Ernest Tener Weir: Iconoclast of Management

by Ernest Dale



Ernest Tener Weir was born in 1875, and began his business career in 1890 when his father died and he had to go to work to help support his mother and his younger brother. Weir looked up from the charts he had prepared to show the phenomenally successful growth of the National Steel Corporation under his carefully planned if often drastic cultivation. Weir first became nationally famous in the 1930s when he fought unionization more intransigently than his fellow industrialists. His basic belief was in freedom of economic opportunity and freedom of action and he attempted to reduce the scope of governmental intervention. Weir was not, however entirely or even largely the arch-reactionary that some of his words and actions make him appear. For example in 1932 he developed an analysis of the discrepancy between production and consumption that sounds remarkably like Thorsteiti Yeblen's, though Weir had never read Yeblen at the time he gave the speech and those words uttered in 1934 are hardly that of a reactionary.

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