In the previous issue of "Michael" (Part I), it was explained how money was created as a debt by private banks in the form of loans, which brings about disastrous consequences for society. The first conclusion was that a money system built on debt and interest can function in the long run only to create more debt. And this is precisely what has happened.
The second conclusion, which is perhaps not quite so easy to see, is that under this system a shortage of money is inevitable, making it increasingly difficult to buy goods. This shortage of purchasing power is now the topic of Part II of this series taken from J. Crate Larkin's booklet, "From Debt to Prosperity":
by J. Crate Larkin
Any attempt to portray the facts of our monetary system would be incomplete without some specific mention of the monopolistic nature of the control over money. We cannot appreciate the need for a 21st century scientific money system without knowing where the faults lie in the broken-down financial failure that now impoverishes us.
We have seen how the banks, in the process of their bookkeeping, create and destroy the money underlying our use of cheques. And we have seen how more and greater debt is the necessary consequence of this bookkeeping process. We may justifiably conclude that "The power of the banking system, through its functions of creating, expanding and contracting, regulating and destroying money, is incalculable, unparalleled and sinister." (Maurice Colbourne, Economic Nationalism, p. 151.)
"...over 97 per cent of the total money owned by the individuals of the nation is privately issued, and by far the larger part of it has no tangible existence whatever. It represents a debt owed to the individuals who own it, by the nation, enforceable by the law, which has, without the sanction of any national authority, been quietly added to the burdens of the nation by methods that resemble the tricks of the conjurer." (Prof. Frederick Soddy, Money versus Man, p. 19-20.)
President Wilson, speaking in 1916, pointed out that, "A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit – our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men who... chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom."
Since money is the medium of exchange for goods, the control of money means in practice the control of wealth itself. Moreover this control of money involves a parallel power of command over politics and business, influencing the economic destinies of producers and consumers alike.
"Being now in a position to realize the extent to which a modern industrial community depends for its well-being on a wise and disinterested money policy, we see that the real rulers of any country are those who hold the power of money issue and money restriction." (C. H. Hattersley, The Age of Plenty, p. 110.) The inevitable result of the monopoly of money is the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of those who own and operate the monopoly. "The monopoly of the control of the money system is the greatest over-riding monopoly of the world as it is worked at the present time." (C. H. Douglas, Oslo, Norway, Feb. 1935.)
Our criticism is not directed against the creation of money, but against the monopoly of the power to create it, a monopoly held by the banks.Right here we must understand a very important point. We are not in any sense criticizing bankers as individual business men. They are the unwilling victims of the system in which they work... It is the peculiar defects in the banking system itself that command our attention. In these defects and their consequences, through which the money-power controls every phase of our economic life, lie the main causes of our present privation and suffering. And these defects must be repaired before money can accomplish the purpose for which is is designed.
So far we have dealt mainly with money. Practically all purchasing power comes into existence in the form of credit, and though it may be transmuted into cash in its passage through the hands either of poor men who have no banking account, or of rich men who require pocket-money, it resumes the form of credit to be extinguished.
We have seen that the first fundamental defect in our money system is an artificial scarcity of money resulting from the monopoly over its supply and its creation as debt. The second defect is more subtle and, if possible, even more disastrous than the first, for it concerns the direct relation of money to goods. Its pinch is felt in every purse, from beggar's to millionaire's, since it involves the prices we must pay for the goods we need to live.
It is generally agreed that our trouble is not over-production but under-consumption, which results from a chronic shortage of buying-power. We must note carefully the word "chronic" for at any given moment the amount of money in our pockets is bound, under the present money system, to be insufficient to buy the total output of industry.
Why is this so? Let us recall again our picture of the shopwindow through which we looked at America's great store of wealth. On our visit to the store we were impressed with the million different items offered for sale, and the part which science plays in producing them.
As we look at the goods in this shop, we cannot help noticing the fact that every article on sale carries a price tag. Where do these prices come from? They are manufactured, just as goods are manufactured. We find in the shop two simultaneous processes of manufacture going on together. The first of these processes is a stream of real visible goods, articles of wealth we need and desire. The second is an almost invisible stream of figures in the form of prices. And these two streams – goods and prices – flow together side by side, uniting in the shop-window as goods for sale, with prices attached. Bearing this picture in mind let us see how prices become attached to goods.
Every factory is more than just a producer of goods. The goods it manufactures must sell at a price. And the price at which they sell must cover all the costs involved in their production. From the viewpoint of money, therefore, every factory produces not only goods but also prices. So that for every article of goods produced, a price is produced also.
