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The International Chamber of Commerce plans a survey of the barriers hindering industrial reconstruction. The idea, while not exactly novel in a decade of international schemes, is sufficiently challenging to the status quo to suartle opposition and suspicion. None will deny the benefit of removing prejudices, broadcasting new inventions, communicating the latest efficiency measures; but there are a host who will struggle to keep industrial cooperation from progressing further. When investigation passes beyond the realm of ideas, subjects to the real barriers to scrutiny, and suggests tariff revision; then the opposition will normally arise.
It is as yet beyond the power of individual nations to adjust tariffs equitably. The balance of theoretical arguments for and against protection is lost from sight in the political necessity of satisfying applicants for protection. And revision upward is often as difficult as downward revision, because of its effect on private parties to the industrial community. If nations are still unable to levy theoretical tariffs within their borders, it is folly to expect a powerless international commission to recommend tariff revisions at all acceptable.
But if this state of affairs leaves no hope that the Committee of the international Chamber of Commerce will materially affect the present equilibruim, it does not deny its usefulness for the future. Now, it can only encourage an international outlook. But after years of careful investigating and recording, it will have at band convincing data to assist a comparatively persuadable world. At least this is the hopeful view of the matter. And it is well to hope that the present will give way, under the strain to something sounder.
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