It should be mentioned that one member of the Committee produced a reservation strongly combating even the very moderate views expressed by the Committee on the subject of British shipping and “key” industries. It should be noted, however, that he attended very few meetings of the Committee. He points out that, with regard to the registration of ships as British when they are owned by a company which has alien shareholders, “it is not usually a question of permitting a ship which would in any case be British to be under the control of aliens; the question is whether, if a number of persons, some or all of whom are aliens, own a ship, they should be permitted to register it as a British ship by forming themselves into a British company and establishing an office in the British Dominions. If,” he observes, “they were not allowed to do so they would still own the ship, but register it as a foreign ship in some other country. It appears that a number of ships were registered here before the war by companies with alien shareholders (some even with enemy shareholders). They were managed in this country; the profits earned by them were subject to our taxation; they were obliged to conform to the regulations of our Merchant Shipping Acts; they carried officers and men who were members of the Royal Naval Reserve; on the outbreak of war our Government was able to requisition the ships owing to their British registration and without regard to the nationality of the shareholders in the companies owning them.” It appears to this recalcitrant member—and there is much to be said for his view—that all these consequences have been highly advantageous to this country. On the subject of “key” industries he is equally unconvinced. It appears to him that “the important thing is to get the industries established in this country, and that the question of their ownership is of secondary consequence.”
It is very satisfactory to note, in view of wild talk that has lately been current with regard to restrictions on our power to export capital, that the Committee has not a word to say for any continuance, after the war, of the supervision now exercised over new issues. The restrictions which it did recommend, while admitting their futility, on imports of capital into our shipping and “key” industries were evidently based on fears of possible war in future. The moral is that this war has to be brought to such an end that war and its barbarisms shall be “spurlos versenkt,” and that humanity shall be able to go about its business unimpeded by all the stupid bothers and complications that arise from its possibility.
The Present Economic Structure—Its Weaknesses and Injustices—Were things ever better?—The Aim of State Socialism—A Rival Theory—The New Movement of Guild Socialism—Its Doctrines and Assumptions—Payment “as Human Beings”—The “Degradation” of earning Wages—Production irrespective of Demand—Is that the Real Meaning of Freedom?—The Old Evils under a New Name—A Conceivably Practical Scheme for some other World.