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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

MAN IN THE MODERN WORLD
realizing our aims. People arc no longer asking, "How shall we pay
for the war?" Instead, they are beginning to say, " If we can fmance
the war in this way why can't we apply similar methods on a similar
scale to realizing social and cultural aims in peace?"
In Russia the subordination of the ordinary profit motive to social
ends has been even more obvious. The deliberate encouragement
of heavy industry under the Five Year Plan, at the expense of all
other kinds of enterprise which would have flourished in a laisser-
faire economy, is the most clear-cut example. In general, though
economic efficiency is naturally insisted upon, the primary cri-
terion for an enterprise is not whether it shall show a profit in its
balance sheet, but whether it is desirable irorn the broad national
point of view summed up in the current plan. A particular example
of some interest is the expenditure on scientific research. As Bernal
has pointed out in his book The Social Function ofSdmcc, the U.S.S.R.,
in spite of its low per capita wealth, w;is already before the war expend-
ing one per cent, of its national income on scientific, research. Under
the system of competitive private enterprise this does not "pay";
and we find that Britain (before the wur) expended only one-tenth of
one per cent, of its national income on science, and even the U.S.A.
only six-tenths of one per cent.
In many other aspects of life in totalitarian countries the economic
motive has been relegated to the background. I will mention only
the concern with recreation. In Italy the Dopo Lcworo organisation and
in Germany the Kraft (lurch Freud?, or "Strength through Enjoyment"
did give the common man an outlet and a sense that the community
was interested in him and his personal needs for a richer life:
economic considerations were entirely subordinated to this. In
Russia the elaborate system of rest-houses and holiday centres and the
equally elaborate arrangements for holiday transport achieved the
same end.
It is especially significant that similar trends have been at work in
democratic countries, even when there has been no recognition of the
existence of a revolution, One of the most telling examples is that of
housing in Britain. It is impossible to provide the lower-income
group with decent housing which shall give an economic return.
Accordingly, the State has stepped in, and has given subsidies toward
the building of no fewer than one and a quarter million houses or
apartments in England and Wales alone during the inter-war period.
The economic motive of profit has been overridden by the social
motive of providing adequate living accommodation.
Nutrition offers in some ways a still more interesting example