Cecil Balfour Phipson.

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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES







BRITISH SOCIAB*&
ECONOMIC PROBLEMS

Cxdmined from a J\on-fiar/y point ^vtevp
CECIL BAIJOUrIpHIP

.j/ncf Mark B.F. Major






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ICH WINS ?



SMALL HO LDINGS AND CURRENC Y DEFORM

AFTER READING

"BRITISH SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEMS,"

JOIN THE

REDEMPTION OF LABOUR COMMITTEE,

which has been formed to carry en the work begun by the late
CECIL BALFOUR PHIPSON.

and having for its aim the opening up of free access to the land for the people, by the establish-
ment of a Valueless Currency, which would enable the working classes to have an alternative to
working for wages, because they would be able to rent land with perpetual Hxity of tenure and
fixity of rent, and by being assured of stable food prices, increasing prosperity for the agricul-
tural classes would result, bringing with il increasing prosperity for all other classes of the
community.

/■fan Sees, : —
CHARLES F. LAMBLE, Mount Stuart, Shamal Street, Kent, and
MARK B. F. MAJOR, Tudor Cottage, Duppas Hill Terrace, Croydon, Surrey,
who will be pleased to send full particulars to all those who may be interested, on application.
1'he Committee call attention to the Syllabus below of Major Phipson's works, which deal
with the Land Question, Unemployment, and our Fiscal Fallacies.

Syllabus of Works on

CECIL BALFOUR PHIPSON'S

Explanation of the Solution of the Land Question, Unemployment,

and our Fiscal Fallacies.
The Redemption of Labour. C. B. Phipson. 2 vols. 75. 6d. net.

An exhaustive analysis of above Problems.

The Science of Civilisation. C. B. Phipson. 4^. 6d. net.

"Throws a Flood cf Light on the severe Economic Difficulties which British Agricultnrists aitd
Manufacturers have encountered." — Asiatic Quarterly Raiinv.

" Characteiised by a generous Spirit and an earnest search for Truth." — Inquirer.

" Covers a broad field, . . . offers a large amount of shrewd and incisive criticism of . , .
pressing problems . . . connected with Trade and Currency." — Scotsman.

Britain's Destiny : Growth or Decay? Edited by Mark B. F. Major.

3^. 6d.* Being outlines of "The Redemption of Labour" and "Ihe Science of Civilisation."
" Full of interest." — Daily Telegraph.
" Certainly welcome." — Pall Mall Gazette.
" Interestmg in no common degree," — Scotsman.
" Exhaustive review of an exceedingly wide field." — Northern Wltig.

THE "TRUE CAUSE" SERIES.

I. The True Cause of the Commercial Difficulties of Great Britain.

C. B. Phipson. td. net. Gives the " True Cause" from the standpoint of Commerce.

II. The Ethics of Economics. Mark B. F. Major, td. net. Gives the

" True Cause " viewed from the wider standpoint of the Student of Sociology, including the
Agricultural, Industrial, and Commercial aspects.

III. Christianity the Basis of Economics. C. B. Phipson. bd. net.

Gives the "True Cause" viewed from the widest standpoint — that of Christianity ; being
chiefly a condensation of Part III. of " The Science of Civilisation."



The Land and the People. Mark B. F. Major. \d. net.** Shows the

bearing of Major Phipson's views on the Land Problem.

Unemployment and the Gold Reserve. Mark B. F. Major. \d. net.**

Shows the bearing ol Major Phipson's views respecting Currency on the Social and
Economic Problems confronting the nation.

* Published by Cassell & Co., Ltd., Ludfrate Hill, E.C.
** Published at 'I he Croydon Guardian Office, Croydon.
All other Works are published by Swan Sonnenschein & Co. , Ltd, , 25 H igh St. , Bloomsbury, W, C.
AppHcitions for free copies of the above by Public Free Libraries addressed to the publishers
will be met by the representatives of Major Phipson to as great an extent as possible, and any
particulars will be gladly given, on application, by the Hon. Secretaries, Redemption of Labour
Committee : —

CHAS. F. LAMBLE, Mount Stuart, Shamal Street, Kent.

