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What is Coming? By H. G. Wells Characters: 36236

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

A number of people are saying that this war is to be the end of Individualism. "Go as you please" has had its death-blow. Out of this war, whatever else emerges, there will emerge a more highly organised State than existed before--that is to say, a less individualistic and more socialistic State. And there seems a heavy weight of probability on the side of this view. But there are also a number of less obvious countervailing considerations that may quite possibly modify or reverse this tendency.

In this chapter an attempt is to be made to strike a balance between the two systems of forces, and guess how much will be private and how much public in Europe in 1930, or thereabouts.

The prophets who foretell the coming of Socialism base their case on three sets of arguments. They point out, first, the failure of individual enterprise to produce a national efficiency comparable to the partial State Socialism of Germany, and the extraordinary, special dangers inherent in private property that the war has brought to light; secondly, to the scores of approaches to practical Socialism that have been forced upon Great Britain--for example, by the needs of the war; and, thirdly, to the obvious necessities that will confront the British Empire and the Allies generally after the war--necessities that no unorganised private effort can hope to meet effectively.

All these arguments involve the assumption that the general understanding of the common interest will be sufficient to override individual and class motives; an exceedingly doubtful assumption, to say the least of it. But the general understanding of the common interest is most likely to be kept alive by the sense of a common danger, and we have already arrived at the conclusion that Germany is going to be defeated but not destroyed in this war, and that she will be left with sufficient vitality and sufficient resentment and sufficient of her rancid cultivated nationalism to make not only the continuance of the Alliance after the war obviously advisable and highly probable, but also to preserve in the general mind for a generation or so that sense of a common danger which most effectually conduces to the sweeping aside of merely personal and wasteful claims. Into the consequences of this we have now to look a little more closely.

It was the weaknesses of Germany that made this war, and not her strength. The weaknesses of Germany are her Imperialism, her Junkerism, and her intense, sentimental Nationalism; for the former would have no German ascendancy that was not achieved by force, and, with the latter, made the idea of German ascendancy intolerable to all mankind. Better death, we said. And had Germany been no more than her Court, her Junkerism, her Nationalism, the whole system would have smashed beneath the contempt and indignation of the world within a year.

But the strength of Germany has saved her from that destruction. She was at once the most archaic and modern of states. She was Hohenzollern, claiming to be Caesar, and flaunting a flat black eagle borrowed from Imperial Rome; and also she was the most scientific and socialist of states. It is her science and her Socialism that have held and forced back the avengers of Belgium for more than a year and a half. If she has failed as a conqueror, she has succeeded as an organisation. Her ambition has been thwarted, and her method has been vindicated. She will, I think, be so far defeated in the contest of endurance which is now in progress that she will have to give up every scrap of territorial advantage she has gained; she may lose most of her Colonial Empire; she may be obliged to complete her modernisation by abandoning her militant Imperialism; but she will have at least the satisfaction of producing far profounder changes in the chief of her antagonists than those she herself will undergo.

The Germany of the Hohenzollerns had its mortal wound at the Marne; the Germany we fight to-day is the Germany of Krupp and Ostwald. It is merely as if she had put aside a mask that had blinded her. She was methodical and civilised except for her head and aim; she will become entirely methodical. But the Britain and Russia and France she fights are lands full of the spirit of undefined novelty. They are being made over far more completely. They are being made over, not in spite of the war, but because of the war. Only by being made over can they win the war. And if they do not win the war, then they are bound to be made over. They are not merely putting aside old things, but they are forming and organising within themselves new structures, new and more efficient relationships, that will last far beyond the still remote peace settlement.

What this war has brought home to the consciousness of every intelligent man outside the German system, with such thoroughness as whole generations of discussion and peace experience could never have achieved, is a double lesson: that Germany had already gone far to master when she blundered into the war; firstly, the waste and dangers of individualism, and, secondly, the imperative necessity of scientific method in public affairs. The waste and dangers of individualism have had a whole series of striking exemplifications both in Europe and America since the war began. Were there such a thing as a Socialist propaganda in existence, were the so-called socialistic organisations anything better than a shabby little back-door into contemporary politics, those demonstrations would be hammering at the mind of everyone. It may be interesting to recapitulate some of the most salient instances.

