to release the atoms of the most hidden forces and he tried to range them into laws and regulations which would automatically influence human nature. Well balanced and self-assured, not dividing his life and day into separate moments of work, leisure, education or other activity, he looked at all the problems of human life, from early childhood to old age, from an equally well balanced, genuine and consistent point of view. In some of his speeches, he talked about matters at first sight hardly relevant to production or business and he talked about them with an almost startling simplicity. Bata's entirely new, revolutionary ideas on work organization and human relations among modem industrial workers were strikingly simple; practically everybody could understand and execute them. And simple solutions were exactly what Bata was always looking for.

On the following pages are some of his speeches contained in the brochure "Wealth For All".

The Fundaments of Self-Management


I am convinced that a workshop composed of people who save money and lead an orderly life will function much better and that these workers will actually earn with equal effort and wages more than others. In such a workshop, self-management can be attained without any problem.

After all, we have known already for many years that an employee is of little use to us if we cannot help him to keep improving his living standard. We know as well what good experience we made when we entrusted important business dealings only to people who own more than they actually need.

It is impossible to foresee how a man would handle the money confided to him when, realizing suddenly how much this money could buy, he is tempted to use it for himself; his own savings, however, serve as a proof that in the past he had the strength to restrain himself and to deny himself a lot in order to improve his finances.

We know from experience how much a man still enslaved by capitalism changes when - through combined effort - we have managed to help him to tame capitalism and make it serve him. We also know how our sales department with its multiple branches would look had we not found the way how to change our business managers into capitalists.

Our branches enjoy an absolute self-management. They clearly show us the road leading to self-management of the workshops. We have, of course, spent more time and effort searching for the appropriate organizational system for these branches than for the implementation of self-management in the workshops, because it was vital for the very existence of these branches. Due to their remoteness and impossibility of a direct control by the enterprise management, a system as foolproof and sure as the law of earth gravity had to be found.

Our efficiently operating branch offices are a proof of the well chosen management system. Irregularities in dealing with the enterprise and the customers are rare indeed and should they occur, it happens either under managers who have not yet found out that honest work is the shortest way to acquire property, or under those unable to maintain an economic self-discipline without which it is impossible to make and keep money.

As long as the foreman does not have such economic standpoint, we can hardly expect him to have the right attitude toward his workers. And the foreman will adopt it as soon as he realizes that the recommended road is viable and leads him to the acquisition of personal property.

To help the foreman acquire property by giving him presents has no sense whatsoever. It would be too easy. All it would require would be to distribute initially certain amounts of money, just as the fanner's wife puts padding into a basket in order to lure the hen to lay eggs. By dispensing gifts of money to people we are achieving exactly the opposite results, because people have a better memory than chickens. People become dependent on handouts and do not depend on themselves. It is a question of morale, of education and of building-up self-discipline and self-confidence.

A large number of well-to-do, economically disciplined employees brings an unprecedented expansion to an enterprise. Those of us in constant search - within and outside of the enterprise - for people qualified to perform well abroad, understand it very well. It often happens that people with all the required qualities lack the main one, namely a sense of economy. It is obvious that they have never saved or could keep even a fraction of the amount about to be entrusted to them to handle abroad.

It is obvious that if only empty pockets prevent a person from spending money, such a person is not fit for the job.

The enterprise has to serve as an example by its own good management. Its finances must be in perfect shape. It should neither work with borrowed capital nor use the savings of its employees to expand production.

Every one of us must be aware that the enterprise should be at any time able to pay off all the claims of its employees. Our enterprise abides already now by these principles. We do not use bank credits and we are paying our suppliers cash at delivery.

A minor part of the amounts we owe to our employees is invested in safe loans; the majority of them however are cash deposits in reliable banks.

Obstacles to Self-Management

We should look for the greatest obstacle in ourselves and our small entrepreneurs. The less important their position, the greater obstacles they create. They are frightened they might become expandable. The desire to become irreplaceable is the motive of progress, but the wish to remain irreplaceable brakes the progress.

An incapable director looks jealously around himself and wishes to get rid of anybody who could outdo him and possibly replace him. A capable director on the other hand, breathlessly searches for people able to be trained to replace him as soon as possible, because he realizes that having successfully done his job, he is needed higher up and that somebody else has to succeed him on the lower level. He does not care if the sign at the corporate president's office door says: "Do not enter". He enters anyhow, politely greets the president and indicates to him that he does not covet his desk but wishes to do his job.

We would be less jealous and less anxious about our present positions if we understood that jobs securing modest existence are constantly sought by hundreds of thousands of people; an incomparably higher paid employment however is seeking urgently its candidates and very often in vain.

We will be strongly inconvenienced by the opinion held by many people, that in this world there is room for only an infinitely small number of wealthy people. This opinion originated with the peasant population, the ancestors of all of us.

The notion of a farmer's wealth is based on the size of his holdings, which, of course, has its limits. It is entirely different with industry. We know, for instance, that the better off people working for us are, the better we fare. It should be obvious to us that caring about constantly increasing well-being of our employees is just as important as caring about the lubrication of our machinery.

We have to realize that a man without financial reserves is subject to the same irregularities as a machine without lubrication or spare parts and that he is just as useless for the workshop.

Education to Affluence

An inexpensively and perfectly functioning workshop should resemble a family and the foreman should be its centre. Its members should even live close to each other so that they could help each other not only at work but in daily life as well. Every mishap of a team member should be regarded by the foreman as a work mishap or as one that befell himself.

The education of people to build their own fortune through self-discipline should start already at an early age; young men do not have yet deeply rooted passions such as drinking or smoking which sap most of their income and health. At our enterprise, we have already introduced such education. Our 14 years old apprentices must be financially independent before they have to face the problems of family life.

We have to see to it that apart from training a healthy body and acquiring the practical knowledge necessary for life, each of our young men should have savings of at least 100,000 Kc before he reaches the age of twenty four. Such savings could be put aside only if the earning possibilities improve each year, as it is happening now. I believe, however, that they can improve much faster. At a ten percent interest rate currently offered to our employees, the interest itself represents a one-third of the saved amount.

We have to pay the same attention to the education of girls. It should, however, proceed in a different direction. We must improve our cooking schools for instance, because healthy nutrition greatly contributes to the preservation and improvement of good health, while an inadequate diet ruins it. We have to offer the girls better opportunities to learn to sew, to manage their households and to bring up their children. So far, men cannot even imagine how much a well informed, reasonable and economically minded woman can contribute to the well-being of a family and complement by her feminine creativity the role of the husband.

Girls will hardly be able to make as important savings as men, because they earn less and spend more for clothing. Nevertheless, due to their high morale, their practical upbringing, social skills and, last but not least, their good financial standing, they should become the most sought after brides for our young men.

Two young people who bring to their marriage the ability to earn well and have for ten years independently managed their incomes, can handle their money prudently and in a disciplined way; their savings of about 150,000 Kc will enable them to start a family on a sound financial basis. They will become capitalists, because their capital will work for them. The 10 percent interest from their capital can usually cover the basic family expenses. Thus, they are the masters and not the slaves of the capital. This should become the most natural solution of the population question of industrial workers.

Many people may ask: "What would the world do with all that money when every one of us will be a capitalist with hundreds of thousands at his disposal? Who should pay the interest when we all want to earn interest?"

These are unnecessary worries. The earnings of an entire week of diligent work can be gone in one minute; it only suffices to find an opportunity to spend our money. We would therefore be well advised to learn to curb such temptations.

Parents and Children

Another serious obstacle in the economic education of our young employees are their parents.

Many parents think they have the right and the duty to handle the earnings and property of their children. The son or daughter must give the money they earned to their mother who will then take care of it according to her best judgement. She might use it to have the house repaired or to buy food or clothing.

In good families, the son or daughter do not dare to ask their parents to account for their money, as they might feel offended or even consider it as ungrateful. In less good families, the father or the mother sometimes even reduce their earning efforts when their children start working.

Quite often in a pub, a father may be heard, a full glass in hand: "And why does the blacksmith have a pair of tongs?" And he replies to himself: "Maybe not to get burned." We can frequently encounter a man about to get married, who is not sure if he owns something after ten years of work. One thing though he may be sure of - he knows nothing about independent management. He has no idea what his daily expenses are, he does not even know the price of the suit he is wearing, because his mother bought it for him. He has the disagreeable feeling that he is working for others, may they be his closest relatives; and most certainly he neither profits from nor enjoys the results of his work or the progress he is making.

It is the duty of older children to contribute to the education of the younger ones, particularly when the earnings of the parents are not sufficient. In such cases however, the parents should consider their child's money as a loan to the family, dividing evenly the load among all the siblings.

Children from the age of six should be allowed to handle independently every penny they have earned; it goes without saying that it should happen under careful parental supervision. Already a six years old child should be entitled to own and manage his little fortune, may it consist of only few pennies.

Let us get rid of our pettiness and greatness will find us without difficulty.

Business and Confidence

We should engage only in activities serving the public.

Business is service to people. The more a businessman understands this fact, the wider gets the circle of people interested to do business with him.

The direction which at the beginning seemed to be profitable to myself but detrimental to the public, brought in the long run prejudice to both. A business success should be based on surmounting our weaknesses. We are harbouring in ourselves the enemy of the business success.

Cutting out leather is the most unprofitable part of the shoe manufacturing process. Leather is a product of nature and therefore each piece is different. In leather, even the smallest parts have different characteristics and each section of a shoe requires another kind of leather as well. Negligently working cutters cut from a good, large piece of leather only few badly made shoes. Working with care, they achieve exactly the opposite. They can cut from a smaller piece of leather of lesser quality more good quality shoes.

Having learned to recognize the extent of such losses by introducing good accounting systems, we found out that progress can be achieved only by lowering such losses.

Only the cutters could help to reduce them. It was necessary to change our workers into businessmen liking their own work and to teach them count by heart. What has so far been done by the boss and few of his trusted collaborators behind close doors, must be accomplished by everybody now. The calculations hidden until now in the boss's safe had to be entrusted to all employees, and indeed to every cutter. Consequently, all our business secrets were suddenly easily available to bad competitors who observe all our moves and imitate every step we make.

It took our loyal employees a long time to get accustomed to this novelty. And the same happened when we began to take out of the boss's strong box the balance sheets of individual departments, later even of the entire enterprise. These measures have proven indispensable to the people responsible for those departments. It turned out that people cannot successfully work if they are not fully acquainted with everything pertaining to their department. But here again, a bogeyman appeared immediately. In this case he was dressed as an internal revenue man. All kinds of newspapers written in all kinds of languages tried hard to make us afraid of the bogeyman. Any small businessman suddenly pretended that unbearably high taxes have so far rained every business. We had a strange feeling that businesses can exist only if they cheat the atrocious and evil fiscal authorities. By contrast, we knew nothing about tax laws.

When we finally managed to control this inherited, inculcated error about taxes, we were half way on the road to victory. It happened few years before the war. Enlightened by a tax expert, we have stunned the internal revenue by producing profits never dreamed about before, in spite of our legitimate use of all the tax alleviations possible.

The thus acquired firm legal base saved us many times, particularly when the tax conditions became veritable barriers even to honestly and prudently managed enterprises.

The greatest profit of this catharsis consisted in the fact that we were able to continue our activities in full daylight and in full knowledge of all people and that it was no longer necessary to hide in the boss's safe data indispensable to the collaborators.

I found out how petty people can be in this respect when I met a tanner who had all the prerequisites of success but lacked the knowledge of accurate industrial accounting. When he learned that an accurate accounting system could disclose anytime to anybody his financial condition, he was greatly displeased; and he became furious when he realized that his employee could know the exact amount of money he, the boss, used for his personal expenses. He said that to him it was unthinkable, that such things he would not even tell his own wife, and quit.

Open Accounting

There was another bogeyman that was preventing the revelation of the boss's accounting secrets: the fear of people's demands. The easiest way to refuse justified as well as unjustified demands of the employees is to reply: "I cannot! We are not earning enough! We are loosing money!" But such old, much too often used cliches must be discarded and replaced by new, better ways.

It became necessary to find, once and for all, the willingness to fulfil every justified demand of our collaborators, and the courage to refuse all the unjustified ones. All accounts and any documentation on the achievements of the enterprise remain ineffective if they stay hidden in the safe deposit box of the boss. All the knowledge or any new idea of the entrepreneur remains useless if not shared with his collaborators.

The scope of performance of even the most efficient entrepreneur decreases in proportion to the size of the enterprise and the number of collaborators compared with the amount of tasks to be performed. And how can the collaborators work in accordance with the ideas of their leader, when they are not familiar with them?

Is not history wrong in teaching us that all battles were lost when the commander's strategy was prematurely revealed?

How much time and energy people need before they realize that these are mere excuses of incompetent leaders and before they learn to ignore such scholarly drivel!

In fact, most battles were lost because people were not properly assigned their tasks and because the leader was a pretentious coward, afraid that somebody might steal his foolish ideas.

Any thought and any idea is silly and useless as long as it remains imprisoned in the human mind. It resembles a rough diamond before it is cut and polished. Thoughts also need cutting and polishing and only human brain can accomplish it.

Inventors often visit me and tell me: "You are the only man I trust because I know that you are not going to misuse my extraordinary invention. I would like to have it patented but I am afraid that somebody might give it away."

Their hands tremble when they take those precious papers or little wheels out of their pockets; as if they were losing their very souls!

But the stronger their apprehension, the less important their invention. I often feel like bursting out laughing; these silly people constantly fearing for their ideas remind me of my own struggles, before I stopped running to patent offices and realized that the greatest compensation of an inventor is a solved problem.

And in order to solve a problem, the thinker has to strengthen and discipline his mind before he tackles a given task. Just as a gymnast has to strengthen and train his muscles before he attempts his first exercise.

All possessions, all the gold on earth derive from the human mind; all the power in the world is its devoted servant. If, however, certain great thinkers die powerless and poor, they either did not wish to face the heavy responsibility resulting from wealth and power, or they were not what they pretended to be.

I was able to prevent price disputes between our salesmen and our customers, as well as wage disputes between the enterprise and the employees, which was to the advantage of all concerned. But so far I was unable to prevent disputes and distrust among you all. The majority of you represent independent entrepreneurs within our enterprise, as your income depends on the results of your department. Many of you think that the entire success of your department depends on paying a lower price for the merchandise of your supplier department and charge a high price to the customer department.

All of you trying hard to squeeze your business partners to the utmost, necessarily condone waste of time and material in your departments. Do keep in mind the answer of the most prominent businessman of ancient Greece; when asked by Alexander the Great how he acquired his great wealth, he replied: "By selling cheaply the goods I bought for a lot."

Our sales rooms and our relationship with customers should serve as a good example to all of you. In our sales rooms, bargaining does not exist. Our first word is also our last, at home as well as abroad; we endeavour to fulfil even the unexpressed wish to the best of our ability.

Obviously, it would not suffice if only the enterprise had the right attitude toward the state, the customer and its own staff. The employees as well must have the same attitude toward the enterprise, and particularly when dealing among themselves.

Only by collaboration and mutual agreement can we serve the public and create affluence for all.

Self-Management of the Workshops

The idea of self-management of the workshops, as endeavoured by Tomas Bata, was to lead people to change entirely their attitude, from the hired hand to the entrepreneur way of thinking.

An entrepreneur should approach work with initiative, with profit as his principal goal. His imagination should help him to introduce new customer services and to improve and extend the already existing ones. He should not forget that only the best services are profitable.

A mercenary work system leads to a mercenary way of thinking. In such a system, the production is organized on the base of orders, work and wages. Incentive, resourcefulness or initiative are practically nonexistent and should some enterprising employees exceptionally show such qualities, they are usually not objectively appreciated and therefore only fortuitously remunerated. However, the net profit of the entire enterprise consists however of a combination of ideas, effort and work - in short of the initiative of the entire collective of the enterprise. The more economically and resourcefully an individual is thinking and executing even the least important task, the better are the results of the whole collective.

The purely mercenary relationship fundamental to the organization of most of the European industrial production in the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century, is not a healthy foundation for productive and successful work. Apart from the upper-mentioned drawbacks, it relieves the worker of personal responsibility for his work. In conjunction with work distribution, inevitable in factory production, it deprives people of the endeavour and ambition to render the best possible job.

Piece-work is much more efficient, because a skillful and hard-working individual gets his remuneration promptly, according to the amount of work delivered. Nevertheless, personal responsibility for a finished product is also lacking here, particularly with modem work distribution. The relationship between the employer and the employee is narrowed down to the number of pieces produced and to the pay-day envelope. No relation whatsoever exists between the worker and the customer.

Piece-work is very individual, it allows for too much display of unhealthy egotism and as a consequence, the individual worker cares little about the interests of the collective - the workshop.

In spite of considerable performance inefficiency, there was definitely much more personal initiative in the old-fashioned artisanal production.

An individual was at the same time a worker, an artisan and a businessman. When, for example, a shoemaker made shoes, he knew very well that his earnings were not dependent on tacking, sewing or other handiwork, but on the way he handled the leather and on the quality of the finished product. Well made shoes sold well and assured him new orders in the future. Such a man was fully responsible for his work, he had interest in it and he profited from his efforts. His dependence on profit taught him to purchase cautiously and economically, to produce good quality merchandise efficiently and punctually and to be polite to the customers.

Tomas Bata started as a modest craftsman; he kept always in mind the effectiveness and usefulness of such responsibility which, of course, must be combined with the progress of scientific organization and modem work distribution. He was searching for a type of organization where the individual worker in a large enterprise could work assiduously and responsibly, economizing time, energy and material just as if he were an independent entrepreneur rewarded solely according to the effectiveness of his own work. He was searching for an organization which would develop and encourage entrepreneurial qualities inherent, more or less, in every human being. He called such constantly developing organization "the selfmanagement of the workshops", because it enabled an important part of the people in the workshops and departments to participate both in manufacturing and management.

Self-Management in Practice

The Organization of Bata Enterprises

Is based on the principle "from the manufacturer to the consumer." It purchases many raw-materials directly from the initial producers and strives to distribute, under its own control, the finished product directly to the consumer. It controls thus three phases of the process of enterprising: purchases, manufacturing and merchandising.

The production of the entire enterprise forms therefore a chain of "a refining process". Hence the enterprise is a virtual association of several hundred of departments with a considerable economic independence and manufacturing incentive.

The independence of the departments is characterized as follows:

1.    Each department is managed by a director responsible for its production, profit and losses.

2.    An independent economic budget with open weekly accounting of profits and deficits.

3.    Participation of employees, namely foremen and a number of other workmen, in the profits of the workshops.

4.    Each department employee is personally responsible for his own work.

5.    Collective effort of the entire workshop to fulfil the profit making tasks.

The overall view of Bata Enterprises in Zlin in 1932

Management of the Enterprise

The majority of the employees participate in the management of the enterprise.

Even the smallest departments are led by department managers with duties similar to the duties of a concessionary administering leased properties (workshop, machinery, energy, production tools, etc.), participating in the production by the refining process system. This administrator is sharing the profits of the workshop production with the best workshop employees and with the enterprise management.

The mutual relationship and collaboration of individual departments and workshops is regulated by mutual commercial agreements. When ordering or delivering work, these departments operate as entirely independent enterprises (offers with budgets, setting of delivery dates, etc.). These contracts are controlled either by the accounting department or the management office of the enterprise. (Possible misunderstandings are settled by impartial arbitrators).

The mutual exchange of semifinished and finished products is conducted by a specific form of commercial sales. The control of the semifinished as well as finished products is made directly in the departments by controllers entirely independent - in terms of both salary and service - from the production managers. Their decision is therefore absolutely impartial.

All work is executed according to an exact plan elaborated for one year and estimates for several years ahead. This global plan consists of a large quantity of subordinate plans, anticipating the work of individual departments. It is then divided into daily plans, i.e. the amount of work accomplished in the eight working hours of one calendar day. Teamwork of all departments is, of course, an essential prerequisite for the accomplishment of such daily work plan.

Planned Economy

Combating chances

Today, there are few occupations left where so much happens incidentally, as in manufacturing and commerce. Enterprises exist where chance occurrences are more powerful than the owner or the director general. Such chances even receive official approval, when they appear once or twice a year on the account balance and are simply noted.

There was hardly a greater enemy of chance in business than Tomas Bata. He did his best to eliminate production incidents in the entire enterprise. The work of all departments was based on plans elaborated well ahead. The manager set the anticipated plan for his department for the six months to follow and controlled its fulfilment daily or weekly. The required targets could be established for goods, money or profits, e.g. for all factors of enterprising, and were expressed in percentages of earnings of the manager, the workers and the entire enterprise.

The workers were also setting targets for themselves and their income in special saving deposit booklets, received once a year from the enterprise. In the specialized school for young men, for instance, the personal targets account was represented an independent part of accounting.

The system of targets totally changed the mentality of the employees and consequently of the whole enterprise. Thinking back did not exist. The past was contemplated only when comparing charts of the results.

Working according to pre-set targets is a mighty idea. People knowing exactly what they aim at achieving will always find the necessary ways and means - may they be unknown to them at the beginning - to realize their goals.

When thousands of people work according to pre-determined targets which they are constantly controlling and adjusting, such activity will automatically spur the enterprise forward.


The Bata Enterprises, Ltd. had a precise production plan (purchasing, merchandizing as well as investments) always laid out for six months ahead. The work calendar of the enterprise had 253 working days with 253 set work plans; 113 days were free, including a week of paid vacation. The work plan of the entire enterprise was composed of individual plans of all departments. The elaboration of these plans was done by all the managers, each one for his own department and within the limits of its work capacity.

The daily production plan for the entire enterprise was divided into hundreds of plans of the individual departments and thousands of plans for individuals and machinery. Possible differences - the non-fulfilment of the plans - were balanced by cancellation. Every department was evidently mainly interested in working according to its own previously set targets. On them depended to a certain extent its profits. When unable to fulfil its plan, the department in question had to pay to its business partner department a prearranged penalty for the losses incurred. If, however, the shoe manufacturing workshop was unable to deliver the planned quantity to the sales department due to undelivered raw materials, it demanded from the relevant purchasing department to pay the penalty. Consequently, disorders in the systematic production of the departments were rare indeed. The systematic production of the entire enterprise never broke down, because the wages and regular daily work of thousands of people directly depended on it. Thus everybody was assured a regular job which was not jeopardized by negligence of others.

Education to Leadership

Buildings are piles of bricks and concrete.

Machines are a lot of iron and steel

But only people can give them life.

The success of every action where a large number of people participates depends on wise leadership. Imprudent, foolish or weak leaders can thwart the work results of the most industrious and adroit workers or the most perfect machinery. Only under capable leadership can the work of people and machinery bear its fruit; the output equals the leadership quality of the managers.

Tomas Bata dedicated most of his efforts to educate to leadership the managers of the hundreds of departments constituting the Zlin enterprises. I have never met a more effective and masterful education. It was highly appreciated even by men who left the Bata Enterprises, Ltd. a long time ago and worked later as Bata's competitors. And even the most stubborn competitors I happened to talk with about "the Tomas Bata School" nodded approvingly. Yes, yes, I have learned a lot from him.

The working calendar

"Whenever I find badly trimmed edges or a crooked heel on finished shoes I do not pay attention to that crooked work. What does interest me though is how the character of people working in that workshop could get so crooked. It is absolutely clear to me that people with a crooked character cannot accomplish a square piece of work". That was Tomas Bata's method of schooling.

I remember well one of those "lessons"; there were hundreds of them weekly and thousands yearly.

One of the members of management, a man about thirty, supervising namely the plant's leather supplies, was given the task of improving the management of about 20 workshops located in the same plant building. He came to the boss with the administrator of that building, a sturdy man also around thirty, to report how he intends to go about it. "I plan to spend a week there and I vouch for the quality of the work; I installed order over there already once before".

Tomas Bata listened calmly and looked at both managers, full of enthusiasm and ready to get to work. He then asked six additional people connected as well with the matter to join them.

"It is a great problem" he said, "to be thirty years old. When I had that age, I believed I could accomplish my work with my legs just as well as with my head. Faced with a task similar to yours, I tackled it the same way you are intending to. I jumped straight in the middle of that job. I took three steps at once and I was controlling the work of everybody. After a week of such drudgery, I thought all was back in shape again.

But shortly afterwards, the workshop was again in shambles. New control, new hard work. Nobody told me that at thirty, man's legs are better than his head and that he often does with his legs what he should do with his head. Nobody told me that in order to make good shoes I have to be just as acquainted with psychology as with shoemaking.

Psychology is an art to play an infinitely fine instrument called the human soul. And that art is just now most important for you and for your work. I will advise you how in one of the workshops I corrected last week crookedly trimmed edges".

"Three men were cutting the edges in that workshop. When I entered, I knew all I needed about them to understand their work. I called the foreman and asked him which one of the three works best. He pointed out a sturdy man in best years. A handsome man, straight as an arrow, extremely polite. I looked at his work and then at his neighbours' work. His was the worst".

"The man was able to establish the best possible relations with the foreman and the supervisor. He was one of those people nature bestowed with good looks and that already made him agreeable. He cared how people talked about him. He managed to get the foreman and the supervisor under the spell of his words and of his good looks and to base their opinion about him on his person - not his work. The second cutter was an unsightly man with a rough way of talking and the third man hardly spoke at all. Although they worked much better than the good looking young man, they were constantly criticized by their superiors. They made them responsible for the bad edges and considered negligent."

"It is very easy to give in to the charm of good looks. A fine face, sparkling eyes and agreeable way of talking open hearts, arouse sympathy and lead astray from the road of justice. But when you are a manager, you have no right to follow the voice of your heart and to judge a person and his work according to the feelings of sympathy or antipathy he arouses in you".

"The two cutters were well aware of the bad work of their colleague and knew as well that he was the favourite. As a result, the entire workshop produced crooked edges. Hardly anything else could be expected under such circumstances."

I told the foreman the following: "You befriended a man who is actually harming your workshop. His co-workers, much worse looking and no smooth talkers, recognized that they will not gain your appreciation by honest work. They felt the injustice practiced here and found out that it does not pay to be an honest worker.

Go to your friend and tell him that as long as he keeps his sloppy working habits you cannot consider him a friend. Tell him, that every time he defaults on his work, you will punish him. Let him know that the only way to regain your friendship is to execute properly the tasks that earn good living for both of you."

The face and eyes of the foreman revealed to me what was going on in his mind - I could see the inner struggle I had provoked. He was supposed to castigate his friend; he was upset, as he was basically an honest man. He managed however to recover the fairness he had lost, which resulted not only in straight edges but also in an atmosphere promoting straightforward characters, the very guarantee of work well done. He accomplished it by awakening in the soul of the handsome cutter a struggle which started to change his mentality. "I have visited that workshop only once for a short while. Outside of the workshop however, I pondered for a long time over these men and their work. Could I have successfully accomplished my task there, had I not been familiar with the conditions unknown on the outside and had I not carefully thought out the way how to face them?"

A Perfect Machine

A message to the engineers of the factory engineering shop in 1927

I do not give priority to an engineer's knowledge, but to his character and his honesty. Only perfect people build perfect machinery.

An engineer is a part of modem technology and a man who creates modem times. Only those who can build those modern mechanical slaves made of steel are able to free humanity from drudgery and to make people wealthy. However, not everybody knows how to build machines as complicated as the ones needed in our branch, enabling workers to earn 100.-Kc per day while producing shoes costing the customer only 29.- Kc.

We must try to choose as engineers only men able to build perfect machines. I intend to employ here people who know how to put to good use the precious gift of a healthy mind God bestowed upon them. All the others, unable to profit from such gifts should go back to the fields or try to be useful to their fellow men elsewhere."

If I let them build machines, they would not only harm themselves, they would also harm thousands of people who will eventually use the machines and millions of customers who will buy the products made by these machines.

I do not give priority to an engineer's knowledge, but to his character. Only a perfect man can build a perfect machine.

It is not an accident that the best machinery is built in Anglo-Saxon countries, where they have the best schools, the highest standard of living and prosperity. Machines have created it for them.

It is therefore not difficult to build perfect machinery in those countries, because you can find plenty of highly qualified and experienced people. It is not as easy in our country. I intend, however, to realize my plan even if I should search with a candle in my hand for suitable people among the 14 million inhabitants of our republic. And I shall not quit until I find as many capable people as necessary for manufacturing the tools and the machines best suited for our production.

It is not a question of finances that leads us to manufacturing of machines. It is, above all, a question of morale. Those who accept the idea that we are unable to attain the necessary perfection to produce a perfect machine, prefer to stay closer to the apes than to people. Such people profit very little indeed from the machines, because they lack the intelligence to utilize them. They do not grasp the idea that inspired the inventor. They would handle a machine similarly to the way a monkey behaved when the owner left it alone with a clock. The clock stopped, but as the monkey was used to its ticking, it continued to swing the pendulum, imitating the way the owner was winding up the clock. It overlooked the fact that the invisible spring, hidden inside of the clock has to be wound up first.

The entrance gate to Bata Enterprises and the beginning of the main factory road

I would not hesitate to replace the leading employees as well as their underlings in order to bring well-being to all.

Small manufacturing may be managed by small minded people. Large production however can be managed only by broadminded people with powerful characters, strong will and great knowledge. We are lacking people with such personalities and we must probably wait until the young men we are educating now in our school are ready to take over. It is therefore important for your sake as well as for the entire region that you point out to me men able to fulfil this great task.


To the engineers of the research department.

It is not easy for a person to develop sufficient mental strength to perform hard intellectual work such as research.

Such work demands absolute discipline and order in our "intellectual workshop". It is easy enough to force oneself to perform in the workshop for a certain time without frequent interruptions a manual task like heel breasting for instance; it is much more difficult however to force a man we have engaged to create in his "intellectual workshop" something new to stop thinking at anything else and to concentrate exclusively on his task. Nobody as yet though invented something or performed a demanding mental effort without concentrating fully on it from the beginning to the end.

We are employing plenty of researchers and some of them work for us already for several years; nevertheless, they have accomplished very little. As far as I could observe them, the reason for their failure always was - with few exceptions - their inability to concentrate on one thing only. The second reason for lack of success was their inherent aversion to physical work and little esteem of skilfulness acquired through manual work.

A researcher who wants to accomplish positive work should acquire the best possible working skills with the help of old-fashioned production means; only thus will he be able to find out what is required to accomplish a particular type of work with a new tool. And it is indeed the only way to understand and appreciate the ideas his predecessor, also a researcher, applied when inventing the new machine.

We are neither afraid of possible failures of our researchers, nor will we give up trying to find people capable to achieve such accomplishments and to offer them the opportunity of working with success. We should be employing thousands of new researchers, but, unfortunately, we cannot afford to hire them before we find a way of getting good results from the ones we already have.

The intellectual work of organizers is governed by the same rules as that of the researchers. Their poor performance is due to the fact that they have disorder in their "mental workshops" and are unable to concentrate on one problem only. It happens sometimes that an organizer - be it a supervisor or a foreman - makes great efforts to improve his workshop. The more he works at it however, the less he accomplishes and we often find a month later that not only did he fail to improve his workshop, he even let to deteriorate the order or the arrangements introduced in the workshop by his predecessor.

Lately, I have carefully observed a supervisor entrusted with the organization of workshop where shoe bottoms are made and where 40 people were working at various tasks connected with this type of production. The man was unable to deliver good quality goods in an entire day. In order to recognize the measure of his ability, I ordered him to forget about most of his workers and to concentrate only on four men pressing edges. The first two worked on even racks, one on the right, one on the left, the other two on uneven racks.

A careful observer could easily judge which one of the four people works best and which one worst. I examined their work and asked the supervisor for his opinion. He thought the foreman worked best while I found him the worst. I am convinced he truthfully told me what he believed and did not follow any personal interests.

But calm and full concentration were required to arrive at the right judgement; the foreman was unable of either. His wrong judgement deprived him of success and made his presence in the workshop almost harmful.

I was contemplating the reasons of his error. In order to solve the mystery, I asked him to inspect once more the pressed edges and revise his judgement. I observed him carefully and found out he did not have enough mental discipline while working. Controlling the edges he could not avoid to judge the faults made by other people and he went away several times to improve the defects. To form the right opinion about the work of the individual pressers, it was obviously necessary to look at a larger number of shoes made by each one of them and to observe him as well.

His inability to concentrate proved that he cannot control properly the work of four people and that he must first improve his own concentration ability in order to manage successfully the work of forty people.

No work whatsoever can be accomplished by running from place to place and trying to do everything at once.

All our failures are exactly the same as those of the foreman. We are doing only half of our work and only the more agreeable half at that. We are running away from the less agreeable half either consciously or subconsciously. Nevertheless, the execution of a task can be accomplished only in the second half, the disagreeable one we try to avoid.

The difference between a concentrated, well-disciplined worker and the one accomplishing only 50 percent of his work may be best explained by a comparison between a dog and a monkey.

When a dog feels that a flea is biting him, it starts scratching and is content to have chased the flea for a short while to another spot. The monkey tackles the same problem in a much smarter way. It keeps passing its finger through its fur and when it finally locates the flea, it destroys it.

Our Dining Room

Lately, our kitchen worries me greatly; it is obviously badly managed. I did all in my power to improve the situation, but the progress is so far very slow indeed.

Having controlled the kitchen several times I have found out that despite the efforts our enterprise is making to supply the employees with good cheap food, so far they did not fully profit from it.

I have therefore made the decision to dine there together with all the other directors. I asked to set up a small control kitchen which would prepare meals from the same ingredients with the utmost care. Rarely, and with only certain dishes were the big kitchens able to achieve the same results as the small control kitchen. It was possible lately to improve the quality of beef through a more strictly controlled cattle purchases. Soups are better cooked as well and the same goes for side dishes. But dumplings and filled buns prepared from yeast dough are still of very poor quality. As long as we cannot improve them, we will avoid serving them.

I am determined to do all I possibly can to serve good quality meals. This may be achieved however only with full cooperation of the entire staff. Follow the suggestions how to improve the kitchen and the dining room and address all complaints directly to me.

Labor Regulations

The most original expression of Tomas Bata's organizational skills are his labour regulations and direct written orders addressed to particular members of the staff and concerning specific matters. They are contained in eight volumes; reading them we can follow how he was mastering his constantly growing tasks and what was his method of educating his collaborators. His intellectual strength, the thoroughness of his reasoning, his knowledge of the subject as well as of the people and his strong personal outlook on life are displayed in these regulations; we can publish here, of course, only those of the most general interest. They are a perfect proof that the exemplary order in the factory and in the town, as well as the constantly improved work in the entire enterprise were not incidental or accidental, but a result of good reasoning.

How did Tomas Bata elaborate his labour regulations? He dictated some of the longer ones, but most of them were written spontaneously whenever and wherever he considered it necessary to act! In his 1927 address to the Prague technical experts, he described his working method in the following way:

"Let us prepare ourselves for this work in the best and most efficient way. Look at this pencil, fixed on a chain. It is much faster to get hold of an attached pencil and utilizing this way, you would save thousands of seconds a day! This small, loose leaf mechanical note pad would also greatly enhance your efficiency. Thanks to these two uncommon helpers you will retain every idea, even one occurring to you while working high on a chimney or inside a sewer drain."

In the following regulations, we are only giving the initial of the person to whom it was addressed. In the original, full names and number of people concerned were always given.

Power Plant:

Mr. B.

Your smokestacks are smoking from 6 to 7 a.m., just as it was happening before my notice.

I have found out that you are coming to work shortly before 7 a.m., which, of course, deprives you of the possibility to see it with your own eyes; the fact is that in a power plant things happen exactly the same way as with feeding the livestock.

As long as the farmer is lying in bed when the stable boy is feeding the horses, it is indeed unnecessary that he spend later all day at the field.

The Boss.

September 7, 1931.

Purchasing Department:

Mr. Ch.

An old proverb tells us that a good farmer may be recognized by his manure pile. What a manure is to the farmer, waste, scrap and reprocessable material is for the industrialist. The entire future of industry depends on the reprocessing of raw materials. You may best judge yourself what kind of an economist you are, when you visit your scrap storage room.

You cannot make responsible for the handling and utilization of your scrap your day labourers; they are not aware that every kilogram of upper cow hide scrap contains 20 percent of grease (at 4.- Kc, i.e. 80 heller in a kg) and that such scrap may be still used in several ways. They do not know that you do not make use of two existing degreasing stations. They also do not know that when the grease is removed from such upper leather scraps, an extract remains which can be utilized as fertilizer. The day labourer cannot negotiate that somebody work it out for us in wages, in case that you can now do all these things; he cannot decide to sell that waste when there is no chance we would process them ourselves.

As a specialist, you should know all this and it is entirely your responsibility to avoid wasting material. The day labourers who are putting away or would later utilize your waste should be your best confidents, able to tell you which workshop this scrap comes from; you could then take a standpoint to it.

I wish you would look at that scrap today and return this letter to me at 2 p.m. with a remark what measures you took in this matter and what will be done in the future. Otherwise, you will be made responsible for all losses incurred by not utilizing this waste.

The Boss.

12 November 1931.

Tomas Bata was a non-smoker. The more interesting therefore is this regulation:

Mr. H.

There is always a line at the tabac shop. People enter and exit by the same door. Provide at least for another exit.

The Boss.

16 August 1931.

Mr. K.

At the most recent control of the new department store, I could find neither drinking water nor salt at the tables in the dining room.

The Boss.

27 October 1931.

Power Plant - Gasworks - Railroad:

Messrs. Z., B., D.

Apologies should be extended for any breakdown in the power plant, gasworks or on the railroad.

Mr.B. did not apologize for the electric power breakdown last month. The same applies for the railroad. If the wagons are not heated, the train is late and misses the connection with the main line, etc., it is necessary to apologize.

The gasworks as well. Last Sunday, our cook could not cook dinner. The reasons for it should be examined.

The Boss.

10 November 1931.

Housing Department:

Mrs. S.

The housing department has to fulfil its duties perfectly. The department's scope of work and duties have to be constantly extended. I hear for instance, that people do not know how to use the aerial central heating; the department however, has so far neglected to name an instructor who would, at the beginning of winter, make the rounds of all the homes using this type of heating and instructed the inhabitants. Such inspection rounds should be done several times a year and the instructor should keep the entire operation under control. This applies as well to all other installations and particularly to the new gas system.

The Boss.

1 June 1931.

The Municipality:

Mr. Z.

Your streets are very dirty today. How does your sweeping machine work? Do you know how to operate it yourself?

I have seen whole gangs of Gypsies near the slaughterhouse. Find out if the slaughterhouse makes deals with them or gives them some garbage. Try to prevent both!

The Boss.

2 November 1931.

The Municipality:


Today I met behind the garages two policemen, Anthony S. and Frank P. They were walking in the middle of the road so far from each other that a third man could have easily walked between them. They were walking toward the garages, I was driving in the direction of town and was practically unable to pass them. Although they made way for my car, their movements indicated clearly how much they resented to do so.

Their behaviour revealed their intention to show the employer their authority. Our police force must be educated in a completely different way. They have to realize they are paid to serve the public and not to manifest their power for the sake of their own satisfaction.

We fully agree if they use their authority in the service of the public, but we strongly oppose any display of power for purely personal reasons.

The Boss.

4 November 1931.

The Municipality:

P. R.

I made the observation that you are switching on the streetlights at 7 p.m., although at 5 p.m. it is already dark. You have even switched on the Main Street lights that late recently.

In case of more extensive regulations stipulating long range obligations, Tomas Bata presented them in the form of a contract, where the tasks and compensation of the contracting parties and the methods of accomplishing them were clearly indicated. How precisely did Tomas Bata pursue this method may be seen from a contract with his own son, cited below. This contract is interesting from other points of view as well. It shows the original and democratic way of planning the education of his son as well as of all the young men in Zlin. Although addressing his own son, Bata drew the contract in a very formal, businesslike way, as if dealing with any other contractant.

Study of Mathematics

Mr. Tomas Bata Jr.

When studying mathematics, keep in mind to persuade the largest number of people in each department to join in, particularly young employees.

I have especially in mind the departments of electrical engineering, machine tools, installation, construction, etc. These employees will, of course, follow the mathematical studies with you only to the extent of their specialty. You will pass all exams of mathematics pertaining to these specialties together with them.

Make a list of all the young men coming under consideration. Publish the invitation to study in a special edition of one of our publications (Bulletin, for example, with a circulation of several thousands). Paste the most important pages of this Bulletin on a cardboard and display it in all departments for young people to read.

In addition, inform all the interested parties that there is a deadline to pass exams. Otherwise, they could be transferred from those departments or even dismissed.

We are willing to pay you a bonus for each of your fellow students who will pass the exam from his section together with you. We are ready to pay the same bonus also to the school. This work should be done primarily by Mr. Hradil together with Mr. Hradek.

Zlin, 22 March 1932.

Tomas Bata Sr.

The Industrial Manager

Only the field ploughed by the farmer

himself yields rich crops.

Bata's proverb.

Let me advise you, because I am a good manager; I have learned how to earn pennies as well as millions.

I do not aim to deal with people who consider business only as an occasion to make a lot of money and having done it for 10-20 years, they run away with the loot in order to lead an easy life. I want to do business only with people who intend to stay in it for life, who chose it as their life-long occupation. To such people, business certainly ensures decent living.

Those who are only chasing after money will never catch up with it. Do your work honestly, try to do it better than your neighbour. Money will then come running to you.

A day has 86 400 seconds.

Today's business resembles sometimes a wrestling match. The wrestlers invite the public, collect the entrance fee and make a deal behind the curtain among themselves who will be knocked out and how soon. This is also a way to make money, but I do not consider it the right one, because only one side gains. The public is entitled to an honest match, as it paid honest money. Our way though is more difficult, there is more noise and more troubles. But it brings wealth to both sides, to the customers as well as to the manufacturer and furthermore it protects people from bankruptcy. Nothing corrupts manufacturers and businessmen - even the most gifted ones - as much as money earned too easily.

Every human activity must manifest itself finally somehow in figures.

A boundless number of sparkling sentences and admirable ideas could be quoted to characterize the strongest side of Bata's personality: thrift and a sense of economy. Those who insist that it was his sixth sense are maybe right. It seemed sometimes as if he were carrying a magic wand with which he detected sources spouting values everywhere.

It is hardly surprising that many people, observing his constant economic successes, attributed them to favourable circumstances, lucky coincidences, or chance. In Bata's economic thinking however, there was no place for coincidences or chances. "Circumstances are never guilty of anything. It is the people who are always guilty. Circumstances either have to be controlled or adjusted to. Circumstances resemble a stick When it hits, it is within reach and you should grab it and start using it as your tool To understand the circumstances is not essential in economy - what is essential is to know how to control and master." This is the living Bata - irrepressible, an economic activist with a hard glow in his steel blue eyes; those who saw that gleam only once have never forgotten it. "We did not bring about these circumstances but I am not willing to be sorry for them, either" he roared at an enterprise conference after his return from India in 1932. "I am delighted with these circumstances." A dead silence all around. It seemed almost like mocking all the logically justified, reasonable opinions propagated daily in thousands of newspapers in all countries of the world, declaring there is no doubt about the decline of humanity and the decay of society. "To hell with reason trying to prove to me I should go and hang myself. The worse are the conditions in the world - the more we have to work. And should I have to work for nothing, I would not run away. "As he was standing there, rough and with an incomprehensible lack of logic, unwilling to agree with scientists and politicians, resembling a lion chased to a blind alley, he inspired at the same time fear, admiration and faith in his own truth. He seemed to personify the revolt of humanity against all the decay, impassiveness and madness disseminated in the economic world by wastrels and egoists who did not see farther than into their own pockets. Even those who could not understand him felt that he was absolutely right and that his truth meant to live and not to vegetate and waste away. To live a life full of hard work and denial, but also a life expecting victory in the first lines of the economic front.

This picture of Bata - the fighting manager is associated with the picture of Bata -the sowing farmer on a mild May day promising a good harvest: "Every father should make an economic contract already with a six years old son and make it possible for the boy to earn his own money in some way. A six years old boy is already able enough to manage his property. - Assign to a child one or two square meters of ground in a school and let him cultivate it, leaving the profit to him. He will learn more about economy this way than from books."

To earn a lot, to spend wisely, to economize - that is the right program. As far as the credit business is concerned, the Americans, Ford including, are wrong. It is impossible to live on credit - it leads to bankruptcy. "It is our duty to liberate our collaborators from being slaves to capital, the capital should be their slave. We will be successful in achieving this particularly with young people - we should teach them to control their passions and to inculcate upon them in our schools how to acquire, manage and keep assets."

