Professor Anderson's study of "Effects of the War on Money, Credit and Banking in France and the United States" needs no commendation. It is full both of information and of suggestions, and will be valuable not only to bankers but to other business men, to students, and to the general reader.
The account of occurrences and policies in the United States is so full, accurate and clear that editorial comment on them is unnecessary. Certain matters stand out in the confused history of the early days of the war which should be guiding posts for the future. For he would have been held a foolish prophet who, before the war, would have predicted that the economic structure of the world would have withstood as well as it actually did the shock of the military cataclysm. The closing of the stock exchanges, the moratoria, the strength and wise action of central banks and the provision of emergency currency, are the great master strokes of policy that kept the economic "ship of state" from shipwreck.
The history of the action of the French banks will be, in the main, new to most American readers. The policy showed in many ways the shortsightedness that characterized our own banking policy in times of stress before the establishment of the federal reserve system. Cooperation among the private banks of France seems to have been difficult and a generous public policy unthought of. To be sure, the conditions of French life have made France a capital lending and an agricultural country, rather than an industrial one. It may well be that those responsible for the conduct of the French private banks thought it their first duty to conserve these classes of interests, not being able to see far enough ahead to know that neglect to support their government strongly would inevitably be the ruin even of those interests.
The advantages of our own new system, the federal reserve system, have been brought prominently to notice. For the first
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Publication information: Book title: Effects of the War on Money, Credit and Banking in France and the United States. Contributors: Benjamin M. Anderson - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New Haven, CT. Publication year: 1919. Page number: iii.
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