The Healing of Nations and the Hidden Sources of Their Strife eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 168 pages of information about The Healing of Nations and the Hidden Sources of Their Strife.
century—­from 1851 onwards—­over world-wide trade and Industrial Exhibitions, as the heralds of the world’s peace and amity—­a jubilation voiced in Tennyson’s earlier Locksley Hall—­was to a certain extent justified.  There is no doubt that the nations have been drawn together by intertrading and learned to know each other.  Bonds, commercial and personal, have grown up between them, and are growing up, which must inevitably make wars more difficult in the future and less desirable.  And if it had been possible to carry on this intertrade in a spirit of real friendliness and without grasping or greed the result to-day would be incalculably great.  But, unfortunately, this latter element came in to an extent quite unforeseen and blighted the prophetic hopes.  The second Locksley Hall was a wail of disillusionment.  The growth of large mercantile classes, intoxicated with wealth and pursuing their own interests apart from, and indeed largely in opposition to, those of the mass-peoples, derailed the forward movement, and led in some of the ways which I have indicated above to more of conflict between the nations and less of peace.

Doubtless the growth of these mercantile classes has to a certain extent been inevitable; and we must do them the justice to acknowledge that their enterprise and ingenuity (even set in action for their own private advantage) have been of considerable benefit to the world, and that their growth may represent a necessary stage in affairs.  Still, we cannot help looking forward to a time when, this stage having been completed, and commerce between nation and nation having ceased to be handled for mere private profit and advantage, the parasitical power in our midst which preys upon the Commonweal will disappear, the mercantile classes will become organic with the Community, and one great and sinister source of wars will also cease.


[24] See p. 50 above.



There is another point of economics on which there seems to be some confusion of mind.  If mere extension of Trade is the thing sought for, it really does not matter much, in these days of swift and international transport, whether the outlying lands with which the Trader deals or the ports through which he deals are the property of his own nation or of some other nation.  The trade goes on all the same.  England certainly has colonies all over the world; but with her free trade and open ports it often happens that one of her colonies takes more German or French goods of a certain class than English goods of the same class; or that it exports more to Germany and France than it does to England.  The bulk, for instance, of the produce of our West African colonies goes, in normal times, to Germany.  German or French trade does not suffer in dealing with English

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The Healing of Nations and the Hidden Sources of Their Strife from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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