Слике страница
PDF
ePub

rigidly structured order in which somebody would fix prices, fix wages, fix quotas of various countries for imports and exports. This is not your understanding of the new economic order?

Mr. MOYNIHAN. Not my understanding of an international economic order I would want to have anything to do with, Senator. I do not think we should delude ourselves, however. There are persons of good will and perhaps even good understanding who would see that kind of wholly planned, wholly regulated arrangement. But I think the experience of the world suggests otherwise. And in fact as long as we are prepared to deal with some specifics, I think the threat of these large propositions recedes.

Senator CASE. I have taken more time than I should, Mr. Chairman, I am very happy to welcome you, as Senator Javits did, and express very best wishes to you on this job.

Mr. MOYNIHAN. Thank you.
Senator CLARK (presiding]. Senator Javits.
Senator JAVITS. Thank you.

Mr. Moynihan, I have been a delegate to the U.N. too. The dynamics are very, very interesting and I am glad that you are acquainted with them because it means an enormous job of dealing with one's staff, the members of the delegation often unknown to the head of the delegation, as well as the widest range of officials of the U.N. and the officials of other countries.

SUMMARY OF COMMENTARY ARTICLE

I would like to ask you if you could summarize your commentary article, and I ask unanimous consent, Mr. Chairman, that it be printed at this point in the record, together with the condensation from the Reader's Digest.

Senator CLARK. Without objection.
[The document referred to above follows:]

[Commentary, March 1975]

THE UNITED STATES IN OPPOSITION

(1 Daniel P. Moynihan) “We are far from living in a single world community," writes Edward Shils, “but the rudiments of a world society do exist." Among those rudiments perhaps the most conspicuous, if least remarked, are the emerging views as to what kind of society it.is. A measure of self-awareness has appeared, much as it did for smaller politics in earlier times. These assessments tend at the international level to be as diverse as those commonly encountered concerning national societies, or local ones. Some will think the society is good and getting better; others will see it as bad and getting worse. Some want change; some fear it. Where one sees justice, another sees wrong.

The notion of a world society is nothing new to Americans. It dominated the rhetoric of World War II, of the founding of the United Nations, of much of the cold war. It is now a received idea, and its impress may be measured by the success with which advocates have found audiences for issues defined in international terms, the world environmental problem : the world population problem: the world food problem. Not a generation ago, these were national issues at most.

Much of this internationalist rhetoric is based on things real enough. There is a world ecology; there is a world economy; and some measures important to indi. vidual countries can only be obtained through international accord. Thus the concept of interdependence has become perhaps the main element of the new consciousness of a world society. This is a valid basis on which to posit the existence of a society, it is almost a precondition of a society's coming into being.

Yet societies rarely stop at the acknowledgment of the need for cooperation which is implied by the term interdependence. The image of a society as a family is a common one, and with reason, for in both cases the idea of cooperation isfrequently supplemented or even supplanted by the idea of obligation. What does one member owe another? This is something new in international pronouncements. If one were to characterize the discomfiture and distress with which Americans responded to the events of the 29th General Assembly of the United Nations in 1974, some measure would have to be attributed to the discovery that a vast majority of the nations of the world feel there are claims which can be made on the wealth of individual nation that are both considerable and threatening-in any event threatening to countries such as the United States which regularly finds itself in a minority (often a minority of one or two or at most a halfdozen) in an assembly of 138 members.

The tyranny of the UN's “new majority” has accordingly been deplored, and there has been much comment that whereas opposition to the United Nations was: once a position of "conservatives” in the United States, it is increasingly one of "liberals" also. Yet while there have been some calls to boycott the General Assembly, or not to vote in it, there have been but few calls for withdrawal from the United Nations. It is almost as if American opinion now acknowledged that there was no escaping involvement in the emergent world society. All the more reason, then, for seeking to understand what has been going on.

