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Spain, been a country propitious to revolutions, such as that almost bloodlessly achieved by the chief of the Fascisti. Thus, in every sense Benito Mussolini is a new man, whose advent to power marks the revolt of young Italy against the gerontocracy, which, with very rare exceptions, bad governed since 1876. He is, in fact, the product of the war, to support which he deserted Socialism, giving proof of his patriotic convictions by being wounded at the front. Unlike most Italian politicians, he has nothing conventional about him; like the rising generation, he is desirous that Italy should not be regarded as an art gallery or a museum,
and its inhabitants as custodians. Here, as in his realistic foreign policy, he is merely repeating the saying of Signor Salandra, who foretold, when Premier in 1915, that, after the war, Italy would have fewer hotels and more factories. But, in order that the latter may work, they must have raw materials; and, in order to purchase these, the exchange must be less unfavourable to the Italian purchasers. Signor Mussolini, who is believed to rely upon the expert advice in financial matters of Senator Einaudi, the economic authority of the Corriere della Serra,' has welcomed the economic collaboration of the United States in the development of Italy. In this his policy resembles that of the statesman whom of all others Mr Lloyd George liked most and the Fascisti least-Signor Nitti, an economist by profession. But the Premier said that he would accept the help of even a Socialist, if the Socialist were a technical authority. What the technical capacities of the Socialists are none should know better than the ex-editor of the Avanti!
It is too early to judge of the success of the Fascista dictator. Like the Roman dictatorships, of which Livy tells us, this assumption of all power by one man, and that an untried man, is in the nature of a desperate remedy. For Italy had for some years had Ministries but not Governments, and the Chamber, by its incapacity to provide a stable administration, has, in Signor Giolitti's mordant phrase, the Government which it deserves.' But it must be remembered that Italy, although a democratic, is not a parliamentary country, so that the new Premier's treatment of the Chamber has not aroused any widespread feeling in the constituencies,
in so far as any such feeling could be safely expressed. One powerful organ of public opinion, the Corriere della Sera' of Milan, has, indeed, ventured to criticise the Mussolinian method. This should be a warning, for that great journal possesses an authority and a circulationterms not always synonymous in journalism-such as no other Italian newspaper can claim. It was the Corriere more than any other single influence which killed the Orlando-Sonnino Ministry by its steady opposition. Gutta cavat lapidem; and the Corriere' has both force and persistency.
Meanwhile, especially in view of the elections, in which many candidates of various parties wish to obtain the official support of the Government, most people call themselves Fascisti, in some cases to the amusement of the original adherents of Fascismo, who smile at the tardy zeal of these Fascisti of the sixth day,' as they are called in allusion to the heroes' who, after the historic * Five days of Milan' in 1848 were over, turned up and claimed their share in the fighting. The sale of black shirts has been unprecedented, and some of their recent wearers are politicians never before suspected of sympathies with the movement. As for the Socialists and Communists
, they are temporarily powerless; their internecine divisions and their too frequent congresses, even apart from the action of Fascismo, undermined their once flourishing organisation. Their ablest leader, Signor Turati, is now regarded as far too Conservative by the younger and less experienced.comrades,' who have their eyes fixed, not upon Montecitorio but on Moscow. As for the Roman Catholic · Popular' party, its secretary, Don Sturzo, the famous bossof Italian politics six months ago, the man who, although not in Parliament, vetoed Signor Giolittis nomination as Premier last February, has lost all power. In Italy the Tarpeian rock adjoins the Capitol, and the meteoric rise and fall of the little Sicilian priest from Caltagirone is the latest example of
Thus Europe has to reckon with a new force, unlike anything that we have seen for many years. Its author has said with pride that since the European war there bas been no phenomenon more interesting, more original, more potent than Italian Fascismo.' It now remains for
this fatal vicinity.
him to prove by his capacity for statesmanship the last of these assertions. For the qualities which have made the movement thus potent in Italian domestic politics, are not necessarily those which will render it effective in international affairs. But even there it is an advantage for every one to have to deal with a man who knows very much what he wants, unlike one of Signor Mussolini's predecessors, who seemed unable to tell the Allies what his foreign policy was. Moreover, in dealing with Great Britain, blunt frankness will always benefit Italy more than subtle diplomacy. Of the former method the Romagnole workman's son is the foremost exponent to-day. History will show whether he is, as some of his enthusiastic followers claim, 'that greyhound,' foretold by Dante, whose
* Land shall be like Signor Mussolini's birthplace, Predappio) The land 'twixt either Feltro. In his might Shall safety to Italia's plains arise.'
Art. 9.—THE BURDEN OF TAXATION.
Before the outbreak of the Great War, qualified observers were already beginning to wonder how far the existing sources of public revenue, direct and indirect, were likely to prove adequate to the growing expenditure of the country. The development of the Income Tax, Super-Tax, and Death Duties, which had been a feature of the years following Mr Lloyd George's budget of 1909, had already considerably altered the proportion of taxation falling respectively on the incometax paying class and the classes below the income-tax limit, to the advantage of the latter; and controversy was arising as to whether the rates of direct taxation had not become dangerously high and begun to act in discouragement of investment and business enterprise. The incidence of the indirect taxes upon the poorer classes was a constant subject of budget discussions ; but it was felt on both sides of the House, in view especially of increasing expenditure upon social services, that the reduction of these taxes could not be justified unless some form of direct taxation falling on those classes could be substituted for it.
On the whole, however, a substantial degree of equity had probably been
system of taxation, illogical perhaps and certainly liable to abuse in some respects, was a fair compromise between existing claims; and it was admittedly in advance of that of any other civilised State
attained ; our
earners. Above all, as events were too soon to prove, it was 'elastic' to an extent which no one could have
It cannot be doubted that this elasticity was an immense advantage in time of war, and was the chief factor in enabling this country to meet & much more creditable share of war expenditure from revenue than was the case with other belligerents. On the other hand, the ease with which revenue could be expanded in every direction was an encouragement to extravagance and waste both during the war and since the armistice; it has enabled the financial authorities to postpone a much over-due examination into the fiscal resources of the
nation, and to strain these resources to a degree from which recovery will be a long and difficult process. It
. has long been apparent, from the fact that only by the rapid realisation of war material and stores purchased out of capital loans and the expenditure of the proceeds as income has it been possible to balance recent budgets, that the elasticity of the revenue has reached its extreme limit; and it is certain that the penalisation of the nation's capital and income by excessive rates of taxation, complaints of which were heard even before the war, has now grown to such a point as to have created serious alarm in responsible quarters.
The question of the incidence of taxation has been the subject of much discussion both from a theoretical and a statistical point of view during the last twenty years; but if the present position approaches that indicated in the preceding paragraph, it is evident that an important preliminary to any reconstruction and amendment of our system of taxation would be a careful and authoritative investigation into the national income and its distribution, and the actual allocation of our taxation between the various classes of our population. It should be possible to show what proportion of the income of individuals in different social grades is now being taken in taxation, and, more broadly, how the burden falls as between the two main aggregates of classes, the incometax paying class on the one hand (comparatively small in number) and the wage earners on the other. What percentages from an ideal point of view should be demanded of incomes up to, say, 2001., 20001. and 20,0001. would still of course remain a question to which no final or satisfactory answer would be possible, as it could only depend on the rough general sense of equity which prevailed in the community. But if the information suggested could be obtained by such an inquiry for two or three successive periods to show the changes which have occurred in recent years, there would be some material upon which to base an opinion; and if such an analysis, once obtained, were kept up as a piece of expert intelligence work for the benefit of Parliament and the public, some agreed principles might be evolved which would guide the financial authorities, not only