Page:A Jewish State 1917.djvu/29

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13
THE JEWISH QUESTION

organize trade and commerce in the new country." I shall here insert a few remarks on that point.

A scheme such as mine is gravely imperilled by the antagonistic attitude of "experts." Now experts are often nothing more than men sunk into the groove of daily routine, whence they have an extraordinarily limited view. At the same time, their adverse opinion carries great weight, and can do considerable harm to a new project, at any rate till this new thing is sufficiently strong to throw "experts" and their stupid notions to the winds.

In the earliest period of European railway construction some "experts" were of opinion that it was foolish to build certain lines, "because there were not even sufficient passengers to fill the mail-coaches." They did not realize the truth which now seems obvious to us—that travelers do not produce railways, but, conversely, railways produce travelers, the latent demand being, of course, taken for granted.

The impossibility of comprehending how trade and commerce are to be created in a new country which has yet to be acquired and cultivated may be classed with those doubts of "experts" concerning the need for railways. An "expert" would express himself somewhat in this fashion:

"Granted that the present situation of the Jews is in many places unendurable, and aggravated day by day; granted that there exists a desire to emigrate; granted even that the Jews do emigrate to the new country; how will they earn their living there, and what will they earn? What are they to live on when there? Commerce cannot be artificially organized in a day."

To this I should reply: We have not the slightest intention of organizing trade artificially, and we should certainly not attempt to do it in a day. But, though the organization of it may be impossible, the promotion of it is not. And how is commerce to be encouraged? Through the medium of a demand. The demand recognized, the medium created, commerce will establish itself.

If there is a real and earnest demand among Jews for an improvement of their status; if the medium to be created—the Jewish Company—is sufficiently powerful, then commerce will extend itself copiously in the new country. This is, of course, an assumption, in the same way as the development of railway traffic was an assumption in the thirties. Railroads were built all the same, for men's ideas fortunately carried them beyond the doubts of "experts" and their mail-coaches.

OUTLINES.

The Jewish Company is partly modelled on the lines of a great trading association. It might be called a Jewish Chartered Company, though it cannot exercise sovereign power, and has duties other than the establishment of colonial commerce.

The Jewish Company will be founded as a joint-stock company subject to English jurisdiction, framed according to English laws, and under the protection of England. Its principal centre will be London. I cannot tell yet how large the Company's capital should be; I shall leave that calculation to our numerous financiers. But to avoid ambiguity, I shall put it at a thousand million marks (about £50,000,000); it may be either more or less than that sum. The form of subscription, which will be further elucidated, will determine what fraction of the whole amount must be paid in at once.

The Jewish Company is an organization with a transitional character. It is strictly a business undertaking, and must be carefully distinguished from the Society of Jews.