Eight hundred businessmen, meeting in the ballroom of the Hotel Statler yesterday, heard president Conant discuss the responsibilities of Americans and American universities to the world economy. Conant called "equality of opportunity" a significant American ideal which has meaning "only in a competitive society in which private ownership and the profit motive are accepted as basic principles."
He said we can advance international stability and our own democracy in the new few years "to the degree that we can demonstrate that this unique American ideal is no mere myth or legend."
"Words alone will not suffice," said Conant in addressing a luncheon of the Boston Conference on Distribution, a national economic forum. To this end, Conant declared that this nation needs businessmen aware of our unique society of free men, and educators who "should be statesmen, too.
Sociology, A Concrete Aid
Of Universities, he said, "It is my belief that the methods of certain of the social sciences have already been developed to a point where studies of society by competent scholars can provide basic information to assist the leaders of industry and of education.
"Both fundamental investigation as to the nature of man and society and immediate studies of specific problems are required. It is at this point that I believe our universities have a special contribution to make."
He added, "Through such studies they may be able to pay a significant role in assuring our fitness to survive."