In the meantime the Government falls back on funding about 80 per cent. of its requirements of the war on a system of borrowing. In so far as the money subscribed to its loans is money that is being genuinely saved by investors this process has exactly the same effect as taxation, that is to say, somebody goes without goods and services and hands over his power to buy them to the State to be used for the war. Borrowing of this kind consequently does everything that is needed for the solution of the immediate war problem, and the only objection to it is that it leaves later on the difficulties involved by raising taxes when the war is over, and economic problems are much more complicated in times of peace than in war, for meeting the interest and redemption of debt. But, in fact, it is well known that by no means all that the Government has borrowed for war purposes has been provided in this way. Much of the money that the Government has obtained for war purposes has been got not out of genuine savings of investors, but by arrangements of various kinds with the banking machinery of the country, or by the simple use of the printing-press, with the result that the Government has provided itself with an enormous mass of new currency which has not been taken out of anybody else’s pocket, but has been manufactured by or for the Government.
The consequence of the profligate use of this dishonest process is that general rise in prices, which is in effect an indirect tax on the necessaries of life, involving all the injustice and ill-feeling which arises from such a measure. It is inevitable that the working classes, finding themselves subjected to a rise in prices, the cause of which they do not understand, but the result of which they see to be a great decrease in the buying power of their wages,