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fortune about on their persons. Although soap is so expensive and difficult to get there were never so many white toilettes to be seen as last summer; women, girls, and children even of the simpler classes were exquisitely dressed, mostly in spotless white. There are several reasons given for this intensified luxury in dress; one is that the taxes after the war will be so heavy that the people feel it would be of no use to try and save; money in any form would be taken from them, so they prefer to invest it now in something which will remain in their possession; also, the prices rise so rapidly that everyone is anxious to secure all he can before things become quite unattainable. Another reason is that many persons earn more now than they have ever done before. It is more difficult to travel. France, that country so dear to the hearts of most well-to-do Austrians, is closed to them (although French fashions manage to find their way into Vienna). Therefore money flows freely inside the country. At the beginning of the war there was a great movement in favor of the “simple life”; people resolved to attend-theaters and concerts less, and to content themselves with domestic ..entertainments. But Vienna is accustomed to amusing itself, and the cry was soon raised, “What is to become of actors and artists generally if there are fewer amusements?” . This cry met with a ready response, and with a sigh of relief the city went back to its old habits. The theaters were crowded, concerts as well attended as ever; only the music halls suffered considerably, since they could get few foreign attractions. Mr. Bernard Shaw's plays are still given at the Burg Theater, or were till the present director was appointed, and “Milestones” and “Charley's Aunt” still enjoy great popularity. Artists in general hold themselves aloof from war questions, Living AGE, Vol. VIII, No. 420.
and take the standpoint that art is international. There are, however, some exceptions, such as the popular director Felix Weingartner. This gentleman has distinguished himself by violent anti-British proclivities, and he is one of the ninety-three “intellectuals” who have signed a compact to give no concerts either in England or America till at least five years after the war. In the “kinos” (kinemas) the special films, taken by permission of the Commander-in-Chief, have familiarized the public with every phase and incident of the great struggle. We have been shown scenes from every front; we saw the men at work in the trenches, the bursting of bombs, the convoys of Russian prisoners, the distribution of food, the diving of submarine boats, the men at work inside them, the mounting of aeroplanes, conflicts in the air, the quartering of troops, the difficulties of transporting guns in the Dolomites, the Emperor decorating his men, the funeral of the old monarch, Franz Josef, the coronation of the present one in Budapest, innumerable pictures of Hindenburg, Mackensen, the Archduke Frederick, and other commanders. No kino performance is ever given without some of these war pictures, and they have done quite as much to keep up the interest of the public in the progress of the war as the newspaper reports. When Roumania joined in the war the Austrian public experienced an unpleasant shock. That it would do so sooner or later was inevitable, but no one imagined the moment was so near. There were curious business complications in consequence of it. A certain insurance company in Vienna had been asked to insure freights of grain to the value of three million kronen. As the sum was so high the company hesitated, and only consented to issue the policy after anxious negotiation with the
Home and Foreign Offices. The company was in daily correspondence with both departments, and received the assurance that the political horizon was clear. Twenty-four hours after the policy had been signed the news of the outbreak of war between Roumania and the Central Powers was published in all the newspapers, and the grain was still in Roumanian waters. The feelings of the insurance company can be imagined! Great indignation was felt at the fact that the Austrian Government had paid for large quantities of wheat which were never delivered. The gold had been sent to Bucharest, but war was declared in the meantime, so the grain never arrived. The German The Manchester Guardian.
Government sent its money only to the frontier and declined to part with it till the corn was actually in its possession.
The abuse which had in turn been heaped on the Russian, French, English, and Italian Governments, was mild in comparison with that bestowed upon Roumania, although even that has by now somewhat subsided. The average Austrian is a lukewarm politician, and troubles himself little about the doings of his Government. He admits that the system leaves much to be desired, but has no very strong feeling for political liberty; his chief object in life is to avoid “disagreeables'' of any kind and to have as good a time as possible.
(The colossal expenditures of the war, and the pressing problems which confront the different Governments and the financiers and business interests of the different countries are of so profound national concern that THE Living AGE proposes to print for the present, from week to week, a department specially devoted to their consideration.—Editor of The Living AGE).
FINDING THE MONEY.
