19 OCTOBER 1929, Page 20

It appears to be the function of the London School

of Economics to provide a theoretical basis for the Socialist party programme. Mr. Josiah Wedgwood, in The Economics of Inheritance (Routledge, 12s. 6d.) has developed one aspect of his teacher Dr. Dalton's argument for a still more drastic taxing of the well-to-do, not merely by increasing the death duties but by taxing even gifts made at any time in a person's life. The best chapter in the book summarizes the results of a purely statistical inquiry into sample cases, which appear to show that most large fortunes are the result of inheritance ; but the inquiry is admittedly very partial, and the conclusion has no special validity. Mr. Wedgwood is well aware that saving should not be wholly discouraged—though it has in fact decreased of late years—but he is anxious to see how far taxation can be increased without actually convincing the rich man that he might just as well retire and spend his money on pleasure as go on working and saving. The implied assump- tion that more revenue can be raised by taxing the few rather than by increasing the production of the many is perilous.