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PREFACE

This book attempts to clear up the mystery of
money in its social aspect. With the monetary
system of the whole world in chaos, this mystery
has never been so carefully fostered as it is to-day.
And this is all the more curious inasmuch as
there is not the slightest reason for this mystery.
This book will show what money now is, what it does, and what it should do. From this will emerge the recognition of what has always been the true role of money. The standpoint from
which most books on modern money are written
has been reversed. In this book the subject is not
treated from the point of view of the bankers
as those are called who create by far the greater
proportion of money but from that of the
PUBLIC, who at present have to give up valuable
goods and services to the bankers in return for
the money that they have so cleverly created
and create. This, surely, is what the public
really wants to know about money.

It was recognized in Athens and Sparta ten
centuries before the birth of Christ that one
of the most vital prerogatives of the State was
the sole right to issue money. How curious that
the unique quality of this prerogative is only now
being re-discovered. The” money-power ” which
has been able to overshadow ostensibly responsible
government, is not the power of the merely ultra-
rich, but is nothing more nor less than a new
technique designed to create and destroy money
by adding and withdrawing figures in bank ledgers,
without the slightest concern for the interests of
the community or the real rdle that money ought
to perform therein.

The more profound students of money and,
more recently, a very few historians have realized
the enormous significance of this money power
or technique, and its key position in shaping the
course of world events through the ages. In this
book the mode of approach and the philosophy
of money is expounded in the light of a group of
new doctrines, to which the name ergosophy is
collectively given, which regard economics,
sociology, and history with the eye of the engineer
rather than with that of the humanist. It is con-
cerned less with the details of particular schemes
of monetary reform that have been advocated
than with the general principles to which, in the
author’s opinion, every monetary system must at
long last conform, if it is to fulfil its proper role
as the distributive mechanism of society. To allow
it to become a source of revenue to private issuers
is to create, first, a secret and illicit arm of the
government and, last, a rival power strong enough
ultimately to overthrow all other forms of
government.

THE ROLE OF MONEY

CHAPTER I

money fundsTHE PHILOSOPHICAL BACKGROUND.
ERGOSOPHY

It is now some sixteen years
since the close of the great event that dis-
played, for all to see, man and his would-be rulers
and mentors powerless in the grip of the forces that
their technologists had safely chained but that
war had let loose. There is a distinct under-
standing in the general consciousness ‘.that this
generation is witnessing the veritable birth-throes
of a new era dictated by the progress of physical
science, rather than owing anything to those
who have hitherto been most vocal in debate or
most prominent in the attempted direction of
affairs. There is a growing exasperation that an
age so splendid and full of the noblest promise
of generous life should be in such ill-informed
and incompetent hands.

The Monetary System Obsolete. Everywhere
now there is the dawning consciousness among
thoughtful minds that this age contains elements
not understood or contained within the working
rules of the older systems of government,
economics, sociology, or even religion, and that it
is due to new principles that have to be introduced
into the base and can in no wise be met by a
change in the superstructure of society. Even more
remarkable, almost incredibly so to those who
have been hitherto lost voices crying in the
wilderness, is the swiftly growing volume of
agreement that it is the obsolete and dangerous
monetary system that, primarily, is at fault. It is
this entirely empirical and defeatist body of
rules and conventions, that has grown up along
with the scientific expansion of the means of life,
that is responsible not only for the present
paralysis but also for the Great War itself. All
are agreed that here at least change is inevitable,
the only doubt indeed now being whether any
part of the system, which through a lack of imagi-
nation as to what might have been is still apt
to be described as having ” worked well in the
past “, can survive into the future.

The present book as dealing with the role
of money cannot fail therefore to be of funda-
mental importance, if it succeeds at all in filling
its place in the New World Series, which is nothing
less than to be a guide and a lamp to those whom
fate shall select to be the new leaders of the great,
though not of necessity violent, changes that
are close upon us. When the War forced
upon everybody’s attention the grave dangers
surrounding a scientific civilization through
the very immensity of the destructive powers
that science has put into the hands of nations
still thinking only in terms of brute strength,
the writer undertook an original examination
into the real physical foundations of the con-
ventions and half-truths that pass for economics,
and particularly into those underlying the
mechanism of distribution, which is, in a
monetary civilization, the money system. His
most significant conclusion, from which subse-
quent events have given him no reason to recede,
indeed it is now a truism was that nothing
useful can be done unless and until a scientific
money system takes the place of the one now
always breaking down.