There are increasing indications of a spirit of revolt against the shortsighted finance which pays for so small a portion of the war cost out of revenue and leaves so much to borrowing. As we showed in the Economist of August 4th last, in reviewing the finance of the first three years of the war, the proportion of war cost paid out of revenue has been less than 20 per cent, as compared with 47 per cent in the Napoleonic War. The consequences of this system are evident. As Mr. Herbert Samuel pointed out in the debate following Mr. Bonar Law's recent performance on the Vote of Credit, “each six months the war continues will mean that for many years to come we shall have to raise, for the payment of debt incurred in that period alone,
a sum equal to the whole yield of the income tax and the super tax before the war.” The unpleasantness of the prospects before us if our war finance is continued on its present lines is sinking even into the minds of those whom war taxation hits hardest, and we are not without hope that the City may induce or compel our financial rulers to mend their methods. In the meantime, efforts are being made in the same direction by the leaders of Labor organizations. A pamphlet on the Conscription of Riches lately issued by the War Emergency Workers' National Committee states that this Committee, “in common with the Trades Union Congress, the Labor party, and the Industrial Triple Alliance, demands that a definite conscription of riches
should be substituted for the raising of more money on loan.” To achieve this end, this pamphlet describes “three practical methods of conscripting wealth”:
1. A capital tax, on the lines of the present death duties, which are graduated from nothing (on estates under £300, and legacies under £20) up to about 20 per cent (on very large estates left as legacies to strangers). If a “death duty” at the existing rates were now levied simultaneously on every person in the kingdom possessing over £300 wealth (every person might be legally deemed to have died, and to be his own heir), it might yield to the Chancellor of the Exchequer about £900,000,000. It would be necessary to offer a discount for payment in cash; and in order to avoid simultaneous forced sales to accept, in lieu of cash, securities at a valuation; and to take mortgages on land. 2. Income tax and super tax, now varying from nothing in the pound (on incomes under £131; or under £231 with four children under 16) up to about 8s 3%d in the pound on incomes of £100,000. Along with this must be counted the excess profits tax of 80 per cent of all excess over the business profits of 1914, and the mineral rights duty of an additional shilling in the pound on mining royalties. The income tax and super tax (if amended and regraded, so as to remedy present injustices) might well be doubled in yield, so as to “confiscate” annually an additional £150,000,000, almost entirely from the (estimated) 70,000 family incomes in excess of £1,000. 3. A third plan is that of the Bill which Mr. W. C. Anderson, M.P., has been, for over a year, vainly trying to bring before the House of Commons, for the sequestration, until further notice, of all unearned incomes. Under this plan all rents, interest, dividends, annuities, and annual payments for mortgages (apart from interest credited on savings bank and co-operative
society accounts) would cease to be payable to the present recipients, and would be payable only to the Public Trustee, for transfer to the Exchequer. In this way all “unearned incomes" would be temporarily confiscated. It would be necessary for the Public Trustee to provide subsistence allowances for persons hitherto living on unearned incomes, and unable to obtain work at wages; and it is proposed that these subsistence allowances (after providing for all existing legal charges, moral claims, and even customary subscriptions to charities continuing to be met) should be at the same rates as the pay of the several ranks in the Army, from private to field marshal.
These proposals do not show a very close acquaintance with the practical facts of finance. To raise £900,000,000 by a capital tax would be something if it could be done, but the Committee has to acknowledge that the Government would have to take securities at a valuation in order to avoid simultaneous forced sales. This is obviously true, since, if all property owners were trying to realize property at once, it is clear that there will be no market to absorb their sales. But if all those subject to this form of conscription were to exercise this option, the Government would find itself possessed not of £900,000,000 to be spent upon the war, but of £900,000,000 worth of securities, from which it would in future derive a revenue of perhaps 45 or 50 millions. The third plan, by which the Government would seize until further notice all unearned incomes, obviously involves very great administrative difficulties, and the throwing of an enormous amount of work upon a Department which, like all others, is undermanned and overworked. Moreover, both these first and third plans suffer from the objection of being aimed solely at the owners of accumulated wealth; and so carry with them the bad economic effect of discouraging that accumulation, which is only another word for refraining from spending, on which economic progress depends in time of peace, and from which alone war can be financed. The effects of the mere mooting of suggestions of a capital tax are already apparent: people of all classes are saying, “What is the use of keeping money for the Government to take away?” and they are spending their money on things that they ought to be ashamed to buy at such a crisis, stimulated in extravagance by crude and inequitable fiscal proposals. The second plan, for amending and regrading of the income tax and super tax so as to remedy present injustices, and then raising 150 millions by doubling them, is at least free from some of theinjustices and difficulties involved by the first and third. Income, after all, is ultimately the only source from which taxation can be got, and equitably imposed income tax, applied to all classes of society, is the fairest and soundest method of raising money for the war. Much might be done in other directions, such as the long overdue increase in postal charges, for checking extravagances and setting free labor which is now used in carrying unnecessary letters and still more unnecessary circulars about the country. But to get a large revenue and to ration the buying power of the people, as will have to be done, it is clear that immediate reform of income tax and super tax is required, so that full use can be made of this great fiscal weapon. A suggestion was lately made in the House of Lords by Lord St. Davids that the Government, “simply from a desire to unite the country in the prosecution of the war,” should “take the whole of the excess profits.” This proposal had already been made by Lord Rhondda, and it is interesting that two distinguished capitalists and business men should advocate this
thorough-going suggestion. Nevertheless, we doubt whether it is, under present circumstances, likely to be economically effective. In the Economist of June 23d we published a letter signed by “Scottish Manufacturers,” in which they stated that owing to the excess profits tax of 80 per cent, they felt that there was “no
inducement” to undertake a trans
action involving an outlay of £500
because their profit on it would be
reduced by war taxation to £38. With
such a spirit among our manufacturers, or some of them, it seems likely
that if all excess profits were taken
production might be seriously checked.
