HOW MONEY DOMINATES
HOW THE POLITICAL MONEY SYSTEM PERVERTS
ALL ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES AND POLITICAL
POLICIES AND BREEDS WAR
As has been stated, the purpose of money is to split barter into two parts so that the seller is free to find his source of supply later and elsewhere. This is the sole purpose of money. Any effort to use money to serve another purpose is perversive; and this statement condemns the entire managed money philosophy.
In a succeeding study (No. 5) we will have a complete definition of money. At this time an effort is made to bring our minds into accord, as to the source of money, by the following challenging statement:
There has never been and can never be an issue of money except by a buyer in the act of purchase.
Any effort made to refute this statement (and strong effort to do so should be made) will bring a great clarification of the subject. But we must understand what "issue" means. Paper and ink or coinage do not make money. These are but evidences of intent to issue. They have no more significance than writing a check and leaving it in your check book. No actual issue can take place until there has been an exchange for value. In other words, issue is not effected until accepted by the seller who surrenders value therefor. Issue is solely a concomitant of purchase, and inseparable from it. This being so, it follows that there can be no such thing as political power to issue for the community; no vicarious money power. To issue money, the issuer must buy.
When a government issues money it exerts merely its economic power to buy and not its political power. A government's political power over money is purely negative, in that it fails to sponsor the economic power of others as buyers to issue money. When it grants subsidies or pensions or any other benefits, it merely relaxes its negative power and sponsors the power of the recipients to issue money to the extent prescribed. No issue takes place, however, until the recipients of the alloted money power issue it by some purchase. Government cannot grant the issue power to the citizen; it can merely give sanction to the natural issue power which resides solely in the buyer, and which he can assert without sanction by the use of a unit other than the Government unit. Nor can the citizen delegate the issue power to the government; it cannot be delegated or conferred, it is inherent in the buyer. The prohibition by government against the private issuance of money applies solely to the political unit; there is no prohibition against the private issuance of a private money unit.
If it is a fact - and it is - that money can spring into being only from a buyer in the act of purchase, and that no one, whether government or private individual or institution, can issue money for another - we are obliged to answer this all-determining question:
Which buyers shall be permitted to exert their natural money issuing power; and which shall not, and why?
We will deal with this question when we reach the constructive part of our study. The purpose now is to show that the question has been answered in the political money system, thus:
The national government is the only buyer that by right can issue money and it can release the power in others at its discretion.
So we see that the political money system follows the divine right theory and ignores natural rights. It is by far the most subjecting tenet of autocracy ever asserted; and the denying of it offers man the greatest liberation ever attained by the assertion of human rights.
Let us trace the consequences of this, the postulate of the political money system. Having asserted exclusive money issuing power, the government is immediately confronted with problems inevitably springing from a false premise. The first is:
How can the constituency support the state without private enterprise and how can private enterprise function without money-creating power?
Obviously, this exclusion, unless modified, defeats politics as well as private enterprise. The state, by its own spending, provides some circulation, giving to the recipients of its patronage, the power to release, by further buying, what money they receive therefor. But this is not enough for the economy. Some additional supply must be created. By the postulate of the political money system the entire nation of citizens is declared incompetent to issue money - yet, since the state can issue money only by buying, there is not (unless the state goes extensively into industry) enough money for the economy. What is the solution of the dilemma?
By a mental quirk the conception is hit upon that although a citizen is not responsible enough to create political money, he may be competent to create substitute or credit money. But this brings another problem. How can the state, which professes to be democratic and impartial, grant credit to some and deny it to others? A solution of this problem is found by delegating to bankers the power to "loan" at their discretion; and laws are passed to authorize them to permit business men to "borrow" and thus create, not political money, but a substitute private money. By this pross the state hides behind the banker, and escapes the political embarrassment of separating the sheep from the goats. The banker thus becomes a sub-autocrat over private enterprise, and a double standard money system is created, i.e., a primary and secondary or substitute.
