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EARTH HUNGER AND OTHER ESSAYS

interest rate we should gain a deeper insight than we now possess into some of the operations of the industrial system; especially we should gain a text which we very much need for the effects of legislation and taxes. The rate at present favors the borrower, not the depositor. If such a tendency of the rate was a result of an accumulation of capital more rapid than the extension of enterprise, it would no doubt be advantageous; it would bring about a reaction which would produce readjustments and would be ultimately healthful. I find it difficult to conceive of an increase of capital in excess of the extension of enterprise, under the circumstances of industry and of public temper which characterize our society. The fact that the interest rate is as low here as in Western Europe, or even lower, seems to me to be abnormal and even irrational. It seems to me to point to errors of legislation. Our people have been congratulating themselves for two years on an enormous balance of trade in our favor. We have had large crops of cereals when other people had small ones, and so we have sold the whole at high prices; and the consequence is that we have paid our debts, have got out of bad times into good ones, have dispelled our political anxieties, and have capital out in Europe. But when we try to draw home our credits we find that our rate of interest falls—within a year we have seen it fall a full point. I find one statesman quoted in a newspaper as saying: "If present conditions continue, it looks as if all the gold in the world will come into the United States." That is probably the most grotesque notion that could enter anybody's head. It seems clear that the fluctuation which we have experienced does not correspond to the normal action of the forces which should produce the rate of interest, and that the effects of it are not subject for congratulation. A higher rate than that now