28 MARCH 1931, Page 40


In plain language, there has been proceeding for some time in this country, under the guise of Socialism, an ill- concealed attack upon Capital and upon private enter- prises in general. The old theory of the economic wage is made increasingly subservient to the requirements of political expediency. Some twenty-five years ago, when Mr. Lloyd George was prosecuting his campaign against landowners, a voice in the audience was heard to exclaim "Tax them out of existence," and the sense of Mr. Lloyd George's reply was "Well, we have made a beginning." That was true, and we know how in the intervening time many an estate has been broken up, and many an ancient family has fallen into reduced cir- cumstances. It is a little difficult, perhaps, to see just what corresponding social or economic benefits have been reaped by the country, but the process has gone on, and it would be true to say that by means of penalizing taXation, Trade Union restrictions, and the general lack of confidence engendered, something like an attempt to tax or legislate private industry "out of existence has for some time past been in progress, with the result that we have record figures - of unemployment, a record by no means entirely attributable to those conditions of world depression beyond our own powers of control. In fact, one of the great points in the industrial situation which has to be kept carefully in mind is that long before there were any signs of world depression we were completely failing to retain our pre-War proportion of the world's trade, which was being rapidly captured by other countries.