In the process of "loaning," the banker authorizes the "borrower" to create private bank dollars; but the note evidencing the "loan," the deposit created thereby and the checks drawn against the deposit, all use the simple word "dollar" without qualification. Thus private or substitute dollars and political dollars become mixed in bank deposits and a double standard is thus established though without differentiation on the banks' books, thus bringing a train of delusions.
Since the government does not provide the banks with political dollars to loan, the banker must utilize promise-to-pay dollars; but these are based on false representations - since there are not, of course, enough political dollars available to make good the promises to pay political dollars. Having, however, given the banker a monopoly on the business of licensing business men to create substitute money, the government finds it must put a limit upon the banker's avarice and accordingly provides usury laws. But the banker is under no law requiring him to "grant loans" - while business is under the necessity of seeking loans. Hence - to induce the banker to make "loans" – other considerations are offered, and this explains how the banker gains a powerful position in industrial and mercantile corporations. The political money system, we shall see, is the creator of the very monopolies the government professes to be opposed to and against which it passes futile laws.
What actually exists, though arrived at by error rather than design, is a conspiracy between the government and the banking interests to put private enterprise in a position whereunder it must pay tribute to the money lender to gain the exchange power it needs to function, and which, if it were intelligent enough, it could provide for itself without consent or tribute payment. This conspiracy develops an aristocracy of business, composed of those who are recipients of immunity from the prohibition against the assertion of money power. The grant ofimmunity comes from the throne, vicariously issued through the banker. This aristocracy, by reason of the competitive advantage it enjoys (due to a money power it is permitted to exert, but which is denied to others) throws the burden of the cost of the tribute system upon the ostracized part of the community. Thus competition becomes perverted - producing a perverted enterprise system.
As we have seen, the political money system consists of two wings, the government and the banks, and two kinds of money, political and private substitute. Let us examine its functioning. Assume first, a government of limited functions and expenditures and a balanced budget. Such government creates through its expenditures an amount of circulation that is inadequate for the economy. The deficiency must be supplied through the banks (insofar as they permit) and thus a conservative government magnifies the importance and power of the banks.
There has always been a mystery about the banking function but it is very simple. The banker is authorized by the government, within limits, to "loan" money to "borrowers," and this involves the following process: The bank credits the account of the borrower with a sum as a deposit against which the borrower may draw checks which will be honored by the bank on presentation. The bank holds a claim upon the borrower for the amount of the loan, plus interest, which is payable at a later specified date. As the borrower writes checks he creates private substitute money which, with any unused credit remaining in his account, is sufficient to meet the principal of his note when due - provided he can retrieve the money he has given out before that date. He does not and cannot, however, create the sum necessary to pay the bank its interest. This sum must come, if at all, from the supply of political money.
The idea, therefore, that the banker creates money is upside down. He actually depletes the money supply of private enterprise by setting up against it an obligation to deliver a sum (the interest) for the creating of which no power has been granted to the "borrower." To illustrate: assuming the annual rate of discount to be 6%, the banker credits the account of the borrower 94 and holds his note for 100. The deficiency of 6 cannot be created by the borrower and must be extracted from existing money supply, which can only be political money since the deficiency in substitute money exists also in all other bank loans. Thus at a rate of 6%, the banker creates over a period of ten years a 60% deficiency between the money created by the loaning process and the sum of the debt incurred thereby. This deficiency is held in suspense during the illusive "boom" phase - but manifests itself when the call or "depression" phase occurs. It is plain, therefore, that the banking system is the manufacturer of the business cycle of boom and depression that develops through the positive action of loaning and the negative action of calling loans. It is also plain that its basis is a conspiracy between the state and the banking system against private enterprise, since the banking business and its function are the result of government's assertion of money monopoly, and of the denial of money power to private enterprise, except as licensed by the banker on the perilous basis just outlined.