Why was this teaching so effective, why did it work not only in the enterprise and in town, but in the entire country and in the hearts of all active people as well? Because it came from a heart permanently struggling for a freedom, the only freedom of our century: the economic freedom. Freedom has never been, in any century, easily attainable, it always required struggle and personal sacrifice. The life to which was leading Bata-the Manager, was not easy. But it was a strong life, teaching to rely on one own's strength and collaboration, refusing gifts, subsidies or other support as undignified for healthy, grown up people.

"Charity does not help people. They must be taught to help themselves by having faith in themselves. "In this respect, Tomas Bata was, and always will be an economic revivalist of the people of which he was issued.

The pavements and gardens round Bata Enterprises in Zlin

Freedom of Trade

A speech in 1928.

I am for the freedom of trade. New inventions bring new, better working methods. In our day, it is impossible to force people with impunity to continue to use outdated, useless working methods during their entire life. The whole society suffers if a man is prevented to change his craft.

Old crafts have to step back and let new and better ones take their place, just as an old day yields to a new one, old generations are succeeded by younger ones and old poverty gives way to new, better times.

The highest ideal of a good tradesman is the yearning to grow, to develop and to enlarge his enterprise. This is a more valuable asset than money and a force more powerful than electricity. The will to grow brings new ideas, examples and forces which make our business become steadily bigger.

Let us consider the small businessman's condition as a transient one and let us see our foremost duty in becoming a big businessman. And should unfavourable circumstances and great obstacles prevent us to struggle through, we should at least try to help our children to attain the goal. Let us make their way easier and be a good example to them. Let us equip them with better knowledge and with enough force to achieve what we tried to achieve ourselves.

If a businessman is small or big depends on his innermost feelings.

I remember well the advertisements of the Young Company of Boston, offering a counter-making machine in specialized trade magazines throughout the world 25 years ago.

I imagined it was a large factory dealing with the entire world and when I made my first trip to America, I looked it up. To my greatest surprise, I found out that the personnel of the world-renowned company consisted of father and son, working with rolled-up sleeves at a vice. The picture of these American tradesmen will stay forever in my mind; their example taught me that it is not the size of the plant but the spirit of the tradesman that decides if the enterprise would work for only dozens of customers in his city or for millions of them all around the world.

Let us take good care of ourselves which, in turn, will benefit our family, our fellow-men, our community and our country.

The work of a craftsman, a businessman or an entrepreneur should render people certain services. The success of his service depends in the first place on his health, his talents, education, experience and, last but not least, his assiduity. In other words, on purely personal qualities. The better care a tradesman takes of himself, the more he improves the above-mentioned desirable qualities, the better he can serve people and the more successful he becomes. And as business success is measured in money and property, he becomes therefore richer.

We should endeavour to expand and develop our businesses which leads to wealth. We should not be small-minded and suppress in ourselves the greatest force helping us to overcome natural obstacles. There are so many circumstances, forces and obstacles that push us down and we are therefore committing a sin on ourselves when we bind our hands and the will to help ourselves and to grow.

The road to growth is a road to truth, to reality. Truth and reality are the only base for building a decent business.

Nice sounding words are a good thing and may even be useful, as for example to politicians whose principal investment are electoral ballots. But beautiful words are not going to help you make money, because we are living in a world where nobody is willing to give something for nothing. In a world where each "Income" column must have an "Expenses" counter-item.

We should make the greatest effort to know the truth about ourselves and the world. We should neither deceive nor flatter ourselves, but we must not allow others to deceive or flatter us either.

We should beware of a man who approaches us with flattery, who talks about our rights and our perfection, about things that should have been done for us and were not.

If we let such worthless talk, gratifying only our vanity, control our hearts, we have left the land of reality and are floating in the realm of superstition.

One of the most dangerous superstitions for a businessman is to believe he is perfect. And yet, many grown-up people fall for it. This superstition manifests itself by excessive touchiness, refusal to take advice and firm conviction that it is unnecessary to know more and to learn from other people.

Let us keep our hearts open to enlightenment, from wherever it may come. Nobody in the world is as clever as to know everything. We should therefore try to learn from and to match all those who are ahead of us or above us; it will lead us upwards as well. But to belittle and mock those who are ahead us will bring us only to a downfall.

A businessman who is slandering and envying the success of others, who uncovers masterfully the faults of his competitor, never really gets richer. However, those who serve their customers politely and observe their competitors's successes in order to profit from them, will always fare well.

We should not be afraid of competition. A competitor is not going to knock us over, he is too far away. But we sure might be knocked over by the dust in our shop window, on the counter, on the shelves and indeed in the entire shop; that dust is right there and it will chase away many a customer. Moreover, dust is bad for our health.

The extent of affluence of the population of the entire country depends on the affluence or poverty of the business community. A man practicing his trade with the poorest means can hardly serve the customer as well as his wealthier, better equipped colleague. A poor businessman cannot employ adequate help and pay proper wages. Poverty may be an asset in some occupations and unobjectionable in many others. But it is always a drawback for a businessman, because his poverty causes poverty of his fellow citizens and thus poverty of the entire nation. It is his duty to get richer in experience and money. He should keep growing, enlarging his enterprise, improving. If he leaves to his children nothing but a good example and a will to grow, he left them enough to ensure good future for them and an honourable memory for himself.

What do I Wish to Our Business?

A speech in 1928.

Affluence for the entire population of the country may be attained only when industry serves commerce and commerce serves industry. Their successful collaboration creates full employment and good income for industrial workers and high sales with subsequent profits for business, which in turn helps customers to obtain inexpensive merchandize. The entire mission of and reason for business and businessmen is to search for ways and means how to offer their customers good yet inexpensive merchandize.

The businessman is the nerve and the feeler of human society. He is the first to suffer from economic difficulties befalling other people and nobody can help him to overcome such problems; he has to get even with them himself.

At the root of all these problems is the fact that the points of view and capabilities of our industrial production have already reached the 20th century, while our commerce remained at the level of the middle ages. The modem manufacturer understood that he can produce successfully only under the conditions of a highly specialized and centralized production based on scientific research. - He also understood that he can offer good, cheap products and pay high wages only if he manufactures a limited selection of products in large quantities. Such a production however must be backed by a well organized commercial network extending to a largest possible territory, in order to be close to the customers.

What do i wish to our retailers, particularly the small ones? To be courageous and to remember that the most important thing in business is firstly the principle of good service and secondly a constantly expanding sales network reaching more and more people.

I also wish that our businessmen were more dissatisfied with the circumstances and conditions they are working under. I am talking about circumstances that nip in the bud every possibility of a good commercial activity. I have in mind those narrow, dark shops with small windows, crammed with merchandise stuffed on shelves and in drawers, shops without a ray of sun or fresh air all year around. This is the retailer's principal personal enemy, robbing him day by day of his health, of all joy from work and of any innovative idea; and last but not least, it discourages the customers to shop at such premises.

There is no compromise, the winner will sooner or later be either the shopowners or the enemy; most probably the latter, if an immediate action is not taken. Unfortunately, only few shopkeepers are aware of these facts; they are looking for the reason of their failure everywhere else except in themselves and their surroundings.

A modern retailer as well as a modern producer needs modem tools. He needs a clean, airy shop full of light, offering the best possible selling conditions and premises attractive to customers. I am not talking here about luxury of mirrors and marble, I am talking about luxury of cleanliness, light and order. Taxes and competition should not be considered as the worst enemies of our stores. The most dangerous enemy resides in us, in our indifference to the obsolete conditions of our own store.

Every store owner is a conqueror, indeed the noblest among the conquerors, as he straggles to serve people well. Every store owner, be it a modest milkman in a basement shop, should have on the wall a plan of the few streets in his immediate neighborhood that are his territory and he should be thinking all the time about ways how and where to expand his realm. He should strive to deliver milk in the whole district and when he achieves it, then in the entire town. Nevertheless, he should not rest blissfully on his successes and be conquered by self-indulgence; he should endeavor to expand his services to the neighboring towns as well. Such businessmen create wealth and well-being for everybody. For their businesses, for the manufacturers whose products they are marketing, but above all for their satisfied customers. Their reward will be the greatest pleasure a man can expect in this world - namely the satisfaction from a well done honest work.

I wish our businessmen would realize the importance of transportation for businesses and act accordingly, at least in their immediate vicinity. They should demand better roads and railroads, better transportation services and particularly cheaper automobiles; these are indispensable tools for any successful business activity.

Every milkman, greengrocer, butcher or baker, as well as all the other owners of small businesses need a car and a good highway. As long as they practice their commerce only on the tiny territory they can control on foot, they will most likely be dead before attaining success for themselves and affluence for their customers.

While our baker makes the rounds on foot delivering rolls to his customers living in the two neighboring streets, his colleague from a country with surfaced roads and readily available automobiles delivers his goods to twenty communities along that road. Anybody can imagine the difference in profit of those two men: Which one toils more and earns less and which one works in comfort and earns more.

A retailer without an adequate transportation achieves just as little as an army without train and automobiles. It remains stuck in one place and its defeat is only a question of time. Courageous businessmen not afraid to expand the area and scope of their commerce are going to use all the technical means available to them; thus, they are rendering a better service to the general public. Telephones installed in every small shop and in most households enable customers to order by phone and facilitate the contacts between retailers and manufacturers. A well run business contributes also to the development of newspaper advertising - relatively little known here so far - which, in turn, teaches people to read the most useful part of the newspaper, namely the ad section, informing them where to buy or sell advantageously.

Businesspeople are the salt of the earth, because they keep very close contact with everyday life. The extent of wealth and affluence of nations depends on the ability of their businessmen. All the sweet fruit of civilization and culture for which we are admiring the most developed European nations (Holland, Denmark, etc.) ripened under conditions created by commerce.

But most of all, I wish that our businessmen find the surest way leading to wealth. A businessman without money is like a fish without water or a musician without an instrument. The most important however is to find the best, the surest and the most dependable way to make money.

Some businessmen are working very hard to increase their profit. They might be even more successful if they reflected upon how to increase the profits of their commercial partners as well, because it will definitely help their own earning power. A commercial activity profitable only to ourselves becomes in the long run unprofitable.

In countries where business people believe they should be the only ones to have benefits, poverty rules. On the other hand, in countries with a high business morale there is a high standard of living. Business and production - I mean industrial and agricultural production as well as crafts - create values. It is obvious that where the creators of such values are mutually cheating and robbing themselves instead of helping and supporting each other, poverty is the necessary result.

Poverty does not consume and pay, however! Therefore, the harder we work and the more we strive to raise the living standard of our population, the better off will become our businessmen and the more stores will line the streets of our cities; as a consequence, the manufacturers will produce more goods for the customers who in turn will profit and get better services from the commercial organization and competition thus created.

Technical and Organizational Progress in the Production

A speech in 1924.

Improvement and increase of industrial production is based on technological and organizational progress.

Technological progress has already brought unexpected development and wellbeing to humanity, particularly under favorable conditions, of course. Mechanical power replaces people in many instances and as a consequence, there is a considerably greater output of goods with much less work than 100 years ago. - Inventors and entrepreneurs should be, in the first place, credited for the improved quality of life.

In our country, industrial and agriculture entrepreneurs are needed more than inventors, because many inventions lie unexploited in the archives of our patent office due to lack of entrepreneurs.

The extent of affluence of the workers and of the entire population depends on the quantity of mechanical power used in the country. Conversely, the quantity of mechanical power depends on the extent of entrepreneurship.

The mechanical power utilized by the state should not be included into this quantity. State-managed enterprises do not increase the rate of affluence of the population because they shun competition. Yet only competition forces an enterprise - no matter who manages it - to transfer the achievements of progress immediately to the worker and to the consumer.

Besides the insufficient enterprising spirit of our population, our falling behind certain Western countries in the exploitation of mechanical power was also caused by the animosity machines had to face at the beginning.

Machines were considered for a long time an enemy of the workers; thirty years ago, I have myself seen a shoemaker journeyman braking a sewing machine because he considered it his competitor. Such a resistance was however already overcome by the progressing education of our population.

Power and machinery were therefore used in our country -similarly to other European countries - particularly in manufacturing where complicated organization is not required, as the difficulty of the production organization increases in proportion with the number of workers needed to manufacture a product.

For instance, the organization of hand-made bricks is relatively easy, because the same worker digs and mixes the clay, forms the bricks and puts them in the oven. - More complicated already is a mechanized brick production where each of the upper-mentioned processes has to be done by a different group of people with different concerns as to the quality and time of their performance. Without a good organization and despite the use of machines, the output will be smaller than if each worker would work independently by hand; as a consequence, wages would be low and brick prices high.

The same and more applies to products consisting of many precisely processed parts, each one of them produced in another workshop and passing through many hands. - In such cases a coordination of people is the most important prerequisite of a successful result. - It is necessary that all people concerned be motivated by the same ideas and do their work not only with their hands, but also with their hearts, similarly to the work of a farmer. - Only thus could be achieved results satisfying all concerned, i.e. the customers, the workers and the manufacturers.

However, such a teamwork was in the past often troubled by the notion of the workers that the profit is not properly divided.

The highly developed american industry has already solved this extremely difficult problem, leading the rest of the world toward the only right way. - Certain American industrialists dedicated their enterprises to public service.

By giving top priority to the interests of their customers and workers, they won their hearts. As a consequence, workers and customers stay faithful and favor that enterprise which made it its goal to serve them.

It is a very noble as well as a very special competition. The workers are better paid, the customers get better merchandise for very low prices and the enterprises are expanding almost daily. Such enterprises manufacture only goods generally useful for the customers. They control all the raw material production related to their own manufacturing and it is obvious that this policy will become more and more prevalent in the industrial production everywhere.

It looks extremely easy, but it is far from it. - It is mainly a moral issue. - In their hearts, these industrialists have given up all the advantages of their privileged situation assuring them comfortable life and became the first workers of their enterprises. - They are taking the largest portion from the common dish of duties and the smallest portion from the dish of privileges. Such personal sacrifices are sanctifying their work and make them not only worthy of the trust of their workers and customers, but also invincible by their competitors.

For this great example, we owe America more thanks than for all the marvellous modern technical inventions, from the lightning rod to the telephone. This road will lead human society toward peace and stability and ensure each working person a degree of wealth commensurate to his contribution.

The powerstation of Bata Enterprises with the function of 16.000 HP, the centre of electrical and steam energy for the enterprise and the town.

Obstacles to Progress in Production

Address by Tomas Bata to the International Congress on Scientific Management of Work. Prague, August 2, 1924.

Yesterday and today, speakers were unanimously expressing sympathy, enthusiasm and agreement with production improvements, discussed at this congress.

I have been an entrepreneur for exactly 30 years; twenty nine of them made me realize what great service to the present and future generation renders a man who introduces improvements and innovations to production. Therefore already in my early youth, progress in production has become my life goal and ideal.

This knowledge of many years made me realize that sympathy and agreement are not enough to achieve progress and improvement in production; hard work and personal sacrifice of all people participating in the production are necessary.

There are practically no enemies of progress in production, but many obstacles certainly exist; one of the more important one is the fact that progress can be achieved only with full participation of all employees which is rather difficult to achieve particularly in large factories.

It is quite natural and human that most people would like to keep all the benefits of progress for themselves, even before they start making the effort to achieve it.

Piecework wage is one of the means which rewards an innovator of minor improvements in production, because it helps a worker to become a small entrepreneur through profits from his own output.

However, a worker getting a piecework wage is often afraid that as soon as others will start working according to the improved method he invented, wages will become lower. This proves that egoism, which always was and will remain the principal motive to progress, can also block it.

Great progress in production is based on minor improvements, which often influence the entire working process. It is therefore useful that all employees, but particularly the owner himself, strive for progress. An owner should realize that he must re-invest profits resulting from improved production methods and divide them evenly between employees, customers and enterprise. Only an entrepreneur who understands that it is his duty to serve the interests of his employees and of the public will be trusted.

Employees as well as customers will soon find out if the only interest of the enterprise owner is to make money and live in luxury or if he intends to use his abilities for the benefit of others.

The willingness of the enterprise owner to work even harder than his employees and to make personal sacrifices removes the greatest obstacle to achieve progress in production and to avoid losses caused by wage disputes and bargaining for the prices of products.

Neither laws nor other means of coercion will bring about a higher entrepreneurial morale. Even the best social legislature may be sometimes more to the detriment than to the benefit of working people. Authorities might enact laws ordering entrepreneurs to be charitable, yet they cannot force people to become or to stay entrepreneurs, because even the worst ones of them are better than none.

A higher level of entrepreneurial morale is the result of a better enterprising spirit. Tough competition takes care of the classification of entrepreneurs and only the good ones survive. State or private monopolies, curtailing of free way of life or any kind of protection of small or large enterprises from domestic or foreign competition inevitably leads to a lower production morale and interferes with progress in production...

Cheating in Business

A Speech in 1925.

The majority of people believes that a great fortune cannot be made by honest work. To prove it I could cite various legends circulating in our region about rich people. - People would tell you that almost every wealthy man around here acquired his fortune either because his house or business burned down or because he went bankrupt. And where neither the first nor the second applies, people make up stories. As an example I could cite Mikulas Kasparek, for 30 years the chief magistrate of our community, whom every citizen of Zlin should remember with gratitude; local simpletons would tell you however that he became rich in the following manner: Going to the country fair in Olomouc, he was driving behind the coach of a general when suddenly he saw a big metal box with money falling out of the coach. - He quickly picked it up, put it ill his carriage and left Olomouc immediately. He was hardly out of the town gate when he heard the alarm bell ringing; all town gates were immediately closed, but he escaped safely with his loot. He would be maligned like that in spite of the fact that he was only slightly better off than the average Zlin citizen and that he later lost his fortune altogether.

Let me tell you another story: In the nearby town of Uherske Hradiste lived a grocer by the name of Emanuel Fuerst. He built next to his one-story house another one, two stories high, and later a malthouse; in the eyes of his neighbors it made him seem very rich and they explained the origins of his wealth in the following way: In 1866 during the war with the Prussians, Fuerst joined the Prussian king against the Austrian emperor. People found that out when he was dispatching a box full of golden ducats from the Uherske Hradiste railroad station. When the railroad people were loading it on the train, they accidentally let it fall and the golden ducats came tumbling out. Fuerst was sentenced to death and pardoned later by the emperor, but as evidence of that sentence he had to wear a black silk ribbon around his neck; the condition of his liberation was the obligation to build every year a house in order to give poor people the possibility of earning money. Such silly talk is the result of a belief that fortunes cannot be made in an honest way. Most people imagine wealth as an object which may be held by one or the other, but never by both. The logical consequence of such ideas is to consider business and industry as cheating the others; only those who know how to cheat get rich.

The truth, however, is entirely different. In developed countries, wealth can be acquired only by honestly managed production or commerce.

A profit brought to each participating party by a particular transaction should be considered as honest business. Business or industrial management should not increase the wealth of only one person, but also of all the others participating in it. The more honest the management, the smaller the profit of the industrialist or the businessman and the larger the share of all his collaborators or business partners. Such honest division of the values created brings to the businessman or the industrialist more customers, which in turn enables them to employ more people. Large enterprises can be built-up and managed only by utmost honesty, i.e. by the most advantageous distribution of the values acquired to all participants. An industrialist or a businessman can win customers or retain workers and collaborators only by offering them definite advantages, because it is the only thing his customers or collaborators are looking for; as soon as they find out that they can get a better deal elsewhere, they change the place of their shopping or start looking for another employment. It is therefore quite natural that a producer or a businessman who offers the greatest advantages is able to enlarge his enterprise, while the one offering less stagnates and looses both his customers and his employees. All of you should therefore keep in mind that we have a duty to multiply our fortune, i.e. to create values.

You should also keep in mind the boundless possibilities to compound wealth; the larger the reserves, the easier they may be multiplied. All people can become rich, but their wealth cannot be equal.

The higher the morale of businessmen and entrepreneurs, the richer are the other citizens and consequently the entire country. Wherever people are busy cheating each other, wealth cannot exist, as there is no time to create and multiply it.

When a certain statesman complained to a Rothschild about the low business morale of Jews, the latter replied: "Each country has the Jews it deserves." In Central Europe, the notion of businessmen used to be inseparably associated with Jews and therefore a Jew also meant a businessman.

The moral standards of businessmen and industrialists are closely related to the cultural level of the relevant country. During the last war, a businessman was complaining about the conditions in Austria: "I know that in Russia a bribe is a must; in Austria however, I am never sure whether a bribe is allowed or not."

Certain nations value greatly the integrity of their businessmen and industrialists. In 1919, I was making arrangements to open an office in Lynne, Massachusetts. I asked my new secretary to go to a furniture store to inquire about and choose some office equipment. Even before that lady returned from her errand, two business friends dropped in and informed us indignantly that she had asked the supplier to pay her a commission if we were to buy the furniture. It was indeed the store owner himself who asked our friends to inform us about the incorrect behaviour of the woman.

This is the proper way a developed nation defends itself against bad business morale. In some other countries, on the contrary, businessmen spoil by bribes the morale of the personnel of their own commercial friends!

It is noteworthy that countries with a high business morale have a rich business community and a well-to-do population with a high standard of living, while in countries with a low business morale business and industry are impoverished and the population lives in misery. This is a natural consequence of habitual mutual cheating which, of course, prevents the creation of wealth.

Sell for as much as you can, but give an honest measure.

Buy for as little as possible, but pay honestly.

We might as well add: pay punctually! I know many business people in our country who stick rigorously to that sound old saying. However, there certainly are many who do not heed it and consider it wise to delay paying the bills of their suppliers in spite of well padded bank accounts. They seem to ignore the axiom that the best investment are paid debts.

Bata's Views on Transportation

Tomas Bata had two passions - transportation and speed "I could call myself an old man, considering all the work I have accomplished in my life," he told me once. "I could do it all thanks to good transportation." Upon his return from India in 1932, he proclaimed: "In mere two months, we have almost made a trip around the world! For this accomplishment, we must be thankful to the inventors of airplanes and the pioneers of air transportation who have sometimes even sacrificed their lives to give us these modem machines. It is indeed due to them that we were able to make in few weeks a trip for which few years were needed in the past."

Tomas Bata devoted plenty of attention and effort to the most popular means of travel, namely the road. In his passion for building and improving roads, he resembled a citizen of old Rome, the Rome that based the greatness of its empire on building roads that lasted thousands of years. At every possible occasion, Bata returned to the problem of construction and maintenance of roads. In his enterprise, he constructed good, asphalt surfaced roads and his first project after having been elected mayor of Zlin was to clean up the town's mud and to build solid roads. "Shortened roads help make life longer "proclaimed bronze letters on the first paved sidewalk Bata gave to his community.

From the community, Bata transferred to the county, the region and finally to the entire country. In 1928, before becoming member of the State Road Council, he wrote an article on the economic importance of roads. He strongly recommended that in order to catch up with other developed countries, the government should invest in the next 10 years ten billion crowns in road construction instead of the two billion proposed by the State Road Fund. It is particularly interesting that at the end of that article - in the full economic boom of 1928 - Tomas Bata called the attention of the public to the danger of unemployment and recommended intensified road construction to prevent it.

Why to Spend 10 Billion Crowns on Road Construction?

Transportation liberated people from poverty and contributed to their present higher standard of living.

In the Middle Ages, life of the people was uneventful and static. They never left their native village and knew only the type of food and clothing available in their immediate neighborhood. People were not only serfs of their lords, they were even more enslaved by their own ignorance and superstitions which made their lives miserable. The medieval man invested his money in immovable properties; he was building castles, walled towns, cathedrals and royal tombs.

After the invention of the steam engine, people began to invest their money in "movable "assets such as railroads and highways and lately also in automobiles and airplanes. The thus invested capitals helped considerably to improve the quality of life. It is common knowledge that due to improved transportation conditions, the population in developed countries increased in the past 100 years at least fourfold.

At present, even the most modest families can afford to buy household equipment and other items available formerly only to the very rich. Even a simple citizen can now consume food imported from different parts of the world, such as coffee, tea, tropical fruit, spices, etc., served in the past only at the noblest tables. Living and working space multiplied, particularly in countries with a well organized public transportation. It might be said that transportation liberated people from the primitive way of life when they had to fabricate themselves all they needed. It enabled division and specialization of work with all the beneficial consequences of good and inexpensive products available to everybody. Transportation and mobility preceded all the hundreds of thousands of items of up to date technical equipment in various factories producing goods required by modern people who, having discovered all the contemporary amenities of life and wishing to acquire them, created the existing conditions of modem production and commerce.

The inside transport in the enterprises. Asphalt roads and the train serve to the land transport. Cableways and conveyors connect buildings for the overhead transport, the underground concrete tunnels serve for the transport of all heat, electric and water energy.

When hundred years ago courageous and hardworking people started to invest their money in transportation, namely railroads, they were at great disadvantage in comparison with our times. They were not yet familiar with the effects and results of transportation and they did not realize how much it can change the life of a nation and increase its wealth. They did not know that such investments create great assets for everybody. We could cite as an example the United States of America, where people at those times had not yet discovered that railroads can change a modest artisan into a factory owner or that a Ford automobile and a good highway help a poor peasant to become a proud, wealthy farmer. And yet, they were not afraid to invest their money in transportation, because they understood the principal purpose of work and of entrepreneurship: everything that supports, furthers and improves the quality of life creates assets at the same time and pays for itself in the long run.

We can recognize with our own eyes the unique improvement of life conditions and the growing wealth of the great American nation. In places where hundred years ago a railroad track was unknown and trains did not exist, there are presently more than 4 million km of the best roads in the world (nine times more per inhabitant than in our country) and 640 000 km of rails (six times more per inhabitant than in our country). We know that underground pipelines (130 000 km long or ten times longer than our entire railroad network) are distributing crude oil to refineries. Americans own over 24 million automobiles which represents at least 720 million horse power. Those enormous underground, surface, water and air transportation forces attract new capital like a magnet, they create new assets and new fortunes. How can it be achieved? Let us assume that a car saves its owner 30 minutes of his time every day; if we then assess the value of his one hour at one dollar - a ridiculously low figure - we arrive at 12 million dollars per day, i.e. 360 million per year! This, of course, is a rather negligible and one-sided evaluation of the influence of automobiles on the creation of national wealth. It is hardly possible to express in figures the extent of the broadening of human knowledge by travel; travel opens new business opportunities which in turn contribute to the establishment of new commercial or production enterprises offering new jobs to a great number of people. The automobile helps to recognize the force of mechanical power and its exploitation. Once a man - particularly in early youth - discovers the power of machines, he will never again return to the drudgery of manual work. He starts using his intellectual power in order to harness to the service of humanity as much mechanical power as possible.

Americans were not afraid of the tremendous investments their transportation system required and they willingly continue to do so. For example, they are spending more than one-tenth of their personal income for cars and over a billion dollars (1.25 percent of their GNP) for roads. They know it is the best investment.

The Germans are of the same opinion. According to their current road construction plans, they intend to spend for it in the ten years to come 4.5 million marks, i.e. Kc 36 billion. The English are spending for 180 000 miles (290 000 km) of their excellent "English" roads 56.5 million pounds sterling (Kc 9379 million).

The road construction policy in countries considered as economic models shows us how to get out of the mud and dirt we are wading through on our roads. Negligible means and deeds will not help to solve this great misery. They would only produce time-consuming personal squabbles among the representatives of the several lands over the division of the allotted modest funds.

This great effort facing generations requires great actions. We must, for instance, straighten our highways, because we are squandering the most precious commodity - time - on winding roads dangerous to lives and property. What we need are solid, hard-surfaced highways, because with our present car traffic, to build simple gravel roads is a waste of money. Such roads are costlier than asphalt, concrete or paved ones.

We have to spend for construction and maintenance of our roads as much money per year as the Americans or the Germans do. That means at least 1.5 percent of our GNP, estimated at 75 billion crowns a year, i.e. 1 billion crowns yearly. Our current road construction program based on a loan of Kc 1 billion plus revenue from taxes, custom duties, etc. of Kc 2 billion over ten years, is absolutely inadequate; it just suffices to cause disputes between the representatives of all nationalities and regions involved.

The following problems must be solved: the financial problem of securing adequate funds, the technical problem of creating and organizing industries related to road construction and last but not least the commercial problem of building the first highways in regions where they would be instrumental in bringing new investments into the country and could thus create new capital assets. However, the most important problem to solve is relevant to the human element involved. We have to invent road construction methods which would reward the workers with the highest income possible. That, in turn, would incite the best qualified people to engage in such work.

The Czechoslovak people do certainly have adequate means to contribute to the rebuilding of our roads. I am the more convinced of that as I expect this project to be beneficial to the entire construction industry and thus to avert the menace of unemployment which would most certainly follow the building boom of the past few years. Employment in other sectors, such as industry, trade and agriculture would equally profit. I am convinced that a network of good, solidly built highways in a transit country like our republic should definitely act as a magnet attracting important investments to our land and result in growing affluence of the entire population.

Transportation, Roads and People

A Speech Made in 1927.

The bicycle transformed our children and our children will change us into a different nation.

Before the bicycle was invented, village boys were practically not allowed to venture into another village. It was often a theme of folk songs which will continue to be sung by future generations:

"Don't go to Polanka my son,

they could kill you there for a maiden."

Young men in the villages kept their maidens for themselves and did not let them flirt with strangers. Frequent intermarriages within one village often led to degeneration, practically always to a miserable existence.

The bicycle shuffled all this and changed our lives.

It made distances shorter and drew people closer together. It gave wings to our constant wish to move around, to travel, to discover new countries and to meet new people. And when people started to use their brains instead of their legs in order to make wheels move faster, i.e. when they invented the motor, distances stopped to be an obstacle. Soon, however, another obstacle appeared, namely the road!

Our roads were surveyed by people who never knew a bicycle, not to mention an automobile! They did not particularly care about visits, either, as the Polanka song tells us. They hardly gave a thought to road design. The surveyor was usually the first waggoner using the road leading from inn to inn and winding its way across small hills.

This is the "road network" we have inherited from our fathers. Our roads are a constant obstacle to the improvement of travel and transportation conditions of individuals and the entire country.

To straighten our roads, at least the most winding ones, would require approximately two billion crowns. To pave or asphalt them would cost another eight billion. The bicycle is inexpensive and yet it managed to improve peoples' lives. Can the value of improved conditions of human life be measured in money? Would not the entire nation be ready to pay the high price of a bicycle made of pure gold if it brought improvement?

How fast could good roads improve the quality of life of the entire nation and of our national economy! Would not those ten billion that our descendants will be paying off seem to them as a negligible sum not even worth mentioning? Will they not consider us as worthless creatures wallowing in mud and dirt unworthy of human dignity? Will the new generations be able to understand why we hesitated to get rid of that mud by building new roads? Why do we have so little courage to live a dignified life, so little faith in our children and in human capabilities?

At the time young men were killing each other for girls, learned men were sitting at their desks and writing thick books about better living conditions of humanity. Later, their ideas were discussed at various congresses and even appeared as new laws - it was the bicycle, however, that brought them to everyday life of ordinary people. Such is human nature - things and actions bring more changes than the most persuasive words.

Elevate the people and the economy will rise by itself. If, in order to elevate our people, we would need pure gold instead of stones to pave our roads, we should not hesitate and use the gold, because there is no better business that the one offering people the possibility of improved productivity leading to higher national prosperity.

My Economic Philosophy

In 1930, the International Chamber of Commerce asked Tomas Bata to contribute a paper on the method used to develop his enterprise to its present prosperity. Tomas Bata responded to this request by an article which was published in the seventh issue of the International Chamber of Commerce Magazine in French, German and English version. The title of the article was "My Economic Philosophy".

The desire has been expressed that I should write of the methods by which have developed my undertaking to its present importance. My aim was not to build up an enterprise but to form men. My work consisted in making fellow workers more efficient and better serving my customers; thus was undertaking built up by them.

I was convinced that in industry and commerce the greatest losses were caused by mistaken psychological attitude of employers towards their worth fellow workers and their clients.

The principal duty of an organizer who proposes to build up great undertaking is to create a psychological and moral foundation as in any institution of learning.

As there does not exist any tried and tested method, I invented a system of my own, which I hope may be useful to the world.

Our work was beginning to take an unexpected development, when our fellow workers realized, from a publication of the account sheets of our factories, that the undertaking had adopted both towards them and towards our customers a strictly just attitude. At the time when we were deliberately moving towards the system of work that we have now adopted, economic conditions in Czechoslovakia were similar to those existing today in most European states, the policy of deflation then practiced had caused the economic indices of our country to rise to level such that goods could be sold neither on our national markets nor on the world markets even at less than cost price.

Our currency was being revalorized much more energetically than it is now by the present increase in the value of gold, and the results were accordingly severely felt. Most of our undertakings found it more profitable to stop manufacturing and to leave the unemployed on the hands of the State.

I refused to do anything of the kind because I thought this was simple cowardice. I saw clearly that if our undertakings were to adopt this point of view, a continual increase in the price level would ensue, with a lowering of the standard of living and an aggravation of national economic conditions. I was convinced that somebody would be found to break this vicious circle. I resolved that I myself should be that person.

The position in which we found ourselves was very much like the present situation of the English and German shoe trade. Unemployment was shown by high economic indices.

The English or German manufacturer cannot sell boots to Hindoos because the Hindoos cannot sell their rice at a sufficiently high price on European markets to use their profits in buying English or German shoes.

These manufacturers are in a vicious circle; they sell at high prices because their production is small, and is is small because of the high cost price of their goods. The problem is thus to lower the cost of shoes in England and Germany to the price at which Hindoos can buy. They must be much cheaper. Manufacturers would have to reduce their price: 1. in proportion of the difference between the prices at which they formerly bought their raw materials, and the price that the Hindoos are able now to pay, 2. to the extent that the increase of their production increases the burden of taxes that they pay, 3. to the extent to which, because of their limited production, their indirect costs are higher, 4. to the extent that this reduced amount of business entails a loss of interest on their capital.

There are many manufacturers to whom these calculations should prove worth while they might even discover after making them that their figures are still too high and that event the manufacturer should ask himself whether he has supervised general expenses because he retains in his organisation a number of useless employees merely to create and maintain high prices for his goods. In saying this, I have in mind the organization of various trusts, the aim of which has been to increase prices. If the aim of such methods is only to keep as few undertakings are possible working, in order to maintain prices at high levels, they must be rejected.

In many branches of industry, only half the factories work and these also are grants to factories that are not working, in order to keep them closed. What purpose in putting manufacturers on the dole? Both workers and employers must implement more reasonable methods. Both should adopt the point of view that no pay can be accepted except for actual work done, and that this work must be done in such a way to render the greatest service to the greatest possible number of individuals. Thus may prices fall to the desired level and neither the prices of goods nor wages are reduced below that which healthy economic development calls for.

When there is not enough work, as is at present the case in certain States, it is necessary to work on any terms that can be obtained. Only the facing of realities, how ever unpleasant, will make it possible to regain better times, when wages as well profits will be larger.

Such was my opinion in 1922 and my fellow workers shared my faith. We reduced the price of our goods by fifty per cent and our fellow workers gave up forty per cent of their wages. Since then their wages have more than doubled. Our production has increased tenfold and the Czechoslovakian shoe industry has faced itself in the first rank of exporting industries of this kind in the world. We have assisted our employes.

Their number has increased sixfold, and we have helped ourselves, our State, and above all, our customers.

If we had not followed our policy, the country would have worked for many years with an unfavorable trade balance, and the consumption of boots and shoes would have constantly decreased on our market.

The duty of an industrial or commercial enterprise is to open the way to fortune millions and millions of individuals. This may only be attained when every article is manufactured at the place where it can be produced in the most advantageous conditions.

European trade and industry presents a very unsatisfactory picture when judged by this standard. Entrenched behind tariff walls, the nations are struggling against each other and look upon any neighbor who managed to break through these walls as a national enemy. This conception has resulted, as regards the boot and shoe industry, in more than a thousand million people in the world are barefoot. The same is true of other branches of industry. In these conditions no one be astonished if Europe, once a pioneer of culture and civilization, should trust into the background and that there should even be talk of its decadence.

It cannot be denied that the prosperity of the America industry and the great wealth of the American people have been attained because the United States form unique and immense market within which the spirit of enterprise has been able to develop unhampered the production and sale of goods to one hundred and twelve million individuals.

It is not military power but the capacity that they have showed for serving the entire world that gives duty, naturally acquires rights.

The duty of European States, the cradle of industry and commerce, is to produce and to sell, not to dig pitfalls for one another in the form of high tariffs and thus hamper their trade.

The great european states need men who are afraid neither of the rage of manufacturers who realize that a certain portion of their capital will at the outset taken from them, nor of the curse of millions of men, when they are obliged at the outset to be content with low wages. It is by doing this in all countries that the sole means of curing the economic body of the State will be found, of increasing wages, of lowering prices, of increasing profits and of contributing not only to the development of private enterprises but also to the progress of Europe for the development of private enterprises but also to the progress of Europe for the greatest good of mankind.

Friendship in Holland and in Our Country

In that country, it is possible to learn something new at every visit. At my last visit, I discovered a precious fruit of the Dutch culture, namely friendship. On a Saturday night, I saw plenty of personnel in all our stores. When I reprimanded one of our store managers for employing salespeople, he smiled and explained to me that those people are not employees but his personal friends who came to help on Saturday night. This is unlike our country, where people come to help a friend only to distil slivovitz or another local brandy. In Holland, where even on Saturday evenings our stores are still full of customers, the manager's friends come to help him out of sheer friendship. In Rotterdam, I found among our manager's friends also a wholesaler whose shop was closing at six P. M. and so he came to help our store manager, his personal friend.

In our towns, however, I encountered quite different manifestations of friendship. When I caught one of our managers sitting and smoking with a man, I asked him if the man was a customer. Embarrassed, he answered: "Yes." I learned later however that while being the manager's fast friend, the man was entirely unimportant as customer. He was spending every free moment - and he seemed to have plenty of them - sitting around our manager's office smoking cigarettes and chattering. Although he hardly had qualities worth mentioning, he even accompanied sometimes our manager on his business trips. Nobody ever saw him doing something useful, the less helping our manager when he was busy.

A friend like this never gives but always takes, be it nothing more than precious, irretrievable time. Any clever manager knows that time is money and that for modem men time represents life. A businessman should never make friends among people outside of the business community. The life of a clerk or a functionary with set office hours is entirely different from the life of a businessman. If the latter chooses a friend who works only one-third of the day, he is necessarily robbing his business of the remaining two-thirds of his own time. It is obvious that his business must suffer greatly.

I lived for several years in a town where practically all the businessmen and factory owners were Jewish. While every year many of our people are starting an enterprise, most do not last more than three years and often go bankrupt. I found out that almost all these beginners' failure was caused by local society. The factory or commerce owner wanted to imitate the life of the functionaries. He was flattered to be accepted by them and believed it made him a man of higher education. According to the norms of the local society, such a "high brow" man is supposed to sit around drinking beer, to go hunting or to take trips and to tell witty stories having nothing to do with business. All this necessarily distracts him from practical business thinking and as a consequence he heads for ruin.

The Jewish businessmen behaved quite differently. They were meeting and looking for friends only among themselves. Every minute they spent in each other's company was profitable to them, because they talked mainly business and always learned something new and useful for their own business.

Our business managers who are intimate friends with officials or unprosperous business people hanging at their heels show by such behaviour that they prefer idle pleasure and frequent distraction to serious business thinking and that they do not care too much for their own activity. They are slowly but surely approaching the time when their occupation will stop liking them and ensuring their livelihood.

The interior of standard Bata's shops.

At the first sight it shows straightforward and tolerant thinking of Bata's mind who in the last years of his life paid attention to their building. There is not a single thing which he wouldn't think over. Effective selling instruments, well selling and buying places surpassed their time of some decades and show the trend of modern selling techniques.

The Educator

When a man is capable to teach his countrymen and neighbors to excel in all his endeavors and to compete successfully with the entire world often under the most disadvantageous conditions, it is an obvious proof that he is an outstanding educator.

Throughout his entire life, Tomas Bata never stopped learning, teaching and molding his own character as well as that of the others. He was not a pleasant teacher, hard on himself and on the others. His teaching and educational manner could be compared to the work of a sculptor powerfully chiselling and hammering out the desired form from granite; and when instead of granite he has to work with clay, he forms it and bakes it in a hot oven until it becomes better, harder and more dependable.

His innumerable decisions forced people to start at the very root of things, to return to long known facts described in books. These decisions were based on his persuasion that work should be considered as an opportunity to learn. By making them work, he helped simple people to become educated, self-confident and reliable persons striving for achievement. He transformed thus his enterprise into a place resembling a large people's university or even an enormous research laboratory. Everybody could learn there as much as he was able to, while at the same time the entire organization was geared to a fast transformation of the acquired knowledge into money, proving that people are willing to pay for practical and useful knowledge.

Besides educating grown-ups, Tomas Bata paid in his mature years more and more attention to the education of children and young people. As he looked at human life from a uniform point of view, considering it a single continuous flow, he tried to bring life closer to school and unify life with school In Zlin, school descended into the streets, the workshops and the homes while the latter came to school. Between teachers, pupils, parents and the public was created a new, lively contact constantly sustained by daily educational efforts unifying the whole town. It was not unity in standing but unity in searching. Unity in the opinion that although everybody has the right to learn and to develop his talents as he pleases, he also has the duty to be useful to himself and to others.

Tomas Bata's opinions on education were expressed in simply worded slogans, effective, yet sometimes difficult to execute. As teacher he said: Lead the way! As pupil: Try and achieve!

The Object of Schools

In 1928, the President of the Republic T. G. Masaryk visited Zlin for the opening of the Experimental School which Tomas Bata established, built and donated to his native town. At this occasion, Tomas Bata held the following inaugural address:

Mr. President,

On behalf of all my collaborators and myself, I would like to thank you for the great honor bestowed upon us by your visit.

Our enterprise grew from very small beginnings to its present size solely due to our assiduous efforts to improve and to develop.

In order to enable future generations to profit from the experiences of our difficult pioneer work, we want to make them a base of the curriculum of our professional schools founded by our enterprise for the young employees. Due to the great importance of these schools for the industrial development, we would like to ask your permission, Mr. President, to give them your name, which will forever stand for a symbol of progress.

In these schools, we intend to educate capable people, just as you have done during your career as educator. We want that our young people enjoy work and consider it their moral duty. We would like to bring them up to become pioneers willing to compete by their service with the entire world, people who find their happiness in perfecting their work and serving their fellow citizens.

We want our young people to have faith in humanity and work ethics, the same faith that built our workshops.

This school should combine classroom with workshop. It should prove that a word may become body and science may be changed into bread.

By our work we are trying to solve the problem of liberating men from undignified drudgery, to make work a refining pleasure. We want to enable workers to earn decent living for themselves and their families in no more than eight hours a day.

Mr. President, in our workshops you shall see what excellent help in our endeavors is the machine. You will see that each one of our workers has an electric robot at his disposal. We consider it our greatest achievement that now it is the robot that does the hard work that used to leave calluses on the hands of our fathers, that it liberates the most important of man's forces - the force of his mind.

It is due to this force that we have managed to improve considerably our living standards, although our region is not as rich in natural resources as Ostrava or the fertile Hana; we hope that the same force will help us to attain a standard of living which will make us proud before the entire world. Thanks to this force and thanks to our self-confidence we can successfully compete on the world markets.

We are happy that by noble competition with the most developed nations of the world we are contributing to the good reputation of our country, the reputation gained by your life-long achievements, Mr. President. And here, at our workplace, we are expressing our most sincere and ardent wish: "May you remain with us for many more years, Mr. President!"

The Purpose of Education

From the annual reports of the Masaryk Experimental School in Zlin.


In 1930:

If we want to achieve important goals in life, we must search for ways to create a great man. Small man - small achievement, great man - great achievement.

Our great achievements here in Zlin should not benefit only us, but the rest of the world as well, as we all work for one another. None of us invented the electric motor and yet that motor brings a better life to all of us. We are profitting from the work of others who may be living as far away as the other end of the globe; our obligation therefore is to repay them - if not directly, then by working for the entire world.

