Selected Articles on Interallied Debts and Revision of the Debt Settlements

Selected Articles on Interallied Debts and Revision of the Debt Settlements

Selected Articles on Interallied Debts and Revision of the Debt Settlements

Selected Articles on Interallied Debts and Revision of the Debt Settlements

Excerpt

Public questions are of two sorts. A few perhaps are so clearly based on economic facts that they are capable of logical solution. Most, however, are so compounded of elements, economic, political and sentimental, that they cannot be determined rationally. Legislation related to them must take all of these factors into account. The "economic man" of the Manchester school could only have existed on Robinson Crusoe's island and only for so long as he was alone. As soon as the Man Friday appeared, he would have immediately been transformed into an ordinary human being, governed very largely by emotion and environmental prejudice. The sum of these emotions and prejudices, tempered somewhat by experience, we formulate into a system which we insist is rational and the product of a careful intellectual process. It is not necessary to question too closely the substance of this opinion, for it is in the last analysis a reality with which the legislator must deal. Something may be done to influence it both by governmental authority and by groups of like minded. This process we call propaganda.

While it is true that, at any given moment, emotion and prejudice exert a controlling influence, it must not be forgotten that their exercise, unrestrained by facts of the more stubborn sort, is quite certain to lead to highly unsatisfactory results. Some one is quite sure to get hurt. It is rather a good idea therefore to make as careful an attempt as we may to find out what are actually the facts underlying the question at issue and to study them from all possible angles.

There is no better illustration of the truth of this . . .

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