The corollary, however, is never likely to be
popular with our professional politicians at least.
It was that, if such a thing were done, little else
in the way of arbitrary interference with and
government control over the essential activities
of men in the pursuit of their livelihood would
be required. Indeed, just as now not one in a
thousand understands why the existing money
system has such power to hurt him, so, if it were
corrected as here outlined, not one in a thousand
would need to know or, indeed, would know,
except by the consequences, either that it had
been rectified or how it had been rectified. For
the aim of the present book is to show how the
money system may be reduced to one of exactly
the same character as that of our standard weights
and measures.

30 Community_garden cooperation

The Community Standpoint. It will be
necessary to go more fully into the combination
of circumstances which make these matters at
once so vital to the social and economic health of
the community and so completely outside the ways
of thought that appertain to the individual and
guide him in his own private affairs. Much of the
difficulty is of course the deliberate use hitherto
of common terms in senses entirely novel and
often the opposite of those normally meant, as
for example cash and credit. Much also is due
to misconception as to what undoubtedly con-
stitutes wealth to an individual, when not the
individual but the community is in question.
Because of this, the technical study of money
calls in a peculiar way for powers of generalization,
and often, indeed, the complete inversion of ideas
as they appertain to the individual. These
factors have unfortunately been completely absent
not only from so-called monetary science but
to an equal and even more important extent from
the fundamental systems of orthodox economics
to which monetary science belongs.

Now, born of the troubled times in which
we live, there has been growing up from a number
of independent and at first sight quite unconnected
roots a group of doctrines which may be broadly
described as the application of the principles
of the sciences of the material world, physics
and chemistry, to economics and sociology.
They have a common feature in that they are all
due to the original thought of scientific men
mainly engineers and physical scientists more
interested in and accustomed to think in terms of
physical realities than in those of social or legal con-
ventions, and concerned hardly at all with the
problems and controversies of individual or
class economics, but with the significance of
broad general and completely inescapable
principles, in particular the principles of
energetics, in regard to welfare of whole communi-
ties as affected by the production and distribution
of wealth.

Social Importance of Energetics. In the
author’s opinion, at least, this new development
promises to be of far more ultimate and permanent
importance to the science of human welfare
than the earlier incursion of biology in the last
century which led to the doctrine of evolution.
This is because it imposes a rigid framework
of the fundamental physical laws, applying equally
to men as to machines, in which there is really
nothing controversial at all. The stock criticism
of such a mode of approach into sociological
questions would have been that men are not
machines, and that in economics, as in its
subdivision, money, psychological factors and
considerations are at least of equal importance to,
if indeed they are not of greater importance than,
the purely physical factors.

But that argument, unless it frankly postulates
a belief in physical miracles in the power of
the human mind to make, if it so will, 2+2=5
whatever it may once have been, is now largely
out of date through the extension of the exact
sciences into these fields. There is not, never
has been, and perhaps never will be any sort of
equality at all in importance between the physical
and psychological. In the sphere of distribution,
for example, or of money as the distributory
mechanism, all that psychology can do and
the same is equally true of ” banking ” as it has
become is to rob Peter to pay Paul.