Only education can change insignificant people into great ones and the younger the person, the easier it is. Our aim is to teach our children so well that they be not only our pupils but also our teachers. This, after all, is nothing new. I remember that as a boy I was teaching my father to write Roman characters, because in his own school days they were learning to write only the German ones. As for myself, I like to learn something new from my son every day. We are, therefore, building our schools not only for our children, but for ourselves as well - and what we teach and learn in those schools should make our life better, more beautiful and more pleasant.

Every penny we are spending on our schools will be returned many times - not solely in the form of innumerable moral benefits but also as a contribution to a higher standard of living for all.

Once I made a calculation for our foresters that, compared to a power plant, nobody can do more manual labor than 3 Kc worth daily. The potential of intellectual work however is incalculable, because a single man's intellectual capacity may be worth millions. It proves that high wages can be achieved only by application of human intelligence.

Higher values help us to increase our ability to earn more money which, in turn, contributes enormously to general affluence.


In 1931:

Everybody is capable of doing independent and useful work - some people more than others though. However, everybody must awake in himself these forces and exercise them if he aims to achieve great deeds, beneficial to all people. Such forces and capabilities must be exercised from early youth.

The strength of my personality lies in my upbringing. My father always strongly emphasized independence and my teachers did likewise.

It is the duty of a father to do everything in his power to cultivate his son's moral values - even at a cost of possible great financial losses for him. If a father teaches his 6-years old son to earn, honestly and reasonably, two crowns, it has a much greater value than if he himself earns two hundred. By encouraging young people to earn money early and handle it properly, we are teaching them values which will bring them economic independence together with civic and political freedom.


In 1932:

When I went to school, I had frequent conflicts both with my teacher and my father, because I kept asking them why I should learn what they told me to.

Everything we are learning should have a goal, it should be useful to us. Studies must descend from the starry heights down to earth, to reach ordinary people. Children should be taught and explained the chores they see done every day.

Students of mathematics and accounting should be studying with real, existing figures in an accounting department of an enterprise.

Natural science should be taught in the fields, forests and gardens. We should not only talk about a young tree but also consider its yield.

Students should learn geography from the point of view of a certain specialty and particularly from the point of view of their own region or country. They should keep in mind that every land in the world could be useful to them and that their work can be useful to the whole world.

History should be applied to the present and events from the past should serve as examples for today.

We should see to it that everything negative is removed from schools! Let us not explain for two hours that hornbeam wood is not fit to be used for construction purposes! Let us talk positively about things!

Training in Economic Management

Tomas Bata was particularly preoccupied with the task of teaching economy and managerial skills.

He was convinced that economic thinking and acting has to be in direct concordance with the innermost character of a person, that it should become as natural to him as the ability to speak or walk He requested therefore that this ability be nurtured and purposefully developed from the earliest childhood. The two following speeches represent some of Bata's ideas on the organization of economic education of children, and although he did not have the opportunity to realize them as fully as his ideas on economic education of young men, it would be a pity not to mention them.

I remember them well and will try to render them here as closely as possible to Tomas Bata's own words:

School and Family

Teaching should be based on the way of life the pupils know from home and it should be geared to the improvement of the domestic habits. In one of our village schools, I witnessed the instruction of computing the cubic measure of a cone.

Having requested the teacher's permission, I asked the first boy the following question: "What did you have for dinner last night?" "Potatoes and cabbage," he answered. "And you ?" I asked his neighbor. "Cabbage and potatoes." Out of the whole class, only two or three children had something different to eat than potatoes and cabbage. In that particular region people earned their living as lumberjacks, stone quarry workers or cattle herds. Not a single one of the farmers was able to compute the cubic measure of a pile of gravel or wood and they were completely dependent on the forest guards or the haulers to calculate their wages.

Nor did the housewives know the percentage of fats in milk or how much milk they get from their cows or goats. What a blessing would it have been for that village had the children learned to calculate for their parents all the figures their livelihood depended on. I am convinced that already the children's children would eat something better for dinner than cabbage arid potatoes.

Another time:

"Did you notice in what order, or better disorder, people have their household accounts? If the father or mother look for a receipt or a paid bill, they most certainly turn upside down all the beds, wardrobes or drawers and finally they find everything else but what they are looking for. As a consequence, the bill is often paid twice. Did you notice how badly people keep their income tax return forms, bills or wage slips? Nobody understands it and nobody knows how he stands with the income tax office. Did you ever see a family having a list of their property and adjusting it annually? We say that our people are paupers and that we lack affluence. But does affluence come just like that -by coincidence, without thinking and without work?

Imagine what the schools could accomplish! Children learn math, accounting, they are calculating and accounting for transports from Hamburg to America or whatever. Nobody is personally interested in it though. If such a ten-years old boy could come to his father and tell him: "We are just learning in school how to do household accounting. From now on, I will do the whole accounting for you and we will make an agreement that you will pay me so much and so much for it." All of a sudden, the whole family would know a lot about their livelihood. Both father and sons and mothers and daughters would become "economists". And there would always be a lot to compute in schools, because life goes on and on.

What's the use to know high mathematics, if your pockets are empty?"

And finally the third reminiscence:

"Divide the school gardens among all the children attending that school. Give each child a little plot, as small as a square meter or even half a meter and tell him he or she is responsible for it and everything he plants there is his. Let the children sell their produce on the market and keep accounts of the income from and expenses of their lot.

Advise the children how to experiment and how to note the results. You will hardly find a child incapable of learning how to find ways and means to better living."

Did Tomas Bata demand such schools for purely materialistic reasons?

Most certainly not! He requested them because as an economist who saw the bases of existence of tens of thousands of people, he recognized the shabbiness of those fundaments and saw that due to that shabbiness many people are tossed around as leaves in the wind. He recognized that without a solid economic base people are unable to work creatively. A person living from day to day is not strong enough to withstand all the blows life has in store for him and he most certainly will never find the courage to start his own enterprise. He knew that a strong individual can never grow up in a family with shaky foundations. He saw only one way how to improve human society: by improving people. And that must start already in childhood.

Remarks on School Reform

An address to the teachers conference in Brno in 1929.

Our schools suffer from a lack of teachers with above-average incomes. Not everybody wants to compete and attain absolute perfection. A good competition needs perfect means of operation. A teacher, just as anybody else, can obtain such extraordinary means only for the price of competing for excellence.

Public schools are not suitable for such competition. The best suited is a private school managed by the teacher as his own enterprise. Therefore in most countries private schools lead the way in the progress of pedagogy.

It is obvious that somebody has to pay the high price for the teachers who have attained the greatest success in pedagogy. And that somebody is, and must be, the father. Our fathers, even the affluent ones, are usually willing to pay for the education of their child at the most 40.81 Kc per year, while a perfect education of a child in a technically well equipped school managed by the best teachers costs just as much in thousands, i.e. 40 000 Kc per year.

People will compete enthusiastically in all spheres of human activity if the victory it brings benefits not only others but them as well. Unfortunately, in our country, winning is not profitable for the teacher. The highest evaluation goes to the oldest teacher, not to the one with best teaching results. (Article 4, law no. 306, 1920).

Our schools will not reach progress until we will have at least some educators who became rich by teaching, and who are able to afford everything they need for their success and their scientific work.

Progress in education depends on the same circumstances as progress in arts. Great painters would not exist if there were not patrons of art ready to pay a lot of money for great masterpieces. We cannot have great pedagogical art as long as we do not have fathers looking for eminent pedagogues and willing to pay well for their extraordinary achievements in teaching, just as it happens in the framework of private schools in other countries, where the tuition for one student costs as many thousands as our father is willing to pay in crowns.

Students in public schools benefit from the progress achieved by the competition of private schools' headmasters just as much as the general public benefits from the copy of a masterpiece reproduced by the printing press. I met once in Frankfurt an Englishman, father of a teen-age son. I asked him why he was sending his son to study in England when they lived in Germany? "I consider German schools very good" he replied, "but I have looked in vain in all of Germany for a teacher who made big money from teaching. I want my son to become an entrepreneur and to create values. I am sure that even the best pedagogue cannot instruct my son about values without experiences of his own."

Concerning teaching methods, I made the experience that it is a great mistake not to consider the child as the most important factor in school. As an example I would like to cite books on arithmetics. When the teacher asks the class how much is five times five, one pupil comes up with the answer and the rest of the classroom repeats after him that five times five makes twenty five. This is a collective teaching method - the cheapest teaching, for Kc 40.81 per year. But such method kills the computing sense of the children. Schools should teach children arithmetic, not senseless repeating of multiplication tables. Already a four-year old child knows how many geese mother owns; those geese and the saved pennies, i.e. the figures a child remembers because they are a part of his daily life should be the starting point for the teacher.

I visited once a little village school where the teacher dictated the following problem from the arithmetic book:

From 586 tons of potatoes, a starch factory produced 110.754 kg of starch. What was the percentage of starch in the potatoes?

The fractions used in the problem make the solution difficult even for a grown-up, because it complicates it considerably. Therefore, even the best pupil can make several mistakes with the decimal points writing it on the blackboard, although he might have calculated the same problem several times. For the whole class it was a torture, not a pleasure.

When they finally finished, I asked the teacher where was the nearest starch factory. He replied there was none in the entire region and that all the potatoes grown there were not even sufficient to feed the inhabitants. When I discussed that case later with several teachers from the region, one headmaster told us a good joke: It was not only the pupil who made a mistake with the decimal points, even the author of the book placed two decimal points in the wrong place - he made the starch content in the potatoes hundred times smaller than it actually was.

On that occasion we all agreed how fortunate it would be for the entire region if instead of a difficult example of a starch factory the teacher could use a problem based on the daily life experiences of the children: if mother churned from 28 liters of milk 1 kg of butter, what was the fat percentage in the milk? That village, by the way, lived from dairy production. The children would count with understanding and pleasure and later discuss the problem at home with their parents. And when mother would again churn butter, they would count again and announce later to the teacher that their milk yields much more or much less butter than in the arithmetic problem in school. Not even the worst pupil would make important mistakes and the whole class would follow arithmetics with interest and pleasure. Such instruction would be useful to children and parents alike, because it would convey to them the knowledge useful for their daily life. It would also enhance their earning potential and establish friendly relations between school and family. The money spent on schools would thus immediately return where it came from, namely to the citizens.

Savings - Management

A speech in 1925.

Dear students!

The savings institution our enterprise established especially for you should enable you to save and to earn high interests. Economic success is not based solely on savings, though. They occupy only the third place - the first place belongs to earning power and the second to a reasonable use of the latter.

None of you is so young that he could not yet earn some money. On my travels in prosperous countries with a well educated population, I encountered small boys earning already good money which helped them later to become rich. For example, I met a nine year old boy who made almost a dollar a day selling newspapers. As his parents were well-off, he was able to put all his earnings aside.

Another boy offered to a shop owner that he would bring his mail to the post office. As he was very reliable, soon all the inhabitants of that house entrusted him with their mail and later he extended his "business" to the entire street. He was helping people and receiving a good reward for it. Another boy, living in the country, offered to pick caterpillars. He was skillful and being paid "by piece", he also earned a lot. However, I liked most the idea of a boy who was going to people's homes to kill flies!

All these boys considered work as fun.

Property is the difference between income and expense.

Do not beg! Earn! Do not accept gifts from your relatives! Be proud of your honor and appreciate it more than money!

Spend only after careful deliberation! Even if you consider an expense as inevitable, consult with grown-ups, preferably with your parents or teachers!

By making economies, build your independence!

A laborer who has savings is more independent than a land - or factory owner ridden with debts.

All those boys I was telling you about will become outstanding men, because they acquired already in childhood more experience in earning and spending money than many a university student who keeps spending the money of his parents because he does not know how to earn it himself. Later in life, he will have a hard time to catch up with those who started twenty years earlier.

Property and Knowledge

A speech in 1931.

My young friends!

The schools we are building for you should teach you in the first place the art of earning more money much easier than your parents ever did. You should start to learn that without delay. Even the youngest among you should already own some money and be able to manage it properly.

Earn your living by rendering service to people. Do not accept gifts you did not merit. All of us adults have a duty to make it possible for you to earn money - selling used household items is one of the possibilities, for instance. We are planning therefore to organize every Saturday in our stores a sale of old paper, used clothing and shoes, scrap iron, etc. This should give you an opportunity to help your parents getting rid of no more needed items and, at the same time, to exercise your marketing and accounting skills and to build up your own assets.

Be proud of the property you have gained by honest work. However, do not hesitate to spend money on acquiring new knowledge.

Speech to Engineering Apprentices

On the occasion of the opening of The Advanced Vocational School in Zlin in 1923.

I welcome you today as the future representatives of heavy industry in this newly opened Vocational School of Engineering where you will acquire the necessary theoretical knowledge. Your principal classroom remains, of course, the workshop. But when you add to the practical knowledge acquired there the theory you learned here, you will become well-rounded people. Many of you might not even realize the importance of this school for you! The present times are very difficult and if our industry is to remain productive and competitive on the world markets, it needs in the first place efficient, well qualified and experienced workers. You should, therefore, endeavour to acquire those qualities. We have engaged excellent specialists to be your teachers, try to profit from their qualifications as much as possible. Do not attempt to find faults with them - should they have any -, do your best to learn from their experience. Do not copy the attitude of some students in other schools who watch for every wrong step their teachers make. I had a schoolmate who excelled in this attitude. Much later, I met him when we were both returning from America. He was not overly enthusiastic about that country and enumerated all the shortcomings and inadequacies he found there; he forgot though to mention the good and useful things. I must admit frankly that I have not even noticed the faults he talked about - while all my experience was good, all of his was bad.

Therefore, do not try to imitate people with such bad habits. A person paying attention only to picayunish matters concerning others, does not have time for useful things important to himself.

Take as an example the life of our president Masaryk. He started as one of you, let him be your guiding light. The proper and orderly functioning of our modern machine equipment depends on you, future workers. A good machine is executing all tasks required at present. But look back to the past. In antiquity, one was slaving for another. In the Middle Ages horses replaced the slaves, in our times the work is done by machines. Many of you know that in our power plant one small machine produces 3000 horse power. And that exactly is your task - to build machines, the modern horses.

Consequently, I exhort you: Take your job seriously, approach work lovingly. Do not consider it a curse. Remember that your work creates prosperity for you and all the others. Follow firmly your goal and you will be successful. Nazdar!

The hygienic buildings of Masaryk's school in Zlin. A hall where common meetings and pupil's undertakings take place forward.

The Evening Business School

To the students of evening courses organized by the enterprise in 1924.

I consider business courses much more useful than the Business Colleges. The educational system of secondary schools and universities is not suitable for business and industrial schooling. People in business and industry must be, above all, very resourceful - a quality no school can teach you. The task of the schools is to teach everything people in the past invented. However, all the arts and sciences from the past do not suffice to manage a business or a factory! In order to fulfill his task to create economic values, the businessman or industrialist must be resourceful and observant and particularly good at assessing the future.

Only life can teach us the art of observation and resourcefulness. - School neither teaches nor enhances those qualities, rather it suppresses them. These qualities must be acquired already in the earliest youth, when the human mind is still pliable and capable of further development. A young man who does not engage in any lucrative activity and is till his majority supported by his parents and fully occupied by studying what others before him invented - be it in science or technology - will be disadvantaged in business ventures in comparison with those who started to work at the age of fourteen or fifteen and only later added the necessary theory to their practical knowledge. But even this school cannot teach its students resourcefulness, they will have to learn it in daily practice supplemented by lectures of experienced specialists.

Our enterprise took the initiative to establish this school in order to help commercial students to supplement their practical education with theoretical knowledge. We hope that the students at this school will make us proud of the methods of teaching used here and their results and that their achievements in life and their service to the public will prove that I was right when I praised the usefulness of this school.

The Business School

A speech in 1924, published in the magazine "Commercial Perspectives".

I am convinced that my comparison of the Business College with the evening Business School (not evening courses) led to a lively debate and I would appreciate if you published the following contribution in your esteemed newspaper.

It is encouraging that your writer agrees with me that institutions of commercial studies should be reformed. Conversely, I fully agree with him that, as in any other profession, the knowledge of commercial theories is useful and that it contributes to a successful start in professional life.

The only thing I hold against the business colleges is the fact that while acquiring theoretical knowledge, their students are prevented from developing other qualities (resourcefulness, etc.), definitely more useful to the future businessman. At the present time, the life of the Business College students resembles very much the life of their colleagues at the universities; yet, the life of a businessman is entirely different from the life of a priest, a professor, lawyer, etc. A businessman's life is hard and difficult, his working days are incomparably longer than those of the professional people. A businessman's day is a constant struggle with hours, with time.

A man who starts this difficult life at the age of twenty two, will hardly be able to adjust to it. Therefore, Business College graduates can most often be found in government services, or in banks and bureaucratically managed large industrial corporations; only a negligible percentage of them joins purely commercial enterprises.

There are many Czech cities where a Czech industrialist or a Czech businessman did not succeed due to the fact that he tried to copy the life of the bureaucrats leading the local society.

It is difficult to find the right way of educating young people to become entrepreneurs, whether independent or employed in larger associations. In any case, it is advisable that the administrators of Business Colleges compare the life of their students with that of business apprentices learning by practical experience and that they try to adjust it to the life of a future businessman. It will then become obvious that two months of vacations (actually three months with Christmas and Easter holidays added) are useless for a 16-18 years old young man and at variance with the life he is expected to lead. Even after many years of activity, an independent businessman can indeed hardly afford such long vacation, may he need it for serious reasons.

The job of a practicing businessman is approximately as difficult as that of a tight-rope walker. If we teach a youngster in theory the laws of gravity and balance and send him then at the age of twenty two to earn his living by tightrope walking, we will find out that two things will prevent him from applying in practice the theory he learned: his limbs will be already too old by then and therefore he would not even think of it to expose those limbs to such danger.

The purpose of the Business Colleges is to teach their students to create values by honest work. An entirely different purpose indeed from that followed by other academic institutions. Therefore, the Business College students also must lead an entirely different life than all other academicians.

It must be obvious at the Business College campus that already a seven-year old boy wanting to succeed in life must learn in practice to create values, i.e. to earn money. We can find this attitude in most Western countries not only with children of businessmen, but of lawyers and professors as well. A twenty-two year old graduate of a Business College should get the worst grade if he did not yet create any values, if he used his vacations "for leisure purposes" only and was living solely on the allowance from his parents.

Construction, Education, Housing

A speech in 1931.

When planning and building our department stores, we encountered considerable prejudices, even superstitions, among some of our construction specialists - theoreticians, particularly where the inner sanitary installations of the new buildings were concerned.

Our construction department asked therefore some of the experienced practitioners to give them a helping hand in designing interiors corresponding to our needs. The practitioners, on the other hand, lacked so much theoretical schooling in calculation and drawing of plans that they were unable to get the work done. Such shortcomings are the legacy of old fashioned schooling.

Everybody should graduate from school with at least the most essential knowledge of expressing his ideas in figures and lines. Why is this still lacking, why are practitioners, handy with a hammer, saw or plane, completely helpless and unable to translate their ideas into figures and put it on paper with a pencil?

Immediately afterwards, I visited our advanced technical school. This school has everything it needs, such as separate classrooms and own tools. It receives a lot of support from us and consequently there should be no problem with instruction.

When I visited the classroom of construction crafts apprentices, I saw models of Greek columns there. I complained to the instructors, that exactly the graduates of their school were unable to calculate and draw sanitary piping. We all agreed that to solve that particular problem is more important for modem life than the familiarity with construction of Greek columns.

I told them that in our country most of the fires are caused by wrongly dimensioned chimneys. In countries where children are taught to compute the diameter of a chimney, it is practically impossible to construct a bad chimney dangerous for the inhabitants of the house and causing difficulties. Every school is able to recognize what is wrong with chimney and can explain to his mother why her oven smokes and why her pastry does not bake properly.

There are so many old fashioned notions in our construction industry as well as in the requirements we have on habitations that only an entirely restructured school program for the new generation can rid us of these circumstances. Everybody living outside of large cities should own a house permitting him to live a healthy life according to the requirements of modern times. The house should not cost him more than the equivalent of his one-year income. So far, we are still building houses to last 500 years which will constrict and hamper future generations in the same manner as the houses built by our ancestors do us. A house built to last 500 years naturally costs so much that it cannot be paid up even in 20 years. Therefore, most of our population lives in "holes" during the best years of their lives, when they are bringing up children. Who can save them from living in such inadequate quarters? Only themselves and schools where they can learn to design modern bathrooms and sanitary installations affordable by everybody, not only by the rich "upper ten thousands".

The School for Young Men

No organization can assure good future for an enterprise if its old, skilled employees are not willing to share their experience with young people.

This principle was well understood already in the Middle Ages. The artisans, crafts and trade, organized in guilds had a precisely planned education of young apprentices, thus transferring artisanal skills from one generation to another.

Unfortunately, industry left this most important element of life - learning and education - to chance. Nobody actually paid any attention to a youngster starting work at the age of fourteen in a factory. He arrived, was assigned simple tasks in the workshop and he could learn qualified work on the machines only when nobody saw him, when the older, experienced workers left. He was thus on his own at that age, earning money, but the educational influence of school and often even his own home ceased. Working in the industry, the young man was left at the most stormy time of his physical and mental development entirely without guidance and advice by adults.

The industry and all the people it employed suffered, indeed, by such disorganization They suffered because they did not properly understand the facts. How could a man working in the workshop at the machines understand all the complexity of running a factory when he never had the chance to lean mathematics, accounting, business administration, etc.? How could the managers of the enterprise expect understanding and good advice from its employees when they did not bother to offer them the proper training in their youth?

Bata, on the contrary, provided for the education of the young working generation in an original way:

Having recognized the difficulties an enterprise is facing when the people it hires are not familiar with its general spirit and type of work, and well aware how little an unskilled worker can earn, he decided to establish a vocational school for 14 - 16 year old boys. These boys, coming from all social classes of our society, did not have to pay tuition as long as they were not receiving any financial help from their families. On the following pages, I would like to present the fundamental ideas of that special school and acquaint the reader with its organization:

New Education

Inaugurating the new vocational school, Tomas Bata addressed the following words to the young men of our republic:

The word man signifies provider. When a 14 year old boy starts earning his living, he becomes a young man. This does not necessarily apply to sons of wealthy families, as they are not obliged to earn their living. Although there are not that many really wealthy families in our country, there are many boys though who erroneously consider themselves as children of rich parents. Let us hope there are not too many of them and, consequently, it is not necessary to pay any attention to them.

You, young men, should face the world with courage. Do not worry that your parents either cannot or would not pay for your education. The entire world is a school where work is the best teacher and poverty the best helper. The majority of outstanding men of our times left their homes just like you - with only a small bundle in their hands. In our country however, any poor man can attain the highest position and that is the greatness of our times. Achievement of high goals depends on the man's ability and perseverance.

You should choose a career in free enterprises such as agriculture, business or industry, because only there will you be able to develop fully your talents and expectations. You should strive for physical as well as mental strength. Seek struggle! Do not fear blows! Do not weaken your bodies by drinking, smoking or other vices. Vice is a mother of defeat. Virtue and temperance lead to victory.

Be successful!

To Young Men About to Choose Their Career

You are about to choose your career. Choose industry or business. The intelligent leadership of our country promises a great future to our business and industry. Do not failures, though. Do not get alarmed by the numerous notices of bankruptcy appearing daily in the newspapers. They only prove the hard struggle in economic life. But despite the mortal danger to be encountered in every battle, do engage in it - only in combat you will become real men. From all sectors of our economy, you may hear voices telling you: "Needless to apply for a job here, we have no openings"; most probably, it is true. It applies particularly to government services where salaries are usually low. Do not believe that only because you have just finished your studies, the state must take care of your existence. Leave teaching, postal services and other office jobs to women and try to fill the considerable gaps in our industry and our business; do not worry that at the beginning, the salaries might be low. Enhance your knowledge in a well managed enterprise and you will soon be able to demand a better salary. Be aware that an average businessman or commercial employee earns just enough to make ends meet, better a little better qualified one may earn as much as five times more! When you become a manager or a business representative in a foreign country, you will soon realize that your work helps to expand our country's prosperity; when you sell the products made by our workers, you indirectly contribute to increasing their wages.

Those among you lacking the courage of choosing your future employment in the large, healthy business community should travel abroad and look around! Particularly the sea should open new horizons for you. Among the thousands of businessmen you will encounter in your travels, you will hardly find a single countryman. In Holland, Denmark or England, you will visit large new cities, offering a much higher standard of living than here; you should keep in mind that those cities were built by business and industry.

Young Men!

Tomas Bata addressed the young men of the enterprise vocational school on the occasion of a St. Nicholas Evening party in 1925.

You are unique young men in our republic. There are, of course, boys of your age (14 - 16 years), earning money as apprentices. But as they are still dependent on their parents, they must considered as children. They live with their parents and turn their wages over to them. Their mother takes care of everything for them.

I wrote earlier that the word man means provider. The task of a man is difficult but noble. His task is work. Work for the society on which he depends. Work for his family that depends on him.

The principal reasons of misery are in the hearts of men. Where a man claims the largest share from the collective dish of duties and the smallest share from the dish of rights, misery does not exist.

In order to fulfill his task, a man must be capable of "economic thinking". Unfortunately, most of our men are incapable to do so, as they cannot learn it anywhere. Until their marriage, their mother takes care of all their needs, her motherly love shielding them from the troubles and worries of managing their own affairs. They get so accustomed to it that when they get married, they gladly let their wives take care of the management of family affairs, just as their mothers did previously.

There is entirely too much of family communism in our families. The farther east we travel, the more we encounter it. In India, I saw a fifty year old man humbly asking his eighty year old father - the head of the family - for money earned by himself and needed for his own family. And when his father gave it to him, he kissed his hand.

It is entirely different in western countries, particularly in America. There, a father does not consider even a six year old boy to be too young to have his own property. But in order to be capable of thinking in economic terms, we have to learn it early. At the age of twenty four, it is too late. The mind is already accustomed to a different way of thinking and has a hard time to adjust. Who starts at that age is certainly at great disadvantage and will be surpassed by those who started at the age of six or fourteen.

A man is a bad economist indeed if he deprives his family in order to save money.

Property educates. So does management. By management I do not mean only saving money. To save is only a negative part of management and takes only the third place. The first place belongs to the art of earning, the second to prudent spending and only the third to saving.

It goes without saying however, that although every young man has the right and duty to own and manage what he earned, money should by no means be his principal goal and his most prized possession. The bible tells us that "there is more to life than food". Mutual love between parents and children is much more important. However, it is indispensable to create such affectionate family relationship freely, as a union of free, economically capable and independent people. Economic dependency cannot create as cordial a family relationship as economic independence. And should the parents or siblings be in need of help, they should accept it as a loan.

I owe thanks to my parents for my life and for having taught me to love my trade. But I am indebted as well to my father for teaching me to think in economic terms. When I was five years old, I was already making shoes and selling them - from five pennies to a dime a pair. These were, of course, tiny shoes for dolls and I had to make special lasts for them. Father let me keep the money I made selling them and that was the first fortune I learned to manage. It was the memory of my father and the wisdom of his education that prompted me to offer you the same opportunity in this school.

The Road to Honor, Power and Wealth

This speech to the students of the Institute of Technology, delivered at the Masaryk Academy of Labor in Prague in 1927, contains a brief, concise opinion of Tomas Bata on education as well as on the purpose of work and enterprising:

My speech today should stir up your enthusiasm for entrepreneurship. I would like to arouse that enthusiasm particularly in you, the young students of the Institute of Technology, as you will have the best opportunity to create wealth for yourselves and for others in the shortest time possible. Production and enterprising, conducted in the spirit of service to the public, is a source of honor and power for everybody as well as the only source of individual and general wealth.

A well shod person has a better resistance to discomfort and accidents and is more capable of earning money than a barefooted one. Without being more tired, a cyclist reaches the same destination four times faster than a pedestrian. Without any fatigue, an automobilist moves fifteen times faster than a pedestrian. It delights him enormously to release and put at his service the power of an entire pack of horses by merely pressing down a pedal. Even greater elation is felt by a pilot when he sees frightened birds fleeing from a new, terrifying bird - a human. The same birds whose wings humans envied from times immemorial!

In our enterprise, a well trained, adult man earns at present in eight hours enough to buy a pair of shoes, while before the war he had to work thirty hours to pay for the same shoes. We are proud that our common efforts enabled us to equal the output and services of the best American shoe-making enterprises and according to our plans, we should surpass them considerably by 1928. A man employed in an American automobile plant earns in 50-60 days enough to buy a car; in our country, due to general lack of enterprising spirit he needs 600 hours! I hope that you all agree that it is our duty to become strong and wealthy, that you agree with the motto: Poverty - lame excuse, wealth - duty. Well then, become entrepreneurs right away, do not wait to finish your studies! A student-entrepreneur should first establish a solid economic base a successful entrepreneur cannot do without. He should elaborate a budget for a fraction of this year as well as for next year with the device: "Earn a lot, spend prudently and only then start saving. Youth should invest, old age should save."

The "expenses" page of our budget should not include unprofitable luxuries. Do not be tempted to spend only according to a full or empty pocket. Nobody should complain about lack of success had he not previously established his economic goal, made appropriate plans and a firm resolution to stick to them.

If the income page displays an item from the parents, we should make a definite agreement with them. Income in form of clothing etc. should be converted into money, because it does not become an entrepreneur to have his mother buy his clothes. I knew people with academic degrees in their pockets totally unaware of the simplest facts of daily life such as the price of clothing they had on or what they spent the year before; yet already a nine-year old boy should know that much and be encouraged to independent economic thinking. Income from parents should go to the column of gifts. However, the most contemplated should be the items resulting from our work, from services rendered to the society.

Every technology student should have during his studies a small workshop where he could put into practice all the theory he acquired. The work in his shop should represent the principal item on the income page; it should teach him resourcefulness, a most essential quality for an entrepreneur, useful indeed for any type of work. The most specialized literature in the world cannot help a mechanic to jack a part, too heavy for him, into the vice, if there is no jacking equipment in the workshop. This is his work problem and he has to find a way how to solve it.

Resourcefulness is a quality that must be acquired already in youth; it can be done though only by practice at work, never at school. School is a wisdom tree and everything we learn there gives us great power; without resourcefulness however, that power cannot be fully exploited. And in order to do that, we have to first find out how to go about it. Our entrepreneurship and the usefulness of our work may go about it. Our income should be the indicator of our entrepreneurship and the usefulness of our work at present and of our wealth or poverty in the future. A man supported till his maturity by his family and the state will have a hard time to learn to serve himself and others, all his knowledge notwithstanding. Only technology is conducive to increase wealth and I strongly believe that an engineer who, within the first year of his studies, did not improve a tool or an equipment serving people and earning money, should consider it a proof that he has no talent whatsoever for this type of work.

Personal Discipline and Improvement

Your goal is to coordinate the work of an important number of coworkers and to build-up an enterprise. In order to achieve this goal, you should start with yourselves, adjusting your personal way of life.

Healthy, disciplined nutrition is of primary importance for our digestion, which, in turn, strongly influences our work output. We should eat a hearty breakfast and a light lunch, just the opposite to our customary Czech diet. A breakfast of coffee and roll is not sufficient and an empty stomach prevents us from concentrating during the morning working hours. Conversely, a copious lunch of meat and dumplings makes us sleepy and slows us down in the afternoon. If our work is predominantly intellectual, our diet should consist of fruit, vegetables, milk and light desserts, but very little meat. If we do hard manual work, we must consume a lot of meat and dumplings. Personal discipline will help us to accomplish even the most despised work. We should fully concentrate on the work we are doing, yet we must know as well when to finish working. It will help us to solve problems demanding long hours of intellectual effort and particularly problems tackled preferably in the solitude of dawn.

We should work only with the best and most practical tools and utensils, as, for instance, this pencil with a chain. It can be easily grasped and helps us to save thousands of precious seconds every day. This small loose-leaf writing pad will also greatly enhance your work output. Thanks to these two items, you can jot down notes anywhere, even in the most unusual or awkward situations. These two inexpensive helpers of mine facilitated the acquisition of a third one - my car - earlier than I ever hoped. Observing some of my friends, I noticed how dangerous a car can become for an entrepreneur - beginner, if he misuses it for his pleasure. Therefore, when I got my first car, I left it standing in the garage for full two weeks, testing thus my self-discipline. I also trained myself to like the region I had to visit on business and to consider it as particularly beautiful.

How to Become an International Entrepreneur

It does not matter what you are producing - be it machinery or potatoes - try to do it on a world-wide scale. We should proceed from the idea that the world was created to serve us and that we were born to serve the world. Even the smallest, unimportant item should be made perfectly. Emerson said that "if you produce the best mouse-trap, the entire world will find the road to your door"; all my experiences corroborate his words.

Should the dream of becoming an international industrialist seem inaccessible to you, let me tell you a story of my Mend Young in Lynn, Massachusetts. Twenty five years ago, I received from him a price list of machines for moulding stiffeners. Although I was just a small shoe-maker at that time, I ordered one of his machines. Later on my trips, I often heard his name mentioned. As he exported then his machines already to all parts of the world, I assumed it was a large enterprise. But when I finally visited him, I found Mr. Young and his son working in a small workshop consisting of a single room. Father and son were the only employees of that large international enterprise. Their worldwide business connections were created entirely through advertisements in the press.

Few people realize that the printing press and newspapers are more suited to potato production than a hoe. Newspapers will inform us who grew the best potatoes in the world and they will also inform the world about our crop.

A dutch farmer makes as much as 20 000 Kc from half an acre. Indeed, he gladly pays thousands for newspapers ads. Old-fashioned farmers give nothing to their newspaper and get just as much from half an acre, next to nothing.

Let us Learn from the Best

Only the best worker, wherever he may be living, deserves our order.

It is more dignified and more advantageous to learn from the best worker than to restrain him with high custom duties. The demand that high custom duties protect our work equals a demand that the government fines the customer who does not wish to buy from me.

I am for duty-free import of shoes to our country just as I would advocate duty-free import of inexpensive automobiles, if I produced them. A manufacturer works to earn money and to help himself, his main reason though is to serve the public. A manufacturer who demands a permanent customs protection profits little and harms the public.

If I were manufacturing automobiles, I would make only one model of an inexpensive car, as there are relatively few very rich people in our country. Should my car be incapable of international competition, I might decide to manufacture only a certain part of it.

I would, however, try to produce a car part so perfect that the whole world would be rushing to my door to get it, to quote Emerson again. All working people in our country are entitled to own a car, not only Bata or the chief executive of the Skoda Works. Wrong notions that industry and state cannot exist without the protection of custom duties are prevalent among industrialists and politicians in many countries, it is not only a special Czech disease.

The spirit of enterprising unfortunately cannot satisfy the longing for happiness of many generations. Improvement of human life depends on permanent competition of all people. Who can be better, sooner. The prizes God's hand awards to the contestants in the form of economic successes can never be equal. There are many contestants, but, unfortunately, only one of them can win. That becomes the source of human dissatisfaction and envy. Even envy may serve the progress though. Man would have never invented the airplane had he not envied the birds for their wings.

The boarding school of Bata's Young Men. In the buildings there are airy sleeping rooms, bathrooms and shower-baths.

Sense of Enterprising and Work

When you, young entrepreneurs, will attain wealth and power, remember the words of Christ: "Who wants to be the most powerful among you should be your servant." Remember that your competence and your efficiency belong to the public. Remember that property and money circulating in your enterprise are as important for your co-workers as blood is for your body.

The law entitles the entrepreneur to dispose freely of the property entered in the public register under his name. The entrepreneur can never be divested of this right just as a military commander cannot be divested of the right to dispose of the lives of his soldiers.

You should treat this vital asset the same way a conscientious leader treats his troops. Nevertheless, you do not have the right to consider yourself more than a manager of a jointly gained property.

Manage the property well. Consider money needlessly spent as a betrayal of a common cause. Help to multiply the income of your collaborators. Free them of unnecessary drudgery which should be done by a machine. A man should be allowed to spend all his force in intellectual contests.

Nobody can shatter the throne built by your work, as long as you will accomplish it with the service to the public in mind.

Health and Peace Through Self-Discipline

The only radio address in 1930.

I believe in people and their quest of improvement. And I also believe that technology, the issue of human genius, contributes enormously to improvement. The issue of disciplined minds of men, who by distributing their wealth to others find great happiness and fulfillment of their lives.

Hundreds of thousands of you are sitting in your homes listening to me on your radios - the youngest and best child of technology. How great is the influence of that invention on personal lives of people and on their family relations. Man is a social creature in need of contact with other people. In the past, social contacts and entertainment were found mainly in pubs. With an exception though - while practically only men could enjoy the pubs, it is now the entire family that takes advantage of the radio.

Technology has the greatest influence on the minds and characters of people.

Technology is the fruit of self-discipline and it disseminates self-discipline. It is not by accident that technologically most developed nations have the highest standard of living and the best self-discipline. Conversely, underdeveloped nations living in unsettled conditions are incapable of inventing anything and live in poverty. The talent of invention, be it technological, artistic, educational or other, is not merely a genial quality. It is, above all, sense of order and self-discipline.

Many people are afraid that in the future, technological inventions will enslave humanity. Such people have not so far found the way to make the machines their servants. There is absolutely no doubt about it who is more powerful - the man sitting behind the steering wheel of an automobile or truck with fifty HP, or a pedestrian carrying a heavy load on his back. It goes without saying that as soon as every working person in our republic will have at his disposal the horse power of his car, both he and the entire country will be richer and more powerful.

In my life, I met thousands of people of all nationalities. I have found out that life has only one rule of law: the world belongs to disciplined people who can control themselves. I found out that an unbalanced, disorderly person is unable to keep any kind of power - it will sooner or later slip out of his hands, crush him and make him even more unhappy than he was before. His lack of discipline will put him back under the rule of an organized man, to his own benefit and that of the others. It happens likewise with businesses, banks, even entire nations and countries. Discipline is life, lack of it means death.

Physical exercises of Young Men during the sport holiday

Self-discipline cannot be learned from books. Life teaches it and everybody can learn it. Every day gives us the opportunity to learn. Orderly way of life, regular eating habits and good digestion, abstinence and, above all work, teach us self-discipline. We should always concentrate on the work we are doing, yet we must know when to finish working. It will help us to solve problems demanding several hours of intellectual effort and particularly problems that are best solved at dawn. It is the only way how to gain control of chaos, want and poverty, conditions one must never become reconciled with.

Our studies as well as our recreation should be consciously organized to strengthen our character and our will. We should read only books that give us incentive. Even the best written story of an unsuccessful life will not teach us to win. On the contrary, such a story prevents us to enjoy life and deprives us of the courage to act.

We should be regal in our thinking and planning and businesslike in its execution. This is the only way to control technology and the power of machines and to prevent them to fall on our heads as it happened during the last war. It is the only way to work for peace and prosperity.

The Citizen

Dear to me - sacred to the community.

The duty of the citizen is to govern - not to grumble.

Just as I wish that everybody in our factory be his own director,

I would like every inhabitant of our community to be his own mayor.

Bata's political principles.

There was a touch of antique Rome in Bata's relations to his community and to his country, as well as to his fellow-citizens. Most probably, it would have never occurred to him to be preoccupied with political ideas and to attempt to influence public administration in a well organized community or a country with good schools and hospitals, an excellent road network and regulated rivers. He was an absolutely "non-political" person if we understand under politics the various ideologies and world opinions relevant to faraway regions.

"Let everybody be happy in his own way" he once wrote, not realizing that he was quoting the words of a statesman who died 150 years earlier and whose political personality and views he did not know.

Political orators did not interest him; it could even be said that the more brilliant they were, the less he trusted them. He had a suspicion that the magic of eloquence absorbs and charms the listener so much that he stops thinking and starts applauding. He considered this dangerous to as serious a matter as questions relevant to the thinking and the way of life of people. In such cases, one person should not do the talking while the others listen, there should be a discussion and calculation with a pencil in the hand. Bata did not have much use for the French type of democracy, he preferred the Anglo-Saxon one, but he believed that even in the latter there was too much talk and very little calculation

He believed that on one hand, politics should awaken the best forces and capabilities in every citizen, while they should on the other hand serve as means of organizing such forces for the service of a common objective. What objective, though? A very clear and concrete one - to improve the living conditions of all people in the community. As a political realist reasoning similarly to Dr. Faust: "Here, from this land spring forth my delights - here the sun is shining on my troubles", he planned and aimed accordingly. At the same time, he strongly believed in the omnipotence of human forces; politics should lead people to the conviction that their first civic duty is to help themselves, to live by their own resources and to help create great public works impossible to be accomplished by a private person As the greatest sin against mankind, he considered political ideas that teach people to look for the source of existence in requests for relief, subventions, etc. A political party that would win, educate and retain its members by preaching such ideology, would carry in itself germs of death; an organism cannot grow and prosper when millions of people only want to exploit it, yet give nothing more than their vote in return.

Bata had a high esteem for self-government and he insisted that a community, a district or a region have the right and the duty to live from their own resources, to manage their economy without debts, that expenses should be the seed for new income of both public and private economy. He hated the system of appropriations and criticized it most severly. He considered it as humiliation of the citizens from whom the state first collects in taxes even the money needed for their community, and later forces them to run humbly from one office to another begging for funds needed to cover the deficit of their communal economy. He believed that such procedure only led to cheating in communal budgets (which indeed happened) where deficits were artificially increased in order to obtain higher subsidies. Bata strongly believed that this procedure ruined the characters of the citizens, because it made mayors and politicians out of those who knew the best how to bow and scrape.

In Bata's opinion, a strong state entity can never be attained when its principal base - its citizens - is stagnating.

He was enthusiastic about competition in self-government and about local patriotism manifesting itself by mutual competition of each community, county and land in service to its citizens. He saw in that competition a force that automatically increases the overall conditions in the entire country. He endeavoured therefore to change his native town into a perfectly run community and he urged that the poor, mountainous and barren Valassko obtain its own political district extending to the shores of the Morava river and that an exemplary district be created there, serving as a model.

"Let us be kings in our dreams - let us be businessmen in materializing them," was the device of Thomas Bata's civic work at the time he started participate actively in politics in 1923, running for office in Zlin. The development plans he launched and the speed with which he implemented them proved to his fellow citizens he was keeping his promise.

It is said that the most energetic prime minister Czechoslovakia had called the campaigning method of Bata, the layman-politician, the masterful school of politics.

It is therefore worthwhile that these political speeches be published.

Communal Elections in Zlin in 1923

In 1923, Tomas Bata concluded that he could realize an important economic accomplishment only if he succeeded to persuade the majority of his fellow citizens about the rightfulness of his ideas and to obtain their trust. It was a whole line of insignificant conflicts with the politicized Town Hall that brought him to decide, after a consultation with his collaborators, to present an independent candidature. The fast expanding community had bad, muddy roads - yet the municipal government started to construct a new, six million Kc Town Hall. Electricity was expensive because the old power plant Bata bought had outmoded, direct current production equipment - the municipality refused, however, Bata's offer to set up, free of charge, a network and equipment of alternating current and lower the price of electricity. The city fathers wanted to have a pub in the town hall - Bata proposed a reading room. Personal competition and political in-fighting poisoned the air, the differences in general outlook on life were so great that Bata decided to leave the decision how to administer his native community up to the population. At numerous public electoral meetings, he explained his views to friends and foes alike and presented plans of municipal administration. He won the election. His group, proposing to change the administration of Zlin, gained 17 mandates out of 30. The following articles are Tomas Bata's 1923 election speeches.

Our Enterprise and the Town of Zlin

The recent results of our work are good.

It is proven by the data of our department of statistics.

During the past year, the ratio of our employees increased from 100 to 158.

We have reduced the prices of our goods from 200 to 100, while the index of all other products in our country shows a reduction from 200 to 130 only.

The 50 percent price reduction of our products and the general 35 percent of other goods shows the measure of our contribution to the improvement of living standards in the entire country. At the same time, our enterprise shows net profits this year.

It is a great victory for our assiduous work aimed at reducing production costs. The merit for this victory belongs to all our employees as well as to the devoted men governing our country; it also belongs to our Workers' Committee which does not inconvenience us any more since December, when I informed the workers of its activities.

We still have a long way ahead of us. I feel totally incompetent when I compare what our enterprise offers its workers and customers with what is offered by large American enterprises. We are presently ahead of many European companies, but remain dwarfs in comparison with the Americans.

It is therefore not surprising that so many of our young, capable people go to America; they wish to participate in the great affluence the large American corporations offer to their employees and their country.

