Full text: Borrowing and business in Australia

direct or indirect, is quite as eager as the industrialist, antici- 
pating active markets for his manufactures, in the preservation 
of the steady volumes of loans. Railway commissioners vie with 
steamship companies in viewing with alarm any falling away in 
the volume of overseas trade. Thus the whole weight of the 
community, despite somewhat hypocritical protests to the con- 
trary, is thrown in the balance against the endeavour to retard 
capital imports; and in this situation lies the most difficult of 
the practical aspects of the problem. 
To the operation of both the external and internal factors in 
the national situation, therefore, is to be ascribed the inability 
on the part of the banking authorities in Australia to impose 
a greater measure of control upon the credit position. It is to 
be feared that no amount of improvement in the volume and 
quality of information bearing upon Australian business con- 
ditions would bring any measure of relief to Australian bankers 
while vigorous public borrowing continues. Statistics present- 
ing an accurate measure of prosperity, and better indices of 
every phase of the domestic situation, would still leave them 
impotent in the face of a credit situation the chief features of 
which are determined on the other side of the world. 
What that situation demands, even before a more cautious 
borrowing policy, is a more intelligent lending policy ; and the 
co-operation of the London market with well-balanced economic 
opinion in Australia is required in an effort to regulate the 
violent fluctuations in the stream of capital to a even flow which 
will permit of its more satisfactory application to the needs of 
Australian industry, and to abolish those distressing and, 
we believe, avoidable reversals in business which affect the 
prosperity of both countries. This, however, will not avoid the 
necessity for a more efficient use of capital by both public and 
private borrowers. The plain moral of this tale is that, when the 
possibility of repaying debt out of the increased production 
made possible by the borrowed capital no longer exists, all 
sconomic justification for expansive borrowing programmes 
automatically disappears.

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