Energy Theory of Wealth. One of the main
contributions of these doctrines is a consistent
energy theory of wealth and the sharp distinction
that results between wealth and the ownership
of a debt. This reveals much that is incontro-
vertible regarding the threatened collapse of the
modern scientific civilization, to give it its proper
name, though it is usually miscalled the
capitalistic civilization. True, ” Capital,” in its
proper physical sense, is its most distinctive
superficial feature. But in that sense Capital is
the unconsumable product of the irrevocable
consumption or expenditure of wealth necessary
to prepare for and make possible the new
methods of production. Owing to modern methods
of power production, much more of it is
necessary than with the old methods. Moreover,
it may be changeable for fresh wealth, but it
is not changeable into it. From the community’s
standpoint capital appears as debt rather than
wealth.

credit card debt money monopolyOrthodox economics has never yet been anything but the class economics of the owners of
debts. If its writers ever attempted any wider
social applications, they made themselves simply
ridiculous, as when one solemnly looked forward
to the millennium arriving through the accumula-
tion of so much capital that everyone would be
well off and comfortable, presumably by living
on the interest of their mutual indebtednesses.
Whilst in the sphere of international trade, till
long after the War, the dictum that a continued
favourable balance of trade w r as essential for
the existence of the strong nations implied the
continuation of unfavourable balances for the
weak. It was stated that this country was
threatened with disaster unless it contrived to
maintain the previous rate of foreign investments
returning abroad all that it received in the way
of interest and sinking funds in respect of past
investments, and if possible more than this.
These are good illustrations of the debt-view
of wealth and the substitution of social and legal
conventions for physical reality.

Ergosophy. It is convenient to give a name
to the group of interconnected but more or less
independent doctrines comprised under such
terms as Cartesian, Physical or New Economics,
Social Energetics, the Age of Plenty, and Techno-
cracy, including the implications of these doctrines,
in regard to the problems of distribution and the
new philosophy of money, with which this book
is more particularly concerned. A new word
Ergosophy will be employed for this purpose.
It means the wisdom of work, energy, or power,
in the purely physical sense. Mental or intellectual
activities, to which these three terms are often
loosely applied, are better referred to, rather, as
effort, diligence, or attention.

There are many reasons that render such a
new word or term desirable. So far there has
been no real social philosophy arising wholly
out of the universally obeyed laws of the physical
world. On the other hand, from the remotest
times, technology has been too apt to be con-
sidered merely a sort of slave or menial servant
to verbose, pretentious, and impressionistic
humane philosophies and religions. Indeed it
would hardly be a caricature of civilization, as
it has evolved up to now, to describe it as having
been attempting to compound for the injustice
of ascribing unto God the things that are of
Science by rendering unto Caesar the things that
are of God. Technocracy, in one at least of its
sources of inspiration, the suggestion of Thorstein
Veblen for the establishment of a Soviet of
technicians to take over the control of the world,
is probably one of the first collective dawnings
of this malversation. So long as we have simple
folk displaying a pathetic acquiescence in the
piety that renders thanks for all the good things
of life and ascribes them to the bounty of Provi-
dence, along with anything but simple folk who
totally disbelieve anything of the kind but
nevertheless do still believe implicitly in practising
much more forceful methods of obtaining them,
so long will civilization be a happy hunting
ground for the predatory and acquisitive and a
wilderness for the original and creative. The new
philosophy, by claiming for mechanical science its
rightful position as an equal in the trinity of
wisdom, should make it easier to render unto
Caesar the things that are of Caesar and to God
the things that are of God.

CC BY by ToGa Wanderings
CC BY by ToGa Wanderings

Wealth and Calories. In the first place
ergosophy rehabilitates with a precise meaning
that old-fashioned and indispensable word Wealth,
which the orthodox economist, knowing even
less of the alleged subject-matter of his studies
than the original founders of the subject, the
French Physiocrats, took too much for granted.
Originating, to him, ultimately somehow through
divine agency, he came to regard the acquisition
of wealth as tantamount to its creation. He
became obsessed with commerce and mercantile
exchange to the neglect of the technical principles
underlying all new production of wealth. To this
day we are in the grip of a mercantile system that
fritters away in distribution most of the advantage
gained in lightening the labour of producing
wealth. Involved in a mass of obvious incon-
sistencies, he seemed to resent the use of the
term wealth at all by those unlearned in his
sophistications. Even the orthodox are to-day
exceedingly sparing in the use of the word. The
discussion that has lately been greatly in evidence
in the papers as to the income necessary to
purchase, among other things, sufficient food
to support a family in health and work possesses
a significance that may perhaps have been missed.
The whole question centred round the number of
calories of energy contained in the food itself,
this to be proved, if necessary, by burning it in
a calorimeter. This is economics, even if it is
not yet recognized as such.

