Finally, it may be added that the shyness of the saver will be greatly diminished if he can feel that there is a trustworthy machinery of company promotion, so that he can rely on any savings that he puts into industry having at least a fair chance of yielding him a fair reward. This subject is too vast to enter into at present, but it is one to which those who are responsible for the management of our financial affairs cannot give too much attention. Every time the real investor is swindled out of his money there is more than a chance that he will look upon all forms of saving as a folly to be left to the credulous. It is easy to say that it was his own fault, that he ought to have been more careful, or consulted a better broker; but he will, with equal ease, retort that If honest financiers knew their business better, they would have long ago made things easier for the ignorant investor to know whether he was putting his money into genuine enterprise or throwing it down a sink.
Like all other divagations on the subject of what may happen in the future, this attempt to forecast has necessarily consisted of “dim glimpses into the obvious,” as the undergraduate said of Jowett’s sermon. All that we can be sure of is this: that if the great opportunities that will lie open to mankind at the end of the war are rightly used, if we use its lessons to increase our production, restrict our frivolous consumption, and put a larger proportion of our larger production into stimulating production still further, there ought to be a great increase in the amount of capital available to supply the great increase which may be expected in the amount of capital demanded. The fact that the chief nations of the world will have enormous debts on which to pay interest is not one that need necessarily terrify us from this point of view. The arranging and imposition of the taxation necessary for meeting the interest on these debts will involve very serious political and social questions; but the payment of this interest need not necessarily diminish production, and it may probably help in checking consumption. It will not impair the total wealth of the world as a whole; it will merely affect its distribution. And since it will mean that a considerable part of the world’s output will, for this reason, be handed over to the holders of the various Government debts, who, ex hypothesi, will be people who have saved money in the past, it is at least possible that they may devote a considerable amount of the spin so received to further saving or increasing the supply of capital available.
LONDON’S FINANCIAL POSITION
London after the War—A German View—The Rocks Ahead—Our Relative Position secure—Faulty Finance—The Strength we have shown—The Nature and Limits of American Competition—No other likely Rivals.