29 MARCH 1940, Page 26

Government and Economic Life. By Leverett S. Lyon, Myron W.

Watkins, and Victor Abramson. (Brookings Institution. $15.

Tins volume, the first of a two-volume survey of the relations between Government and business, offers to the reader a broad conspectus of American economic legislation, supplemented by copious references. The subjects covered include (always from the angle of legal enactment) the organisation of busi- ness, including the law of corporations ; bankruptcy ; patent rights ; monetary measures (here one particularly feels the lack of any discussion of wide economic implications); industrial relations in the narrower sense ; standards, weights and measures ; the maintenance of competition and the definition of its scope ; and labour disputes and trade union law generally. Taxation and fiscal policy fall outside the scope of the present volume ; its successor will deal with particular enactments affecting specific industries. To any serious student of the American economy, Government and Economic Life offers a valuable jumping-off ground. The more general reader will find himself constantly wishing that the promise of the first chapter on " Concepts and Condition- ing Factors," with its wide scope and perspectives, could have been fulfilled in the sections which follow. A catalogue raisonne of enactments and judicial decisions is provided, but discussion of principles is reduced to a minimum and there is, moreover, no attempt to study the problems of enforce- ment, evasion, and the concrete expression of public opinion towards the law. In general, indeed, it is rather hard to see the wood for the trees.