SPECIAL MONETARY ANARCHY ISSUE
* BAXTER" FP.EE EXCHANQE MUTUAL !SfAx EQUITV *
44-5 ) JOURNAL FOR FREE SPIRITS^ ^
pOWER FEEDS ON ITS SPOILS. RND DIES WHEN ITS VICTIMS REFUSE TO SE DESPO\LED. THEY CAW'T PERSURDE \T TO DEPTH 3 THEV CPN'T VOTE \T TO DERTH j THEV CRNl'T SHOOT IT TO DERTH 3 BUT THEV CRN RLWflVS STARVE IT TO DEATH.
WHEN R DETERMINED &ODV OF PEOPLE, SUFFICIENTLY 9>TRoMQ IN NUMBERS RND FORCE OP CHPK«CTER TO CO^MRNO RESPECT
AND MPKE \T (JNSPFE TO lfAP(?\SOH THEfA, SHRLL OQREE TO QUIETLY t>OOR<s IN THE F3GES OP
collector rmd the rented shrll, bv vssuinq thevr monev in defiance op proutemon, pyt the t|hae cerse pryinc, I to Th£ naoneV-lord, with rll the friivil&qes
CiRRMTS RND THE M0-
whlch it sustrlnis, will
THE SOPRO. rfcENj. R.l Ituc^EKJ
bx JOSIHH UIHRREfl
tue rnixciPLE or c<jcivaixnts.
190. If a traveller, in a hot day, stop at a farmhouse for I diirik of water, lie generally gets it without any though jf price. Why? Because it costs nothing, or ...'.immaterial. 1/ihr water was brought from great distance, over difficult passes, there might be a p-j.-c get upon it which every one would sanction, if that pn < fas governed by iti Cost, or the tabor of pro-curia.~ and de tire ring' it.
101. If ibe traveller askeJ for wine, he would expect to pay for it, becauie it costs more than water; and if this cost was made the limit of its price, all would m just and harmonious. But if the farmer, when -j . ') for water, were to endeavor to find out bow t i., y lb traveller was, and bow much money be could induce him to pay for the water rather than not get a drink, and then charge him accordingly, this price would be - what it would bring;" and if the farmer wore t > nioiinjtolizc all the water in the neight»>ihood, or till up or conceal some of the springs and cut uir all ico m to water except through him, find tin ii charge a fuiutiii;- traveller i thousand dollars for a drink to save hi? life, lie would Ik- carrying out the rule tlmt" the price of a tiling i- what it will bring," which Is the motto Olid pint of alt the principal blltiues* of the world! It is limiting price by the irurth or latuc to the reviver instead of (he COST to the givrr.
217. A 'peculator I uys a piccc of land for a trifle, and hold.* it till surrounding improvement*, made by other-. increase its value, and it is then sold •■accordingly," for live, ten, or a hundred times its original price; yet this is only "what it will bring;" but, from this operation of civilized cannibalism, whole families live from generation to generation, in idleness .-ind luxury, upon the labor of the surrounding people, who must have the land at any price. This is our form of slavery. Instead of this, the priinc cost of land, the taxes, and other contingent expense of surveying, etc, together with the labor of making contract?, would constitute the true bn?is for the price of land purchased for sale. If I purchase a lot for my own use, ami vou want it, l may properly consider what would compen-'atc rn<- for the sacrifice I hould make, or the coil of parting with it; but this is a vrry different thing frotn purchasing it on purpose to part irith it. and w lien no such - icriCee is made.
HOURS LABOR IHH
SW 1X CABPESTERIXC, OR 8 1'Ot.VM OF (OJfX
O LIMIT OP bso*.
It is clear, If this exchange is not equal, if one party gives more of his own labor- either in tne forts of labor or product- than he gets of the labor of the other, - either in form of labor or product, - that he is oppressed, and becomes, so far as this inequality goes, the slave or 6uoject of the other. He has, Just so far, to expend his labor, not for his own oenefit, but for the benefit of another. To produce good or beneficial results from trade, therfore, the exchanges should be eons). Hence it follows that the essential element cf beneficent Com-■erce is EQUITY, or that which is just and equal between man and man.
Simple Equity is thi6, that so such of YOUR labor as I take and apply to my benefit, so much of MY labor ought I give you to be applied to YOUR benefit; and, consequently, if I take a product of your labor Instead of the labor itself, and pay you in a product of my own labor, the commodity which I give you ought to be one in which there is JUST AS MUCH LABOR as there is in the product which I receive.
-STEPHEN PEARL ANDREWS
Tfe >A I op TjGc SfcrtM,/
ANARCHISM AS POLITICO-ECONOMIC CRITICISM REVISITED
I propose in the following discussion to call one'c own labor and the equivalent exchange of one's own labor for the 'abor of others the"economic means" for the satisfaction of needs, while the unrequited appropriation of the laoor of otners will be called the "political means". -Franz Oppenheimer
Property is theft. -Pierre Joseph Proudhon
It would surprise me if those libertarians who identify with the first statement would also identify with the second. The fact is that both authors meant the 6ame thing. It is by virtue of legal property in privilege that the owners of land are empowered to exchange the use (but not ownership) of natural resources for the ownership (not merely use) of labor or it6 products. In the long run, all the wealth produced by the union of labor and land accumulates in the hands that
own the land, who are thus able to dominate the monetary system and use it to buy more privileges from government at the expense of those who mu6t work for a living. Today, a major source of unearned income (wealth not gained thru tho exchange of equivalent amounts of labor) is property title to the financial resources of society. Bankers collect interest on money which costs then next to nothing to create and lend to the credit-worthy and credit-worthless (ie. the government) alike. The major source of inflation or currency depreciation is money borrowed and spent by the government on projects that produce no consumable goods or services (hence the loan is never repaid) out flood the market with money not backed with even a promise to pay.
The critics of the land and money monopolies who followed Proudhon, calling themselves Mutualists, advocated a society where land could be used but not owned, and where the creation of money i6 the right of any and all who labor (but no one else), thu6 doing away with rent, interest, and taxe6 (since government, the sustainer of privilege, would be abolished in the process). Oppenheimer shared the ideals of the Mutualists (he associated with at least two Proudhonians: John Henry Mackay and Gu6tav Landauer). Those who attempt to interpret him (be pro-capitali6m, or Proudhon a6 pro-communism) mu6t come to terms with these ideals.
It i6 exchange of equal quantities of labor that constitute the economic means. To the degree that the exchange is unequal, one party is exploiting the other;or as Josiah Warren put it, enslaving the other. It i6 John Beverley Robinson's opinion, i
nterpreting Proudhon, that in a society without privilege all free exchangee would be of equal amounts of labor, usually measured in time. The concern of all the writers in these pages is in preventing the control and exploitation of the working many by the privileged few; though not all agree that mutualism or exchanging on the basis of labor-time is the solution.
It is hoped that open-minded anarchists on the right and the left will find iu these pages some food for thought, and, perhaps, ground upon which to cooperate. While 6ome believe that individual freedom is incompatible with cooperation, it is this individualist's opinion that a pan-anarchist counter-economy is an important goal if libertarian movements are to survive the current financial -ri6is and resource "shortages" that continue to spawn economic controls characteristic of the fascist state. The best strategy that I can see (for a pluralistic and minority movement) is the development of small worker-owned industries and dweller-owned communities, where land is held in trust (for use without rent) and products and services exchanged on a labor basis between individuals and collectives.
CLOSET IDEALIST OR CLOSET PESSIMIST? Either description fits; reluctant pessimist is tne closest I've come to describing myself; an idealist who knows his ideals will probable never be realized but holds onto the ideals the way a navigator holds onto the North Star, even tho he's not going there. Ideals are a guide to action, we make them and we break them, but life is not coherent without then (to oe without ideals is itself an ideal). Keeping the ideals of equal exchange and anarchistic cooperation in sight, I am not blind to the need for individual self-protection. However, much has already been written on growing and preserving your own food, learning survival skills,and buying gold and silver coins, that a non-expert like myself cannot add to (and besides, individual tactics will be the subject of a future STORM). In the area of financial survival, those interested and not so interested, should get hold of a copy of REAL MONET by Robert Lyle (1976 Doubleday Anchor paperback). The book is a" virtual horror file on the evil effects of government attempts to control the money system. Lyle connects current depreciation to the "energy" crisis and the coming food crisis, and more, in a very readable style.
