1 JUNE 1934, Page 18


[To the Editor of Tr SPECTATOR.] Sia,—The " Report on Economic Conditions in Italy " evidently depresses Mr. Hamilton Fyfe. There is much to depress any of us in the state of the world today, and I am glad that he chivalrously does not lay all the woes he mentions at the door of Fascism. I have read the whole report, and I think the writer speaks the truth when he says that Italian Fascism " has succeeded in preserving the economic situation of Italy in a world situation in which, without Fascism, it would undoubtedly have collapsed."

Referring to the National Council of Corporations Mr. Fyfe says that there is " nothing significant or new " in its working. If a system, whereby great confederations of employers and workers representative of every productive activity meet regularly throughout the length and breadth of the land to decide how their industries may best be run for the public good, is not a new and revolutionary conception —well, I, at any rate, do not know what is.

Unemployment in Italy is 2.1 per cent. of the population, as compared with 8.1 per cent. in the U.S.A., 6.2 per cent. in France and 5.2 per cent. in Great Britain. In January there was a fall in the Italian unemployed, compared with the same month of 1933, of 54,868, and in February of 125,837. The Corporate State, at any rate in this particular, appears to be holding its own compared with the leading democratic countries.

In an age where world trade is decreasing and nearly all countries are setting up their own industries, many of them with " coolie " rates of wages, it is impossible to expect anything but a gradual dwindling of all export trade (at the present moment we are temporarily securing a greater share than other countries of a declining volume of world trade—a state of affairs which may end at any time). Hence we have the need of building up a great home market by prohibiting the import of what we can produce ourselves. What we cannot produce ourselves we shall get, first, from the Empire and, secondly, from those foreign countries who

buy from us. The latter procedure will, however, only be necessary during the period of transition to our goal—the self-contained Nation and Empire.

With our vastly increased home market, due to prosperous agriculture, and the simultaneous raising of wages throughout industry under the corporate system, together with our Imperial market, due to trade arrangements with the Domin- ions and Colonies, we can certainly absorb such export trade as we are likely to lose by the prohibition of imports of foreign goods that can be produced here.—I am, Sir, &c.,