Marxism Obsolete. It ought never to be
forgotten that Victorian economics was essentially
class economics, in which only gradually and
tardily the actual producers of wealth as distinct
from employers and property owners were
considered at all. But we find things worse and
not better among the accepted doctrines of left-
wing and revolutionary movements. With a
clearer recognition of the social implications of
energy our political controversies appear mainly
as due to economic confusions. In an age when
men are more and more being displaced from
their function as physical labourers by purely
inanimate sources of power, and are in danger
of being largely by-passed out of the cycle of
production and distribution by automatic
mechanisms, it would be incredible, if it were
not true, that so large a part of the world should
be misrepresented as dominated by the doctrines
of Karl Marx as to wealth originating in human
labour. Every artisan must know that this is
not now true. The views of Marx on money
were even more out of date, relatively to his age,
than his views on wealth, and it was significant
in the evidence before the Macmillan Committee
that Marxists seem to have been the last to
abandon their primitive belief in gold as a currency
medium and in the gold standard.

"American corporate flag" by Jonathan McIntosh
“American corporate flag” by Jonathan McIntosh

Relations between Peoples and Governments.
If, as appears to be happening, these obsolete
ideas and the doctrinaires who exploit them are
rapidly losing their hold on the public, and if an
increasing body of people of all shades of political
opinion are wakening to the more fundamental
revolutions rendered inescapable by the progress
of science, it is possible to anticipate for this
and other countries not yet overtaken by revolu-
tion a very different and more reasonable, if
more prosaic, course of events. For it is no
progress, having absolved the Deity from the
function of universal provider, to set up the
Government in His place. Veblen was much
nearer the reality in substituting the technologist.
In the economic affairs of the nation, at least, it
would seem no bad thing if the ordinary practical
rules of business were followed, success and
honesty being encouraged by promotion, and
incompetence and corruption entailing dismissal
much as with any other paid officials.

Physical Interpretation of History. Nor does
history seem able to escape from much the same
charge as economics. If, in other revolutions,
we study not the actions and loudly proclaimed
motives of the contending parties but rather
the permanent and abiding fruits of the struggle,
there appears little if any resemblance. Historians
seem open to the charge of recording rather what
ought to have been happening according to their
one-sided philosophic preconceptions, than what
really happened. Actually, the successive political
factions appear to have gone on effectually
cancelling each other out until, by a process of
elimination, the new factors in the world which
permitted and, indeed, enforced a more satisfying
and intelligent mode of living were given freer
play. Then, and then only, the ferment subsided.
This, at least, is the interpretation of history
by Sydney A. Reeve, an American engineer who
has for thirty years been devoting himself to the
study of the great historic wars and revolutions
of the past, from the standpoint of Social
Energetics. His conclusion that these terrible
and devastating explosions could have been
avoided, and can in the future be prevented, is,
obviously, of prime importance in the present
state of the world. Human aspirations towards
progress may be taken for granted. Even in
total eclipse they are not dead, but only latent.
But whether they can achieve realization rather
than mere passive or active revolt, doomed in
advance to futility, is in the end a question of
the physical resources rather than the psychical
attitudes of men. Without an abundance, all
the more essential because of the destruction
these outbursts entail, the most valiant and heroic
strivings are vain.

The Truth about ” Materialism “. This may
sound like sordid and unrelieved materialism,
and may have an ominous ring in the ears of
many. Yet nothing but ignorance or worse could
make it appear so. It is better to listen to those
who have made the desert blossom as the rose
rather than to those who have made fair fields a
slime of mud and blood ; to those who have fetched
from the stars the cornucopia that suckled Jupiter
instead of those who empty it in the rivers and
the fire for fear of glut ; to those who would
let light and air into warrens and fight social
disease with food and warmth rather than drugs
and doles; who wait to loose into life the mount-
ing tide of wealth rather than watch it burst
its dams and leap again to the work of destruction
and death. Rather is it not terrible that men who
can do all these things are reckoned the mere
hirelings of miscalled humanists and idealists,
and are not supposed to be concerned whether
they are hired to create or destroy-! Even the
mules of the United States, we read, when the
boll-weevils, specially imported for the purpose,
failed to destroy the cotton crop to prevent
” overproduction “, refused to tread back into
the earth the growing plants. Whereas men,
with resources at their disposal ample to build
up a civilization of a magnificence and liberality
the world has never known, are now at their wit’s
end to invent new forms of destruction and waste
lest this new civilization should displace the old.

