Banking and Currency and the Money Trust
The material production and consumption by the people, and industries of the world go on continually. In the aggregate there is no perceptible difference from day to day, or even from month to month. All things considered, the proportion of supply and demand does not vary greatly from year to year. The catastrophies which occur in the world are usually confined to different localities at different times, and do not, on the whole, change the general result. Nature seems to keep the balance fairly well, at least well enough so that man need not fear that Nature will fail to respond to the needs of men.
We meet a different condition when we study the personal and commercial relations of the people with each other. When we do that we find an intensely variating condition, which works rapidly backward and forward with no or at least comparatively little, relation to the material conditions. These human conditions seem to have exhausted the patience of men and they are reaching out to make three great changes :
(A) A change in the banking and currency conditions;
(B) A readjustment of our industrial relations;
(C) A change in the political conditions so that the people as a whole may direct their own political affairs.
Bankers, merchants, professional men, farmers, and wage earners all know that a change in our banking and currency laws is imperative. Such a change is sure to come, and Wall Street is endeavoring to foster ideas in the public mind which will insure the adoption of a plan favorable to frenzied finance. Civilization has reached the point where the people ought to consider the following facts : That we are slaves of a money system; that market quotations fluctuate up and down at times when there is no corresponding change in the supply and natural demand; and that the Wall Street financiers have suddenly found time to leave their speculative schemes long enough to direct the work of educating the people in the mysteries of finance. Are these financiers working in the interests of the people or in their own interests ? They were content to deal only with the boss politicians until the people themselves began taking an interest in legislation, but now that the people have admonished the bosses, Wall Street is trying to mould public opinion in order to make it favorable to some disguised Wall Street plan.
These questions are all answered in this little volume. Also, a plan is proposed which if adopted will make the people the master of the world and the builders of their common fortunes, instead of leaving that power in the clutches of its present masterthe Money Trust.
We live in an age of mechanical devices and have the use of methods by which the natural elements are harnessed and made use of in general production, and in the establishment of conditions that serve to produce whatever is necessary, convenient and proper to the enjoyment of life, and it is natural that men shall look forward to the time when the people themselves will secure the full benefit of all these things. I have taken these problems up for consideration in three separate volumes. This volume on Banking and Currency and the Money Trust is the first. The second will be on "The Industrial Relations," and the third on "The Political Relations."
It would seem that one could not state and analyze so difficult a problem as that of banking and currency within the scope of a small volume, but I believe that it can be done and can be easily understood if properly treated. No civil matter that has arisen out of our present social condition was ever of greater importance than that which is contemplated as a basis of our first study, which is really the money problem. But this first study is only one of several that we shall make while investigating the highways and byways of business, politics, and those affairs of life which force men into the environments that are not of their own choosing. We shall study conditions that are quite ordinary, and show their relations to others that are extraordinary and not generally understood. I have examined and know about the subjects to which we shall give our thoughts, and if a majority will join with me in these considerations, I am certain that within a very short time we shall all understand much more clearly the present conditions, and learn to make the best use of the advantages that are common to all mankind. We shall also discover the reason for their being daily neglected. We shall not be able, in a short study, to cover the entire field, but it will present to us such things as are not commonly known to exist. Some of us have suspected that conditions exist about which we know very little or nothing, but the most of us have looked calmly on and decided eventually that there was something wrong. What is it ? Our studies will tell.
The fact that I am a Congressman and seeking to force these matters before Congress for correction will cause me to be publicly censured for exposing the nature of the affairs of certain interests which have been prospering for a long time by appropriating the products of our toil. Numerous fires have been and will continue to be set under me by those who are selfishly interested in maintaining the present Money Trust, which not only includes many of the greatest bankers, but all others, in whatsoever business, who are beneficiaries of the system, as well as the political bosses subservient to the great interests. Of course they know that when the public once realizes how outrageously it has been, and is being, fleeced it will not permit it any longer, and they resort to desperate and tricky methods in their attempt to force me out of public office, because they realize that in my present position I have an excellent opportunity to direct public attention to the truth relating to the practices of the banks and other special interests.
