From Our Own Correspondent
The Social Order summer school enjoyed greater success than ever at its fourth annual meeting, held at Clongowes Wood College, Ireland. The hospitality of the Jesuit Fathers within those famous walls always makes a
ke ant and there pleasant inspiring. This year there was zeal and cordiality in all that was said arid done—a feeling that Catholic social action is our need, and that we happily possess the means to meet that need, in our people's unbroken faith and loyalty, Secret Business " We must get rid of the false theory of the necessity of secrecy in all business transactions," said Professor Alfred O'Rahilly, the great Cork scholar.
We can't begin to solve the problems if we remain working in the dark. We must have more publicity as regards the details of industrial activity. A public auditor must be put in the position of knowing what is really going on, and must then be free to make the facts available for use." Professor O'Rahilly dealt with the domination of Irish industry by foreigners, and asked the highly pertinent question whether protection was being abused to
wards this end. He touched on many instances of new issues of capital, and thought that many of them would hardly bear a close scrutiny; for instance, the price paid for so-called goodwill, the writing up of assets, the accuracy of the profits shown in balance sheets before issues, promotion costs, etc.
He analysed in a critical mood the implications of the new Agreement, and expressed some doubts about the new functions of the Prices Commission. He thought that by combining comparison of prices with comparison of efficiency—as seemed to be the task of the Commission— it was going to set up new enmities and oppositions.
" Dehtunanised Society" " Dehtunanised Society" In a paper on " Economic Justice," Rev. E. I. Coyne, S.J., dealt with the restoration of ethical or moral principles and doctrine as the guiding principles of social and economic life. " If," he said, " there is one distinctive and characteristic feature of the present social and economic.system, it is that it has exiled ethical and moral considerations from the forces which operate in it, and has substituted in their place economic expediency. In short, the modern world thinks, falsely and perversely, that human society can be best guided by the principle of economy instead of by the principle of justice. '" Yet it is theoretically certain, and becoming more and more obvious in practice, that the abandorunent of the principle of
justice in our social life must bring about, first, the ` dehumanisation ' of society, and, later on, the complete destruction of even this dehumanised society. Expediency, economic enterprise, or the principle of economy are utterly unable to hold human society together, or to direct it to attaining its final end and purpose."
Justice in Transaction
It was the business of Catholic sociologists to try to discover a practicable way to introduce or reintroduce the principle of justice into economic transactions. It would be very difficult to re-establish the principle of justice in an isolated department of social or economic life while leaving other departments under the control
of the principle of economy. It was equally difficult to attempt to revolutionise the whole of the economic system in a sudden and violent manner. Their best hope seemed to be to concentrate on the firm restoration of the principle of justice, first in the remuneration of human labour, and, through that, to work on prices and profits.
Back to Tillage!
There were interesting papers on the supreme material problem of Ireland —the flight from the land. Dr. Henry Kennedy prescribed a general easing of the farmer's lot as the cure: more money and more leisure: but surely the flight from the land is largest where money and leisure are most plentiful?
A less modernistic solution was advocated by Dr. E. J. Sheehy, who stands for the revival of tillage and old Irish peasant life, with its round of interests. He said that analysis of various systems showed that for the support of a single human family the following acreage was required: All-grass farm for grazing of dry cattle, 500 acres;
Do„ for grazing of dairy cows, 70 acres; All-tillage farm worked with power machinery, 100 acres; Mixed tillage and stock farm (25 to 33 per cent. tilled), 15 acres; More intensivelytilled medium and
small farm 8 , 7 or acres. me
Bullock grazing or mechanised tillage on a large farm might be quite profitable to the land-owner, but both conduced to the practical disappearance of the rural community.
On most of our holdings, which were of small or mediuni size, the amount of labour required was proportional to the percentage of the arable land tilled. Seventy years ago we had a population of over 4,000,000 in the Twenty-Six Counties, now we had less than 3,000.000. This decline had run parallel with a decrease in tillage from 2.750,000 to approximately 1,5C4,0i30 acres and a corresponding eaten
Sian of pasture, and an increase in cattle from 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 head.
The lecturer advocated the production at home of our own foods, both for man and domestic stock, and also the production of such raw materials as sugar beet and potatoes for industrial purposes.
Because of the adoption of mechanised farming, with complete disregard to human employment, abroad, and also because of the low cost of living in many agricultural countries, our farmers could not hope, even on the home market, to compete, on a free trade basis, in the production of such products as cereals, nor could they produce butter to compete with the dumped product of other countries which pay an export bounty. Therefore, tillage and the dairy industry must be subsidised. The rapid extension of post-primary education through the new Vocational schools and the intensification of agricultural instruction was called for.