The Next Ten Years in British Social and Economic Policy

By G. D. H. Cole | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THE RESTORATION OF INDUSTRY

The National Labour Corps only an interim measure—We must take steps for the lasting restoration of industry—The Electricity Act—A first step towards the redistribution of our economic resources—The process of investment under 'private enterprise'—Can we afford to leave investment unregulated?—Do we save the right amount?—Or apply it to the right uses?—Saving and interest rates—Does the investor's advantage coincide with the good of the community?—Many socially desirable investments are unattractive to the private investor—This especially true at present— Destruction of old capital through wrong application of new—Capital is really power over labour—And determines the distribution of labour— The Labour Party's proposed Employment and Development Board— The Liberals' proposed Board of National Investment—Need for a body of this sort—Its functions and powers—In financing public and statutory bodies—And in lending to private industry—Argument from the growth of Finance Companies and Investment Trusts—Their economic effects considered—Wanted: a State Investment Trust—Conditions of advances to private firms and companies—Proposed extension of State control— State directors on boards of companies—Company Law and Research Associations— The Labour Corps and the Investment Board as complementary aspects of a sound unemployment policy—The economics of communal and private enterprise contrasted.

The proposal to form a National Labour Corps is, of course, only one item in the immediate programme of Socialism for the prevention of unemployment. With it go two other proposals of equal importance, the conscious development of national economic resources, and the conscious guiding of new capital into the channels which will best further this development. Great Britain is at present in many respects lamentably ill-equipped for efficient production. A beginning towards her better equipment has been made in one direction by the recent Electricity Act, which is at last causing the question of electrical power to be taken seriously in hand. This Act has many weaknesses, some

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