THIS ISSUE OF THE STORM I welcomes James J. Kernochan, my comrade amoureuse (to use Araand'6 phrase),as co-editor. Jin is familiar to readers from his "Barnstorming" which will continue as his editorial column. On points where we disagree THE STORM!, true to its name, will carry both editorial positions. Anarchy begins with the freedom to disagree, and in this same free spirit this issue continues to air the deoaie over syndicali 6fn which was sparked by S.E.Parker'6 criticisms of PickettSrWilliams' "Anarchist Primer" which was featured in the second STORM! Thi6 issue is also double the usual number of pages, and i6 being published a6 a double issue (#4-5) which will count for two on our subscription schedule. Even with all the extra space, much material could not be printed, including letters and replies to those letters printed; my apologies to those concerned. The next issue of THE STORM! will be the Gay Anarchy issue (finally!). It will mo6t likely also be a double issue scheduled for a Fall-Winter release. Tentative topics to be discussed will include several anarchists ( Mackay, Wilde, Goodman, Goldman&Berkman for examples) and their connection with gay liberation, gay politics, book reviews, and (given the space) poetry and graphi cs. Againt no copyright^ no noney^ Just frse copies if your work is published, but GAY ANARCHIST WRITERS WANTED! -MAS
A BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR THIS ISSOE
Andrews, Stephen Pearl- The Science of
Society, 1«51» M&S Press Brokaw, Warren Edwin- Equitable Society
and How to Create It, 1927 (OP) Greene, William B.- Mutual Banking,1849 Katz, Howard S.- The Paper Aristocracy
1976, Hippocrene Labadie,Laurance- Discussion: A Journal
for Free Spirits, 1937 (OP) Martin, James J.- Men Against the State
1970, Ralph Myles Meulen, Henry- Free Banking, 1934 Proudhon, P. J.- What 16 Property?,1840 Dover
Tncker,Beaj.R.- Tnstead of a Book,1893
Haskell House Warren,Joeiah- Equitable Commerce,1852 Burt Franklin
Titles from this bibliography which are in print can be obtained from:
206Mercer Street New York. NY 10012 Complete Catalog Available
STOP THE LEGAL TENDER CRIME by J.Zube 7 Oxley St.Berriraa,NSW 2577,Australia Include postage when ordering.
the dandelion,Michael E. Coughlin,ed. 1985 Se)by Ave.,St.Paul,Minn.55104 (new individualist anarchist journal l6t issue on Tucker-Spooner by Watner) 4 issuesS3.50; 8 issues S7.00
A6 an individualist, I have alxavs cherished my privacy. Throughout hi6tory, governments have made it common practice to intervene; with the private lives of people. That is why an anarchist society should offer the very privacy that the state denies. This means being free to think, feel and act on ones own without fear of these things becoming public knowledge. The attainment of privacy should be an anarchist priority. The right to privacy is being violated by American companies and it is time we beconc aware of it. Hundreds of major and minor companies in this country are subjecting their employees and job applicants to polygraph tests. Individuals are interrogated by these lie detector tests as screening devices. This method of screening has been an alarming and growing practice among American companies.
A Congressional 6tudy shows that 200-300,000 people were reouired to take lie detector tests in 197^. Sandy Berdechowski is one of these people. She lost her job at the Metropolitan Savings Bank because the person operating her te6t claims she "violated the banks operating procedure" by taking home bank records. She insists that she did no 6uch thing. Ms. Berdechowski ha6 decided to make the practice of company polygraph tests into a hot issue. She says that people either take the test or they lose their jobs. They are told that they simply have to answer routine Questions but these questions become quite personal when the test goe6 on. Ms. Berdechowski became nervous due to the personal inquiries and insists that the operator read the polygraph wrong. The results from thi6 polygraph, including damaging false information can find its way into the hands of the police and future employers. It will be hard for her to find another job. She will be asked why she left the bank. She will either have to lie or tell the truth and not get hired.
Sandy Berdechowski is no isolated incident. People are given this test every day. This invasion of privacy is a danger for many reasons. Lie detector tests depend upon body changes during an examination to measure truth. While changes in body occurs when a person lie6, it also occurs when a person is under emotional 6tre66. A persons future could be in Jeopardy due to the mistake of the polygraph. This is true in the case of Hs. Bedechowski. A dangerous intrusion of privacy occurs when the polygraph operators go beyond an individuals employment responsibility and probe a persons personal life. Questions concerning extra marital affairs, premarital sex, and homosexualality are often a6ked. If an individual refu6e6 to answer a question, it is put on record and used against the person. Thi6 then becomes more than an issue of simply voluntering to take a test. The person is at first under the impression that he or she will be asked harmless questions. That person then gets subjected to an inquiry concerning his or her personal life. The individual is then damned if he or she answers the questions and damned if he or she does not. This is an issue of fraud and a real danger to our already limited privacy. Anarchists should be outraged that such practices exist. The use of these tests are increasing and becoming more dangerous. New technocal advances are being -nade to improve on these te6t6. A new machine has been designed to measure truth by voice responses. If we do not watch out, our own private thoughts .'ill become the property of the state. Ji^ Wg/lrfXCKJhjCm?
Hideu an "Cite Steurv/
Dear happy t0 gee your fine journal espousing the individualist
anarchist position. This has been needed for a Ion* tine 4 fills a gap in existing periodicals. The quality of your journal is very high. You have selected interesting material to reprint, your own writing is very finei * even your layout A graphics are most attractive. 1 m sending my check for $2 for a subscription.
Put your hope to unite anarchists of all factions probably won't happen. More likely both sides will damn you. But let's keep on pursuing "open ended radical individualism of an eclectic nature" in
any c*8^'ually caU nyseif an individualist anarchist 4 i see points where i Hearree with'both a/com 4 a/cap positions. 1 disagree with anaroho/communists economic 4 collectivist views, but i have been active in radical food co-ops for 5 yrs 4 my lifestyle is more "leftist." Ly main complaint about anarcho/capitalists is their apparent dogmatism. Kost seem like true believers, usually slavish followers of Rothtard. They talk about a vision of society that allocs for only one rigid pattern. Where is the diversity, i wonder? Where is there 1 room for free spirits?
As i see it, if an anarchist society should ever come about, it will be a place of wildest diversity as a result of individual differences among persons. There will be plenty of struggle 4 contention 4 conflict 4 even some sporadic violence (altho less than now because that source^ of most conflict 4 violence, the State, will be absent). All the different anarbhist visions 4 lifestyles will probably be tried, but only among voluntary groupings. All different patterns that are at all viable will coexist side by side. No one pattern could dominate in society unless it were forcefully imposed by Authority.
In any case, now 4 also after the Revolution, i will continue to be true to myself only, which means i will search for the truth wherever i may fin* it 4 thus i pick 4 choose eclectically from all schools. I would never follow any leader 4 1 criticize any error wherever i may find it. In my life, i pursue my best interests 4 i take advantage of the best opportunities available to me in any circumstances.
But now i must say some critical words about material in THE STORfc. I agree with much of what you have published, but i'm mostly moved to comment on things i disagree with. While it's useful to reexamine these old writings 4 viewpoints from the last century to see what useful ideas they may contain, 4 there is much we can learn from them, still, many of them will not survive modern criticism. I find that i take more of a "rightist" position than you on such questions as property, rent, interest, etc. This results from my tendency to analyse such things from the point of view of individuals, the small scale tather than the large. Instead of looking at what large corporations do, i look first at the simplest case of 2 or 3 persons interacting. From that i get underlying principles. If the case is greatly different where corps, are concerned, it is ussally due to govt interferences.
For example, take "Against Finance Capitalism" by Spooner from STORM #1. He criticizes banks for taking in many small sums in depostts A loaning out mostly large ants, thus preventing persons from borrowing small amts to start small businesses. This criticism was valid in the last century when banking served only the wealthy, but it's no longer valid.
In response to < ercani, the (semil free market has developed consumer banking to the point where small loans are readily available to almost everyone. Credit cards are feushe- agreasivelyj small loan companies will loan even to bankrupts. Of course, some interest rates are exhorbitant, so the borrower should shop around. These days what mostly keeps peode froa going into business is govt regulation that pushed up the cost of starting up. to 5 or 10 times what is it would otherwise be. But also, not everyone has th- aptitude to be a businessman, which is risky, Kany will always prefer the security of working for a known wage.
Secondly, Spooner doesn't see the benefit of specialization £ division of labor. He suggests that capital should be loaned out by individual owners. The trouble wit.i that is, the person with some small savings to lend may be a skillful farmer, or merchant, or mechanic, but he may well lack the skill or desire to be a banker. A banker can serve a useful function, which isi he evaluates the trustworthiness of borrowers 4 lends only to those who are likely to pay back the loam he handles the tedioas, routine bookkeeping! he stands ready to make efforts to collect on loans in default; 4 he stands ready to bear the loss in case of uncollectable bad loans. Few small savers would want to do these banking functions themselves. In particular, they don't want to take the risk of losing the money loaned. So the specialist, the banker, offers his services. He takes in many small deposits which he promises to pay back an demand 4 to pay some rate of interest while he has use of the money. Then the banker loans out the money at a slightly higher rate of interest, 4 he takes all the risk 4 he does all the banking functions. In payment for this the banker receives the difference in interest between his loan rate 4 the lower rate he pays on deposits.