Many people say that it is impossible to create large corporations in our country, as we lack the sea and the coal and oil resources of America. I insist, that the great affluence of the American people is based primarily on the wisdom and diligence of the population. There are even larger countries than the United States of America with even greater natural wealth; but because their populations lack the proper comprehension of things, poverty and hunger reign there.

I would like to prove that also in our country such enterprises can be created. In order to accomplish it, I need above all understanding and right ideas of my employees.

I will tell you why.

Our plant is inconveniently situated. I made the choice of Zlin as a young man when I did not yet know what exactly I intend to do. Zlin lacks all the facilities essential for the existence of an enterprise the size I envisage.

It does not have enough water, it is situated far away from the main railroad line and far from a larger city with adequate banking facilities, even too far from the main road. It lacks direct telephone connections as well as road connections with the environs; its schools, hospital, gas works, etc. are inadequate as well.

In order to do away with all such inadequacies, a close collaboration with the municipality is required. But in Zlin, there are so many political parties represented on the municipal board that is is impossible to reach any kind of agreement. Particularly when they are convinced that our employees do not even wish such agreement. The political parties arrived at this conviction at the last elections, when our employees were doing the bidding of political parties.

You remember the last elections. They were the first municipal elections in our country, in 1919.

The political party number 12 believed that the party number 11 managed to gain more voters among our workers. It was true. The manager of our factory store paid more attention to politics than to supplying our workers.

I was helpless, because according to the then existing law, the Government Grain Agency allotted flour, sugar and other groceries only to factory stores controlled by some political party; I had to bear with such deals, or our workers would have been without bread.

Party number 12 warned me before it started waging war against our factory. I demanded that the manager be fired. I refused it, because I would have been obliged to entrust the store to another party and it would have been the turn of Party number 11 to start another battle.

Thus the parties were fighting with each other. Just a day before the elections, Party number 12 invented incredible lies about our factory store. We were allegedly exporting food abroad, it even claimed that we have exported 30 wagons of flour alone!

People believed these and similar lies and Party number 12 won the elections. In court, the Party abnegated its false accusations and was convicted, but this did not change the fact that the respective party won the elections with the slogan "Against Bata".

To make it worse, that party won the elections with the help of our employees.

As a result, for the following four years all political parties represented in the municipal council were convinced that it was useful to militate against Bata and that the best way to win the confidence of our workers was to call our enterprise names.

All political parties treated us during that entire period as unreliable people.

What do I need from you? Nothing more than to help me to de-politicize the community, just as you helped me to de-politicize the factory store and the Workers' Committee and, for this purpose, to set up a list of candidates for municipal elections.

Politics is just as harmful to the administration of our small community as is to the factory store and the Workers' Committee.

In a small community, laws are not enacted, only money is collected and spent, either reasonably or unreasonably.

In the past four years, our community was spending money with the motto "Bata will pay for it".

Is Bata really paying? Do not actually our employees finally pay the bills?

I do not need any fortune for myself. I consider myself only the manager of my property. I spend on myself probably much less than many of my workers. Every newly acquired property adds to my duty of managing it for the benefit of others.

By newly acquired property I can only increase the living standard of my employees, never my own. To cover my family's living expenses would definitely require much less work than I actually do.

I do not wish to de-politicize the community for my own sake either, I want it for you and other citizens.

Unreasonable spending of money, even if it were Bata's money, would harm you. Who of you needs a Town Hall for six million? All you need would be a Town Hall for 600.000 Kc. You could have certainly spent the rest of the money for more useful things. Repairing the bad road leading to the railroad station would have served you for entire four years and cost only a few thousand.

The hospital and many other essential requirements could have been provided for that money.

Put decent men on your list of candidates!

Do not fear defeat!

You will find friends where you never hoped to!

Everybody in Zlin knows what our enterprise means for him and what means reasonable spending of communal money.

If we eliminate the struggle among political parties and the mess it causes, only slightly raised communal taxes will enable us to afford everything a large enterprise needs in a community. By erecting a dam on the upper flow of Drevnice, we will even change our little stream into a big river.

We will create a large enterprise for the benefit of our employees and consumers in the entire country. We will also succeed to build up our town to serve as an example to all other towns in the country by its development, its organization and its economic conditions.

The château in Zlin - bought in 1929 by Tomas Bata and given to the town of Zlin - serves as a public reading room, library and museum. The park serve as a public gardens.

Tomas Bata felt that his honor and his economic achievements were deeply offended by the decision of the Zlin municipal council to place in the comer stone of the new Town Hall - partially financed by public funds but mainly paid for by his own hard earned money - a document which slandered his enterprise because it stated that during the last war, when the factory was controlled by the military, a prison for workers was built with his consent. He considered the document as the ultimate attack on himself and on his work and when he received it on his desk, he furiously wrote across it: "A shameful lie!" He immediately convoked a public meeting to the Main Square in Zlin, where he addressed the crowd in the following way:


Most of you present here are our employees invited by me to come and defend the truth.

During the war, I took good care of my workers and their families; at many a meeting lately, they publicly acknowledged it and expressed their thanks by telling me: "WE BOW OUR HEADS TO YOU IN GRATITUDE!"

Standing before you on the public ground of this square, I consider myself a servant of the public, your servant, and I bow to you! (He took his hat off). I invited you to come and I would like to explain to you why I signed the commemorative document with a pen-holder instead of a pen and why I wrote the words: "A shameful lie!" across the page.

As this town's native son, I do not want our descendants to be fooled by that document which pretends that in our factory, we built a prison for our own workers.

This is a lie!

A basement room under the staircase was called like that. A similar room exists in almost every house and usually potatoes are kept there. Yet that document does not mention that in the same building, 1500 of you were using that very staircase every day at noon to get lunches for 50 pennies. Neither does it say that at the same time, we were supplying two-thirds of the population with provisions.

It is a shame!

I asked you to come here and help me defend my freedom and my honor. Thank you for coming in such large numbers. Thank you for your manifestation of friendship and confidence; in return, I owe my friendship and confidence to you. Your willingness to defend my honor and my freedom obliges me to pay for that freedom as well as for your honor with my life, if necessary.

I would like to make it clear that the honor of a man does not depend on his political affiliation or his type of work. I am defending the principle that good or bad men can be found among employers and employees alike.

We are protesting in the following way against the violation of truth contained in the commemorative document:

The municipal council decided on the 7th of September, at the very end of its mandate and with the majority of only one voice, to deposit a commemorative document of the town of Zlin in the comer stone of the new Town Hall.

However, most citizens do not agree with the content of this document, because the description of the war period as well as of the present time is the interpretation by only one political party and it does not take into consideration all the other parties, indeed it ignores and insults them.

We, the citizens here present protest against the immuring of this offensive document. We demand that it be truthfully re-written so as to contain no insults. Prior to its final deposition in the corner stone, the document should be examined by the public.

Do you agree with this protest? (Loud cries of: Yes!) I thank you again for your expression of confidence and I ask you to disperse in an orderly way.

There were already too many election speeches and I do not want them to harm the dignity of our protest.

Our Work Program

Tomas Bata considered this address as a signed draft which he promised to honor. He honored it even more than he pledged -

Why do i solicit the confidence of citizens? For the simple reason that I was born in Zlin and because I do not know anybody else who could help my native town in its present difficulties.

According to the electoral law, the mayor is elected indirectly. It is the municipal councillors elected by you that choose one of them as mayor.

I either want to become mayor or do not wish to be elected member of the council at all.

For that reason, my name is only 15th on the list, although many of our employees wish that I be listed first. Yet, were I listed first and several of my friends left out, I would be useless, even if I were subsequently elected mayor by all other political parties.

Either do the citizens trust me, and then all the other members of the municipal council should have the duty to control my work and to advise me. I am ready to assume full responsibility for everything occurring during my mandate and to account for it to the citizens.

However, should the citizens not trust my capabilities or my honesty, I will not be elected and will continue in my useful work, dedicated to the advancement of our enterprise and to the enhancement of my employees' well-being.

Endless quarrels and haggling with all the political parties would only waste my time and effort.

Certain distrustful citizens fear that I could abuse the acquired power or use it for my profit and enrichment; in order to put their minds at rest, I make a solemn, signed declaration and pledge to honor it.

In the first place, we should save on interests. When all present obligations and open accounts are paid up, the debt of our community will amount to approximately six million Kc, loaned at five to six percent interest. The interests amount to 300 000 - 350 000 Kc. With this year's tax base of approximately Kc 100 000, the present 350 percent surcharge is hardly sufficient to cover the interests.

Using my financial knowledge and my connections in banking circles, I would like to secure for the community a short-term credit at four percent interest.

The one percent saving on interest represents - at this year's tax base - one-seventh of communal surcharges. A four percent interest rate would certainly save us one and a half percent on the present interest, and thus one-fifth of all surcharges, which means about 70 000 Kc for 350 000 Kc.

The communal real estate property earns according to the 1922 budget 12 732 Kc, which corresponds, at a four percent interest rate, to approximately 320 000 Kc. On this property, the community cannot take out a bigger loan than 240 000 Kc. Beside the real estate property, another guarantee exists of course, i.e. the contributions of the tax-payers, consisting of indirect taxes (142 000 Kc according to the 1922 budget) and increased income taxes. The credit rating of our community, which depends to 80 percent on one tax payer alone, is indeed small. The creditor cannot know if that one particular tax payer will be able to pay the extra charges or if he will rather not transfer his central office (as it already happened in Zlin) to another town, which would deprive the municipality of most of the surcharges.

A cheep credit can therefore be obtained only through a personal liability; one can be liable only to the extent of his own influence and responsibility.

For these reasons, I was unable to get the credit earlier and unless I am entrusted with the management of communal affairs, I could not secure it at present either.

We pay from our own pocket for the installation of alternate current network in the entire community and vicinity according to our offer of June 19th, or, in other words, the community will get from us free of charge an equipment offered by other electricity enterprises for 2.700 000 Kc. We will continue to supply electric power for the entire next period. We are ready to contract with the community for ten years, provided at least one member of the municipal council would be so disposed. We shall fix the price of the alternate current at 30 percent lower for lighting and 20 percent lower for industrial use than what pay the communities supplied by the Central Moravian Electrical Works.

We shall look to it that the District Road Committee in Zlin start operating soonest, so that the funds hitherto diverted elsewhere be used toward building roads and communications in our town and its environs.

During the next period, we shall not demand from the community even the slightest contribution toward the construction of public roads, lighting, sewerage water supply and whatever else for the new section built by our factory; conversely, we deem it self-evident that the community will bear such costs in sections other than ours.

We shall provide for cleaning the streets in our community at the cost of our firm without any charge to the communal treasury. We shall publish at our own cost and submit for public consideration every contract that would be concluded between the community and our firm. Each and every invoice that will be presented by our firm for deliveries to our community, will be printed at our cost, so that every citizen may control its fairness.

1923 Election results in Zlin

Bata Party...........................................



Czech Socialists................................



Communists .....................................



People's Party..................................



Social Democrats..............................

Small Business & Trade Party........



The building of gaswork in Zlin - Tomas Bata explains to a group of self-managed collaborators the principles of an undertaking which makes possible to sell gas to the households at 80 hellers per cubic metre.


Thank you for your confidence and your friendship. Confidence for confidence, friendship for friendship. You committed me to work for you.

With today's ballot, you gave me an order:

"Go to work! "

I shall go to work.

In no other community, honest work should enjoy higher respect and be better rewarded.

In no other community, loafing should be more detested. Everything for honest workers, nothing for loafers.

Greater Zlin

A speech to factory collaborators after the 1923 elections.

All of us in our factory scored yet another victory: For the first time, the public got acquainted with our solidarity. Many people who visited me before the elections insisted that they know you better than I do and they assured me that you will disappoint me. Yet, they were wrong. All those who believed you would not understand me were wrong.

Your understanding of our collaboration gives me strength and confidence for my further work for you.

But now we should stop talking and start working. Our election platform was modest. Nevertheless, our principal adversary stated that he would gladly vote for us were he sure we will keep our promises, which also had to be modest so as not to raise distrust of our extremely modest population.

Only great people can build greater Zlin. But how to distinguish great people from mediocre ones? A mediocre man thinks only about himself. He works just enough to buy food to fill up his stomach.

An average man thinks about his family. A great man wants that everybody in his community and his country derives benefit from his work. The purpose of developing greater Zlin is the well-being of its inhabitants.

Adequate working possibilities assure adequate food supply for the community; yet poverty is not only equal to hunger. Inadequate clothing and poor housing are also signs of poverty. And we have to admit, that housing here is particularly miserable. Badly equipped houses are the cause of excessively hard physical work of your wives. A constantly tired woman is not only unable to bring up her children with kindness, she is also a poor companion for her husband when he returns home from work. Properly equipped houses should free our women of hard physical work; however, this may be achieved only in cooperation with the community, because an individual can hardly acquire his own electricity or gas plant, water mains, mechanical laundry, etc.

Our employees going abroad to study new production methods should at the same time get acquainted with the latest household appliances and introduce them at home upon their return. Technological production novelties should bring a better standard of living to all people, but particularly to women and children.

This represents our broader election platform, which we did not discuss during the campaign. This program is more difficult to fulfill though than the general election platform. It calls for an entirely different way of thinking of our men and a different arrangement of our households. If we manage to achieve it, we will make our town the pride of the whole country, and visitors to Zlin will admire the high standard of living of our employees, indeed of all inhabitants of our community.

The Municipal Elections of 1927

Bata's opening address:

The program fulfilled:

In our 1923 political platform, we made the following promises:

1.    To obtain for the community a loan at a cheap, four percent interest. It was done.

2.    To install an alternate current network for Zlin and Paseky at our own expense. It was done.

3.    To establish a district road committee in Zlin as soon as possible. It was done.

4.    To finance the construction of roads and sewerage in the new enterprise residential sections. It was done.

5.    To start regular street cleaning at our cost. It was done.

6.    To make every agreement concluded with the community public. It was done.

7.    All the elected candidates of the T. & A Bata Enterprise Party will work without pay. They did.

8.    To make public every delivery bill we presented to the municipality. This was not done, because we delivered everything free of charge.

More Confidence

At the end of the 1923 - 27 four year office period, the elected "Group" rendered to the citizens of Zlin a public account at a meeting on October 9, 1927. Standing in front of the exhibited diagrams, Mayor Tomas Bata made the following speech:

Dear friends, as I am trying once more to win your confidence, I must first explain to you why I am entered on the ballot only in the 20th place.

For the simple reason that in this election, I need even more of your confidence, because I intend to serve you even better than before. Half of the last period of office was wasted by quarrels and abortive municipal council meetings.

The Communist, National Socialist and Traders' Parties joined forces under the command of a communist leader. They refused to participate in the work of the committees. During the election campaign, the communist leader proclaimed in Paseky that he would gladly vote with us were he sure that we will keep all our promises. In spite of this statement, the opposition did later everything to interfere with our work and to prevent us from fulfilling our electoral promises. Due to the fact that you elected eleven opposition candidates, even the deputy mayor was member of the opposition.

A voice from the audience: "We did not vote for them."

Bata: "I believe you. But others elected them due to lack of understanding - you should have persuaded them that they were harming themselves as well as you."

The increase of the number of inhabitants in Zlin during Bata's office in 1923-1931

The deputy mayor, member of the opposition, frustrated our work as much as he could. How we had to fight even for the very best cause may be found in the minutes of a meeting obstructed by the opposition parties (Communist, National Socialist and Traders' Parties). They did it in order to prevent the municipality to issue a power of attorney to a legal counsel. It concerned the cancellation of a lease of the Town Hall inn, enabling Mayor Bata to replace the inn by a reading room. According to the minutes, the mayor stated:

"At the last elections, an overwhelming majority of our citizens manifested their displeasure over the growing habit in the community of visiting the inn to the detriment of clean family life.

It became the principal election slogan and thanks to our enlightened electorate our party obtained 17 votes instead of mere 14. This prevented having an inn in every second house and misery in every house.

In spite of stubborn resistance of the opposition, the community won in all instances its lawsuit with the tenant.

Sober heads at the Town Hall consider it a great advantage for the citizens.

It is impossible to accomplish good work if half of the time must be spent in defense against opponents frustrating that work.

Only by electing 20 of my friends, will you enable me to choose a first deputy actively helping to fulfill our election platform and not a man who would sabotage our efforts as it happened in the previous administration.

The entire work of the municipal council - and particularly of our group - was geared to the improvement of family life, life of women and children in this community." (Thunderous applause).

Bata's election meetings were never flooded with empty rhetoric. He considered municipal elections as an important opportunity for the citizens to get together, listen to proposals of social improvements, meet the candidates and judge if they really are capable to fulfill such promises.

I would like to acquaint you with some of the speeches Bata made during the 1927 election campaign. However, much more eloquent than his words were his subsequent deeds.

Cooperation Between Industry and Agriculture

Many of the election meetings held in the very large meeting halls of the Bata Department Store in Zlin (one hall could accommodate as much as 4 000 people) showed how much our population wished for better life and cooperation.

These were extraordinary meetings. The participants could not learn much about the political situation in China, yet they were informed about ideas and proposals on organizing in Zlin and vicinity actions leading to improved living conditions of all social classes of the population, as well as to better and easier production.

It was interesting how many women and small farmers from neighboring communities participated at these meetings. This might have been the reason why the questions raised there were such as are usually overlooked by most speakers, all knowledgeable people.

One of the meetings, with the theme of: "How should the community be administered, in order to provide to its citizens better values for their earnings?", revealed that women have completely different ideas on municipal policy than men. A simple woman complained, for instance, that rotten eggs or too expensive butter appear sometimes on the market. How could it be prevented? What should be done about it? Better control, fines, even police surveillance were proposed. There were other proposals to further reduce market stand charges, so that a larger number of farmers from remote villages could come and sell their products on the market. This would increase the quantity of goods offered and consequently the competition - which always means honest prices, better selection and therefore a good quality of merchandise.

The discussion became more animated. Men, women, farmers, workers, Bata, businessmen, craftsmen - all had their say. The result: Zlin decided to introduce duty free commerce, i.e. without charges for market stands. An economy problem prevalent today in the entire world was solved to the benefit of all.

Our Needs and Agriculture

Fanners! Strive for a lot of money and little labor.

Of course, humankind was not created to live without work.

Yet people can live without drudgery. This can be easier achieved in industry than in agriculture. But even the development in farming points in the direction of letting people work without backbreaking toil.

What does an industrial worker, like those in Zlin, like to eat?

1.    Meat.

2.    Dairy products.

3.    Fruit.

4.    Vegetables.

Desserts only when not too heavy on flour.

Such nourishment promotes the development of the brain which is more useful to a person engaged in industrial activities than his muscles. Fortunately, the production of meat and dairy products does not tax the farmer's forces excessively, provided he can organize his farm so as to make the cattle feed itself. Cattle can feed alone for the most part of the year; they can even fertilize the pasture. Under such circumstances, the farmer has just to collect the finished product - milk. And even the milking process is mechanized.

Fruit, too, can be obtained effortlessly. It requires incomparably more brains and knowledge than brawn. Of course, fruit trees must be of another variety than our trees. Their fruit must be readily accessible.

Divide the production. Offer people what they like and what they are ready to pay for.

Don't fear a lack of outlets. Our needs will grow. It is our resolution to build up our dairy so as to provide not only good milk at the right time to all employees and citizens of Zlin; it should enable us all to drink coffee with cream rather than milk. And that requires a lot of milk.

We wish that all of us enjoy fruit and eggs for breakfast and that each slice of bread for our children be thickly spread with butter or preserves.

The New Agricultural Production


Thirty years ago, there were no outlets for agricultural products in our region, because every citizen, be he a farmer or artisan, supplied himself with such products of the land.

However, the industrialization of crafts brought about a radical change.

Industry exports its products all over the world and earns in the process much money for the region; it attracts great number of people who cannot produce any farm merchandise themselves, but are bound to purchase it.

Such people spend much money on more agricultural produce than our district is capable of supplying.

It makes therefore sense to select for our region a profitable high-yield production that is much in demand and cannot be easily imported because of the damage caused to the quality of goods transported from afar, such as milk, meat, vegetables and fruit.

Some farmers may wonder what would happen if the industry suffered a setback. Of course, the time may come when industrial activities would slacken. But all over the world industrial production is being concentrated, cities expanded and the evolution in our region is just a symptom of a new era and of a new development in the life of all mankind.

In the future, life should be much better than it is now, of course, only for those who view the future with confidence.

Try, therefore, to organize your agricultural production to correspond with modem requirements and with demands of the continuously developing population of our region.

Tomas Bata.

New Thinking

The rise of the shoe industry has taken our region by surprise. The majority of people do not adjust easily to new conditions, convinced as they are that agriculture alone can provide a safe livelihood. Consequently, they invest every penny saved in real estate and in the improvement of their farmsteads in order to assure a secure old age.

However, they do not understand that they are thus not only destroying themselves, but also the very industry that saved them from misery and is alone able to provide decent living in the future.

Concern over the possible slackening of the industry would be justified only if our people gave it but one half of their capabilities instead of devoting to it their entire soul.

Industry requires from people reasoning different from that of farmers; if industry in our region were to strike deeper roots, then our people would first have to fundamentally modify their approach; they must not spend the money earned from industry on the purchase of land and agricultural implements, but on acquiring knowledge applicable to their work. They have to adopt a way of life corresponding to the employment in order to be fit for that kind of mental effort that is required by industry.

They have to comprehend that men engaged in industrial activities need expert knowledge and skilled craftsmanship in the same way the farmers need their land.

Should however our people choose to apply their savings toward acquiring new land holdings in our region, such savings would benefit no one. Indeed, the price of land, already excessive, would climb even higher.

Our New Work Program


At the previous elections I solicited your confidence and the right to work on your behalf. The right to save our community from economic bankruptcy.

In this election period, I am asking for your confidence with the aim of constructing with you a town that would be the pride of our Republic.

Our extended and improved production, advancing as it is from victory to victory all over the world, will provide us with enough means to build all that is needed for a strong, happy and productive life.

We shall hard-surface our roads, just as we are doing in our enterprise, in order to get rid of the last remnants of mud and dust. Less used roads will be improved up to the standard of streets in our plant sections.

Pedestrians and vehicular communications will become more effective so as to enable life to spread evenly all over town and to allow for businesses to be operated in all its sections.

A water supply system will be extended to the entire community.

We shall build model schools for all citizens and provide both public and private ones with exemplary administration and dedicated, well remunerated teachers.

Playgrounds and day care centers will be established in all suitable locations of the town of Zlin.

To facilitate the life of our women, we shall build a gas plant distributing to our houses gas for cooking and heating.

We shall provide distribution tunnels, such as we already have installed in the factory and are building on Main Street, for the supply of gas, water, electricity, later also steam, etc.

We shall see to it that all charges that increase the cost of items of daily use be abolished, with the exception of alcohol taxes.


At municipal elections, let us concentrate on program and work. Already before the last elections, we prepared a working program for the next four years.

A program is a commitment. It is a signed draft.

Let's set up a program for the improvement of our life this year as well.

Let's all think about it.

Write your wishes on this sheet of paper and deliver it to us. Not all wishes could perhaps be fulfilled, but unknown ones cannot be even taken into account.

Over the past four years, the municipal council did implement wishes that many held to be unrealistic.

A great number of replies of citizens from all walks of life taught us where our communal work was good and where it needed improvement.

Such replies, as well as the appeal by Mayor Bata urging all citizens to contribute their thoughts to the building up of the town, prove that democracy can be also conceived as universal cooperation and as the need to listen to everybody's wishes. Out of many hundreds of responses, I should like to make public the following:

I note with satisfaction the amelioration of streets not only in our section, but in all parts of Zlin. There stands out especially the improvement of cleanness by setting up waste baskets and the planting of all free spaces with grass and trees. We have but one wish, namely that the new council include in its program the construction of water mains with drinking water which we do still lack in our part of town. We are confidently looking forward to the performance of the group of employees of T.; & A. Bata Company.

Gusta Tlustakova, teacher.

As the outgoing municipal council has rid us of mud and improved the streets in the Domov section, we do therefore expect with confidence the next elections and hope firmly that the new council would attend without delay to the construction of water mains with good drinking water, a basic necessity for our families of which we have so far been utterly deprived. With best wishes of success to the candidate list no.1.

Bohumil Fimbinger and family, Smetana St. 68.

Mr. Tomas Bata, industrialist.

Esteemed Mayor and Chairman of the Municipal School Board:

We, the undersigned male and female teachers of the Zlin schools are aware of your vital interest in education in general and in the Zlin school system in particular. Acknowledging you not only as the most progressive entrepreneur, but also as a great supporter of schools, students and teachers alike, we welcome with appreciation your decision to run again with your collaborators for municipal functions. We promise you to cooperate with you tirelessly on equipping your native town with most modem schools.

26 signatures.

The Growth of Business and Crafts in Zlin

It would be most difficult to find in our Republic another town with a similar proliferation and enrichment of small business, trade and crafts as happened in Zlin. This was best evidenced by a steady flow of new tradesmen to Zlin and the economic advancement of those who have just a few years ago either worked alone or with one or two apprentices. Today, thanks to their own endeavour but also because of their ability to apply that good example of a successful business which was provided by Bata, they have become entrepreneurs planning to build factories; some do indeed already practice their craft on an industrial level.

It has not always been like that. As late as the last communal elections of 1927, it was necessary to solve a number of basic problems on the settlement of which depended the progress of crafts and trade. It was of the essence to make the tradesman, artisan and businessman understand that the prosperity of his business as well as his own welfare depended on the development of that industry which enables people to earn wages; by the same token, it is the duty of the tradesman to serve his customer well, to improve constantly such service, to learn from those who serve well rather than to be tempted to hate them. The artisans of Zlin achieved that transformation of their trades and views. Their economic growth provides the proof and reward.

The following speech at a meeting in 1927 reflects the principles applied by the craftsmen of Zlin in that respect.

The Trade Question

I am a tradesman, as were all my ancestors from times immemorial and as are you all.

Nobody can deny me the right to participate in the solution of the trade question only because I have proven to be a competent tradesman and succeeded in turning a small business into a big one.

In my judgement, the trade question should be solved by making big businessmen out of all small ones. The achievement of such a solution is mainly hampered by views spread by the Small Traders Party. That party made pettiness and weakness sound like virtue and strength; it made greatness tantamount to crime. Thus conceived, trade education turns strong individuals into weaklings and weaklings into cripples.

Tradesmen in our community perceived that unfortunate influence and were able to extricate themselves from it. They understood that it was advantageous for them to use strong and big tradesmen, such as industrialists, as ladders for lifting up their own trades, rather than to try to break them up and to divide them, as suggested by the leader of the Small Traders Party, Minister Najman.

The consequences of such an attitude of our tradesmen did not fail to materialize. Over the past four years, the number of tradesmen in Zlin grew in proportion to the expansion of the enterprise and the situation of our trades has improved accordingly.

Not a single mayor drove his own automobile or used a rented car to the meeting of Mayors of the entire district of Uherske Hradiste; yet there were many tradesmen among the mayors. Conversely, since the last elections, many tradesmen do now have their own automobiles or at least use rented ones.

Woe to the tradesman who harbors ill-will toward those who got ahead of him. Such hate will poison even his children for their entire lives.

I owe my success in the first place to my father. He was not a successful artisan. Yet he held out for our emulation those who were. I remember one episode. At a meeting of shoemakers at the Hradiste County Fair, my father pointed prophetically to the smokestack of the May plant - then the only one in the region -, saying that one day his sons would also have such a smokestack. It was a very bad fair and many a cobbler did not have enough money to get warmed up at the local inn. They thought my father's words were pure blasphemy and did not talk to him at many subsequent fairs. For us, his sons, it was however a shining goal which we did pursue.

Emphasize to your children the goals they should achieve. Do not becloud their perspective of life by hatred and spite against successful entrepreneurs.

It is logical that many tradesmen whose crafts flourish in our town are members of the Small Traders Party, even if they have long ago abandoned its principles and are also well aware that that party is set to hinder our work.

These few people cannot understand why all of us, be it management, the employees, or other tradesmen in the town and district, have to view them as enemies of our work, as people determined to destroy our, and thus even their own, existence, and who do so for just one reason which we cannot fathom and which even none of them could explain.

The Zlin of Old

Some citizens begrudge the present administration of our community for not allowing them to build just as they would wish to.

These citizens acknowledge that in a community with teeming crowds of citizens, one cannot preserve the same narrow winding streets that served while life in the community was strictly rural and its population static.

Although they acknowledge that the new crowds made the value of their property soar manifold, they feel they simply cannot do without those few feet for which the municipality is ready to pay very well indeed; they believe that they could not expand their trading space without them. We will still encounter many such pains in the future. Our community was built by people who ignored the fact of life.

In the old parts of Zlin most of the housing features entrance halls common to all residents and populated by feuding neighbors mad at the whole world.

Our ancestors did not realize that a common entrance hall spells a common lifelong hell and that such housing is the best breeding ground for misery, as controversy and want go together.

We want to create in our community a free individual who would smile at the world, and particularly at his neighbors. In other words a human being that would enjoy life to the fullest.

The basic prerequisite of true human freedom is a bed. The feeling of being oppressed comes from sharing a bed with other sleepers.

The true freedom of a family depends on a home shielded from neighbors and located in green space, air and sunshine - exactly the way we are planning and building the residential sections of our enterprise.

Connected rowhouses and huge apartment buildings serve to spread sickness and vermin.

The inner section of town could not, of course, be built in a park style. But we shall endeavour to make houses accessible from all streets by broad sidewalks and to reserve the old streets for shopping areas, such as can be seen on Long Street (Dlouha Ulice) and elsewhere.

How to supply such numerous stores with merchandise will depend on the further development of our community.

1927 Zlin election results

Bata Candidates................



Czech Socialists.................






People's Party....................



Social Democrats..............



Small Traders....................




Thank you for your good work.

You have committed me to working for you.

Confidence for confidence, faithfulness for faithfulness.

I call on all of you to cooperate on the building of a great and glorious Zlin.

May it be everybody's great honor to call himself a Zlin citizen.

Honor and prosperity to all.

Three cheers to our Republic and its President.

During the last election campaign of 1931, Tomas Bata delivered but very concise public speeches. Instead of engaging in oratory, he frequented public meetings carrying a big book with empty pages and asking people to tell him what they consider as necessary for good life in the community. He immediately registered all such wishes and ultimately created from them a detailed program of communal work for the next few years. As in all his other pursuits, he was seeking the most effective technique of democratic management in politics as well

Why a Greater Zlin?

You may ask me: "And what is that Greater Zlin going to bring to us, old Zlin residents?"

That was exactly what was on the mind of one of our workers after we had triumphed in the 1923 elections and the enterprise started to hum happily. "What good is it to us, old employees," he said "when new people come streaming here from all over the world?" At that time he probably thought how nice it would be if we, the oldtimers, divided the earned money cozily among ourselves and slammed the door in the face of the hungry ones outside.

Zaludek, the worker, is a clever and straight man. It took him no time to understand that the two thousand employees we had at that time have a tougher life than twenty thousand would.

Two thousand people cannot by themselves construct such perfect electric power plant as to enable to cut the price of current to 1 Kc. They could not build gas works of a capacity allowing their wives to cook breakfast effortlessly for 8 pennies instead of 45 pennies when using coal. They could not transport bananas directly from the sea port and retail them at 7 Kc per kilogram instead of 16 Kc. They could not afford to pay for the dam, the hospital and thousands of other things that facilitate life and make it more enjoyable. Such amenities can be afforded only by large units, provided, of course, that they not be managed by small-minded people.

After his experience with communal administration, Tomas Bata felt that every autonomous board should be held by law to present to the citizens at the end of its tenure comprehensive public accounts of its administration. He viewed such a measure as a means of turning even political campaigning into a productive and socially useful activity. People should dispute and attack each other on the basis of figures - that would forestall the reckless emptiness of electioneering. It would also force the competing groups to present for the next period their own election programs, enabling thus the citizens to compare at its term to what extent had each lived up to their promises. Proceeding from that principle, Tomas Bata ran for town administration for the third time and presented to the public a specific accounting of his administration over the past four years as well as a program for the next four years. The result, 41 seats out of 42, confirmed that people are amenable to factual arguments.

My Goal

At the past elections, you have given me and my friends the confidence that enabled us to build, together with you, solid foundations for the town of Greater Zlin where it should be an honor and pleasure to reside.

During the next four years, we shall strive to reach our set goal, of a Greater Zlin with 50 000 happy and healthy inhabitants.

It would not be difficult to build a town of 50 000 residents, all crammed in barrack-like apartment houses, without any consideration given to the quality of life of wives and children and to the earning capacity of men.

But our objective is a garden town, replete with sunshine, water, refreshing greenery and clean in appearance, a town with highest wages, flourishing trades and crafts, a town with the best schools. It is our ambition to liberate our women from the last vestiges of domestic drudgery and to help them to make homes they could be proud of.

That is why we are founding our present program on a broad basis. That is why we need your confidence in order to develop and terminate this undertaking with your help.

No one will recognize the Zlin of poverty and humiliation if we persist in keeping faith with ourselves, our work and our town. Products of our labor will continue their victorious march across the world, for even the darkest economic recession and attacks by enemies cannot stop people moved by a strong and united will and determined to build a better life for all.

President of Czechoslovak Republic Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, on a visit to Zlin, welcomed by Tomas Bata. President of Moravia and Silesia Jan Cerny in the middle.

How I Look at Our Municipal Government

(After the 1931 elections)

Thank you, gentlemen, as well as to all the Zlin citizens for the honor of having been elected mayor. To be a member of the municipal council of this community is a great privilege indeed.

The unity of the will of the citizens expressed in our election, is a unique phenomenon in the orbit of democracy.

We are certainly the only municipal council in the world that was elected by universal and secret ballot without a single member of the opposition, for I would not be ready to consider our good friend and chairman of today's meeting, Father Ulehla, as an element of opposition.

Such a unity of will, such a total concordance of the citizenry facilitate the administration of the community so as to oblige those in charge of municipal affairs to achieve great things.

Such an unconditional confidence as we have received from the entire population is, of course, not only a token of honor which we should cherish and boast about. Let us view the confidence bestowed upon us as a commitment to our residents to apply all our forces toward the welfare of our community and the welfare of our public.

By expressing the wish that we govern without opposition, our citizens surely did not want us to govern without justice.

We have to be therefore fully aware of the right to justice of those few citizens in our town whose confidence we were still not able to gain and who are not represented on this body; I ask you urgently to hear every voice calling for justice, to be, each of you, not less carefully attuned to such voices than if they were raised by delegates in this council.

The exemplary harmony of all our residents does still suffer of some problems arising from the necessity to cede plots of land for public purposes. The fast growth of our town brings great benefits to one and all. But it also calls for the sacrifice of surrendering parts of one's property to the public domain in order to enable and secure the further growth of the town.

Each citizen will gladly accept the advantages inherent in such growth, but not everyone is aware of the resulting duties. It behooves us, the elected representatives, to serve as models to our citizens in making such sacrifices in the public interest and to reduce disputes and bitterness by good advice.

Our community has already acquired global reputation. The best citizens from all parts of the world converge on us. Our community and our whole region must be reconstructed, reshaped, and improved so that our industry may keep its position.

In order to achieve that, we need more authority, independence and jurisdiction to improve the life of our community and of our region.

This right, though already promised by the highest authorities, is still being withheld from us.

I venture to hope that the concord and unanimity of our town will convince even our government that our community is competent enough to assume the administration of our region in the best interest of the town, the region, the land and of the entire country.

Typical advertisement from the municipal elections in Zlin in 1931

The Statesman

The reader of the ensuing speeches made by Tomas Bata at the time of his participation in the administration of the Land Moravia-Silesia, cannot help but feel a deep emotion. They present a man of great statesmanship qualities, honestly and persistently searching for ways and means for himself and all others to become perfect citizens recognizing their own and their country's needs and striving for its glory and affluence. These speeches resemble those of Abraham Lincoln by their simplicity, sincerity and practical idealism, words that from times immemorial were arousing human hearts for political goals aiming at greatness of communities and unity of citizens. In spite of their brevity and incompleteness, they represent a program which - when realized with equal love, tenacity and energy Bata used when presiding over the affairs of his community - would have made from Moravia and Silesia the most perfect land of the Republic.

Tomas Bata viewed his duties in the Land Assembly very seriously and sacrificed many an evening or Sunday to study and discuss the economic conditions of the Land and the balancing of its budget; for us, his collaborators, it was a practical school of public administration and national economy. It may be said that essentially Bata endeavoured to ensure the practice of the following in the land and state administration:

1.    Accurate, simple and timely accounting personified by responsible people whose signatures would vouch for even its most insignificant item.

2.    Abolition of rationing economy and creation of a fixed income base from stipulated sources, dependent on prosperity of the land or state, in other words on personal qualities and hard work of statesmen, politicians and administrators who prepare and enable such a prosperity instead of undermining it.

3.    Structuring and settlement of Land debts by a direct contact with the population. He passionately attempted that there be no intermediary between the Land or the state and the population in financial affairs. According to his opinion, more than just money was at stake. Together with money, the citizen should pay interest to his country and its fate, he should give it his practical love and his confidence. The citizen should feel that his country's fate is his own fate and that his own property is linked to the property of the country and the way it is administered. This should awaken and nourish his thankfulness and respect to those who govern the country and such feelings should ensure that they obtain the authority necessary to proper fulfillment of their tasks. He seriously believed that such a revolution in the hearts of the population should best be started already with children in schools and he hoped it would eventually arouse strong civic forces which would not only provide adequate public means but would control and guarantee their proper use as well.

4.  Solid investment economy assuring proper exploitation of the natural resources of the Land.

5.  Better economic performance of public enterprises by increasing personal responsibility of their managers and the income of the employees (based on economic results of these enterprises). The following speeches elaborate on these goals:

Public Accounting

Report on the 1928 yearly balance sheet of the Zlin municipality, published in the press and distributed to all inhabitants:


I present to you the report on the municipal yearly balance sheet for 1928. For the first time, it was prepared in a way that not only accounting specialists but also regular citizens could grasp it.

According to legal regulations, the accounting of our community must be prepared by the so-called cameralist system, allowing the study and judging of municipal budgets only to accounting specialists of the Land control offices who audit communal economies; yet, good accounting should be in the first place clear and understandable to everybody.

I arranged therefore that although the yearly balance sheet of our community was prepared according to the cameralist system as required by the relevant authorities, the final figures be classified under "Debit" and "Credit" according to the method of dual or business accounting.

I should have presented to you the yearly balance sheet immediately after New Year when it was finished. However, I realized the importance of an intelligible form of communal accounting only when I was compelled to understand the yearly balance sheet of the Land for which I had to share subsequently responsibility before the public.

The 1928 land balance sheet was prepared according to the old-fashioned cameralistic principle. None of the members of the Land Assembly or the Land Financial Commission could understand it, while each one of us should understand it.

I am far from saying that the Land yearly balance is wrong. Yet, I must admit that due to the complicated way it was prepared, I miss the proof of its correctness. I have to believe what I should know.

I consider it irregular if somebody accepts money from me for his work without counting it. I want everybody to know, not only to assume that I am right. We all are responsible in the same way to our community, our land and our public economy. We have the duty to understand and control public budgets and to be able to prove them right. We owe it to ourselves and to those who managed the public economy for us during the entire year. To do that, we need, of course, clear accounting, quoting every budgetary movement at any time and in any way.

The difference between such accounting and cameralist accounting is best described by an anecdote told to me by my neighbor at the Land Financial Commission, when we were complaining to each other about the impossibility to audit the final balance accounting.

The anecdote goes as follows:

There was once a mayor who went to the district town to transact some community affairs. While on his way, he was surprised by a storm and lost his hat. When accounting for his trip, the mayor included the price of his hat in his expenses.

When auditing his accounts, the municipal council accepted his per diem expenses but excluded the price of the hat from them. The mayor got mad, took his expense accounting back and re-submitted it later, prepared according to the cameralist accounting system. All members of the council tried to find the price of the hat. The final sum remained the same, but where was the hat? When they asked the mayor, he replied: "It is there, just try hard to find it."

I am certainly not of the opinion that in our Land accounting there are any hats like that; yet I am convinced that it includes hats originating in incorrect viewpoints of economic problems. Unfortunately, they cannot be located in an accounting balance prepared according to the cameralist method.

It is imperative that we improve the present cameralist public accounting system by all the advantages of the dual accounting system. Only that will allow us to keep a constant survey of public property, to inquire at any time about the state of public economy and to use calculators for accounting. In this way, just a glance at the balance of profits and losses shows us immediately any increase or decrease in public property; this is impossible in the cameralist system.

If you inquire about the reason of the complicated way of accounting for this or that, you always receive the answer: It is done in order to prevent high taxes, or, in other words, when auditing the accounts, even the Internal Revenue cannot make them out. Another time you hear that if a Land or a community owned enterprise had simple and clear accounts, the consumers would immediately start claiming price reduction of the goods.

But all such excuses are lame and they contain the seed of negligible or non-existent success. It is not an accident that entrepreneurs who practice similar accounting either vegetate or go bankrupt.

When an entrepreneur keeps his accounting so complicated that even the Internal Revenue cannot make it out, it can be taken for granted that in the end he and his employees will not understand it either and their management will be groping in the dark.

People are basically right when they maintain that such a bright light is more expensive, the taxes will therefore be higher, making employees dissatisfied and demand higher wages. But the most expensive of all is the darkness emanating from bad accounting - it brings misery to everybody, not only to the owner and his employees, but to the Internal Revenue as well.

In many respects, public economy acts as a teacher of the private one. This pertains particularly to its budgets, elaborated on time.

However, should public economy serve as an example in the accounting technique as well, what moral and material advantages would it bring to the entire country!

Even the best economists in the municipal administration cannot improve the economy of the community, the district or the Land, as long as they are not perfectly acquainted with the overall state of that economy. It will therefore be a great honor and most useful for us if the example of our municipal accounting and its publication contributes to the improvement of our community as well as to the entire administration of our Land.

The Land Budget and Investments

Tomas Bata's 1929 address to the Land Assembly, at the occasion of his Kc 1.000 000 donation for the extension of the telephone network in Moravia.

The budget of our land is extremely poor, just as poor as its population. All speakers agree on the catastrophic state of our Land.

What I consider particularly catastrophic is the moral attitude of the state toward the Land and of the Land toward the communities.

Instead of caring for and supervising the Land economy as a kind father, the state treats the Lands almost as an enemy.

However, the land treats the communities in the same way. In the budget, you can find taxes that bring a smaller revenue than it costs to collect them - yet these taxes could easily be collected by the municipalities almost without any cost whatsoever.

This applies particularly to the music and fishing taxes, etc.

The collection of the capital gains tax was finally transferred to the municipalities. Yet, the Land Revenue Office still asks from them a 15 percent incurred overhead charge, although the municipalities could collect it almost without cost and immediately, while it takes the Revenue Office sometimes as much as 3 years!

Let us therefore start with ourselves. Also in this respect, we should serve as a model. In the next budget, we should leave to the municipalities at least those taxes that are of little or no use to the Land.

Let's make at least some communities self-sustaining, let's liberate them from receiving compensation fund alms degrading them just as much as we are degraded by the alms from the state.

I find as most objectionable the fact that the budget is anonymous and not backed by personalities.

Although the budget is signed by the director and his assistant Mr. Drobny, various sections of it relevant mainly to Land Institutes and Enterprises, do not carry the signatures of the men entrusted with their management.

Without any doubt, there are among them men who should be publicly commended for their exceptional achievements and who deserve material rewards not included in the budget. Such rewards would make people more interested, competitive and responsible.

The only way how to improve public finances is to increase the earning capacity of the population.

It is discouraging to see that a Dutch or a Danish farmer earns incomparably more than our farmer and that at the same time his principal products, milk and butter, are cheaper than here.

In modern times, the base of every production are telephones, electrification, sewerage, roads and transportation in general; unfortunately, an individual cannot acquire these basic means of production. They are in our hands and in the hands of the government administration. Due to our great poverty, we must first provide for those assets that will contribute the most to increasing productivity at the lowest possible cost.

Telephone is certainly the most essential among the above-mentioned assets. In this respect, our lands resemble a desert. In our country, there is only one telephone for 140 inhabitants, while in other countries there is one telephone for 7-10 people.