Now how do we, as shoppers and consumers, get the money to equal the prices of the goods we wish to buy? In the workshop of wealth we found two streams flowing together, the first one a stream of real goods and the second, a parallel stream of prices attached to these goods. Now to complete the picture we have to add a third and last stream of money-tickets.
The stream of real goods and the stream of prices both flow out of the productive system. So also do all the money-tickets with which to buy goods come from the productive system. They come to us, the shopping public, as salaries, wages, dividends and profits. And the total of all of these payments to us is what we call the "buying or purchasing power of the Nation."
That personal income, derived from the productive system in return for services rendered, is the only shopping fund that the nation as a shopper possesses. It is all the money that the nation as shoppers has received to buy the price-value that the nation as producers has created.
So our incomes depend on business. Naturally we receive more money when the nation is busy producing and less when business slows down. But the most important thing that interests us is to compare, over any period, the number of money-tickets trickling out of industry to the shopping-nation with the price-values created in the shop over the same period. If the money received by Shopping-America were always exactly equal to the price-values created by Producing-America, then we could purchase all the goods we can produce. We might perhaps dispute about the distribution of the tickets but we would certainly have enough of them to buy our total production.
But we don't find this. Experience proves that it isn't true. What we find in fact is that the buying power of the nation, flowing from the productive system as wages and salaries and dividends, is much LESS than the price-values created in the same period. The two streams, buying-power and prices, do not move together, either in volume or in rate of flow. The stream of prices moving to the shop window flows much FASTER than the stream of shopping tickets to the shopping public. And the result is that our buying power lags chronically behind the price-values of the goods in the shop.
Now, the only title to go shopping, and that means to live, is the money payments distributed as buying power to shoppers. But the money distributed amongst all of us at any time is only enough to equal about TWO-THIRDS the price values in the shop.
That is a matter of fact and not a matter of theory. It can be proved by simple arithmetic. And it is confirmed by experience. We can see it in any business operating statement. Beginning in 1920, it was Major C. H. Douglas who originally pointed out the gap between buying power and prices. He discovered the constant lagging of buying power behind prices. He has revealed to us why we are poor in the midst of plenty. He has shown us the gap separating us from the wealth of goods we can produce.
In that gap between Buying Power and Prices lies the root cause of depression, of poverty and human suffering, of strikes and riots, of bankruptcy and business failures. On one side of the gap is plenty of goods. On the other side is a chronic shortage of money.
No wonder then that there are always more goods than there are buyers! No wonder we fight each other for these precious money-tickets! No wonder everyone has to look for employment in the shop in order to live. Those who can't work in the shop have to be supported by the rest of us through relief programs and charity. And so long as the gap separates buying power and prices, permanent business recovery is hopeless.
For example, we can easily understand this chronic shortage from an illustration showing how modern business operates. Let us consider a radio factory which has been in business for the past five years. The owner of the factory finds that his competitors are installing new labor-saving machinery, which reduces their costs below his own figures. He must have these new machines in his plant in order to continue business. He calls on his banker and asks for a loan of $10,000 to buy the necessary machines. The banker, who considers the plan a sound one, grants the loan, incidentally creating the $10,000, which our radio producer now owes him. The latter hopefully buys his machinery and installs it. He finds that the new machinery will replace ten men, who are no longer needed. So he lays them off. Their place is taken by the new machinery, which costs him only its depreciation and power charges. He saves the pay of these ten men, who lose their jobs and their wages. Here is a real loss of buying power, arising out of the replacement of men by machines.
The process of price building extends all the way from raw materials to the shop window, but we can look at a cross-section of it right here in the radio factory. The first thing we see is that every cost, including profit, which enters into the production of a radio must be charged into the retail price paid by the consumer. Otherwise the factory cannot keep operating. All costs must be recovered in prices. That is a fundamental business principle. If the radio manufacturer fails to recover all his costs he will soon be out of business.
In his operating statement which records all his costs and payments, there are two different and distinct kinds of costs. Therefore we will divide his total costs into two groups, calling the first group "S" or Shopper's costs and the second "B" or Business Costs.
"S" costs will be all payments that the factory makes direct to individuals, such as wages, salaries, bonuses, dividends, and profits.
"B" costs will be all payments made to other organizations, for such things as raw materials, machinery, light, heat and power, insurance taxes, bank charges, advertising expense, and all the other external costs that appear in a business operating statement.
