Care in expenditure and a habit of saving will, in view of the financial position after the War, be alike necessary; the nation cannot afford waste in any form; after the War, as well as during the War, the national welfare demands that any balance beyond what is required for healthy life should be saved and made available to meet the national needs, including not only the fulfilment of the national obligations, which is an imperative condition for the maintenance of credit and prosperity, but also the provision of the means for future betterment, material or moral. We do not wish to reduce useful expenditure, but to get money for what we need by increasing production and by more careful spending. It will be a time for all classes to refrain from expenditure on luxuries or ostentation, or in fulfilling those imagined claims which convention imposes. In different ways almost all classes are fettered by these conventional obligations. How much of the expenditure of a person with fairly good income is devoted to things which give him no additional pleasure and confer no real benefit on himself or others! Both rich and poor waste great quantities of food, sometimes because they are afraid of being thought mean if they did not do so. There is a strange power exercised over our acts and our liberty is curtailed by the opinions of our neighbours or members of the same class. Much might be accomplished if we could enlist these conventions on the side of economy. Why, for example, should it not be considered “worse form” to take on the plate good food that is not wanted and leave it, than to eat peas with a knife? How greatly did an alliance with Mrs. Grundy support morality in mid-Victorian days! If we could turn social observances from encouraging extravagance to promoting economy, it would go far towards eliminating national waste.
[Footnote 8: See Economist, July 13, 1918.]
Above all things,
order and distribution and singling
out of parts is the life of despatch.—FRANCIS BACON.