March 1944 Radio-Craft
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Radio-Craft,
published 1929 - 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
"Use it up... Wear it out... Make it do... Or do without" - what a great slogan! It was coined by the War Advertising
Council during World War II to promote the dual need to conserve scarce resources and to help keep prices down
by not generating excess demand. Most of us have seen videos or read articles about neighborhood materials collection
efforts to round up old tires, scrap metal, glass, tools, electronics equipment, cloth and clothing, and many other
items that could be recycled for used directly in the war effort. There was also an undertone of not abetting attempts
by opportunists to profiteer off the war. Government policy did what it could to control the economy by instituting
severely progressive income taxes and price controls (that way only the ultimate insiders
could get rich). After 11.3% and 7.6% inflation
rates during the first two years of the war, efforts such as this campaign saw it quickly drop and hold at about
2.5% to the end of the war. Immediately thereafter, however, inflation skyrocketed to 18.1% and then to 10.2% over
two years, then
settled down and oscillated around ± a couple percent until it again rose significantly in the 1970s. In today's atmosphere of plenty of everything materially,
the amount of waste is so excessive that living by the standards of the 1940s would be considered a condition of poverty
War Advertising Council Slogan
Use it up... Wear it out... Make it do... Or do without
shouldn't I buy it? I've got the money. "
Sure you've got the money. So have lots of us. And yesterday it was all ours, to spend as we darn well pleased.
But not today. Today it isn't ours alone.
"What do you mean, it isn't mine?"
It isn't yours to spend as you like. None of us can spend as we like today. Not if we want prices to stay down.
There just aren't as many things to buy as there are dollars to spend. If we all start scrambling to buy everything
in sight, prices can kite to hell-'n'-gone.
You think I can really keep prices down?"
If you don't, who will? Uncle Sam can't do it alone. Every time you refuse to buy something you don't need, every
time you refuse to pay more than the ceiling price, every time you shun a black market, you're helping to keep prices
"But I thought the government put a ceiling on prices."
You're right, a price ceiling for your protection. And it's up to you to pay no more than the ceiling price. If
you do, you're party to a black market deal. And black markets not only boost prices - they cause shortages.
"Doesn't rationing take care of shortages?"
Your ration coupons will - if you use them wisely. Don't spend them unless you have to. Your ration book merely
sets a limit on your purchases. Every coupon you don't use today means that much more for you - and everybody else
- to share tomorrow.
"Then what do you want me to do with my money?"
Save it! Put it in the bank! Put it in life insurance! Payoff old debts and don't make new ones. Buy and hold War
Bonds. Then your money can't force prices up. But it can speed the winning of the war. It can build a prosperous nation
for you, your children, and our soldiers, who deserve a stable America to come home to. Keep your dollars out of circulation
and they'll keep prices down. The government is helping - with taxes.
"Now wait! How do taxes help keep prices down?"
We've got to pay for this war sooner or later. It's easier and cheaper to pay as we go. And it's better to pay
more taxes now - while we've got the extra money to do it. Every dollar put in to taxes means a dollar less to boost
prices. So ...
Use it Up ... Wear it out ... Make it do ... Or do without
Help US Keep Prices Down
A United States war message prepared by the War Advertising Council, approved by the Office of War Information,
and contributed by the Magazine Publishers of America
Posted August 14, 2014