Banking and Currency
In many respects money is the strangest of all human creations. On the one hand it has civilized the world, and on the other has commercialized and in a manner criminalized the people. But that is not because the purpose of money is erroneous. It is because the office of true money has been usurped by false money, which has served as a false god, and the worship of this false god has caused the degradation of the soul of humanity. None of the dramatic stages through which humanity has passed has been as intense and complicated as that through which it is now passing. That is because a false system has been established, and the longer humanity attempts to struggle forward under it the more severe the struggle will become. Men must appeal to their intelligence to secure for them information in order that they may understand the reason for this false condition in which they find themselves.
For what are we striving ? It would seem that our object was to create the most complex conditions and secure the least satisfactory results. As proof of that, we have on the one hand strikes of the poor and underpaid wage earners, and on the other the accumulation of billions of dollars of wealth into the hands of the few, and between the two extremes are those who are paying for it allthe working men and women on the farms, in the shops, in the stores and in all the various occupations that serve to supply mankind with the necessaries of life. Those who gain enormous fortunes as a result of the complex conditions donated approximately $300,000,000 from their superabundance in the single year of 1912 (world). That does not mean that the gifts were sent back to those from whom the wealth had been extorted, but that this vast sum was merely donated to satisfy the whims of those whose first whim it was to extort it from the people. It was generally reported that the late J. Pierpont Morgan, alone, gave to a single museum $50,000,000 in the form of art treasures. How many of the people from whom that great sum was extorted will ever visit the museum or have an opportunity to see those art treasures ? Many of them have already gone prematurely to their graves by reason of the overburdenseme system that permits the extortion that leaves such a trail of woe in nearly every community. Is it not time that we should understand by what rule a few hundred individuals have inaugurated and been privileged to keep in operation a system which forces the great majority of men to work for them ? Surely, our pride as well as our self-interest and sympathy with mankind, generally, ought to force us into more dignified and properly compensated operations.
The secret of the ease with which the millionaires force men generally to work overtime for them, while they accumulate the products of their energy, lies hidden from the most of us in the fact that there is a false measure of value the rich mans money, which can be used exclusively by them, instead of a supply of producers and consumers money, which would facilitate the exchange of the various products and conveniences of life which could be used for the benefit of all men.
The governments have delegated to the rich the privilege of making the money and charging the rest of us for its use. And the greatest burden of our entire social system is that placed upon us because men are privileged to speculate and gamble in our false money. Neither gold, silver, nor paper are worth anything as money if we take from them the support of the government. Why should we lend our governmental power in order that either gold or paper shall be dignified with a government fiat without consideration ? Why should we make it legal tender, and enable the special privileged persons to whom it is given to use the special government stamped gold, or engraved and printed paper as a means of making us pay for the extra value the Government adds by its guarantee ? It is even worse than that, for when acting in our governmental capacity if we wish to borrow the government stamped gold and the government fiat paper from those to whom the stamp was given, we are forced to pay usury. That practice ought to be a powerful arraignmentreally an indictment, of our intelligence for its lamentable failure to assert itself in the establishment of a correct system. Have we the intelligence and perseverance to prosecute the indictment until the conviction is complete ? If we have, the conviction will free all mankind from its present state of bondage, because, contrary to the practice in criminal jurisprudence of paying the penalty or serving the sentence after the conviction, in this case we have already paid the penalty.
What is it that makes money of a piece of gold, or of a slip of engraved and printed paper ? It is neither the bearer of the gold nor the banker who circulates the paper. It is the Government guarantee of the peoples credit and support that gives it currency. Not a cent of the value that is in the gold coin, excepting its worth in the sciences and the arts, rightfully belongs to the owner of the bullion. Not a penny in a bank bill, whether it be a five, ten, or greater number of dollars, rightfully belongs to the banker until he has paid for it the same as the rest of us are obliged to pay in order to get them. Whatever power of purchase there is in either, exclusive of the base metal value in the one and the trivial paper value in the other, is purely of governmental originand that is the peoples credit.
If we were to take from the gold coin the governmental legal tender stamp, it might not be worth 10 per cent of its present value, and if we were to do the same with the bank bills they would not sell for a cent a pound. But we who by the sweat of our toil support these, have given them to the special interests to juggle with and manipulate, thereby creating millionaires and idlers on the one side, and paupers and toilers on the other. It is this money that we support and give to the rich to juggle with that makes the products of our toil of comparatively small service to ourselves.
The high cost of living is traceable to the failure of the Government to exercise its functions to regulate the value of money. The Government stamps its fiat on gold and paper, but the stamping process favors the interests alone and results in their controlling the peoples products. This fact has so complicated our industrial and commercial relations that we have financial gamblers, speculators, and unbearable complications as a result. It seems to have reversed the very purpose for which we live, and in the greedy struggle for individual wealth civilization trembles in the balance. All men compete for the possession of the money that by a single act could be demonetized, a true money created, and the world delivered from its bondage to Mammon.
