In the meantime, if gossip is to be believed, some of the members of the Government have the most disquieting intentions concerning the kind of regulations which they wish to impose on the activities of the City, especially in its financial branch. It is believed that some of the bright young gentlemen who now rule us are in favour of Government control over the investment of money placed at home, and the prohibition of the issue of foreign securities; and it is even whispered that a fantastic scheme for controlling the profits of all industrial companies, by which anything earned above a certain level is to be seized for the benefit of the nation, is now a fashionable project in influential Parliamentary circles. Every one must, of course, admit that a certain amount of control will be necessary for some time after the war. It may not be possible at once to throw open the London Money Market to all borrowers, leaving them and it to decide between them who is to be first favoured with a supply of the capital for which there will be so large a demand when the war is over. Certain industries, those especially on which our export trade depends, will have to be first served in the matter of the provision of capital. If it is a choice between the engineering or shipbuilding trades and a company that wants to start an aeroplane service between London and Brighton for the idle rich, it would not be reasonable, during the first few months after the war, that the unproductive project should be able, by bidding a high price for capital, to forestall the demand of the more useful producer. And with regard to the issue of foreign securities, there is this to be said, that foreign securities placed in London have the same effect upon foreign exchange as the import into England of goods shipped from any country; that is to say, for the time being they turn the exchange against us. On the other hand, it is a well-known commonplace that imports of securities have to be balanced by exports of goods or services; and as the times when our export trade is most active are those when most foreign securities are being placed in London, it follows that any restrictions placed upon the issue of foreign securities in London will hinder rather than help that recovery in our export trade which is so essential to the restoration of our position as a creditor country.
Moreover, our rulers must remember this, that in War-time, when all the letters sent abroad are subject to the eye of the Censor, it is possible to control the export of British funds abroad; but that in peace time (unless the censorship is to continue), it will not be possible to check foreign investment by restricting the issuing of foreign securities in London. If people see better rates to be earned abroad and more favourable prospects offered by the price of securities on foreign Stock Exchanges, they will invest abroad, whether securities are issued in London or not. As for the curious suggestion that the profits of industrial