Full text: Borrowing and business in Australia

concentration of a spearhead of investigation upon a major 
economic problem has yet been attempted. The greatest need in 
all scientific research is the comparison of results, and particularly 
of the negative results. But the story of failures in the attempt to 
correlate results never gets into print, and can, perhaps, only 
be obtained by some extension of the method of international 
conference, applied to workers drawn from a very wide terrain. 
Some attempt is needed to unify the whole economic problem 
presented by the international investment of capital, and to 
give more effective direction to the conduct of research into the 
many issues involved. 
A third desideratum which is worthy of notice affects the 
domestic sphere, and has reference to the relation between 
public and private expenditure. The pressure under the dis- 
jointed methods of investigation pursued in the past has been 
very uneven over the whole economic field, and this varia- 
tion in the intensity of investigation is particularly noticeable 
in finance. Production and distribution have been heavily 
weighted, consumption too lightly regarded in many respects. 
Especially is this so in the matter of private expenditure. Little 
but vague generalization has been formulated concerning the 
effect of borrowing, for example, upon community spending; 
and yet, in its wide aspect, this is as fundamental as the con- 
sideration of public expenditure. Scientific research is essential 
over the whole field of national finance, and it is to be forecast 
that the next great advance in economic theorv is likely to take 
place along those lines. 
The principle of the net economic balance must be applied to 
all questions of this character; and, in general, it may be remarked 
that considerations affecting this aspect have, in this essay, 
been kept rigorously in the forefront of discussion. To those 
acquainted with the work of Taussig upon problems of inter- 
national trade and of Viner upon the special problem of Canada, 
therefore, no apology will be necessary for the attempt to apply 
their technique within the limits imposed by Australian con- 
ditions and statistics. The patient elimination from a field of 
total possibilities is, perhaps, not possible in its entirety to any 
individual researcher, and within the limits of a thesis little can 
be said concerning the purely negative results ; but the foregoing 
are, at any rate, the main considerations which have prompted

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