THE BENEFITS OF INTERNATIONAL FINANCE

For the present we are concerned with the benefits of international finance, which have been shown to begin with its enormous importance as the handmaid of international trade. Trade between nations is desirable for exactly the same reason as trade between one man and another, namely, that each is, naturally or otherwise, better fitted to grow or make certain things, and so an exchange is to their mutual advantage. If this is so, as it clearly is, in the case of two men living in the same street, it is evidently very much more so in the case of two peoples living in different climates and on different soils, and so each of them, by the nature of their surroundings, able to make and grow things that are impossible to the other. English investors, by developing the resources of other countries, through the machinery of international finance, enable us to sit at home in this inclement isle, and enjoy the fruits of tropical skies and soils. It may be true that if they had not done so we should have developed the resources of our own country more thoroughly, using it less as a pleasure ground, and more as a farm and kitchen garden, and that we should have had a larger number of our own folk working for us under our own sky. Instead of thriving on the produce of foreign climes and foreign labour that comes to us to pay interest, we should have lived more on home-made stuff and had more healthy citizens at work on our soil. On the other hand, we should have been hit hard by bad seasons and we should have enjoyed a much less diversified diet. As it is, we take our tea and tobacco and coffee and sugar and wine and oranges and bananas and cheap bread and meat, all as a matter of course, but we could never have enjoyed them if international trade had not brought them to our shores, and if international finance had not quickened and cheapened their growth and transport and marketing. International trade and finance, if given a free hand, may be trusted to bring about, between them, the utmost possible development of the power of the world to grow and make things in the places where they can be grown and made most cheaply and abundantly, in other words, to secure for human effort, working on the available raw material, the greatest possible harvest as the reward of its exertions.