Contrary to popular belief, the banker is neither a money creator nor a money lender. He merely profits from the ignorance of businessmen by charging them for authorizing them to create money, a function that is natural to the buyer and which he can exert without cost if he is intelligent enough to form a reciprocal enabling pact with other buyers. The process involves no cost and, therefore, justifies no fee. Since the money is created only by the act of buying, the banker, of course, does not lend it, and since he is not the buyer, he does not create it. Money cannot be loaned or borrowed until it has been created by the act of buying. Therefore it is correct to say that a savings bank makes loans, but a commercial bank makes no loans. It merely permits "borrowers" to create money. thus increasing the money supply. Non-banking corporations, individuals, pawnbrokers, etc., loan money from the existing supply. Therefore interest may be justified in these cases of actual loans, whereas, it cannot be justified where the "borrower" is the actual creator.
Political policy may vary the effects of the political money system, but it cannot bring virtue out of a vice. In the foregoing example we assumed a conservative government policy which resulted in magnifying the power of the banking system over private enterprise with its evils climaxing in the deflation phase of the business cycle. Let us now contemplate a spendthrift government policy.
SPENDTHRIFT FISCAL POLICY
By emitting large sums of money through public works and bureaucracy and extending loans and distributing bonuses, subsidies and benefits - the state relieves the economy's need for petitioning the banker, but this does not dispose of the banker. It merely alters his status; since the government loans, that create new money, still go through his books. It may seem absurd for the government, which has declared itself the sole fountain of money, to go a-borrowing to the banking system which it has created to authorize the creation of substitute money, but political expediency dictates this course. Having, by its spendthrift policy, diminished the banker's private loan business, it must provide for him. By going through the motions of "borrowing," the government provides for the banking system a subsidy without which the system would collapse - thus causing economic hardship, since the banks serve a very essential purpose in check clearance. So the government, which is the sole money authority, goes through the make-believe of borrowing from the banks - even though it could write checks on the Treasury with the same force and effect as if drawn on a bank depository.
This process - of going into debt by the government - produces an entirely different effect from incurring of debt by private "borrowers." A private "borrower" can produce only private substitute dollars by the promise-to-pay process. When the mixture of substitute dollars in the pool of political dollars reaches the saturation point and the banks begin calling "loans" and depositors begin demanding cash, somebody is bound to be caught short. These are usually the marginal enterprisers who, being on the outer fringes of the banking perimeter, must default to their banks (which are usually the smaller banks) thus forcing them also into bankruptcy. Thus money supply is diminished by wiping out deposits, depression is suffered for a period, bank competition is reduced and the cycle renews itself by a new season of bank "loans." Not so, when the government does the borrowing and distributing of money.
The private borrower-spender creates substitute dollars which mix but do not blend with political dollars. Sooner or later they are extracted by the process of deflation and bankruptcy. When the government borrows it pledges itself to supply currency money on demand and as it creates additional supply, but, under a natural law of money that old, making a new or weaker unit. Being the sole money power, the government has unlimited power to create additional supply, but, under a natural law of money that it cannot suspend, it automatically reduces the power of each unit in the market place unless there is an equivalent goods supply. In no event, however, is there any hazard by banks in "loaning" to the government; since, regardless of how much the unit falls in power, the same affect is had upon the bank's deposit liabilities as upon its "loan" assets. In other words, there is no double standard of dollars and substitute dollars when the government "borrows", for the government can print and deliver any amount of cash demanded. Thus the old and new dollars are indistinguishable from each other and are of the same power. Therefore no public or bank panic can arise to precipitate deflation and hence there is no safety valve in political inflation as there is in bank credit inflation.
Only one action can bring deflation from political inflation. That is the deliberate purpose of government to do so by switching from a deficit budget to a surplus budget, thus making a net deduction in the money supply. This being politically inexpedient, the nearest approach to a corrective that may be expected is a discontinuance of added inflation by the adopting of a balanced budget policy.
END OF BANK CREDIT CYCLE
In the political spendthrift policy, banker profit is no longer the motive of money expansion, for the banker is now reduced to a subsistance rate of interest and loses all opportunity to gain commercial and industrial ascendency; since his loans are no longer to private enterprise but to government. Political expediency - rather than profit - is now the criterion; and in acting as dispenser and lender of money, government gains direct control of private enterprise.
Pressure groups now form and march on the nation's capitol, and money power is distributed under the vague profession of being in the public interest - but is always received by particular interests. After this process establishes a definite trend, we see how the political money system reacts against the government with a disease that endangers both the state and private enterprise. This is the disease of inflation.
