Courtesy Reuters

The Progress of Socialization in England

AT THE present time England quite clearly stands midway between capitalism and socialism. Every section of the community looks to the government for assistance of one kind or another. Manufacturers want tariffs, trade unions seek further protective legislation for labor, distributors demand regulated marketing schemes, farmers ask for agricultural subsidies. Quotas, fixed or minimum prices, state guarantees of credit or interest, monopolies and other restrictions are the order of the day. Thus the classic capitalism of the nineteenth century has been superseded. Its sanctions are no longer in operation, its assumptions are no longer valid, its moral authority has disappeared. Industry is hedged around with impediments to free activity, and the nation has entered upon a phase of irresponsibility in economic life in which neither government nor the individual is completely master of the situation. At the same time, no large section of the public at present really believes in a wholesale and immediate transformation of the productive system of the country to a collectivist basis, whether open or disguised.

It is easy to say, of course, that in such circumstances the nation suffers from the disadvantages of both capitalism and socialism without enjoying the advantages of either. That does not get one very far. What is of far greater interest and importance is to observe certain new forms of socialization which have gradually been evolving during the past decade and which present a radical departure from both the political and economic traditions that have previously obtained in England. Incidentally, it is worth noticing that the word "socialization" is of comparatively recent currency. Up till a few years ago people used to discuss -- whether favorably or unfavorably -- the nationalization of the means of production, or the nationalization of the railways and so forth. But now they speak of socialization, using a new word to express a new idea.

The productive enterprises operated directly by the central government are comparatively few in England. They comprise little beyond the Post Office,

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