I

Now, of course, a lot is going on, and no single element dominates. Yet it may be argued that what happened in the early 1970's is that for the first time the world felt the impact of what for lack of a better term I shall call the British revolution. That is the revolution which began in 1947 with the granting by socialist Britain of independence to Socialist India. In slow, then rapid, order the great empires of the world—with the single major exception of the Czarist empire-broke up into independent states; the original membership of the United Nations of 51 grew to 138. These new nations naturally varied in terms of size, population, and resources. But in one respect they hardly varied at all. To a quite astonishing degree they were ideologically uniform, having fashioned their politics in terms derived from the general corpus of British socialist opinion as it developed in the period roughly 1890–1950. The Englishmen and Irishmen, Scotsmen and Welsh, who created this body of doctrine and espoused it with such enterprise-nay, genius—thought they were making a social revolutior in Britain. And they were. But the spread of their ideology to the furthest reaches of the globe, with its ascent to dominance in the highest national councils everywhere, gives to the British revolution the kind of worldwide significance which the American and French, and then the Russian, revolutions possessed in earlier times. *

From the perspective of their impact on others, the American and French revolutions can be treated as a single event. They were not of course identical in themselves, and profoundly important distinctions can be made between them. But these distinctions were little noted in the political rhetoric of the century that followed, or in the forms of government fashioned in the likeness of this rhetoric, or in the goals of governments so fashioned. Men sought a constitutional regime which disestablished ancient privilege, guaranteed liberties, and promoted the general welfare through what came to be known as liberal social, policies. Liberalism was at first characterized by the opposition to state intervention in economic affairs, and later by the advocacy of such intervention, but the

*The term British revolution is open to objection as seeming to exclude the influence of continental socialism on the new nations, and indeed a good case should be made for calling the phenomenon I am trying to describe the revolution of the Second International. But the term British can be justified by the fact that of the 87 states to have joined the UN since its founding, more than half—47—had been part of the British empire. Even apart from the empire, British culture was in the first half of this century incomparably the most influential in the world, and that culture was increasingly suffused with socialist ideas and attitudes. I anticipate and hope for a rigorous critique of the arguments of this paper, but I also hope it will not be too much distracted by the difficulties of finding a concise term to describe what was on the whole a concise phenomenon; the development of socialist doctrine and the formation of socialist parties in Western Europe at this time. I should also note that the political ideology in the new states of the Third World of which I will be speaking was best described by the late George Lichtheim as “national socialism.". This term has, of course, acquired an altogether unacceptable connotation.

intervention in question was a fairly mild business, it being no liberal's view that the state was an especially trustworthy servant of the citizen. The citizen, as liberals viewed the world, was a very important person, especially perhaps if he tended to clean linen.

The Russian revolution of 1917 brought into existence a regime even more dramatically different from its predecessors than had the liberal regimes of a century earlier been from theirs. Everything, it was understood, had changed. Those who would change everything, or who believed that, like it or not, everything was going to change, rallied to this rhetoric. As for the rest of the world, it came soon enough to know that a wholly extraordinary event had occurred, even that the future had occurred. For three decades, culminating in the triumph of Communist arms in China in 1948, this was quite the most vivid, and the most attended to, movement in the world.

The British revolution of the second quarter of the 20th century attracted no such attention. Everyone certainly recognized that new states were coming into existence out of former European, and indeed mostly British colonies, but the tendency was to see them as candidates for incorporation into one or the other of the older revolutionary traditions then dominant elsewhere in the world. It was not generally perceived that they were in a sense already spoken forthat they came to independence with a preexisting, coherent, and surprisingly stable ideological base which, while related to both the earlier traditions, was distinct from both. This most likely accounts for the almost incurious initial reaction in what would soon be known as the First and Second Worlds. In the Republic of India the United States could see democracy; the Soviets could see socalism. In truth, a certain Hegelian synthesis had occurred. On the one hand, the Minimal State of the American revolution; in response, the Total State of the Russian revolution; in synthesis, the Welfare State of the British revolution.

Samuel H. Beer describes the doctrine of British socialism as follows: .., it is especially the socialist's commitment to "fellowship" that fundamentally distinguishes his approach. . . . For private ownership he would substitute public ownership; for production for profit, production for use; for competition, cooperation. A cultural and ethical revolution would also take place, and motives that had aimed at individual benefit would now be aimed at common benefits. Industry, which had been governed by individual decisions within the competitive system, would be subject to collective and democratic control. ... Government would consist in comprehensive and continuous planning and administration.

