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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

142        INTERNATIONAL CURRENCY

standard are thus enabled to say, " See what has
happened to your theory of the universal accept-
ability of gold. Here are countries which refuse to
accept any more gold in payment for goods. They
say, ' We do not want your gold any more. We
want something that we can eat or make into clothes
to put on our backs.' '' This Is certainly an extremely
curious development that is one of the by-products
of war's ecofibmic lessons. But I do not feel quite
sure that it has really taught us anything new. All
that has ever been claimed for gold is that it is
universally acceptable when men are buying and
selling together under more or less normal circum-
stances. It has always been recognised that a ship-
wrecked crew on a desert island would be unlikely
to exchange the coco-nuts or fish or any other
commodities likely to sustain life which they could
find, for any gold which happened to be in the
possession of any of them, except with a view to their
being possibly picked up by a passing ship, and
returning to conditions under which gold would
reassume its old privilege of acceptability.

During the war the shipping conditions have been
such that many countries have been hard put to it,
especially if they were contiguous to nations with
which the Entente is at present at war, to get the
commodities which they needed for their subsistence.
The Entente, with its command of the sea, has found
it necessary to ration them so that they should have
no available surplus to hand on to the enemy. They
have very naturally endeavoured to resist these
measures, and in order to do so have made itse of