MARK B. F. MAJOR, Tudor Cottage, Duppas Hill Terrace, Croydon.






BRITISH SOCIAL (§f ECONOMIC
PROBLEMS

Explained from a Non-party Standpoint



BRITISH

SOCIAL ^ ECONOMIC

PROBLEMS

Explained from a Non-party Standpoint



BY THE LATE

CECIL BALFOUR PHIPSON

AND

MARK B. F. MAJOR





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First Published March^ iQlo



f



PREFACE

! Cecil Balfour Phipson completed the publication of
'his " Redemption of Labour" in 1892.

The world passed on apparently unheeding, and ten
years later, in 1902, he made a further effort in his
" Science of Civilisation " to arouse his fellow-country-
men to the social and economic dangers of the situation
in which he saw them standing. But still without result.

In 1903, however, as shown by his pamphlet " The
True Cause of the Commercial Difficulties of Great
Britain," he had the satisfaction of seeing in Mr. Cham-
berlain's movement in favour of Tariff Reform, a sign
that opinion in the country was at least moving towards
a recognition of the fact, that something was wrong with
the economic conditions under which British trade was
being carried on.

In that pam.phlet he made one last dying effort to
arouse the nation to the true facts of the situation,
knowing that his own health would almost certainly
prevent more active work on his part, but yet hoping
against hope, maybe, that his life might be spared to
take some further share in that work. In this hope, as
the year drew to a close, he sailed for the Canary Islands
in search of the health he had long been a stranger to, but
fever caught him in its grip, and before January, 1904,
had run its course, he had passed into the great Beyond.

And his work ? Who shall venture to answer ? You,

however, if even slightly interested, read the first two



rv:



vi PREFACE

papers in this pamphlet, and then ask yourself whether
words which are as fresh to-day, and still more applic-
able than when written, should be allowed to pass un-
heeded. And if you decide that the reply should be no,
and that perchance we had in our midst a man whose
advice, if followed, could guide the destinies of our
Empire — aye, and of the world — into paths leading to a
prosperity and a peace unthought of to-day, add your
influence (small though perhaps you may think it) to
ours, so that men may be compelled to listen to his
reasoning, and our nation may have a chance of choosing
aright, before those words, so full of pathos for the
" might have been," are uttered — too late !

Mark B. F. Major.

March, 191C.



CONTENTS

British Social and Economic Problems — page

Part I. The Unemployed. . . . . i

Part II, Great Britain and Protection . . 8

A National Party ?....... 26



APPENDIX

Summary of "The Science of Civilization" . • 31
Preface to " The Science of Civilization " . -35
Introduction to "The Science of Civilization" . 38
Final Word ......... 44



British Social and Economic
Problems

Explained from a Non-party Standpoint

BEING ARTICLES BY THE LATE

CECIL BALFOUR PHIPSON

(JVritten in 1902)

Part I. — The Unemployed

THIS is a word which in all civilizations is becoming
one of more fateful meaning, for more clearly
expressed it means simply the " unfed " or the
" insufficiently fed."

How to feed a constantly increasing population, or,
more correctly, how to enable the individuals of a con-
stantly increasing population to feed themselves, is
indeed the problem of civilization, a solution of which
means contentment, progress, power, while failure to
find a solution means discontent, retrogression, weakness.
There is no escaping the problem, except under such
conditions of savagery as it is the very purpose of civil-
ization to eliminate. It is presented, therefore, to all
fairly governed States, but most frequently and in-
sistently to those farthest advanced in certain respects,
viz. in the preservation of peace and the security of life
and property. For these advantages, unless artificially
counteracted, necessarily tend to ensure a continuous
multiplicity of mouths to be fed.

In British India and Russia the problem presents
itself in its primary and simplest form, viz. in the pre-
vention of actual famine, that is in enabling the culti-
vators of the soil to raise sufficient food (i) for their



2 SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEMS

present maintenance, (2) to ensure themselves against
such probable shortage in future crops as experience
teaches them to expect. In Great Britain and all
manufacturing States the problem presents itself in its
secondary and more complex form, viz. in enabling wage-
earners to effect such continuous and steady sale of their
manufactures as shall ensure them in return a constant
sufficiency of food. Superficially regarded these two
problems appear to be distinct. In reality and in the
long run they are the same.

