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DEMOCRACY AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRSI SIR JOSIAH STAMP I HAVE to address you to-night on the subject of "Democracy and Economic Affairs." It isa platitude that we are living in critical and responsible times; critical because the problems can be held up} while we are discussing them, only to a limited extent. So many of the probl~ms in the past have perhaps improved while they have been discussed; those of the present could easily be progressively deteriorating while they are being discussed, and so we get into what the journalist describes as a "vicious spiral," and :find that situations which were manageable under ordinary circumstances get into altogether new relations and new proportions} and require dangerous remedies. We also find, if we do nothing, or if we try only small doses of remedies, that we may not be acting for the best. Then we know that the forces which are to be controlled often lie beyond the boundaries of anyone nation, and affect vast populations, and yet we have not yet invented a satisfactory international control over these economic matters. We hav~ hardly invented an easy means of international inquiry and decision, to say nothing of executive action. Science has been bringing us rapidly to a position where our national boundaries are obsolete; especially, for example, in .the distribution of Ininerals which are universally required under modern conditions, and which are arbitrarily,distributed by nature without reference to such national boundaries. The general distribution of produce has no relation lAddress delivered at a Special Convocation for the conferring of Honorary Degrees, held in Convocation Hall, University of Toronto, Friday, May 26, 1933. THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTE~LY whatever to existing political areas; ' these existing political areas are, however, becoming more, instead of less, insistent upon their claims to regulate such matters. The world has become internationalized by a net-work of export industries which have to depend on foreign markets, by large overseas investmen ts which require the transport of goods in specific directions to liquidate them, and by financial obligations which do not correspond with the natural economic flow of goods, especially .where the natural flow is found to be contrary to poEtical expediency. Small wonder, then, that the times are critical and responsible. Does academic life flow on serenely in its studies of human learning, oblivious of its new surroundings, or has it a new and special responsibility and special·mission in this emergency? One is 'bound, if in a position of responsibility, to be 'profoundly sorry for the young people who are emerging from our universities into life in a time of such difficul ty and depression. I t is an intensely personal problelu and one's regret is that there is an extraordinary absence of opportunity in the life to which they are going. Perhaps in many. respects what is one of the most depressing features of the depression is that it means that the optimism and the 'vigour of youth are dimmed at the very start. We should have liked to look-upon this situationthose of us in middle life and responsible stations-and to pass over the actual machinery to these young people and say, "Here is a social machine, in good running order," and without encroachment up9n our natural modesty, we would go on to say: "I commend. this to your care; you are a great deal luckier than I was, because when I . started things were not anything like as polished and excellent as now," and we should like to go on further: "Not only do we hand you the machine which is running 408 - DEMOCRACY AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS perfectly and in good order, but we have elaborated by experience, bitter and otherwlse, a fine set of rules and precautions which will put things right if they go wrong: learn those rules and save yourselves much trouble; we bear you up on our shoulders." Instead of that blessing, I am afraid we shall have to say to these young men and women emerging into modern life: "Here is a complicated machine which I have invented; it is absolutely out of order; I do not know how to get it right...


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