17 MAY 1940, Page 26

World Wheat and Other Planning. By Paul de Hevesy. (Oxford

University Press. 38s.)

Tins monumental study contains all the available data, either directly or in the form of references, which could be desired by the most conscientious student of the world's wheat problem. The importance of the subject warrants the immense work put into it, for the economic history of the last decade could be written very largely in terms of the vast and only half-recognised agricultural revolution which has been proceeding during that time, of the strains which it has set up and of the measures taken by different countries to shift those strains elsewhere. There is no commodity in which this struggle of the peasant and his backers against the machine has been sharper than in wheat. High protection in Europe, the imposition of quotas and of the compulsory use of home-produced flour, the harnessing of national fervour as in the Italian Battaglia del Grano, are balanced by the restrictive measures imposed in the great wheat-growing areas overseas. " Planning " is a misnomer for these destructive and irrational manoeuvres ; but so huge a shift of social forces as .would be involved in the organisation of agriculture on a territorially rational basis demands genuine planning if anything does. Mr. de Hevesy's book is a valuable contribution to the formulation of a reasoned judgement on this vast and complex problem.