By Lord Robbins
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Extra resources for Autobiography of an Economist
It was not until some time later, on active service, when I saw men of this sort capable of acts of heroism and unselfishness, that I began to realize that in this world simple judgments about matters of this sort are apt to be wrong. But meantime the effect was such as to deprive the fight for freedom and the fme values of some at least of its earlier glamour. There were other influences tending in the same direction. On the whole the training was not at all good. There were honourable exceptions.
He was deeply concerned with the welfare of the poor and an enthusiastic supporter of the social policy of the great reforming Government of 1906-15. But he did not believe that his very up-to-date business could be run by an assembly of farm workers. He doubted whether the workers themselves would desire it; and he just could not understand why I should regard state ownership and workers' control as a morally superior system. He felt that I was throwing away all the advantages which his hard work had procured for me, that I was repudiating the moral basis of our family life.
And he did not conceal his feelings. Long and bitter were our arguments at this stage of our relationship. At least on one occasion he wept. And I, who felt passionately that I must not be indifferent to the heavenly vision, was obstinate. Did I wish to be cut out of his will? Yes indeed, if surrender of my views was the price for remaining in it. It was all a long time ago and we really loved each other very much. Looking back, all passion spent, I do not blame the raw and inexperienced youth who was the occasion of these quarrels, for sticking to what he thought to be incumbent principles.