It is a well-known fact that in forcing through Congress the investigation of the Money Trust, I laid bare one of their innermost secrets, even though the investigating committee was composed of men selected by them after the interests were unable to prevent the passage of a resolution to investigate. But regardless of this fact, the environments surrounding the committees work forced out facts which will aid in ultimately exposing the whole piratical system. This seems to them to be the great offense that I have committed, and therefore they do all that they can to weaken me before the public. Already, by means of their agents, they have begun to spread stories. These stories they wish the people to unwittingly peddle from one to another. Underhandedly they start one or more falsehoods in each locality and hope that by the time these are peddled among my constituents enough of them will be believed to be true so that each voter shall find something to which he objects. In that way they hope that at least a majority of the voters can be secured who will vote against me. That is a scheme that is in operation, and for the same reason a certain portion of the press was subsidized to oppose me. Newspapers print scurrilous articles and others in the same employ copy them. Some articles are inserted which contain a few complimentary words about me for having done some unimportant thing, but these are diplomatically inserted in order to impress the reader with the idea that the editor is impartial. This impression is what they rely upon to give the color of truth to the opprobrious and derogatory matter.
My fight against graft in politics and special privileges in business has not resulted in my landing in a bed of roses. The public has seen that, and I knew from the start that I would have to fight every inch of the way as well as pay my own expenses, while those who opposed me, and consequently my plans, would have their campaign and other expenses paid, including other advantages which would be extended to them. I observe, for instance, that the standpat Senators and Representatives, all of whom are more or less under the domination of the special privileges, and stand-patters generally, have received recognitions and courtesies from the Administrations that have been absolutely refused to me. All sorts of dishonest and unfair means have been resorted to in order to injure me, while, on the other hand, every kind of deception has been used in the attempt to make the public believe that the Senators and Representatives who have supported the special interests were all right. This fight has not been easy nor has it been personally profitable to me from a financial standpoint. My purpose in calling attention to these facts is, that almost everyone who undertakes to establish reforms, that involve substantial property rights or personal privileges, receives the knocks and the least material reward. Further, the attacks made upon them by the special interests often mislead the public. That, of course, is the real purpose of the attacks, and every person must endure them who assails with vigor the system under which the special interests are able to levy tolls upon us for their maintenance.
Lest there might be some misunderstanding, I wish the real attitude of the bankers on this subject of the Money Trust to be known. Many of them, and more especially those from the country districts, are not opposed to reform. They know that they have special privileges that they ought not to have. In fact, the greatest number of them are opposed to the Money Trust. I have received letters from hundreds of them, but in nearly every instance they request that I keep secret the fact that they oppose the Money Trust. They dare not endanger themselves, and they do well not to as long as the present system is continued, for no bank would be safe if the Money Trust sought to close its doors.
I do not intend to arouse any distrust of your banker. He is a citizen the same as the rest of us. I am not assailing him, but I am assailing with all the vigor of my life the system of banking and currency that so taxes our existence, and I am seeking to prevent the Money Trust from fooling us into adopting changes that will allow it to retain its power. And I further seek to bring about a change that will enable us to retain the products of our own energy and give therefrom such moiety to those who render service as they may be entitled to by reason of their services.
We do not expect perfection either in ourselves or in others, but we should at least fulfill the plain necessities of life to the extent of not being ridiculous in our failures. For that reason there should be no delay in pressing the fight for our common rights and enforcing them. through the intelligence of our conduct. We should not waive our individual rights in support of others vanity, nor give them undeserved wealth or authority.
To AMERICA : What a grand expanse of territory ! Behold the majesty of her mountains ; the vastness of her plains ; her enormous forests ; her wealth of soils and minerals ; the number of her lakes ; her splendid rivers leading to the natural highways between all lands and continentsthe mighty oceans, and allall of these are the free gifts of God to Man.