This is the sound theory behind savings banking. It is a voluntary arrangement, not socially harmful, beneficial to all parties concerned. Now, i would be the 1st to admit that banking ae it functions in practice departs from this ideal. This is mostly the result of govt regulation, special privileges, 4 interference, e.g. savings banks are prohibited by govt from paying as high a rate of interest on deposits as they could, 4 they are not allowed to offer certain services they could offer. Banks should be criticised to the degree that they depart from sound banking principles, with resulting harmful effects. But the underlying theory is sound, 4 a socially harmless free banking is possible.
JIM STUMM, Kenmore VY
Dear Hark, Of cour6e,Heulen i6 quite right to regard the idea that one day the Majority of individuals will become anarchists as a mere pipe dream. Where he is wrong i6 in deducing from thi6 fact that the few anarchists there are and will be should become defenders of "ministatisa". Governments do not change because tha anarchist Utopia is 6een to be unrealizable. They remain the enemies of the individual.
Ae for the "sin" of "sharing the fruits of a state Judicial system and national defense", 6ince I am subject to a huge compulsory levy in the shape of taxation to support these things, why shouldn't I make use of their "beneTits", if there are any and if they suite my conveniences, while at the saae time re-fusung to risk my life for them? The "people" may look upon me as coldly ar they wish, will determine the manner of m^ defense wherever I can and tnenevr it is expedient for ae to do so. I am for my egocracy even if Mr.Meulen and "the people" are not! S.E.PARKE9
Fellow individualist Parker edits and publishes the anarcho-egoist journal appropriately titled EGO. It is available at S3/6-i6sue6 (cash or morey orders when poesiDle) fro® Parker, iSo Gloucester Terrace, Iondon W2, England, (aar
Syndicalism has everything to do with anarchism. As Parker pointed out, "Anarchism is not just 'anti-state'. It is against all authority". Syndicalism is a direct response to economic authoritarianism, or wage slavery.
Anarcho-syndicalism is an orderly economic system capable of peacefully co-existing with other forms of free organization. It is capable of performing Its function by fulfilling the needs of its collective members, even while other free Individuals do not participate in it. Surely, people dedicated to peace and liberty will necessarily insure that all forms of cooperation and co-existence remain Just thati a cooperation and a co-existence.
Structures, like automobiles, are neither 'good' nor 'bad' in themselves. The importance lies in their U6e. Of course, there is hesitation and fear regarding cooperative structures. History records many abuses and there may always be a potential for more abuse. The collective members have a duty, though, to prevent sucn abuse.
Syndicalism is a form of collectivism, wherein individuals share together for a purpose. The collective is composed of individuals. As the Primer stated, "When a collective takes action, it is the acting together of free individuals". In Syndicalism and in any collective, it is the responsibility of free individuals to maintain their freedom. This responsibility extends to the freedom of others, too, who ara not members of a particular collective or system. Voluntary cooperation for ones own good and for the good of others is not authoritarian. It la practical.
Again, workers are individuals. Economic security is the basis for all other expressions of liberty. "Worker control" insures that workers maintain their economic base as the source of their liberty. Anarchist worker control implies a voluntary cooperation and a resistance of authoritarianism. This is individual control re-lnforced by the vision and dedication of other individuals.
The collective does not reconstitute authority. It only functions to further the desires and needs of individuals. The only authority of ones conscience exists both in and apart from the collective. Collectives do reconstitute peacefml, voluntary sharing for the benefit of all involved.
Anarcho-syndicalism is merely the extension or multiplication of Individual collectives. Our positive natures express hope for and envision peaceful, voluntary, non-authoritarian cooperation, respecting individual liberty and happiness. This distinguishes us aB "anarchists".
Dear Hark, Tou certainly did answer the criticism of "An Anarchist Primer" well. But I would like to say that it is interesting that one reader was concerned about the individual being potentially a threat to the group and another reader was equally aa concerned of the groups potential for being manipulative of the individual. Since the "Primer" was originally written for and printed in a. rather straight publication and was meant to serve only as the briefest introduction to anarchism, it Is not in any way a complex analysis. However, I do think an anarchist collective can function in a way that is beneficial to both the individual and the support group. Harold and I have had such experiences and eo I would venture to say what is a possible abuse need not be inevitable. But of course we were referring to voluntary associations which could be freely dissolved should either exploitation occur and no resolution seem possible. And so, w« have hope.
SUSAN WILLIAMS A
• • • The following communication is from my friend MERRILT MOSS - ed. ■ ■ • Those jolly good English excommunications you ouote, anarchist pope Cantwell banning individualists, anarcho-individualist antipope Parker castinr out no les6 than the Spanish anarcho-syndicalists, recall that classic British helpline, "Fog Over Channel, Continent Isolated". Ae an individualist syndicalist, I suppose I can expect the fate of Servitus, condemned to the stake by both Catholic and Calvinist ecclesiatical courts. One up on Joan of Arc.
To Cantwell I note dryly that Emma Goldman and even Daniel Guerin have held that every anarchist must at least be an individualist. For Parker, "anarcho-syndicalist" ha6 usually (we have no bible) implied a dual system for getting together in our two main areas of contact and mutual concerns:
workplace councils (IWW "Job branches") at the spots where we work and produce together;
local communes (Rocker's "chambers") in our communities as residents and consumers.
The two don't coincide in advanced economies, although here and there a rural village commune might still also be a farming or fishing collective a6 in Peirat6' Spain or Kropotkin's fading scene.
In the largest lioertarian organization of the English-speaking world, the ultimate goals of our syndicalist IWW concern themselves solely with the workplaces, letting Cantwell and Parker urge what they will for local communes. I confidently expect 57 Varieties, not counting southern California.
As a matter of personal taste, I'd prefer to come home from an IWW 6hop to a quiet individualist community, but only after considerations of the kind of place and people. For communes at large, I advocate only: to each hi6 own.
Going out6i.de these two kinds of local groupings , there'6 certainly no real indispensable requirement for inter-coordination except economically — supplies, materials, transportation, energy, communication. Not the local communes Dut the Job branches will want to federate, along their own industry lines into industrial unions and intersyndical clearinghouses to get their work done, as common sense tell6 us. You don't have to be a theoritician.
A factory's distribution region, or a railroad line or power network or water system, can't be run by the workers of just one 6pot. But note that tneee regional operations don't coincide with each other in territory; each industrial union has to write its own geography book. And note further that this work scene occupies an ever smaller part of our lives and overall activities.
Not Parker's paper anathemas but thi6 natural development along industrial union lines (dear to the IWW, but only later — and still only gradually-adopted by the CNT in highly regionalized Spain) also affords a simple protection against any excuse of economic need to bring back government in disguise: to 6et up higher coordinating bodies in the name of federalism, with Jurisdiction over all activities in a territory, as we have today.
Such overall geographic subdivisions could only come to serve governmental authority purposes: cultural, festive, scientific, major technological. And first of all, revolutionary . . .
• • • Yet here we are, ju6t where those ideologues want us, talking superstructures when that's just what we'd like deBnphaeized, and about IWW ultimate goals when syndicalism's (and Euclid's) most striking note is on the shortest way to get there. We don't often join in the debate.
The discussion should De turned around to examine the examiners, for a hard look at all of Ideological Anarchism, regardless of communist or individualist shading, as a self-contradiction. The ideologue'6 very identity lies in his or her position, and is threatened by any disagreement. It end6 up in heresy hunting and dictating; disagreement is penalized by abuse, comraunic->tion replaced by excommunication. That is a greater danger for the future tnan -iny theory or structure could be.
Instead it's in Applied Anarchism, direct and living — the syndicalism of the Wobblles, the mutualism of communes and collectives, the creativity of The Living Theatre, the lifestyle of free spirits, the bravery of the CNT — that we can find our identity in dealing with people, lives, actions, our bodies, work, feelings, self-expression. That's what freedom's all *bout.
C>Y free exchange it meant »uch exchange of service* as will occur among men each of whom is guided in his actions solely by his own judgment of his own interest, subject only to the material limitations of the world in which he lives, but not restrained by the will of other men.
This seems a roundabout Way of saying a simple thing; but it is really the whole question of freedom that is involved, not only in exchange, but in all relations; and the statement is meant to cover the carping of them who art wont to say. "None of us is free; we are all limited by circumstances; we are all slaves to our passions . . . and so on" whenever any question of free or not free is raised.
It is not deprivation from lack of ability or opportunity that is intended.
When the rising tide threatens to surround ui. we do not complain that we are deprived of liberty because we are compelled to run, to escape being cut off and drowned. Nor do we say that we are enslaved if we find that it is impossible to raise bananas in a northern climate, because the season is not long enough to ripen them.
