Economic Reformers up in arms
Their hopes for economic and monetary reform will be set back for many years, state members of
the Economic Reform Club and Institute, who look upon the Bretton Woods Conference with its proposals for a new form of gold standard with unconcealed gloom. Not a step forward, but retrogression, is their verdict, and they fear that the mistakes of 1918 are in danger of being repeated on an international and world-wide scale.
A vigorous campaign is contemplated and members, who include prominent Catholics among them whose views on economic reform have from time to time been aired in this papers propose to tackle M.P.s on the subject. One of them, Mr. C. Robertson, writes to us as follows: The Research Committee of the Economic Reform Club and Institute have given preliminary consideration to the proposals contained in the White Paper issued as the result of the Conference and have reached the following conclusions: (1) As opposed to the establishment of a stable price level and basing the issue of money on goods produced, we are confronted with a new form of gold standard which may be more dangerous than that of 1925-31. It must be remembered that this was the period in which unemployment reached the phenomenal figure of *wee million.
(2) The maintenance of equilibrium in international trade is a responsibility of both creditor and debtor nations. The report ignores this mutual respon sibility and imposes severe penalties on debtor nations, but imposes no obligation on creditor nations to create the conditions whereby the debtor can liquidate its indebtedness, v iz „ by accepting the exports of the debtor.
(3) Much has been said and written about education, housing. social security, and reconstruction generally. The solution of these questions will in no small measure be outside the control of H.M. Government owing to the powers invested in an international authority not directly answerable to the people of this or any other country.
(4) The power enabling the authority controlling the Fund to order participating countries to boycott a country which becomes " ineligible to use the resources of the Fund " constitutes a grave threat to the unity of nations, particularly the British Empire. It would precipitate economic warfare. and thus sow the seeds of a third world war.
(5) On page 14 of the report it is recommended that considered plans should be devised " to facilitate by cooperative effort the harmonisation of national policies of member States designed to promote and maintain high levels of employment and rising standards of living ": the Research Committee of the Economic Reform Club and Institute is of the opinion that this recommendation should be implemented before the financial proposals of the Breton Woods Conference are accepted in order to avoicf a major disaster in the future.