Now all the "S" costs are payments directly into the hands of individual consumers, who can use them for shopping. These "S" costs therefore represent actual and immediate BUYING POWER. For the persons who receive them as salaries and wages, they are shopping tickets that can be used immediately to buy wanted goods.
But the "B" costs are payments to other businesses which in turn distribute them. It is of course true that eventually most of the "B" costs will some time reach the hands of individual consumers, but in the radio factory which is the particular cross-section we are observing at the moment, only the "S" payments actually reach individuals who can use them for shopping.
However, all the "S" costs and all the "B" costs must be charged into the total selling price of the radios if the manufacturer is to recover his total costs, plus a reasonable profit. Consequently, the total selling price of the radios he produces must include all the "S" costs as well as all the "B" costs. Therefore his selling price must be "S" plus "B."
Now we have an interesting picture. The only immediate BUYING POWER so far distributed in the production of the radios is "S," and obviously "S" alone is less than "S" plus "B," which is necessarily the price. Therefore "S," representing salaries and wages which are money payments to individual consumers, can never buy "S" plus "B" which is the price of the finished radios. As A. R. Orage writes, "It is a fact of present financial practice that industry cannot distribute enough money to consumers by wages, salaries, etc., to enable them to buy and enjoy the goods it produces."
Now when we, the shopping nation, want to buy a radio we must pay in its price all the costs involved in producing it. We pay not only for the radio but also for part of the costs of the machinery and other overhead charges of the radio factory. In fact we buy not only the radio alone, but also a part of the factory that produced it. In the price we must pay all of the costs involved in its production but we have only the money represented by the "S" costs to spend. That is all we receive for shopping.
So the situation under our present price system comes down to just this; there is a chronic shortage of shopper's buying power generated in the flow of business. The figures of research indicate that over a given period of time, out of the total costs of industry, the money available as purchasing power amounts to only TWO-THIRDS of the value of the total output. This shortage of buying power is inherent in the process of price building.
What makes this gap between buying power and prices? "Now while the fact of the gap is the important thing, the explanation of the gap offered by Major Douglas appears to me to be convincing. He says that much of the money put into the productive system as bank loans never, in fact, gets out as income during the same period in which it is put in. It is used simply to transfer capital goods from one factory to another, and thus while it adds to the price-stream, it does not add to the income of us shoppers."
From the shopper's point of view, retail prices come to us loaded with all the costs of production and distribution. They include repayment of bank loans, interest, depreciation charges on plant and equipment, and all other costs of production. All these costs must be paid for in the retail price we pay to buy the goods. But against them we have available as BUYING POWER only the thin trickle of shopping tickets that reaches us as salaries, wages, dividends and profits. So the more we borrow from the banking system to produce wealth, the wider grows the gap between buying power and prices. And meanwhile debt piles up to new high peaks.
But if this gap has always existed, why have we not felt it sooner? Why have the effects of the chronic lag of buying power become so apparent only recently?
The very word sooner points out the answer to this question. It is largely a matter of TIME. The word "chronic" comes from the Greek word meaning "time." The flow of money in exchange for goods and services takes time. We have been looking only at one cross-section of this flow in the radio factory. But the flow is as continuous as time itself. It never stops. And as soon as we look beyond this cross-section, and take in a longer period of time we shall see the same thing repeated over and over again.
At every point, just as we saw in the radio factory, the "S" costs are LESS than the total "S" plus "B" prices, so that, over any given period of time the total prices (S plus B) must always be greater than the total shopper's buying power (S). The payments of money to individual consumers who use the money for shopping are always lagging behind the prices of the goods that shoppers want to buy. And the longer the time the greater the lag.
If we go back to the radio factory to the maker of its machines, we find the same situation that we saw in the radio factory itself. And if we go still further back to the foundry that made the parts of the machines and even to the mining of iron ore, it is again the same story. All along the line the amounts of money distributed by industry as buying power are less than the price of the finished product. At the root of this lies the factor of time. The lagging of buying power behind prices is a time-lag. Time and money taken together give us a "rate of flow of money." The rate of flow of money payments to shoppers always lags behind the rate of flow of the price of goods.
At any given moment there is a shortage of the buying power necessary to equal prices. And this shortage is cumulative, it keeps growing larger. The flow of costs into price starts with the prime producer and builds up to the retail selling price which shoppers must pay for the goods they consume. These goods tend to flow through business in a straight line from the raw material producer to the consumer. It takes time to move goods from one step to the next. At every step along the line all the costs involved in this step, plus a reasonable profit, are added into the price of the goods. As shoppers we must pay the total of all these costs. But we have only the "S" payments to spend and therefore when the goods come on the market we can never pay "S" plus "B," the price of the goods we need. Even if no profits are added, we are always short of buying power.
