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was the charm of the old Italy, few travelers would suggest that its people in general were distinguished for either quality. To-day even the trains keep their word!

Brief as has been the span of the new era, I know of no country where the visitor can feel more sure that his ignorance is not being taken advantage of, except in certain districts that are backward or relatively untouched by the Fascist spirit. It is certainly the only country where to any real degree the percentage for service has not become a mere addition to the usual tips, and where the dignity of service is actually emphasized by the refusal to accept tips.


I have indicated Italy's assets for the future. What of her liabilities? I am inclined to think that her women are at present numbered among them. This may be a superficial impression and an injustice to the women of the countryside, but at least in the towns they hardly impress one as having the stability and practical ability of the Frenchwomen. Perhaps it is that their progress is dwarfed by the striking development of the Italian male in character and purpose. Yet, for Rome to be rebuilt, the Roman matron must be reborn, and in assessing Signor Mussolini's own achievements it should

never be overlooked that his mother was of this historic type.

A temporary liability is embodied in the question of how far self-confidence and self-subordination to the State have produced self-control equal to the strain of an emergency. I am reasonably sure that they have already forged an adequate power of endurance to strain, but less sure that they have yet acquired adequate resistance to a sudden shock.

Another liability, I am inclined to think, lies in the emasculation of the press. I use this word advisedly, for to-day there is no formal censorship, but on the other hand the organs of the press, being entirely in the hands of fervent Fascists, chant a never-ceasing hymn of praise. A diet composed entirely of honey would sicken the strongest palate. One may admit that Fascism is far too valuable an experiment to be rashly jeopardized by harmful exposure to the subversive influence of a hostile press working upon the minds of a simple people. But one may, nevertheless, be reluctant to endorse the Fascist alternative. For it is a profound truth that la critique est la vie de la science, and the very fact that Fascism is the nearest to science of all the systems of government makes criticism the more necessary to its well-being during its evolution.

I pass next to what is both the supreme moral asset and liability combined of Italy to-day-self-confidence. Lack of confidence in themselves was a characteristic defect of the Italians before and even during the war. This characteristic had undoubtedly a pleasing side in that it produced a nature free from bombast, and to some extent a useful side in that it encouraged a habit of self-examination and self-criticism. But for success as a nation self-confidence is as vital as it is with the individual, and it has

unquestionably been the conscious purpose of Fascism to create this national self-confidence as the essential propulsive force behind the Fascist Revolution in its deepest sense. For, as no revolution has aimed at so complete a rebirth, so none has set before it so hard and long a path. Only selfconfidence — confidence in its powers, its mission, and its progress carry it through. But, inevitably, in that very quality lies one of the most formidable dangers. It is a feature of the Fascist Revolution, as in some measure of all revolutions, that the very means on which it depends are the most capable of harm to itself.


Thus, for example, at the very outset Fascism was established in power largely by the efforts of the young-old veterans of the war, all of whom were ready, and many of whom made a second sacrifice of their blood, to save the land from a worse danger than ever Austria had offered. Many of them were Arditi, most formidable of Italy's fighting men in 1915-1918. And as it was difficult to disentangle motives in those who, in 1914, rallied to Kitchener's summons, so was it with the Black Shirts; patriotism, idealism, love of adventure, love of fightingthey are strangely interwoven in the individual, still more in the mass. Stranger still is the way the worst scalawag in peaceful days so often proves not merely the best fighting man in war, but the noblest in sacrifice. Thus it was with the Black Shirts, in motive and in composition; and thus also it was that the hardest test came after the apparent goal had been reached. No government, far less one which has grasped power in a time of chaos, can afford to cast adrift those who have served it well- until they serve it ill. But it was this proportion of black sheep among the Black Shirts which, in the early years of

the new era, caused serious functional disorder in the body politic by the moral harm of the actions which they committed, in an excess of enthusiasm as often as through a deficiency of ethics. But if Fascism was to survive as a new order, not merely a violent disruption of the old order, radical remedies were essential. And it is just to recognize that these have been applied within the body of Fascism with a stringency and by a purging, progressive and continuous, such as no other revolutionary régime in history has attempted with its own supporters.

