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7. Visionary or clairvoyant

European construction

In autumn 1915, in his article Morality and International Exchange, he describes the main features of military and peaceful civilisation.

"Currently, we need (therefore) to make the difficult transition from military civilisation to economic and peaceful civilisation. The first is characterised by:

    1. expansion of states by conquest, federation by force of arms, centralisation by power of authority;
    2. enrichment, progress and unity of nations through the pacific system of free trade applied to intra-national economic relations and,
    3. the warlike system of "balance of trade" and protectionism applied to international economic relations;
    4. order among nations whether maintained by hegemony or the "balance of power".

Economic civilisation is characterised by:

    1. enrichment and general progress of peoples under the peaceful and pacifist system of free trade as applied to international and domestic relations;
    2. the gradual voluntary splitting up of large states, political decentralisation and the self-government of their constituent nationalities according to ethnic, ethical, political or simply regional affinities and aspirations;
    3. increasing interpenetration and meeting of peoples, the mixing of temperaments; characteristics favoured by the reduction in size of political units and the economic association of these smaller units;
    4. international solidarity assured by unity of interests and moral aspirations: the cooperative association of peoples in material, intellectual and moral domains.”

He did not rule out the possibility of a subsequent process of re-integration, that is to say the political re-union of the peoples who are separated, and even the possibility of ultimate voluntary political federation of all mankind, when they would be unified economically, intellectually and morally. But he ruled out any possibility of such a political federation, total or partial, if it were not preceded by a long period of economic civilisation (characterised by political autonomy and the economic association of peoples), grounded moreover on absolute freedom of economic relations. The history of the difficult unification of Europe today tends to prove him right.

Date de dernière mise à jour : 02/07/2021

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