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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

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FREEDOM NEEDED                  97

during the previous century.   No one knows the
extent to which our capital resources have been
impaired by these two processes, but it may be
guessed at as somewhere in the neighbourhood of
1500 millions ;  that is to say, about 10 per cent, of
a liberal estimate of the total accumulated propertj^
of the country at the beginning of the war.   To this
direct diminution in our capital resources we have
to add the impossibility, which has existed during
the war, of maintaining our factories and industrial
equipment in first-class working order by expenditure
on account of depreciation of plant.    On the other
side of the balance-sheet we can put a large amount
of new machinery introduced, which may or may
not be useful for industrial purposes after the war;
greatly improved methods of organisation, the effect
of which may or may not be spoilt when the war is
over by uncomfortable relations between Capital
and Labour ; and our loans to Allies and Dominions,
some of which may have to be written off, and most
of which will return us no interest for some time to
come, or will at first pay us interest if we lend our
debtors  the  money  to pay it  with.    What  the
country will need, above all, on the material side,
is an abundant revenue, which can only be produced
by vigorous and steady effort in industry, which,
again, can only be forthcoming if the machinery of
credit and finance is given the fullest possible freedom
to provide every one who wants to engage in industry
and increase the  output of the country with the
financial facilities, without which nothing can be