A telephone would turn even an illiterate savage into a businessman, it would increase his own affluence as well as that of his surroundings.

In an African oasis, I found a man sitting on the ground with a telephone in his lap.

His hut consisted of four poles and a mat spread between them. His occupation was selling water and buying small skins. He explained to us how he got the telephone. An employee of a private telephone company laid the necessary wires, put the telephone in his hand and showed him how to use it. Leaving, he told him:

"I'll come back in six months and you will either get your money back or keep the phone."

Hearing this, the native grabbed the phone and said he would never surrender that talking box.

Understandably so. The wire connected him with the post office, the railroad station and the skin dealer and because he could not write it enabled him to do his business orally.

In our life today, we depend on one another. The organization of our work does not depend solely on us. Therefore, we have to be in steady contact with others; that is why the talking boxes - the telephones - were invented.

Our budget earmarks important sums to agricultural schools. Yet agricultural schools without a telephone are practically useless.

Agricultural schools are attended by young men with other things than agrarian problems on their minds, which is quite normal with youth. Only a farmer thinks about agricultural problems, but he has no time to attend school.

Here as well a telephone must help. When a farmer cannot solve a problem, he gets in touch with the agricultural school. The teacher tells him: "Your neighbor had the same trouble last year. I gave him an advice and he told me that it helped - call him up."

A telephone makes it possible that the right word is said at the right time in the right place.

Telephone is essential to every one of our communities. The smaller the village, the more it depends on the help of another one. The same goes for priests, physicians, veterinarians, firemen, etc.

For the installation of telephones to the population, the Land would not need to sacrifice a penny, because telephones pay for themselves. All that is necessary is that the Land Council set up a commission which would help the state monopoly to install telephones in regions where the population did not yet do it, either due to great poverty or insufficient information.

The commission will elaborate with the government postal services the budget for the installation of telephones in each community. It will divide the costs for the telephone lines among individual communities and will procure the necessary credit to those communities that cannot afford to pay the installation bills out of their current income.

Our company owes its development largely to telephones. As an expression of gratitude to that great invention, we decided to donate to the commission 3000 telephones or one million Kc for the installation of telephones to the poorest communities and schools.

I am ending my speech with the request that the Assembly submit to a vote my proposal on the creation of a telephone commission by the Land Council and that the Assembly approve our financial contribution to that commission.

Project of the Organization of Land Finances

This speech was published in 1929 with relevant figures as reference.

The passive attitude of the economy of our land is a question of morale as well as will.

There is no doubt that all of us wish to do away with the economic decline of our Land, but nobody made sufficient efforts that is necessary to attain the goal.

The excuses that the present bad state of our Land economy is the result of the "charity receiving" relationship we have with the state, are and shall remain only excuses.

The fault is ours. Did we not turn our communities into charity cases as well? Exactly in the same way the state made us a charity case.

Even communities until recently proud of the good state of their economy are now exchanging their pride for an expectation that by declaring bankruptcy they will receive donations from the Land Compensation Fund.

Law no. 77 is not the only one to blame for such attitude of our communities. So far, we interpreted that law in the worst way. The law does not forbid the Compensation Fund to take over permanently the fulfillment of tasks financially weak communities are unable to pay. Such step would return to the communities a feeling of self-sufficiency. By making public the permanent allocations of the Fund's income, we would free all communities from the expectation that the worse they would administer, the more they would get from the Compensation Fund.

We have to work assiduously to achieve that the Compensation Fund be used just where great courage is necessary in the face of permanently rejected petitioners who never received anything.

But the same courage and work we need to liberate our communities from begging, we should apply also upward, namely to teach the Land not to beg from the state.

None of us really believes that the state wishes us to be poor and humiliated. The unfortunate attitude of the state toward us was caused by the same reasons which motivated our attitude toward the communities.

Let us prove that in the Land Assembly as well as in the Land bureaucracy there are enough courageous men capable to elaborate an economic plan leading to self-sufficiency of the Land.

Subsequently, I would like to present the project of the next budget, elaborated according to principles allowing the Land to simplify its administration and to gain a stable financial base. The thus elaborated budget should decrease the expenses by 87.000 000 Kc, which represents the amount the Land contributes to its schools.

The reimbursement will be lower by 124 million Kc, representing subventions from the state and income from municipal taxes. The budget deficit will thus increase by 37 million Kc, from the present 23 million to 60 million Kc. We have to add to it claims of the communities and districts from the compensation fund amounting to approximately 40 million Kc in 1928. The entire deficit will therefore amount to 100 million Kc.

It should be covered by a part of taxes and levies, collected in the Land by the state, not subject to additional land charges, i.e. sales tax, income tax, alcohol, drinks and food tax. According to approximate calculations, these taxes represent around 1.2 billion Kc for the Land. To cover the budget, it would therefore suffice that the state returns to the Land 9 -10 percent of these taxes.

This outline would not influence the assets or liabilities of the state budget. On the contrary, both parties would profit from it considerably. It is obviously wrong when the Land assumes the upkeep of military barracks housing the army, which is part of the state. When the Land contributes to the salaries of teachers and maintenance of schools although the state completely took over their administration and executive; conversely, the Land gets from the state much larger sums in form of handouts.

It is only just that the Land receive a share of revenues from the source it helps to create. The Land expenditures should be geared to the improvement of all economic sectors and all taxes should be based on economic activities of the citizens.

All investments of the Land in electrification, ameliorations, special schools, as well as control of municipal economies should have only one objective, namely to ameliorate the earning capacity of the citizens, to increase production, to improve trades, businesses, industry and agriculture; these are sources of sales and income taxes benefiting the state treasury. Yet under the present terms, the Land does not receive any fixed share of these revenues.

The expenses on social and health services follow the same objectives, because a healthy population is fundamental for economic prosperity and thus also for paying taxes. Everything the Land spends must be considered as very useful investments aimed at better income of the population resulting in increased tax payments. It would be entirely wrong - for the state as well as for the Land - if the harvest grown from this seed were taken away from those who contributed to it.

The handouts the state allocates from this revenue to the land may defer the material decline of the Land, yet they precipitate the moral decline because they deprive the population of courage and initiative.

I propose therefore that the Land Assembly authorize the Land Council to undertake negotiations with the state concerning a regulation of Land finances.

In order to speedily achieve a healthy and functional relationship between the Land economic administration on one hand and the communities and state on the other, we need enthusiastic Land employees. But we could not generate enthusiasm and work without which nothing on this earth is likely to succeed if we failed to convince our employees that we are out to build their economic independence and success not less than the economic independence of the Land. They all must realize that we care for them in the same way we would like them to care for the Land economy. Our task is to find means for remunerating the results of the officer's management in proportion to the influence and effort expended on their achievement.

My Donation for the Acquisition of Telephones

The first objective of that initiative was to provide for the installation of telephones in communities that were still deprived of them.

This goal has so far been approached to the extent that it was established through the good offices of the Directorate of Posts and Telegraphs that in Moravia there were still 2 000 communities without a telephone connection; out of that number, 160 do have a post office and 240 a postal annex. The Post Directorate is now kindly engaged in organizing applications of communities to join the telephone network; it provided us with budgets for a part of such communities and promised to supply more in the course of January.

Such requests will be dealt with by the Land Assembly Transport Commission. I wish to be notified to which communities the Commission granted subsidies from the amount donated by our company and they will be remitted without delay.

I propose that the Land Assembly guarantee the sound business operations of telephones that would be newly established in the communities, should such a move be demanded by the Directorate of Posts and Telegraphs as a prerequisite of the installation of telephones.

The following short address, which marks Tomas Bata's first opposition to opinions held by the Land Administration, does also contain the most articulate expression of his views on the management of public affairs and on civic duties.

Why Do I Oppose a Land Loan Issue for 250 Million Kc

At the session of the Land Assembly on December 18, 1929, I proposed that the authorization of this loan be rejected. Every negotiation of public finances and bond issues is serious business the outcome of which commits the entire population. I deem it therefore my duty to make my objections to this loan public.

All speakers who recommended its acceptance agreed that it should serve to cover an indebtedness that was not incurred by the Land, but rather created by the state's downgrading of the Land revenues and upgrading of its liabilities. They insisted that all through the five years it was impossible to reach an agreement with the government and the state on absorbing the debts thus imposed on the Land; it was also said that contracting the loan should have the character of a demonstration.

I stated that I did not intend to demonstrate against the state and that a bond issue was not a suitable ground for demonstrating.

I have full confidence in our government and I trust that it is possible to come to terms with it on a reasonable regulation of Land finances. I do not agree that the individual members of the Land administration could not agree with their opposite numbers in the national government, and that all together, as Moravians, could not settle with the Minister of Finance. After all, there is no one else who could speak for the national government and for the administration of the Land Moravia-Silesia. An agreement reached by these men on the needs of the population could at any time become law.

Like all moravians, I am convinced that it is only a question of will, of a manly attitude and of perseverance on the side of both the government of the Republic and of the Land administration, to reach a consensus on vital needs as well as on finding ways to facilitate the development of the Land Moravia-Silesia. I can visualize an accord by virtue of which the state would assume a certain share of the 200 million of unfunded debts. Furthermore, the Land Council would fix with the government the percentage rate that would accrue to the Land from state taxes collected on its territory and not subject to Land assessments. From these two facts could be established the exact amount of the shortfall of land finances. We would emit a bond issue to cover the remaining liabilities as soon as we would know the figures resulting from the accord; for only thus could we determine the sources from which the Land could pay the interest and the instalments on such a loan. Without solid sources of revenue, there is no foundation for emitting a loan.

Once the economic prosperity of the land would be secured, it would be a child's play to place the loan with the public, even at low interest, without a bankers' commission and at a full redemption rate. Such a loan would be welcomed by our population as the best opportunity to prove one's creative patriotism. Founded on strictest moral principles, Land bonds are indeed promotional of civic virtues. Such an issue could be sent to school administrations as an object lesson of civics in practice. There should not be across the country one single classroom, the students of which would not acquire at least one bond from their savings. But in the first place it would be us, members of the Land Assembly, who would have the opportunity to set an example and to help subscribing according to our means, possibilities and influence. Such Land bonds do not merely yield interest, they give the citizen the sense of living up to his obligations to his country. They entitle him to the honor to be a creditor of his land and holder of the best papers in the world. No prosperous country could do without such moral values, values that could not be bestowed by any bank or stock exchange.

I refuse to believe that the Land and the state would have to haggle for years over the regulation of their mutual economic relations. Such negotiations could be concluded in a few hours, provided that men in full knowledge of Land economics prepare their proposals in such a way that they could sign them in good faith were they to engage their responsibility as cabinet members and representatives of the government.

As I follow the proceedings in the finance commission and see all that avalanche of proposals how to better things here and there, I perceive how difficult it is to cast a negative vote - everywhere there is a need. I don't believe that economies should start with orphanages, hospitals and schools. Savings must begin on commissions and interest, and that is where my proposals are pointing.

In this way, heads, hands and the entire economy of the Land leadership shall be liberated for productive service to the population: improvements of hospitals and orphanages, road building, amelioration of education and knowledge, in short for activities that serve the economic and cultural welfare of the country.

Tomas Bata endeavoured to engage in broad investment projects. Such activity was to be preceded by planned preparation and by standardization of public construction. Public offices were to be transformed from controlling to creative organs, for thus alone could the same amount of public expenditures produce a double or triple number of public buildings, or could communities or public entities be preserved from long-term indebtedness.

The Main Problems of Land Economic Management

Considerable progress has been lately achieved in the work for the improvement of the economic situation of our Land of Moravia-Silesia.

A delegation of members of the land assembly, headed by the Land president Dr. Cerny, has met not only with understanding on the part of members of government and particularly of the Minister of Finance, but also with an energetic resolve to settle the question of unfunded debts and to place the economy of the Land on more solid foundations.

According to the rules applicable to Land economic management, the new regulation would mean the stabilization of the Land budget at 350 million Kc.

It is only fitting that we Moravians extend our thanks for the good will and effort to get the economy of our land on the right track. We have good reason to trust the work of the Minister of Finance, knowing as we do that it is directed not only by the patriotic heart of a statesman, but also by the heart of a Moravian native who is well attuned to the needs of our Land.

By virtue of its natural resources and geography, Moravia counts among the most beautiful parts of the world.

I do appreciate the endeavour of the Minister of Finance to put an end to its deficit-oriented budgets. But I think that the budget of a land that is both so richly endowed by nature and so underdeveloped ought not to be frozen; on the contrary, it is bound to increase year by year in terms of revenue as well as expenditure.

Such a raise in revenue could be achieved once the Land would be able to draw its revenue from its sources and from such resources that it helps to create on its own.

Direct taxes, consumer taxes and sales taxes are among the most stable elements of public revenue. It does not matter from which of those taxes would the Land budget benefit at a certain percentage rate. But it is of the essence that its revenue be derived directly from participation in the yield of one of those taxes. That this question be somehow settled, that it be not open for discussion every year, that the land have a clear notion of what is available for its economic operations. What counts is that one side need not complain of being reduced to alms and that the other not resent being exposed to extortion.

What matters is that the Lands engage in a honest competition rather than in unproductive antagonism provoked by the system of allocations. Every land of our Republic ought to achieve primacy in at least one field and become both a teacher and a pupil of the other lands, as is the case of Western countries, united in big-state entities, such as for instance the neighboring Germany.

The state, the land, the community, all cover their expenditures from one source, namely from public assets. They have therefore a common interest in achieving the best yield from such assets. An economy based on allocations such as have so far been disbursed to lands and communities, had a negative effect on the state treasury as well, for it deprives the lands and the communities of the incentive to administer their economy in such a way as to produce increments in taxes and thus to increase their own share.

Based on the present budget for 1930, totalling some 350 million Kc, our Land anticipates investments of about 30 million Kc, which is totally inadequate. The regulation of the mutual relationship between state and Land will assure the Land's participation in revenues while creating also a moral and legal base for investments in the order of hundreds of millions which are needed by our Land to valorize its huge natural resources, to raise the living standard of its population and thus to increase its productive and tax-paying capacity.

The insignificant amount of 30 million Kc, earmarked for investments in our Land, manifests a pessimistic assessment by the leaders of our country of the present system of investment policies. To say the truth, they can muster valid arguments for such pessimism. I have, for instance, gathered such evidence myself when investigating the case of a school construction in Jaroslavice near Zlin; I do indeed owe an apology for reproaches I had addressed in the Land Finance Commission and district authorities, having been under the impression that they had forced on that community investments exceeding its financial capacity.

I am now satisfied that this affair was caused by the lack of experience of the citizens as well as by deficient planning for the solution of school problems; due to its exemplary nature, I should dwell on this case in some detail.

Jaroslavice needed to build a school house, because its children had to walk to school for an hour across the fields. All it needed for its 80 children was to build first a two-classroom school building that could be later, in six to ten years, enlarged to a three, even four-classroom school, should the community's growth require it.

The tax base of Jaroslavice represents 1 350 Kc or 2 700 Kc of communal income from additional taxes. Its communal property is negligible. The community started to build with 19 000 Kc cash in the treasury. Neither the chief magistrate nor any other member of the municipal council - or even a single inhabitant of the community for that matter - have ever planned to construct a similar building in their lives. It is only natural that they lacked experience.

The municipal council decided to build a three-classroom school building for 257 000 Kc. When it was finished however, they found out it actually cost them 526 000 Kc.

It is true that in Jaroslavice they offered themselves a beautiful temple of science; yet it became a temple of poverty as well, because it would take the community more than 200 years to pay for it from its own revenue. Therefore, the community depends entirely on the charity of Land and state subsidies. But such subsidies are earmarked for building schools in several other communities as well. The costly school construction in Jaroslavice deprived thus at least three more communities of the opportunity to receive public funds.

These are deterring examples for the Land authorities concerning the question of investments in school construction. They are right when they say this is not the way how to construct schools in Moravia. Yet complete negation and lack of investments in schools will not construct them, either.

I think this question has to be solved in a positive way. I am of the opinion that the Land authorities should ask the best specialists in the Land to draw up plans and budgets for various types of school buildings for different communities, which would enlighten the citizens on these questions. The plans would serve as a base for school construction in general and enable the Land and district authorities to exercise proper control over them, preventing thus the community to exceed its commitments and as a consequence be in debt and misery for several generations.

Our construction and school specialists have already drawn up such school construction plans together with a detailed budget. According to them, a one-classroom school would cost 40 000 Kc, the addition of another classroom 36 000 Kc, with a good profit for the builder included.

Had such plans been available to Jaroslavice before they started the construction, they could have built a schoolhouse for 76 000 Kc with additional cost of 38 000 Kc for the home of the headmaster, in other words the overall costs would have not exceeded 114 000 Kc.

We are sending hundred copies of the plans with a detailed budget to the Land authorities to be used for the most urgent cases till the Land Technology Department draws up its own plans.

From this example, we can clearly see that plans are much more necessary than money for similar investments. The community of Jaroslavice, obliged to pay interest on the loan, will have to pay in two years from 500 000 Kc 70 000 Kc of a 7 percent interest. Adding 44 000 Kc, it could have constructed for the same money an adequate size school and the headmaster's home as well.

When we showed our school plans to widely travelled specialists, we were told that similar schools built on the same construction principle have been already in existence in America for a long time.

We have ordered them and we shall submit them to the Land representatives for review and comparison.

Well drawn up plans by experienced specialists are necessary not only for school construction but for all other work sectors as well.

I was pleased that at the last session of the Land Assembly, the Directorate of Posts and Telegraphs in Brno promised to draw up within half a year a comprehensive project of systematic installation of telephones in all communities of our Land.

Similar comprehensive blueprints are necessary for the construction of water-mains in all communities where they do not yet exist, for regulation of rivers, for standardized construction of hospitals, etc. Investments are necessary for increasing the yields of agricultural and artisanal production. It is evident that the most urgent task is the elaboration of budgets and plans for the construction of secondary roads. For such projects, the district councils have neither sufficient personnel nor funds. The construction and relocation of secondary roads must be solved from the point of view of the transportation system of the entire country and therefore it must be planned centrally.

The most noble task of the leading personalities of the state and Land is to awaken and arouse the vital forces of the population and to channel them to effective activities that would increase their own well-being as well as the assets of the state. The only means to achieve this goal is to let these autonomous bodies live of their own resources. The thus created healthy competition will enable such strong, capable entities to build an excellent existence. Even the poorest communities and lands can create for themselves a better existence than the present one, when both the strong and the weak are dependent on handouts causing poverty for all.

Spite and disputes prevalent now in public life preoccupy minds with inventing reasons for obtaining subsidies; they would completely disappear once communities and lands, like grown-up citizens, would have to work hard for their living and consequently would make projects for better profits and improved standard of living.

American minister in Czechoslovak Republic Mr. Rathesky on a visit to Zlin (the second from the left, near Tomas Bata). The wonderful development of Bata Enterprises and the originality of work organization brings to Zlin many excellent personalities from economic and political world every year.

The Value of Civic Honor

Tomas Bata's address at the regional conference of teachers in Zlin on March 15, 1930, on the subject of classes in civics.

Until now, one currency could not assert itself in our public and economic life. It is called honor. Many people are persuaded that money can buy anything. It is not true. Honor buys more.

If we want to achieve affluence, we have to put the latter currency into circulation. I bore it in mind when, participating in the financial discussions of the Land Assembly concerning the issue of the 250 million Kc bank loan at the usual interest rate - mostly six percent before commission and a considerable loss in redemption rates - I said the following: "The Land must not pay any commission to the bankers, it must not incur any redemption rate loss. It has to raise the necessary money from the population with an interest of five percent at the most."

I stated that under such conditions, the Zlin citizens were ready to subscribe a land loan in a much higher amount than would be proportionate for them, maybe even ten times higher. But not a penny for exaggerated interest.

I also said that our banker should be teachers and students. I am sure that only few people understood what I meant by these words, because this way of borrowing money is unusual in our lands. I thought that already this time, the creditors will get from us beside the upper-mentioned five percent also a little bit of honor; I hope that later, when we teach our population to value honor even in economic matters, we shall find enough creditors ready to accept a lower interest and more honor.

I was thinking primarily about schools, because the notion of better times based on a more noble sentiment of national welfare can best be inculcated to youth.

The subscription of the loan must be in the first place anchored in schools. There could be no more fitting way of teaching civics than to deal with the economic problems of the Land and no better expression of patriotism and understanding of a collective life than to deposit the students' savings in the papers of their Land - their country in the more narrow sense.

Our school children cannot, of course, subscribe a loan of 250 million Kc, but students will introduce their families to the knowledge of Land economics, they will figure out for them that should the population entrust their savings to the Land on at least such terms as are required by the banks and savings institutions, the Land will economize yearly some 15 - 20 million Kc on interest payments.

In order to spread such information among the population, it is necessary that the land administration supply the schools with reviews of the land fiscal management and that school authorities enable all schools, up to the highest institutes of learning, to include public affairs in the curriculum of mathematics as well as civics, and to do so both on the community and the district level.

Should the interest on all land indebtedness not exceed five percent, the following economies could be realized: five percent of 500 million totals 25 million Kc, instead of the 40 million which have been paid so far.

That would be the initial result, expressed in figures, once the authorities would introduce the public to the currency of honor.

But the mint of the coins of honor becomes even more productive in the hands of the population. That applies to the attitude toward those who direct our public affairs.

I believe that we will have to mint many coins before all our old debts are paid up.

Busy as we all are with our daily work, we do not for instance even have time to ponder who are the people at the helm of our Land of Moravia-Silesia. In particular, we are not aware that the welfare of the Land depends on personal sacrifice of men who are in charge of its administration.

We do not realize that such sacrifice has to be somehow remunerated. But how to pay for it? With money?

An eight-hour legal work is rendered for a legal salary. Some of us do perhaps know what would happen with us, how badly we would be off, should our top people work only those eight hours. There are times when our safety, our legal security require the work of countless nights.

It is necessary that such sources and prerequisites of our welfare be brought to the attention of schools and that they spread from there among the population, for there is only one way how to pay for such overtime hours, namely our love and gratitude.

The recent manifestations of love and devotion to president Masaryk have taught us how to repay a great debt for a great public work. I would not say that our debt toward President Masaryk has already been redeemed, but at least we did start paying it back. But in the case of many men active on our behalf in public functions, our repayment has yet to begin.

In the land of Moravia and Silesia, such love and gratitude has in the first place been earned by the Land President Jan Cerny, and, in the ranks of our district representation, by its Chairman Dr. Josef Janustik.

Our moravian fellow-citizen President Cerny has recently been unable to attend exclusively to the important tasks of land administration, his great qualities of statesman having been urgently needed on the statewide level. Now he has rejoined us in Moravia and I trust that all the priorities of the Land administration will be settled happily and speedily.

My only wish would be that he remain in his present office as long as possible and I should hope that we succeed in attaching this talented, capable and selfless man by ties of our love and appreciation.

By cultivating Land patriotism I would not like to attract the attention of the Land President to our region alone. That would not be honest either toward other Moravian-Silesian regions, or to them. I see a genuine token of patriotism in our assuming the largest part of duties, knowing well that our rights will then come running to us.

I figured out that paying by the honor system will earn to the Land directly 15 million Kc per year; however, the value of paying by love and devotion of the public for sacrifice toward its welfare could not even be properly calculated.

Such love transforms desert into paradise. It sets the hands of these men free to work, it compounds their strength, it fertilizes their spirit. It works miracles.

Our country does indeed need miracles to catch up with the losses caused by war and by the confusion that followed the postwar changes.

An agreement between the Land and the state on the principle of running the economy is of the essence in order to increase the small yield of the soil and crafts, but first of all to raise salaries and wages. Other priorities include

-    the installation of telephones in all communities and the improvement of the relevant services;

-    the distribution of the crystal-clear water from the Sneznik mountain across the whole Land where water penury enhances the spread of infectious diseases at a larger scale than did the war;

-    the regulation of rivers in order to make them navigable;

-    the consolidation of land holdings;

-    the construction of roads.

Do not think that we lack money for all that. The realization of these priorities will of course cost the state hundreds of millions, but it will earn thousands of millions. It is only a problem of leading personalities, of us all, and that problem cannot be solved without our love and devotion to those who sacrifice themselves in that work on our behalf.

The Regulation of the Management of Moravian Waterways

The struggle with inundations

In 1930, the government elaborated a legislative draft designed to regulate up till 1956 the management of waterways in the individual Lands of the country. Upon perusing this project, Tomas Bata recognized that the Land Moravia-Silesia has been virtually ignored; from the investment total of 2 997 million Kc, a mere four percent, or about 127 million Kc were earmarked for its territory, and even that only in the borderland. For the period 1941-1956, no provisions whatsoever were made concerning the navigability of Moravian rivers. It was suggested that the law be enacted in an accelerated procedure.

As soon as Tomas Bata realized that his native land was being ostracized because of the absence of ready plans for water navigation projects as well as for lack of knowledge, lack of interest and last but not least due to sharply divided views, he made a concentrated effort to correct it. "In one week", he said at a conference of his engineers and public relations people, "we have to achieve more for Moravian public waterways than had been done over the past million years. "All plans and studies on the Morava River were ferreted out, every single person who has ever done some work on that river was consulted. Finally, Bata was in favor of the project of Ing. Suk, mainly because he felt that it was most complete. He endorsed it in a speech which is published here, but did not stop there. He knew the inadequacies of the Suk plan and therefore he ordered another, rather costly new project that would complement the idea of the regulation of the Morava River, so as to make it serve all users.

Every time he flew over the river, he followed from the airplane its meandering flow, he observed the uninhabited areas in its wide and fertile valley and spoke with an entrepreneur's enthusiasm about the potential for expanding life and work on the shores of the river, once it would be brought under control Looking for the site of his new auxiliary plants, he had a choice between a slight slope seven miles from Zlin or the flatland on the waterfront threatened by floods; he opted for the plain and started building extensively at a record speed. But time and floods were faster still. Thus he had to witness on an autumn day how muddy waters of the overflowing river rolled over the half-finished factories, destroying everything in their way and transforming the new plant area into a wide lake. Packs of rabbits were fleeing from the nearby flooded woods to find refuge on the last remaining bank Bata stood silently and watched the disaster for hours without uttering a word; finally he turned around and said: "And I shall not run away from that water like those rabbits. For thousands of years, people were fleeing such inundations here. If I were to run, they would continue to terrorize the inhabitants. Let's start again!"

The following message was part of a comprehensive project on how to make the Morava River navigable; it was presented to the Land Assembly in 1930.


Is there any more important question than how to make the life of all of us better and more enjoyable? How to make the labor of farmers easier and how to increase the yield of their fields and meadows? How to liberate industrial workers from drudgery and how to increase their wages with the help of mechanical and natural forces? How to sanitize our villages and towns and help our children become a healthy, strong generation?

It is our duty to ponder such tasks and to bring them to conclusion. Unless we clean up our heads, no progress could be made in building the welfare of the Moravian population.

Let us take a good look at the geographic position of our Land as illustrated on the enclosed map.

Divine Providence and the wisdom of statesmen of the past concentrated our whole territory in the basin of one single river. We are fortunate that political developments enabled us to control the sources as well as the mouth of that river, the latter being situated just a few miles from the Moravian border with Slovakia, near Devin. Thus nature and the play of political forces combined to attach us to the mighty stream of world importance, the Danube, on which we have navigation rights enabling us to reach southern lands and seas the year around.

There is no other land whose future, prosperity and welfare would so strongly depend on a single river; thus the name of our river, the Morava, is not a fortuitous one.

And what have we Moravians done with that treasure entrusted to us by Divine Providence and guarded for thousands of years by our ancestors? Did we know how to profit from it? When you fly over the lower flow of the Morava River, your heart aches as you observe the wasteland below, which the river ravages just as it used to do at the time of the mammoths. On beautiful plains and across the entire river basin, in places where other countries feature mighty cities, big factories, fertile fields, gardens, sanitary apartments and healthy, opulent people, you will find but misery, haphazardly strewn cottages exposed to floods, and the poorest of populations. Far away, miles from the river, workshops and residences cluster on hills and people drill deep wells to secure a little water which almost dries out in summer. Then comes typhoid fever, which attacks thousands of people per year, killing tens, even hundreds of them.

There are regions where conditions reach catastrophic dimensions. Every year for a number of months, in villages south of Hodonin fields are inaccessible to humans and cattle alike, as they are chased by swarms of mosquitoes which breed in marshes and flood-soaked plains and rule over the entire region, even killing wildlife in impenetrable woods. Just like wild tropical areas have their special diseases (Indian fever, malaria, yellow fever), so are our regions beset by a special illness we could call the "Hodonin fever". No wonder that the plains, in spite of their most fertile soil, serve only as pastureland and that only in a distance, miles away, do people venture to lay out fields where the stony ground yields to their labor just a fraction of what could be grown hundredfold and effortlessly on the flatland by the river.

We are the only ones guilty of such deplorable conditions.

Years ago, under the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Viennese government had to make concessions to Czech and Moravian deputies in order to obtain their vote for the construction of Alpine railroads, needed to facilitate the transport of Austrian troops against Italy.

The Czech deputies, better attuned to the vital problems of their land, insisted on having their main waterways, the Labe and Vltava Rivers, made navigable. Although for decades not a single boat could be seen on those regulated sections of the rivers, the population had no ground to begrudge their leaders; the navigability of the rivers actually established order in the entire management of the Czech waterways.

In order to cope with two evils, high tides during the floods and low tides at times of droughts, dams must be built and tributaries regulated. This satisfies every Czech smallholder, as he can build his cottage by the riverside without fear that the water would wash away his shed including the goat; nor will he have to run uphill and draw water for himself and his cattle from a 60 feet deep well.

The map of waterways in Moravia and Silesia showing the importance of the river Morava for the whole country.

What have we Moravians achieved?  What have done our deputies in the Vienna Parliament? Nothing more than to accept the promise of those gentlemen to build the Danube - Odra Canal, presumably a project of world importance, in the realization of which nobody however believed. In the meantime, our rivers were running wild and even the more or less improved stretches were exposed to destruction due to the neglect of our generation.

The decay we are faced with is best illustrated by the government bill of a legislation on a Fund for Waterways, which should determine the rules on water economy in the entire country and which we publish on the following pages.

That project deals with Moravia-Silesia as with an unknown territory where questions pertaining to waterways are left in the care of private enterprises which would allegedly undertake to build the Labe-Danube-Odra canal.

The state is to procure four billion Kc, drawing also on the assets of the Land of Moravia-Silesia. That amount should finance the canalization of rivers with navigation serving exclusively local transport, such as on the Upper Labe up to Jaromer, on the Berounka up to Plzen, on the Sazava, etc.

The justification of the bill deployed major efforts to prove the navigational rentability of such canalization projects.

We do not hold against the bill that it purports to enable navigation on such river stretches. What does however hurt us is the fact that it treats Moravia as an unknown territory the needs of which were done away with by a few words and by a ridiculously low amount of money; that the old superstition about canals is being played up while the solution of the vital needs of the Land is left to "private capital" in the unforeseeable future. We find it painful that the law itself manifests here a lack of concern with the life of our entire population.

And yet, the problem of a navigable Morava river is not a local one, as is the case of some of the rivers included in the draft bill on the Fund for Waterways. It is more than a problem of the Land, indeed more than a national one. It is a European, nay a world problem, for by making the Morava navigable, we will come closer to realizing the junction of the three largest Central European rivers, namely the Labe, the Danube and the Odra, as well as the connection of two seas.

There is no need to attempt proving the profitability of a navigable Morava River by wrong figures. We should say in all honesty that river traffic, even on the Morava, while hundred times more profitable than on the upper stream of some Czech local rivers, will not pay for the full cost of making it navigable. We admit in all honesty that our concern is to bring by means of the Fund on Waterways as much order into our water economy as the wise men in our neighboring Czech Land intend to achieve. They are wise because they know that there is no better way of investing money than this; it will bring a tenfold return. No need to quote artificial figures on the rentability of navigation, for apart from traffic there is the profit from water power, the yield of preserved crops, the higher value of real estate and, in the first place, the development of life and enterprises around the river.

We have reached a dead-end street pursuing our vital needs, just as we had during the Vienna regime. The men who know what they want agreed that they will conclude the task of managing the water economy in their country by making its rivers navigable. These men know that "making a river navigable" under present conditions could not mean that it would cover the costs of all expenditures for the construction of dams and regulation of rivers, i.e. the prerequisites of making them navigable. They know that the account of "navigability" could be debited for hardly a tenth of all appurtenant costs and that such calculation would be correct, as the regulation of rivers, construction of dams and of melioration locks would have to be undertaken even if rivers were not to be made navigable. The canalization of a river is thus in fact a mere by-product of the overall regulation of water conditions in a country.

These men are quite wisely and justifiably seeking to bring their water economy in order with "navigability" as the avowed objective.

They say about Moravia that its "navigability" would be solved by "private capital". It is certainly much easier to leave it at promises, to let the Land in the throngs of old superstitions rather than to satisfy its vital needs.

But in this respect, all of us Moravians are guilty, for we could certainly not expect others to do our thinking on the requirements for our life today and tomorrow.

Let us renounce that magnificent canal once needed by Vienna; it has already played its role - of the proverbial pie in the sky.

Flooded river Morava in 1930

Let us demand for Moravian waterways a solution that would serve sharecroppers and farmers as well as men from workshops, agricultural enterprises and industry.

Such a solution could best be reached by making navigable a river which one of our leading experts on questions of waterways, Professor Ing. A. Smrcek considers clearly feasible. He expounded that view in his booklet "How to regulate the lower stretch of the Morava River" and based it on his own research.

The senior technical counsel, Ing. Stanislav Suk, a man engaged for years in regulatory work on the Morava River, authored in 1919 a study which contains solutions of that problem.

His study, reproduced below, proves that making the Morava River navigable would put an end to inundations even at the highest tides. But even in periods of worst drought, his project would allow the river to keep plenty of water (at least 210 cm) enabling towboats of up to 1000 ton to navigate it. But what makes that study most remarkable is the possibility of artificial irrigation and flooding of the areas on the banks of the regulated river by means of twenty two lock-weirs. Such an irrigation with muddy waters is tantamount to fertilizing; it enables farmers to get water on their fields and meadows precisely when they need it there.

Finally, the project makes it possible to locate industrial enterprises in plains or on the waterfront, rather than compelling them to take refuge on hills where they starve without water just as the farmer does.

A little addition to that project would enable at long last a number of major Moravian towns to be connected with a navigable river. Together with Kromeriz, such are particularly Olomouc, Prerov, and Prostejov. The mere prospect of having these towns in a foreseeable future joined to a navigable river would make them hum with entrepreneurial activity of industry and commerce, which in turn would find there suitable conditions for work and development.

The navigation project proposed in the study of Ing. Suk is by no means a flight of fancy. The total cost is being estimated at 146 million crowns at pre-war rate. The common running regulation of the type initiated earlier would have cost 76 million of pre-war crowns. Experience shows that such a regulation could not, however, provide full protection of the population in flood situations, nor would it do away with summer disasters resulting from a low tide. Instead, it might dry out the whole region, as evidenced in the environs of the town of Napajedla and elsewhere.

Such basic regulation would not allow for controlled flooding at the desired time of fields and meadows located in the river basin, i.e. for their fertilization or their irrigation in times of drought.

The Suk project does in fact increase the costs of making the river navigable by one item only: the expenditure for locks and some weirs, the locks costing now about 22 million Kc (altogether 44 million Kc or approx. 7 million pre-war crowns). Conversely, he anticipates to gain motive power to the tune of some 42 million pre-war crowns.

Just as there is no chance to obtain private capital for the construction of the canal, so are we convinced that for Suk's project enough private entrepreneurs, or town administrations, could be found to assume the costs of making the Morava River navigable; their compensation could be in form of navigation rights fees and of exploitation of the motive power.

The utilization of our waterways for productive purposes will improve the economic standing of our population and make industry and agriculture grow as strong as to enable us to find means to construct an artificial canal between the town of Prerov and the Odra River, thus linking the Black and the Baltic Seas, the most natural solution for us. By adopting it, we will also approach the building of a canal juncture of the Labe and Morava Rivers and thus their connection with the Danube and Odra Rivers. In such way it will be possible to make the investments earmarked for making the Odra navigable on our territory benefit also the northeastern towns of our Land, as well as the huge industrial complex of the Ostrava region.

Typical cottage from the villages in the Morava river basin destroyed by the flood in 1930


What should we do now in order to approach our objective?

Let us revive the abolished department of river regulation projects which used to be located in Prerov.

Let us provide that department with adequate funds and enough staff to prepare in the course of the coming winter at least general plans for the realization of water economy works in our Land.

Let us assign the entire basin of the Morava River to the same authority which is in charge of all important Czech rivers, namely the Ministry of Public works and the Fund for Waterways.

Let us complement the legislative bill on the Fund for Waterways, which is now being debated, by entries necessary for constructions on Moravian rivers to the tune of one billion Kc for the first ten-year period.

The Pioneer

Forty years ago, a sixteen-year old boy was asleep in the railroad station's waiting room. As he slept, he rested by habit one hand on a flimsy suitcase, while the other clutched his pocket containing a little note-book filled with pencilled entries. The boy awoke as the station attendant walked by to put on coal; he grabbed more firmly his pocket with the blue note-book and the treasure it held - the fruits of a fortnight's hard labor, of a fortnight's grand tour of the unknown - from Zlin all the way to Prague on business.

The notebook meant orders. Orders spelled work And work was tantamount to plenty of bread, coal, clothes, even other things perhaps for all members of the family and neighbours - companions.

It is hard to tell which expedition required more courage and abnegation; whether the first, undertaken by a boy of sixteen, poor as a churchmouse, totally ignorant of the world, people and business, or the penultimate one, undertaken by air to India by a man of fifty-six and rich as a prince. The same force that ignited the blood and the brain of the boy, brought the man to America and all over the world in quest of new horizons and goals; it kept him awake for his whole life at thousands of nights on thousands of trips by all imaginable means of transport. It was that force which carried a trimotor in the middle of the winter of 1931 all the way to Batavia and which ordained the final flight on business in the early morning hours of July 12, 1932.

It was a passion of movement, of undertaking unchartered journeys, of exploring new opportunities for life and work. Those who did not know Bata's way of life, were inclined to attribute the glittering path of his unending success to fortuitous circumstances and to the chance which he encountered. In fact, Bata was such early riser (or let himself be carried in a train while sleeping) that he was always on that spot where opportunity beckoned. He longed for seeing it with his own eyes, for seizing it with his own hands. He saw his task in being the first to cut the sod wherever nature promised a harvest, in trying out on himself whatever new duties would call for. He chose quite consciously the most difficult problems which no one wished to tackle or which left millions of people for many generations indifferent. "There was nothing in the world I would have obtained easily, everything required hardest labor. Don't look for easy ways. There are so many people out there seeking them, that it would get you nowhere," he said. That was the stuff of which ancient Vikings and discoverers of continents were made, as well as American pioneers, as they penetrated virgin forests in their search for a better existence.

Tomas Bata, who had visited all continents save Australia, believed in the necessity and usefulness of travel not only for the sake of business, but also as a means of educating and molding new people.

He returned from every trip an entirely new man, refreshed in body and mind and charged with ideas and plans for new ventures. Every journey meant a conquest, with new perspectives on life, human society and the role of the enterprise therein. A citizen of the world, whose brain encompassed the globe and who was acquainted with the most beautiful parts of the planet, he remained faithful to that tiny speck of a mountainous region and to an unknown spot on which he lavished all the treasures of his experience and knowledge until the whole world had to recognize him as a leader in his field.

And just as he was courageously seeking new avenues in the world of realities, so did he endeavour to open them in the realm of spirit - perhaps even more intensely. He wrote in his young men's educational guidelines: "We are pioneers. Cowards did not embark on the trip, weaklings fell by the roadside. Onward!" The strenuous spiritual struggles within himself at which he was both a severe referee and a tireless fighter, evoked the image of Jacob's biblical dream, as he wrestled with the angel and exclaimed: "I shall not let you go, lest you have blessed me!" The steel-like personal discipline of that passionate and restless man was a reward for a lifetime of such pioneering conflicts. They appeared beautiful to him and to those who followed and understood.

The First Trip to India in 1925

Two races

The world is divided into two parts, namely the consumer countries with a cool climate and regular rain periods and the raw-materials producing countries with permanent summers, generous nature and much lower consumption.

Struggles with harsh nature forced the northern man to work harder and to be more resourceful than his southern brother pampered by kind climate.

As the means of communication were developing and closer contact was established between the two worlds, the southern man succumbed to the Northener and his dependence on him continued to grow.

The northern man supplies the Southerner with modem goods, acquaints him with organizational and production skills, teaches him how to improve his way of life, communications, etc. In exchange, he receives the bountiful products of the generous sun and possibly raw materials.

This linkage of sun and ice brought about the enormous production boom of the last decades. "Were it to be interrupted, a sharp decline of the world population would ensue in the southern as well as northern hemisphere, because the conditions essential for such expansion would cease to exist.

We can encounter visible signs of such assertions even in our immediate surroundings and our daily life. Our shoes are made from Indian leather, the material of our shirts was woven from cotton imported from Egypt, India or the southern parts of North America. The wool our clothes are made of comes from Australia, etc.

The English, Dutch, French or other European nations in direct contact with that part of the world are filling their stomachs with food, particularly fats, that also mostly originate there.

When we visit such countries, we suddenly comprehend the source of this newly acquired northern prosperity. Consequently, the difference between various nationalities seem to disappear and white Northerners see themselves only as members of the same race. The European man is well aware that if the thread connecting him with these vital resources were to be cut, he would probably have to wear all his life only one shirt and after his death his heirs would fight for that precious piece of inheritance.

He knows that it does not practically matter which white man is keeping his hand on that source - he only wishes that the hand be strong.

All southern or eastern nations utterly dislike their subordination to the Northerners. They dream about revolutions, canons, battle ships. Yet they continue to worship cows as deity and bow to priests whose living habits are inferior to human standards. Taking advantage of his physical and intellectual superiority, the local man continues to exploit the woman by excluding her from all aspects of social life, and by imposing on her marital and maternal duties practically from her childhood. And had the man from the North not intervened, the man in those parts of the world would still demand that his surviving wife be burned alive together with his dead body.

It falls on deaf ears when you try to explain that the strength of European people is rooted in their education and their hearts. There is hardly any danger that these people could defeat Europeans unless and until they gain mastery of themselves and realize that a nation is entitled to sovereignty and freedom only if it is able to govern itself in a way beneficial to all.

Life on board ship


It is marvellous to be a human being. There are several hundred people on the ship, men, women and children. When the weather is nice, people smile at you, smile at each other. Everybody tries to be as pleasant to his fellow traveller as possible. Most of the people acquired such perfect manners by continuous self-improvement and long experience and as a consequence, such life artists are well liked and are always surrounded by a cluster of people. There is not the slightest malice anywhere.

Should somebody accidentally push you, he would immediately profusely apologize in a most friendly way; yet despite such perfect manners, people are certainly not taciturn, just the contrary; at any moment, loud, happy laughter resounds in the dining room or on the deck.

People at the neighboring tables nod approvingly to such cheerfulness. Children enjoy themselves the most. They scatter around the boat as if they were its captains - and indeed they are.

The entire society tries to gain their favor, makes room for their games and altogether makes them the center of amusement.

Men treat women, both married or single, respectfully, yet as absolute equals.

In the Indian ocean, the crew changed one of the decks into a swimming pool. It is rather small and during the stifling heat you see as many as 20 people of both sexes in it together; but not a single provocative smile or look - these young people have clean fun.

Women profit greatly from such courteous behaviour of the men. They are able to move around freely and fully enjoy everything that used to be reserved for men only. What a difference between such liberated women and their eastern sisters, excluded from all social life and relegated for their entire lifetime to the four walls of their homes.

Only the acquisition of such perfect results of good upbringing makes people understand that good manners, society rules or etiquette are not meant to embarrass but to provide for agreeable socializing with unknown people.

This enforced boat trip of a fortnight's duration in a closed, well-mannered English society showed me how wonderful it is to be a European.

The Suez canal


A great achievement, yet relatively simple. All that was needed was a lot of digging. An absolute plain, surrounded on all sides by the sea, it practically indicated where and how to dig. A millrace in our mountainous countryside was more difficult to mark out than this world-famous masterpiece. While one cannot suppress a certain excitement when passing through it - it is more exciting by its importance than ingenuity.

