at any rate, that the capital value of these natural
supplies is much greater than the total war debts
of all the Allied States. Why should not some
portion of this wealth be diverted for a sufficient
period from its present owners and assigned to the
peoples whom Germany has assailed, deported, and injured?
The Allied Governments might justly require Germany
to surrender to them the use of such of her mines,
and mineral deposits as would yield, say, from $500,000,000
to $1,000,000,000 annually for the next 30, 40, or
50 years. By this means we could obtain sufficient
compensation from Germany without unduly stimulating
her manufactures and export trade to our detriment.”
It is not clear why, if Germany has wealth exceeding
$1,250,000,000,000. Sir Sidney Low is content
with the trifling sum of $500,000,000 to $1,000,000,000
annually. But his letter is an admirable reductio
of a certain line of thought.
While a mode of calculation, which estimates the value
of coal miles deep in the bowels of the earth as high
as in a coal scuttle, of an annual lease of $5000 for
999 years at $4,995,000 and of a field (presumably)
at the value of all the crops it will grow to the
end of recorded time, opens up great possibilities,
it is also double-edged. If Germany’s total
resources are worth $1,250,000,000,000, those she
will part with in the cession of Alsace-Lorraine and
Upper Silesia should be more than sufficient to pay
the entire costs of the war and reparation together.
In point of fact, the present
of all the mines in Germany of every kind has been
estimated at $1,500,000,000, or a little more than
one-thousandth part of Sir Sidney Low’s expectations.
 The conversion at par of 5,000 million marks
overstates, by reason of the existing depreciation
of the mark, the present money burden of the actual
pensions payments, but not, in all probability, the
real loss of national productivity as a result of the
casualties suffered in the war.
 It cannot be overlooked, in passing, that in
its results on a country’s surplus productivity
a lowering of the standard of life acts both ways.
Moreover, we are without experience of the psychology
of a white race under conditions little short of servitude.
It is, however, generally supposed that if the whole
of a man’s surplus production is taken from
him, his efficiency and his industry are diminished,
The entrepreneur and the inventor will not contrive,
the trader and the shopkeeper will not save, the laborer
will not toil, if the fruits of their industry are
set aside, not for the benefit of their children,
their old age, their pride, or their position, but
for the enjoyment of a foreign conqueror.
 In the course of the compromises and delays
of the Conference, there were many questions on which,
in order to reach any conclusion at all, it was necessary
to leave a margin of vagueness and uncertainty.
The whole method of the Conference tended towards
this,—the Council of Four wanted, not so
much a settlement, as a treaty. On political
and territorial questions the tendency was to leave
the final arbitrament to the League of Nations.
But on financial and economic questions, the final
decision has generally be a left with the Reparation
Commission,—in spite of its being an executive
body composed of interested parties.