In place of this danger, overconfidence is perhaps the most serious in the years immediately ahead. Internally, its tendency is to lead to efforts to cure social and economic ills more rapidly than the adaptability of the body can safely stand. Externally, self-confidence takes the form of a conviction of Italy's destiny as a Great Power, and overconfidence that of a belief that she is already fully capable of upholding and regaining her rights vis-à-vis other nations.

In my travels I inevitably met more than a few examples of aggressive assertions of Italy's power to enforce respect and a certain amount of bellicose talk. I recall with special amusement one ingenuous young man who, after declaring that one Italian was worth ten of a certain neighboring race of war-proved martial ability, related to me how last spring, at the time of the Riviera frontier incidents, he and a band of fellow spirits were assembled on the frontier for a 'punitive raid,' only to be stopped, much to their chagrin, by their own authorities. It is, of course, such incidents as this, and the knowledge of such an attitude, which cause the tension that is observable not merely behind the French and Jugoslav frontiers, but even in the Swiss Ticino.

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Yet if it be essential to an understanding of Italy to understand these symptoms, it would be folly to exaggerate them. For if all the heads of Italy to-day are young, like the shoulders they rest on, they are shrewd, or they would not have created an organization which has already survived so many strains and become more compact in the process. When Signor Mussolini speaks now of needing twenty years to fulfill his task, he means, if I may judge, that he wants not merely time to create his new State, but time to allow a complete new generation to grow up in its environment and atmosphere. He is too shrewd to expose, if he can possibly help it, his work to any severe external storms until not only are the foundations firmly laid, but the roof on. Only by generating a continuous current of self-confidence in the nation, and especially in its youth, can the stupendous purpose of Italian regeneration be effected; but his fingers are firmly on the controls, and never firmer than at present. Risky adventures are not on his horizon. If mishap befell him, I am less sanguine. The system is so far consolidated that others might assume control without discord - but also without his unique prestige. And thus perhaps an outward explosion might be a more immediate danger than an internal explosion. Of this I feel reasonably sure: that Signor Mussolini's preservation is the strongest guaranty of the preservation of peace in this generation.

Finally comes the question whether the Fascist system and its discipline, vitally necessary as they are during the rebuilding of Rome, may not ultimately cramp her intellectual growth and the higher fruits of the human spirit and initiative. Critics, even friendly critics, frequently express the fear that in Fascism's pursuit of

concrete ideals, discipline, and material progress, the abstract moral qualities and their value to a nation may be overlooked.

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On the other hand, the crop of these was becoming more and more impoverished, and the weeds so thick that the grain was almost lost to sight. If in one generation the habits of hard work, discipline, and honesty can be implanted widespread, — cultivated in the willing and enforced on the unwilling, there is at least a good foundation for the next, its roots embedded in freshly fertilized soil, to yield a harvest both more plentiful and of finer quality than in the past. And that next generation, being more fit to use liberty well, can receive it more fully. It would be rash to prophesy, but the best promise of elasticity of system lies in the fact that both Fascism and the mind of Mussolini are essentially non-static. There are even symptoms which hint that the new Rome, having begun with and been created by Cæsar, may reverse the process of the ancients and evolve toward the Rome of Scipio and the Punic Wars, regaining the rugged strength and civic sense of that era, but in addition refined by two Renaissances.

Whatever the future may bring, it is at least certain that it will be different from the present, for Fascism, responsive to the law of life, is all the time changing its system, and adapting its ideals progressively to the fresh conditions. And the foreign critic, if he is to understand this and avoid the exposure of his own shallowness, must likewise change his spectacles of electoral institutions and the paramount rights of the individual. Fascism is not merely an effort toward a new political system, but a new way of life. Thus it is the greatest human experiment of our time, perhaps of any time.




A VENERABLE anecdote, not often heard of recent years, relates that an Irishman who was ill took the one teaspoonful of medicine that was prescribed for him and then, noting its good effect, swallowed all the contents of the bottle, on the theory that if a little was good for him a good deal would be better. The results were, of course, not what he expected; or perhaps I should say they were what he might have expected. The current lack of interest in this ancient jest is to be regretted, for nothing could be more timely in the present state of American industry.

