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Economic Aspects of Defence

Nature volume 143, pages 550551 (01 April 1939) | Download Citation



A PAMPHLET, “Economic Aspects of Defence”, by Mr. Harold Macmillan, M.P., directs attention to the economic factors which are involved in ourpresent rearmament programme and to the futility of rearmament unless itis accompanied by an adequate foreign policy (London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1939. 1s. net). In this respect, he is highly critical of the Government policy urging that as a result Britain has been growing weaker instead of stronger during the period of rearmament, and he urges that the first step in the building up of our defence policy should be to recreate as quickly as possible the alliance of peace-loving powers in the League of Nations. He also urges the importance in rearmament of simultaneous attention to the problem of unemployment. By a full utilization of the labour-power of those now unemployed and by the elimination of wastedue to competitive redundancy in production and distribution, we could increase our production of armaments and of consumers' goods as well. The available labour power and capital resources of the nation should be distributed according to a plan of increased national productivity. Defence preparations, he insists, involve consideration of overseas trade and our general economic relations with other countries; the productive efficiency of our economic system as a whole; the accumulation of supplies of storable foodstuffs and raw material and technical questions regarding the kind of war material to be produced, the location of the necessary factories and the organization of reserve productive capacity.

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