THE DYING ORDER 1
NE of the most extraordinary things about industrial capitalism is that in contrast with the practice of a hundred years ago, nobody attempts nowadays to defend it.
There is no longer any reasoned body of doctrine by which it is justified. Indeed, it is, per haps, the first example in the history of civilised mankind of ia set of practices for which no attempt is made to find a moral or religious sanction.
Men have always theorised about their institutions. To-day, for the first time, perhaps, we have an institution actively informing the lives of all of us concerning which all attempts to theorise have been abandoned.
* * * * This reticence almost amounts to a conspiracy of silence. The men who govern the affairs of this country are for the most part possessed of good intelligence. They know as well as anybody who has ever spent half an hour's reflection on the matter that industrial capitalism cannot work, that underemployment, misuse of resources and intermittent breakdowns are inherent in its very nature.
Yet we never hear this aspect of the matter discussed. We never hear them admit that they are operating a system which, precisely because it cannot work, because it is incapable of directing the bounty of nature to its natural end, is for that reason morally indefensible.
* * .( * That is why the rivals of capitalism have such an easy task. There is hardly a single measure adopted by the totalitarian countries which can claim to be called ingenious. Nearly every step they have taken in the economic field is simple and obvious.
The only significant thing is that the totalitarians have taken such steps and the democracies have not.
A great deal of critical astonishment is being shown just at present concerning the new Nazi tax bonds, one of the effects of which is to make firms pay taxes directly out of their income instead of hanging on to their money and having the use of it till the end of the year.
This is another instance where thetotalitarians have done the simple and obvious thing, while the democracies carefully a v oi de d ever suggesting that such a thing could be done.
Is it not extraordinary that no-one has ever pointed out this one great advantage that the income tax payer enjoys—namely that he is . given credit, he has for a year the use of money that belongs to the State, while the working class pay their extremely heavy taxes within a few days of receiving their pay or immediately upon its receipt. —S.--.
What weakens the democracies in their rivalry with the totalitarian States is that there are so many mildly compromising cats that must not be let out of the bag, there are so many pretences to be kept up.
Democracies are conducted in an atmosphere of apprehensive reticence. Totalitarians often evolve nonsensical theories but at least they face their problems. They do not pretend that things do not exist which are staring them in the face. That is a purely democratic characteristic.