Авторы: 159 А Б В Г Д Е З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я

Книги:  184 А Б В Г Д Е З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я

STATE OWNERSHIP: FOR AND AGAINST

What policy in the political field can be adopted to further these objects? Reverting once more to the fourfold

division which I made at the outset, but taking the points in a different order, there is first the question

whether there should be a great extension of State ownership, management, or control of monopolies and big

business. In spite of the experience of the war, I suggest tentatively that no case has been made out for any

wide or general extension of the field of State management in industry. This, however, is not a matter of

principle, but of expediency, where each case must be considered on its merits. Liberals should, indeed, keep

an open mind in this connection and not be afraid to face an enlargement of the field of State management

from time to time. There are, however, two special cases to be considered: the mines and the railways. As to

the mines, the solution Mr. McNair puts forward is on characteristically Liberal lines, because it will

endeavour to harmonise the safeguarding of the interests of the State with the maximum freedom to private

enterprise and the maximum scope for variety in methods of management. As to transport, we have recently

passed an Act altering the form of control of British railways.

Personally I think the question whether railways should or should not be nationalised is very much on the

balance. It is obviously one of the questions where objections to State management are less serious than in

most other cases. On the other hand, we may be able to find methods of control which may be even better than

State management. I do not think the Act of last year fulfils the conditions which Liberals would have

imposed on the railways, for the principle of guaranteeing to a monopoly a fixed income practically without

any means of securing its efficiency, is the wrong way to control a public utility service. If we are going to

leave public utilities in the hands of private enterprise, the principle must be applied that profit should vary in

proportion to the services rendered to the community. In this connection the old gas company principle

developed before the war is an admirable one. Under it the gas companies were allowed to increase their

dividends in proportion as they lowered their prices to the community. That is a key principle, and some

adaptation of it is required wherever such services are left in private hands. My own view is that an amended

form of railway control should first be tried, and if that fails we should be prepared for some form of

nationalisation.