To MAN : Behold him in his application with the free giftAmerica. He has gone out over the plains and through the forests ; developed the farms ; built beautiful villages and great cities ; constructed highways ; furnished communication between them all ; and then developed them by his ingenuity. All these are the expressions of his own energythe results of his toil, but, notwithstanding the gifts of God and the giving by Man of his own energy, he is burdened with a huge debtthe greater because of the largeness and richness of Nature, the expenditure he has made of his energy, and the accumulation by the few of the products. Why should we all labor to produce material wealth called capital, when it is appropriated by the few and made the basis on which they tax us and collect from us more interest and dividends ?
HERE I HOLD A GOLD COIN
What a false illusion thou art to human mind ! How cruelly thou deceivest thy possessor and those who covet thee ! Thou buyest for me by thy betrayal of mankind. Thou didst tax my energy to gain thee, and thy discount has lost to me and my fellow-men the greatest blessings of a continent, as well as the principal products of our toil. Few indeed are they who know and understand thy seductive power. We shall expose thy falseness so that our children shalt not be deceived by thee.
To OURSELVES : The fact that we did not prevent the various evils of which we now complain from becoming parts of our system, should make us considerate of those who are operating under it, and remove from us all personal prejudice. The practices that are allowed at present, and which are contrary to what we know to be for the best interests of mankind as a body, are almost wholly due to the process of adaptation and not to the mere personal choice of some particular individuals.
Men are compelled to employ the methods and systems that are used in their times. No one can set up an independent system for himself and operate under it without the help and consent of the majority of his fellow-men. He must abide by, and operate under, the recognized systems regardless of the fact that neither the means nor the method may suit him. For that reason it is neither uncommon nor improper for us to do many things of which we do not ourselves approve. It is impossible for anyone to have a successful business career who does not conduct it in accordance with and in systematic concert with the prevailing methods, and therefore in the study and discussion of the affairs connected with the general conduct of business we should be broad in our interest, and honestly try to understand everybody, whether they conduct their business in the way that we think proper or not.
We should remember that we are dealing with systems and not with individuals, and that we have no right to blame individuals for the present system nor because they use it, but we have a right to ask them to examine it carefully, and if they find errors, to join in an endeavor to correct them and not make an unfair use of the opportunities such errors may present to them. Radical changes are not possible until they come by common consent.
Mankind is restless, and the broad field presented to the human intellect and selfishness, combined with the ambitious desire for prominence and leadership, impels it onward in a great and endless struggle. Individuals drop out as time advances, but humanity as a body presses onward. We inherit, fit into, adjust and renew the establishments and systems of our fathers, and what changes we do make are made through natural evolution, which is slow or rapid according to our inventive and creative energy and our acceptance, as a whole, of the change.
War has been one of mankinds greatest occupations, or, in other words, the exercise of government by the law of physical force. It has been esteemed a manly art, and all men have paid the toll, including the numerous toilers who provide provisions and munitions of war and supplement those in the actual field of combat. It has been the mighty burden that the past has had to carry, and we still carry war obligations because the general understanding of this problem has not been sufficient to cause it to be absolutely abandoned. The comparatively few who have understood have had to fight the same as those who did not, somewhat on the same principle that we are forced to do business as business is done, or stop trying, which men will not do until they can no longer push as hard as they are pushed. But, even now, although we know that war is merely a legacy from the earlier generations, we realize that we cannot prevent it merely because we no longer think favorably of it. Civilization has advanced almost to the period of framing a plan for abandoning it, but all men and all peoples do not reach the same plane of understanding at the same time. We must still keep prepared for war because it is not improbable that we shall have some great wars long after we have finally concluded that war is an improper method to use for the settlement of disputes. So, too, in the world of business, some unsatisfactory, in fact bad, methods will continue, and it may be necessary for them to continue long after we know them to be neither just or desirable.
The great struggle of the present is centered in the world of commerce and trade. It has become so intense that the outlet for human ambition has shifted notably from the field of war to that of commercial struggle. In fact, the commercial struggle often produces the cause of war. This industrial struggle is another and much more humane diversion. I say diversion because whenever commerce is resorted to for speculation rather than for the purpose of supplying needs, it becomes a diversion. Some interesting comparisons may be drawn between the respective leaders and workers in these two fields of action, comparisons which may serve to make more clear the difference between the social and financial conditions of the governed and the governing.