The importance of this lagging of consumer buying power behind the flow of prices is especially noticeable when we consider the time it takes to produce and distribute any article of merchandise. For example, we may assume that a period of eight weeks is required to assemble a radio from raw materials and to complete its construction in the factory of a producer. A week later the producer sells the radio to a wholesaler. Finally after another week, the radio is sold to a retailer who is now ready to deliver it to a shopper. At every step along this ten-week line of production and distribution, salaries and wages (S costs) are paid to consumers. The wages paid during the first week are spent for food, clothing and shelter during the second week, wages paid during the second week are spent during the third week and so on to the end of the ten weeks when the radio reaches the retailer. At every point along the line the wage payments (S) are spent soon after they are received. Yet at every step the costs (S plus B) progressively pile up and when the radio reaches the retailer most of the salaries and wages out of which it must be bought have already been spent. As shopper's buying power they are no longer available. They have gone back into the bank accounts of business again where they are again divided into "S" and "B" costs. So buying power continues to lag behind prices.
Now let us remember how money circulates through business, beginning in a bank with a loan and ending with the repayment of the loan to the bank. The radio producer in our example has borrowed $10,000 to install his new machines. This $10,000 must be paid back to the bank plus accumulated interest. The producer must recover this money by including in the price of his radios not only repayments on the loan but also interest. So the public has to pay more than the producer has borrowed!
Now when the producer repays his loan, that $10,000 goes out of existence. It has disappeared although it is still charged in prices against the shopping public. That amount of money has been destroyed and the shopping public is left without a corresponding buying power. There is no way of putting into circulation again the money represented by the loan except by another loan from the bank for further production. When this occurs, the whole vicious circle is once more started. Even if bank loans are renewed instead of repaid, the money payments reaching the pocketbooks of shoppers keep lagging behind the price value of goods.
Thus we go round and round the circle of money and over and over the path of production. But our incomes never catch up with the prices of the goods we need and desire. We are like squirrels in a cage – we can make the cage go round but we can't get anywhere.
Our plight is still more serious when we remember that all of salaries and wages cannot be used to purchase goods. Some salaries and wages must be held as savings against emergencies and inevitable old age.
Money used for investment cannot be used for consumption. Investment diverts it back into further production thus creating a new set of costs with lessened buying power to equal them. So investment results in widening the gap between buying power and prices.
Whatever savings we can scrape together reduce our present buying of goods for consumption. As for hoarding, hoarded dollars are idle money, simply withdrawn from circulation.
As we have seen, the more automatic machinery replaces men, the wider becomes the gap between buying power and prices because salaries and wages are thus reduced, leaving other cost items proportionately increased. When we stop to realize that the gap is constantly widening as efficient machine-power rapidly replaces inefficient man-labor in doing the work of the world, it becomes evident that we are reaching the senseless absurdity of a maximum production and a minimum of consumption. Yet we wonder at the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty!
If you ask, quite naturally, how in that case the goods are ever sold at all, the answer is that there are more ways of killing a cat than choking it with butter. The gap can be artificially bridged even if it is not actually closed.
Here we find the final answer to our question – "Why haven't we felt the gap sooner? If this chronic shortage of buying power was always present why did its effects only become so apparent in 1929?"
To begin with, we must first recognize a fact necessary to supply the background for our understanding. Briefly, it is "that in the modern economic system the industrial side is subservient to the financial or money side."
A number of artificial stimulants have enabled our ailing financial system to conceal its weakness. "For instance, goods can be wilfully destroyed. Or they can be practically given away under the compulsion of bankruptcy. Or they can be disposed of in return for acknowledgement of debt, that is to say, by mortgaging our future income of money-tickets." But we shall have to content ourselves with listing the chief drugs that have postponed the breakdown of finance for adequate comment on them would require a volume in itself.
One of these drugs is credit cards: Since people do not have enough money, retailers must encourage credit buying in order to sell their goods: buy now, pay later. (Or should we say, more precisely, pay forever...)
The extension of so-called "credit" from the banking system furnishes the main motive power in keeping money flowing through business. Without the extension and renewal of loans, the lag in buying power would soon become directly noticeable. Naturally, as we have seen, new production distributes fresh buying power to consumers. But it also creates additional goods beyond the reach of this purchasing power. Eventually we get a glut of goods and insufficient buying power in the hands of shoppers to claim them for consumption. "These loans are like a drug; the more we take the more we have to take, until in a short time we pass completely into their power."
