Economy of Demobilization
THE AMERICAN people believe in a life of enterprise and expansion by individual initiative. But all the talk today of a "return" to free enterprise and private initiative is merely an expression of feeling; not a solution of problems. We are not going to return to anything. We must never go backward. We must press on -- on to the days of demobilization and the complex economic problems they will bring.
The profound nature of the changes we must face is evident in the trend of affairs in Europe. Russia, with whom we are destined to have progressively closer economic relations, is a completely state-controlled economy. The aftermath of war will see a tremendous rise in western Europe of state ownership of resources and industries, what we call state socialism. The problem is well illustrated in the question of what is to become of the big industries of France, which the Germans have taken from their former private owners. It is likely that a large portion of this French production will become state-owned.
The trend in Great Britain is becoming increasingly clear. Lord Woolton has just rendered an official report for the British Conservative Party which would take Great Britain far along the path of government control of industry.
The plain facts are that Europe and Great Britain are moving as they are in economic thinking because of an insistent demand on the part of those millions of men who labor but do not direct. They demand that they shall be protected against the hazards and unpredictable destruction of human values involved in the violent fluctuations of modern industrial life.
We are facing the same situation here in the United States. And the full employment which has been created by war will make the demand for protection against post-war unemploy