Two general points may be made about this British doctrine. First, it contained a suspicion of, almost a bias against, economic development which carried over into those parts of the world where British culture held sway. The fundamental assertion of the age of the Diamond Jubilee was that there was plenty of wealth to go 'round if only it were fairly distributed. No matter what more thoughtful socialist analysts might urge, redistribution, not production, remained central to the ethos of British socialism. Profit became synonymous with exploitation. That profit might be something conceptually elegant-least-cost productionmade scarcely any impress. “Production for profit" became a formulation for all that was wrong in the old ways, and Tories half-agreed. (For it was the Liberals and the Radicals who were being repudiated by such doctrine, and it was the Liberal party that went under.) This, too, was passed on. When Sir Arthur Lewis in 1974 gave the Tata lectures in India and found himself pleading, as a socialist and as a man of the Third World, but also as an economist, that profit was not a concept public-sector enterprise could afford to ignore, no less a personage than the head of the Indian Planning Commission felt called upon to rebut him.

To be sure, much of the redistributionist bias was simply innocent. British socialists, for example, proved in office to know almost nothing about how actually to redistribute income, and British income has not been significantly redistributed. Coming to power just after World War II, the socialists appeared to think they had abolished wealth by imposing a top income-tax rate of nineteen shillings six pence in the twenty-shilling pound, which is to say confiscating the rich man's pay envelope. Few seemed to note that capital gains remained exempt from income tax altogether, so that in large measure thereafter only those with property could acquire property : the very antithesis of the social condition socialism sought. (This detail perhaps did not escape the well-to-do of the developing nations when the prospect of socialism on the British model first appeared there.)

The second general point about socialist doctrine as it developed in Britain was that it was anti-American. More anti-American, surely, than it was ever anti-Soviet. The reasons for this are not that obscure. The British were not over

much admiring of Americans in that era, nor we of them. In part their attitude began as aristocratical disdain. (An intimate of Pandit Nehru's describes once asking India's first Prime Minister why he was so anti-American. This was in 1961. Nehru's first reaction was a rather huffy denial of any such predisposition, but he then became reflective and after a moment admitted that, yes, it was true, and that probably it all dated back to his days at Harrow. There was one American boy there at the time: filthy rich, and much too pushy.) But more importantly, of course, America was seen as quintessentially capitalist.

With the Russian revolution, and then especially with the world depression of the 1930's and the onset of popular-front movements in Europe, a considerable number of British socialists, despite their party's fundamental and central attachment to democratic processes, became supporters of the Soviet regime. Russia was the future. America was the past. With the coming of the cold war this attitude became institutionalized and almost compulsory on the British Left. The New Statesman, a journal which tended to follow Asian and African graduates after they had left Britain and returned home, became near Stalinist in its attachment to Soviet ways with the world and its pervasive antagonism to things American.

And yet the New Statesman was never Communist, and neither, save in small proportion, were its readers. They were British socialists, part of a movement of opinion which spread in the course of the first half of the 20th century to the whole of the British empire, a domain which covered one-quarter of the earth's surface, and which an inspired cartographic convention had long ago decreed be colored pink. It was British civil servants who took the doctrine to the colonies. (How curious in retrospect, are the agonizings of Harold Laski and others as to whether the civil service would carry out the policies of a socialist government. What more congenial task for persons whose status comes from the power and prestige of government? But in the Britain of that era it could be thought that class origin would somehow overcome occupational interest.)

What the civil service began, British education completed. Has there ever been? a conversion as complete as that of the Malay, the Ibo, the Gujarati, the Jamaican, the Australian, the Cypriot, the Guyanan, the Yemenite, the Yoruban, the sabra, the felaheen to this distant creed? The London School of Economics, Shils, notes, was often said to be the most important institution of higher education in Asia and Africa. In her autobiography, Beatrice Webb wrote that she and her husband felt “assured that with the School (LSE] as the teaching body, the Fabian Society as a propagandist organization, the LCC (London County Council] as object lesson in electoral success, our books as the only elaborate original work in economic fact and theory, no young man or woman who is anxious to study or to work in public affairs can fail to come under our influence.” For reasons that are understandable, this was true most particularly for young men and women coming from abroad in that long and incongruously optimistic intellectual age that began amid late Victorian plumpness and ended with the austerity of postwar Britain. In 1950 the conservative Michael Oake shott succeeded to the Fabian Harold Laski's chair in political theory at LSE and in a sense that party was over. But by then not Communists but Fabians could claim that the largest portion of the world's population lived in regimes of their fashioning. Before very long, the arithmetical majority and the ideological coherence of those new nations brought them to dominance in the United Nations and, indeed, in any world forum characterized by universal membership.

