Sunday, January 14, 2018

Poor on Gilbart

Poor on Gilbart
Thomas Allen

    In 1877, Henry Varnum Poor (1812-1905) wrote Money and Its Laws: Embracing a History of Monetary Theories, and a History of the Currency of the United States. He was a financial analyst and founder of a company that evolved into Standard & Poor’s. Poor was a proponent of the real bills doctrine and the classical gold-coin standard and, thus, the quality theory of money. He gave little credence to the quantity theory of money — especially if credit money, such as bank notes, were convertible on demand in species. Also, he contended that the value of money depends on and is derived from the value of the material of which it is made and with paper money, its representation of such value.
    In the latter part of his book, he discusses leading monetary theorists from Aristotle (350 B.C.) to David A. Wells (1875). Most of the economists whom he discussed were proponents of the quantity theory of money. We will look at his discussion on James Gilbart. My comments are in brackets. Referenced page numbers enclosed in parentheses are to Poor’s book.
    James W. Gilbart (1794–1863) was an English banker and author. Among his works is Practical Treatise on Banking (1827), The History and Principles of Banking (1834), and Principles and Practice of Banking (1873), which is an abridged and combined edition of 1827 and 1834 books. Poor reviews Principles and Practices of Banking.
    About Gilbart, Poor writes, “Gilbart was a striking instance of a voluminous writer upon money, without any proper comprehension of its nature and laws. . . . As a Political Economist, he belonged to the school of Tooke and Mill, in holding that the convertible notes of no other Bank than that of the Bank of England could influence prices or the rates of exchange” (p. 368).
    Gilbart writes, “The bankers in issuing their notes do not make any reference to the quantity of gold in the country; but they make reference to their ability to discharge these notes when retained to them for payment” (p. 368). He argues that banks cannot issue bank notes in excess. However, if a bank has a monopoly on issuing bank notes and issues notes for gold, then an inflow of gold could lead to a large issue of notes, which could lead to speculation. When many banks are issuing notes, these notes are quickly returned to the issuing bank by other banks for redemption. When only one bank issues notes, those notes are only returned for gold when gold is needed for foreign exchange (pp. 368-369). [Thus, it is easier for a central bank with a monopoly on issuing bank notes to overissue notes than it is for competing banks to overissue notes.] According to Gilbart, paying interest on deposits also prevents the excessive issuance of notes by encouraging notes to be deposited. The criteria used by the Bank of England to issue notes causes prices to rise and reduce interest. (The criteria are issuing notes against gold bullion and to purchase Exchequer bills and government stock.) However, “if notes are issued merely to pay for transactions that have previously taken place, and are drawn out by the operations of trade, those notes will have no such effect” (p. 369).
    Poor summaries Gilbart’s explanation for the inability of private banks and bankers to overissue their notes: “1st, from their constant retirement ‘by the interchange by the Banks with each other of their different notes and checks, once or twice a week;’ and, 2d, for the reason that, by allowing interest on deposits, ‘all the surplus circulation is called in, and lodged with the Banks’” (p. 370). Poor does not believe that retiring notes by exchanges among banks reduces excess notes. [Poor errs somewhat. If bank notes increase in response to increased production as represented by buying real bills of exchange, then bank exchanges will remove currency and prevent excess. However, he has a point if bank notes are issued to buy financial bills like government treasury bills or to finance a speculative venture. These notes are more than what is needed to clear consumer goods from the markets. Therefore, they are inflationary as Poor describes. A major disagreement that Poor has with Gilbart is that Gilbart believes that the Law of Reflux is sufficient to regulate bank credit money and prevent its excessive quantity. {The Law of Reflux claims that banks cannot overissue bank credit money, bank notes and checkbook money, because any overissued currency quickly returns to the issuing bank for redemption.} Poor does not believe that it is sufficient. He believes that more is needed, such as adherence to the real bills doctrine.]
    Poor refutes Gilbart by noting, “An inflation may take place to a very large extent where exchanges are daily made, and where the Banks are on a specie basis, provided the issuers are all actuated by similar sentiments and move in a similar direction” (p. 370). [Most bankers prefer a centralized banking system, as countries now have, because it ensures that all bankers move in a similar direction. With a decentralized banking system, bankers usually vary greatly in their sentiment and move in various direction.]
    Poor argues that bank notes or checkable deposits used by a country bank for speculation, to buy government securities, or to finance businesses affect prices and interest as bank notes issued by the Bank of England to buy Exchequer bills (p. 371). “Once in the market, they perform precisely the same functions, and are subject to precisely the same laws. They are equally promises to pay coin on demand; and must be equally discharged within similar periods, by the payment of coin or its equivalent” (p. 371). [If the country bank’s loan of bank notes or checkable deposits comes from the bank’s capital or from savings deposits, then these notes and deposits should not have the same effect as the central bank issuing notes to buy government bills. The country bank has not added any additional currency, but it has merely transferred currency from one person to another. The central bank has added additional currency.]
    Poor remarks that since bank notes and checkable deposits issued by private banks far exceed those issued by the Bank of England, their effect must likewise be much greater. He writes, “It is certain that the former [private banks] do exert a much greater influence over prices and the rates of exchange, in ratio to their amount, than the latter [the Bank of England]; for the reason that they have a much more intimate connection than those of the Bank [of England] with the foreign commerce of the country, and are usually made upon securities, as a class, inferior to those which the rules of the Bank allow it to take” (p. 372).