The canal is approximately twice as wide as our Morava River. The trip by a fast boat takes about 18 hours. During the entire trip, you see nothing but desert on both sides of the canal. On the western bank, green strips are visible in places, existing due to another canal that brings fresh river water all the way from Upper Egypt. On both sides of the canal are roads and railroad tracks. Many caravans travel on the roads, because the commercial activity of the entire region is centered here. For a Northerner, the slowly moving caravans is the most interesting sight indeed. Encountering a camel is in itself rather unusual and here, in one caravan, many species and sizes of different ages can be seen.

The people and their miserable way of life are even more interesting. The worst off are the women. They have two enemies: firstly the sun which does not create but destroys all life here, and secondly their own ideas and customs. One would believe that the natives travelling over the burning desert where the sand stings from underneath and the sun from above, should be perfectly equipped against their enemy. No way! You will see women dressed in heavy, black clothes, bundled up from their noses down to the ground in dark cloaks.

Dressed the same way, they are crouching on the hot sand next to the camels when the caravan takes a rest. How much better off is the animal with its fine camel's hair aired freely by a merciful breeze.

In the same way or even worse they bring up their children.

In somebody else's house you can see more deficiencies in five minutes than in your own in a whole year. The same applies to foreign nations. What matters is that when enumerating those foreign deficiencies, we should pause for a short while and pass judgment on our own foolishness.

We men are travelling around the globe to find the best way of producing shoes, leather and machinery. We are improving our production methods frequently, yet the idea of improving the upbringing of the next generation or the household tasks of our women hardly crosses anybody's mind. We are leaving it to the old grandmas. Just recently, several of our newspapers complained that some American woman who made a study of our living conditions, showed in a film a mother somewhere near Uherske Hradiste holding her child in her arms; it seems that the Americans believed that Uherske Hradiste was somewhere near the Suez Canal.

And us fellows are not any better than that auntie from Hradiste. Once some American would start studying our school system without allowing himself to be impressed by appearances, but would come inside to learn about and understand the spirit of our schools and their equipment and assets, our misery would probably appear on the screen as well. But we would immediately find an excuse. Us, old fellows, would say that we are not responsible for it, that according to the latest decision of Moravian mayors, the state should take over the entire school maintenance such as cleaning, heating, etc. The municipalities do not seem to have the necessary funds for schools. Yet had one of the mayors would have examined his municipal books about the amounts of money the male inhabitants of his community are spending for drinks, he would discover that the sum was five times higher than the amount spent by the community for its schools.

Most of us regard schools as a place for the production of report cards, supposed to help later to obtain work with the government; the less bright ones among us consider schools as a nuisance originating at the top, where, we believe, all the bad things do.

Here in Zlin, we don't need report cards for our children. We wish that our children learn to look at life with an open mind, that they learn to think well and quickly and earn just as fast; this will enable them to hold their own in industrial competition with Americans and Britishers, to do it better than we ever could and to have enough courage to look for employment farther than to the government treasury. They should not complain at the inn that too much is spent on our schools. They should gladly pay an adequate salary to the teachers instead of considering the state responsible for the education of their children.

From Holland

The Dutch farmer

As I could not finish the meeting with my business friends in Amsterdam because they refused to discuss business on Sunday, I persuaded them at least to make an outing to the countryside in order to see the Dutch homesteads.

On every trip through Holland I observed the exemplary pastures full of grazing cattle and decided therefore to learn more about the special ways of their agriculture. While visiting a village near Amsterdam that Sunday, we entered a small farm there. In the yard, a farmer in wooden shoes was carrying two buckets with water suspended on a cleverly balanced rod. When we informed him about our wish, he immediately put down the buckets and invited us to visit his home first. On the threshold, where four other pairs of whitewashed wooden shoes were neatly lined up, he took off his, walking only in thick woolen socks. He introduced us to his wife, "the lady of the house", tastefully dressed and certainly not showing any traces of hard physical labor. On the walls were hanging numerous portraits and photographs of their ancestors. He told us proudly that his family has been living in this house for more than three centuries and promised to show us outside some mementoes from Napoleonic wars. The house consisted of several rooms, furnished luxuriously by our standards, particularly with regard to comfort and cleanliness. We entered the house through an adjacent spacious hall, with two long rugs on the floor. Only on the way back could I ask one of my friends what was the purpose of this hall. "That's the cowbarn" he whispered fearing he might embarrass himself in front of the farmer. This large, airy, wooden structure had hardly anything to do with a stable. It did not surprise me that there were no cattle there, as I knew that in Holland cattle leave the stables in the middle of April and do not return before the end of October or even in November; but at first sight, I could not see any troughs. They were sunken in the floor, most probably to make it easier to lift the fodder or fill them with water. The cattle are usually not tied up in the stable and are divided from the carpeted hall only by railing. They stand on are raised platform so that all the excrements fall down without touching in any way the animals. The waste is easily removed through holes in the side walls.

In the yard, the farmer showed us trophies from the Napoleonic wars. A cast-iron cannon ball was embedded in the brick wall of the house, carefully fixed so it could not fall out and coated with grease against rusting.

We also met two of his sons in the yard, the third one serving in the army. The oldest son, a stout young man of about twenty five with a pleasant face and red cheeks was fashionably dressed and wore patent leather shoes. When his father called him and asked him to accompany us to the fields, he was promenading in the village; the father called him because he probably did not want to disturb the festive atmosphere in the village with his wooden shoes and work clothes.

Grazing on the pasture close to the village were twelve well-fed cows and three horses. We walked around the property belonging to the farm and because the young man did not know its exact acreage, we started to step it. We arrived at three hectars. The old farmer told us later that it was slightly less than six hectars. Due to his obvious intelligence, we could have hardly questioned his statement, even though it was rather discrepant from our approximate measuring. The pastures were kept in a state unheard of in our country. Evidently, man forced his will upon the nature here and decided what should grow on the meadows. Yet the land did not even belong to the farmer, he was only leasing it from some Jewish association. It was separated from neighboring plots by ditches filled with water and the cattle were grazing there without any supervision whatsoever. We were told that the cows are mostly milked right on the pasture. The average yearly yield per cow, including the period with calf, was 15 liters daily. The cows were milked twice daily with an average yield of 10 liter per milking.

On our way back, we were speculating wherefrom actually stemmed the affluence, or better wealth of a tenant farmer with barely 15 acres of land. The living standard of his family as well as his ambition expressed by his family pride and his self-confidence can only be compared to the living standard of our noblemen landowners who cultivate thousands of acres of farmland belonging to them. And suddenly, the comparison with Balkan peasants came to my mind. On my trips through the Balkan mountains, I have often descended from the cart in front of a hut, in order to warm up at the fire. Their dwellings resemble our stables, particularly with regard to cleanliness. In freezing weather, people share their huts with the cattle. In most cases, the old peasant could be found lying on a bed put together from rough boards near the fire, while his wife busied herself with domestic chores. Barefooted, ragged, half-frozen children were tending the cattle. Yet such mountaineer often owned many acres of pastureland. In order to free his children from spending their entire youth in the sole company of cattle, it would have sufficed to make a fence around his pastures with some poles taken from his woods.

However, this is prevented by the notions local men hold about the mission in life of their wives and children. I asked once my driver - a moslem - why he was not yet married. He replied that he did not own any land and consequently needed neither a wife nor children. "In our region," he told me, "a man marries as many women as needed to bear an adequate number of children to tend his goats."

The difference in opinions on women and children existing between these two farmers equals the difference in the measure of their affluence. What struck me most on that visit with the Dutch farmer was the fact that while his wife was resting on a sofa and his adult sons made their Sunday afternoon promenade dressed up in patent leather shoes, he himself wore wooden shoes and carried on his shoulders buckets fastened on a balanced rod.

Were we managing the farmland belonging to our factory as well as that Dutch farmer, we could have 180 cows giving us over 2000 liters of milk; this would enable each one of our workers to drink as much milk as he wished at a very reasonable price, because our enterprise offers its employees agricultural products for net prices.



During the six years since my last visit to America, the American shoe industry made great progress.

Many enterprises carried out a vertical concentration, lowering thus considerably their production costs in spite of higher wages.

They are capable of business competition in every country in the world. Should this capability not yet appear in the export statistics, it is only due to the fact that these factories cannot so far fully cover the fast growing domestic consumption.

Thanks to improved technology, production and distribution morale, the living standards of the broadest segments of the American population increased considerably.

The heart of a European is at the same time pleased and hurting when he sees the marvellous hard-surfaced roads full of automobiles owned even by people of rather modest means; the same applies to the housing and earning conditions. The automobile in particular helped to increase working capacity which in turn contributed to greater affluence of the American people.

When will we, europeans, get out of the mud and dirt spreading to our houses from muddy streets and roads?

When will we end the housing crisis?

We have no right to demand financial sacrifices from Americans, be it only in the form of the write-off of debts.

By rejecting harmful and unnecessary pleasures (prohibition), the American people are now able to pursue and enjoy useful, healthy ones. We cannot have similar pretensions as long as we are spending billions a year for alcohol.

Tomas Bata examined carefully during all his journeys the way of life of the poorest people to know their needs and the possibilities to improve their footwear. - Armenian street in the suburbs of Baghdad.

However, all real friends of European peoples have the right to request moral support for their populations, if for no other reason than that of racial kinship, because not even as rich and powerful a nation as the Americans cannot know when it might need the impoverished European relatives.

We need moral support particularly in economic cooperation. We badly need American products, but in order to be able to pay for them and repay our debts at the same time, we must have the possibility to sell our products, the results of our work. We have no gold.

The hands of every Governor of the National Bank or a Finance Minister in Europe are shaking when he has to sign a permission to buy a tractor or a calculating machine, because he fears another inflation.

All reasonable people in America welcome economic cooperation, as they are well aware that it is beneficial to both sides.

Yet in practice, such cooperation is onesided. The American manufacturers secured for themselves in Europe a monopoly for such industrial goods as sewing machines, calculating machines, cars, and many others.

Unfortunately, the American manufacturers are just as energetic in preventing all counter-services.

As soon as some European manufacturer succeeds to stay in step with his American competitor, the latter immediately goes to Washington and requests that a custom duty on the merchandise in question be established or increased, should it already exist; and when the European does not give up and continues to try, the duty might be further increased. I am talking from my own experience here.

I arrived with numerous collaborators to purchase an important quantity of machinery and semi-finished products for the purpose of increasing our productivity and consequently our wages. In order to pay for those goods it was essential to find markets for our shoes. But our American competitors told us to forget it. One of them expressed it particularly clearly and explicitly. At the dinner table, one of his customers got angry at him and pointing to me, he said: "That one will teach you to how to make cheap yet excellent shoes".... The factory owner, son of a high Washington government official, replied in a self-assured and confident tone: "We will put customs duty on them just as we did recently on the slippers and it'll be finished....." And yet exactly that manufacturer could have learned something new from us, Europeans, which would have increased his own profit and the wages of his collaborators while lowering the prices of his products; we are learning from our more friendly American colleagues in exactly that way.

But it is easier to intervene at the Commerce Department than to learn. Some inept European producers behave in the same way; they believe that the country simply owes them good living and that they do not have to worry about proper management of their enterprises. By the same token, they are using unemployment as an excuse.

The moral forces of Europe cannot cope with such idle elements demanding custom protection, just as they cannot cope with the bottomless mud and dirt of our roads or with the drunkards at the inns. The moral forces of America are capable of coping with such problems; all it takes is a short reflection by those great achievers who knew how to raise commerce and industry to the level of service to the public, the nation and humanity, thus showing to the entire world new roads leading to better life.

It is difficult to manufacture new machinery in Europe, it does not sell there. This applies particularly to equipment that facilitates intellectual work like calculating, accounting, etc.

Conversely, there is a ready market for them in America and the American production conditions enable the industry to manufacture such modern products for modem men in the whole world. But how should other nations purchase them when the Americans are unwilling to accept as counter-value the products of their European partners?

The Flight to India in 1931

On December 10, 1931 at 8:05 am., Bata's tri-motor Fokker airplane OK-ATC took off from Otrokovice airfield on a trip to India, projected to cover 20 300 miles.

This important trip was an exploratory business expedition planned and directed by Tomas Bata himself. It was envisaged to visit all the countries and larger cities of North and East Africa and to proceed from there, flying over the Suez Canal, Iraq, Mesopotamia and Persia along the Red and Arabic Seas, to British India. It crossed India to Bangkok and Singapore, with final destination the islands of Dutch East Indies (later Indonesia).

The reason for the trip was business in the Middle-and-Far Eastern countries. On board, beside the head of the enterprise, were two pilots (the English Neville Stack and the Czechoslovak Broucek), the radio operator Mares and three export department managers, two of whom were to be replaced by others at different, previously designated points of the trip.

Tomas Bata returned from the expedition on 14 February 1932 by another plane, because the Fokker - having successfully accomplished the most difficult part of the trip, the flight over the Taurus Mountains - got stuck in mud at Istanbul airport and the crew members brought it back later.

"I don't expect this to be a pleasant trip, yet I must go. The exceptional economic situation existing presently in the world can only be solved by exceptional measures. It is necessary to show the way and to serve as an example."

(Tomas Bata before departure).

The First Day of the Airtrip

On the first day we were lucky, though the radio continued to broadcast negative news: fog over the Alps - no way to land in Klagenfurt or on other Alpine airfields. Stack, our English pilot, began to veer down before Vienna, he wanted to land there. We were saved by Broucek, who was well acquainted with the ground.

The journey over the Alps was splendid, no trace of fog. However, the highest mountains did scare us, lest Fokker ran out of breath while climbing.

We deliberated whether we should not lighten the airplane by throwing out some of the sausages of which we had carried quite a supply. But as we liked them so much, it was decided that it would be of no help and we preserved them for our stomachs instead.

We agreed to land in Venice where we arrived at 12:30 p.m., just four and a half hours after having taken off in Otrokovice.

After a short rest and refueling we continued on our flight to Rome despite unfavorable weather forecasts over the radio. It was late afternoon and so all trip long we held in our hands the measurements, a map and watches, counting how much sunlight there was still left over the horizon. About seven miles out of Rome we got a strong jolt. Within ten minutes it was almost entirely dark, heavy headwinds and a strong storm set in. We stopped our measurements and started looking for a landing place. Fortunately, there were many emergency airstrips around, the land being almost entirely flat.

Stack was probably not inclined to sleep under the wing, so he went on flying. I reckon that despite the strong headwinds, we were flying at some 140 miles an hour. All the streetlights were aglow by the time we were landing in Rome.

After having gone through passport formalities, we left Rome next day at 11 a.m. Mares, our wireless operator, gathered all weather data but the information on bad weather in all Sicily and on the African coast, as well as the news on the interdiction to land in Catania, forwarded to us belatedly from Rome, did not reach him until we were over Naples, exactly in the vicinity of Mount Vesuvius. But bad events do come in pairs. Suddenly everything on the racks overhead toppled over our heads, and even our seats moved from under us. Such tricks were pulled on us by the air turbulence around Vesuvius. Stack put an end to that comedy by taking an energetic turn and the blue Mediterranean emerged below us.

What next? We were flying into bad weather and there was no permission to land in Catania. On this entire stretch we could not spot a single regular or even emergency airstrip. All are located on the opposite side of the mountains. But as the sun continued to shine brightly, we were inclined to ignore the bad weather news, just as we did the previous day on the flight from Venice to Rome. We were not in the clear about the reason for the landing interdiction in Catania. Captain Stack behaved gallantly and continued flying the machine while Mares tried to find out why we were not allowed to land in Catania.

We were getting into the clouds and in no time hurt ourselves on their unpenetrable barrier. A violent tropical rain flooded instantly our and the pilot's windows and left us powerless.

There was no use philosophising, we had to return. I was about to order climbing, over the clouds, but I refrained from doing so once we got over the wireless the explanation on the interdiction to land in Catania and on other Sicilian airfields: two weeks of rains have left them totally soaked.

The only way left was down!

We spotted the first emergency airfield and landed.

The Nicotera airfield could boast of already four landings ahead of us, but all the planes involved had crashed. So you can imagine how proud the locals were of their airfield - and of us - when as big a plane as ours came to land smoothly and without incident.

In Nicotera we've encountered another enemy of aviation, namely sand. The wheels of the airplane have dug deeply into it and I had good cause to wonder whether we would ever take off from there. So we have emptied the plane entirely and all the passengers with their baggage proceeded by train to Palermo hoping that our airplane would rejoin us the next day and take us to Tunis.

In the meantime the weather has taken such a turn to the worse that even boat crossings were suspended. At midnight we were woken up in our hotel by a storm of such intensity that it had even our beds shaking. We were all much concerned over our airplane. Neither on Saturday nor on Sunday were we able to establish communication with Nicotera, all telegraph wires having been tom down. Finally we received word that the Fokker was intact and the only remaining question was how it will be able to take off.

On Monday morning we went to deliberate at the landing facility for hydroplanes and to seek weather information. We discovered that the interest of all Italian aviators was focussed on us. The pilots and wireless operators present there showed us the communication registered during our Friday flight.

The most interesting however was the reply of the airfield manager who reacted to our apprehensions over the airplanes's ability to take off from the muddy field by remarking that it has indeed been in the air since nine. a.m. and was well on its way to Palermo!

The telegraph operator announced also that the airplane was approaching the city and was just 10 miles from Palermo.

Knowing as we did that the long rains have also rendered Palermo airport useless for landings of heavy machines, we begged immediately to have a radio message sent advising the Fokker to fly straight on to Tunis. No sooner was the message dispatched that we heard the plane thundering overhead. We saw it gaining altitude and pointing straight towards Tunis.

But what about us now?

The boat leaves on Tuesday and a hydroplane on Wednesday and here we are left to contemplate our plane as it disappears over the horizon, scheduled to reach Tunis in an hour. At the very best, we won't stagger in there sooner than in two days and one night!

There was nothing left but to make the best of such a forced respite. I suspect the good Lord of having fulfilled the prayers of my wife who has so fervently wished that I take a vacation!

Hopefully we should be in Tunis on Wednesday morning and then the trip ought to continue without further mishaps.

We did not know what was ahead of us, but of one thing I am certain, namely that we were the first to undertake a business trip by air.

The first to work gaining time and safety. We were indebted to many local people for their assistance; it was rendered gladly and willingly. But above all we owe thanks to the citizens of Nicotera and to the Italian Ministry of Air for their readiness to supply valuable radio services on the whole trip.

Aviation and Human Interdependence

Aviation is the youngest member of human society and it is the most perfect child ever begotten by humanity. Its primary quality is the awareness of human interdependence. That is the quality which enabled mankind to rule over the world and over other creatures, to become invincible.

Aviation educates man to serve and to forgive. It teaches him to rely exclusively on himself. It imparts on him the realization that his success, his life, depend on other people.

It cures man of hatred towards other nations. Suffice a few hours of flight, a stroke of bad weather, and he is suddenly cast in their midst, dependent on their services.

Of all the countries I have so far known, Italy and its colonies Tripoli and Cyrenaica, stand out in providing this kind of services. This is because the Ministry of Air in Rome is headed by a man trained in aviation. Not that kind which is practiced behind a desk, but that real transcendental aviation which elevates man nearer to God and teaches him to serve people.

We left Tobruk at 6:30 a.m. Now it is eight. We are crossing the border between Cyrenaica and Egypt. We say goodbye to Libya and Italy. We remember all those services, great and small, which they have rendered to us. Once in Alexandria, we shall request our Embassy in Rome to extend our thanks to the Ministry of Air and to the Ministry of Colonies.

That is easy and inexpensive. What's worse is how to repay all such services by deeds.

We have to recur to the wisdom of a mother whose son is abroad. She tries to help every traveller, hoping that her son will receive the same treatment.

The services lavished on us have certainly been also motivated by such generous sentiments. For we were being looked after even by people who knew nothing of us and were not even aware that there existed a Czechoslovak Republic.

After the emergency landing in Nicotera, a rugged boy pulled on my sleeve as I was going to town and showed me a dry sidewalk. He had no other way of communicating with me as, regretfully, I do not speak Italian. Along the whole way he was showing me the most comfortable paths. As we were parting, I offered him a lira coin. The boy extended his hand eagerly to take it. His eyes were flashing. No doubt he was already pondering how to invest that money. Just then an older youngster glanced at us and gave the boy a stern look.

The boy took his hand back. There was a frightened expression on his face. He would certainly rather have his hand cut off than to accept my one lira coin. My pockets are full of such money refused for services rendered. They weigh heavily on me.

Much thought is going on here over service and reward.

To illustrate, another boy guided me to the telegraph office in the upper community, probably at the bidding of the older one. The walk took hours before I was able to escalate the 1800 feet; in fact I would have never undertaken it had I known how difficult it would turn out to be. Once arrived at the village, the boy and I got unintentionally separated. I left the telegraph office by car.

The boy rejoined me at the railroad station and reminded me that I had not paid him. He has done so in a correct way and he did probably seek advice from an older person how to go about it.

The concept underlying these two instances was something like this: the boy who showed me the better way from the airfield to the lower village went to the airfield of his own volition, for his amusement, and likewise returned from there. The service from the airfield did not cost him any time or effort and it was not solicited. Conversely, the second boy went to the upper village only on my behalf. He was asked to do so by the older youngster and reserved a reward. I liked that boy too and I would be glad if he accepted an internship in my school for young men.

Things were quite different in Italy before. In those days, no one thought of service. All hands, be they large or small, were stretched out in quest of a baksheesh. Now the very opposite applies.

Christmas over the Desert

The desert swallows time. The engine arrived just one full day late. It was fast installed. In the evening they made it run and at 11 p.m. there were still mistakes of the installation to be remedied. Only the next day at 1 p.m. did we conclude that search and by 4 p.m. the test flight was accomplished.

We do hope therefore to take off tomorrow, on December 25th before 7 a.m. It is a pity that the moon does not shine at dawn. Moonlight here has almost the intensity of daylight.

A military christmas eve is simple. I am living that experience for the first time in my life. We managed to feel happy. We agreed in the evening to take off for Benghazi after three o'clock. It is a distance of 330 miles from Sidra. Stack and Meisel will get up at three o'clock and will make the final decision. They decided to take off and woke us up. We left at 4:15 a.m. My first night flight.

Everything I do here is new to me and it looks accordingly. Almost all officers and NCO's came to help us at departure.

Goodbye, Sidra! I shall never forget your splendid sun, air and people.

We encountered headwinds and the clouds over the Eastern horizon, which made the commander shake his head, were thickening.

The moon in these parts, almost as bright as the sun, receded behind clouds and over the horizon. It was dark. Only the exhausts and the foaming sea illuminated our way. The new engine in particular was leaving behind a long belt of flames. It ran too high and would have to be throttled in Masamatr. Those flames are exhilarating as they confirm the proper functioning of the engines. At night they must appear awesome only to people on the ground. Many are certainly scared of the unusual appearance of night flights. We are in the clouds and it rains. It is not yet five o'clock. What is ahead of us? Mares at his wireless post tries to catch some news. Now, at night and on Christmas Day?

I am staring intently at my left engine. Its regular beat is as important for us as our own heartbeat. I feel a beginning friendship to grow between us. It resembles a friendship between man and horse. There may be multiple occasions when the horse saves the man's life and vice versa; they make them both realize that they will either win together or perish together.

It is six o'clock. Behold, there on the horizon, a streak of light. Would it be dawn? Everybody rushes to my window. Yes, it is dawn. Thanks. The light appears as a harbinger of good news that far to the East where we are heading, there are no impenetrable clouds that would prevent a landing. In a few minutes, there was full daylight. It was due to the fact that we were closer to the Equator and at high altitude.

Meisel set up a feast. He emptied the Thermos bottle of tea, distributed eggs and Arab bread. Captain Stack entered the cabin with a big smile and shook my hand. We were all laughing, because we all love life so much.

The Future of the Desert

How much more different is the globe in reality than on the map! The map registers a multitude of rivers and creeks. We believe that the term river means running water. In reality, I have not spotted a single drop of water in rivers along the entire 1 800 miles of the North African coast, with the exception of the Nile in Egypt.

I realized that in these parts of the world it is more ill-mannered to fail emptying to the last drop an offered glass of water than to let unfinished a plate of food. Water here is the equivalent of life. That's how plants understand it, too. They chose for their habitat the deepest river-beds. They reason that it is better to perish sometime in a catastrophic flood than right away for lack of water. How little have human beings done so far for their life. We are not even able to prevent water from running into the sea before it could change into life. And how much of useless water is there in the sea! We are still not competent enough to make use of these huge reservoirs to irrigate deserts with water. In order to fill the deep local river-beds with water running the whole year long from the mountains, as it happens in developed countries, one would first have to make the local rivers flow from the sea landward. Such an enormous job could not have been accomplished even by slaves or their stronger successors, the horses. Such task can be accomplished only by harnessing the forces of nature, as it was first done by Watt's steam engine just hundred years ago. The chemical part of the equation could not be solved before there will be born a new Watt, this time a chemist. Chemistry will have to separate the dissolved, life-threatening minerals in sea water from the life-giving liquid and turn them both into vegetative and biological life.

Thus deserts will blossom out with vigorous life. That will suffice to create its own atmosphere with spontaneous circulation of moisture. Only then will rivers flow in their natural way. The Earth will then produce more food than would be required for 10 billion people. The center of life will then move back to where it first generated, namely to the Mediterranean and towards Asia.

The Journey from Egypt to Palestine

The view of the Nile region is beautiful. It is a green paradise, most welcome to our eyes after almost 2000 miles of flying over sand only. But the paradise will soon come to an end. The endless desert resumes again. Our enthusiasm is somewhat kept in check by turbulence caused by strong winds. Which altitude should we fly at in order to settle down a bit? Mares pounds the wireless, but the Cairo station remains quiet. Finally, a long message. The wind in Egypt blows at 8000 feet. In Palestine, it is strong at 3000 feet. O.K., so let's climb. And there, from the south, a sandstorm is approaching.

I never saw one before and never lived through one. We are afraid of it. Like of anything unknown. We must now climb faster. We are already at 6000 feet, but that is not enough. Captain Stack rushes to the cabin to fetch his warm coat. We have to reach at least 9000 feet. He could not last long up there. We are all putting on our winter coats. They too are cold. We should have dressed warmly earlier.

The storm is approaching and Stack does not climb fast enough. Now I understand. He is veering northwards. He prefers to evade it.

He is probably afraid he might get lost as the sand would obstruct his vision of the ground. Pity, I would have liked to see and experience a sandstorm. At least from the airplane. But Captain Stack has probably been through one and has no need for more. He prefers to deviate over the sea to escape it.

Stop in the desert Gwadar Beludshistan

We gradually leave the storm more and more to the south and will be soon out of it altogether. It was certainly only a small storm, otherwise we would not have gotten away from it so easily. Surely it would not have harmed us except for giving us some bumps.

It would have been worse had it delayed us. We are already quite behind schedule. We took off at 1:35 p.m., one hour later than planned and we are further hampered by headwinds. We probably won't reach Ramla airport near Jerusalem before dusk.

Stack passes a message to Mares. He should inquire about sunset at Ramla. He fears that we may arrive after nightfall. Indeed, the sun is just about to set. Once it is gone, there will be darkness in a few minutes. But we are coming close. Stack revued up my left engine by 100 RPM. I have to stop that. The friendship I made with that engine last night demands it.

From Bushire to Beludshistan

The night in Bushire

The town has 30 000 inhabitants, but not a single hotel. Until recently, pilots and passengers had to make their own tea at the airfield. Only a short time ago has Mr. Kazerooni converted a farm near the airfield into a dormitory, with three to four bedrooms, famished up to local standards. Nevertheless, we are content, as the sea air is splendid and all is clean. Mr. Kazerooni, a good and solid businessman, is a man of importance in all of Southern Persia; he speaks good English and is ubiquitous; he ate his meals with us and gave us valuable information on local commerce. At night we shared two rooms. He has installed this refuge at his own cost, otherwise he is in the shipping business all over Persia, exporting and importing diverse merchandise from all parts of the world.

Fleeing a Storm

We have been in the air for two hours, assisted by tailwinds. By noon, we will have covered over 500 miles. We are flying over the town of Lingah; it is served by a British line, but there is no airfield in sight.

The wind has now calmed down entirely, leaving the sea beneath us as smooth as a mirror. We are able to observe from the airplane huge underwater mountain chains. We are approaching Arabia, soon we will see its promontory.

But just in that direction there are now appearing clouds and our plane begins to move very nervously. No wonder. We still have westwinds while the clouds are coming closer from the south-east and are becoming more threatening. Captain Stack indicates that he will escape to the north. A pity, we will not see even a speck of Arabia Stack knows how to run. It's easy; once he turns the airplane by the wind, we get as fast as the storm and add our own 100 miles per hour. He evaded the storm both horizontally and vertically - we outflanked it.

We are flying high over its first messengers. The shadow of our plane colors the clouds with thousands of hues. Around its shadow, a colored circle is forming - the rainbow. I have often flown above the clouds but never before had I seen such beautiful sight.

The storm has fooled us. It spread high and broad over the entire south-east, just where we are flying and where we have to land.

Stack was heading against it. We'll see. He fought in quite a few wars in the tropics. Mares busies himself with his wireless but there is no answer. Or is there, after all? By now we are completely surrounded by the storm. The plane is swaying from side to side. Behind us, there is still a stream of light. In the worst case, that is where Stack will try to escape. We are well equipped. We still have plenty of fuel and can remain in the air for hours.

Stack has descended, we are now only some thousand feet high which is very disagreeable given the rather violent up and down movements of the airplane. It is raining - lightnings are flashing all around us. Too bad Stack let himself be forced down, I would prefer to be above them, because even lightnings follow the laws of gravity, they strike from the top down. We wish to be above them. We are in the hands of God. We are flying over a large plateau, would it be Arabia? There is sea again in front of us, but what do we suddenly see? Light. Stacks turns around and laughingly motions forward with his hand.

He always does that when he wins. We have escaped the storm, only thick, sand clouds are still keeping up with us. And now we have also outdistanced them. By now, we are by some 90 miles faster. The flight is still rather bumpy, the machine is not yet entirely out of the stormy atmosphere. But Stack knows what we want - peace and quiet and therefore he is climbing. Although we do not have any radio news yet about the wind in the altitude we know from experience that high up there we should find a quite layer.

In cap-djask, as on all airports, we had to go through many formalities. The police did not allow us to leave the plane before going through medical examination. The doctor prohibited us to go to town, because we arrived from a cholera-infested region. We have to take off immediately, and that's exactly what we want. It is only twelve noon and we would like to set a record - 900 miles. As soon as we refuel, we will take off for Chabar. We are not even allowed to go to the restaurant, but they have only tea there anyway. So we are making our own. The doctor was kind enough to bring us water.

We are reasoning about the storm. Mares thinks it was impossible to get above that storm the altitude of which he estimated at 10 000 feet high. The Fokker cannot reach such altitude. He points to the close-by mountains where a strong wind is blowing down to the valley and up again. The path of the wind is clearly visible as it is carrying large amounts of sand which could be fatal to the airplane. This show is quickly approaching us. It is indeed our storm that caught up with us. Let's refuel fast and get up there. The tea-time is over, the cold, peeled potatoes we brought from Bushire are lying in the sand. We are tying up the wings with ropes so that the storm could not overturn the airplane should we not get away in time. Let's leave fast! End of fueling, we must leave with two tanks.

We are airborne. In few minutes, there will be no trace of the storm. We have become escape artists. The plane sways. Why is Stack flying so low again? Broucek hands me a note. It seems it is impossible to climb higher, there is a headwind up there. No way! That much we have already learned. The headwind is down - the surf pounding the shores proves it. Above are good winds - the shadows cast on the ground by passing clouds prove it.

We should use this superior knowledge of aviation to strengthen the authority of the passengers. We shall convey that to the pilots in block letters. It worked. The pilots surrender. Stack signals with his hand that we are climbing. Provided the good wind lasts, we will fly over the entire Persia and land in Gwattar, Beludshistan. The question is when does the sun set there. Mares is trying to find out by radio. We have to check our timing, every minute counts.


On the return trip from India, there was no time to contemplate the details of our flight. We were too busy finding solutions for the business questions which were by that time taking a concrete form.

That was why I gave only a brief and concise order concerning the flight direction. It was only in Asia Minor, in Aleppo, a mere two flight days far from Zlin, that I was forced to pay more attention to our trip. The chief pilot, Captain Stack, made thousands of excuses why we could not take off from Aleppo to Istanbul. It reminded me of his numerous explanations about the danger of flying over Turkey in winter and particularly during February rains. He found many witnesses who would corroborate his statements about the bad state of Turkish airfields, about the radio services, about bad weather and high mountain ranges.

The view of hand-shoemakers in the streets of Ramleh near Jerusalem

I admitted that it was necessary to take all these problems into consideration and to take precautions. But the more insurmountable these obstacles appeared, the less I was willing to consent changing the flight direction.

The main purpose of my trip was to find the shortest way to India and to determine all the existing inconveniences.

Turkey is situated on the shortest route. This fact excluded any agreement with our chief pilot. I told him in unmistakable terms that we were going to fly via Turkey - either with or without him.

After that Captain Stack took all his belongings from the plane. We could do without him, because Mares and Broucek were willing to fly via Turkey without Stack.

Captain Stack flew four times via Turkey. His pessimism was based on his experience, the compliance of the other pilots only on their courage. My standpoint began to look more like obstinacy. Until this time I succeeded to achieve unanimity of all members of the expedition. According to Stack, we were faced with the most dangerous leg of our trip. On such occasions, unanimity is essential. I was realizing Stack's difficult position - he put his name, his time and effort into the expedition. His departure would have bad moral and financial consequences for him, because it would deprive him of the bonuses he was entitled to in case of success, as stipulated in his contract.

I wrote him a letter and warned him that all of us would entail losses by insisting to stick to our former standpoints. Upon which Captain Stack returned; it meant victory for all of us.

We are flying already for an hour over Alexandretta Bay. On the far horizon loom the Taurus Mountains. I have previously heard aviators pronounce this name with a certain accent, the significance of which I did not grasp properly.

Stack climbs to 3000 feet and Mares makes abortive attempts to get in touch with some Turkish radio station. We are in the heart of the mountains. On the right, to the north-east, dark clouds cover the unfriendly mountains. They don't bother us. Fortunately, we are traveling in north-westernly direction and there are no clouds in sight there. We will most certainly cross the Taurus without problems.

The airplane climbs fast, but unfortunately, the speed of the headwind is increasing just as fast. Clouds from the north-east are pushing us more and more southward, diverting us from our direction. If we tried to avoid them, we would get back to Aleppo. All we have left is to continue! It would not be difficult if we knew what is ahead and how high are the clouds. But Mares sits helplessly, his wireless is not functioning. We keep returning in order to escape the clouds. We are now flying at 12 900 feet. We are already four hours in the air and we have not yet found a passage through.

According to our calculations, we should have been over the mountain tops in an hour and half. Having checked the fuel we realized that we have enough for only two hours, so no more experiments! We must start thinking about ourselves now. Thus ends our wireless conversation, familiar only to aviators and needing neither words nor electricity. Captain Stack turns around - where are we going to land? In Adana? That's impossible. We are three and a half hours flight from Adana. Besides, the airfield there is too small for a big passenger plane. Stack indicated it and all other pilots in Aleppo agreed with him. But where else should we land? Maybe at some beach, we have surely enough fuel for that. Yet Stack insisted that the Asia Minor coast is sheer and therefore not suitable for landing.

In the meantime, we are flying towards Adana. Luck is with us. The wind, formerly against us, did not betray us after all, it changed into a tailwind now. We have found an airlayer with a wind speed of about 55 miles; it will bring us to Adana on time. We are no more worried about the size of the airfield there. Better small than none.

We have arrived in Adana. We have circled around several times, but no airfield in sight. We have frightened all animals and people in the entire region flying our monster just over their heads. And because an airplane cannot stay in the air without fuel, we have to descend. We have landed successfully on a meadow.

We are sitting in a wagon of a fast train at the Adana railroad station. The weather news was hopeless all morning, yet work does not wait. It dawns. From the train, we can see the Taurus, the weather is getting better. We might still succeed today!

We are again airborne. The air is as clear as a mountain stream. We are heading straight toward the snow-covered Taurus mountain range. In a short while we have caught up with the fast train which had left way ahead of us, with my friends and luggage aboard. It was crawling, making long detours and in few minutes we have lost it from sight.

The Fokker climbs with difficulty. It is on a bad diet, because we could not buy proper airplane fuel in Adana, only car gasoline. I am lucky to have left my friends and my luggage behind on the train, it would have been even worse with them. The altimeter indicates 12 000 feet and in front of us are still some hills.

I observe my left motor. The meter shows 1700 RPM, 100 more than it can manage. And I promised friendship and faithfulness! I feel perfidious. What can be done? With a lower RPM count, we cannot stay up in the thin air of such altitude.

Mares, who can see all three motors points with his finger to the thermometer and the oil pressure gauge of my motor. The dial fingers are fast approaching zero. Mares's face has a serious expression. The lubrication is impaired, the oil has frozen. There is no time for reasoning. The motor must be stopped to prevent jamming. We are already above the highest peaks of the Taurus mountains. Below us is a gorge and enormous quantities of snow.

Stack slowly reduces speed of the wounded motor. He is testing if the two remaining motors can keep us in the air. It is possible.

All of us are anxiously observing our right motor which replaced the one damaged in North Africa. It was hastily mounted in the Sidra desert and broke down already several times during our trip. Now it must also do the work of my friend on the left.

The Taurus mountain range is unending. We are already three hours in the air and still see only gorges and snow-covered rocks below. We have crossed the Alps in less than an hour at 6000 feet altitude.

We are flying low. We have to spare the motors - the wounded one has a hard time. We are following as much as possible the Baghdad railroad tracks in order to find help in case of emergency landing.

We are all contemplating the distance from the next airfield in Konia. Fortunately, we wired them yesterday to mark it for us by flags. Or does this airfield exist only in official files just as the Adana airfield? Doesn't the manager there also bring the windcone marking the airfield in his car?

We are finally over Konia. We identify it by its large railroad station. We would prefer though to recognize it by its large airfield. We are intently looking to the left - to the right - in front of us. There is no airfield anywhere. Maybe we have overlooked it due to lot of snow and snow drifts. The next airfield is in Eskishehir, some 300 miles away. Stack shakes his head and continues to fly.

From the Indian Notebook

On each trip, Tomas Bata put in his notebook not only general remarks, but observations concerning business as well. He used such notes later as data for his future work. Some of the notes are presented here.

Tripolis. The price of a camel here is between 600 and 700 Italian lire; the animal can carry loads of 880 - 1320 lbs. and travel approximately 65 miles in three days. The fee for renting a camel with a driver is about 20 lire a day. A donkey costs up to 100 lire, it travels approximately 12 miles a day and is able to carry 220 lbs.

To hire a donkey with a driver costs 6 - 10 lire. It must be taken into consideration that in this sparely populated country, the transportation distances will be long. It is absolutely impossible that a business manager could deliver merchandise by mail or automobile. It has to be transported by boat to the nearest port and from there inland by camels. It is certainly the only means of transportation possible and the rest must be taken care of by the manager himself. The approximate distance between the ports is 65 miles and only very few outlets would be farther from the port than 65 miles.

Palestine. We have landed in Ramleh and left immediately for Jerusalem.

The next morning, we visited Ramleh, Tel-Aviv, the seat of Jewish culture and Jaffa. I cannot help but feeling like a dolt. All my preconceived ideas about this country were completely wrong. Never mind, I got used to that. It seems that until now every country I visited was entirely different than I imagined it to be.

I should benefit greatly from the present trip if I would constantly remind myself that I have no right to decide about things I have never seen and know nothing about.

Baghdad. The shoe shine boy works in the following way: First he thoroughly cleans the dusty shoes with a cloth. Then he soaps them with a brush as for shaving. For color, he adds a liquid polish mixture of red and yellow, according to the shade he wants to obtain, and spreads it over the shoe. Afterwards he applies from a box solid shoe polish similar to ours and finally wipes the shoes with a cotton cloth. He repeats the same with a woolen cloth and re-applies solid polish. Having vigorously polished the shoe, he continues the solid cream application. The soap solution is prepared from ordinary soap. The liquid polish is manufactured by Cobra Blyth; & Platt, Ltd in Watford. The, solid shoe polish comes from Polish Mfg 81 Greenest N.Y. The retail price of liquid polish box is seven annas, of the solid one eight annas.

After Return


Indeed I have not expected and do not deserve the great welcome you are giving me. We have made a long trip, it practically equals a trip around the globe.

Yet this is not our pride and our merit. Indeed, we have no right to boast about our success. On the contrary, we should have the feeling that we owe it to the great inventors and pioneers of aviation who have even sacrificed their lives in order to make these modern machines available to us. It is their merit that we could accomplish a trip that used to take several years in just few weeks.

This machine enabled us to get acquainted with many nations. It is my pleasure to tell you that all of them need our work. All of them wish to cooperate with us in improving our lives by helping them to improve theirs and by accomplishing our present work even better and faster.

Hail to aviation and success to our work!

The Collaborator

Labor Day Holiday

For his entire life, Tomas Bata identified himself with working people - with the millions who are daily working with machinery and tools in factories and in the fields, as well as in the mines under the ground He came from below and was proud of the fact that the strength of his intellect made him rise to the top. Yet it did not satisfy him to have solved for himself the problem of advancement of a working man; his defiant intellect was challenged by the enormity of the task of advancing the totality of the masses he originated from - not in a distant future, but immediately. Convinced that bread is more powerful than arms and work more effective than discussions and conjectures, he endeavored to unite the forces of the entire enterprise. He saw the enterprise as a social body and the only tool enabling working people to improve their destiny through a joint effort to serve better the entire society. He regarded the First of May Labor Day celebration as a manifestation of unity of work combined with the duty of mutual service among people. In 1924, he invited by the letter cited below all his collaborators to his home (at that time, his garden was large enough to accommodate them all) and celebrated henceforth that day in their company.

The tradition of that community celebration indicated the profound educational message of Bata's efforts. On that day, Tomas Bata presented to his collaborators and to the general public the social balance sheet of the activities of his enterprise; we are publishing here the relevant speeches, wage statistics, prices of products and employees' savings. This Labor Day celebration in Zlin generated such interest that in 1931 it was attended by 80 000 people.

The spacious workrooms of the Zlin factories changed that day into festive dining rooms. In the midst of decorated machines, there stood long tables decked out with white table cloths; all those who worked in that workshop, their families and guests sat down around them.

On that day, all of them were guests of the enterprise, with the head of the workshop and his wife representing the host and hostess. It was the greatest holiday of working Zlin and its token of respect to labor and to the unity of the working people.

The invitation to the first Labor Day celebration on May 1, 1924, sent to every collaborator of the enterprise. (The letter also shows Tomas Bata's handwriting).

Tomas Bata



Our working family is so large that not all of us know each other any more. Let us therefore get together after work on the first of May to celebrate the Labor Day.

Bring your wife and children with you, they will be most welcome.

With best greetings

Tomas Bata


Speech of May 1, 1924.

I welcome you to my house! You have come from near and far in response to my friendly invitation to share in the observance of Labor Day.

We see each other every day. The strict and mighty voice of the work siren convokes us every day to common work, invites us to tough work, to tough struggle. To a struggle between men and matter, between men and men, and often also to a fight with evil elements which may imperil our labor or our homes.

We go to the factory to earn our subsistence.

Where there is subsistence, there si life, where there is life, there is combat. In the factory, there is no place or time for manifestations of friendship. Love belongs to private residences.

And yet, our work, our sustainer, requires that we get together at least once a year not to earn money but to enjoy ourselves, not for drudgery and struggle, but for joy and merriment. Not as workmen, foremen, headmen and managers or directors, but as one family partaking in the same work, a family drawing its life juices from one source.

And today should be such a day. That is why we are not being summoned by the work siren, that we are not meeting in the factory, but have come together in my family house where we were convened by pleasant sounds of music. Your badges were the products which you had proudly carried in the parade. They are our banners. We are creating around our product that same aura with which the farmer has through centuries endowed his product, considered to be God's own gift. Our product has to mean the same to us.

