SIR,-I was interested in the Five Points you make in your issue of July 18, and particularly in points two and three the problem of solving the country's balance of payments problems and the problem of encouraging cooperation in industry. Most people realise that it is necessary to encourage cooperation between management and workers if production is to be increased and the country's balance of payments problems are to be solved. But it is not altrays realised what a close connection there is between the kind of measures • tquired to produce a spirit of partnership in industry and the kind of measures required to stabilise prices and maintain export markets.
Sixty years ago. when Reruni Novarum was published, cooperation between management and workers was regarded by many Socialists as a betrayal of the class struggle, and by many Liberals and Conservatives as an intolerable interference with the rights of c .rmloyers.. Today, however, all three political parties are actively advocating cooperation in industry, and there is a good deal in common between the ideas developed in, for instance, the Liberal pamphlet, People in Industry, about the Liberal proposals for coownership in industry; the Fabian pamphlet, The Anatomy of Private Industry, about possible changes in cornpa. , law; end the Conservative pamphlet. The Worker in Industry, about industrial retails' as, copartnership, and even "industry wide copartnership." It may be that the politicians have derived some of their ideas from Catholic social teaching about cooperation between workers and employers, and about "the modification of the wage contract by a contract of partnership." The general ideas put forward are not dissimilar from those developed in, for instance, Mgr. Ryan's A Suggested 'Limitation of Capitalist Property and in Fr. Andrew Gordon's Property in the Christian Tradition.
The point is, however. not so much that an increasing number of Conservatives and Socialists are coming to recognise cooperation in industry as socially desirable, but that such cooperation is economically necessary. If we do not get together and produce more, we may well be unable to pay for essential imports of food and raw materials, and find ourselves "bankrupt, idle and hungry." Moreover, restraint in consumption is as important as increasing production.
In 1948 Sir Stafford Cripps appealed for the voluntary limitation of dividends and for restraint in wage claims; and last year Mr. Gaitskell proposed to introduce statutory limitation of dividends in order to encourage restraint in wage claims. In 1940 Sir John Simon, with the support of J. M. Keynes, proposed to introduce similar legislation and was supported from all sides of the House. On July 15 last Mr. Cyril Osborne, a Conservative M.P. for Louth, urged that Mr. Butler should introduce such legislation, and it may be that he will propose it when he announces his "further measures" at the end of the month. The significant thing is that the limitation of dividends advocated by Sir John Simon, Mr. Gaitskell, Mr. Osborne and others in order to encourage restraint in consumption and to maintain export markets, should at the same time be advocated by Mgr. Ryan, Mr. Albu, Mr. Spedan Lewis and others as means of creating a spirit of partnership in industry and increasing incentive and production. It is not, after all, very clear why the shareholder should receive an unlimited return when his liability has been limited for 100 years.
Existence of God
Snt,-May I suggest an addition to your excellent Five Points which might make them still more forceful? The greatest c ont rib u t ion that Catholics can make to our political life is surely that of driving a wedge into the unbroken wall of secularism that confronts us in such a depressing way. To make my point clear, let me state it in a rather extreme way. If we give due recognition to our Creator and then, through frailty, break all His laws, we are still in a healthy position as we can plead for forgiveness and seek the only adequate means of changing our lives. But our society generally, even at its best, acts in the opposite way. It strives to keep the laws while ignoring the Maker of these laws. Such condut makes life meaningless, as well as being an insult to God, an insult that is in varying degrees culpable.
It is extremely difficult to get this fact over without seeming merely pietistic. But unless we do get it over as -plain sanity, our writing and speaking will continue to be almost as dull and lifeless as that of politicians generally. As one less wise in the practical experience of public life may I ask if it would be possible to concentrate our energies fcr a time on the solution of this problem of the effective affirmation of the existence of God, who alone gives meaning and value to life?
(Rev.) Gerald Flanagan. Iver Heath, Bucks.