Treating employees well was good business, until the government interfered
Treating employees generously was just good business, Cone believes. His mill town provided recreation areas for employees until the government came along and starting taxing his company for doing so.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Caesar Cone, January 7, 1983. Interview C-0003. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
- HARRY WATSON:
That reminds me of some of the things that you were talking about earlier
about paternalism, because, not necessarily particularly in connection
with the handicapped, Cone was certainly very famous for having a very
highly developed system of services to provide amenities to people.
- CEASAR CONE:
Right. We thought that was good business. Not just charity;
it's good business. But the minute they come along here and
start charging us taxes to put city-paid-for recreation areas all over
town, why the hell should we run one out here with a hundred percent of
our money into it? Why not say, "All right, we're
paying more taxes than anybody else in town, the biggest taxpayer. Why
don't you put some of your city monies out here?
We're going to close down." A fellow from Atlanta
come in here to make a survey. This was when they first went into the
recreation business. "Put a recreation center here, here. The
northeast doesn't need anything; Cone takes care of
that." This is the damn guy from Atlanta, the expert, Graves,
the famous Graves report. Boy, when I read that thing,
I said to my brother, "We've got to get
out of this thing right quick. They use our taxes to take care of
everybody else and expect us to take care of ourselves. To hell with
it." Well, he didn't think…
"We've always been good citizens." I said,
"Yeah, we've been good citizens, but now you get
screwed. As long as the city didn't go into recreation, it
suited us fine. We had the best community in town."