The best illustration, perhaps, of the waste that arises out of individualism is to be found in the extreme dislocation of the privately owned transit services of Great Britain at the present time. There is no essential reason whatever why food and fuel in Great Britain should be considerably dearer than they are under peace conditions. Just the same home areas are under cultivation, just the same foreign resources are available; indeed, more foreign supplies are available because we have intercepted those that under normal conditions would have gone to Germany. The submarine blockade of Britain is now a negligible factor in this question.

Despite these patent conditions there has been, and is, a steady increase in the cost of provisions, coal, and every sort of necessity. This increase means an increase in the cost of production of many commodities, and so contributes again to the general scarcity. This is the domestic aspect of a difficulty that has also its military side. It is not sufficient merely to make munitions; they must also be delivered, Great Britain is suffering very seriously from congestion of the railways. She suffers both in social and military efficiency, and she is so suffering because her railways, instead of being planned as one great and simple national distributing system, have grown up under conditions of clumsy, dividend-seeking competition.

Each great railway company and combination has worked its own areas, and made difficulties and aggressions at the boundaries of its sphere of influence; here are inconvenient junctions and here unnecessary duplications; nearly all the companies come into London, each taking up its own area of expensive land for goods yards, sidings, shunting grounds, and each regardless of any proper correlation with the other; great areas of the County of London are covered with their idle trucks and their separate coal stores; in many provincial towns you will find two or even three railway stations at opposite ends of the town; the streets are blocked by the vans and trolleys of the several companies tediously handing about goods that could be dealt with at a tenth of the cost in time and labour at a central clearing-house, did such a thing exist; and each system has its vast separate staff, unaccustomed to work with any other staff.

Since the war began the Government has taken over the general direction of this disarticulated machinery, but no one with eyes who travels about England now can fail to remark, in the miles and miles of waiting loaded trucks on every siding, the evidences of mischievous and now almost insuperable congestion. The trucks of each system that have travelled on to another still go back, for the most part, empty to their own; and thousands of privately owned trucks, which carry cargo only one way, block our sidings. Great Britain wastes men and time to a disastrous extent in these needless shuntings and handlings.

Here, touching every life in the community, is one instance of the muddle that arises naturally out of the individualistic method of letting public services grow up anyhow without a plan, or without any direction at all except the research for private profit.

A second series of deficiencies that the war has brought to light in the too individualistic British State is the entire want of connection between private profit and public welfare. So far as the interests of the capitalist go it does not matter whether he invests his money at home or abroad; it does not matter whether his goods are manufactured in London or Timbuctoo.

But what of the result? At the outbreak of the war Great Britain found that a score of necessary industries had drifted out of the country, because it did not "pay" any private person to keep them here. The shortage of dyes has been amply discussed as a typical case. A much graver one that we may now write about was the shortage of zinc. Within a month or so of the outbreak of the war the British Government had to take urgent and energetic steps to secure this essential ingredient of cartridge cases. Individualism had let zinc refining drift to Belgium and Germany; it was the luck rather than the merit of Great Britain that one or two refineries still existed.

Still more extraordinary things came to light in the matter of the metal supply. Under an individualistic system you may sell to the highest bidder, and anyone with money from anywhere may come in and buy. Great supplies of colonial ores were found to be cornered by semi-national German syndicates. Supplies were held up by these contracts against the necessities of the Empire. And this was but one instance of many which have shown that, while industrial development in the Allied countries is still largely a squabbling confusion of little short-sighted, unscientific, private profit-seeking owners, in Germany it has been for some years increasingly run on far-seeing collectivist lines. Against the comparatively little and mutually jealous British or American capitalists and millionaires Germany pits itself as a single great capitalist and competitor. She has worked everywhere upon a comprehensive plan. Against her great national electric combination, for example, only another national combination could stand. As it was, Germany--in the way of business--wired and lit (and examined) the forts at Liége. She bought and prepared a hundred strategic centres in individualistic Belgium and France.

So we pass from the fact that individualism is hopeless muddle to the fact that the individualist idea is one of limitless venality, Who can buy, may control. And Germany, in her long scheming against her individualist rivals, has not simply set herself to buy and hold the keys and axles of their economic machinery. She has set herself, it must be admitted, with a certain crudity and little success, but with unexampled vigour, to buy the minds of her adversaries. The Western nations have taken a peculiar pride in having a free Press; that is to say, a Press that may be bought by anyone. Our Press is constantly bought and sold, in gross and detail, by financiers, advertisers, political parties, and the like. Germany came into the market rather noisily, and great papers do to a large extent live in glass houses; but her efforts have been sufficient to exercise the minds of great numbers of men with the problem of what might have happened in the way of national confusion if the German attack had been more subtly conceived....

