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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

THE EFFECTS  OF TAXATION         43

there need have been no acute dislocation, but as
the cost of the war increased, that is to say, as the
Government needed more and more goods and ser-
vices for its prosecution, the community would
gradually have shed one after another the extra-
vagances .on which it spent so many hundreds of
millions in days before the war. As it shed these
extravagances the labour and energy needed to
produce them^would have been automatically trans-
ferred to the service of the war, or to the production
of necessaries of life. By this simple process of
monetary rationing all the frantic appeals for
economy, and most of the complicated, tangled
problems raised by such matters as Food Control or
National Service would have been avoided.

But, it may be contended, this is setting up an
ideal so absurdly too high that you cannot expect
any modern nation to rise up to it. Perhaps this is
true, though I am not at all sure that if we had had
a really bold and far-sighted Finance Minister at the
beginning of the war he might not have persuaded
the nation to tackle its war problem on this exalted
line. At least it can be claimed that our financial
rulers might have looked into the history of the
matter and seen what our ancestors had done in big
wars in this matter of paying for war costs out of
taxation, with the determination to do at least as
well as they did, and perhaps rather better, owing
to the overwhelming scale of modern financial
problems. If they had done so they would have
found that both in the Napoleonic and the Crimean
wars we paid for nearly half the cost of the war out