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NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 16, No. 4 (Winter 1949)

It would be impossible to evaluate in any one paper all the activities of the United Nations with anything close to accuracy. This holds true especially for the functions assigned to such organs as the Economic and Social Council and the Trusteeship Council. To appraise their actual accomplishments would require not only a careful scrutiny of the whole host of resolutions passed by those bodies and the General Assembly. We would also have to find to what extent the member governments have taken practical steps to implement the several decisions. Thus it is not only necessary, but justifiable as well, to limit the following stocktaking to the record of the United Nations as an agency for maintaining international peace and security.

We are considering the problem of transferring capital income by round after round to labor demands. This may be a desirable thing to do. I am personally convinced that continuous advance in wages is desirable, indeed necessary, in a dynamic society. But the process plunges inevitably into the nest of priorities. You can’t cut into taxes. You can’t cut into administrative salaries. You can’t cut into interest on bonds. Maybe you can cut into funds for dividends. Most surely, you can cut into funds for repair, replacement, modernization, expansion. That happens whenever finances are low. But these are funds that are spent, as surely and promptly as the funds that take the form of wages.

The new German constitution—or, more accurately, the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany—of May 8, 1949, calls for an analysis from a multiplicity of angles: sociological, economical, and as definitive prescriptions of the rules of the political game of legal validity. In other publications, to which I may be permitted to refer, I have dealt with its genesis after the collapse of the Hitler regime, and its broader historical, social, and economic background. The present paper concentrates on the rules-of-the-game qualities of the Basic Law, or in other words on its merits and demerits as a democratic constitution for a specific country.

The devaluation of thirty currencies following the announcement made by Sir Stafford Cripps on September 18, 1949, has highlighted the difficulties encountered by the western world in rebuilding its economy. The immediate cause for the devaluation was Britain’s alarm over the decline of her exports to the United States and the drain on her gold and dollar holdings, which had become particularly severe since the second quarter of 1949. The other countries of the European Recovery Program had held their own for some time, but only because of substantial assistance from the United States. Fundamentally, they were in no better position than England. On further analysis their dollar problems may indeed appear more serious than those of Great Britain, since their raw materials resources are much smaller than those of the wide sterling area.

The visible decline of French power was sharp and painful. It occurred only recently--in the fateful June of 1940. And its painfulness has not yet worn off, for a great nation finds it hard to live comfortably with the thought that power has slipped from its hands. By power, of course, I mean control over policymaking decisions. In the vital matter of national security the French no longer have this power. For better or for worse, ultimate decisions affecting the international position of France, and perhaps her very life, are made not by Frenchmen in Paris but by Americans in Washington.

Book Review. Translated by Thomas Ogoddard Bergin and Max Harold Fisch. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 1948. 398 pp.

Review of book by Leonard Nelson. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1949. 211 pp.

Review of book by Richard Schuller. Paris: Aimery Somogy. 1948. 279 pp.

Review of book by Daniel J. Boorstin. New York: Henry Hold. 1948. 306 pp.

Review of book by Arnold Rose and Caroline Rose. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1949. 342 pp.

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