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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

52 WAR "FINANCE AS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN

that time ready to do all that was asked from It for
the cause of justice against the common foe ? The
problem by which the Government was faced was
this, that it had to acquire for the war an enormous
and growing amount of goods and services required
by our fighting forces, some of which could only be
got from abroad, and some could only be produced
at home, while at the same time it had to maintain
the civilian population with such a supply of the
necessaries of life as would maintain them in
efficiency for doing the work at home which was
required to support the effort of our fighters at the
Front. With regard to the goods which came from
abroad, either for war purposes or for the main-
tenance of the civilian population, the Government
obviously had no choice about the manner in which
payment had to be made. It had no power to tax
the suppliers in foreign countries of the goods and
services that we needed during the war period. It
consequently could only induce them to supply ^these
goods and services by selling them either com-
modities produced by our own industry, or securities
held by our capitalists, or its own promises to pay.

With regard to the goods that we might have
available for export, these were likely to be curtailed
owing to the diversion of a large number of our
industrial population into the ranks of the Army
and into munition factories. This curtailment, on
the other hand, might to a certain extent be made
good by a reduction in consumption on the part of
the civilian population, so setting free a larger pro-
portion of our manufacturing energy for the pro-