2013년 8월 2일 금요일

[Lachlan Cranswick's] Winston Churchill's 28th April 1925 budget speech that put England back on the Gold Standard



※ 발췌 (excerpts) : 

자료 속 원출처: William Manchester, The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill Visions of Glory 1874-1932, Sphere Books Ltd, 1984. pp 568-570, 645-649

( ... ... ) Keynes now emerged. In the Nation, the Evening Standard, and finally in a pamphlet, 'The Economic Consequences of Mr Churchill,' he went for Winston's jugular, declaring that the chancellor had acted 'partly, perhaps, because he has no instinctive judgement to prevent him from making mistakes; partly, because, lacking this instinctive judgement, he was defeated by the clamorous voice of conventional finance; and most of all, because he was gravely misled by the experts.' The return to gold, Keynes said, 'shackled' and 'enslaved' the country. 'The whole object is to link rigidly the City and ,Wall Street,' and this alarmed him because America, with its rapidly expanding economy, 'lives in a vast and unceasing crescendo. Wide fluctuations, which spell unemployment and misery for us, are swamped for them in the general upward movement'. The United States could afford "temporary maladjustments" because its productivity was growing "by several per cent per annum." Once, when Victoria reigned, that had been true of Britain. 'This, however, it not our state now. Our rate of progress is slow at best,' and flaws which could have been dismissed in the nineteenth century are now fatal. The slump of 1921 was even more violent in the United States than here, but by the end of 1922 recovery was practically complete. We still, in 1925, drag on with million unemployed.'

The effect of going back to gold, said Beaverbrook, was 'making yet more difficult the selling of British goods abroad and so aggravating unemployment at home.' Events soon proved Keynes and Beaverbrook right. English goods which had been priced at eighteen shillings in foreign markets now cost twenty - a full pound. This handicapped all British exporters; some became hopelessly crippled. The owners of British collieries could not compete with German and American coal if they charged higher rates. Their only alternative was to cut their miners' wages. That was ominous. Coal mining, Britain's basic industry, was also the most highly organized and politicized; Keir Hardie, the founder of the Labour party, had been a Scottish miner. The miners' union protested the drop in pay. The Trade Union Congress, or TUC, the English equivalent of America's AFL-CIO, promised to back the miners all the way, and Labour MPs declared their solidarity with them. In July 1925, two days before the cuts were to go into effect, Baldwin temporized. The Treasury, he said, would subsidize the mine owners while a commission headed by Sir Herbert Samuel investigated the situation. The prime minister bought nine months of labour peace, but the cost - first estimated at UKP 10,000,000 but ultimately UKP 23,000,000 - was exorbitant. Churchill had agreed to the stopgap, but he protested, with the rest of the cabinet, when the prime minister proposed to extend it. Keynes was in the thick of things. He asked: 'Why should coal miners suffer a lower standard of life than other classes labour? They may be lazy, good-for-nothing fellows who do not work so hard or so long as they ought to. But is there any evidence that they are more lazy or more good-for-nothing than other people?' They were, he said, 'victims of the economic juggernaut,' pawns being sacrificed to bridge the gap, required by the return to gold, between $4.40 and $4.86. 'The plight of coal miners,' he concluded, 'is the first - but not, unless we are very lucky, the, last - of the Economic Consequences of Mr Churchill'. ( ... ... )

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