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WHEN DECORATION HAD PATRIOTIC MOTIVE A mantel made of plaster composition by Robert Welford of Philadelphia for a house in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The central decoration is the American eagle mourning on the sarcophagus of the dead of the War of 1812, flanked by weeping willows. The Washington clock was imported from France.

The Possibilities of Trade Union and Coöperative Banks in Great Britain

BY PHILIP SNOWDEN
Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Macdonald Cabinet

T

HE recent advent of American hardly sufficient to buy a branch linelabor unions into the sphere of there are grave objections in the public banking, described in the No interest to a trade union owning and vember issue of this magazine controlling an essential public service.

by Mr. Warren S. Stone, Presi- Such a proposal is syndicalism in its worst dent of the Brotherhood of Locomotive form. Engineers, has been followed with much

THE PURPOSE OF TRADE UNIONS interest by organized labor in Great Britain. The success which has attended OREOVER, the unions have been this adventure is admitted on all sides to

It have been as remarkable as it was unex is no part of their object to engage in pected. I have talked over this subject business. In many of the unions a conwith some of the leading orthodox bank- siderable part of the funds is definitely ers of the United States, and they all ex earmarked for benevolent purposespress their surprise and satisfaction with superannuation, death benefits, and unthe success of the movement.

employment. However deplorable strikes The labor union banks have met with and lockouts may be, and however no hostility from high finance in the desirable it may be to find some satisfacUnited States. The reasons for this are tory method of settling industrial disputes made plain by Mr. Stone. The purpose by arbitration, the fact must be recogof these banks is not to augment the funds nized that the trade unions must have of the labor unions for fighting the em funds in reserve which will be available ployers by means of strikes. On the con for the support of their members in case trary, the purpose is to make organized of a stoppage of work through an induslabor a co-partner, or a coöperator, in trial dispute. For these reasons the trade capitalist enterprise. The Brotherhood unions cannot risk their funds in a comof Engineers is responding to an appeal petitive industrial adventure, or lock them similar to that which has been so often up in such a way as not to be available, if addressed to British trade unionists: to needed, for trade union purposes. use their funds to carry on capitalist en These objections do not apply to the terprise, and to share in its profits-and in banking scheme of the American labor its losses.

unions. I do not understand from Mr. Just recently Mr. W. H. Hichens sug Stone's account that the labor unions are gested to the British railway unions that using their invested funds as capital for they might buy out one of the British rail- ordinary banking purposes. Their reways and work it themselves. I would not sources are the investments of individuals, suggest that this invitation is prompted and not the reserve funds of the labor by the same motive which induced the unions. Mr. Stone does not say how the spider to invite the fly to step into its original capital of the banks was raised, parlor; but the acceptance of the invita- but I presume it was provided out of the tion would certainly have a like result. funds of the labor unions. His account Apart from the rather conclusive objec- of the operations of the banks is confined tion that the total funds of all the trans- mainly to the savings bank side of the port unions of Great Britain at the time business. of last return were less than £3,000,000 But the main interest which one has in

540

The Tight Grip of the “Big Five"

this development of trade union activity country is now in the hands of five big is in the extent to which these banks are banks, and had it not been for the hostility fulfilling the functions of the ordinary of the Treasury to further amalgamacommercial banks. Savings bank busi- tions, it is likely that by this time the ness is a comparatively simple matter. number would have been smaller still. The American labor banks do not en In Great Britain it is now next to imposcourage depositors to keep their savings sible to start or to maintain an indepenin the banks, but recommend them to in dent commercial bank outside the Big vest their accumulated savings in well Five. The coöperative wholesale society's secured bonds.

bank has been able to maintain its sepaThese banks are fulfilling a very useful rate existence because it has its own huge function indeed in affording advice to trading business and its affiliated societies. their customers as to suitable investments. In recent years there has been quite a WHEREIN BRITAIN LEADS AMERICA

remarkable awakening of interest in the

British labor movement in the question of O FAR as the savings bank business banking and credit. It is being increas

of the union banks is concerned I ingly realized that the money power in do not think that they have much to these modern times exercises a domination teach the working class organizations in over the lives of the people, and over ecoGreat Britain. The United States is a nomic and industrial conditions, compared long way behind Great Britain in the with which the power of an autocratic matter of coöperation, in its varied forms, , ruler was a mere simulacrum. Credit, among the working classes. The co which is now controlled by a few banking operative movement has never taken hold corporations, is the mainspring of trade of the working class in America. But in and industry. But it is a most delicate Great Britain this movement has long piece of mechanism, and tampering with been doing what America's labor banks it by ruthless and unskilled hands is likely are now undertaking in the matter of en to break it, and bring the whole machincouraging thrift among the working ery of industry to disaster. classes. It is much more likely that any The advantages which such working further development of facilities for work- class efforts as these American labor ing class banking will, in Great Britain, banks, and the coöperative organizations take place through the coöperative socie in Great Britain, confer upon the workers ties than through the trade unions. The are rather indirect than direct. Labor coöperative societies have all the facilities, banks will not secure the financial control and the organization for an unlimited ex of the operations of trade and commerce. tension of banking. These societies ac They will make little impression in that cept deposits from their members and respect. But they will indirectly do a make advances for the purpose of house great deal to benefit the working man. building. The coöperative wholesale so They will increase his self-respect and his ciety, with which the retail societies are self-confidence, and encourage him to go affiliated, has its own bank, which does forward to bigger things. They will ennot confine its operations to its own busi courage thrift, and give to the proceeds ness and its own members but also does of thrift greater security. They will ordinary banking for the general public. assist what has been the greatest achieve