On the contrary, it is precisely the freedom to adapt our actions to circumstances that we call freedom; and it is only when we are restrained from doing so by the will of another
human being like ourselves that we call it slavery.
Such a state of freedom has never existed in the past, and does not now exist; yet toward it, through all the centuries, the world has been moving, and is now, perhaps, in sight of the goal. We still labor, subject to the will of him who permits us to labor, but does nothing himself—the landlord. We still exchange, subject to the will of him who permits us to exchange—the banker; but we have escapcd from the conditions of chattel slavery and of feudal serfdom of the past. Postulating such a condition of freedom, the mode in which exchanges must occur is self-evident.
In the relation of master and slave, it is impossible to predict what exchange of services will take place. The slave is forced to give as much service as the master chooses to exact; while the master, in return, gives as little as it may please him — a hickory shirt and trousers a year, with corn meal, pork and molauet for food, or as much more liberally as he may prefer. The exchange, however, cannot be predicted; it is entirely arbitrary_a
matter of the proprietor1!) choice.
So again, if two men were exchanging peas for potatoes, the transaction would be carried out on terms that each esteemed fair, if both were free, but if a third party stood by, empowered to take all that he could seize, by force or fraud, of both peas and potatoes, the transaction would terminate differently, and in a way that could not be predicted.
In a state of freedom, products are exchanged for equal products.
For, in the absence of compelling causes, no man would accept less of the product of another in exchange for a certain amount of his own product than could be produced by himself with an equal amount of exertion.
"Give me two bushels of your carrots, and I will give you two bushels of my potatoes," says a farmer. "That will not do at all," replies his neighbor, "if I had planted potatoes, I could have raised three bushels of them as easily as two of my carrots I will trade only on those terms—two of my carrots for three of your potatoes."
"Come and help me catch some fish; you shall row the boat, and I will hold the line, and of every four fish that we catch, you shall have one." "Why only one?" replies his friend; "why not equal shares?" "Because 1 am so much more skilful than you that I deserve the larger share." "Granted that you are the most skilful with line and hook; but what would your skill avail you without some one to row? You could not catch any fish at all from the dock." "I know that I could not," replies the first, "but any one can row, while it takes a clever man to fish." "No, I will row only for an equal share of fish." And, as an oarsman is necessary for a fisherman who would fish from a boat, the equal agreement is made.
It is only by reducing transactions to these simplest conditions that the essential equality of services becomes manifest. In both these examples the conditions arc simple and equal for both parties. In more complicated transactions, the equality is not self-evident; especially as our ideas are distorted by the prevailing system, which is based on an artificial inequality.
But in a state of freedom, the rougher kinds of work would exchange on equal terms with the gentler, because the product of the rough work is as necebsary as that of the gentle work It is true that if hodcarriers were paid as much as merchants all sorts of evils might ensue They might acquire ideas entirely "beyond their station"; their children might be educated as well as those of the merchant himself; and no one can tell what other catastrophes might not happen.
On further reflection, it would appear that perhaps an educated hodcarrier might not be such a bad thing after all. There are many college-bred athletes who would make excellent hodcarriers; and there is no reason why a well-bred hodcariier should not be an agreeable companion for any other well-bred person
The product of labor in exchange is measured by (he time required for its production.
This proposition, which is obscure when applied to the exchange of material products, is self-evident when applied to direct exchange
If two men, seeing the advantages of working together, one being a farmer, the other a carpenter, agree to aid each other alternately, the carpenter working for the farmer on one day, and the farmer for the carpenter on the next, the exchange is necessarily made on the basis of equal time of service. No man in his senses, and free from the complicated causes that now compel him to work for a minimum, would agree to work two days for another, in return for cach day that the other worked for him.
In the case of the fisherman above instanced the agreement is necessarily for an equal share of the product, the time devoted by both the oarsman and the angler being the same
It is only in these simplest cases, however, that the necessity of time measure can be traced; and it is upon these primary examples, especially of the direct exchange of services, that the elementary truth of the proposition must rest The great variety in the nature of occupations makes a direct comparison impossible in the more involved cases.
A surgeon, for example, is not expected to be performing operations during all his waking hours. The time required for reading and study, attendance at clinics, and repose after the excessive strain of a surgeon's task, make the actual time measurement of his work very brief, in comparison with the whole working day.
In the same way, an opera singer is not expected to sing every day for eight hours continuously; nor could she under any system of equality. Practice, rehearsal and rest are all a part of her services, whuh appear to be performed in a brief evening hour.
So again, a teacher is expected to do actual teaching for but a portion of the day, the nervous tension during that time being excessive.
What it really reduces itself to is not the exchange of hour for hour, or day for day, of service, but of lifetime for lifetime.
Owing to the far from free conditions at the present time, we often see a very different state of affair* today; some of the most exhausting and life-destroying trades being among the worst paid. This, however, is possible only by the partial enslavement of the laborer.
Instinctively, even at the present time, men appeal to the standard of a lifetime of work unconsciously, and without any clear apprehension of its full meaning. Often we hear, in reply to a suggestion that the price for certain services is too high, the statement: "Well,
I do not make more than a fair living," urged in justification.
And the commercial rejoinder, "What do I care for your living or dying, if I can find somebody else who will do it cheaper?" commonly supposed to be the irrefutable and irremediable ultimatum, is shown to be possible only under abnormal conditions, and the justification of the worker to be the really scientific attitude.
Economics of Liberty
John Beverley Robinson 1916
"Sell government" is a cliche of "political democracy", which latter phrase in the name of a fiction Dcmocrttcv And M'lf ^GVTrnnicnk begin and end in commerce Once |>o\ver i> delegated to the state, self government is, to that extent, surrendered The highest attainment of "political democracy" and "political self government" can Ik; only the minimization of interference with self government, or the least impediment to the ojKration of actual democracy ami self government that is natural to man through his bargaining power in the market place.
Mail has not yet devised a scheme of living that permits full self government and has ever been under the illusion that this goal can l>c attained hy political processes, whereas these processes arc the very ones that obstruct him. The best that he can hope for from the state is the least obstruction.
The natural government of man is the free market and here alone equality, democracy and self government obtain, because the exchange system offers free choice to everyone and automatically rewards for service and punishes for disservice. The synthetic checks and balances that constitution builders so laboriously and futilcly construct in political government arc present in natural form in the free market, for seller restrains seller and buyer restrains buyer under the bcnificent law of competition which is the law of cooperation. For every evil manifestation in the free market there is a natural corrective and this corrective power flows directly from the individual and merge- with that of other individuals similarly disposed. Thus there arises automatically and instantly a juncture of the virtuous forces to overcome the vicious.
The common concept of the market is that it is purely a materialistic mechanism where avarice must be governed hy an outside force, but it is the most spiritual agency possible to contrive. It contains within itself the power to amalgamate the idealism of its members in invariable triumph over evil and it is the only such agency available to man. The free market can bring to earth an approximation of the kingdom of heaven, for it would enforce the golden rule.
Man has never cnjoye<! a tree market becausc political government has always interfered with it*, benign operation, and with the imbalance between traders thus created, has induced man to seek compensatory interferences, thus progressively magnifying )volitica1 government intervention and reducing democracy and self government
The market place is the only realm where man can be sovereign and the so-called self government of the state is but a curbing of that sovereignty Every power of the state is a diminishment of the power of the individual—a reduction of self government. If man could realize that every enactment of a political law means the repeal of a natural law and that it is by the latter alone lie can govern and that the free market is the ideal government for which he yearns, the trend toward state-ism would be reversed and liberty gained
The most effective political law by which the ••talc assassinates self government and democracy is that which enables it to counterfeit the citizens' money ballot by which alone he can exercise his sovereignty Over the market and govern government. Until man denies to the state this vicious power the pursuit of freedom is useless, for with this governing [Kiwcr lost he is doomed to subjection. We nuist govern through the market or be governed by the state, as nature abhors a vacuum. Where democratic government ends, there tyrannic government Ix-ginv It" we will not govern ourselves democratically through the exercise and protection of our money ballot in the market place the political Ivdlot becomes a mockery as an instrument of democratic defense against tyranny. Our concern over the growing disinterest among the citizenry in the exercise of their political franchise should be directed toward assuring the integrity and |>ower of the people' money Ivdlot which the state is progressively perverting, for our money ballot and not our political ballot is our instrument of democracy and self government.
Indeed, a people that docs not know the difference between money-created by private enterprise and counterfeit money created In the state has not the qualification for self government in these modem times when the new method of counterfeiting through l>ank "loans" is resorted to so freely by the state Monetary illiteracy disqualifies the voter in the onlv democracy wherein lie can exercise sell government and leaves him with the delusive [volittcal ballot that he vainly casts in an effort to stay the progress of enslavement that results from the corruption of his money ballot.