Our Valachian region is not blessed, not fertile, yet overpopulated; it is the best breeding ground for poverty. It does not hold such natural resources as coal, oil, ore, etc. Our ancestors used to say: "When the good Lord was distributing stones, his bag bursted just as he was giving them to us. And the stones are not even good. They are hardly fit for roads." Others commented: "Where we live is where good bread ends and good water begins." And so we have to import bread for our families and stones for our roads from more blessed regions.

We have only our work. Only work can give us a better future. But we have to fight hard for that work in our won country as well as abroad. We will prevail only if we continue to compete among ourselves, who may do faster and who may do better.

We have to defend our work against both evident and concealed enemies just as the farmer would defend the land that feeds him.

The good Lord gave us healthy hands and a sound mind. We, of Zlin, have understood the importance of work. Witness to it bear all those factory stacks surrounded by many healthy residences. Evidence provide the results of the Zlin election where we have also voted for work. And the good reputation of our products in all parts of the world testifies to the fact that our work does honestly serve the whole population.

We have good reason to take pleasure today in the results of our work. I would be happy if I saw that enjoyment on all your faces.

Please feel today at home in my house.


(Cable message from the first trip to India on the occasion of May 1, 1925.)

I regret that I cannot celebrate this year's Labor Day with you, save in my thoughts.

From a distance abroad I wish you hearty merriment. May you be filled on this day with the notion of togetherness and belonging. May each and every one of you realize that he is part of an army that does not fight but labors for the welfare of its own and others.

Just like an army, we are divided on our workplace in big and small units with bigger or smaller leaders. The leaders owe love to their subordinates and the subordinates owe respect to their leaders. No leader has ever fared badly for excess of care for his subordinates and subordinates have never prospered when their leader was not doing well.

Mutual confidence is the best friend in your life and the best helper in the work you do together.

Salvation is in you alone. No one will help you unless you help each other.

Tomas Bata

May 1, 1926:

As the years advanced, Tomas Bata visualized the main signs of the industrial organization from the implementation of which he expected not only the solution of the vital questions of workers in industry, but primarily the gradual increase of the living standards of all working people. At age 50, he set for himself lofty goals, believing, as was his habit, that only a lofty goal yields high averages. Of course, he was not satisfied with fixing objectives - he proceeded immediately with laying foundations. Thus his Labor Day address of 1926 amounted in fact to a social program which he undertook to put into effect and to expand from year to year.

Friends and Collaborators

I thank you for your friendly greetings for my fiftieth birthday. I owe my parents for my life which I enjoy despite my fifty years; I am indebted to them even more for their education in the shoemaking craft which they have taught me to love.

I remember the wounded heroes of our work and I am happy to declare that the success of our work this year enables us to donate one million crowns for the construction of a factory hospital.

We arrived at the conclusion that the management of the enterprise is to be committed not only to emancipating the enterprise from subjection to capital, but also to emancipating all collaborators in the plant from economic dependence and economic bondage. The management must help them to get hold of capital and thus to make it their servant and their slave. The management of the enterprise is obliged to assist all its employees in acquiring capital, it must teach its employees how to handle money and it must educate them in the art of how to preserve capital.

Such art may be easier mastered by the youngest members of our work family, and that is why we shall make a gift of one thousand crowns to every child born this year and in the years to come. The enterprise shall extend this single gift tenfold by the time those children reach the age of twenty four, provided we will continue to be able to pay a ten percent interest on the deposits of our employees.

By the same token we shall reach this objective with regard to our young men who will be educated so as to have savings of at least 100 000 Kc before they will face family responsibilities, but at the latest at age twenty four; in addition, they will possess a wealth of expert knowledge and enjoy top physical fitness. Our results prove that a boy of fourteen can already earn more in industry than to what amount his general life necessities.

As to adults, we endeavor to extricate them from economic dependence by increasing their efficiency and thus their wages, and also by profit sharing and reducing the price of consumer goods.

The statistics of our personnel department illustrate the results of this endeavour and the relevant projections for the future.

The savings of our collaborators, deposited in the enterprise, have doubled over the past year and have reached the sum of 26 million Kc. Our projections for 1927 prove that here, too, we are striving to accelerate that rate.

But this is not the day for economic meditations. The exuberant ambiance around us invites to happiness and joy. For 300 days we have given a full and honest measure of work. Let all faces shine today with the enjoyment of life. May this day help our families to get better acquainted with each other, may it make us realize that we belong together, that we constitute one working family.

Glory to life, glory to our work!

In 1927, in the midst of constructive work along the plans laid out in 1926, Tomas Bata remained silent. "Good work is the best speech", he observed. Instead, he had made public statistics on wages, shoe prices and employees savings. In 1928, when 40 000 people gathered for the Labor Day observance, he once again took the floor:

May Day in 1932 in Bata Enterprises. From the right: >Tomas Bata, D. Cipera and Mrs. Bata.

My Collaborators - Our Dear Guests

I welcome you all sincerely to our First of May Labor Day celebration.

I thank you all for the manifestations of friendship to our work.

The importance for us of observing the First of May is growing just as fast as our work family is expanding.

In the olden days, the enterprises were very small. All members of such plants fitted under one roof, indeed around one table, and they all ate from one bowl. Thus there could have been no doubts about the necessity of all pulling in one direction. It was evident that the failure of the enterprise would be the failure of each and every one.

Our work family could no more be accommodated under one roof. It is spread all over the world. We are gathered here for the First of May celebration to get to know each other better, to rejoice from this mutual acquaintance and to draw strength and confidence in our work for the coming year.

Today, you play hosts at your workshops to your wives and children.

Introduce them to the ideals of your work, so as to let them, too, seek their honor and their glory only in the success of their and your work for the good of their family and for the common weal!

Indulge today in well-deserved mirth.

In concluding, let me propose a triple cheer to our President Masaryk, to the ailing Prime Minister and to our dear guests!

The Guilt is Primarily Mine

Up to the end of 1928, the enterprise registered a permanent and remarkable growth of production and sales. This was due mainly to foreign trade which was developing on all world markets in cooperation with businessmen of great standing with whom Bata was associated. But suddenly, in the spring of 1929, he cancelled the most important of such contacts and thus he also abolished the entire organizational structure of wholesale exports which was being built over years of obstinate work. There were few people in the plants who attributed this step to other reasons than eccentricity, and there were many who begrudged him for that. Every profound interference with the mighty organism of a great enterprise is bound to produce jolts as well as material and personal difficulties. A new system about to be born requires more work for less profit than the old, established one could yield. There was also no evident reason for such radical measure, as exports were expanding and the big customers have been paying well. There was only one argument in favor of changing the system with all the related difficulties, and that was Bata's will and instinct, which both revolted against trends beginning to appear in big business; they pointed to reducing production and introducing "seasons" in order to achieve "better" prices.

He felt that this view, which he called "speculatory", jeopardized what he was striving for all his life, namely the freedom of relations with the customer and a free hand for a free service to the consumer. And he was not ready to sacrifice that freedom for anything, not even for fear of great difficulties. He recognized clearly that every kind of freedom has to be fought for and that there were mountains of obstacles ahead of him. He expected the international agitation of hitherto unheard-of intensity which was unleashed later against his work by the European industry. And in those days he did, as always, put his trust in his work alone.

Two years later it became evident that the number of employees has doubled and that the production which reached in 1929 a total of 85,000 pairs a day, grew to 180 000 pairs. The number of outlets increased fivefold. And in the main European cities foundations were being laid for factories of sister companies. As many times before, the cautious know-alls were in 1929 shaking their heads and declaring that "now Bata will go downward. "In 1931, those who were among the 80,000 participants at that year's May celebration, shook their heads again: "Indeed, this man succeeded in finding the way to greatness in every situation!"

The intervention of 1929 was a powerful jerk of the rudder which put a huge economic concern on the right course for decades to come, as it was called for by the evolution of life. The man who was as broad-minded in setting the course as he was meticulously hard-working in attending to details, was entitled to assume with full self-confidence the "guilt" for every situation, because he knew that he was changing it at that very moment. Under the impact of such an example, there could not be found a single person who would attribute responsibility for failure to anybody but himself and who would not patiently make a new start under changed conditions.


An address on May 1, 1929.

Welcome to you, my collaborators, and welcome to you, our dear guests, to this celebration of Labor Day.

I thank you for your expression of friendship, but also for the faith which you have kept with your work all year long.

This year's First of May is not such a happy occasion as it was in the previous years, for in a number of departments we failed to reach the norms of wages and performances which we have set for ourselves.

This temporary failure has been caused by the management of the enterprises, but first of all it is me who is to be blamed.

We have fallen behind in equipping our sales department in such a way that would allow it to market our products also in bad times.

Bad times have indeed come upon us particularly on the world markets, where negotiations on the settlement of war obligations coincided with the worst weather in human memory that caused us the loss of two seasons. But the bigger the obstacles and the difficulties, the greater the opportunity for men of gallant hearts.

I trust that our work will continue its victorious march, for the benefit of our work family, for the welfare of our customers and of the entire state.

My Collaborators, Our Dear Guests

An address on May 1, 1930.

The first of May is the day when each of us is asking the question whether the services we render to our customers is proportionate with the services we are doing to ourselves. The wage is the most important of the services on our behalf. In industry, the wage affects the welfare of people in the same way as the harvest does in agriculture.

That is why it is the duty of all of us to strive for permanent raises of our wages.

That is why we are presenting to you the records on wages in the past year. The average for the past year was lower than the present wages are.

Tomas Bata is examining the results of the best workshops at May Day, whose chiefs will receive the presentations. - From the right T. Bata, A. Cekota, D. Cipera, J. A. Bata.

We have not reached the projected wage levels because of low employment. The low employment of the past year was caused by speculation on the shoe market. The reconstruction of distribution that we have undertaken during the past year abolished speculation with our products and assures us of steady increase in our wages.

If we have not yet reached the level of the world's highest wages, we believe at least to hold the primacy in the effort to make our collaborators into economically independent people who do themselves control capital.

The result of this endeavor so far has been that our business ledgers do not show a penny's worth of indebtedness of employees to the enterprise, but rather does the enterprise owe the employees 74 million Kc at 10 percent interest, as revealed in the published statistics.

By publishing comprehensive data on wages and on the employees' participation, we would like to stimulate a competitive approach of employers in terms of raising wages and reducing prices of their products.

We would like to convince all entrepreneurs that enterprises which care for their employees show better resistance in the competitive struggle because their jobs are coveted by people of pioneering nature.

I hope that in a not too distant future, every joint-stock company will publish not only dividends due to their shareholders but also statistics featuring data on the wage increments of their employees and on the price reductions that benefited their customers in the past year.

The amount of the wage represents but one half of prosperity. The other half depends on low prices of industrial and agricultural products. We could achieve high wages and low prices only if the producers would be animated by the spirit of service to the public.

In closing join me please in proposing three cheers to President Masaryk, our republic and our work.

These few concise sentences mark a victorious conclusion of a two years' hard work at a time when a feeling of apathy prevailed in the whole world. From the 80; 000 participants at the celebration who listened to him, 23 000 were employees of the Zlin plants which have doubled in size not only in shoe manufacturing, but expanded also by the addition of large investment, construction and machine-tool departments. All these sectors built new workshops, machines and well equipped outlets, which helped to create a fast-growing town. Tomas Bata felt that his 1929 decision has borne fruit.

Friends and Collaborators

Address on May 1, 1931.

I extend to you a sincere welcome to today's celebration. We have all good reason to enjoy its observance. Two years ago, we were struck by a sales crisis. I said then on the First of May that we have brought it upon ourselves. You believed, you understood, you conquered.

You have proven that even a world-wide crisis can be brought under control by people of a strong and united will.

You have banished speculation from our work, you have extricated our work from the dependence on foreign capital.

You have turned capital into a servant of labor, a servant of the public.

As long as we keep faith with each other and with our work, there will be no crisis here. It is now up to us to apply this victory of ours to a perfect service that would favor us by rising wages and our customers by improving the products.

Let us not fear the future. One half of humanity is going barefoot and barely five percent of the world's population are well shod.

That makes us realize how little we have so far accomplished and what an enormous task is still ahead for shoemakers all over the world.

The Last Labor Day of Tomas Bata

The following address was delivered two and a half months after the return from India; it contains in a condensed form all the peace of mind, self-confidence and security at one of the critical stages of the world economy. The proximity of Bata's death, which neither he, nor anybody else could have anticipated at the height of his vigorous vital energy, shrouds this address in tragic greatness.

The steadiness of the enterprise after his death proved the truthfulness of that man's existence. He lived so that he could die at any minute, with all the tasks, duties and obligations he assumed settled and in the quiet knowledge that his work was secure.

Friends - fellow citizens!

We have a good reason to enjoy today's Labor Day.

It is because in these difficult time we were able to preserve our economic independence from foreign capital, because we were true to the slogan on our factory wall: Let us be creditors, not debtors!

We do not owe anything to anybody save to ourselves. All our taxes have been paid. We have the best shoe manufacturing machinery available anywhere in the world.

We have free and healthy hands, ready to do every job called for by our times.

A whole billion people in the world are still walking around barefoot. Unfortunately we have not yet learned to do business with them, nor do we know their languages.

That work is cut out for us and our sons, but in the first place it is waiting for you, our young men.

We count on you to continue building our sales system, our towns and entire regions.

I propose three cheers to the leaders of public life in our Land and state, to Land President Cerny, to Prime Minister Udrzal and to our dear President of the Republic Masaryk!


Many people believe that hard work and the struggle with tough problems can be performed with a smile on the face. That is not so.

We may satisfy our customers with a smile, which we are committed to add to our product free of charge. A smile has to be saved for our home, for wife and children, but let us not insist on smiling in factories and workshops at a time when we have to contend with serious work problems.

You could have seen these days many a somber face among the leaders of our enterprise. These faces were marked by the struggles they are engaged in when searching for new foundations.

I ask you not to be afraid of combat and not to shirk it off even when facing defeat.

Struggle is the father of all. Without struggle there is no life, but - and that is essential - without struggle there can be no victory.

We are fighting for the victory of our work. Hail to our work!

At May Day many people always gathered in Zlin, not only from the local area, but also from the whole republic.

Tomas Bata always explained to his collaborators any serious question concerning common interests of the whole enterprise, either in discussions or in written form. "How could people collaborate without sharing their ideas and trying to reach a collective point of view?" he used to say. Hundreds of such discussions held in workshops, factory outlets or meetings were not put on record. In the speech from 1931 that follows, Tomas Bata explained his point of view on the causes of difficulties experienced by English industry at that time and pointed out the value of confidence and unity for industrial undertaking.

The English Way in Comparison With Our

I would like to explain to you how important it is for all of us to have confidence in one another. The best proof of it is the following example.

In 1922, our country was afflicted by the same problems England is facing now. I am using that particular example because all of you know how important the English market is for us and how much the deterioration of English currency bears upon our work.

Our country was in similar situation that year. The high exchange rate of our crown made our shoes far too expensive for foreign markets, which practically stopped all business. For many factories it became more worth while to discontinue production than to work.

I have chosen another way.

I decided to inform our works council (presided then like now by Mr. Bruna) about our situation and proposed to reduce wages by forty percent while at the same time ensuring for our workers a fifty percent price reduction of life necessities. At the same time, the price of our products was also reduced by fifty percent.

But what is the english solution today?

Exactly opposite to ours at that time. At present, England's foreign trade is practically at standstill, her export is shrinking from year to year. We know all this from our own experience. Our principal competitors in India are the Japanese and the Americans, but certainly not the English. Their shoes hardly appear on the market because they are too expensive.

And why are their shoes expensive?

Because in England industrialists and workers don't understand each other. They distrust each other. Both employers and employees have very powerful organizations. Even if they wanted, the employers could not pay more to their workers - it is a matter of honor for them. The same goes for the organizations of workers. A worker can accept a job only under conditions stipulated by his organization.

I have already told you about such employers' honor and I have described to you my experience.

I have never belonged to any employers' organization, concerning neither mutual exchange of the labor force - the workers always pay for that - nor the so-called market protection, another name for cartels - the customer usually carries the brunt of their establishment. Yet, just by accident, I was once present at such meeting. I was invited there in my function of President of the Shoe Manufacturers Association In Bohemia, still under the Austrian Empire. I have also attended the meeting of Shoe Manufacturers in Vienna, where the first item on the agenda was some internal affair of one of the member firms, accused of a "terrible offense", namely increasing the tackers' wages by two crowns a week. For that, it was supposed to be excluded from the association.

It was probably agreed upon by the association that a tacker's wage may not be higher than 35 crowns a week and the enterprise in question paid 37 crowns!

The Chairman turned to me and said: "This could certainly not happen in your association." At the same time, he inquired how much we were paying to our tackers. I told him they made 300 crowns.

This short answer of mine cut short the proceedings on the offense of that company. Without another word, the committee changed the subject.

Yet not always were our wages eight times higher than elsewhere. It was just a coincidence, because we were at that time trying to woo over tackers from Stern & Co. in Prostejov. Mr. Labut and another man have been our employees ever since. I never considered it a sin to pay more to workers; on the contrary, I considered it my employer's duty to pay as high wages as possible.

But do not think that only employers form trusts. The employees have them as well; as a consequence of employers trusts, of course.

Such employees trusts are now weighing heavily on the English national economy. Particularly in our branch, there is a tough organization managed by a Mr. Richards.

Mr. Richards, of course, has only the best intentions of his charges in mind. He would never allow that wages in English shoe industry be lowered or working conditions aggravated.

The english organization, as far as I know (I have not been following it lately), went even as far as not allowing the English employer to change anything in his workshops without provoking strong protests of the employees and the whole Union.

But exactly this is causing the great crisis of the English nation. Mr. Richards can dictate the members of his organization, he can dictate the factory owners, but he cannot dictate the Indians to buy English shoes that seem too expensive or if they have less money than what the English ask.

When the first financial reconstruction of banks was being prepared, Tomas Bata warned leading government officials in a private study document; he called their attention to the consequences the thus made reorganization would cause. Defending a standpoint that everybody should be responsible for his deeds, he protested that the state should not salvage incompetent or dishonest bankers or reckless and speculating investors. He considered it a peril to working people, to producers and to national production forces. When the financial reconstruction was done after all, he addressed his collaborators with the following speech:

Financial Reconstruction of Banks

Newspapers are announcing that the financial reconstruction of banks has already been decided upon. However, the moral aspect of the reconstruction was left untouched, apart from accounts by Dr. Hodac and Dr. Stransky.

The government decided only about the financial reconstruction of banks.

The moral reconstruction was limited to the facts that leading banking personalities should be obliged to return the commissions they earned in the last two years, which means that they should return the special rewards obtained for extraordinary profits.

Nothing has been mentioned about retaining their positions or being eventually prosecuted.

Many of our collaborators will sigh when reading such sad news.

Sad for everybody who cares about the state economy and the economic morale.

Those who made the greatest sacrifices at the "turning point in ethics" under Rasin in 1922 will heave the deepest sighs.

At that time, Rasin stopped the shifting of production losses from indolent manufacturers to consumers. But some manufacturers instead of getting to work continued to idle away their time and when bad came to worst they hid behind bankers of the same ilk.

And now the banks managed to hide behind the state treasury.

A supervisory committee consisting of 17 members is distributing one and a half billion of government money to banks. Most of those men did not know how to handle their own money and consequently they squandered more than was entrusted to them. It is a flight from Rasin's economic morale expressed by a slogan: "Work and save!"

It is an inflation (decline) of morale and it is remarkable how right is the observation that from inflation of morale ensues inflation of economy and thus also inflation of currency.

The slow, but constant decline of exports from our country proves that our government administration lacks the spirit prompting economic forces to create values. Export means the difference between values produced and consumed. The source of values is that morale which commands "Work!" while surplus is generated by the morale of "Save!"

Incidentally, the Governor of the State Bank got it right when he told us: "Give us a sound economic and financial policy and we shall give you a sound currency." The expected rise in railroad tariffs will increase and solidify the insolvency.

We see no danger in the loss of one and a half billion. The true danger lurks in the position the community and the state administration are taking toward those who destroy values, i.e., the people who undermine economic morale.

Every citizen who becomes aware of this danger is obliged to militate against it; we in our enterprise have fulfilled that task by writing a voluminous treatise with the device "The moral reconstruction of banks must precede their financial reconstruction". We submitted that document at the proper places and it is not our fault that it had no effect.

We deem it our duty to share with our collaborators the unfortunate result of our effort, and to inform particularly those of our collaborators who did make in 1922 ready and conscious sacrifices toward the improvement of economic conditions in our country.

We have done all in our power to protect the work we had then initiated.

Enough Money But Little Trust

Those banks which enjoy the confidence of depositors have their large cash assets stored without interest at the National Bank. Allegedly, it is the industrial crisis that is at fault. That's at least what is being said, but in fact the blame should be laid on the lacking spirit of enterprise and the absence of trust. Trust! - What a crucial and precious lever of all human progress and prosperity!

Trust of man in man. Distrust kept humanity of the times gone by busy with building ramparts and castles. In our days, distrust produces locks and safe deposit boxes. Trust however builds department stores and factories with the money of depositors. It allows to entrust an old man's savings to a young, capable and determined man in order to enable his enterprise to cause an increase in labor demand and thus a rise of wages, to bring about a broader supply of goods that results in reducing prices and, finally, to contribute to the improvement of the country's balance of payments.

The words of a bank director who excuses his high excess of cash by claiming that there was no man around to whom he could safely lend 10 000 Kc, sound like a funeral dirge.

The highest duty of such a bank director was to find an entrepreneur who would be worthy of his trust.

Who is guilty? All of us are. Judges, too, are to be blamed for taking a lenient stand when passing sentences on abusers of trust.

Society is at fault for excusing evident or covered bankruptcies. And one who promised to pay today but won't pay until tomorrow is not less guilty.

Tomas Bata believed that it is just as important to discuss with his collaborators fundamental matters of great importance as to talk with them about seemingly irrelevant trifles. He scrupulously guarded the good name of his enterprise and strove to inculcate the responsibility for a a good company reputation to all of his collaborators, including those who did not work for him anymore. The best evidence of this are the following speeches:


A speech of 1932.

Correspondence does not mean letter-writing. It is supposed to settle things and affairs. Every letter must therefore strive to close the matter to which it pertains.

Correspondence is our only communication with the world and people judge us by it. Our principle, not to owe anything to anybody, suffered from reminders of small sums owed from past years - notices which none of the responsible people was even aware of.

Some correspondents believe that the best way to deal with a communication from a person claiming his money is to silence him somehow or to postpone the settlement. That's a shame. Ninety percent of people who write to claim money are entitled to it. They have to be thanked for reminding us, and paid. To pay is a duty, not a favor.

You may divide all correspondence in two parts. One on the credit side, one on the debit side. Either people want something from us, or we from them.

If people present a claim to us, it is highly probable that they have noted somewhere our debt to them, be it only by chalking it on the door. Our correspondence should be of the same nature. We must insist on the settlement of our claims. It would be silly to ask for anything else. But it is nonsense to wait for a second notice. Then you have to do a double reading and that is a waste of time. To settle such a matter would then require perhaps ten times the energy you would have spent on the prompt settlement of the case.

The most important requirement of correspondence is to write briefly, without subterfuge, and accurately.

In 1907, I got absorbed in machinery and had neglected office work. There ensued a terrible disorder. When I got aware of it, I had to fire half of my staff and the second half felt hurt and quit.

I had to work in the workshop in daytime and attend to correspondence at night.

I did not know much German at that time. So I settled correspondence, I did not write it. Replies of "Yes" or "No" had to suffice. I did not have any more time.

Settle you affairs and pay. That is the only form of business communication which is understood by nations all over the world, even without words.

Leaving the Job - Failure at Work - Firing

People spend much time thinking how to find a better, more lucrative job, but they give little thought to the way of parting with their work. And yet, the separation from work is of decisive importance for succeeding in life. People use to be enthusiastic over their work as long as nothing crossed their path. They have been doing their job quietly and were perhaps convinced of doing it well. Then suddenly the customer, the superior or the collaborator are no more satisfied with one's performance and demand corrections, an improvement of the working method.

The man apprehends such difficulty, such obstacle. In his mind, he was already visualizing advancement and a recognition of his efforts. And all of a sudden, instead of an advancement he is being confronted with apparently impossible tasks.

The weakest characters, insofar as they have medical insurance, look for salvation in some imaginary illness. That is of course the surest way to complete failure.

Others at such moment do pull themselves together, but in the wrong way. Instead of trying to understand his customer, his boss or his collaborator, one tries to convince them that there is nothing more he could do for them; he tends to ascribe the cause of dissatisfaction to personal motives rather than to his own work record. Thus, his increased energy and courage get squandered in disputes with them and make him finally leave his job with a defiantly cocked head. Embittered over his past employment, angry with his former collaborators.

Strong but deliberate, quiet people who really love their job, show gratitude to their customer or to their collaborator for having pointed out the deficiencies in their performance; they try to satisfy them even if the reproach was totally unjustified. They choose a suitable approach to demand reward for increased efficiency and, once it was denied or in case of inability to sustain such higher performance, they part amicably with their customer or with their collaborator. They are aware of the great shortage in the world of people who love their work and of the intense quest for them. They know that, once they are gone, their customer or collaborator will compare their performance with that of their successor and may well give his old supplier or collaborator a grateful thought, particularly should the successor prove unable to fulfil unrealizable demands.

Such strong and deliberate people know, too, that after a certain time they may see the requirements of their old clients or co-workers through different eyes. The bridge they have left behind may not only honor, but also profit them, as it enables a linkage with their old job and possibly a return to it should they find out that the new work falls short of giving even as much satisfaction and reward as the previous one did.

All too often indeed are customers and employers sorry for the demolished bridges left behind by an irate enemy, and both would have liked to use them, had bridges left behind by an irate enemy, and both would have liked to use them, had they not been recklessly pulled down in a fit of an unwise rage.

Let us not fear signing new contracts, but beware of hostile separations.


With his eyes cast on the future and responding in his creative economic work only to the imperatives of common sense and human service, which were his law, Tomas Bata had, particularly at the early stage, to cope with countless adversaries. Such opponents came in the first place from among interested parties, but there were also those who resisted Bata on grounds of all sorts of conservatism. Much as Tomas Bata was a fighter to his fingertips, he disliked such fights with adversaries because of their negative and useless nature. However, he did never shirk them, convinced as he was of his truth and of his duty to defend his work and his collaborators. Fights were part of his defense and were indeed always conducted in a defensive manner. He tried to vanquish his opponents primarily by a thought, a plan, a project, an idea, by explaining things, by showing how futile and useless such struggle was and by striving for their cooperation. Among the many utterances of such kind the most typical are polemics with the political spokesmen of shoe manufacturers and with trade union offices. Viewed from a perspective of the span of years when they were pronounced or written, the reader may judge for himself that, even in the thick of battle, the author kept the ability of formulating precise economic thoughts.

New Production Trends

An address of 1924.

While our enterprise is listed in the register as a private firm, namely mine, it is in reality a cooperative. It is composed of many small modest entrepreneurs who share in the profits of their departments and do even have a capital investment in the enterprise. Already now are our employees the most important creditors of the firm and their capital participation grows every day. It won't take long before the majority of adult employees become silent partners in the enterprise. The basic principle of my entrepreneurial work is to turn my employees into capitalists. I do not do that out of the goodness of my heart. But I just realized that the best way to build a big enterprise is to follow the objective of service to both customers and employees; only thus may an entrepreneur achieve that customers and employees serve him, i.e., his cause, his idea.

Proceeding in this manner, the industrialist avoids great losses which desperately burden our whole industrial activity. Only thus may the moral values of employees be fully developed; consequently they feel as if they were themselves the owners.

It would be foolish to assume that the pace of my procedure would be influenced by indecent insults made at shoemakers' congresses against our factory and my person. For this, I do not hold responsible the shoemakers, but a certain political party that exploits their misery to its own political ends, harming them and itself as well.

Before and after such congresses, I am preoccupied with finding solutions how to help the old shoemakers who are no more able to change and adjust. I would like to prove, not by words, but by deeds, that an enterprise managed according to our principles is invincible in the competitive struggle. I am not asking anybody to support my efforts, the least of all the state - all I need is the possibility to continue my work. Our society would not have any reason to fear political influence of the workers, regardless of their party affiliation. Workers like ours are not only capable to support the present social order, they are well able to contribute to its improvement.

The future of our republic depends on the people's comprehension that a country as densely populated as ours can find the source of its prosperity only in industry. Once entrepreneurs will understand this new trend, production will expand to an extent that will bring all sorts of industrial products within the reach of even the poorest people. By the same token, the chemical and engineering industries will supply farmers with all they need to double the production of food. Prosperity is the expression of abundance. Manual production creates misery for producer and consumer alike.

One of the worst attacks ever mounted against Tomas Bata was the accusation pretending that he was not even a shoemaker. Tomas Bata contested that attack not only by a public speech reproduced below, but also by court action, in the course of which a thorough investigation proved that he had properly learned his craft and was indeed a shoemaker. A meticulous genealogical research undertaken after his death revealed that his assumption was correct as to the hereditary nature of the craft which he had learned. It has been passing from father to son for nine generations.

The Falsified Certificate of Proficiency

A speech in 1924.

Member of Parliament Mlcoch tries to prove in the Lower House that the Association of Crafts in Uherske Hradiste issued a falsified certificate of my proficiency. He argues that the entry in the books of the association refers to my late brother Antonin, that the name Antonin was crossed out and the name Tomas added subsequently.

Mr. Frantisek Dvorsky, the secretary of the association who issued the documents, passed a few days ago a copy of that book to secretary Vrana who was dispatched to Uherske Hradiste by Mr. Mlcoch for that purpose. He showed to him that under the heading "apprentice" there was originally entered Antonin Bata, while Tomas Bata appeared under the heading "master". He explained to the secretary that Antonin Bata was the father and master and Tomas Bata the son and apprentice and that the names were written in the book in reverse order, as if the father had been learning from his son; one of his predecessors discovered that error some 30 years ago, probably as he was issuing a certificate, and duly corrected it. He showed him further that my elder brother, Antonin Bata, was listed in the book a few pages earlier.

Mr. Mlcoch! There are allegedly 14 witnesses ready to testify under oath that my certificate of proficiency was falsified because

1.    I did not learn the shoemaking craft.

2.    I emigrated to America at the age of 17.

I publicly declare before our entire country that you do not have a single witness who could confirm such allegations under oath.

I demand that you repeat that statement outside of the House of Parliament, that you renounce in this instance you parliamentary immunity so that I may initiate legal proceedings against you to defend my honor as well as that of the Association of Crafts of Uherske Hradiste.

I do not need falsifications of my certificate of proficiency. At the age of five I have already made miniature lasts and shoes to fit them from leather waste. While a student, I spent more time sitting at the working bench than reading books. I was my father's apprentice since I was 14 and later toiled as his workman.

For a total of seven years I worked with my brother and in different places, mainly abroad. For my whole life I did not do anything else but make shoes. I travelled all over the world to gather whatever information I could obtain on that trade.

As far as the Zlin registers can reach, all my ancestors without exception were shoemakers. Indeed, even my mother, grand-mother and great-grandmother came all from shoemaking families, as evidenced by the following statement from the parish office:

Excerpt from the register of the Zlin parish concerning the family of Tomas Bata:

Son: Tomas Bata, born on April 3, 1876, shoemaker.

Father: Antonin Bata, born on August 1, 1844, shoemaker in Zlin and his wife Anna Minarikova, widow of shoemaker Bartos.

Grandfather: Antonin Bata, born on October 30, 1802, shoemaker in Zlin, his wife Mariana Stastova, daughter of a shoemaker.

Great-grandfather: Simon Bata, born on October 11, 1755, shoemaker in Zlin, his wife Anna Barvirova, daughter of a shoemaker, second wife Katerina Markova, daughter of a shoemaker.

Great-great-grandfather: Martin Bata, shoemaker, born in Zlin, married on July 23, 1754 to Mariana Hrobarikova, widow.

Great-great-great-grandfather: Martin Bata, shoemaker in Zlin.

The parish office in Zlin, December 14, 1923

Registers of the Zlin parish do not reach any further. However, the sources studied after the death of Tomas Bata by the writer Pilnacek, reveal that his ancestors have been in the shoemaking business in Zlin for nine generations.

From the 17th century on, and who knows for how many earlier generations, the shoemaking craft passed in our family from father to son.

And now comes Deputy Mlcoch and attacks in Parliament our government for its unwillingness to prohibit me to practice the shoemaking craft.

Does Deputy Mlcoch speak for craftsmen?

No - he does not speak for those craftsmen who have a conscience and whose heart belongs to their trade.

The respect I owe to the long line of my craftsmen ancestors compels me to take up the defense of our craftsmen to whom I also belong.

My Reply

The request of deputy Andel that I declare where, with whom and when I learned the shoemaking trade has already been fully answered.

As a further piece of evidence, I publish here a certified statement of the Advanced School of Crafts in Uherske Hradiste which proves once more that the amended entry in the book of craftsmen was correct.

I should like to observe that Mr. Mlcoch did not respond to my public appeal that he repeat publicly his slanderous statements in Parliament and that he renounce his parliamentary immunity so that I may take my defense to a public court of our Republic.

To Mr. Pastyrik:

I wish to argue in court against your accusation that I exported capital to America to avoid paying the property tax; I ask you therefore publicly to renounce your parliamentary immunity so that I may sue you. In the negative, I would consider you a dishonorable man.

Tomas Bata.


The Office of the Principal of the Advanced School of Crafts in Uherske Hradiste certifies herewith that in the register of apprentices of that school for the years 1885 to 1896, on page 49 under No. 341, Tomas Bata is listed as apprentice to Mr. Antonin Bata, shoemaker in Uherske Hradiste.

(signed) Boh. Sobotka, Principal

The Anti-Bata Congress of Shoemakers in Brno

Speech in 1924.

The small traders party organizes the fight of the shoemakers against me at numerous meetings and congresses it convenes. The speakers there as well as the Party dailies report to shoemakers about the activities of our factories; it almost seems as if, for their own enjoyment, they were producing the shoemakers' misery and aimed at their destruction. The quantity of menacing letters I receive after such meetings proves in what spirit they are being conducted.

The plight of the shoemakers is great and bad indeed. It is older than shoe factories, I know it. It is my former companion and a true sister of the late plight of the weavers, except that it is dirtier.

It proliferates most on the work-stools of the cobblers. Every shoemaker completes during his active life the instruction of about ten apprentices; among the latter, all those who do not have the courage to part with the old tradition of poverty remain in the trade.

The shoemaker's family lives in a small room with a low ceiling; the work is done in the same room, the master being helped by two apprentices and one journeyman. The whole family sleeps in one bed and there is one straw mattress for the apprentices and the workman. All of them work from morning till night. Cleaning is done only on Saturdays, provided work does not continue all night long. The room is aired only in summer, it would get too cold in winter. All the time, the room is full of grown-ups and children. There is neither time nor space to clean up properly. Vermin and polluted air are the main by-products of this misery.

How different is the life of a factory worker!

His residence serves only him and his family. He returns from work to a clean, well ventilated home that was not affected by vapors of glue and leather.

Mr. Mlcoch discovered that when 60 000 shoemakers are out of work allegedly by our fault, they could serve him as political agitators.

He is trying therefore to convince them that they could preserve their misery, that he and the state would help them to achieve that.

He wants to introduce a bill that would prohibit the public from having their shoes repaired by the manufacturer, i.e. the one obliged to repair it, particularly if the defect was caused by a production fault.

He knows well that it would be an immoral law, for all laws, be they human or divine, demand that man correct what he had spoilt.

Our repair shops are not profit-oriented, but calculated at a loss. What matters to us is to be able to correct quickly every mistake committed in production, but primarily also to learn from the old shoes about the mistakes made in manufacturing new ones.

Steam and electricity generated shoe factories. In spacious workshops resembling temples rather than those stifling little rooms, 30 pairs of shoes are being produced in eight hours by a workman assisted by two girls or boys. That is as much as his old buddy was able to make in one month and countless hours of labor.

In one department, engineers are at work to design machines and tools for express repair shops serving the customers with cheap and quick shoe repair.

Elsewhere in a chemical laboratory, research is being conducted on products which would enable customers to repair their shoes themselves.

The greatest efforts are made by the department of production costs reduction, in order to bring about lower prices of new footwear; this would enable the customer to discard shoes as soon as they get slightly deformed by wear, just as we dispose of an old hat.

The prosperity of citizens as well as of manufacturers is being created by the cooperation between inventive designers and courageous entrepreneurs who are ready for sacrifice. Handicraft brings misery to those who practice it and to the consumers as well.

Had the evolution of textile factories been stopped or slowed down in our lands in the seventies of the last century, no consumer would have let Mr. Mlcoch order him that, in order to facilitate the existence of hand-weavers, he must wear hemp shirts! Customers would have bought linen abroad and our work force would have gone there as well to earn their wages.

The objective of my life is to create in our Republic an enterprise that could compete with the great world companies in offering cheap and good footwear to the consumers as well as decent wages to its workers.

Such company could not be built to cover only the small market of our republic, restricted as it is by low wages and high prices of products.

That's why we are striving to expand our exports the world over.

At this very moment there is going on a stubborn struggle within the shoe industry on the world market. Every country knows that should it now fail to hold the position of its footwear industry, the manufacture of shoes on its own territory would be later suppressed, just as it happened to the production of sewing machines or automobiles.

In our hard struggle, we focus neither on our shoemakers nor on our larger competitors.

We do however watch eagerly and with some apprehension the fast progress on the world markets of our competitors in luckier countries, where the prosperity of the widest strata of the population has already been established and where the only thing lacking now is the misery of cobblers and a political party representing middle class that would try to prevent prosperity for its own political objectives.

To the National Shoemakers' Congress in Prague

Address of 1931.


You have organized a congress for the purpose of protesting against our work. You convened it to Prague; yet it would have made more sense to let it meet in Zlin.

Thus every one of you could have perceived with his own eyes what you are actually protesting against. You are protesting here in Prague against something many of your leaders have not even seen; yet every person ought to know and to see before deciding to act.

I am convinced that the great majority among you would be enthusiastic over the new life we are building. And we are doing it primarily for you!

In our enterprise, the shoemakers not only produce shoes, they repair them, too. My only work and worry is that those who produce and repair shoes and those who buy them and have them repaired should both fare better. With the old working methods, both sides fared equally badly.

You all know how little you are making on shoe repairs. In our repair shops, shoemakers who follow our methods earn more for eight hours of work than you have taken in; and the customer, too, is better off because he gets service and comfort superior to what you can offer him with your old-fashioned way of working.

Had you inspected our work in Zlin and the life we are building there, you would feel a deep emotion and you would say the same thing I have heard from hundreds of embittered people who saw our work with their own eyes. They told me:

"Mr. Bata, I am already old, you could not transform me, and I will somehow make my living. But take my son and make a new man out of him, just as you are doing with the thousands of youngsters whom you are educating."

I am inviting all of you present here to Zlin. We are not scared of your hostility, on the contrary, we crave your friendship because that would benefit us as well as yourselves; but first of all your children.

But don't be afraid of us, either, don't fear life. Don't believe those who pretend to help you by describing your misery; all they actually do for you is to prevent you from helping yourself to a better life.

According to latest statistics, the number of independent shoemakers is below 30 000. Most of you practice your trade part-time, only in winter, supplementing agriculture.

Conversely, there are 27 645 people working in our workshops, outlets and repair shops. We have hired and trained 2320 shoemakers for our repair shops last year only. 1344 of our experienced and trained repairmen became our independent store managers.

Next year we shall open another 2 000 outlets and repair shops in those foreign countries where modern technology has not yet reached into the production and repair of footwear; we will hire thousands more of shoemakers for such jobs. For many thousands of you we have employment in dry cleaning establishments, a new branch of our craft which we are building up to liberate our wives from drudgery and to free their households of dust and dirt. You may earn more in eight hours in that new field than you could have previously made in sixteen.

As to those colleagues who could not think of working in any other way than independently, they should form repair cooperatives, based on the project we are submitting to the Ministry of Commerce and reproducing in a brochure.

Each of you could be happy in his own fashion, provided he discards the influences that exploit his misery and undermine his will and courage to work and live.

It is those influences which, for the competition's money, frustrated our work abroad, while the competitors whose poor shoes we had rejected, unleashed campaigns against us in the belief that they could thus force their bad footwear upon us or upon other customers.

You are being told from those quarters that we do not pay as much in taxes as we should and that your own competitiveness has thus been impaired. In 1927, our profit tax assessment amounted to 60 percent of the whole Czechoslovak footwear industry, though our production totalled less than 40 percent of the entire consumption.

In 1930, we reckon with 80 percent. It is equally untrue that the state treasury and the autonomous administrations are being disadvantaged by our work. In 1930, the profit tax assessment will bring to those treasuries from our work alone 50 percent more than had been paid in 1927 by the entire Czechoslovak shoe industry.

However, should you think that taxes prevent you from working side by side with us, then let me declare that our company is ready to pay the profit tax of all certified shoemakers who work without hired help.

The heckling and the hostility spread by those elements will bring you no salvation, because they are spreading decay and conflict among those who work in shoemaking in this country. What we do need is mutual friendship, so that together we may build a footwear trade respected the world over, as the whole world would benefit from it.

Our population owns 50 million pairs of footwear which require weekly a chemical cleaning. For such service, we need at least 50 000 people with preference for those with shoemaking experience.

The footwear worn by our population requires yearly 100 million repairs. This service offers employment for 20,000 shoemakers.

Ten million people in our Republic need a pedicure every two weeks. There are jobs in this service for 35 000 people.

According to our projections, there are jobs for 100 000 new shoemakers in those new branches of the footwear service in our country alone. And how about the world-wide shoe business? There are not enough inhabitants in our Republic to attend to the demand challenging shoemakers all over the world.

Get hold of this work, either together with us or of your own accord. Do not believe the doubting Thomases who talk about unemployment in shoe-making and who concentrate on nothing else but how to make you unemployed and keep you that way. Think about yourself, but above all think about you children. Never more should they, humble and in dust, taste that same misery of the old shoemaking both you and I have experienced.

My Recollections

A speech in 1926.

I brought from America enthusiasm for their work morale, but enthusiasm alone is not enough to secure success, especially where there is lack of experience and of psychology.

I liked the more rational relationship between workman and employer; it contributed also substantially to the high level of prosperity. The self-respect of the worker was by no means smaller than that of the employer. They were equals. I attributed such self-reliance to the local labor organization of which I was also a member.

On my return trip via England and Germany I made stops in a number of factories and worked there, too. In one of the best factories in Pirmansens I was polishing heels. As soon as I positioned myself for work, my neighbors started to call in other workers to look at that American fool. They thought I was working too fast and that, they felt, did not behoove a proper worker. In America, I was not admired by workers. I was lagging quite far behind them. Good workers there polished up to 1 200 pairs in a 9-hour shift. My highest performance was 800 pairs. In Germany, work on machines of the same type covered but 100 pairs! Shifts were of 10 hours. In German shops of that time there was an absence of community spirit. Every workman did a careless job and thus complicated the task of the next one. Wages corresponded to performances. They were low indeed, despite high tariffs.

I was anxious to introduce in Zlin the American methods. I convened the workers and told them what I thought. I said that I had found a system which will make them earn much more.

I told them that I wanted us all to be equals. May the workmen organize in the labor party and thus balance the power gap between us. I hoped to benefit from it inasmuch as the worker, supported by his organization, would not fear a wage reduction should he strive for a better performance.

I invited Mr. Krapka, social democratic editor from Prostejov, to stage lectures for the work force.

Trouble started soon thereafter. The foremen lost all authority. I learned that at meetings speakers warned workers after my departure about my great cunning. I was supposedly doing all that because I knew that the revolution was around the comer. I wanted to endear myself to the workers in order to exploit the situation later.

In the workshops, workers began drinking beer on the job up to intoxication and the labor organization backed those I decided to dismiss. I accommodated myself to two such instances, and refused the third. A delegation of workers came to insist that I fire worker Bebar, who is now a supervisor and who had then dared to criticize in a magazine the committee of their organization, allegedly out of spite for not having been elected to the committee.

I tried to explain that disputes in newspapers could not determine how an employee was doing his job and what was his attitude to the enterprise.

They refused to understand. They had a feeling of force and power. They saw that the entire workforce was organized and that they were therefore in the position to dictate.

A strike ensued. In those days that was in itself nothing spectacular. Whenever negotiations were to take place, workers were told to stop the machines; probably to add strength to their words. But this time wheels failed to start turning even after their return to the workshops. The fight started. A fight for power. A fight for the right of the last word. After a few days arrived the secretary of the organization. Once he investigated all circumstances, he is believed to have berated the strikers.

