142. The national ecology worked out
The disequilibrium between “ Paris and the French desert ” (Gravier), and in the world generally between the great cities and the bush, is the direct consequence of a liberal profit economy, an egalitarian socialist ideology, and their common success in reducing the goals of life, valued in monetary terms, to immediate pleasure and the excitements of modern life.
Far from being a natural fact or inevitable necessity of progress, the development of towns to the detriment of the country, and of great desert-creating cities, is the result of this twofold enticement and economic and administrative duress, with which the social and national revolution must make an absolute break.
1. A return to the natural laws of social life will be sufficient to reverse this disastrous movement. It was the profit of industrial capitalism that demanded the rural exodus, urban concentration, intensified transport networks and the transfer of entire populations. Socialist claims merely accelerated the progress of this system by reducing the individual costs of collective life ; allowances were granted to salaried workers, subsidies were given to industry, and the State underwrote the senseless increase in “ collective costs ”. It is well known that the “ induced effects ” of urban concentration in today’s great cities have reached an unacceptable and irrational level.
In the end, it is the province that began to pay for the capital, those who do not count in modern life who pay for its happy beneficiaries. This system is condemned by both morality and economics. Today, however, the structural deficits that recurrent economic crises have deepened, condemn this system even more surely !
2. The reversal of this tendency, which must be radical in theory, will have to be done at a carefully studied slow rhythm, so as not to be catastrophic. A strong national authority alone will be able to bring this reversal to a successful conclusion over a long period, in particular by means of a long-term fiscal policy. It will consist in :
– attaining a fairer sharing out of public costs among regions by gradually reducing State subsidies, allowances, fare reductions, and by tax relief, all too widely granted in the cities.
– limiting the aid of the state authorities for transferring industries, and for going back to the land in order to lighten administrative machinery. Local initiatives, however, will be encouraged as soon as they are sponsored by associations that are already recognised, so that the assistance may effectively benefit those whom they were intended to help, thus contributing to the common good of the region.
3. Restoring the inequality of living conditions, in a realistic and positive psychological climate : as government expenditure decreases, the national taxes will accordingly be reduced. It will be local and regional taxes, however, that will have to assume the essential of the expenditures for infrastructures, even if the State reserves the possibility to intervene with specific aids. Obviously, disparities will result in the direct or indirect tax burden according to regions in proportion to their inequality of development.
This disparity will seem a sufficient incentive to the free and proud native populations, who reside in the poorest regions, to live there in their preferred austerity. It will also act as an enthusiastic incentive for the entrepreneurs willing to risk independence and poverty, and capable of repopulating these regions within a few years.
If no one answers this call, then once again the monks will be there to make the French desert blossom anew !