All the declarations of freedom and manna ortas of history devoted to w inning and protecting the political liallot cannot equal the lilierating power of a declaration of the sqxirarion of money and state with the lre». exercise of an incorruptible money ballot
Money the Liberator
Civilisation began with exchange and exchange began with barter. Barter means the exchange of things for things, with each transaction complete in itself, leaving no claim or obligation by either trader Obviously, such transactions require contact of two traders, each of whom has something the other wants. Naturally such contacts are not easy to make and an esca|>e from this limited exchange method had to be found to permit man to raise his standard of living lieyond that ot bare necessities.
The first device resorted to was the adoption of some commodity that was in common use as a criterion of value. Some of such commodities adopted at various times and places were salt, hides, grains, cattle, tobacco, metals, etc The trader accepting these found them useful, not only to himself but on account of their general acceptance, he was assured that he could use them to secure desired commodity - in exchange This was the first step from bilateral to trilateral Iwrler lie-cause it involved in its consummation three traders instead of two. While this was a step in the direction and a harbinger of money, i( is a mistake to r. ler to any commodity , whether it is the mediator of exchange or not, as money, because money has no v.due and involves inescapably a tri-factor transaction based upon crcdit. No credit is involved in the acceptance of an intermediating commodity which, In-cause of its intrinsic worth, enable the holder to either consume it or retrace it.
A further step in the development ol tri-factor Ivarter exdiange and approach to money was the adoption of precious metals, -uch a* gold and silver, as intermediating commodities The adopt wn of these commodities was the manifestation of greater emphasis upon exchange usefulness than consumptive usefulness This wa- the last |tliase of whole liarter or valuc-for-value exchange before the dawn of money.
Because of the use of precious metals as the last and highv -t pic of whole barter exchange, the introduction of mono \ was manifested by a promise to deliver these metals. The belief |<eTMsts to this da* thai money, to l>e sound, must promise the delivery of gold or silver Tin essential quality of money, however, i-- iLS promise to deliver value in any commodity at the choice of the holder But, in spite • ■: the specification of a given commodity stipulated in the promise, the promise became money because it involved credit and tire lin'ird of default.
Though encumbered from the beginning to this day with Irtish and fallacy, money has been, and as we understand it better. will l»ecome much more, the lil>crator of mankind. The ultimate hi- ration will come when man the producer of all wealth is recogni.•■■■! ... ihe onlv- fountain of money and tliat the well-springs of such fountain lie w ithin each of us willing and able to serve our fellow man
The utilization of money as the medium of exchange doc not mean departure from U,rter It is hut a method of splitting barter in two halves. The acceptor of monev gives value therefor but receives onlv a promise of value, which when conveyed to a subsequent seller requisitions his half of the split-lurter transaction. This introduction of a time element into barter, civing the acceptor the power to requisition his half from any trader and in anj commodity, at any time, is what expedites and multiplies exchange, thu- releasing more and greater variety of production and hence raising living standards
Without money, civilization would have been stymied and without a better understanding of money than has prevailed under the political money system, society again faces a barrier of ignorance that if not surmounted will produce chaos, for if man can not distinguish Ivtwecn true money and false, only contusion can result because the ppvportion of false to true is rapidly increasing and the whole money supply i-bccoming debased, forcing a return to whole barter and consequently lower living standards.
While money i- the liberator t ; exchange it involves the vital clement of crcdit and a society accuMomed to trade on faith in its monev is much more subject to deception than it was on the whole barter system. It is therefore imperative that man master money so that he can assure the iidelit\ of the promise implicit in what he accepts as money and can' not onlv exclude from the issue-j» vver all unvvonhv of it, but can admit to it all those worthy ol it and now excluded under the existing political money system.
If money is to fulfill its function as the liberator ol exchange and thus the promoter of higher civilization it must Ik- free to draw its supply from all worthy sources and Ik- protected from pollution by false issuer.- It must not only escape |>olitic;d control but must U-come democratic and renounce its aristocratic limitation Tin broader us base, the higher can l«- its apex and the greater its service to mankind.
Money, soundly and broadly based, can liberate man from all the ills that beset him Ivecaus* it is a ballot that incessantly registers the popular will, flowing ever toward (In virtuous endeavor that erves the wants ol focicn ami withholding sup|>nrt from the viciun l ius ballot can control the state far more effectively than the political liallol and direct Ihe economy precisely as it should go if us tranche lie inclusive of all producers and exclusive of ballul bos stuffcrs— spurious i -ue-
E C RIEGEL
Those interested in alternate economies, decreasing their dependence on a depreciating legal tender, and avoiding the plundering tax collector should pick up a copy of LET'S TRY BARTER by Charles Morrow Wilson.'The book is wrtten in a friendly, conversational style reflecting Wilson's -rass-root6 "anericani6m" which permeates the book as he describes in detail barter experiences on all levels of society. The introduction by Karl Hess, on the other hand, stresses the role barter could play in developing new social and economic relationships based upon personal responsibility.
Barter mean6 swapping; voluntary exchange of good6 or services for other goods or services. Its motivation is the advantage attainable by both or all parties. Its basic value is measurable by the usefulness of the goods or services traded, not by the arbitrary value or price thereof. (Wilson, pg.3)
All exchange is barter, Wilson points out, but the exchange of goods or services for money, which is then exchanged for the goods or services actually desired, 16 indirect barter. Wilson contrasts the impersonal, insincere, and insecure basis of indirect barter with the necessarily personal, sincere, and secure approach upon which direct barter depends. Direct barter takes many forms. One such form i6 the barter store, in which people 6wap commodities,such as clothes and furniture,which they no longer have a use for, in exchange for other goods which they desire. While each swapper profits subjectively in terms of the use-value or the goods each acquires; there is no objective profit or increase in the exchange-value since money does not enter into the exchange. The money paid as a service charge to the barter-store proprietor is usually Just that, the payment for a service rendered, a wage, not profit in exchange. Thi6 wage can take the form of profit when it consists of a percentage charge upon the value of the goods exchanged.
Wilson does not engage in any analysis of barter, which I am attempting in this article. Barter is seen by Wilson to be a supplementary economic activity; but its social implications are perhaps'more radical than he can imagine. Tilson does, however, point out some historic attempts to substitute barter for legal tender, especially in times of tight credit, runaway inflation (rapid depreciation of the currency due to government spending), and economic depression (when money is scarce due to hoarding in the face of dropping prices). In such times, exchange is often facilitated by the private introduction of barter scrip. Even in "good times" barter stores U6e scrip to increase the effectiveness of barter by splitting the exchange into two halves. You bring your goods to a "swap shop", the proprietor appraises the exchange-value of yout- goods, then issues you "swap slips" of equal value which are redeemable in your choice of goods at the shop. Thus C - S is the first half of the split barter, in which the commodities C equal the 6crip S in terras' of exchange-value, or price. At some later date you see something at the- swap shop which has use-value to you. You acquire the commodity by redeeming your barter 6crip in exchange for the object. Thus C - S - C is the completed split-barter, where there is no difference in the exchange-value of the first and second
ITrtilWl ^V6 C=C- AS 10 811 free "Changes, the motivation and end result is to increase or maximize use-value.
What separates barter 6crip from money as we know it is that 6crip can only issued upon a sound basi6 of existing commodities available for exchange. Once the scrip i6 exchanged for actual commodities at the place of i16 Issue (the barter 6tore), it Is redeemed,ie., withdrawn from"circulation". Money today 16 based upon government borrowing and its promise to repay (which it can't possibly live up to) not upon any exchangeable commodity. Sven in the days of the so-called gold standard, government bonds served as a basis for currency. The major disadvantage of a legal commodity standard i6 that it restricts the basis or commodity upon which the currency i6 issued to a single one, usually gold or silver. Barter universalizes the bases upon which a sound medium of exchange can be issued to include any or all commodities, goods and services, which are desired in exchange, which have exchange-value.
In money (defined as legal tender) economies, in order to obtain a livelihood, you must first obtain money, ^his you do by selling your labor to those who have themselves obtained money. You can be 6ure that, if you want to borrow money, those who reserve to themselves the right to create the 6tuff will charge you an exhorbitant fee for the use of this artificially valuable commodity, "their" money. Thus in the borrowing and repayment of •roney, M - M', H'is greater than Mj the difference which is pocketed by the money-lender or banker is politely called interest. The anarchist Proudhon preferred the etymologically correct term, usury, the price paid for the use of the monopolized means of exchange. Therefore, If you are a merchant who wants to set up shop, you must borrow this M from your friendly neighbor-hood banker, buy your inventory of commodities, C; but in order to pay back the loan and the Interest, you must charge a higher price for C than what C cost you (with all your other expenses added on); thus we have H - C - M' in which M' is again greater than M. This increase in "objective" exchange-value Is fundamentally different from the subjective increase in use-value which characterizes direct and split barter. The consumer who pay6 M' for what would be valued at M in direct or split barter is paying tribute to the banker who i6 using you, the merchant, as hi6 tax collector. That is what money is all about; it is a legal property in the privilege of issuing the means of exchange in order to collect tribute upon the use of the medium. The privileged few can then take the money they've collected, go into business for themselves, sell commodities »ith-out having to charge interest, run their competitors out of business, and then raise prices back to or above the M' level. Experiences with direct and split barter show that this privilege of creating money is unnecessary. We, as workers with products and services to exchange, have the power to create our own means of exchange, if we reclaim it from the legal tender brokers.
