Page 4, 17th November 1944

17th November 1944
Page 4
Page 4, 17th November 1944 — Williamis to leave taxation

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Locations: Paris


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Williamis to leave taxation

But the way proposed by Sir


roughly at the 1938 rates and to


carry the consequent deficit through internal loans which, he works out, are capable of increasing by £775 millions a year from 1948-1970 without involving any increase in tax rates to meet the interest.

This proposal is the centre piece of a whole series of recommendations designed to direct expenditure to social priorities, to keep taxation as high as is reasonable in relation to borrowing, and to ensure that the labour market is sufficiently flexible to adapt itself to the new demands.

aougn the wnole Report rather Lakes for granted the willingness of the human animal to respond to the economist's theories, the most questionable section is the internationaL Unless the international situation clears itself up very rapidly we fear that the effort to balance our international trade in our future condition of international debtors with high prices and high wage rates at home will considerably interfere with the programme envisaged. Indeed, Sir William himself points out that a healthy international trade depends upon other countries adopting substantially the same policy of full employment.

Reading this part of the analysis one may feel that the frictionless working of Sir William's mind involves some skating over difficulties that are not under national control

The Will

What is quite certain is that a policy of full employment could have been easily achieved before the war had there been the will to solve the biggest social disaster of our times. It is no less clear that after the war the will to do so can control and diminish the giant evils of Want, Disease, ignorance and Squalor. Given the structure of modern economy and modern technique, we see no alternative means to achieve this in our time by the remedies so often proposed in Catholic circles. We are bound therefore to conclude that the best and most effective Christian contribution to the social evils of Capitalism is wholeheartedly to back the general principles and the general recommendations to be found in Full Employment in a Free Society. And we may provisionally note that on many points of detail, such as the maintenance of our traditional freedoms, the social control of investments, the falsity of accumulation .of wealth, the evils of too great a mobility of labour, this Report quite clearly goes the Christian way. THE Prime Minister's visit to Paris and the conversations with the French Government very clearly mark an important stage in the recovery of Europe. Though the Germans are still claiming to be the defenders of Europe against American and Russian aggression, the history of Europe shows that no Europe is thinkable which does not include France and which is not heavily in France's debt, And if, since the growth of Germany and the relative decline of the Mediterranean countries, a close understanding between Britain and France has been a great European advantage, we have to-day reached :he static when it may well be said that everything European depends on the closest links between the two countries.

However militarils important then ths great alliances may be and ETI rernain, .hey fall short as agents 01 the reconstruction of Western civilisation of the understanding between Britain and France And given the tragic fate of France during the present war the opening of a fresh chapter in the history of Anglo-French relations has not been unduly delayed. Indeed, it could scarcely have taken place earlier since it is only now that France becomes herself again.

We could not pretend that this new chapter is opening in wholly auspicious

conditions Those who have followed these columns through the war will be very well aware that the situation today is very different from what we believe to be needed We believe thaw the future of Europe depends on a common agreement on the philosophy of human life that follows front the doctrine of

the Incarnation The essence of that philosophy lies in belief in the spiritual and temporal responsibility of the human being whom Christ redeemed. made His brothei and called to an eternal salvation through the perfecting of his God-given human nature. And the only acceptable society is the society which helps, through providing the social conditions of spiritual, moral, cultural and economie progress towards God's design each and every person to become fully a man. miterially as well as spiritually.

The Debit Side

THERE can be no doubt that this philosophy which made Europe has largely been forgotten in modern times. The ideals of power. wealth, comfort. pleasure. have increasingly replaced hand with disastrous results. It is true that behind them there has also been a strong desire for knowledge and an increasingly strong consciousness of social duties to out neighbours, but these have not been sufficient to prevent the violent competition between man and man and between nation and nation in their attempt to enjoy power, comfort and pleasure at the expense of their neighbours.