It is only a partial answer to this difficulty to say that a country that is so nationalist and aggressive as Germany is incapable of subtle conceptions. The fact remains that in Great Britain at the present time there are newspaper proprietors who would be good bargains for Germany at two million pounds a head, and that there was no effectual guarantee in the individualistic system, but only our good luck and the natural patriotism of the individuals concerned that she did not pick up these bargains before trading with the enemy became illegal. It happened, for example, that Lord Northcliffe was public-spirited, That was the good luck of Great Britain rather than her merit. There was nothing in the individualistic system to prevent Germany from buying up the entire Harmsworth Press--The Times, Daily Mail, and all--five years before the war, and using it to confuse the national mind, destroy the national unity, sacrifice the national interests, and frustrate the national will.

Not only the newspapers, but the news-agents and booksellers of both Great Britain and America are entirely at the disposal of any hostile power which chooses to buy them up quietly and systematically. It is merely a question of wealth and cleverness. And if the failure of the Germans to grip the Press of the French and English speaking countries has been conspicuous, she has been by no means so unsuccessful in--for example--Spain. At the present time the thought and feeling of the Spanish speaking world is being educated against the Allies. The Spanish mind has been sold by its custodians into German control.

Muddle and venality do not, however, exhaust the demonstrated vices of individualism. Individualism encourages desertion and treason. Individualism permits base private people to abscond with the national resources and squeeze a profit out of national suffering. In the early stages of the war some bright minds conceived the idea of a corner in drugs. It is not illegal; it is quite the sort of thing that appeals to the individualistic frame of mind as entirely meritorious. As the New Statesman put it recently: "The happy owners of the world's available stock of a few indispensable drugs did not refrain from making, not only the various Governments, but also all the sick people of the world pay double, and even tenfold, prices for what was essential to relieve pain and save life. What fortunes were thus made we shall probably never know, any more than we shall know the tale of the men and women and children who suffered and died because of their inability to pay, not the cost of production of what would have saved them, but the unnecessarily enhanced price that the chances of the market enabled the owners to exact."

And another bright instance of the value of individualism is the selling of British shipping to neutral buyers just when the country is in the most urgent need of every ship it can get, and the deliberate transfer to America of a number of British businesses to evade paying a proper share of the national bill in taxation. The English who have gone to America at different times have been of very different qualities; at the head of the list are the English who went over in the Mayflower; at the bottom will be the rich accessions of this war....

And perhaps a still more impressive testimony to the rottenness of these "business men," upon whom certain eccentric voices call so amazingly to come and govern us, is the incurable distrust they have sown in the minds of labour. Never was an atmosphere of discipline more lamentable than that which has grown up in the factories, workshops, and great privately owned public services of America and Western Europe. The men, it is evident, expect to be robbed and cheated at every turn. I can only explain their state of mind by supposing that they have been robbed and cheated. Their scorn and contempt for their employees' good faith is limitless. Their morale is undermined by an invincible distrust.

It is no good for Mr. Lloyd George to attempt to cure the gathered ill of a century with half an hour or so of eloquence. When Great Britain, in her supreme need, turns to the workmen she has trained in the ways of individualism for a century, she reaps the harvest individualism has sown. She has to fight with that handicap. Every regulation for the rapid mobilisation of labour is scrutinised to find the trick in it.

And they find the trick in it as often as not. Smart individualistic "business experience" has been at the draughtsman's elbow. A man in an individualistic system does not escape from class ideas and prejudices by becoming an official. There is profound and bitter wisdom in the deep distrust felt by British labour for both military and industrial conscription.

The breakdown of individualism has been so complete in Great Britain that we are confronted with the spectacle of this great and ancient kingdom reconstructing itself perforce, while it wages the greatest war in history. A temporary nationalisation of land transit has been improvised, and only the vast, deep-rooted, political influence of the shipowners and coalowners have staved off the manifestly necessary step of nationalising shipping and coal. I doubt if they will be able to stave it off to the end of the long struggle which is still before us if the militarism of Germany is really to be arrested and discredited. Expropriation and not conscription will be the supreme test of Britain's loyalty to her Allies.