There was, he said, no reasonable and solid ground to strike, and therefore they could not win. He recommended to the strikers a better tactic. They agreed on a demand for a 20 percent pay raise and the committee requested that negotiations be opened. We did not enter into negotiations.

Instead we began working immediately, in spite of the threats to strike-breakers. Our work did not prosper for quite a long time. It was necessary to start afresh, our losses were great and wages fell by one half due to the inexperience of the staff.

Despite all that, we did not rehire one single person who had left us during the strike.

Our struggle with labor organizations dates from that time, but ever since, i.e., for twenty years, we did not have a single strike or a single negotiation that would divert us from work and cause a labor stoppage, be it just for a single hour.

Only eight years later, when, in 1915, those workers lost their jobs with our local competitors and were in danger of having to leave their families and be recruited for military service, did we take back to work a major part of these people.

We received a very warm word of thanks from the same organization, which is now represented by Mr. Srba.

Open Letter

of Tomas Bata to Senator Vaclav Johanis in Prague

This open letter is a response to a public correspondence by which Tomas Bata defended himself against charges by the addressee, who attacked him at a congress in Prague. The arguments against an agreement between Tomas Bata and the organization represented by the Senator have found their comprehensive expression in this letter which does in fact sum up a controversy of many years' duration.

I received your letter of 1st inst..

The firmness with which you stick to your attacks against me and my work honor you more than your decision to abstain from determining by a personal visit in Zlin to what extent, if at all, are your reproaches justified.

You are accusing me of having by my production methods deprived 40 000 workmen and artisans of work and livelihood. I am sending to you photographs of master shoemakers and their workshops under the system which you defend, and of the same masters in workshops according to my system. Yes, I did deprive them, and mainly their apprentices and helpers of the dust and backbreaking slavish drudgery which you know so well.

I am sending you pictures of cobblers in India and Java so that you may use your expertise to judge the outlook of a European shoemaker who would not make our best work system his own.

Today already, with the Czechoslovak shoe industry first in the world, there are more people working in this field than at any time in the past. Before I am done with it, there will not be left in this country a single shoemaker who would not have his hands full with work performed in that kind of universal service to the population which we are building.

Shoemaking, the way we do it, is a most profitable work and the Czech shoemaker, the way we educate him, is in demand the world over.

You claim that my system casts out from jobs workers older than forty. Eight years ago, when I and my collaborators started in a wider scope to make a new craft out of our branch, we were employing 1800 people. Yes, these people are without exception out of work; they have taken themselves off on their own accord and few are left in current workshop activities. The majority have become foremen, supervisors, managers or at least instructors, pattern-makers or controllers. Others are sales managers and foremen in repair shops. And some have left altogether. They had joined us penniless and have become owners of houses, boarding houses and other real estate, living now from their yield and management. We do miss those old folks too.

The worst of all problems we are daily confronting when setting up new workshops is that of adults over forty who would be capable of being masters, leaders and teachers of the youngsters who do have nimble fingers but little if any experience.

I have never dismissed an employee on grounds of age and I was able to employ people older than sixty years, though I deem it my duty to reward people for their work in such a way so as to enable them to live off their savings from age forty and then to work by means of their capital and experience rather than by their hands alone.

I am convinced that a person who starts at fourteen to work reasonably and to make economies will achieve so much that he could, should he so choose, live off his capital from age forty.

I am sending you some details on that subject.

You reproach me and my collaborators for having caused the Zlin insurance company to leave the Central Association of Health Insurance Companies. You know well that at that time the Zlin insurance firm was not serving the interests of those insured who lived from our work, but was rather a place serving the interests of our foreign competitors. I am sending to you some details which may not have been known to you.

You are saying that I was underinsuring my employees.

You are one of the principal authors of the law on health and social insurance. You know that it was technically impossible to classify and report in strict accordance to the law, employees in any major enterprise with piece-work wages.

In 1926, immediately after it became effective, we tried to classify our employees at least approximately according to the law's provisions. We reported changes every month. We filed three such reports. The insurance company took note of it and implemented only the first report. That, however, caused the assessment of contributions to be delayed by five months. The insurance company did not act upon any further reports and the practice of submitting them was dropped at the insurance company's own request.

There was no way of avoiding such differences unless we worked out with the insurance company a system fitting our conditions. The insurance company reproached us for over-insuring as well as under-insuring. As an expert, you could have gathered from the project we had submitted that we were not trying to underinsure our people, as we were proposing to classify all people in the highest legally admissible class rather than to allow even one of our employees to be under-insured in a current week.

The official protocol on that matter puts it this way:

"At the request of the firm it is specifically stated that the investigation of that subject yielded no evidence of the firm's willfully incorrect reporting its employees in wage categories, in order to obtain for the firm relief in premiums for the two types of insurance."

The employees were not hurt by such procedure, because in instances of falling ill while insured in the lower class, they received from us full compensation. Nor did the insurance company suffer any damage, as we refunded to it the under-insured amounts while it mostly benefited of the over-insured ones. Thus it was only our enterprise that took a loss.

As to your reproach of my interfering with the manufacture of goods not related to shoemaking, I would reply that we have so far adhered strictly to the production of only such items that were closely related to manufacturing footwear. We are concerned with merchandising items not related to our production only to the extent of assuring that our employees get proper value in covering their basic consumer needs. You have probably in mind our bicycle business. May I inform you that we do not manufacture bicycles. We are only selling them and we try to limit the supply to our employees only. We introduced that only after we found out that those of our people who were commuting to our plants from greater distances were obliged to pay for that essential mode of transport twice to three times as much as would apply for instance in Holland. The high cost was caused by cartel agreements between bicycle manufacturers who could not care less for offering to people products of more accessible prices. The same applies to all products we are selling in our Department store with the main objective of exercising price and quality control over basic consumer goods for our employees.

You reproach me for being a manufacturer - millionaire. I am a millionaire and I need my millions in the same way you need your pen, your hand or your rhetorical talents; I would be as useless for people without the former as you would be without the latter. To me personally and to my family, the management and stewardship of those millions yield about the same livelihood as is enjoyed by you and your friends, with the added great load of overtime work required by my job. But everyone in this world has different pleasures and different woes, according to his own attitudes to his work and duties.

And, finally, I should reply to what you consider most essential. You are holding against me that I prevent my employees from joining labor organizations, while I myself am a member of the organization of industrialists. You know that I do not belong to the employers' organization when it comes to protecting employers against labor, quite to the contrary; I am in this matter in disagreement with other employers, feeling as I do the duty of employers in competing amongst themselves for paying higher wages rather than in organizing to push the wages down.

You have been in the shoe and leather branch long enough to know the evolution of our work from its inception. You are aware of the fact that in the years 1905-1906, I was inviting the leaders of your organization to our plants so that they may recruit our collaborators for the trade union and I have myself taken part in such meetings. You will remember that at that time practically all our people became members of your organization, and also how that cooperation ended.

To avoid repetition, I should like you to have in the annex a detailed report which I had published five years ago in your newspaper.

You did not take the right stand then, just as you are not taking it now. You went to Zlin and instead of telling your people honestly and openly that they were repaying by violence the friendship and endeavor to help them, you have suggested that they should re-formulate their claims and buttress their resistance by demands of a 20 percent wage increase.

Of course, there is a major difference between your views on the purpose of an organization and my concept of work and life. You are still insisting that the most important device of a labor organization is to sow distrust between employees and employers, to make mutual enemies out of them.

The way I see it, I would prefer to work alone with my hands rather than to have a collaborator who distrusts me, who considers me to be a wrong person, as you try so hard to portray me in your publications and also in your letter. On such a basis, there could be no cooperation, because the moral reward which consists in the friendship of my collaborators and which you are unwilling to grant me, is the highest compensation I could ever ask for my work.

Should you be willing to come to Zlin, take a look at things as they really are and think about the best way of helping us, you would certainly be successful. However, your recent speech at the Prague congress as well as your last letter, were doing their best to further deepen the gap between us. That is to be regretted as such a negative work cannot but harm both sides.

In this case, neither you nor I are private individuals about to settle controversies among themselves; instead, there are issues involved that are of interest to the public. I deem it therefore appropriate that this correspondence be conducted in public. May I inform you that, unless you give us in time weighty arguments against publication, our correspondence will appear in the October 23 issue of our review "Zlin."

Tomas Bata

Zlin, October 12, 1931.

The Man

Although there are plenty of photographs of Tomas Bata, not on two of them would his face have the same expression and not one of them could truthfully convey the idea of the real Tomas Bata. Each trait of that head and of the deeply lined face was in constant movement, just like a mountain stream making its way between the rocks, its sparkling surface scintillating with thousands of reflections of a summer day.

It was, above all, a powerful, passionate emotion that kindled the boldest ideas, yearnings and schemes in the back of that proud, square forehead, with a deep scar between the eyes - the consequence of a collision of his car with a horse cart, an accident in his youth which almost cost him his life and left him unconscious for 24 hours.

Bata was well aware of his great dynamic power, he not only knew how to control it, he also knew how to change it into the principal driving force of all his activities. We should remember his statement about his first car: "...I locked it in the garage for the first fortnight, so as to learn to control myself in using it."

We should remind ourselves as well of his testament: "It was higher motives that influenced us to suppress our passions as long as we considered them harmful to the enterprise. " And finally, one incident stayed inscribed in my mind. Persuaded that his personal honor as well as the honor of his work were attacked, he made a difficult decision in a way which did not allow anybody to interfere with it. It happened one Saturday evening - the decision was supposed to take effect on Sunday. He called me Sunday morning and started to expound the motives leading to the action which he considered as a personal affront and insult. He spoke slowly - with long pauses and distant connections as a man alone thinking aloud.

" - Hostility - what hostility should I be afraid of? Were I to fear somebody, I would have to fear only myself - - "

He forgot completely my presence.

Minutes were passing in silence. "Change that letter in such and such way," he told me, awakening from his deep thought and changing completely his original decision.

This man probably experienced all human emotions much more deeply, strongly and vividly than thousands of other people. Joy and sorrow, anger and love, hope and disappointment, recognitions and offenses, all became for him antagonisms, kindling and inspiring his active forces just as electric energy crosses between two opposite poles in order to produce light. His life success, not only in business but above all on the human side, was based on his ability to change yearnings into actions by his will and intelligence. His wishes, disciplined and economical, worked in the same way as steam in a boiler controlled by an intelligent engineer who knows what he wants, who respects the force at his disposal and who knows how to use.

The successes and tasks of this man increased by the same degree by which he controlled his strong character and more and more people trusted his leadership. He was not a pleasant boss or a pleasant collaborator to those who preferred to work in a relaxed way - he was an unpleasant working partner even to rather efficient workers. Despite all that, people liked him - his employees just as those who were independent of him and only remotely associated with his activities; he was liked even by his adversaries. His warm heart and his hard-working mind constantly searching for ways to advance was perceived by everybody. This tireless, modest man lived in the same manner in which he was talking and thinking. Therefore, he never wavered He was sure that he was well accomplishing his duty as a human. This was the way we knew him, at least as an adult man. We will never learn how he conquered the problems of his adolescence and young manhood, although he intended to write about it.

To some he stood too far right, to others too far left - he could be radical in one way and conservative in another - he always followed his path, lead by a sole principle he believed in almost religiously, namely the principle of service. Yet nobody could persuade him theoretically about the rightness of that principle - he felt deeply that it was the very law of eternal life: Lasts and grows only what serves. Even there we should pay attention to those few words of his testament.

Whenever I observed him at work and in life, he was for me the personification of Goethe's Dr. Faust - the prototype of modem humanity. Observing him, I wrote in the 12th issue of the magazine "Zlin" of March 18, 1932, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Goethe's death, few lines that were actually the characteristic of Tomas Bata.

Today, in the last volume, saying goodbye to that poet of industry, I cannot but repeat the conclusion of the article published three months before his death. It is a strange tragedy that the marshy meadows of the Morava River which he had dried out and where he had built his new industrial plant and the new city, became his grave, just as we read in the final part of the human tragedy of Faust:

Faust - A tragedy By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The translation in the original Czech version of this book is by Otakar Fischer - published by Borovy (Prague). The English version in this book is the translation in original meters by Bayard Taylor - published by the Modem Library, New York.

Below the hills a marshy plain

Infects what I so long have been retrieving;

This stagnant pool likewise to drain

Were now my latest and my best achieving.

To many millions let me furnish soil,

Though not secure, yet free to active toil;

Green, fertile field, where men and herds go forth

At once, with comfort, on the newest Earth,

And swiftly settled on the hill's firm base,

Created by the bold, industrious race.

A land like Paradise here, round about:

Up to the brink the tide may roar without,

And though it gnaw, to burst with force the limit,

By common impulse all unite to hem it.

Yes! To this thought I hold with firm persistence;

The last result of wisdom stamps it true:

He only earns his freedom and existence,

Who daily conquers them anew.

Thus here, by dangers girt, shall glide away

Of childhood, manhood, age, the vigorous day:

And such a throng I fain would see, -

Stand on free soil among a people free!

Then dared I hail the Moment fleeing:

"Ah, still delay - thou art so fair!"

The traces cannot, of mine earthly being,

In aeons perish, - they are there! -

Faust, the individual, dies in the middle of the highest creative pleasure, unwitting and rejoicing of the metallic sound of the hoes, believing they are realizing his work. Was there ever a more complete resemblance between human faiths?

There is no immortality for an individual man. The worker is mortal - the work is alive! All that was eternal in the human personality of Tomas Bata, lives and will continue living in that work.

My Relationship to Work

(An article in the magazine "Bata's Service to the Public" in 1927)

Work is a greater friend of mine than it is of many other, less fortunate people. Through my work, I usually realize my own ideas. Most people's work consists of following the orders of others.

Even when working sixteen hours a day, I do not feel that I do more than others, because I find pleasure in my work and I learn from it.

Not everybody can attain such favorable attitude to work. A 14-year old boy with a task to copy letters would much rather be outside in the nature, as he could most probably adjust there his action to his wishes.

I justify therefore the limitation of working time enforced by law and already in my youth I was a pioneer of shorter working hours. The proof of it is the 10-hour working day practiced in our enterprise since its beginnings, despite the fact that until 1918, it was entirely legal to work 11 hours a day.

I did not agree with the introduction of an 8-hour working day immediately after the war, because it was exactly then that assiduous work was necessary to renew the assets that had been destroyed and higher wages were needed to increase the payment potential of the population. I did not protest against it, as I considered it fundamentally right, though premature. I tried to offset it by improving the operating equipment of the factory so that the workers did not have to pay for the shorter working hours by smaller earnings. I am convinced that working hours will get even shorter and I am looking forward to replacing the six-day work week by a five-day one in our country as well.

Tomas Bata's workroom. A single room (6 x 6 m) in the middle of standard building. Desk, old chair (covered by black curtain at the photo), two telephones, great globe, case, wash-bowl and small table with chairs for visitors.

I shall work even then to complete exhaustion, as I do not know any greater pleasure than work.

I am of the opinion that work is the best friend of my health as well.

At age forty, I have budgeted for ten more years of work. At forty five, I told myself that I will continue to work for another twenty years. And in my fiftieth year, my work and myself swore to be faithful to each other unto death.

We promised each other to hold hands all along the path of life and to sing on the way the most beautiful and cherished song:

We shall not die lying in the hay

We shall die high on a horse

And when we fall from the horse

Our sword will be ringing gay.

My work has only one purpose: to serve life. I am enthused with life. I love life. I wish I could live it ten times over without change, or under any conditions. I wish I would have ten sons. Not to divide my fortune among them, but to teach them how to live and work.

I have thousands of them now, even though only one of them carries my name. And the best of them will get my violin. Most certainly not to use it for himself, but to play for others.

My son cannot even hope - as many a son of poor parents - to play a gentleman one day. He will attend neither prep school, nor college.

When he graduates from high school, he will become a liberally minded businessman, just as his father.

His wealth will be equal to his earning capability. In any case, he will have an advantage over the others, because he will have good advisers and I will certainly not fail to call his attention to suitable opportunities.

Bata and Edison

Tomas Bata had the greatest admiration and esteem for Thomas Alva Edison, whom he considered the personification of all human creative forces. The following two addresses - the first one at the anniversary of the invention of the light bulb, the second at Edison's death - express not only admiration and respect, but also the endeavor to near the example of a man he called the greatest servant of humanity.

Thomas A. Edison, USA

We are benefiting daily from your work and from your numerous inventions. The work you have rendered to humanity makes life easier for us every day.

We are greatly indebted to you. Yet we can pay you back only by our gratefulness and by the effort to use your inventions not only for our own benefit but for the benefit of all.

Contending the arguments of lazy people, the productivity of your intellect at your high age proves that even as difficult a work as yours does not shorten human life.

Every day of your productive life heightens the optimism of peoples.

In the name of all my 12,000 collaborators, I wish you the best of health.

Tomas Bata

Zlin, October 26, 1927.

Funeral Observance for Thomas Alva Edison in Zlin

In the morning hours of Wednesday, October 21, 1931, before going to work, all 25 000 employees of the Bata Enterprises assembled in the yards of the factories to pay the last homage to the deceased inventor Thomas A. Edison.

Facing the large crowds and the quiet workshops, Tomas Bata expressed in the following speech the gratitude and respect to the dead hero of work:

"My collaborators!

Today take place in America the funeral services for Thomas Alva Edison. I consider it the duty of all of us whose life he made so much more pleasant and easier, to dispatch to the President of the United States, Herbert Hoover, the following telegram:

Mr. President!

Twenty five thousand of my collaborators thank the American nation for creating an environment in which could grow up as great a man and servant of humanity as Thomas Alva Edison.

All we can do now is to thank the Lord that he bestowed on this man so much strength and such a long life.

The Duties of Leaders

The human qualities of Tomas Bata's personality were manifested most penetratingly in his work at the enterprise, and particularly in the way he understood the duties of a leader. He had a clear and severe awareness of his personal duties toward his employees and his customers. "A boss's duty is to find work for people, to choose the right people for the right jobs, to procure for them a decent workshop and proper machinery and to manage things so that they can earn a lot and sell cheaply. If he does not know how to do it or doesn't want to do it, he is not fit to be a boss. Instead of being a help for his employees, he becomes an obstacle for them. "He expressed his opinion clearly in the following two speeches:

The way of the work and thinking of Tomas Bata

The beginning (problem of cheap and quick building of family houses).

Continue. Bata proves the throwing of sand by shovel to a concrete mixer. The end was at the desk as an exact ruling and calculation in which no factor was forgotten.

Mr. X.!

Few days ago, passing by the shoe bottom tannery, I saw people loading butts in the following manner: they put them on their backs in the finishing room, brought them upstairs to the "B" class and from there crawled out to the truck where they unloaded them. I saw that at the tannery of Mr. Y. I went to the tannery with the intention to call Mr. Y. and order him to do nothing else next week but to load on his own back the shoe bottoms and to inform him that he will be paid the usual wage for this type of work.

Mr.Y. was not at home and thus he escaped the consequences of his negligence.

However, I made a mistake, inasmuch as I forgot that you are the one who should be aware of Mr. Y.'s faults, that you should at least see how they accomplish the work in that workshop, as well as in the neighboring ones. Had I remembered it at that moment, I would have decided that you and not Mr. Y. will do the work.

Upon my request, Mr. F. proposed to me the proper way to accomplish that job in a tannery of which you are paid to be the leader.

His project is right, but what is not right is the fact that it is you who gets paid for the leadership, yet you are sitting in your office letting me and Mr. F. do the work for you.

I am leaving it to you to solve the problem of transporting the leather from the tannery. Mr. F. will tell you how I propose to do it. Start thinking what could be done about this and many other still unresolved problems so that we can prevent repetition of the working process described at the beginning of my letter.

The Boss.

Zlin, May 13, 1931.

The reasons of prosperity. Thousands of people can spend their free time after work on playgrounds, continuing their education or just amusing themselves, provided that few men with the duty to lead sacrifice their forces and their leisure time in order to solve the great problem of improving the production so that the workers can produce more in shorter working hours and with less effort and thus earn more money.

The Method of Justice

This speech, meant only as a private communication to the citizens of a neighboring community, represents Bata's interesting standpoint on human frailties and inclination to injustice. He was not satisfied with a simple moral examination and judgement of the case; he tried to find ways and means how to persuade people that it is in their own interest to do the right thing.


There was a fire again yesterday in your community and I had for the first time the occasion to witness it.

I am not a certified fireman but I feel that it is my human duty to help and therefore I have seen already many fires.

Your fire yesterday did not remind me of human tragedy, rather of mid-summer bonfires. Most of you stood there with hands in your pockets, a cigarette in the comer of your mouth, and when the fire was at the height of its rage threatening two more neighboring houses, there was practically an expression of pleasure on your faces.

Your children were not intimidated either by the unexpected accident. On the contrary, at the height of the fire, they were talking about you having already chosen another place to build a new house. As with other fires before, this one as well had been discussed in the village long time before it started.

After my departure, you have thrown all the items you saved back into the fire.

In less than three years, there were nine fires in the village and 21 houses burned down, which means seven houses out of 116, i.e., six percent of habitations.

In view of expenses incurred by the insurance companies, we should pay a premium of at least 12 percent of the value insured. As most of you are insured for amounts ranging from 60 000 to 100 000 Kc, you should be therefore paying a premium of approximately 6-10 000 Kc a year, instead of the actual 2-300 Kc. Were the directors of your insurance companies just, they would ask the right insurance premium from you or cancel your insurance policy, as stipulated in the insurance contract.

There are villages in our Zlin region, where to my knowledge there was never a fire. This proves that men there really intend to extinguish the fire. The inhabitants of those villages pay premiums of 200 Kc a year just as you do, yet, in view of their honesty, they should not be paying more than one-fourth of that amount, as the rest of the total really pays for communities where people want fires but don't want to extinguish them.

I am convinced that your morale would have never reached such a low point had the insurance companies increased your premiums from 200 to 5000 Kc, adjusting them to the degree of sinking of your virtue and your reputation.

Such a standpoint of the insurance companies would achieve more than moralizing lectures. You would have to take the fatal consequences of your corrupted behaviour. Thus, were you not willing to pay insurance premiums exceeding your yearly income, you would be compelled to insure only the most important items.

Indeed, the directors of insurance companies are turning weaklings into criminals. It is easier for them to accept money out of the pockets of honest people and give it to the dishonest ones.

It is much easier than to adjust the insurance methods to human nature.

Citizens, do realize that in this way you are introducing moral decay into your own families, into your communities which, in turn, spread that infection to the entire region, causing thus great poverty.


Bata had the reputation of propagating a so-called "Americanism", which he supposedly adopted during his stay in the USA. What he thought about this gossip reveals the following paragraph taken from one of his interviews.

Americanism - that is an empty word. No -ism has ever helped or will help anybody. What is necessary in the first place is determination, self-confidence and optimism of entrepreneurs and responsible leaders of economy. They have to realize that nobody will dispose of their problems for them and that they will not escape them, either. They have to rely upon their own energy and their work.

Cold - Mountains - Heroism

(Christmas 1931)

The man of the North lives of heroism. It was heroism that made him abandon his brethren as they were, akin to migratory birds, seeking salvation from the glaciers ill the southern sun, and it is heroism to save oneself and one's family from the wrath of the cold.

Life in the mountains at Christmas time proves that modem man is fully aware of that condition of his life.

You will see children and oldsters of both genders using their leisure time to challenge their enemy, the enemy of life itself, namely snow and frost. On skis or sleighs they rush down the slopes and storm from mountains over precipices to ascertain that heroism, the most precious legacy of our ancestors and the most essential requirement of the nordic - of our - life, is not yet extinct.

Let children enjoy winter sports. Let them fortify their hearts for heroic deeds.

On to the mountains, into the snow, all you young and old!

Machines and People

Notes from the literary estate

Each of us has the duty to be clean, healthy and rich.

What interests people most is how to get rich and they think that the other two attributes would be just thrown in.

There is some truth in that. For property and health can be easier protected by the rich than by the poor, though the opposite is an equally viable proposition.

I wrote once that there is room in Czechoslovakia for 13 million millionaires. I could have also said that the number for our country was 20 million, just as it would be 100 million for Germany and 50 million for England, but Czechoslovakia had at that time only 13 million inhabitants and what I had in mind was that any citizen in any country may acquire wealth.

Great many people will certainly be angered by this assertion, for we have few people rich enough to be worth a million. But there is not a single one here who would not like to own that much.

To be able to say that all people crave wealth is of major advantage for our lives, and all my work would be most useful if it enabled me to convince one and all that everybody is capable of acquiring wealth.

The more human culture evolves, the easier it becomes to create wealth. Watt saved us most of the trouble when he first invented a way of making cakes without any effort, of doing work without physical drudgery; when he showed us that a piece of black clay (coal) can help create riches that humanity has heretofore not even dreamt about.

But many more saviours of mankind have since appeared in the world. They are electric power, telephones, railroads, automobiles, airplanes and thousands of varied machines and inventions. All these helpers are standing by to perform for us even the hardest part of our work, to help us procure all the necessities of life, in short, what we generally call opulence.

But do those helpers really help us? Yes, they do! So why do many people insist that they do not help them, quite to the contrary, that these inventions are destructive, and why do they long for the olden, golden times?

It is true that there are many people who actually believe that the technological progress of the world threatens all humanity, or that it is directed particularly against their job or their craft. There are also people who consider technological progress to be menacing them personally. Then there are such who do not believe any of that but do still join others in the clamor blaming inventions, machines or rationalization for all the evil in this world.

There are many reasons why people view those messengers of God as enemies. The worst problem is that those messengers of God do not in fact assist all people to the same extent.

Such illegality does often irritate our hearts and deprives us of a balanced evaluation of the effect machines and technological progress have on our lives.

A shoemaker facing competition from mechanized shoe manufacture does resent his losses to the point of starting to yearn for the good old times.

But what really were the golden times we are longing for?

We are invoking the times when there was no mechanized production, or the times when there were no machines in use anywhere.

In the first instance, we wish the return of the days when machines were of equal use to us and to our competitors; such a wish is quite understandable from the perspective of our strictly personal interest, as each of us prefers to be first rather than last. But if we were to long for such golden times when there were no machines whatsoever, then we would have to go far back indeed.

We would have to return to the times without motor power from steam, and indeed to the days when there was not even a manual weaver's loom, for that, too, was a machine. But none of the enemies of machines would be ready to follow us so far, knowing as they do that in winter we would have to don bear skins and creep into a cavern; even the worst enemies of machines will agree that there would not be enough bear skins for all of us, nor could we all fit into caverns any more.

Let us therefore halt at the lifetime of our fathers who had lived just at the dawn of the new technology age. Let us stay with the work that is closest to us, namely the shoe making manufacture in Zlin.

There are many of us left who do still remember that the working day of our fathers started at dawn and ended close to midnight. The result of such a work day was one pair of peasant shoes, a half-broken back, crooked fingers and a livelihood beginning with a soup of roasted flour in the morning, followed by potatoes and cabbage at noon and by dried fruit in the evening. Nobody can remember that he would have drawn in his early years any benefit from spending all his childhood in a workshop that in most instances also served as kitchen and bedroom. Our forefathers in such workshops greeted the first sewing machine as a liberator, just as they welcomed the first locomotive of a local railroad that pulled their hampers filled with footwear, a load they had to carry earlier on their backs to annual fairs.

Do you really clamor for such golden times? Surely none of us would like to live such a life. What did cause our present better existence? Was it the machine? Yes! Did the machine accomplish that all by itself? No! But it had the main share in improving our lives.

A people active in the field of education may say that they do not use machines and still are able to teach children to read in a much shorter time than their grandfathers could. They are right insofar as they can teach better than their grandfathers, but could not say that they are not being helped by machines.

Better pedagogical methods were spread mainly by the printed word. Printing enabled exchanges of opinions and assured victory of the best ones. Would the successful work of today's teachers be possible if we were still using the donkey's skin - parchment - for writing, as it used to be done?

Some people insist that with the present avalanche of reading material brought about by technological progress, it is practically impossible to prevent a child from learning how to read, as from his very birth that child is surrounded by people who read almost more frequently than they eat.

All this illustrates how helpful the machine is in spreading knowledge.

So let us not long for those golden days when our ancestors lived in caverns. We do not even wish for the period of our fathers' and grandfathers' lives!

Would we then like to see machines compelled to serve all people equally, should the use of machines be forbidden to ones unless all the others are able to procure them?

That would not do, either, because if progress were to be timed by the speed of the slowest, we might soon be standing just in front of those caves.

A glimpse at even the most recent past taught us that while machines do not serve all people in an equal manner, they do distribute the wealth they create among all and thus can make everybody prosperous, albeit unevenly.

Assuming that machines serve all people, even if not equally, let us try to solve the problem of how they could serve best, how they could produce the most values, i.e., wealth, and let us hope that we could thus master the problem.

Problems with Using Machines

The machine is a natural offspring of the tool and could not have been begotten without it. With a flint or a stone axe, one could make some tools, but never a machine.

First, we had to have iron tools, such as an axe or a hand-saw, and only then was it possible to conceive a weaver's loom or a spinning wheel.

It took man millions of years to produce a stone axe and another thousand years before he acquired axes made of bronze, iron and finally steel.

With an iron axe and a spear, man defeated the wild beasts he had to fight in caverns and was able to build a home on open land.

Finally, with the help of a steel axe and a saw, he managed to produce wooden tools and as soon as he added the file, it became possible to manufacture the first metal machine, the first steam engine.

The first bronze or steel axe were much more valuable in those times than a large farm or a factory would be today.

The use of tools was simpler, as any individual could have handled them.

An individual man could kill a bear with a tool or a multitude of people could be outfitted with tools for a military campaign.

That does not apply to machines, particularly not to engines driven by steam or by other means.

Machines can be used only in common, only collectively.

That posed for humanity a completely new problem. Never before have people attended to their needs in such a way and no wonder that there ensue shock waves and conflicts.

Collective production methods were at all times associated with the military, with slavery or with bondage.

For the first time in history, the machine is seeking ways how to devise common production on the basis of equality.

The steam engine or a factory are useless and of no value to an individual. To be able to profit from them, man has to find many willing people who would make the machines and equipment work.

Success in using such machines will depend on the views and the qualities of people who would work with them, as well as on the environment and opinions prevalent in their habitat.

Thus, for instance, the Muslim religion makes it very difficult to use machines, because it excludes women from contact with men outside of the family.

It would be downright impossible to use machines for successful work in countries that would admit slavery.

It would have been also out of question to apply collective working methods in ancient Greece, where liberal attitudes prevailed with regard to theft.

It is evident that by liberating the woman, preventing slavery and raising general moral standards, Christianity opened widely the avenues leading to technological progress and prosperity.

Such obstacles were overcome even before the advent of the machine age. Indeed, were not the first machines a by-product of that better society?

Could have Watt and others invented and built their engines already in ancient Greece? Certainly not. The best proof is the fact that among the billions of people who have since appeared and departed, there was not a single one who could have done it.

Only an improved human society made the invention of such ingenious helpers of man possible; by the same token, the living human being has to be shaped and improved in order to make the best use of such great and precious fruits of the liberated mind.

Today's man continues to be burdened with the curse of heavy physical labor. Consequently, he finds mental work excessively cumbersome, which in turn explains why there is so little growth in prosperity engendered by the use of the present technological accomplishments.

To be successful, collective work calls for mutual trust of all participants and the more people there are, the more difficult it is to gain the confidence of all.

The head of an enterprise must gain the trust of his closest collaborators.

To achieve that, a good heart and a good will would not suffice.

That requires in the first place the capability to manufacture well and at minimum cost, so that the product may reach the market at a low price and may thus become the source of good wage and of a permanent job. Words alone do not generate trust. That has to be obtained with gold, values and service.

To manufacture at low cost and well requires to do the impossible, namely to cut down prices and to improve quality, to raise the daily wage while lowering the unit wage, to increase performance and to reduce the work strain. Such production requires the maximum use of machines. In order to become the foundation of a rising prosperity, machines have to be perfected all the time.

Some people insist that employees are entitled to the totality of the machine-made profit. Noble hearts may find such idea appealing and convincing, but it is still fundamentally and totally wrong. Just as man is superior to the machine, so does the enterprise, as a working community of people, stand above the individual. An enterprise that would allow employees to share the entire product of the work of machines would be akin to a man who would spend every day the entire yield of his work and would face famine that very instant when he would be for some reason hindered to continuing his work.

An industrial enterprise is a source of life for people who work there, in the same way as the fields sustain a farmer. The present and future prosperity of the public depends on the share of the return to the enterprise and its machine park from the people's earnings, just like the prosperity and the future of the farmer, as well as the food supply base of the nation, depend on the attention given by the farmer to his fields. This fact was known to people for ages, agriculture being the most ancient type of human labor. With regard to the employer - employee relationship, however, such comprehension is only beginning to emerge.

The Successor Problem

On countless occasions during Tomas Bata's lifetime, questions emerged on whether the work he has created could continue to live and grow without him - whether he will find a successor. Tomas Bata answered in 1931 a direct inquiry from a newspaper. At that time, that reply has raised some doubts. But the unruffled course and development of his enterprises after his death proved right the words pronounced over his grave: that man has arranged his affairs so that he could depart at any hour and be at peace with everyone. His statement on the succession problem goes as follows:

I started settling the problem of my succession 36 years ago, at the time I invited the first helper to my stool.

Had I organized my work so as to become irreplaceable, I would have never invited helpers, and many more at that.

The work which we organize has no use for people who dream of being irreplaceable. By the same token, such work cannot be done with those who want to remain day laborers. Some years ago a storehouse help carried packages on his back rather than to provide for their transport by chute; I fired him after he replied to me that this was a managerial matter, while he had no other desire than to remain an honest worker.

No enterprise will achieve greatness unless it discovers the method of turning workers into managers. On the very day we succeeded in solving that problem, we have also answered the question on the future leadership of our firm.

Bata's Young Men from his boarding school before their gymnastics

The Last Message

(From Tomas Bata's Testament)

The following few sentences, written into the testament of 1931, mark a dignified conclusion of a great life, filled with wisdom worthy of Svatopluk. Here speaks a man who transcends from individuality into collectivity (as witnessed by the use of plural), for which he toiled all his life and which was also on his mind as he was contemplating parting from whence there is no return. The end of the testament reads as follows:

"The first condition for the flourishing of our enterprise is that you do not consider the company as exclusively yours, that it is there only for you. The company was not built up with the objective to secure the existence to his founders only. Higher motives made us suppress our passions and desires whenever they appeared to us harmful to the enterprise.

More than once were we willing to sacrify our lives for the sake of the enterprise and more than one member of our family have indeed become its victims. One does not go to such lengths just to secure property.

We saw the development of our enterprise as inseparable from the expansion and prosperity of the whole region.

Our pride and incentive for continued tireless work was the realization that a new, heretofore unknown life is being instilled by our enterprise in our regions and that such development raises the prosperity and education of our people.

There was a desire to create, to make an ever growing part of the people partake of the advantages offered by our company to employees and customers alike. As long as you will continue to serve that great idea, you will be in accord with the laws of Nature and of humanity. Should you, however, mind only your own interests and cease to serve the community, then you will become useless and your fall would inevitably follow.

The Forest Cemetery in Zlin

is the last resting place of Tomas Bata. The picture shows the pyramid of flowers and wreaths after the funeral on July 14, 1932. The grave is now covered by a simple marble tomb-stone featuring the name and the dates of birth and death.

"Thorny is the path of pioneers", said Tomas Bata in 1931 at the grave of the son of one of his best friends, Dr. Gerbec in Zlin; he was the first one to be buried at the new forest cemetery of the town of Zlin, a project for the realization of which Tomas Bata had to fight as hard as he did for everything else in his life. We probably owe to this struggle our knowledge of Bata's views on man's last resting place, which he has never touched upon in the midst of his life's activities.

"We grew accustomed", he said on that occasion, "to see a cemetery as a wailing place. But, as everything else in the world, a cemetery ought to serve life. Therefore, it should not inspire fright, but peace and joy in the minds of the visitors. They could come there on Sundays like to a public park, maybe even to play and take refreshments there, give a good thought to the departed members of their families resting there in silence under rustling trees, and then return home at peace."

Whereupon a man objected privately: "But think of the young forest growing over the years, with trees penetrating into graves and consuming the remains of people so that no trace will be left of them. "Bata replied: "And what could be more beautiful than to reappear in the world posthumously in the branches of trees and continue to serve?"

The Personality of Tomas Bata and His Family

Man and his work are indivisible and the physical characteristics of a person always influence or educe the mind. In order to penetrate the process of Bata's thinking and working, we must take notice of his own physical appearance as well as that of the members of his family.

Tomas Bata was a strong, healthy, square-built man of 5'10", with a powerful chest, weighing 167 lb. His remarkable vigor based on a sound nervous system, manifested itself particularly by an unusually extensive working capacity and restorative powers. Even after an uninterrupted, exhausting activity of several days, a short sleep sufficed to refresh him fully and to restore his robust energy. He practically never relaxed, he was only changing the kind of his activities, passing from one field to another. In the last years of his life we might consider him therefore as one of the most knowledgeable men of our times.

The most characteristic part of his physique was his head and his vivid, expressive face, which reflected the wealth of his intellect. He had a rather large head with a flat, square forehead and a strong neck resting on sturdy shoulders; he carried his head high, usually slightly tilted to the back. His hair was thick, wavy, of steel-gray color; in his mid-fifties it started graying on the temples. The vitality of that characteristic head was centered in his eyes, encircled by a web of deep wrinkles. It was Bata's life-long habit to keep his steel-grey eyes - with bluish hues when smiling -, half closed, absorbed in constant, thoughtful observation; this was the typical, almost permanent expression on his face.

Mrs. Marie Bata, Tomas Bata's wife, in the middle of children from Zlin's convalescent house in 1932

He was a tremendously keen observer, who was seizing the world by all his senses (for instance, when participating in agricultural experiments, he tasted all the varieties of grasses, examined tanning materials, etc.). It was his eye-sight and his touch that he trusted the most. At certain moments, it could be noticed how large his eyes actually were - it happened during heated negotiations or moments of anger, when he began to crush his opponents by the sheer power of his arguments, his mind and his personality. Or - when he was encouraging his young men who, though competent and knowledgeable, were often disconcerted and immobilized by embarrassment.

The most characteristic feature of Bata's face was his nose. Big, strong and arched, yet lacking both the impetuous aggressivity of aquiline noses and the prudent hesitancy and cautiousness of business noses. Its shape expressed a combination of a designer with an organizer and businessman, the businessman and economist being predominant. It was interesting how in that lively face the nose, as well as the lips, chin, eyes and forehead seemed to be in a constant movement. And that movement, a distinguishing mark of his lively face, could never be properly expressed in a photograph or a portrait.

Firm, full tightly closed lips, two rows of healthy white teeth, a strong rounded, jutting chin, and a clear, pinkish complexion modified the austerity of the upper two-thirds of the face which, due to high cheek-bones, appeared more square than oval. Of all his siblings, Tomas Bata certainly had the most distinctive features. Most resembling him physically was his younger half-brother Jan A. Bata, in spite of his many Moravian-Slovak ethnic traits.

Tomas Bata Jr., led by his father, learnt modern way of shoe making at the machines

Those who pursue genetic studies on heredity will be interested to know that Tomas Bata was the sixth child of a mother who was three years older than Bata's father. According to those who knew her, she had a quiet, gentle, almost sad disposition; she was a prudent, meticulous housewife who married Bata's father Antonin when she was 28 years old. She had three children from her first marriage and four from her second, Tomas being the youngest one. She died in 1884, when Tomas was eight years old. He carried the memory of her and her loving care in his mind for forty years, until he found a sculptor whom he commissioned to create her likeness in marble, supervising and directing the artist's work personally.

Conversely, Bata's father Antonin was the absolute embodiment of all the characteristics of the males from Valassko Mountains. He was a solid, tempestuous, proud and courageous man, ambitious and enterprising, yet rather flighty; he strove for success and public recognition, but in view of the upper-mentioned qualities, neither the influence of his wife nor good advice of his neighbors could shackle his impetuous nature. His and his family's life could therefore be compared to steep ascents and equally steep descents; prosperity and want, days of happiness and crises, of optimism and disappointment. In the eyes of the placid citizens of old Zlin and Hradiste, he was definitely an eccentric; Antonin Bata, who pined so much for esteem of other people must have certainly suffered by this opinion; yet he was unable to discipline himself.

In Tomas Bata were combined his father's vitality and enterprising intensity with his mother's contemplative, prudent and gentle thoughtfulness. His ability to feel and analyze even the most delicate human emotion both psychologically and artistically was just as great as his cautious prudence and his sense of economy. He inherited these qualities from his quiet, gentle and frugal mother who took refuge with her feelings in the twilight of the Zlin church. But his father's blood never allowed him to limit himself only to sentiment and prudence. It enticed to action and drove to venture. From those two inherited elements grew Bata's entrepreneurial and economic activity as a vast, closed circle of human endeavor. It could not be understood and utilized were it regarded simply as a perfect method of manufacturing, commerce and money-making or a social activity by itself. Yet to a person who experiences it with love and attentive intelligence it presents unsuspected possibilities of development of human spirit in all domains, but particularly in the economic and social field.

The Batas - Shoemakers for 300 Years

Whence Tomas Bata's ancestors came to Zlin

The author Josef Pilnacek conducted studies on the origins of Tomas Bata's family. Having researched church registers and parish archives as well as guild records, he continued in the Land Archives in Brno and the National Museum Archives in Prague; according to all these and many other sources, he could definitely establish that nine generations of Bata's ancestors were cobblers, ever since they moved to Zlin.

The first cobbler Bata, Lukas by his first name, moved as an adult man to Zlin from Zelechovice (a village about three miles east from Zlin) and bought in 1672 the desolate Pivodovsky property called "On the Green"; the purchase is registered in German in the Land Archives in Brno as follows:

"Lukas Bata took over the old Pivodovsky wasteland in 1667, a cobbler." Lukas Batiu (as the Batas spelled their name until the eighteenth century) was the son of Vaclav Batiu from Zelechovice, the first traceable ancestor of the Batas, who owned there a small peasant house and fields; the Batas sold it to the Motyl family who still owns the property today - not even the names of the fields have changed.

Jan A. Bata, head of the Bata Enterprises

According to the historical research, the Bata family tree presents as follows:

Vaclav Batiu, 1580 -1662, Zelechovice

Lukas Batiu, 1610 - 1683, Zlin, cobbler

Lukas Batiu, 1660 - 1727, Zlin, cobbler

Martin Batia, 1691 - 1761, Zlin, cobbler

Martin Batia, 1715 - 1777, Zlin, cobbler

Simon Batia, 1755 - 1833, Zlin, cobbler

Antonin Batia, 1802 - 1850, Zlin, cobbler

Antonin Bata, 1844 - 1905, Zlin, shoemaker

Tomas Bata, 1876 - 1932, Zlin, shoemaker, shoe manufacturer

Tomas Bata, 1914 - certified shoemaker

The first cobbler Bata in Zlin, born in 1610, who practiced his craft since his earliest youth, must have had a valid certificate, because according to the then valid guild rules, the local authority would have never acknowledged him as a master shoemaker. It is therefore a proof that the Batas were practicing the shoemaking craft in Zlin for more than 300 years.

Correction by editors of Tomas Bata University in Zlin, 2014:

The correct Bata family tree is as follows:

Lukas Bata, * before 1667,  after 1708

Pavel Bata, *1668/69, 1724

Martin Bata, *1697, 1761

Simon Bata, *11.10.1755, 1830

Antonin Bata, *30.10.1802, 1858

Antonin Bata, *1.8.1844, 5.9.1905

Tomas Bata, *3.4.1876, 12.7.1932

Tomas Bata, *17.9.1914, 1.9.2008

The Work Continues

Tomas Bata was a pioneer in the modern production and marketing of footwear but more importantly, in the development and business implementation of what is today known in the business world as organizational behavior.

"Our life is the only thing in the world we cannot consider as our private property, as we have not contributed to its generation. It was only loaned to us with the obligation to pass it on to posterity improved and augmented. Our contemporaries, but particularly our posterity have therefore the right to demand that we render account for our life. This book should serve as such an account."

Tomas Bata