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Free issue of MICHAEL

A banker!... A BANKER! ...

An angel coming down out of

the clouds couldn’t have inspired

more reverence and respect in

our men. For after all, aren’t we

accustomed to genuflect before

bankers, these men who control

the lifeblood of finance?

6. Civilization’s god

“Mr. Oliver, as our banker, your

only occupation on this island will

be to look after our money; no

manual labour.”

“I shall, like every other bank-

er, carry out to complete satisfac-

tion my task of forging the com-

munity’s prosperity.”

“Mr. Oliver, we’re going to

build you a house that will be in

keeping with your dignity as a

banker. But in the meantime, do

you mind if we lodge you in the

building that we use for our get-

togethers? ”

“That will suit me, my friends.

But first of all, unload the boat.

There’s paper and a printing press,

complete with ink and type and

there is a little barrel which I exhort

you to treat with the greatest care.”

They unloaded everything.

The small barrel aroused intense

curiosity in our good fellows.

“This barrel,” Oliver an-

nounced, “contains a treasure be-

yond dreams. It is full of... gold! ”

Full of gold! The five all but

swooned. The god of civilization

here on Salvation Island! The yel-

low god, always hidden, yet ter-

rible in its power, whose presence

or absence or slightest caprice

could decide the very fate of all

the civilized nations!

“Gold! Mr. Oliver, you are in-

deed a great banker ! ” “Oh august

majesty ! Oh honorable Oliver !

Great high priest of the god, gold !

Accept our humble homage and

receive our oaths of fidelity ! ”

“Yes, my friends, gold enough

for a continent. But gold is not for

circulation. Gold must be hidden.

Gold is the soul of healthy money

and the soul is always invisible.

But I’ll explain all that when you re-

ceive your first supply of money.”

7. The secret burial

Before they went their sepa-

rate ways for the night, Oliver

asked them one last question.

“How much money will you

need to begin with in order to fa-

cilitate trading? ”

They looked at one another,

then deferentially towards the

banker. After a bit of calculation,

and with the advice of the kindly

financier, they decided that $200

each would do.

The men parted, exchanging

enthusiastic comments. And in

spite of the late hour, they spent

most of the night lying awake,

their imaginations excited by the

picture of gold. It was morning

before they slept.

As for Oliver, he wasted not

a moment. Fatigue was forgotten

in the interests of his future as a

banker. By dawn’s first light, he

dug a pit into which he rolled the

barrel. He then filled it in, trans-

planting a small shrub to the spot

about which he carefully arranged

sod. It was well hidden.

Then he went to work with

his little press to turn out a thou-

sand $1 bills. Watching the clean

new banknotes come from his

press, the refugee turned banker

thought to himself:

“My ! How simple it is to make

money. All its value comes from

the products it will buy. Without

produce, these bills are worth-

less. My five naive customers

don’t realize that. They actually

think that this new money derives

its value from gold! Their very ig-

norance makes me their master.”

And as evening drew on, the

five came to Oliver on the run.

8. Who owns the new money?

Five bundles of new banknotes

were sitting on the table. “Before

distributing the money,” said the

banker, “I would like your attention.

“Now, the basis of all money

is gold. And the gold stored away

in the vault of my bank is my gold.

Consequently, the money is my

money. Oh ! Don’t look so discour-

aged. I’m going to lend you this

money and you’re going to use

it as you see fit. However, you’ll

have to pay interest. Considering

that money is scarce here, I don’t

think 8% is unreasonable.”

“Oh, that’s quite reasonable,

Mr. Oliver.”

“One last point, my friends.

Business is business, even be-

tween pals. Before you get the

money, each of you must sign a