The British shipowners, in particular, are reaping enormous but precarious profits from the war. The blockade of Britain, by the British shipowners is scarcely less effective than the blockade of Germany by Britain. With an urgent need of every ship for the national supplies, British ships, at the present moment of writing this, are still carrying cheap American automobiles to Australia. They would carry munitions to Germany if their owners

thought they had a sporting chance of not getting caught at it. These British shipowners are a pampered class with great political and social influence, and no doubt as soon as the accumulating strain of the struggle tells to the extent of any serious restriction of their advantage and prospects, we shall see them shifting to the side of the at present negligible group of British pacifists. I do not think one can count on any limit to their selfishness and treason.

I believe that the calculations of some of these extreme and apparently quite unreasonable "pacifists" are right. Before the war is over there will be a lot of money in the pacifist business. The rich curs of the West End will join hands with the labour curs of the Clyde. The base are to be found in all classes, but I doubt if they dominate any. I do not believe that any interest or group of interests in Great Britain can stand in the way of the will of the whole people to bring this struggle to a triumphant finish at any cost. I do not believe that the most sacred ties of personal friendship and blood relationship with influential people can save either shipowners or coalowners or army contractors to the end.

There will be no end until these profit-makings are arrested. The necessary "conscriptions of property" must come about in Great Britain because there is no alternative but failure in the war, and the British people will not stand failure. I believe that the end of the war will see, not only transit, but shipping, collieries, and large portions of the machinery of food and drink production and distribution no longer under the administration of private ownership, but under a sort of provisional public administration. And very many British factories will be in the same case.

Two years ago no one would have dared to prophesy the tremendous rearrangement of manufacturing machinery which is in progress in Britain to-day. Thousands of firms of engineers and manufacturers of all sorts, which were flourishing in 1914, exist to-day only as names, as shapes, as empty shells. Their staffs have been shattered, scattered, reconstructed; their buildings enlarged and modified; their machinery exchanged, reconstituted, or taken. The reality is a vast interdependent national factory that would have seemed incredible to Fourier.

It will be as impossible to put back British industrialism into the factories and forms of the pre-war era as it would be to restore the Carthaginian Empire. There is a new economic Great Britain to-day, emergency made, jerry-built no doubt, a gawky, weedy giant, but a giant who may fill out to such dimensions as the German national system has never attained. Behind it is an idea, a new idea, the idea of the nation as one great economic system working together, an idea which could not possibly have got into the sluggish and conservative British intelligence in half a century by any other means than the stark necessities of this war.... Great Britain cannot retrace those steps even if she would, and so she will be forced to carry this process of reconstruction through. And what is happening to Great Britain must, with its national differences, be happening to France and Russia. Not only for war ends, but for peace ends, behind the front and sustaining the front, individualities are being hammered together into common and concerted activities.

At the end of this war Great Britain will find herself with this great national factory, this great national organisation of labour, planned, indeed, primarily to make war material, but convertible with the utmost ease to the purposes of automobile manufacture, to transit reconstruction, to electrical engineering, and endless such uses.

France and Russia will be in a parallel case. All the world will be exhausted, and none of the Allies will have much money to import automobiles, railway material, electrical gear, and so on, from abroad. Moreover, it will be a matter of imperative necessity for them to get ahead of the Central Powers with their productive activities. We shall all be too poor to import from America, and we shall be insane to import from Germany. America will be the continent with the long purse, prepared to buy rather than sell. Each country will have great masses of soldiers waiting to return to industrial life, and will therefore be extremely indisposed to break up any existing productive organisation.

In the face of these facts, will any of the Allied Powers be so foolish as to disband this great system of national factories and nationally worked communications? Moreover, we have already risked the prophecy that this war will not end with such conclusiveness as to justify an immediate beating out of our swords into ploughshares. There will be a military as well as a social reason for keeping the national factories in a going state.

What more obvious course, then, than to keep them going by turning them on to manufacture goods of urgent public necessity? There are a number of modern commodities now practically standardised: the bicycle, the cheap watch, the ordinary tradesman's delivery automobile, the farmer's runabout, the country doctor's car, much electric-lighting material, dynamos, and so forth. And also, in a parallel case, there is shipbuilding. The chemical side of munition work can turn itself with no extreme difficulty to the making of such products as dyes.

