[Footnote 1: “The Meaning of Industrial Freedom,” page 39.]
Of course; but if so, where is the Guildsman’s alleged freedom? Every Guild and every Guildsman would have to adapt himself to the wants of the community, just as all of us who work for our living have to do now. He would be no more free than I am, and I am no more free than the person who is sometimes described as a “wage slave.” The Guildsman might be happier in the feeling that he worked for a Guild rather than a capitalist employer, but this is by no means certain. The writers just quoted show with much frankness and good sense that there would be plenty of opening for friction, suspicion, discontent and strikes. “A Guild,” they say, “that thought itself ill-used by its fellows would be able to signify its displeasure by the threat of a strike.” The officials of the Guild are to be chosen by the “men best qualified to judge” of their ability, whoever they may be, and every such choice would be ratified by the workers who are to be affected by it. “The Guild would build up in this way a pyramid of officers, each chosen by the grade immediately below that which he is to occupy,” Did not the Bolsheviks try something like this system, with results that were not conducive to efficient production? And to meet the danger that the officials as a whole might combine “in a huge conspiracy against the rank and file,” Messrs Bechhofer and Reckitt can only suggest vigilance committees within the Guilds. In a word, Guild Socialism seems to be a system that might possibly be worked by a set of ideally perfect beings; but as folk are in this workaday world one can only doubt whether it would be conducive either to freedom, efficiency or a pleasant life for those who lived under it.
Taxation after the War—Mr. Hoare’s Scheme described and analysed—The Position of the Rentier—Estimates of the Post-War Debt—The Compulsory Loan Proposal—What Advantages has it over a Levy on Capital?—The Argument from Social Justice—Questions still to be answered—The Choice between a Levy and Stiff Taxation—Are we still a Creditor Nation?—Our Debt not a Hopeless Problem—Suggestions for solving it.