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"Marx Inverted," Book Review, The New Republic, February 24, 1932

Part of Herndon J. Evans Collection

-- ~ ~~ i----7-Q--Lfi--e ..r l"ZT..... .;.5;..4... .;:1;;;..;; ,,:5 r ___;;;;_W_ _;_ _ ;_;_-__;,V__ VV V >__' _ _ _ _ V V Vg___ , . A _,V, Q3? - ; _A, V February 24, 1932 T H E N E w R E P U B LIC 34 ' H2-if r_=E` __,_ if fir . _ A W . . nest . " ( e i A t B it i A h T " ich,"`rQ" ( _ I` 1 'Zllfl S 1"C ELIC 31`1 ster V. . V V V - V V _ HEV difficulty in solving the eco- chaos worse confounded, but had it been adopted, r8 ` j nomic cr1s1s that oppresses the world is that when Mr. Keynes (who has no time-lag) so pro- ( lhlY e _ few of us are sure in which year or even in posed, it might have saved us from the crisis which ert which century we are living. Most of us straddle, overtook us a year later. The plan came before i`f) B e V ? . and in our thinking we lurch uneasily from/one age the Labor Cabinet. l\Ir. MacDonald, who is ; in e ` , to another and back again. VVe may, if we are of rather more mobile in thought than he is in action, the. _. . be V an analytic turn, occasionally detect ourselves in was for accepting it, but he quailed (as he always img e. VQ . these transitions (I sometimes achieve this feat in did) before the stubborn veto of l\/Ir. Snowden. - the , , my own case), but usually it is the behavior of our Today, after nearly two yearshdelav, Mr. Mac- ?m 2 s V " neighbors which invites us to date them. Each of Donald, at the head of a very different administra- lhct a . V them has, when we scrutinize him, his own charac- tion, is about to give effect to this project, which , hat i V ` VV teristic time-lag. You will meet, in any random he has cherished with a consistency that would be nse . group of Englishmen, Elizabethans in violent con- admirable, if circumstances, in the interval, had md ` Y troversy with Victorians; youngsters with pre-war stood still. But the circumstances of our island r ght T V minds are at odds with gray-heads who have problem have totally changed. Driven off the gold hal? . adapted themselves to this age. But the Classih- standard, our costs and prices, which remain at the wh e i e cation is rarely so simple, for l meet men who are old level when expressed in sterling, are now by l te I moderns in their business life, early Victorians in the tricks of the exchange a full 25 percent lower unn- their politics, futurists -in their easy morals and than they were, when converted into gold. Our ms' cavemen when they try to reason about currency exports have received a stimulus which actually . _ and gold. shows itself in the reopening of some of the closed m$ _ 5 Our British "National" government is, as you coal mines and a just perceptible revival in the tex- . lvc ( would expect, a collection of this kind, It moves tile trades. The importer is now at a disadvantage, V thc 5 very slowly: it arrives with painful difficulty at any for the exchange works like a 25-percent duty. It nal V I ii Q decision Whatever, and it has now, to the amuse- falls, moreover, very conveniently for our manufac- , to ment of the world, recognized that men who live turers, upon their rivals in the industrial countries to i in different centuries cannot talk the same dialect, which still cling to gold (the United States, Ger- . FO` . i _ We shall enjoy a bewildering study in time-lags of many, France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia), while it ab' .` various lengths, when (about the moment that this spares the countries from which we draw most of thc. , article reaches the reader) these colleagues assail our imported foods and raw materials (Australia, my Fi each other in debate over the merits of their tariff, the Argentine, Canada, Denmark, lndia, lreland ` the V, This revenue tariff is,l take it, an expedient and New Zealand), since they too have gone off fh about two years behind the time. lt dates gold. One could ask nothing better. If 0Ur trade S? in reality from the summer of 1930, and might balance is not yet satisfactory, that is because ship- Y i have been a wise and timely measure if it had been ping and international banking are still depressed. uid in carried in hot haste at that period, or a little But no one, so far as l can discover, in this Cabinet - Cilrlier, as an emergency prescription, Mr, l\/lay. of rather elderly gentlemen, is yet living in this Con- f im` ii ` nard Keynes was its only begetter, and he de- temporary world. Mr. MacDonald, who may be . r fended it, somewhat later, in these column; The mentally the youngest of them, remains imbedded l " W -_ case for it, midway in 1930, was strong. The tide in the year 1930. Pmud te win OVC? _Vi$COmt _ . of the worldwide deflation had struck us with full Srr0\VdeH the battle which be l0S te Mr- Philip W ' force: our costs of manufacture, including wages, S0WdeH in the first summer of the slump. That ; f were obstinately high and refused to fall with the knight of negation, and several of the Liberals with C T ;. * drop in wholesale prices: our exports were dvvin. him, is more than half a century behind the times V _V , dling dangerously while imports enjoyed an ad- and lives on the memory of Cobden and Bright. - e ` T vantage, with the result that our balance of inter- They oppose the revenue tariff for reasons which - Yi national trading threatened to-disappear (as in might have been valid in the days when Lord . f J . _ ,V E fact it has since done), and unemployment Palmerston used to carry on horseback to Queen A - B T mounted to Himalayan heights, as the entrepreneur Victoria at \Vindsor dispatches neatly written with * `TVV i ( if _ ' I .- saw his profits vanishing. It was reasonable at this quill pens and blotted with green sand. As for the { Y` e r in time to propose a low revenue tariff of 10 or 15 Tories in the Cabinet, their time-lag is appreciably .i I ~ Z-V . percent, which would have checked imports and longer. For them this is neither a revenue nor an Qi A ii} stimulated internal trade by raising prices: the pro- emergency tariff; it is the first timid and moderate ceeds would have,been used to subsidize the export instalment of a full-blown protective tariff, which l, s .,i, eV trades. Such a device is at best only a local and they may, indeed, achieve before the year is out. temporary alleviation, which will make the general They think in terms of eighteenth-century mercan- gs; 1 - K i Lili T = i " ~ ~r .- . e - e r V _