We face the fact, then, that either the State must go on with this production, as it can do, straight off from the signing of peace, converting with a minimum of friction, taking on its soldiers as they are discharged from the army as employees with a minimum waste of time and a minimum of social disorder, and a maximum advantage in the resumption of foreign trade, or there will be a dangerous break-up of the national factory system, a time of extreme chaos and bitter unemployment until capital accumulates for new developments. The risks of social convulsion will be enormous. And there is small hope that the Central Powers, and particularly industrial Germany, will have the politeness to wait through the ten or twelve years of economic embarrassment that a refusal to take this bold but obviously advantageous step into scientific Socialism will entail.

But the prophet must be on his guard against supposing that, because a thing is highly desirable, it must necessarily happen; or that, because it is highly dangerous, it will be avoided. This bold and successful economic reconstruction upon national lines is not inevitable merely because every sound reason points us in that direction. A man may be very ill, a certain drug may be clearly indicated as the only possible remedy, but it does not follow that the drug is available, that the doctor will have the sense to prescribe it, or the patient the means to procure it or the intelligence to swallow it.

The experience of history is that nations do not take the obviously right course, but the obviously wrong one. The present prophet knows only his England, but, so far as England is concerned, he can cover a sheet of paper with scarcely a pause, jotting down memoranda of numberless forces that make against any such rational reconstruction. Most of these forces, in greater or less proportion, must be present in the case of every other country under consideration.

The darkest shadow upon the outlook of European civilisation at the present time is not the war; it is the failure of any co-operative spirit between labour and the directing classes. The educated and leisured classes have been rotten with individualism for a century; they have destroyed the confidence of the worker in any leadership whatever. Labour stands apart, intractable. If there is to be any such rapid conversion of the economic machinery as the opportunities and necessities of this great time demand, then labour must be taken into the confidence of those who would carry it through. It must be reassured and enlightened. Labour must know clearly what is being done; it must be an assenting co-operator. The stride to economic national service and Socialism is a stride that labour should be more eager to take than any other section of the community.

The first step in reassuring labour must be to bring the greedy private owner and the speculator under a far more drastic discipline than at present. The property-owning class is continually accusing labour of being ignorant, suspicious, and difficult; it is blind to the fact that it is itself profit-seeking by habit, greedy, conceited, and half educated.

Every step in the mobilisation of Great Britain's vast resources for the purposes of the war has been hampered by the tricks, the failures to understand, and the almost instinctive disloyalties of private owners. The raising of rents in Glasgow drove the infuriated workmen of the Clyde district into an unwilling strike. It was an exasperating piece of private selfishness, quite typical of the individualistic state of mind, and the failure to anticipate or arrest it on the part of the Government was a worse failure than Suvla Bay. And everywhere the officials of the Ministry of Munitions find private employers holding back workers and machinery from munition works, intriguing--more particularly through the Board of Trade--to have all sorts of manufactures for private profit recognised as munition work, or if that contention is too utterly absurd, then as work vitally necessary to the maintenance of British export trade and the financial position of the country. It is an undeniable fact that employers and men alike have been found far readier to risk their lives for their country than to lay aside any scale of profits to which they have grown accustomed.

This conflict of individualistic enterprise and class suspicion against the synthesis of the public welfare is not peculiar to Great Britain; it is probably going on with local variations in Germany, Russia, Italy, France, and, indeed, in every combatant country. Because of the individualistic forces and feelings, none of us, either friends or enemies, are really getting anything like our full possible result out of our national efforts. But in Germany there is a greater tradition of subordination; in France there is a greater clarity of mind than in any other country.

Great Britain and Russia in this, as in so many other matters, are at once close kindred and sharp antithesis. Each is mentally crippled by the corruption of its educational system by an official religious orthodoxy, and hampered by a Court which disowns any function of intellectual stimulus. Neither possesses a scientifically educated class to which it can look for the powerful handling of this great occasion; and each has acquired under these disadvantages the same strange faculty for producing sane resultants out of illogical confusions. It is the way of these unmethodical Powers to produce unexpected, vaguely formulated, and yet effective cerebral action--apparently from their backbones.

As I sit playing at prophecy, and turn over the multitudinous impressions of the last year in my mind, weighing the great necessities of the time against obstacles and petty-mindedness, I become more and more conscious of a third factor that is neither need nor obstruction, and that is the will to get things right that has been liberated by the war.

The new spirit is still but poorly expressed, but it will find expression. The war goes on, and we discuss this question of economic reconstruction as though it was an issue that lay between the labour that has stayed behind and the business men, for the most part old men with old habits of mind, who have stayed behind.

