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THE LEVY  ON  CAPITAL          219

been actually decreased by the war, especially when
currency depreciation is taken into account, have, in
response to the appeals of the War Savings Com-
mittee, saved more than they ever saved before by
patriotically stinting themselves. And even the
savers who have saved out of war profits were so far
more patriotic than the war profiteers who did not
save but squandered. In all the discussion con-
cerning the Levy on Capital I have not seen any
answer (even in Mr Pethick Lawrence's very per-
suasive little book in its favour) to the three great
objections to it (i) that it lets off the squanderer and
penalises the saver; (2) that the difficulty, trouble
and expense involved by the necessary valuation,
and the iniquities and frauds that are almost certain
to arise out of it, will be enormous ; and (3) that its
economic effect may be very serious in discouraging
accumulation. " Why should any one save/' the
unthrifty soul will most naturally ask, " if his savings
are liable to have a slice cut out of them by a levy
at any time ? " The* advocates of the Levy, and
" Ex-M.P." in his advocacy of a Compulsory Loan
for repayment of debt, assume that it can be done
once and for all and never again. " Take one-fifth of
a man's savings away as an emergency measure not
to be repeated, and he will at once endeavour to save
it back again/' But how will you persuade him
that it is an emergency measure not to be repeated ?
How can you be sure that it is so ? I have heard a
very distinguished Socialist, discussing in private
the beauties of the Levy on Capital, point out that
it is the sort of thing which, when once the ice has