43 Colum. L. Rev. 147 (1943)
War Price and Rationing Boards, The

handle is hein.journals/clr43 and id is 189 raw text is: COLUMBIA LAW REVIEW
VOL. XLIII               MARCH, 1943                      NO. 2
An Experiment in Decentralization
In a typical American town, six men, in shirtsleeves, are gathered
in earnest discussion. Their meeting place was formerly the display
room of the county's largest seller of automobiles, filled with glittering
new models and high-pressure salesmen. The subject of the present
discussion is whether or not an applicant shall be granted the coveted
privilege of buying a new car. That question, in itself symbolic of the
drastic change in our internal economy, is being decided by the Local
War Price and Rationing Board, consisting of two business men, the
secretary of a trade union, a farmer, a lawyer and a minister. The
applicant has claimed that he is using his car, which he asserts is no
longer serviceable, for transporting produce to market from a' farm
which he owns. These facts, if true, would make him eligible for a cer-
tificate; but everyone in the county knows everyone else, and the Board
knows all the facts. The farm is owned by the applicant's father and is
operated by his brother; moreover, his present car is still adequate. The
application is refused.
In the same state, on the same summer evening, a large public school
is ablaze with light. In one room, a number of men and women, wedged
behind the little desks, are intently studying cabalistic figures on the
blackboard, which are being explained by the lecturer. This is a class
of volunteer workers who will soon be put on panels in the gasoline ra-
tioning program. In another room, a personal hearing is being conducted
in connection with an application for recapped tires; three board mem-
bers and the applicant are going into the facts informally, but with the
utmost thoroughness. The chairmen of all the city's local War Price
and Rationing Boards are meeting in the principal's office for the weekly
discussion. Gasoline coupons are being tailored in the hall and sugar
ration books are being counted in the janitor's cubicle. One hundred
* The opinions expressed in this article represent the personal views of the
writer and do not purport to reflect those of the Office of Price Administration.

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