If interest is payment for the U6e of monopolized financial resources, then rent i6 payment for the use of natural resources (land, a 6pace to live and work on). Paying someone for that which no person created is the payment of tribute to a conqueror. When you, still the merchant, borrow money, you must borrow enough to pay for your inventory of salable commodities, your capital or tool6, and your own wages (at minimum) which all count as C 86 they are all necessary to the service you are providing. You must also borrow enough to pay your landlord his regular rent; thus you must consent to being robbed by the landlord and you mu6t cover your loss by charging the rent along with the interest to your customers. Even as a barter merchant you must pay rent, thus you must increase your service charge in order to raise the cash. Barter will reduce your cost6 in direct taxes to the government, which i6 now a percentage of your Income, especially if you can live off the good6 you barter (or grow them or make them yourself). it
The benefits of barter are not limited to those engaged in it as a business. Perhaps the greatest benefit is the amount of money it saves consumers. Wilson points out that with an operating fee of 20* paid to the owner of a swap shop, you can exchange a J15 vase for a 515 desk lamp and pay only »3. Barter is also an excellent means to recycle goods; it prevents the accumulation of(subjectively) useless but (objectively) valuable commodities in attics, cellars, closets, and bookshelves. But if barter has a limited potential under the existing regime of property in privileges, it can be the seed of an alternative economy.
If direct and 6plit barter were to replace money in rural and inner city neighborhoods, there would be little need for large sums of money to set up and maintain a business that would benefit the community. As a merchant (once again) you could acquire your inventory by buying "worthless" Junk from your neighbors using your own barter scrip; you wouldn't have to pay a cent (you could even barter for the necessary service of the printer of the scrip). Tour capital is the stock of goods your neighbors supply you with; destroying the myth that you need a friend at Chase or any other financial establishment. Services can also be exchanged via barter. All you need to set up such an exchange is a telephone to contact those who have services (typing, carpertry, plumbing, child care, etc.) to offer. Such a service exchange could mobilize local resources without having to resort to government involvement which does nothing toward fostering local autonomy.
With Karl Hes6, I share the idea that barter could be the basis of a new, responsible, and libertarian counter-economy. Barter is no respecter of ideological squabbles; it is useful to the anarchocapitallst and anarcho-coaBunlst alike; and it is useful to those who 6imple want to take control of their own lives. Barter is the enemy of all who want something for nothing; you can't get very rich with barter, neither would you be very poor. Barter i« mutual aid and individual sovereignty united in action; it has immediate value as a defense against the State , and it will have even greater value as our over-bureaucratic society continues to deteriorate. As Hess puts it in his introduction, barter is fundamentally anti-power and anti-theft.
Wilson sees barter a6 a way to beat those two thugs, inflation (which steals by night) and the tax collector(who brazenly steals in the light of every day, glorying in the act). But Just beyond hi6 very practical words lies the Utopian vision of a good society whose economy, whose way of working, remains rooted in barter and not kited into what we have come to know as speculation and unbridled usury, Wilson talks of ways here and now. Reading him, I can also
dream of ways out yonder, tomorrow, toward freedom and responsibility. • • •
We must be responsible for our end of the human exchange which barter suggests. We cannot dodge behind corporate law or corporate lawyers. We stand, responsible, for what we have done. The money economy on the other hand is well suited to a society in which rights, not responsibilities, are formost, To have a society of rights, there must be a society of power, the power to enforce the rights. And given such power, we know all too well these days, we have simply set the stage for the selective enforcement of some rights, and the abridgement of others. Barter, being based upon responsibility, suggests ways of living together which do not depend upon great power but upon greatly responsibly people. (pg.xxvi-xxvii)
♦ ?t's Try Barter - The answer to inflation-(and the tax collector) by Charles Morrow nison, introduction by Karl Hess, copyright 1960,1976, published by The Devin-Adair Co., 1 i+3 Sound Beach Ave., Old Greenwich, Connecticut 06870.
By HOWARD KATZ
The most important problem laced by Americans today is the depreciation ol our currency It seems thai whatever happens or whoever is in power prices only 90 up never down Since i960 prices have almost doubled.
The reason our currency depreciates 15 that loo much ol it is being issued The astonishing thing is that the banks have acquired the power to create paper money , *nply create II out of nothing — and they have used that power to excess They have been creating money at a rale ot about S15 billion a year The more money comes into existence the less each bit ol money is worth in the past lour decades the money supply has multiplied by 15. and the dollar is now worth about 20 cents
Money is created in two step* (1) The commercial banks use their reserves to create money when they make loans. Smce they protit from the loans, they have a strong incentive in this regard. (2) These reserves are brought into existence by our ccntral bank, the Federal Reserve when it issues legal tender notes. The Federal Reserve simply lakes pieces of paper, prints "legal tender on them, and presto! money has been created Since the Federal Reserve was created by bankers and is staffed by bankers land sympathetic economists), they keep the banks well supplied with reserves, and the quantity of money keeps increasing.
Figures going back to the Civil War show the working man's complaint that wages lag behind prices to be perfectly 'rue In every case of a severe depreciation of the currency, prices started to rise bet ore wages and rose taster. Il is also
people would return his notes quickly upon him for conversion into gold. He had therefore to maintain a big gold reserve, and either hi-loans were correspondingly dear, or he had to be content with smaller profit But as his reputation spread, demands for conversion crew fewer: he was able to operate with less gold, and to make cheaper loans in competition with other bankers. It is important to realize that, under such a system, gold is losing its position as money, and is becoming merely a support of trust.
Obviously there is no connection at all between the available amount of gold in ihe world and either the volume of goods offered for sale, or the amount of productive ability requiring loans; and that community will flourish best where mutual trust between banks and people is greatest, so that banks can operate with a minimal gold reserve. The less gold that a banker needs, the nearer he approaches the ideal banker whose sole criterion for a loan is the demand by a creditworthy person. The banker's notes are then simply a method of indicating that person to Ihe Irading community.
true in the present situation Attempts 10 blame labor lor rising prices are not supponed by statistics. In lact Since '965 real wages lin constant dollars) have lagged some 15 per cent below what they would nave been i( there had been no depreciation.
But il working men and women have dilficulty because of ihe depreciation ihe elderly have it much worse A man who was 50 years old in i960 might have reasonably p'anrcd lor retirement on a S3 000 yearty income Now S3.000 a year is stark poverty
When the banks create money the big corporations. which are their best loan customers, share in the beneM Essentially what they do is to borrow 100-cent dollars and pay it back when the currency has depreciated they wind up paying olf in 80-cent or 50-cent dollars Our paper money system can be viewed as a device lor translering wealth from working and saving Americans to the banks and the big corporations. I call these latter — the beneficiaries ol our paper money system — the paper aristocracy.
Unlortunately. «e cannot turn to the eiperts lor aid. A group of men has made a very profitable occupation out ol posing as economic experts and defending the privilege ol Ihe bankers to create money For this service they are well rewarded by the paper aristocracy They talk In an incomprehensible language and give each other impressive lilies They are very talented m convincing laymen that they are authorities but their predictions rarely come true These men have been successful in freezing most of the real experts out of academic jobs They argue (1) that the banks' privilege to create money benefits everyone. (2) that printing money creates something out ol nothing, and (3) that It is done lor the sake of the poor.
It should be pointed oul thai before the banks got this privilege (a legal tender law was passed m 1933) our currency was stable and did not depreciate From 1788 to 1933 the country was on a gold (or gold'silver) standard whereby the dollar was a quantity ot gold (about 1/20 ol an ounce) and could not merely be created oul ol nothing. The result was that the price level *as the same in 1933 as <t had been when George Washington was president
To put a slop to the continual depreciation of our currency, the Committee to Establish The Gold Standard was organized on a national basis Its purpose is to end paper money m particular to repeal ihe legal tender laws and abolish the central bank
Courtesy of THE GRAHERCT HERALD;and THE GOLD B0Q 85 kth Ave. #6H New York, N. T. 10003
By Henry Heulen frots THE INDIVIDUALIST 31 Parkside Gardens London,SW19 5ET
.„,„ ■orninc I had the displeasure of seeing F. Lee Bailey on television, swelkin* on behalf of a system, which in his opinion will go far to "stop crime'.' Suggested that the government limit the availability and use of cash. Those having a "legitimate" need for it would nave government-permission" to use it. InstBad of cash, we would use checks, credit cards, and computer cards. Gambling, narcotics, transactions, even the Watergate plumbers, are all made posslole through the use of cash, the distinguished attorney tell6 us. Crime could not operate on credit cards or checks. The root of the problem, he said is cash.