History records the glorious achievements and victories gained by the military generals. But although it relates the honors and positions that were given the leaders as rewards for their initiative, it gives no specified individual record of the plain soldiers who fought the battles and suffered the privations and tortures incident to war. These were considered as an army, merely the force with which the generals fought. The great wizards of finance and the captains of commercial industry also direct battles and seek the same sort of acclamation growing out of an entirely different application of human energy and for another kind of victory. Their wealth and their struggle repays them and its buying and ruling properties win for them applause, position, and power.
It is probably easier to be a toiler in some branch of commercial industry than to be a soldier or sailor and direct the sword and cannon against ones fellow-mortals, but the toilers, the same as the soldiers, are the plain people. On them depends the result of the struggle. On them rests the greatest part of the work, the denials and the sufferings, but contemporaneous history makes no more individual recognition of them than it did of the private soldier. Notwithstanding this seeming inconsistency, we owe thanks to the financial wizards and the captains of industry for leading us out into the industrial field and away from that of war, because it provides a better outlet for human energy. It was the next move in the march of civilization, and these captains of industry have been leaders in the struggles. Often it is the cruel and unreasonable who accomplish more for us than the kind and generous. They reveal to us our limitations. But there is no more reason to condemn the industrial generals than there has been to condemn the generals who fought in the worlds great army and navy battles. The highest purpose of civilization should be to conserve and protect humanity, and whatever defeats that purpose should be condemned and eliminated.
No such destruction of human life can ever result from the industrial struggles as resulted from those of armed battle. The element of construction is far greater than that of destruction, and regardless of the cruelty which results from an abuse of the opportunities which the present system presents to men, it remains evident that many of the captains of industry who lead men into the field of industrial struggle are using their brains in an effort to better conditions. Their first motives may be even more selfish than those of the military generals, but the results are far more desirable, and humanity secures far better proceeds. They are the leaders in one of the great struggles in the climb toward a more splendid and altruistic civilization and the struggle is fraught with lessons.
Yes, the struggle has its teachings, and that is what we demand. These lessons exemplify the force of human energy, and the value of consistent action. The neat great problem for mankind to demonstrate is that of converting the energy of men and the consistency of thoughtful plans into benefits to be derived by the plain toilers themselves as a result of their toil. We concede that the captains at the head of the great industrial trusts were and are the great advance teachers of the world, but humanity has followed long enough. It now ought to be able to direct its own actions, and that must happen before the present problems can be satisfactorily dealt with.
At the present time there is nothing to be gained in war that could not be acquired by some other method. Its results are death, destruction, and despair. In the commercial and industrial field we find elements of production, construction, distribution, and accumulation. The ambitions of the leaders themselves furnish the elements of destruction, but not in the degree in which we find it in the field of war. In the case of war the results of the battle revert to the government of the country that has been successful in the engagement.
The financial kings seek to, and do, secure the substantial profits and the principal products resulting from the labor of the plain toilers. They take their chance in the game of life and gather in the fruits from others labor. War means destruction and leaves little or nothing to distribute to the soldiers of the ranks, but the activity of men in the field of industry, when applied in connection with the latest mechanical devices, approved methods of application, methods of association, etc., results in an enormous increase in the productive energy of the masses, as wed as an enormous daily accumulation of real wealth. But however great the accumulated wealth may be or become, it is a mere bagatelle when compared with the results that must come from the daily expenditure of the energy of the working people, and it is the results of the wealth that is thus brought forth that should be equably distributed, in so far as it, can be, to the individuals participating in its production (principally those who labor) as a reward for their industry. They are entitled to it, and in our studies we shall find out why they have not received it. At the same time we shall consider ways and means by which they may, in the future, secure what is properly due to those who honestly, industriously, and intelligently apply themselves.