Because it requires super-human courage to deliberately reverse the inflation by adopting a surplus budget - or even to arrest it by a balanced budget - only two courses lie open to the government. These are, (a) to continue the inflation until the money unit is destroyed and the economy is thrown into chaos and thereafter adopt a new unit, or, (b) take over private enterprise and by summary process destroy exchange; in short, adopt communistic dictatorship.
Thus we see that private enterprise is constantly in the throes of one type of cycle or another. The banking cycle inevitably follows from a conservative government policy; and the inflationary cycle inevitably follows when the government acts as the money provider. The private enterprise system is merely a football that is kicked by banker or government and the goal posts are cycles of one type or another. In either process there are large segments of the community that are touched but little by the flush phase of the cycle; they are in want in both types of cycles and both phases thereof because they are not permitted to invoke the money power in either case.
The very essence of the principle of private enterprise is the power to acquire and dispose of property. Since to acquire or dispose of property requires exchange and since the government or its creature, the banker, may veto exchange by withholding the exchange media, it can be seen that there is no private enterprise system in the full sense. Ours is, and has been from the beginning of political money, a political enterprise system, completely dominated by government directly or through its satellite, the banking system.
There is an analogy between the patent granting power of government and its money granting power. When a citizen invents a device, the government grants him, through the patent office, a monopoly on the sale of it. When a citizen produces anything, he is at liberty to use it; but, if he wishes to sell it, his ability to do so is dependent upon his ability to find someone who has the money. Since buyers can have only such money as the government distributes through its purchases, loans and gifts (or such substitute money as its creature, the banker, will authorize) it may be seen that buying is subject to grant, just as, in the case of a patent, selling is subject to grant. In the case of patents, the patent holder is the grantee of veto power; in the case of money, the banker is the grantee of the veto power. These two are the breeders of our monopolies and of the two, the money granting and vetoing power is by far the greater. It in fact makes possible the acquisition of the patent granting power from inventors who, not having money power, are obliged to sell to those who have. The government, which promulgates laws against monopolies in restraint of competition, is itself the author of these twin creators of monopolies.
The political money system cannot help but operate adversely to the small enterpriser because his capital resources, on which banking credit is based, entitles him to such a small credit that the process of qualifying involves an expense far out of proportion to the possible interest income for the banker, and his profit possibilities are too limited to excite in the banker desire for participation. Therefore, probably 95% of all enterprises are below the banking line. The usury laws are, in effect, laws against loaning to small enterprises because they confine loans to sums that are profitable at the maximum rate stipulated. Thus enterprisers are divided between the aristocratic monopolists and the ostracized "untouchables." While the little fellows must engage in cut-throat competition, the big fellows have only a modified competition. To get from the nether to the upper level, the investment banker offers to smaller units the escape of amalgamation and thus he sits in on the profits and management of the new aristocratic corporation which thus acquires a competitively privileged position over the remaining nether group. Thus the political money system forces bigness as a means of survival. To be little is to be excluded from money power.
Unless we find a method whereby each enterpriser shall be able to create exchange power commensurate with his size, we practice only sham competition and make a mockery of so-called free enterprise.
It must be obvious to any thinking person that our progress from primitive to modern standards is due entirely to the specialization of labor and that specialization of labor implies the efficient producing of commodities that are not directly usable by the producer. This implies the necessity of facile exchange of products between producers, and that production can only be as profitable as exchange is facile. Therefore; whatever limits the facility of exchange limits the efficiency of production since production beyond the capacity of exchange is waste.
EXCHANGE IS BARTER
Exchange proceeds by barter, always has and always will, since values will exchange only for values. The introduction of money into the exchange process is merely to split barter into two parts so that each part may seek and find its reciprocal. Thus we see that we do not abandon barter; its essence remains, only its operation is improved. It would be shocking to our sense of freedom if the government, or a creature of government, should try to make whole barter transactions subject to special permission. We would denounce it as intolerable tyranny. Why is it that we tolerate the idea that split barter can take place only when the trader holds a certificate (money) issued or authorized by government or a substitute certificate issued by a banker? Why is it that a whole barter transaction needs no license, while a half barter transaction requires it? Why is it that a shoe maker and a pants maker can exchange their products without interference, but if they wish to buy one another's products by means of money, they are subject to a veto power?
