Page:Rise and Fall of Society.djvu/150

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The Maker of Shortages

the blessing of "liberty, fraternity, equality." This is out of fashion these days; wars are now waged to protect the nation from the aggressor, which is the name each side gives to the other. However, it is still de rigueur for the victorious State to add to its exploitable territory at the expense of the conquered. But we are not here concerned with the aims of war, nor with its causes or its avoidability; what interests us is the effect on Society's economy. Does the housewife have more in her pantry, or less, as a result of the glorious adventure? Does Society acquire shortages or abundances? What is the economic profit of the military protection afforded by the State?

Putting this economic consideration aside, there is the inescapable fact that paying homage to a foreigner goes against the grain of tradition. Until he made his accommodation to the inevitable, no decent Saxon would have any truck with his Norman overlords, and the Indians always resented the British raj. It is this abhorrence of rule by foreigners that makes it easier to stir up a revolt against a State so composed than against an indigenous one. Yet, on balance, are the Indians better off, economically, under their own State than when the British ruled the roost? And the Canadians, who did not emulate the Americans in getting rid of the British Crown, nevertheless enjoy a comparable standard of living. That is to say, regardless of the nationality of the State, Society has to make its way by the usual process of laying labor to raw materials, and the vaunted protection of the State neither promotes nor facilitates that process.

Since Society puts so high a value on independence from a foreign State, it should not demur at the cost of maintaining this independence. One must pay for what one wants. However, when we examine the most approved method of financ- 126