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94              THE COMPANIES ACTS

the different systems. Moreover, even if we were to
admit that Germany's achievement in the war has
been immeasurably greater than ours, it still would
not follow that we could improve matters here by
following the German system. It ought not to be
necessary to observe that a system which is good
for one nation or individual is not necessarily good
for another. In the simple matter of diet, for
instance, a most scientifically planned diet given
to a child who does not happen to like it will not
do that child any good. These things ought to be
obvious, but unfortunately in these times, which
call for eminently practical thought and effort,
there is a curious doctrinaire spirit abroad, and the
theorist is continually encouraged to imagine how
much better things would be if everything were
quite different, whereas what we want is the appli-
cation of practical common sense to practical facts
as they are.

In the realm of finance the freedom and individual
initiative and elasticity of our English system have
long been the envy of the world. Our banking system,
as was shown on an earlier page, has always worked
with much less restriction on the part of legislative
and official interference than any other, and, with
the help of this freedom from official control, English
bankers and finance houses had made London the
financial centre of the world before the war. The
attempt of Parliament to control banking by Peel's
Act of 1844 was quietly set aside by the banking
machinery through the development of the use of
cheques, which made the regulations imposed on the