The government would give permission to those needing cash for a purpose it approve* of. The re6t of as would have checks, credit cards, and the necessary identification, and the computer banks would have plenty of information about us, very handy.
What Mr. Bailey "forgot" to mention is that the organized crime people would indeed find many ways to do business without cash. And also that the organized crime syndicate known as government would then have 1. even greater control over the exchange of goods and services. This cash rationing would result in far more easily traceable transactions. What one purchased would be traceable. 2. Financial institutions would have ( would "need" ) even more information on people, which the government would no doubt have access to. A new batch of laws would be needed to facilitate the operation of the entire plan.
Those of us who have successfully resisted having oank accounts, credit card6, etc., would no longer have much choice. There would do doubt be "service charges" on the use of cash and of cash substitutes. It would be extra trouble to process both. One would have to show proof before one could use cash (only with government permission, remember) and before one could use those checks or credit cards. The government of course will have become stronger a6 it will have greater control over the use of money. They might even take your card from you if you are bad. (like a drivers license) All could be done in the nam* of stopping crime. Another repressive method used against the good people of thi6 country under the guise of stopping crime, (or greater efficiency,take your pick).
This is not an unrealized dream. You can walk into a certain supermarket now and instead of paying for your groceries, the cashiers inserts your number, and the amount of your bill i6 automatically deducted from your bank account and transferred to the stores account via computer. The banks and credit companies already have much Information about people 6tored in their computers. Many people are already aware that the information banks, etc., have are not only that which is necessary for determining ones financial status. Where you were, and when and what you bought, how you paid for it, if you travelled, how much is in and out of your account would all be available facts.
fhis interests the government not Just in the investigation of organized crime, but in the watching of thosed involved in political movements. Further, if one attempted, for the sake of ones privacy (a right?) to conceal ones transactions that would be"illegal", and create further problems. Some of us have choosen not to live in the mainstream of American life. We are further out of touch with financial institutions than those who have steady jobs, credit cards, and bank accounts. We are no doubt less happy about this new idea. People who prefer to live by odd jobs, "off the books" jobs, and prefer not to be picture IDed by Citibank will find it nearly impossible to survive without compromising in some way.
It ie quite an indication of a repressive society when further controls art instituted on that which people need to put food in their mouths, and a roof over their head6. When the necessities of life become so deeply under govern-nent control, and our cooperation and subjection is demanded by government and financial institutions, this will be the worst kind of blackmail yet
«"bllehe<1- SUSAN WILLIAMS
-ate THgneyVte&few*** +
Many thoughtful people are more and more aware that industrial depressions are caused chiefly by faulty control of ir.oney and credit. Host "refomers", or those who recommend measures to rem-sdy this, turn to government for issue and control of rconey. It is my purpose here to briefly present an analysis and "cure" in the light of economic liberty.
It is hardly necessary to inform clear thinkers that legal monopoly and liberty are opposites. To genuine libertarians, there is but one way to delegate social functions, and that is free competition. If any individual or group believes they can perform any social function better than is being done, they should have the right and opportunity to prove it in actual operation, on their own responsibility and that of any who voluntarily join them. To erect through law a monopoly of any social activity is a sure way of promoting graft and exploitation. This is the fallacy of conmunism, fascism and all schemes involving government monopoly.
If, instead of arguing with one another, the various money reform groups would come out openly for freedom in banking, then each could go ahead with their plans with voluntary cooperators. Each one's money v/ould circulate among those who considered the plan sound and workable. But no one would be compelleJ to accept any other money than he wished. The better ideas and systems would win out, having been proven sound by actual operation. There might be- failures at first, no doubt. But it is by free trial and error, with only experimenters and free cooperators getting "burned", that satisfaction is fully achieved. This is the method of liberty. Kany of those who now turn to governmental schemes for lessening man's plight may soon find themselves hog-tied by government force and violence, as has been the lot of several peoples in the Eastern hemisphere.
Honey grew out of the need to get rid of the inconveniences of barter. Money is that wealth or media that is generally acceptable in the exchange of goods and services.
Money is of two kinds: comodity money and credit money.
Cownodity money is that which has its value inherent in itself - such a3 skins, cattle, corn or a gold picce.
Credit morey i3 a promise of goods of specific quantity or quality, either "on demand" or at a specified time. All paper money is credit noney. Credit money may be (in honesty, should be) backed by, based on and redeemable in actual wealth or ccnacdities. This is called cocmodity-backed money. Credit money based on government-debt is fiat or dishonest money.
A credit transaction is one in which an interval elapses between the completion of the exchange. In a credit transaction there is complete exchange of the rights of ownership, but an incomplete exchange of the goods in question. Since paper money is not wealth itself, the use of paper money means doing business on a credit basis.
Basis of Issue and Standard of Value
Money is unconceivable without both a basis of issue and a standard of value. One of the most misunderstood aspects about money is the distinction between the need for and nature of these two factors.
The basis of issue is some stable wealth like bales of cotton, bushels of wheat, ounces of gold , against which the money is issued and in which it can be redeemed. at the wish of the holder. The value of credit money is determined by the value of the wealth upon which it is based or secured, measured in terms of/standard unit of value. a
The standard of value is some one tning: a unit of £old. like a dollar. lire, pound, etc.. or a cooposite of things, of value by which the ox change value of other things is measures. The function of a standard of value is to serve as a yardstick for the measurement of values. Beside this it has no other influence on money. The substance of the standard need have no inmediate connection with a monetary system.
As long as money is based on wealth and is sufficient in quantity to carry on the necessary exchanges, its value will remain on par with the (unit) standard of value, irrespective of the amount of money in circulation. The value of credit money is not determined by the amount of money in existence. It does not follow the law of supply and demand as many money reformers believe. It depends upon the value of the unit used as a standard, and mostly upon the wealth on which it is based and the likelihood of its redemption in that wealth.
Any money is good if it is actually redeemable by its issuer as stated on the note. Many monetary systems today are not based on redeemable wealth, but are based on government debt. They exist only by force of habit because their users do not understand tne "system" and its faults. They would collapse if it came to a 3howicwn( if the holders of money asked for redemption. And it is this debt-based or fiat money which governments inflate and devaluate, both of which are breaches of contract and partial repudiation of debt. Under these conditions it is difficult to sec how, even in a partially free economy, financial collapse is not inevitable in oany countries today.
To illustrate the foregoi"<» points let us imagine ourselves starting an suitable free money system. We must have a duplicating machine or a printing -ress, a person who can estimate the value of property or "security", a bank toller i-vd'a bookkeeper. And we must agree on something as a standard of value, a thing of specific quality and quantity. Suppose we agree on a dollar worth 32.5 ounces of Zold Then we print our money, designating what fraction or multiple of the standard this money is to represent. Our money may read: "Good for one dollar in value, to be ultimately redeemed through the Waverly Peoples Bank". Then we are ready to put the money in circulation.
Now the farmer, the merchant, the manufacturer - anyone who has conmoditie: or tangible wealth which he wants to buy or sell - comes to the bank to get money with which to circulate this wealth. V/e coamonly say such person "borrow" of the bank, though this tern is really misleading. A bank's customer does not "borrow" coney. He merely goes to the bank to have his honesty arid reliability verified. The so-called "borrower" of money is really the issuer of money. He holds the wealth upon which the money is issued, by which it is .secured, and with which the money can be redeemed. Even a property-less person may "borrow" money from the bank provided he has a property owner vouch for his reliability, i.e. sign his note.
Obviously anyone can issue a promissory note in payment for goods, i.e., enter a credit transaction, but his promise could not circulate very far because he is not generally known. Such a note therefore would not be money in the sense of a ,-er.erally circulating medium of exchange. A bank eliminates this difficulty. In the division of labor, the bank assumes the work of determining the reliability of its customers and verifies that reliability by giving them notes, in exchange for the right to confiscate an equivalent part of the pledged property in case the customer should default. This requirement is necessary to protect those who have surrendered goods in exchange for money.
Estimating Value of Security.