There is a very important difference ment of the great coöperative movement between the system of ordinary banking in Great Britain-which is not the fact in the United States and in Great Britain, that it has built up the most colossal a difference which makes it easier to es trade organization in the country-but tablish banks in the former country. In that it has built up a new working class, Great Britain banking has become almost with a wider experience, a wider outlook, a closed corporation. Practically the filled with a confident belief in its own whole of the commercial banking of the capacity and in the future of democracy.

in Germany

The Second Article of a Series Entitled Tragic Europe"

BY SIR PHILIP GIBBS

T

HE German people look back swindle of "inflation," this ruthless robto the time-a year ago-when bery of their own folk, this wild gamble they were in the whirlpool of with national credit, saw that the limit money inflation, as a wild night had been reached and the game was up.

mare in which they nearly, and The secret forces, or the political madperhaps quite, lost their sense of reason ness, behind that machinery of inflation and moral balance. Certainly at that have not yet been told or discovered. time, as I saw, the whole German nation The story does not matter very much, was hysterical and on the edge of nervous except in historical interest, for that pebreakdown. Is it any wonder, when they riod is past, and I refer to it only because saw their whole financial structure slip- the present psychology of the German ping and toppling toward a precipice people, and their new social conditions, below which lay a bottomless pit of ruin? cannot be understood unless one remem

It was not only the bankers and the bers that time of paper madness when politicians who realized the enormous their nerves were like harp strings to hazard of their state. It was brought every gust of passion and emotion, and home with a sense of terror to the middle when the most powerful people in Europe class citizen or working man, whose weekly found themselves sinking into a bog of wage—though counted in millions, and despair, humiliation, and bankruptcy. then billions, of marks-withered away in

A RETURN TO NORMALCY value before he could rush to the nearest shop and turn it into something real. OW that the mark has been stabilThrift was abolished among the most ized, at first by a sort of miracle thrifty people in the world because those or, as other people would say, by an act of who saved money lost it. People living faith in German credit by German folkon the interest of inherited capital or in- and then by international loans following vested wealth were made penniless, while the Dawes Report, the social conditions the Government printing machines throb in Germany have also become settled. bed in larger revolutions to the output of Trade is reviving steadily because traders paper money which at last had no pur know what prices they can quote and chasing value at all Ynside or outside the what they can pay in real money which country.

does not fluctuate like a fever chart. That point was reached when passive The pulse of German life itself is steadying resistance broke down in the Ruhr be- to a more normal beat, because there is cause the stubborn workmen there who no longer fear of revolution from the refused to labor under French command Right or Left now that panic, rage, and found they must return to work or starve; despair have given way to a reasonable and when the financial brains who had hope of good business, based on the possiorganized, or submitted to, this colossal bility of peace and industry. After the

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542

“The Old Order Changeth”

release of the French strangle grip on the in the mind of Germany also, if one peneRuhr, which is the industrial heart of trates below the surface which is as far as Germany, trade relations are good with most foreigners see—there are equal conFrance and Great Britain, and even the trasts of opinion, philosophy, passion, question of reparations and the burden of idealism, prejudice, old ideas in conflict impossible payments have been post- with new ideas, and mental unrest. poned by the mechanism of the Dawes Here is a picture of one extreme in the plan.

social scale. It is the one observed by The extreme Nationalists who shouted the passing foreigner who, seeing it, for resistance and revenge no longer get thinks that the German plea of poverty is the same hearing. The Communists a fraud and that they are rich enough to who screamed for bloody revolution as pay all the reparations from which they the only means of

have defaulted. liberating the Ger

It is a scene in man workers from This article is the second written the Adlon Hotel, of an intolerable serf- by Sir Philip Gibbs, at the request of Berlin, as I saw it dom have been the World's WORK, on his journey

recently, and as it silenced for a time,

through Europe. In last month's goes on day by day. because despair has issue he told of the life in France

The great lounge lifted from the

with its marble pilthe undercurrents rarely noted by wa ge-earning

lars inlaid with gold world. At least, it visiting tourists. A new generation,

mosaic, lighted is not so acute. with changed customs and viewpoints,

warmly by shaded The tide of passion is being pictured by the distinguished

lamps, is crowded is on the ebb. Ger- correspondent, who was selected as the

with the profiteers man public opinion, chronicler best fitted to describe the or Schieber of Berlin. in the mass, as re- tragic Europe of six years after the A bust of the onevealed by the elecWar.

time German Emtions in December

peror, with uplast, is for moderate

turned moustache men and moderate measures. Violence and a winged helmet, mocks at this is, for the moment, out of favor.

republican tea party. Revolution and All that is good for Germany and the republicanism did nothing to injure these world. But social life among the Ger- people. Even “inflation" did not damman people has been greatly changed age them. Somehow they learned the by that experience in the time of paper secret of converting worthless paper into money, and by the present readjustment real wealth. to stable conditions. New classes have The women are expensively dressed. come up-those who made rapid profits They must cost a lot of money to the men out of wild gambles in the foreign ex- who bow over their hands, and order rich change. Old classes have gone down, or cakes for them. These men are, for the been hard hit. Behind the façade of most part, middle-aged with close

, German social life rather splendid and shaven heads, hard features, and vulturerich as it seems to the passing foreigner like eyes. Earlier in the day they have —there are glaring contrasts.

been sitting around here in the Adlon, or Extremes of wealth, extremes of pov- other hotels, with black dispatch cases, erty, may be seen in Berlin and all the talking money, money, money. One great cities of Germany. Beneath the overhears arithmetical discussions in surface of everyday life, quite comfortable thousands, and millions, of marks. Some as it seems, with money enough now for of them, many of them perhaps, are not good food, life's little comforts, some lux- German by race. They have an Oriental uries, there is a great deal of stinting and cast of features, or a Slav look. One scraping to make both ends meet. And man wears some of his wealth on his

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