Industry is engaged in the production of two kinds of goods; consumer's goods and capital or non-consumable goods.
During and after the war vast sums of money borrowed from the banks were poured into the capital goods industries, engaged in producing non-consumable goods (machinery, etc.). This production greatly increased our productive capacity. While these industries were producing rapidly an apparent prosperity boomed. But the resulting expansion of plant and equipment (the cost of which must be recovered in prices) only widened the gap between buying power and prices. Now with idle factories, restricted production and shrunken incomes, we are paying the piper.
We have already referred to the stupidity of sabotage and deliberate restriction of production. Yet in our own country these are going on every day, both in industry and agriculture. Most obviously we see them in agriculture, where food-stuffs, cotton and other products desperately needed by millions are destroyed on a vast scale. In industry, machines stand idle or are scrapped. And all this in an effort to cut production to fit a dwindling buying power. How long can we go on destroying our real wealth instead of using it?
Business men have swallowed a strong dose of these bitter medicines in the past five years. Liquidations and mark-downs on merchandise are ruinous to business. Nevertheless, by lowering prices they give a temporary increase in the buying power of the shopping public. But the gap continues between buying power and prices because the benefits to buying power thus gained are counterbalanced by unemployment, the failures of banks and similar losses caused by bankruptcy.
In the past, exports absorbed much of the domestic production which Americas buying power was unable to purchase. Exports are largely financed by foreign loans, once easily arranged but now increasingly, difficult. Our own shortage of buying power requires that exports increase as machines increase our productive capacity. But the possibility of exports diminishes as mounting tariff barriers, unpaid international debt, and competition between nations prevent us from dumping our surplus abroad.
Worst of all, competition for survival in the export market breeds economic conflict which is the forerunner of military war itself. "Peace? Why... is there any man here or any woman... any child – who does not know that the seed of war in the modern world is industrial and commercial rivalry? The war was a commercial and industrial war. It was not a political war." (U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, Sept. 1919.)
When war comes, the necessity of national preservation sets aside the old rules of finance. Production has the right of way. Salaries and wages are thus distributed, but for producing munitions that are to be blown up and other goods to be consumed by the fighting forces – for goods, in short, which never appear in the shopwindow to be sold to the shopping public. The nation pays the bill, and the buying power of consumers, enriched by these new wages and salaries, is enabled to absorb a greater proportion of the goods that are for sale. Temporary prosperity reigns.
But then, when the war is over, the inevitable debt to the international banking system that financed it must be paid. The outlet for goods is once more restricted, productive capacity is greater than ever, and depression ensues.
The horrid memory of the war is still fresh in our minds. The price of death and destruction is too high to pay for wartime prosperity. We are told that the next war will be many times more destructive than the last. Can any sane man look forward without a shudder to the blotting out of civilization?
Looking over this list of futile palliatives it is easy to see that every item in it, except perhaps sabotage, is tainted with the disease of debt. Altogether they are a hopeless lot of remedies to combat the spread of this disease. Slowly and surely the poison of debt-money infects the blood of business until the breakdown is reached and financial collapse follows the ravages of the debt-disease, as it did in 1929. To save themselves the banks are forced to sell securities and recall loans, thus cancelling credits and destroying the very money they have created. Falling prices, business paralysis and unemployment follow. The sequence is familiar to all of us in business. Surely "such attempts to cope with the strains and stresses of a modern economy by a money system which has been proved unable to sustain them is repugnant to both science and common sense."
To sum it up, business goes on despite the shortage of buying power because it must go on. We need its goods and services in order to live. But the economic system is burdened with debt, chronically crippled by the lag of buying power behind prices. It hobbles painfully along delivering only a fraction of its potential goods and services. We pay the price of its progress in poverty and suffering. Adequate buying power would prevent our paying this price. But we keep on paying the price of poverty because the money system as it operates in prices is not self-liquidating. And the burden of debt grows heavier year by year.
So long as the present gap separates buying power and prices what good can be expected from international Peace Conferences? And what relief can be accomplished by new and greater government bond issues to finance a "relief program" based on more and bigger debts?
With increasing speed we are being driven to make a choice. Will we deliberately choose to continue in debt and poverty? Or will we choose instead prosperity and plenty following a necessary, orderly, and peaceful evolution in the bookkeeping of our money system?