But if the new nations absorbed ideas about others from the doctrines of British socialism, they also absorbed ideas about themselves. The master concept, of course, is that they had the right to independence. This idea goes back to the American revolution, and even beyond to the Glorious Revolution in 17thcentury Britain, but British socialism readily incorporated and even appropriated it. As the 20th century wore on and the issue of independence arose with respect to these specific peoples and places, it was most often the socialists who became the principal political sponsors of independence. It was a Labour government which in 1947 granted independence to India and formally commenced the vast peaceful revolution that followed. The Indian Congress party had been founded in 1883 by a British civil servant, Alan Octavian Hume, whose politics were essentially Liberal. But by the time of independence, it was a matter to be taken for granted that the Congress was socialist and that its leaders, Gandhi and then , Nehru, were socialists too.

Two further concepts triangulate and fix the imported political culture of these new nations. The first is the belief-often, of course, justified—that they have been subject to economic exploitation, exactly as the working class is said in socialist theory to have been exploited under capitalism. The second is the belief-also, of course, often justified-that they have been subject to ethnic discrimination corresponding to class distinctions in industrial society. As with the belief in the right to independence, these concepts, which now seem wholly natural, rarely occur in nature. They are learned ideas, and they were learned by the new nations mostly where they mostly originated, in the intellectual and political circles of Britain of the late 19th and early 20th century. Gandhi greatly elucidated the moral dimensions of exploitation and discrimination, but he did so in the context of a worldwide political movement that was more than receptive to his ideas, a political movement of which he was a part. At root, the ideas of exploitation and discrimination represent a transfer to colonial populations of the fundamental socialist assertions with respect to the condition of the European working class, just as the idea of independence parallels the demand that the working class break out of bondage and rise to power.

Now it is possible to imagine a country, or collection of countries, with a background similar to that of the British colonies, attaining independence and then letting bygones be bygones. The Americans did that: our political culture did not suggest any alternative. International life was thought to operate in Wordsworth's terms: The good old rule

The simple plan
That they should take, who have the power.
And they should keep who can.

So in their own terms might Marxists judge the aftermath of Marxist triumph: history was working its ineluctable way: there would be no point, no logic, in holding the past to account. Not so the heirs of the British revolution. British socialism is, was, and remains a highly moral creed. It is not a politics of revenge; it is too civil for that. But reparations? Yes: reparations. This idea was fundamental to the social hope of a movement which, it must ever be recalled, rested on the assum ion that there existed vast stores of uneth ally accumulated wealth. On the edges of the movement there were those who saw the future not just in terms of redistribution, but of something ominously close to looting. In any event, the past was by no means to be judged over and done with. There were scores to be settled. Internally and internationally.

A final distinctive character of the British revolution concerns procedure. Wrongs are to be righted by legislation. The movement was fundamentally parliamentarian. The Labour party came to power through the ballot, and proceeded to change society by statute. This was dramatically so with respect to the empire. For the first time in the history of mankind a vast empire dismantled itself, piece by piece, of its own systematic accord. A third of the nations of the world today owe their existence to a statute of Westminister. What more profound experience could there be of the potency of parliamentary majorities in distant places, and of their enactments?

Plainly, not all the new nations of the postwar world were formerly British. There were French colonies, Belgian Dutch, Portuguese. Political traditions in each case were different the British. But only slightly different: viewed from Mars, London, Paris, and The Hague are not widely separated or disparate places. By the time of the granting of independence, all were democratic with a socialist intelligentsia and often as not a socialist government. With the exception of Algeria—which is marked by the exception—the former French and Dutch colonies came into being in very much the manner the British had laid down. For a prolonged initial period the former British possessions had pride of place in the ex-colonial world—they speak English at the UN, not American—and pretty much set the style of politics which has become steadily more conspicuous in international affairs.

Not everyone has noticed this. Indeed, there is scarcely yet a vocabulary in which to describe it. In part, this is because the event is recent; but also because it was incomplete. As with the liberal revolution which came out of America, and the Communist revolution which came out of Russia, this socialist revolution coming mainly out of Britain carried only so much of the world in its initial period of expansion. The liberal revolution of America was not exactly a spent force by the mid-20th century, but (pace the Mekong Delta Development Plan) there was never any great prospect of its expanding to new territories. On the other

hand, the heirs

« ПретходнаНастави »