For it is food surpluses produced by cultivators that
support wage-earners, only the cultivators need not be
local or even national ones. To facilitate the multi-
plication of home cultivators then, and encourage the
increased production of food surpluses by them, is the
direct and most advantageous way of ensuring con-
tinuous employment for wage-earners, for it benefits
both country and town, while to facilitate the access of
home wage-earners to foreign cultivators, is the indirect
and least advantageous way of ensuring continuous em-
ployment to home wage-earners, since this method
benefits only towns at home and not the country.
Whatever steps are taken, therefore, to enable cultivators
to ensure themselves against famine, are also those
most conducive to the continuous employment of wage-
earners. Thus the problem loses much of its apparent
complexity, and at the same time brings into complete
harmony the interests of cultivators in the country
and of wage-earners in towns.

These are the broad lines upon which the prosperity
of cultivators and wage-earners must always move.
The former being enabled to raise increased food
surpluses, and the latter to transport their manufactures
to where these food surpluses are. But simple as these
conditions of prosperity appear and really are, they in-
volve the recognition in theory and application in prac-
tice, of a vital principle in economics which has never
yet obtained either conscious recognition or conscious
appHcation, although each year and in every country



SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEMS 3

the unconscious effect of its application or disregard
receives abundant, indeed overwhelming confirmation. ^

This vital principle is that the food-producers of \
any country, and this class includes the receivers of
agricultural rent as well as its payers, are the only true
purchasers in that country, all other classes being merely
sellers to them of products other than food, or exchangers
between themselves of those products, and as sellers or
exchangers merely, being wholly dependent for their
welfare, existence indeed, upon the extent of the pur-
chases which food-producers make from them. Thus in
any country the preservation of a numerical excess of
food-producers over every other class of the community,
and the individual production by them of the largest
possible surpluses of food, becomes the fundamental
condition of an independent national existence, since
directly this numerical excess passes to the side of the
non-food-producers, and in proportion as it does so,
these latter become dependent first for their prosperity
and then for their existence upon the purchases of
foreign food-producers, which purchases are liable to be
interfered with, or even put a stop to, by causes over
which the dependent nation has little or no control,
and the operation of which may at any juncture, and in
quite unforeseeable ways, force the dependent nation
up to, or even over, the brink of starvation.

That this last is the condition of Great Britain,
alone of all the nations in the world, and has been so to a
constantly increasing extent from about the year 1844,
when she was obliged, owing to the multiplication of her
" unemployed," to abolish all restrictions upon imports
of corn, and so give free admittance to purchasers from
abroad, does not seem to have been realized by recent
writers upon British trade. For they continue to make
comparisons between the trade of Great Britain and
that of her commercial rivals, the United States, for
example, as if the conditions under which each carried
on were identical instead of being in most flagrant con-
trast, advocating the reimposition of protective tariffs



4 SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEMS

in Great Britain, which she did cling to as long as her
economic condition made them possible, simply be-
cause these same tariffs have promoted a special class
prosperity in other countries still in the economic con-
dition out of which she passed more than a hundred
years ago.

For the United States is still in the same stage of
economic development, and makes no sales whatever
abroad, but only payments and exchanges, for she im-
ports no food. All her sales are made at home and to
home purchasers, her own and Canadian food-pro-
ducers. Her foreign operations are wholly confined to
food payments made for foreign imports (manufactures,
raw materials, and securities), for services rendered, for
money borrowed, and to exchanges of American manu-
factures or raw material against foreign raw materials
or manufactures, and the same applies less or more to
Great Britain's other commercial rivals.

Contrast this independent economic position with the
dependent one of Great Britain, the bulk of whose
foreign trade now consists of food payments received
for home exports (manufactures, raw materials, securities,
services or loans), but for which payments she must starve,
and of exchanges of manufactures and raw materials
against raw materials and manufactures. In the former
case all true purchasers being in a ring fence at home,
the home sellers, if possessed of political power, can
put what pressure upon them they please, and the
former cannot escape their impositions. In the latter,
the bulk of all true purchasers being abroad, home
sellers can put no pressure upon them at all. In the
contrast between these two economic conditions lies
the whole philosophy of Protection or Free Trade.

