Opera Omnia Luigi Einaudi

The Italian war loan

Tipologia: Paragrafo/Articolo – Data pubblicazione: 31/07/1915

The Italian war loan

«The Economist», 31 luglio 1915, pp. 181-182[1]




Sir, – The results of the public loan issued in Italy by the Government towards defraying the war expenses have just been telegraphed. The amount is 1,117.5 million lire, including the subscriptions of the banks. This does not include sums subscribed by Italians living in the colonies and abroad, for which the subscription lists will not be closed till August 31st.



If a comparison is made with the huge war loans of Great Britain and of Germany, our 1,117 1/2millions may seem a small figure; but when one takes into account all the circumstances of the case, the success must be pronounced a genuine one. Our wealth is smaller than yours; your national annual income is valued at £ 2,000 to £ 2,200 millions; ours can be valued at only £ 500 to £ 600 millions (12,000 to 15,000 million lire); our mean income per head is valued by some statisticians at £ 16; yours at £ 48. That in a country like this the second war loan has reached the sum of 1,117 1/2 million lire, after the first January war loan of 1,000 millions, is a proof of our economic growth, and of the popularity of the present and last war of independence. In the year 1866 our economic structure was so weak that the Government thought it necessary to have recourse to a forced loan (prestito forzato) of 350 million lire. To-day the Government has raised in a year voluntarily a sum sevenfold greater! To understand the nature of the success, it is useful to note that the subscriptions are real, genuine, not sham subscriptions. The 1,117 1/2 million lire subscriped have- been paid in hard money, truly saved, without Darlehenkassen and similar fictitious machines for swelling figures. In the January first war loan the totality of the public subscriptions was paid before maturing of the monthly instalments. This will happen in the present loan.



The truth is that the present war is truly popular; its necessity is more and more keenly felt by the population. Our people rejoice in the manly conduct of our brave troops, and are determined to make all efforts towards the goal of the union of Italian lands under the Austrian yoke to the Kingdom of Italy. For the sake of attaining so great an end, I am sure the Italian people will give the last penny.

[1] Si tratta di una lettera, pubblicata nella rubrica Letters to the Editor, datata: «La Riforma Sociale», Turin, July 22nd, 1915. [Ndr.].

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