How can we possibly develop the full inventive and productive genius of man when such a veto power exists over private enterprise? How can there possibly be free competition and fair play when the power to defeat it lies in the hands of political usurpers and their grantees? How can a government, however well disposed, possibly provide money for private enterprise since, as we know, it cannot issue it without buying, and the more it buys the more it invades private enterprise and develops state ownership? If the producer of wealth cannot invoke the money power to exchange that wealth, is not wealth production hampered and need we seek any further for causes of our economic and political maladies? Is it extravagant then to say, that our economic and political ills are all traceable to our false money system? Why must our genius for increasing production be forever thwarted by man's inability to requisition his production into consumption?
The political money power which involves an unnatural function of the political system asserts a dictatorship that perverts not only business but government itself - as autocratic power must always do. It is idle for us to debate the comparative merits of democracy and dictatorship when the die is already cast by the government's usurpation of the money power. The ability of the citizen to control the government simply does not exist while he is put in the position of a suppliant to such government. Since money is indispensable to us and since government controls money, we must beseech the government and thus we are subjects - not citizens. This process of winning governmental benefits begins as paternalism; but, as larger numbers seek to secure special favors, its paternalism develops either into communism or political and economic convulsion. We cannot be freemen as long as we are money slaves; and under the political money system our subjection becomes progressive.
Compare the states of the American Union with the Federal Government, and the virtue of government without money power, and the vice of government with that power, is apparent. Yet the states are not entirely without money power - since they can create substitute money through the banking system, just like private corporations. But this power is limited, because the banker is under the same caution and hazard when loaning to state and local governments as when he loans to private borrowers. They become hazardous risks if they maintain an unbalanced budget.
The states are really nations that have mutually agreed to waive their rights to raise tariff and trade barriers, coin money and make war. They never intended to surrender their sovereignty to the Federal government and of course, under the ignorance that has universally prevailed, never realized that in surrendering the money power to the Federal government they were impairing their sovereignty and subordinating themselves, nor did Alexander Hamilton and his contemporaries contemplate such eventuality. But it turns out to be so.
A money power government inescapably draws power to itself at the expense of those that have surrendered this power because the money power, as we are now finding out, is a very deceptive taxing power. A non-money-power government must, at least, approximately balance its budget and to do so must levy obvious and painful taxes. Thus the constituency, conscious of the cost of government, holds such government in check. Also, since such government is not a fountain of money, it is not the object of money pressure groups and hence does not develop bureaucracy.
Contrast this with the Federal government which is the money sovereign. It is the fountain of money, and can emit money without regard to tax levies, and therefore is not under effective taxpayer restraint. It can also meet any call for funds by money seekers, and of course it attracts them. With the constant bids it receives for grants or loans or subsidies or expenditures it is in position to win concessions from the petitioners; and becomes the logical overseer of such funds, developing naturally a bureaucracy and assuming more and more governing functions.
If it decides to distribute the costs of a program over the states, these states must raise their share the hard way through taxes, while it provides its share the easy way, by merely borrowing and increasing its deficit. If it were obliged to present the bill promptly to the taxpayer, as the states must do, the taxpayers would protest and end the largess. But the taxpayer is kept under the illusion of getting something for nothing until a later day of reckoning. The policy of deficit financing, which is a policy of partly deferring taxes, has been going on for twelve years with pyramiding effect. It cannot now be stopped short of collapse. The unlevied taxes which constitute the deficit will break upon the citizenry with catastrophic suddenness through the process of inflation, leaving them bewildered as to the cause. Yet inflation, in its runaway phase is but the breaking of the tax dam that is hidden behind the deficit. Through higher prices the people must pay their delinquent, though unlevied taxes.