The Physical Origin of ” Progress “. Some may
see in ergosophy nothing but economic determin-
ism pushed to extremes. True, calories are
king all right in the sense that nothing whatever
can happen without sufficient expenditure of
them, a condition upon which humanists usually
find it convenient not to dwell. But this sort
of determinism the new doctrine deduces to laws
which do not arise from life at all, though all life
obeys them. That this is not or at least was
not merely trite and self-evident is clear from
the views of Marx, to whom the doctrine of
economic determinism is so largely ascribed,
as to the origin of wealth. If he had left out from
his definition of wealth the word ” human “,
and had said that wealth had originated in labour,
in the sense the physicist uses the word for work
or energy, he would have anticipated modern
views. Instead, he referred to the original founder
of this, perhaps the greatest of all scientific
generalizations, as ” an American humbug, the
baronized Yankee, Benjamin Thompson, alias
Count Rumford “.

But though now this be little more than a
truism, there is something much more positive
in these doctrines than the mere barring out or
subordination of human and religious factors
from the ultimate arbitrament of the fate of
communities. So far as the individual goes there
appears perfect free-will to utilize or not the
opportunities afforded by invention and discovery
in order to lighten the labour and multiply the
rewards of livelihood. But this free-will by no
means extends to his ability permanently to
prevent others from so doing. Reeve’s theory
of wars and revolutions is that they arise from
just this attempt, which is always ultimately
unsuccessful and disastrous. Whatever you may
choose to label the new view, it implies clearly
that human progress is predestined from below,
even if not initiated from above. At the best
men may be led on to higher modes of life, but
at the worst they are impelled from the rear.
But it leaves, as outside its province, the actual
form and nature of human progress to the other
members of the trinity, the biological and psychical
content of the age that may be in existence at
the time.

snow winter cold desolation poverty unemployment depression

The Doctrine of Struggle. Unpleasant and
shattering to many cherished illusions as this
may seem, it is, nevertheless, the key that best
fits our age, and none know it better than those
who have tried to spread the new evangel. As an
Australian writer recently well put it there
are many who cling to (for others not themselves)
poverty, insecurity, hard work, scanty living,
wars, starvation, and disease, as blessings in
disguise, necessary to goad and subdue this lazy
and unruly animal, man, and to protect him from
softness and decadence. This is the doctrine of
existence for struggle, rather than of struggle
for existence, and it is probably the oldest doctrine
in the world. It stinks of the East not the West.
If it is regarded as ” biological necessity “, the
physical imperative is even more categorical.
For in struggle man can not now exist he can
only destroy himself and be destroyed. Surely
it is rather crude biology, seeing that from its
earliest inception life has been doing little else
than dodge physical imperatives, to suppose that
man should at this epoch of his evolution suddenly
reverse his instincts and, of necessity, knock out
his brains against them. In truth, these ideas
have, as the Australian writer was careful to
point out, only a vicarious application, and the
biological necessity of death for the individual
is still the greatest insurance for the survival of
the species. The problem is, rather, educational
for the race to learn effectively to protect itself
against those who, learned mainly in the history
of the bygone bow and arrow ages, would use the
titanic weapons of science for race annihilation.