The great problem for serious Christians has surely been how to lestore the essentials of the Incarnational philosophy among people who have so widely lost their faith in the dogma aselt. Any road that may seem to offel itself must necessarily be a ehequered and difficult one. Vve for our part had hoped that in the universal disaster tit a second world war experience itself would gradually have led men of goodwill to find a better way through (as it wine) the great conflict between Western liberalism

and the rival totalitarianisms. And it seemed to be possible that in France especially a relatively clear way would offer itself. Unfortunately. it did not prove possible for a weakened France to steer a steady course. Though we believe that the great mass of Frenchmen held on in spite of everything to a reasonable patriotic course, setting themselves against arty temptation Co collaborate with any totalitarianism and remaining desirous of a critical understanding with Western libetalism, those who led France fell too easily for one side or the other. We may indeed thank God, and France herself may thank God that it was the Allies who liberated France and not the Germans who offered a permanent enslavement of France's heritage to the Nazi barbarism, but this cannot blind us to the debit side of the account.

France can be herself again, and that is all-important. But a heavy price has to be paid also. Many vital truths learned in the hour of humiliation are being swept aside in the exaltation of liberation. The lessons of bitter experience are being forgotten. Sound men. as well as unsound men, are being trampled on. Much is being made of the mystique of national resurgence, and the Catholic, who knows the value of nation and patriotism. should be the last person to deny the moral value of such a mystique. But is it enough ? Given that it is quite impossible for Frenchmen to accept the outlook of the Anglo-Saxon Powers (even if theirs were an adequate philosophy for Europe). is there not a great danger that in recoiling from Nazi totalitarianism they may not lose themselves in the sideturning of the economic and class conflict and embrace the alternative totalitarianism ?

A Continental Responsibility

BUT history has been written, and it is foolish to dwell on mighthave-beans. It is the liberated France of 1944 with its virtues and its defects

which matters for the future. And nothing could be more-Important for Europe and the world than that the experiences and aims of a Britain that has pulled through and a France that has been freed should be pooled and that together they shduld face the tasks to come. The aim, from our point of view, must still remain the same: to create the conditions of human freedom and resoonsibility within a stable and God-fearing society. And the task cannot be confined to Britain and France. The whole Continent has been rocked by the totalitarian enamel to cure the evils of anarchy and corruption and selfishness by the even greater evils of Godless tyranny and force. And the whole Continent is in danger of escaping the responsibility of building anew in terms of a Christian-founded philosopby by seeking shelter under :Another version of the same essential tyranny and force. And to the inevitable difficulties of making slow progress along the hard, self-sacrificing middle way there are added the fact that the recovery must begin in war-devastated lands subject to continuing prior military necessities as well as the accident that among the victors is to be found die non-European, Communist Empire which may be slowly evolving towards what we moan by civilisation in the West but has certainly not yet done so.

Italy, Belgium, the Balkan countries. Hungary, tragic Poland. Spain. defeated Germany itself, they must all experience :o some extent the agony of suffering within their bodies caused by the same essential tension which has brought about two world wars. When we put it that way. we can begin to understand the immense responsibilities that rest on art outwardly untouched Britain and France. the first resurgent country, as she becomes herself again.

Humanly speaking, the prospects cannot be said to be good. It may be that France will throw up leaders equal to the immense spiritual and moral, as well as political and economic task. We know of none here. Still there can be nothing hut gain in the progress alreads made under General de Gaulle and in the closer ' understanding between Britain and France. Perhaps we had no right to expect even that degree of improvement, and may it be an augury for more to come.


RIR William Beveridge points out that even in full employment a working margin of three per cent. temporarily out of work is necessary for the flexibility and give-and-take

of industry. Something of the same truth applies to all human affairs. In

Catholic days those pursued by the law or otherwise enjoyed a right of sanctuary. human justice, it was felt, was never so perfect its not to need some margin. We have changed ail that. Today the criminal is pursued with a rigidity and an accuracy unknown in more human times. Even the international and political criminal where canons of justice arc often so debatable. Fare defends her right of asylum, while pointing out that she has no desire to exercise that right against her own interests within which comes the interests of States friendly to herself. It is a dignified and useful formula. Certainly where there is true and intnartial justice ee have no desire to see the guilty escaping its effects, but we are glad that a Catholic country maintains rights which emphasise the truth that human justice usually falls short of perfection—not least in the present emotion-governed times.

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