Courtesy Reuters

American Labor in Another War

ANY attempt to predict the economic and political organization of a country engaged in a major war under modern conditions must necessarily contain a large element of conjecture. The extent of the country's participation in the conflict and the duration of the conflict are both problematical. We cannot prejudge the temper of the people. Economic conditions are now changing so rapidly and so radically that it is more than ever hazardous to venture anything but a guess as to the future trend. The relations of government to economic policy are likewise undergoing such unprecedented transformations that before long we may accept, as normal and satisfactory, forms of economic organization now deemed alien and unworkable. In these circumstances, to formulate a practical wartime labor policy for the United States obviously requires consideration of prevailing trends in labor relations and policy, some estimate of the military and industrial requirements of a great war, and some appreciation of the effect on us of the ideas and practices now common in other countries.

In no country are labor problems isolated phenomena. They are affected by, as they themselves powerfully affect, general economic conditions, and consequently must be considered in connection with them. Among the most important of these conditions is a country's fiscal position. This is particularly true in time of war. One of the most difficult problems in any war is how to finance it. For this reason many observers give a high rating to England's capacity to wage a prolonged war. Of the military and industrial power of France they were in doubt until the Daladier Government began taking steps to bring its income and expenditures under control. And they still claim to see in the fiscal policies and position of Germany and Italy the most vulnerable spots in the armor of those two states. Moreover, during the last twenty-five years all of the countries named increased their burdens of taxation and public debt so tremendously that the added costs of a new

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