Men, it is true, in those ages may have been
goaded on by starvation to successful robbery
and theft of their neighbours, but, in this power-
age, progress has been due to the conquest of
nature and the by-passing of men. Whatever
may be the ultimate genie effect of the Great
War, it is generally admitted that the French
Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars have percep-
tibly reduced the average physique of the French
nation, and that now wars, since superior courage
and valour are much more likely to lead to swift
personal annihilation than ultimate survival, are
definitely and necessarily dysgenic. While on the
positive side, where courage and stamina are
essential to survival, in exploration of land, sea,
and sky, and in trying out and taming still
imperfectly understood new processes and
appliances to the use of men, science has provided
and is providing both opportunities and unavoid-
able necessities for facing and overcoming dangers
that would have blenched the cheek of the
legendary heroes of olden time. The fault, if
any, is rather with our poets for not suitably
immortalizing such achievements, but in that
field no one doubts the immense superiority of
the ancients over us, who in so many other respects
have very little to learn from them.

Modern Wars and National Debts. In point
of fact, again, are wars now merely for sustenance ?
Are they not waged to secure markets wherein
to dispose of the surplus wealth arising from
scientific production operating along with the
old practical law of wages ? (By ” practical law
of wages ” is meant the system that ensures
to the worker just sufficient to maintain him in
a mental and physical condition to allow of his
efficient conduct of his trade, craft, or avocation.
This is, of course, a direct inheritance of the age
of scarcity.) To put it quite bluntly, the purpose
of wars is to compel weaker nations to take this
surplus off the hands of the stronger, running up
debts, if need be, in order to pay for it. Then,
the threat of further war is necessary to ensure
that the debts and the interest on them shall
not be repudiated.

Bonus Army Clash solidarity riot protest

The Real Struggles. The struggle for existence
is now revealed as fundamentally a struggle for
physical energy, and the conquest of nature has
made available supplies vastly exceeding what
can be extracted from the unwilling bodies of
draught cattle and slaves. It is not the struggle
but the energy that is essential to human life.
The doctrine of existence for struggle, on the
other hand, is the oldest religion in the world.

It has never been anything but a religion of
the ambitious, dominating, and unscrupulous,
with either a race or a caste arrogation of superiority
over the races without or the herd within, an
assumption of licence to act treacherously and
injuriously towards aliens and those it deems
of inferior breed and to confine its standards
of honour and decency to those of its own blood
or order. It is a code that Christianity has actively
and passively resisted for two thousand years.
That fact is not unimportant. For between the
progress that has culminated in ergosophy and
the Christian religion there is an intimate connec-
tion. Indeed the former is in origin wholly the
product of the Christian nations of the West.

The Taboo on Scientific Economics. After the
War, a cry went up for scientific men to co-
operate with the financial, industrial, and political
authorities in solving the social evils that brought
on the War and which have since made Peace
nothing but a misnomer. But the strange and
unconventional conclusions of the few who had
brought to social problems the same searching
and original thought that they were accustomed
to apply in their own inquiries, frightened, not
the public, but those whose interest in such
problems is to keep them reconciled with things
as they are. Those who persisted in shedding
light on social evils and anomalies were deemed
impious, and the conclusions tabooed. But it is
the merest folly to suppose that in these days
any sweeping generalization that clarifies existing
great issues can be suppressed. Now that there
are signs that the Age of Plenty school of monetary
reformers is winning, and that the conspiracy
of silence on the part of the ” respectable ”
Press has failed, we may assess the cost. Fifteen
years of golden opportunity have been wasted,
the time having been devoted instead to the
exacerbation of the disease. Policies, which
now everyone knows were the exact opposite of
those required by the facts, such as economizing, or
producing more and consuming less, have worked
themselves out to their inevitable results. The
public is expected to believe that the misfortunes
that beset us are acts of God and that, though
we have the science and the necessary equipment
and organization to produce wealth in abundance,
it is beyond the wit of man to learn how to
distribute it. The problem, it is true, is new, and
the approach to it obscured, often intentionally,
by a mass of half-truths and once-truths. But
its solution has not been rendered any nearer
or clearer by the puerile effort of the post-War
era to suppress free public discussion of the new
doctrines, an issue that was fought out and won
in physical science in the time of Galileo.

