Sir Norman Angell Discusses Economics
The causes of war were discussed by Sir Norman Angell when lecturing to members of the Leeds centre of the Institute of Bankers.
Sir Norman (who is a member of the Executive of the League of Nations Union) said the assumption that capitalism was the cause of war had been answered by events.
Britain had recently gone through a war and won a great victory. Had the position of capitalism or international finance been improved by the victory?
The whole capitalist and commercial position of Britain had been shaken as it had never been shaken in all its history. Foreign trade had greatly declined and international finance, far from being in a stronger position, had almost been abolished.
It was an impossibility to conquer trade by military means, or indeed to seize wealth of sufficient extent to justify the cost of seizure.
The great danger of the modern world was not absolute shortage, but dislocation of the process of exchange by which alone in our economy the fruits of the earth could be made available for human consumption.
An Anarchic World The real push behind action like that of Italy was not really the need for raw materials in peace time.
It was perhaps the need for ensuring raw materials in war time, when routes might be closed.
But beyond and above this it was the semi-conscious search for power—for isolated national power was the only means of defence in an anarchic world.
Having returned recently from America, Sir Norman said he found the best opinion there was privately in favour of the League of Nations. The best way to bring America into the League was for the League to succeed in its efforts.