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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

A SUGGESTED  DIVISION            175

payments, and carrying through the purchase and sale of
securities—ought to be united with the Post Office and
Trustee Savings Banks and the money order and other
postal remittance business, and run as a national service
for the receipt and custody of cash, for the utmost
possible development of the cheque system, and for the
cheapest possible organisation of remittances* There is
no longer any reason why this important branch of social
organisation should be abandoned to the profit-maker,
should be made the instrument of levying an unnecessarily
heavy toll on the customers for the benefit of share-
holders, and should now be exposed to the imminent
danger of monopoly.

" If the receipt and custody of deposits and the
keeping of current accounts were made a public service
the Government might invest the funds thus placed at
its disposal in a variety of ways. A certain proportion,
perhaps corresponding to what is now held as savings,
would be invested, as at present, in Government securi-
ties—not Consols, but such as are repayable at par at
fixed dates, including Treasury Bills and Terminable
Annuities; and any increase in this amount would, in
effect, release so much capital for other uses, by paying
off part of the National Debt. But the bulk of the
amount, corresponding with the proportion of their
resources that the bankers now lend for business pur-
poses, might be advanced, for terms of varying duration,
partly to Government Departments and local authorities
for all their great and rapidly extending enterprises,
formerly abandoned to the profit-maker ; and partly to
a series of financial concerns, whose business it should
be to discount the bills and satisfy the requests for loans
of those profit-makers who now appeal to the bankers.
But these financial concerns should be organised, it is
suggested, very largely by trades and industries,
specialising in particular lines, and devoted, so far as
possible, to meeting the business needs of the different
occupations, Whether they should be financial concerns,