Hitler & Mussolini - public domain
Hitler & Mussolini – public domain

Wars and Revolutions Result from Wealth. The
reader will no doubt be able to supply for himself
many striking confirmations of the theory that
wars and revolution result not from poverty and
misery but from the growth of wealth and the
futile attempt to resist its distribution. But two
striking ones that occur to the author may be here
cited. The first is as to the immediate and
incidental causes that precipitated the first
Kerensky Revolution in Russia. We were told
by intelligent and unbiassed Russians at the time
that it was neither starvation and poverty nor
the horrors of defeat in war but two exhibitions
of official incompetence so gross as to outrage
the deepest feelings of Russia. The one was the
mass conscription of the peasants long before there
were arms or barracks for a small fraction of them,
whereby a large proportion died from the pestilential
conditions engendered. Even from a purely
military standpoint they would have been far
better left at work on their fields. The other was
the loss of practically the whole of one season’s
crop of one of the chief grain districts of South
Russia during transference from barges to the
rail-head through its being dumped at a spot
universally known as being liable to sudden
autumn floods.

The second illustration is of more than
incidental purport. Olive Schreiner in the
introduction to her book Woman and Labour
tells how she came to regard it as almost axiomatic
that ” the women of no race or class will ever
revolt or attempt to bring about a revolutionary
adjustment of their relation to their society,
however intense their suffering and however
clear their perception of it, while the welfare
and persistence of their society requires their
submission “. They do so, in brief, when the
changed conditions make acquiescence no longer
necessary or desirable.

It is not suffering but unnecessary suffering
and misery that is the goad of human progress.
Precedent to the latter is the material progress
in the inventions and arts that give men power
over their environment, and happy indeed is
the age in which precedent also, and keeping pace
with the expansion of wealth, is progress in the
moral and spiritual sphere. For then we get not
revolution but renaissance. So in our day it is
not the agitator fomenting class-hatred who can
start, nor the airmen raining down bombs that
can stop, a revolution. But empty milk into the
Potomac ; import pests to destroy the cotton
crop ; burn wheat and coffee as fuel ; restrict
the production of rubber ; set up tariff-barriers ;
permit trusts, federations, cartels, and lock-outs ;
allow trade unions to develop ca’canny methods
to reduce output ; maintain in misery, insecurity,
and idleness masses of unemployed who are not
allowed to better their lot by making the very
things of which they stand in need ; and revolu-
tion in some form is not probable, but certain.
The ideas that govern men are outraged. Instead
of a few striking illustrations of incompetence or
worse they begin to see universal chaos instead
of order. Their institutions, so far from pro-
tecting them in their peaceful avocations on
which they rely for their livelihood, appear
leagued together to keep them in traditional
and unnecessary servitude and dependence. The
army begins to realize that it is officered by the
enemy.

The Monetary System Impedes the Flow.
Nor will any means avail to terminate or defeat
such a revolution, whether it is sudden or long-
drawn-out, violent or chronic, unless and until
the barriers that oppose the free and full
distribution of wealth from the producer to the
ultimate user and consumer are broken down and
the flow of wealth again fulfils the purpose for
which men have striven to create it. Since, in
all monetary civilizations, it is money that alone
can effect the exchange of wealth and the con-
tinuous flow of goods and services throughout the
nation, money has become the life-blood of
the community, and for each individual a veritable
licence to live at all. The monetary system is the
distributory mechanism, and this reading of
history therefore supports up to the hilt the con-
clusions of those who have made a special study
of what our monetary system has become. It is
the primary and infinitely most important source
of all our present social and international unrest
and for the failure, hitherto, of democracy.

A very slight knowledge of our actual existing
monetary system makes it abundantly clear that,
without democracy knowing or allowing it, and
without the matter ever being before the electorate
even as a secondary or minor political issue, the
power of uttering money has been taken out of
national hands and usurped as a perquisite by
the moneylender. Practically every genuine
monetary reformer is unanimous that the only
hope of safety and peace lies in the nation
instantly resuming its prerogative over the issue
of all forms of money, which, legally, it has never
surrendered at all.”  Frederick Soddy, The Role of Money: What It Should Be, Versus What It Has Become