This is the choice America must make. This choice is inevitable because all our productive machinery is worse than useless unless we can use its products. Its sole purpose is to produce and deliver wanted goods and services for consumption. These wanted goods and services together with our ability to produce them, constitute our real national wealth. Furthermore this wealth is the only real basis of our National Credit. But we cannot use that Real Credit today because the perverted bookkeeping of our broken-down money system shows it as unpayable debt, not as a credit. The burden of that debt will continue to paralyze business until we realize that the credit of the United States is a national asset. It is only common sense and good business to show in our bookkeeping the ability to produce as a credit, not as a debt to the bookkeeper. We have still the opportunity to choose. Why should we wait for another bookkeeping failure to force us into national collapse?
We have seen that a sound money system must provide circulating money, free of debt as the condition of its issuance, in sufficient quantity to express the effective demand for available goods. With the supply of money in the hands of men who must be interested primarily in their own profits, how can we expect money to be reasonably related to the supply of goods? A financial monopoly from which money is born as debt can only result in a money system that ignores the needs of consumption. It is simply common sense that such a system should result in a chronic shortage of purchasing power.
The dangerous illusion of scarcity, with the power it gives over human life, exists because, in the past, it has worked to the advantage of those who control Finance. Few people realize how subtly they have been involved in this deception. The world's money-masters and their paid economists have practiced their craft for so long that the illusion appears to most of us as a fact, instead of a transparent sleight-of-hand trick, or as Professor Frederick Soddy terms it "le(d)gerdemain."
The evidence is clear that so long as we tolerate the artificial illusion of scarcity, with which the popular idea of money has been surrounded, Financial Credit can never be a true reflection of Real Credit. Yet by its very nature no money can be sound unless it adequately expresses the demand of the shopping-nation for existing goods and goods that can be produced. But so long as private people can get money created for them and destroyed again when they have done with it, money must be capricious in its value and business a game of chance.
We need hardly wonder that the monopoly over money has broken down. We might better wonder how the monopolists have been able to operate it so long. So schooled have they been in sustaining the strategy of their illusion that they have become the victims of their own creation. It is a curious paradox that to the international banker the Wealth of a nation appears as something on which he may place a mortgage to issue money as an evidence of debt; while to the shoppers of the nation, its consumers of goods, that same Wealth represents the satisfaction of vital needs and desires. Yet freedom from poverty is frustrated by the shortage of money-tickets.
The obvious necessity for clean-cut changes is everywhere evident in the banking system. "The whole financial system of this country is so rotten that it cannot face a genuine inquiry." Many broadminded bankers are aware of this fact, but Finance cannot save itself alone. Too many of its own executives have fallen under the hypnotic spell of the power they must have wielded. The necessary changes in the banking system must come from outside the system itself.
Strange as it may seem the monopoly over money exists simply because we have allowed it to continue. In terms of human suffering we know the miserable consequences of its power. Who chooses blindly to tolerate poverty? The public can close any bank it wishes to close at any time, by refusing to do business with it. An actual demonstration of this occurred in 1933, when public fear and distrust closed every bank in the country. The money-monopoly can dominate our lives only so long as we continue to allow it to do so.
But there is still a stranger fact about the private control of the supply of bank-money in circulation. While the total amount of money issued by the banks varies only in accordance with their own action in increasing or diminishing deposits, yet the Constitution of the United States explicitly provides that Congress shall have exclusive power to issue money and regulate its value.
"The creation and circulation of money by the banking system is a direct usurpation of the essential prerogative of government, giving to that system paramount influence over the national well-being." The Government, in allowing the banking system to enjoy a practical monopoly of this power, has forfeited a duty which now it must resume. In the present abundance of goods the artificial illusion of the scarcity of money is a prime cause of human misery. And we ourselves as citizens and taxpayers are responsible for this situation.
The time has come for the Government to assert its constitutional right to control the issue of money for the benefit of every citizen. If we want business recovery we can get it only by closing the gap between buying power and prices. We can do this either by reducing prices or by raising buying power until the two are equivalent. But the most effective method to close that gap is to raise buying power and to lower prices at the same time.
To accomplish the raising of buying power and the lowering of prices clearly necessitates a change in our broken-down money system. What we require is a supply of credit at all times correlated with our supply of goods. The monopoly of credit can no longer continue to issue money only as debt.
The first immediate necessity is to restore to the nation the right to control its own money system. The Constitution grants this power to Congress, as the elected representatives of the people. The assertion of this power is the first step in the direction of permanent business recovery and freedom from our slavery to the money-monopoly.
The time for the change has come. It is here and now. To refuse this challenge is nothing less than national suicide.