PRODUCTIVE OUTPUT AND RESEARCH
Snt,—In your paragraph Trade and Employment under News of the Week last Friday you take to task Mr. Marquand, the Secretary for Overseas Trade, for having remarked in the debate in the House on the previous Tuesday that there might in the near future by a slump similar to that of 1921. You say, "Full employment has been reached in the sense that everybody who wants a job can have one. It has not been reached in the sense that every man is in the right job or producing the maximum quantity of goods. A proper appreciation of these facts leads direct to an enlightened overseas trade policy. A fear of unemployment does not. The main danger is that Britain may wake up in about five years' time to find that neither production nor trade has been built up to a sufficiently high level to provide the British people with a decent standard of life." I agree that the most urgent task before us to-day is to obtain a maximum output of goods. My society is now initiating an intensive study of the factors in efficient industrial production which we hope may develop into a voluntary information-bureau that may be helpful to producers.
Nevertheless, although maximum output is to-day the most urgent task before us, it must be recognised that fear of unemployment among a million or more operatives can be a serious impediment to maximum output. This is a matter quite outside the scope of our immediate study; but there is great urgency that research work should be under- taken on these lines also, not merely by political agencies but by scientific students eager to provide solutions that may effectively lift this fear from men's minds.—Yours faithfully,
L. E. C. HUGHES
(Joint Hon. Secretary, Engineers' Study Group on Economics). 20 Buckingham Street, W.C.2.