When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion — when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing — when you see money flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors — when you see that men get richer by graft and pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you — when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice — you may know that your society is doomed.
The surest way to destroy a nation is to debauch its currency.
I remember a German farmer expressing as much in a few words as the whole subject requires; ‘money is money, and paper is paper.’
All the invention of man cannot make them otherwise. The alchemist may cease his labors, and the hunter after the philosopher’s stone go to rest, if paper can be metamorphosed into gold and silver, or made to answer the same purpose in all cases.
But when an assembly undertakes to issue paper as money, the whole system of safety and certainty is overturned, and property set afloat. Paper notes given and taken between individuals as a promise of payment is one thing, but paper issued by an assembly as money is another thing. It is like putting an apparition in the place of a man; it vanishes with looking at it, and nothing remains but the air.
All the perplexities, confusion, and distress in America arise not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, nor from want of honor or virtue, so much as downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.
The fate of a country is inseparable from the fate of its currency.
There’s no more important government function than getting its hands on someone else’s money.
I want for our country enough laws to restrain me from injuring others, so that these laws will also restrain others from injuring me.
Continue reading “What I want from government”
I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. 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. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world — no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.
Only government can take perfectly good paper, cover it with perfectly good ink and make the combination worthless.
The sinews of war, a limitless supply of money.