In an earlier article I have set forth the view that our present comfortable state in America is chiefly due to the large amount of work done here, which is nearly half the total work Idone in the whole world. Of the total work done in the United States, more than ninety per cent is performed by mechanical means at a cost so low that, even after allowing for interest and depreciation on the capital investment necessary to make this possible, it corresponds to a wage rate of only a few cents per day per man for equivalent work. It is only through this multiplication of work that we are able to have all that we now possess.

Every frontiersman understands the rationale of the process perfectly; in the early days of settlement, although all the members of the family are busily at work from daylight till dark on the

most essential tasks, they are simply unable to do enough work to provide themselves with comforts and conveniences. On the other hand, the only reason we can have the twenty million automobiles that we are using is that the workmen who were formerly engaged in making other necessaries of modern life have been released from that work through increasing their productivity by the application of mechanical power.

Every woman understands it also; if she has to wash clothes, scrub floors, and do other housework by manual labor, she is quite unable to find time for social affairs and community activities.

I can support by affidavit, if anyone should doubt my veracity, the case of a modern mother who got breakfast for the family, drove her husband to the station and the children to school, washed the breakfast dishes, did the week's washing for the family, and was then on time for a 10.30 A. M. committee meeting on Monday morning. Such a performance is not incredible, though it may so appear to some, for most of the work was done by mechanical means, and what she chiefly did was efficiently to apply her able mind to supervising and directing the mechanical slaves that were at her command.

Lowering the cost of production through multiplying work by mechanical means, eliminating unnecessary work, and doing work in such a way that it does not need to be repeated, has taken such a hold upon the imagination

of leaders in industry that we seem now in imminent danger of a collapse something like that which results when a child builds a block house higher than his faulty adjustment of his materials will permit to stand. At the present moment we are confronted with the paradox that when the engineer, working with the scientist, has shown how to produce more with less effort, the result is often not increased prosperity for himself and the industry for which he works, but quite the reverse. As a specific example, petroleum engineers have, during the past few years, shown how to drill deep wells at less cost, and how to bring the oil out of the wells more rapidly at less cost, with the result that in 1927 the petroleum companies made smaller profits than they had in 1926, and many of them made no profits at all. Bituminous-coal production has for some years been a broadly unprofitable business, and a host of other instances could be cited. The increased production thrown on the market causes the price to fall more than the cost of production has been decreased, and, unlike Job, the latter state of the business is worse than its beginning.

According to the ideas of the classical economists, such a situation should right itself by those who cannot produce at a profit going out of business and the industry stabilizing itself at the new price level. Unfortunately things are actually quite different from the way the classical economists imagined them to be. The enterprise goes on producing at a loss, hoping for a rise in prices, until it is hopelessly insolvent and is sold at a sheriff's sale. Someone buys it for a small fraction of the amount of invested capital it represents and, relieved of the former capital charges, it is soon setting a new lower level of production cost. Theoretically this should make the consumer feel

fine, but actually, like the Irishman in the anecdote, it makes him feel very ill. Farmers especially feel very ill, because this same relationship that lowers the cost to them of bituminous coal and cotton goods operates equally powerfully on what they themselves produce, and they find themselves without the means to buy the coal and cotton goods supposedly placed more easily within their means.

To illustrate my point with another anecdote, the production of essential raw materials in this country is in very much the same position as the horse of the Scotchman who began by mixing a little sawdust with its oats, gradually increasing the proportion. The project did not succeed, for, before the Scotchman got the horse to the point where he fed it on sawdust alone, it unfortunately died. An individual enterprise cannot go on indefinitely lowering its production cost to meet lowered prices; it either goes into bankruptcy or dies.

Aristotle thought that virtue represented a mean between two kinds of evils, bravery being the mean between cowardice and foolhardiness. The price of commodities that best serves the public interest is a mean between a high level, which represents either an undue profit to the producer or, more commonly, unduly high production costs because of inefficiency, and a low level that does not afford a reasonable annual income to the workers or a fair annual interest on the capital invested.

In a country like ours, where inventive ingenuity abounds and there are abundant natural resources, the play of unrestricted competition tends to drive prices toward the low level rather than to keep them at the mean.

There are several forces that act toward that end, chief among them taxation, which forces the owner of any natural resource, whether arable land

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