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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 6 (October 2, 1933)

Merely Debt!

Merely Debt!

Many causes have been alleged of the world depression. After all, is our principal cause simply the old folly of borrowing (or lending) too much? Sir Arthur Samuel says bluntly, “Yes.” He states that “unjustifiable debts incurred by uncreditworthy borrowers are the principal case of the partial collapse of the world's economic structure.” In a simpler form of society an excess of borrowing used to be checked in good time by the lender, who put the brake on. Nowadays lenders are legion, and, being competitive, and often ignorant, don't seem to know how to put on the brake. If they did, would it be necessary for Sir Arthur Samuel to declare it a duty of the Government “to check indiscriminate public lending and protect investors’ savings”? Sir George Paish points out that the savings of small people now form a huge proportion of lendable capital. These small people are not usurers to be repressed, but persons to be protected in their capital and in the moderate return it brings them. Capital losses on loans are now colossal.