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The necessity for patriotic economy will be evident if we think of finance in terms of labor instead of in dollars. We have our natural resources and we have our capital invested in the tools of production, but even with these facilities our productive capacity is limited by the supply of labor. By labor we mean the personal service, whether of brain or of brawn, of the forty million of us who are engaged in gainful occupation.

To carry on the war we shall spend at least twelve billion dollars per year, or thirty-three million dollars per day. This is as much as Great Britain is spending and fifty per cent. more than Germany is spending, and the figures are so huge that few of us appreciate what they really mean.

Europe is already so deeply in debt that she may never be able to pay, and we are on the road to the same condition. Balance of trade statistics indicate that we have made an extra profit from foreign business since 1914 of five billion dollars, or about two billion dollars per year. The effect of this in enriching the country is suggestive of the result of three years of impoverishment at the rate of eight billion dollars.

Our normal annual savings are about four billion dollars, and not only will our war expenditure absorb all of these savings, but we must find eight billion dollars in addition. During the past three years our present allies have obtained much assistance from us, but as there is no country to whom we can turn we must carry our burden alone.

Our savings go into public and private improvements, including the extension of business enterprises. These savings will not be available for war until we stop federal, state, municipal and private improvements; until we forbid all issue of securities except under federal license, following the example whereby England reduced the issue of industrial securities from $468,000,000 in the first half of 1914 to $11,000,000 in the same period of 1917.

The danger of a food famine has been brought home to us and we are making a real effort to reduce consumption, though our efforts to increase production are being seriously handicapped by the high price of labor.

Immediately after war was declared the President warned the country that everyone should produce more and consume less. The idea that business was to be suddenly reduced by a wave of economy was a shock to business men and the cry "business as usual" was spread over the country and caused the President's appeal to be forgotten. Not only are people spending as usual, but many conscientiously believe it their duty so to do.

Every dollar spent means the consumption of labor. We shall not be far wrong if we say that every four dollars spent consumes a day's labor, and that every twelve hundred dollars spent consumes a year's labor. A war expenditure of twelve billion dollars will consume the labor of ten million people; twenty-five per cent. of our total labor supply. This added demand comes during the greatest labor famine in our history, which has increased commodity prices eighty-five per cent. since 1914.

We have reached a point where the increasing demand reduces the efficiency of

labor and thereby reduces the supply, and we are facing a further rise in commodity prices, perhaps to exceed present conditions in England, where prices are up one hundred and twenty per cent.

The most effective remedy is to decrease consumption, and it is imperative that every one should make a drastic reduction in personal expenditures. The example must be set by the rich, but every man, woman and child must be drawn into the movement until patriotic economy becomes the greatest fad the country has ever known.

Our young men who try to avoid military service are "slackers." Every one of us who will not economize to help the war is a "slacker." Who will fail to spend less when he realizes that every four dollars saved is a day's labor contributed to the war? It is not a question whether your income justifies an expenditure, but whether the country can afford to let you spend.

Even to prevent hardship we have no right to spend to keep people in their usual employment, for only by a process of readjustment can we obtain the labor necessary for the war. Already the Government is resorting to price fixing and other dangerous experiments, because we can no longer submit to the law of supply and demand. We cannot increase supply, but we can so reduce demand that the available supply shall meet our needs and so keep prices within bounds.

With two million men in cantonments or in tents there are houses enough for the rest of us. We can reduce the famine in wool and cotton by wearing our old clothes. We can stop the purchase of automobiles, so that the factories and their operatives may produce motor trucks, aircraft and munitions. We can use the automobiles we now have less freely and save gasoline. We can reduce the number of our servants and let our wives and daughters do more of the work. We can do away with the wastefulness of charity entertainments if we go less to the theater and give the money saved to charity.

The real horrors in Europe are not on the firing line, but amongst the civil population, who are pinched for the necessities of life and in many cases dying of starvation. If each one of us is not willing to make sacrifices for the war, Germany was right when she characterized us a "Nation of Slackers.”


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