It seems almost superfluous to refer to the fact that money should be of stable measure in purchasing those things which are required to supply the daily requirements of men, but that is not the kind of money we now have. As we have already observed, we use the rich mens money and pay them so great a usury that most of our time is occupied in toiling to earn it. The rich mens money is scarce or plentiful, according to the manner in which they use it, and their dollars vary from time to time in their purchasing power, which renders them an unstable standard, one on which men cannot depend.
Is there any more reason why the men who get the gold and those who secure bank charters should be able to come to us, and demand that we the peoplethe Governmentshould coin the gold and engrave and print the paper and impress on these a fiat and legal tender character, while they manipulate and gamble in our products, than there is that we should use wheat, corn, cotton or any other product of our labor or land, or even applied labor itself, as a basis on which to establish credit, and we the Government fix a measure of legal tender based upon these commodities and the properly applied energy of men as a security ? If we are going to continue that practice, we should be impartial and establish it for the benefit of all men and not for a favored few. Unfortunately, we have been educated to extend personal and special property favoritism which has resulted in the formation of an aristocracy by those so favored. They have segregated themselves and appropriated most of the advantages that have resulted from new inventions and better methods of application. They appropriate most of the enjoyments of life, while the rest of us are forced to toil and struggle in order to support the system that makes the present social and industrial conditions possible. The people have secured comparatively few of the advantages of the system that has permitted the few to be immeasurably extravagant and inconsiderate of the general welfare.
Let me instance the following as an apt and timely illustration of the above.
April 22nd, 1909.
To Hon. CHARLES A. LINDBERGH,
House of Representatives.
DEAR SIR :
On Thursday of this week the Woolworth Building in New York City, the highest building in the world, is to be opened with a banquet.
More than one hundred Members have already signified their acceptance of the invitations to be present at this banquet. For the convenience of the Members of Congress a special train de luxe will be run from Washington to New York, leaving the Union Station at Washington on Thursday, 10:55 A.M., arriving at New York at 3:55 P.M. Limousines will meet this special to convey the party to the Waldorf-Astoria.
Following the banquet in the evening, another special train will bring Members back to Washington, arriving here at 8 A.M.
We would very much appreciate your presence at this banquet. A ticket of identification, providing for a round-trip passage on the special train, and all incidentals, is being mailed you from New York. These tickets are not transferable, however. The courtesy will be appreciated if you will notify Mr. H.T. Hatfield, care of Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C., of your acceptance.
Kindly do your utmost to be with us on this happy occasion.
Very sincerely yours,
I do not cite the above as an exception, for things of that character are the common practice. It is probable that in this case there are no axes to be ground. It may have been a mere courtesy to invite the Members. But we do know that things of this kind are going on all of the time and they have a tendency to make people believe them to be right, whereas they are absolutely wrong. The invitation, if generally accepted, would involve a cost of many thousands of dollars for the entertainment of the Congressmen alone. The total cost of such an entertainment would be charged to the cost of the building and added to the rents paid by the tenants, and the tenants will charge it back to those whom they serve, and finally it will come back to be paid by the people. Considered from a broad viewpoint, there is only one proper way to act in all of these matters in order that they should be fair, and that is to have every person pay for what he gets and get pay for what he does for others. If that were done we should have no paupers and no poor in the degree that we now have. It is this special favoritism that is being so extensively practiced in all sorts of ways that is doing so much mischief. President Wilson set a good example when he announced that he would not accept any gratuitous offerings from theatres, clubs or other source. To those who are unfortunate and in need we ought to give, but those who are able to work ought to be properly paid for what they do, and afterward pay for what they get.
I have been waiting patiently for several years for the opportunity to expose the false money standard and to show that the greatest of all favoritisms is that extended by the Government to the Money Trust. I realized that no person possessed within himself the power to bring this stupendous problem before all of the people-and further, that the psychological time would have to come in order that the people should take an interest and study and understand it sufficiently to reinforce the efforts of any person undertaking to present the real truth (and practically the whole of it) concerning the present system, and that that time would probably be when the Money Trust and special interests were seeking to further gouge the people. I knew further that eventually these greedy soulless creatures would attack their own standardthe GOLD DOLLARbecause great as has been its aid in helping them to enslave humanity and absorb the results of the peoples energy, it could not satisfy their increasing greed. That greediness knows no limit, and they are now attacking their own system because it does not give them as much power as they desire. Under its present form they control the finances and consequently the industries. But, they now wish for still more. They would further defraud the people, and while they seek to prove that the gold standard is false, they still seek to retain it as a measure, by advocating a new standardization of it. Their own struggle to prove the falsity of the gold standard, after all of the years they have spent in teaching the people to believe in it as sacred and inviolable, has brought about the psychological time for the people to impress upon themselves the whole truth concerning money and the present financial system. You will find my conclusions on the subject in the next chapter.