What we have in the United States is 48 democracies crowned by a monetary autocracy that is subordinating these democracies and their citizens by its money power. It is a law and power unto itself. Both the citizens and their state and local governments must approach it hat in hand for it controls the life blood of the nation. It is imperiling both the economic and the political structure.
Political government is a social system whereunder the citizen, in whom the primary sovereignty resides, surrenders a part of his natural freedom in exchange for real and fancied benefits; but the well-spring is always the citizen and the flow of power cannot be reversed. This is the democratic ideal. Under the American system our states are the repositories of sovereignty from the citizen and in turnconfer powers upon cities and other local governments within the state. In entering the Federation, the states surrendered certain powers to the national government - but not with the intent of subordinating themselves. What is it then that has subordinated them and magnified the powers of the Federal government? It is solely the money power which not only subordinates government but the citizen himself because money power is sovereignty. Take away man's money power and he has lost his sovereignty for he becomes a suppliant instead of a master. Let it repose in one government and not another and it will inevitably subordinate the one without it. Money power is the very essence of sovereignty and the failure by the citizen to assert it renders democracy futile.
MONEY POWER IS WAR POWER
The war making power of the U. S. Government and of every other national government is beyond the control of their citizens solely because of the political money power. How could Germany, Italy and Japan have prepared for war except for the deficit-making or money fabricating power? In short, how could any people be brought into aggressive war except by financial deception? Can war be planned or carried out on a cash basis unless the people are in favor of it? Certainly not. The money power is the war power; and the appetite for war in politicians is created by their frustrations in their domestic affairs - frustrations that are the result of the impossibility of operating a successful economy under the political money system. The political money system starves productive enterprise but finances lavishly the destructive activities of war.
If the government were obliged to come to the people for money instead of vice-versa, the people would keep government under control and operate their economy satisfactorily with prosperity and peace resulting. The peoples of the nations do not make war. For them peace is the natural and permanent order. Wars are planned and perpetrated by politicians and their diplomats; and the money power of government is the means by which the people are maneuvered into wars.
This does not imply that wars could not occur if the money power were exclusively in the hands of the people. It means that the veto power would be in their hands and the purpose of the war must be purely defensive, since it is inconceivable that they would finance aggressive war.
So, summing up, we find that the political money power makes constant economic war upon us; and, in the extremity of its frustrations, it takes our blood in military war. Old men suffer a life time of trials from it; young men suffer death at its hands.
Let this be said as an indictment of ourselves and our ignorance – and not of the motives of the men who run our governments. They (with few exceptions) are deeply concerned with the problems of private enterprise and public service and peace, and strive earnestly to make democracy work. We would not impugn their motives, but we would point out their follies and their failures. They, as well as private citizens, are victims of a system that could not work to the benefit of the state and industry even if the law makers and administrators were endowed with the wisdom of a Solomon and the virtues of a saint. Good motives are no justification for the violation of natural laws.
We have not even made a beginning in democracy by merely putting at the disposal of man an occasional ballot to choose who should he his governor under a system that is inherently paternalistic and autocratic. Man must have untrammeled command of a daily – an hourly ballot which he casts in the market place to support the things and services he desires and which he withholds from others and which he transmits to the state or denies it according as it merits his patronage. He must have the power to create this money ballot in a measure commensurate with his power to produce and serve his fellow man without hindrance from his servant, the state. The moment we limit or thwart or bias this money power, which is natural to man, and the very criterion of his sovereignty, we pervert democracy beyond the power of any political ballot or any parliament to remedy. Money power cannot be separated from democratic power without miscarriage and ensuing frustration - political and economic. Democracy implies the sovereignty of man; and, since man cannot be sovereign without the money power, there can not be democracy under the political money system.
Until, through the assertion of his money power, man can requisition from industry all he produces, and put government under his direct patronage, human aspirations will be unattainable.
Since to create or issue money is to buy, and there is no other way money can spring into existance, the government spending program leads inevitably to government ownership and dictatorship and citizen disposession and subjection. The challenge is clear. Either we shall assert, through our money creating and buying power, mastery over our economic and political affairs, or the money creating and buying power will continue to be asserted by government to our utter degradation.