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Full text of "War-time financial problems"


There can be no doubt that the amount of real saving
now in progress, voluntary, owing to the patriotic
effort of people who think they ought to restrict their
own consumption so that the needs of our fighters
may be provided, and enforced through the action
of the Government in taking taxes and inflating the
currency, is very much greater than it was before
the war ; probably at least twice as much when all
allowance has been made for depreciation of the
currency. Some people think that this saving lesson
will have been learned, will have become a habit, will
continue and will grow. If so, if people save a larger
proportion of their income than they did before, and
if the total output of goods is increased, as it easily
may be, it becomes at once evident that there is a
possibility of a freer supply of capital for industry
than has ever been seen. But in looking at this
hopeful and optimistic picture, we must never forget
that it can only be painted by those who are prepared
to leave out of the canvas all the danger of industrial
strife and dislocation, and all the danger of reaction
to the old habits of luxurious spending which are so
strong a possibility in the other direction. The war
has shown us how we can, if we like, increase pro-
duction, reduce consumption, and so have a larger
margin than ever before to be put into providing
capital for industry. Whether we really have learned
these lessons and will apply them remains to be seen.
There is also a possibility that some people may
recognise that saving money and applying it to the
re-equipment of the world for peace industry is a
patriotical] 3^ praise worthy object not less than saving