Courtesy Reuters

The Democratic Future of the Netherlands Indies

THE present interval in which the Japanese are in control of the Netherlands Indies will be fleeting in the perspectives of history. It provides a fitting opportunity, however, to review the process of gradual change through which the Archipelago has been passing under Dutch leadership. Such a review will be more interesting, probably, if it is not confined to a mere inventory of political, social, economic and cultural phenomena, but if it sets forth in addition some tentative conclusions as to the future. The following pages attempt to fulfill that task. They are not written in a biased spirit, but with rigorous objectivity. No other approach is permissible, given the fact that what are at stake are the happiness and well-being of seventy million people.

There is another and more specific reason why a discussion of this theme is timely now. The whole world -- political and social and economic -- is in the melting pot. Great changes portend in every field of human organization. The war has come upon all of us, not in the form of a local conflict of limited scope, but as a world-wide upheaval, the titanic revolutionary undercurrents of which have rent asunder the established order not only in Russia, Italy and Germany, but in other countries as well, and will profoundly alter the national and international pattern of life for years to come. A new world is being born. We hope to influence that process. And so we ask, "What are we fighting for?"

It is indeed a crucial question. The nature of the crisis and of the vast changes which impend are understood but vaguely. In the United Nations there naturally is a clearer perception of what we do not want than of positive new aims. This inclines us to tend to cling to well-tried formulae and traditional institutions, rather than to attempt to make a bold diagnosis of the ills besetting our world and to undertake positive planning to correct them. There is

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