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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

THE ECONOMIC  PROBLEM           39

earnestly patriotic, and so thoroughly frightened of
the economic consequences of the war that it would
have been ready to face any sacrifices that the
Government had asked of it. How, then, would the
Government have dealt with this spirit if it had
taken the trouble really to think out the problem
of war finance on a long view instead of proceeding
along a haphazard line, adjusting peace methods to
war without any consideration as to their adequacy ?
If the problem had been really thought out before-
hand the Government must have seen clearly that
the real economic problem in war-time is not merely
a question of raising money, since that can at any
time be done easily by means of a printing-press,
but of diverting the industrial energy of the nation
from peace to war purposes, that is to say, trans-
ferring from the enjoyment of the individual citizen
the goods and services that used to contribute to
his comfort and amusement, and turning them over
to the provision of the things needed for the war.
War's needs can only be met out of the current
production of the world as it is at present. All the
warring powers begin a war with certain accumulated
war stores consisting of battleships, ammunition,
guns and all other forms of war material. Apart
from these stores with which they begin, the whole
work of providing the armies with the fighting
materials that they require, and the food and clothes
that they consume, has to be done during the course
of the war, that is to say, out of the current produc-
tion of the moment.

Therefore the real economic problem that any