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Full text of "War-time financial problems"


exchange for our produce and assets. On paper,
therefore, our position as a creditor country is only
impaired by our sales of securities. But that is
only so on paper. In fact, the loans that we have
raised abroad are good debts that have to be met to
the last penny, and are a first charge on our future
output, but the advances that we have made to our
Allies, much harder hit than we are by the war, are
assets on which we cannot depend. They were
taken in our balance-sheet above at half their face
value, but there is much to be said for writing them
off altogether and tearing up the I.O.U/s of our
foreign brothers-in~arms. Their need is greater
than ours, it would be little satisfaction to receive
interest and repayment from them, and the payment
due from them, involving difficult problems of
taxation for them, would not help the good relations
with them which, we hope, may be a lasting effect
of the war. And such an act of renunciation on our
part would do something towards a restoration of
the spirit with which we entered on war, a spirit
which has been seriously demoralised during its
course, largely owing to the results of our faulty
finance, which encouraged profiteering in all classes.
In any case, there is our position. We have a
big debt to meet at home and abroad, and we are
weakened on capital account by foreign indebted-
ness, wear and tear of plant and dimunition of stocks
and materials. Wear and tear and depletion we
can soon make good if we set to work and work hard,
if our bureaucracy takes away the fetters of its
restrictions and controls (instead of making further