By bad finance our successive War
Governments have encouraged all
classes in the view that war should
bring profits with it, and so a bad
spirit is abroad, which makes good
AN EFFEctive CAMPAiGN.
When the full details come over by mail of the response to the great Liberty Loan, we are convinced it will be found that there have been two outstanding features attending the issue, one being the wide area over which the subscriptions have been spread, and the other the perfection of the organization which has rendered the flotation possible and has secured participation by such huge numbers. “Perhaps,” said our Washington Correspondent, “the mostgratifying feature in connection with the loan is its wide distribution. It is known that eight million individual subscriptions have been received, and it would not be surprising if, when the final returns are in, it should be found that the total reaches ten millions, a somewhat impressive figure, which ought to be proof to Germany that the hearts of the American people are in this war, and that they are offering their money as freely as their lives to destroy the mad beast of Europe.” Our Correspondent also referred to the extreme effectiveness of the advertising campaign on behalf of the loan. Now we suggest that in this country, if the system of continuous daily borrowing is to be successful in financing the war to its conclusion, the publicity campaign will have to be quickly arranged on the same vigorous lines as those which have been pursued in the United States. On more than one occasion we have suggested that many of our best speakers in Parliament might be better employed at the present time in explaining to the community its great responsibilities with regard to the financing of the war, even than in their daily attendances at Westminster. We venture to think that if some party contest were on at the present time we should have our Parliamentarians electrifying the country with torrents of eloquence, designed to show that this and that party was the only one which could ensure the safety and welfare of the country! Why, then, when there are issues
infinitely more important at stake than The London Post,
the winning of seats for a particular party, cannot this same eloquence be outpoured to greater practical purpose in explaining to the people of this country just what is required from them in the way of personal effort, both in economy and the applying of its proceeds to the purchase of War Bonds, so that the power of civilian effort may be as great as that which is displayed by our fighting forces? Ever since the war commenced, this task of appealing to the community in the matter of War Loans has been left far too completely to the Press of the country, without the support which should have been forthcoming from public speakers throughout the country. Although the United States has only been in the war some few months, American citizens have been insistently reminded from pulpit and from platform of the duty and responsibility resting upon them, and the result is seen not only in the magnificent subscriptions to the last Liberty Loan, but, as is always the case when sacrifice and self-denial are called for, in an ever-increasing enthusiasm for the cause of the war itself.
BOOKS AND AUTHORS.
In “The Wanderers” Mary John
ston with her unusual gift for interweaving history and romance has produced a story which is an interesting study of the development of the differences, both physical and spiritual, between men and women. Miss Johnston starts from the time when practically the only difference lay in the fact that women “made” children and men could not. From this period in aboriginal history, she develops her theme to the present day of many and perplexing differences, choosing for her settings those times and places
in history which best suit her purpose. Miss Johnston has shown a clear knowledge of the scientific side of her subject combined with the skill to make her characters living beings and the action of the story strongly dramatic. Houghton Mifflin Co.
“Familiar Ways” by Margaret Sherwood is a book of short essays in praise of the virtue of familiarity, that familiarity which does not breed contempt but is the particular quality which makes the dearness and sweetness of all common things. Thees says