Courtesy Reuters

Liberated Europe

The Economic Inexorables

IN a passage on the commercial policy of Alexander Hamilton, the late F. S. Oliver, that profound and original modern political philosopher, remarks that Hamilton was out of sympathy with the economists -- particularly the orthodox French economists of his time. Hamilton, he says, "disbelieved in economic man -- a being without bowels, with an interior like a clock, accurately ticking the progress of the human race under the impulse of the magic spring of enlightened self-interest, and never needing to be wound or regulated. The besetting sin of the economists was their preference for argument over observation. They based their reasoning upon axioms when they should have gone to the facts. At each stage they became more and more the victims of words that did not correspond with realities, of syllogisms that under analysis were little more than arrangements of phrases."

Today, once again, the newspapers are full of phrases and the commentators and economists in catchpenny slogans pronounce upon the necessity of free governments freely elected and of a "more abundant life" and "full employment," and little is spared us except the facts. But these, like other necessities of life, are in very short supply.

The purpose of this article is prosaic and limited. It is, in a short compass and by the frequent use of examples, to try to state some of the facts which, inevitably, influence the policies and political behavior of some of the governments of the liberated and conquered countries of Europe. Before this is attempted, however, it may perhaps be of value to make a start some little way back and, in considering the present, to take account of the past, and view the accident of the rise and fall of Hitler against other similar cataclysms.

In A.D. 632, Mohammed died, and in the 150 years which followed, the Roman world -- the world -- collapsed. In that space of time, the Moslems conquered the Persian Empire and, in turn, the Provinces of the Byzantine

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