A bank customer needing money, to circulate wealth, appears at our bank. Then our bank manager sends our estimator to look over his wealth. The estimator states its value, whereupon the bank agrees to give a loan minus a fraction of its value as a risk premium, a margin of safety determined by experience. Thereupon the exchange is made. The bank gives the bank notes, and the customer gives to the bank the right to take an equivalent portion of the value of his property at the end of the tern of loan if he does not return these notes. The money is now in circulaticr and passes freely from one person to another in exchanging corcraodities. Eventually the "borrower" finishes his product and sells it on the market. Then he takes the notes to the bank to release his pledge, and the bank then withdraws this f-any dollars from circulation. Meanwhile other persons have "borrowed" and "repaid". Money was issued and withdrawn in response to the normal demands of the needs of trade. Such is the natural course of the issue, circulation and redemption of money. The final redemption of money constitutes a cancellation of pledge or debt.
Of course there is labor connected with the business of banking. Managers, tellers, bookkeepers, estimators and supplies need to be paid for. In ordinary banking business, this cost runs around one-half of one percent of the amount of "loans" made. Another small item needs to be covered: the loss sustained when the wealth which secures loans is destroyed or depreciates from unavoidable causes. For this another small percent is charged (should never be over one-half of one percent a sort of mutual insurance. This total of one-percent should be the total cost to the bank's customers. There need or should be no other "interest" charge.
Points to Note in Above Procedure
1. It is not necessary for a bank to have capital of its own.
2. The bank performed its only legitimate function: to insure credit. i
3. All money issued in this manner is amply backed, secured and insured.
U. The only sound limit to the volume of credit money is the amount of monetizable wealth in existence, which is hundreds of times more than needed to circulate the wealth in trade.
5. Irrespective of the amount of money issued, the value of purchasing power of that money remains the same as the standard. When gold is the standard, no gold need enter into the bank's transactions, but gold must be exchanged on the open market for other commodities in order to determine the values of things in terms of gold.
6. In this system the value of the gold returns to normal because it is stripped of the law-created privilege of being the sole basis for the issue of money. Tho money is really issued on the goods or wealth of the customers. It is really the labor necessary to mine gold which is the standard of value.
7. This money is not fiat money - not irredeemable paper money, not unsecured money. It is not subject to change in value which might cause inflation or deflation, which are never necessary.
8. The amount of currency is always adjusted to the amount needed, as it can be issued and withdrawn (pledges redeemed) at the will of the customers.
9. The value of the currency fluctuates no more than the value of the gold used as the standard commodity.
10. Interest is eliminated, so long as people are free to open this type of bank. Any attempt to charge interest would inmediately meet the pressure of competition. Customers would go to the banks which only charged 1 (1%) cost of doing business and the insurance. (Bank interest in general practice is due to the fact that banks have a legal or law-created privilege to charge 551 or b% or more).
11. "Hoarding" is not objectionable because it cannot curtail the amount of needed currency. Currency can always be obtained on monetizable wealth.
12. Since there is no governmental control of this currency, there is no possibility of bureaucratic tampering or exploitation.
13. Free competition and the possibility of rejecting currency eliminate the possibilities of favoritism, graft, irresponsibility, inefficiency, and incompetence; and the abolition of the legal tender privilege will have the effect of
good money forcing bad money out of circulation. 5
1A. The books of these banks would always be open for public inspection, with their condition published monthly, upon investigation by public accountants.
15. These banks and the money must exist by voluntary support and therefore
maintain themselves in a ccmpetitive field. This is the method of liberty.
A B C OF EQUITY
BT W. t. Hmm*» yM u\ it is imuIu jou VVeHle.us.eejh.t
. .mf There are just two classes ol things
"t^UoJS^'h.thee.e.ion of Jls snd ihost which exist regardless o( .he exert,,n J tenons The latter -e call natural resources. ^u.iBidmillhty are. normal), iht gift of Nature l ,il of ill- Thai is. Ihr> belong lo no one. \„ -results' are combinilioDJ of the oilier Iwo— and natural resources. The work is stored io lit resources. But that doesn't aller ihe fact lhal rentes b.'Ionf lo no on;. No one creates thera. No c.e contributes anything but the work. That is ALL thai jou, or I. or anyone else, or any number of persons.
CAN di> for anyone else.
It folio*t. as night follow, day. that the reaion ,Ey of m ever exchange is because we want to get more of the Natural Resource* 11ith less work. But rcuvill hardly claim that you want to get mort nrklromothcri.fofrttof yourown work, mllyoit
So. if you can fet r re from Nature in one wa> Ihanyour neighbor. £ d your neighbor can get more fron-. Nature in ANOTHER way, « ith cqua! work, bitichanging EQUITABLY—hour lor hour oi time ■j. tkt.1 BOTH of you get MOKE FtiOM .SATL'RE :r. jr tit her ijn i>y not exchanging. that IS the ESSENCE OF EQUITABLE
EXCHANGE But, if you exchange on the basis of quantity or quslity-or any other than time worked—one or both of you will be charging for the Natural Re-uurcci in which your labor it stored.
Tor instance If a man woi k- half of hi? i line on «u-li of t*o lotions, growing corn, producing 5-1 bushels oil creand ]iM on the oilier and sell? both in the resul'-uni' aide;, he geL* the same for hi- worl. on each, and, in addition, new as muchmorc for tiie extra yield o' X; i-'Jre on I hi- laner lo.-a'.ion,
And that is the basis ol Ground Rent! But,:f he sells on the Work-Unit basis, he gets the same for his work, and NOTHING for Nature's ritra >itld. But that yield goes to consumers as the FREE GIFT from Nature, that it really is. In o'.ner vords. each one pays for the WORK OF PRO-DLCllON- in the price of the produci-but NOTHING for the Nature! Resources in which the work ii stored.
But. in tiie other case, on the result-unit basis, "ch ont Piys-works not only for the work, but for the Natural Resources in which that work u stored.
I' w would adop'. a WorJc-lml money: Ir.al i^. rt^nirt-thalnfn doi.ar issued be issued solely for an haj-'.v •dti* r.uman „0rL. zr.d promise lhal il will be acccpted RETJRn FOt? »" huu.'s adult human work, no one could receive money for anything bul human wirl. ami no one would hare lo pay money for anything bul human work. Which would slop ALL tribute now going to Ihe people who own for their incomes It wou d put an end lo millionaire ownership and pauperism PRODUCERS VERSUS COMSUMERS
fll \AVOU k bicihik £ kola w
Where people trade on a result-unit Uuit it is but natural for each party to a trade to seek to sell at a high price and by at a low price- That fact make: their financial interests opposed to each other. That i- why the interests of persons as consumers seem to conflict so with their ioterests as producers. It is because as consumers they get the result-unit buyers attitude of wanting low prices; while as producers tbey get the result-unit seller's altitude of wanting high prices. As sellers wage workers want high prices < wages in their case), which puts them in conflict with the employer?, who, as buyers, want low prices 'wages). Each side i-seeking to benefit itself: hurting the other s-ide it chiefr but incidental to attempting to help one'f self—one'-own side. That result-unit-produced conflict cause? each -ide to try to control the various factors involved in the fixing of result-unit prices. That is wby people organize corporations labor unions, so-called cooperatives,nr. It is why such organizations tend to expand to unwieldy proportions, and to interlock and lake in under Iheir control everything in sight. The more successful they are in getting control, the greater their control over ;!. prices both to and from themselves. That is why we have monopolies and imperialism- The unsuccc-.- ful side is thereby forced to fight for iis existcner. Kut '.he successful side can't aflord lo relax its hold much nr the positions, for the individuals at leas:, may become reversed. Tha: is why the result-unit method of gelling another lo worl: lor one, causes Internationa' r.i! interclass warfare. And the key to the strength of i v result-unit incentive lo strife is lo be found in thi <J . m ignorance, on the part of both sides, of the fact tl..' tl" basis is wrong ■inequitable) because it maker one i •(r-son work longer for another than that other work .r. return. Tliat ignorance results in a solidarity of epila tion to the removal of the cause of their strife—tin ro..' source alike of their fear and avarice. It results in th« advantaged, the unthinking disadvantaged, and all brands of lackers against the statu? quo (from the nic est libera! to the extremist "red,1 and from the n-o» individualistic r.r.preli!:,; to thr most Ihoroping communist) devolrdiy upholding the root evii, when hiii -tists propo?e that it be abolished. Land and mono; reformers, alike, under thai spell of result-unit woivhip-ping ignorance, oppose the idea o? establishing eqiiitnl.'i exchange. Ye;, if all trade (all buying and selling, al i.iring and being hired was equiiahle exchange, ti t interests of seller and buyer wouid harmonize. Tl.t uihr fellow's control of industry, territory, resources, ■ 'mid not harm you all price; being fixed by duration ol uori. So there would be do incentive to struggle for control-
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Come To Washington D.C. Saturday May 21, 1977 Defy the Supreme Court and celebrate Gay love and LIBERATION!
There will be mass picketing of the US Supreme Court to show our outrage on the first anniverary of the repressive court decision upholding Virginia anti-sodomy law6.