I doubt if the latter, or indeed any other large in-
stalment of justice, is ever voluntarily adopted, for classes
of men with interests in common are always purely
animal in their pursuit of, or clinging to, present im-
mediate gains. Nothing but the pressure of circum-
stances, i.e. of force majeure^ induces their surrender.



SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEMS 5

But in a progressive State this force happily always is
applied, and if the mental and moral condition of its
individuals is such as to lead to their peaceful acceptance
of altered conditions and of the principles underlying
them, instead of a blind and increasing opposition to
them, then is there the fullest hope for such a com-
munity, their progressive development is certain ; while
the actions of such a people constitute them a Hght
and a guide to all nations following, economically, in
their wake, who still have to face and to solve, each for
itself, the same problems as have successively confronted
and been solved by their exemplar.

And this is the role which, in my humble opinion,
Great Britain is called upon to play. The least of all the
great States of the world, she has yet been called to the
widest empire. It is not as a great empire, however, but
as a small and crowded kingdom that she has yet many
economic problems to face, a solution of which will still
further fit her to promote the welfare of the millions
entrusted to her rule, to break every yoke, and let
the oppressed go free. But she must first find freedom
and justice herself, and know what they are, before she
can bring them to others. For all great questions, the
answers to which make or mar nations, though in theory
merely economic problems, will be found in practice
to be moral actions, entailing each of them a determina-
tion to what is right or wrong as between individuals or
classes. And very happily it is so, for otherwise men
would be reduced to the pitiful condition of mere
opportunists, ever seeking temporary expedients to
help them out of permanent difhculties, with no guide
but plausibility to lead them to decisions, and no au-
thority but faction to enforce them.

But moral questions must be so decided, in Great
Britain at any rate, for she still recognizes one standard
and one authority, however httle in times of prosperity
she may utilize the one or yield obedience to the other.
Suffering, however, is a grand instructor, and consciences
become mightily quickened under the pressure of ad-



6 SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEMS

versity. And the presence of vast, and it is to be feared
of increasing, numbers of " unemployed " indicates
such suffering, though whether it has yet reached such
a pitch or extended so widely as to become a political
factor, and so touch the consciences of those who are
sensitive mainly to votes, is a question only time can
answer. There are signs, however, such as the Woolwich
and Rye elections, the one a wage-earning, the other
an agricultural constituency, that may be as drops
before the storm. In any case it is well to show betimes
that the sufferings both of wage-earners and agri-
culturists are remediable, and that it only needs such
another advance on the path of justice, as was made
when the corn laws were abolished, and foreign food
freely admitted to purchase British manufactures,
to ensure to the farmers and artisans of Great Britain
such another spell of prosperity as they both enjoyed
between the institution of Free Trade in 1844 and its
termination in 1874.

It will, of course, come as news to most people in
Great Britain that the Free Trade advocated by Cobden,
Bright, Villiers, and others, legaHzed by Sir Robert
Peel, and so much extended by legislation since then,
and which .^during its thirty years of^flourishing hfe
brought so much prosperity to British manufacturers,
and wrought no evil to British agriculturists, did ter-
minate in 1874, ^^^ consequently is not now in existence.
And this is one of the strangest features of the present
situation.

To read the articles of Protectionists and Free Traders
in the magazines and reviews of to-day, one might sup-
pose that cohorts of Rip Van Winkles, antagonists in the
anti-corn law days, after slumbering peacefully together
for the past sixty years, had, on suddenly awaking, re-
commenced their old conflict exactly where they had
left off so long ago. For neither side shows the slightest
signs of having taken note of the course of events since
then — the Protectionists fiercely attacking the principles
of Free Trade with showers of their ancient arguments.



SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEMS 7

all unconscious of the fact that these principles have
ceased to operate in Great Britain, and that it is indeed
their cessation which has recalled themselves to life.
While Free Traders as fiercely defend conditions of trade
advocated and secured by their historic leaders, equally
unconscious of the fact that these conditions have been
completely reversed by events of which they show
themselves strangely yet wholly oblivious. The situation
has indeed much that is farcical in it, seeing that what
has galvanized Protection into new life is not the con-
tinuance or extension of Free Trade, but its extinction,
and what Free Traders are defending is not that free
interchange of national labour products, which is the
essence of their principles, but a bounty-fed system of
foreign imports which flatly contradicts them. So that
the lines upon which the present discussion is being
run have not even a working connection at either end
with facts as they are.



Part II
Great Britain and Protection



/IN article in the "Spectator" o£ June 14 on Sir
X~\. Michael Hicks-Beach and the Corn Duties closes
with the following words : " If any approach to a
greater freedom of commercial intercourse within the
empire can be discovered and adopted without decreas-
ing necessary revenue, and without excluding us from
the benefits of the foreign markets, well and good. If
not, then let us be content with the admirable unity and
freedom which our existing Imperial system already
affords us."

Now there cannot be a doubt but that the colonial
Premiers coming to England for the Coronation and
subsequent Conference, are not " content with the
admirable unity and freedom which our existing Im-
perial system affords," but are full of hope that the
Conference will result in drawing closer the commercial
relations of Great Britain and our Colonies, and will be
grievously disappointed if no practical steps are taken
by the Mother Country towards realizing this hope.
Their own ideas lean, no doubt, to the imposition of



SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEMS 9

discriminating duties in favour of colonial produce and
against the outside world, but it is the result that interests
them so deeply, and not any particular measure calculated
in their opinion to bring it about.

Equally there is no doubt that, in spite of all disclaimers
on the part of Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, which no one
would think of disbeheving so far as his intentions are
concerned, the vast majority of those who welcome and
support the Corn Duties do so, because they rejoice to
discern in them a first step towards the re-imposition
of Protective duties, which they deem to be the only
means of defending British producers against the
constantly increasing pressure of foreign competition.
Thus have two powerful bodies of opinions, one that of
our fellow -subjects beyond the seas, the other that
of multiplying agriculturists and manufacturers at
home, come to an agreement about the same measures,
because conducive, as they beheve, to securing their
several ends, one of which is increased trade with the
Colonies, the other freedom from the burthen of foreign
competition.

It is to be doubted, however, whether any of these
gentlemen are deep students of economic principle.
Rather they are extremely practical men ; resolved, so
far as lies in their power, to benefit their own Colonies
abroad or their own occupation at home, and blinded
to a certain extent by that very resolve to every other
interest. It is so easy, without any apparent or immediate
injury, to pass laws for countries where the supply of
unoccupied land is practically unlimited, where the
population is scanty, and where the exports and imports
together never exceed tens of milUons in pounds, and
sometimes fall below fives. It is so difficult, without
grave injury in the present and graver in the future, to
pass similar laws for a country where there is no un-
occupied land, where the population is dense, and
exports and imports together exceed eight hundred
millions in pounds. For in this latter case the struggle



10 SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEMS

for existence is so severe that multitudinous industries,
unknown in the Colonies, have sprung up, which have
adjusted themselves so intimately and closely to present
conditions, that any disturbance in these conditions, no
matter how small, carries with it loss and injury in
directions never thought of by the disturbers. It thus
becomes of extreme importance that no change should
be made without the most imperative need, nor even
then until the particular measure contemplated has
been submitted for a considerable term to the whole
country, so that all interests likely to be affected may
have ample time and opportunity to make their views
known.

One would think from the way Protectionist principles
are now discussed, that their abandonment in 1844,
when the Corn Laws were repealed, was a triumph
of faddists and theorists over common sense, and that
the fact of other nations since then not having adopted
the pohcy of Great Britain, as was so confidently pro-
phesied at the time, proves the aforesaid " faddists
and theorists " to have been wrong, and those who
differed from them in England then, and on the Con-
tinent, in the United States, and our Colonies now,
to be right. The prophets of 1844 were wrong, no
doubt, but they were wrong only because they did not
clearly understand what are the causes which incline all
nations to be Protectionists until their economic con-


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Online LibraryCecil Balfour PhipsonBritish social & economic problems explained from a non-party standpoint → online text (page 1 of 4)