WE have pointed out in Chapter I that the fall of sterling fulfilled a historical part, as it provided a timely warning to the British nation,and aroused it from its apathy. There had indeed been every indication since the war that the British Empire was heading towards decline. The post-war economic and political situation of Great Britain disclosed a certain similarity to the situation of the Roman Empire when its decline was beginning. The accumulation of wealth and power, coupled with a democratic political system, resulted in the growth of large unproductive classes, and, as in Rome, there was an increasing number of idlers both in the upper and lower ranks of society. The pre-war accumulation of huge overseas investments together with the creation of immense fictitious wealth during the war, resulted in a large increase in the number of those who lived on the yield of deadweight capital without playing their part in productive activity, and slackened the ambition
of those who continued to do productive work. The number of idlers in the upper classes and middle classes rose to hundreds of thousands. They filled continental seaside resorts and British golf courses.