The real life of Europe's future lies on neither side of that opposition. The real life is mutely busy at present, saying little because of the uproar of the guns, and not so much learning as casting habits and shedding delusions. In the trenches there are workers who have broken with the old slacking and sabotage, and there are prospective leaders who have forgotten profit. The men between eighteen and forty are far too busy in the blood and mud to make much showing now, but to-morrow these men will be the nation.

When that third factor of the problem is brought in the outlook of the horoscope improves. The spirit of the war may be counted upon to balance and prevail against this spirit of individualism, this spirit of suspicion and disloyalty, which I fear more than anything else in the world.

I believe in the young France, young England, and young Russia this war is making, and so I believe that every European country will struggle along the path that this war has opened to a far more completely organised State than has existed ever before. The Allies will become State firms, as Germany was, indeed, already becoming before the war; setting private profit aside in the common interest, handling agriculture, transport, shipping, coal, the supply of metals, the manufacture of a thousand staple articles, as national concerns.

In the face of the manifest determination of the Central Powers to do as much, the Allies will be forced also to link their various State firms together into a great allied trust, trading with a common interest and a common plan with Germany and America and the rest of the world.... Youth and necessity will carry this against selfishness, against the unimaginative, against the unteachable, the suspicious, the "old fool."

But I do not venture to prophesy that this will come about as if it were a slick and easy deduction from present circumstances. Even in France I do not think things will move as lucidly and generously as that. There will be a conflict everywhere between wisdom and cunning, between the eyes of youth and the purblind, between energy and obstinacy.

The reorganisation of the European States will come about clumsily and ungraciously. At every point the sticker will be found sticking tight, holding out to be bought off, holding out for a rent or a dividend or a share, holding out by mere instinct. At every turn, too, the bawler will be loud and active, bawling suspicions, bawling accusations, bawling panic, or just simply bawling. Tricks, peculation, obstinacies, vanities--after this war men will still be men. But I do believe that through all the dust and din, the great reasons in the case, the steady constructive forces of the situation, will carry us.

I believe that out of the ruins of the nineteenth century system of private capitalism that this war has smashed for ever, there will arise, there does even now arise, in this strange scaffolding of national munition factories and hastily nationalised public services, the framework of a new economic and social order based upon national ownership and service.

Let us now recapitulate a little and see how far we have got in constructing a picture of the European community as it will be in fifteen or twenty years' time. Nominally it will be little more of a Socialist State than it is to-day, but, as a matter of fact, the ships, the railways, the coal and metal supply, the great metal industries, much engineering, and most agriculture, will be more or less completely under collective ownership, and certainly very completely under collective control. This does not mean that there will have been any disappearance of private property, but only that there will have been a very considerable change in its character; the owner will be less of controller but more of a creditor; he will be a rentier or an annuitant.

The burthen of this class upon the community will not be relatively quite so heavy as it would otherwise have been, because of a very considerable rise in wages and prices.

In a community in which all the great initiatives have been assumed by the State, the importance of financiers and promoters will have diminished relatively to the importance of administrative officials; the opportunities of private exploitation, indeed, will have so diminished that there will probably be far less evidence of great concentrations of private wealth in the European social landscape than there was before the war.

On the other hand, there will be an enormously increased rentier class drawing the interest of the war loans from the community, and maintaining a generally high standard of comfort. There will have been a great demand for administrative and technical abilities and a great stimulation of scientific and technical education. By 1926 we shall be going about a world that will have recovered very largely from the impoverishment of the struggle; we shall tour in State-manufactured automobiles upon excellent roads, and we shall live in houses equipped with a national factory electric light installation, and at every turn we shall be using and consuming the products of nationalised industry--and paying off the National Debt simultaneously, and reducing our burden of rentiers.

At the same time our boys will be studying science in their schools more thoroughly than they do now, and they will in many cases be learning Russian instead of Greek or German. More of our boys will be going into the public service, and fewer thinking of private business, and they will be going into the public service, not as clerks, but as engineers, technical chemists, manufacturers, State agriculturists, and the like. The public service will be less a service of clerks and more a service of practical men. The ties that bind France and Great Britain at the present moment will have been drawn very much closer. France, Belgium and England will be drifting towards a French-English bi-lingualism....

So much of our picture we may splash in now. Much that is quite essential remains to be discussed. So far we have said scarcely a word about the prospects of party politics and the problems of government that arise as the State ceases to be a mere impartial adjudicator between private individuals, and takes upon itself more and more of the direction of the general life of the community.

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