Trade and a League of Nations or Economic Internationalism

J. Russell Smith
1919 The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science  
SOME years ago there was an outbreak of typhoid fever in a 1J Pennsylvania town. The hospitals quickly filled with patients, and still they came. Nurses assembled and gave to the afflicted the usual care, including ice bags on their heads, but still new cases came, and panic seized the place. Finally a sanitarian went up-stream and mended a broken pipe which had been discharging germ-laden sewage into the town water supply. The epidemic ended. Its cause had been removed. The Hague conferences
more » ... y be likened to parties of nurses with ice bags trying to allay a fever whose cause they did not touch. This is no impeachment of the great and able men who worked so hard in these conferences. The causes of war lie deeper than broken water pipes, and in the stage in which the world then found itself, the various jealous, rival governments would not let the Hague conferences touch war causes. For this reason they failed to touch the problem, as the Great War has shown so cruelly. The present League of Nations will be no more effective in preventing future war than were these Hague conferences unless it takes steps to remove the temptation to war. Man says he is a thinking animal, but he does not think much. His feelings make him act as often as his thoughts, perhaps oftener. If things keep happening that provoke the war spirit and people are made to think war, its terrible teeth will again crunch us, despite any League of Nations formed at this time. The spirit of men during the next twenty-five years decides the fate of any League of Nations. The league must remove some of the causes of war. Unfortunately it cannot remove them all. The causes of war may be condensed to three: 1. Property-the desire of actual material possessions-lands, colonies, concessions, markets, trade. 2. Preferment-the love of dominion-the sense of greatness and power, the thing which makes men strive for honors and place, the thing to which the writer at OAKLAND UNIV on June 5, 2015 Downloaded from 288 of the allegory of the Garden of Eden referred when he had Jehovah give to Adam and Eve dominion over everything in the Garden as well as possession of all the property. 3. Group Consciousness-the desire for our own particularism and the desire to keep it and spread it, because man is generally sure that his things are best. The Americans wish to continue to be Americans; the English, the French, the Germans, the Japanese, the Hottentots, and all other peoples share this same feeling with regard to their culture (kultur). Moreover, each of them thinks other peoples should accept its viewpoint, institutions and customs.
doi:10.1177/000271621908300121 fatcat:dvdwygp4gzcffh34o63o62xwea