Page:The Bank of England and the State, 1905.djvu/47

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5
Foreign Trade and the Money Market.

workers, are equal, if I not superior to those of any other centre of industry, and these surely ought to be taken into consideration in a general enquiry. We are, it is admitted, the financial centre of the world; this is more than a phrase, it is a fact. Our position has indeed been assailed, but so far without effect. I wonder how many politicians realise what it means; I wonder whether even we, here in the City of London, fully realise it. I need not give to you bankers of London any banking statistics, but I append a table (p. 34) showing the growth of the banking deposits in the United Kingdom, which indicates the truly marvellous progress that has been made during the last 50 years, a progress which not only shows increasing prosperity throughout the country, but which itself must have been of immeasurable benefit to all our industries; yet this progress of banking, and the benefits it brings to the nation, like the progress of, and benefits derived from, the other of the great commercial assets of the United Kingdom—our great merchant fleet and all that it means—are left entirely out of sight. They do not appear in the tables of imports and exports, on which so many arguments are based. These interests and many allied to them are those which do not manufacture, but they are productive, they render services, and thus contribute to what are termed "invisible exports"; a term on which something will have to be said in connection with our balance of trade. I should like to see a history written of the trade of London, and to many of us it would be a revelation. The total shipping that now enters the Port of London amounts to over ⅕th part of the total shipping of the United Kingdom; the value of the commodities imported into the Port of London amounts to about ⅓rd of the total value of our imports; the value of the exports is over ¼th of the total value of the exports of the United Kingdom. Think of the vastness of the carrying and distributing trade that these figures imply, and of the employment of our working population that must follow in its train. This brings me, after an unduly long preface, to the real subject matter of my paper, Foreign Trade and the Money Market.