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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

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98              THE COMPANIES ACTS

Is it, then, wise at such a time to impose restric-
tions by a drastic tightening up of the Companies
Act, upon those who wish by financial activity, to
further the efforts of industries and producers ? On
the contrary, it would seem to be a time to give the
greatest possible freedom to the financial machine
so that there shall be the least possible delay and
difficulty in providing enterprise with the resources
that it needs. We can only make good the ravages
of war by activity in production and strict economy
in consumption. What we want to do is to stimulate
the people of this country to work as hard as they
can, to produce as much as possible, to consume as
little as possible on unnecessary enjoyment and
luxury, and, so, by procuring a big balance of pro-
duction over consumption, to have the largest possible
volume of available goods for sale to the rest of the
world, in order to rebuild our position as a creditor
country, which the war's demands upon us have to
some extent impaired.

It is a commonplace that if it had not been for
the great mass of foreign securities, which this
country held at the beginning of the war, we could
not nearly so easily have financed the enormous
amount of food and munitions which we have had
to provide for our population, for our armies, and
for the population and armies of our Allies. If,
instead of holding a mass of easily marketable
securities, we had had to rely, in order to pay for
our purchases of foreign goods, on the productions
of our own mines and factories, and on our power to
borrow abroad, then we should have had to restrict