The Inter-Ally Debts: An Analysis of War and Post-War Public Finance, 1914-1923

By Harvey E. Fisk | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
The Status of National Debts in 1923

UNFORTUNATELY the reports of receipts and expenditures of many nations since the close of the period of war financing are quite incomplete. Great Britain and the United States have regularly published their usual statements and this is true in a general way of the British dominions, although some of the latter have changed their methods of reporting. No doubt the changes in accounting are wise; but they are destructive, or partially so, of comparative reports. Some of the dominions have been slower than usual in publishing their statements. Some of the continental nations also have changed the form of their accounting and are publishing only partial statements.

Under the circumstances, we have found it impossible for this period to present a consolidated statement in the form adopted for the pre-war and war periods.

In a general way, it may be noted that Great Britain and the United States have absolutely balanced their budgets, stopped borrowing, except for refunding purposes, and reduced taxation. This has been possible because expenses likewise have been substantially reduced. Of the former continental allies, Belgium, France and Italy have each had to meet reconstruction problems of great magnitude which simply could not be taken care of entirely from taxation. As a result, their debts each year have become more burdensome. This state of affairs is due largely to the failure of Germany to meet her reparation payments.

On or about June 30, 1923, the national debts of five of the leading participants in the Great War stood as follows:

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