    Poor summaries Gilbart’s comments before the Committee of 1840-41 about the actions that he would recommend for the Bank of England to follow in the event of war: “Mr. Gilbart, in the event of a war, would suspend specie payments, — would demonetize gold and silver, as a means of retaining them in the country” (p. 373). About Gilbart’s recommendation, Poor remarks, “He would cut off the handle of your axe, and render it useless, so as to prevent an enemy from striking off your head. But how was the enemy to get hold of the handle? By paying the price both for that and the axe. If he paid the price, he might thereby put in the hands of the owner that wherewith to defend himself far better than with the axe” (p. 373). He continues, “But if the gold of a country at war be demonetized, the enemy or some other nation will be sure to get it, not in exchange for powder and ball, but for wines and silks, — for that which, instead of arming and furnishing it for the fight, would inevitably tend to its emasculation, to the destruction of all patriotism and manhood” (p. 373). Moreover, Poor writes, “The effect of a war is always to turn the exchanges of a country engaged in it in its favor, for the reason that every one orders home the proceeds of his exports in coin, in order to have in hand that upon which he can certainly rely, should the event prove unfavorable, should domestic order be disturbed, or the wonted industries of the country fail” (p. 373). [This is not exactly true — especially if the prospect for one’s country winning the war is slim. If a person has the means, he may want to leave some of his wealth in a neutral country if he has to flee.] Poor notes that when Lincoln’s war to suppress Southern independence broke out gold and goods flowed into the United States. At the end of 1861, specie payments were suspended, and U.S. notes, greenbacks, were first issued in February 1862. After the suspension, exports far exceeded imports for the remainder of the war. [Some, perhaps most, of this difference is accounted for by the high tariff that the Republican Congress imposed. This tariff was the primary reason for the secession of the States of the Deep South.] Poor concludes his remarks about Lincoln’s war:
If legal-tender notes had not been issued, the United States would have laid all the world under tribute. The fast impulse of a people when they find themselves about to be plunged into a war is to forego every article that does not rank among the necessities of life. Their silver and gold are the first things they place beyond the reach of harm. Foreigners cannot get them, unless they pay more than they are worth. This they will not do, for the reason that they can get them of nations at peace, for their worth. The position of the United States, so far as its currency was concerned, was impregnable, but for its voluntary demonetization (p. 374).
The United States “lost their gold as soon as it could be taken away from them by lavish and wasteful expenditure” (p. 374). Poor is convinced that “[t]he civil war in the United States would have been ended in half the time, and at half the cost, but for demonetizing their coin” (p. 374).
    Gilbart states that banking capital is employed in discounting bills. According to him, when a bank of circulation [a bank that issues bank notes against bills] buys a bill, it increases the amount of money by the amount purchased. [This statement not exactly true as the bill of exchange can itself function as money in discharging debt and other financial obligations. However, other bills, such as treasury bills and bills of accommodations, seldom function as currency.] Gilbart claims that if a bank of deposit buys a bill, it does not increase “at all the amount of money in the country; but it will have put into motion . . . [money] that would otherwise have been idle” (p. 375). [This statement may or may not be true. If a bank buys the bill with money from its capital or from savings, then it is true. If it buys the bill by creating checkable deposits, it is not true. Checkable deposits are functionally the same as bank notes.] In both cases, Gilbart argues, the effects of bank notes issued by the bank of issue and the effects of checkable deposits created by private banks are the same. If notes issued by the bank of issue can cause high prices, overtrading, and speculation, so can checkable deposits created by private banks.
    Poor responds that the two differ in that one bank’s capital is in a form proper for loans [this comment applies to banks of deposit] and in the other “no capital whatever is created or provided” (p. 375) [this comment applies to the central bank of issue]. He writes, “To say that notes, without the least provision for their redemption, are the equivalent of deposits, which may be wholly in the form of coin or of notes representing coin, is to say that fiction equals reality, and shadow substance” (p. 375). Issuing bank notes without anything to support them may well result in problems for the bank while lending “the capital made up of deposits might prove most advantageous to all parties to the loan” (p. 375).
    Poor concludes, “Mr. Gilbart, undoubtedly, possessed a capacity of intuitively measuring the person who wanted to borrow his money; but he was wholly out of his sphere when he undertook to write upon its laws” (p. 375).

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Coley Allen.

More articles on money.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Mencken on the Inferior Man and Progress

Mencken on the Inferior Man and Progress
Thomas Allen

    In 1926, H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) wrote Notes on Democracy in which he expressed his views on democracy and related issues. He was a journalist, satirist, and critic and a libertarian and one of the leaders of the Old Right. In his book, he describes the inferior man and progress, pages 58-73. Below is an overview of his discussion on the inferior man and progress; my comments are in brackets.
    The inferior man is the natural enemy of progress, liberty, and justice. “[B]eing a natural slave himself, [the inferior man] is quite unable to understand the desire for liberty in his superiors. If he apprehends that desire at all, it is only as an appetite for a good of which he is himself incapable. He thus envies those who harbour it, and is eager to put them down.”
    For the inferior man, justice “is always unpopular and in difficulties under democracy, save perhaps that false form of so-called social justice which is designed solely to get the labourer more than his fair hire.” Moreover, “[t]he wars of extermination that are waged against heretical minorities never meet with any opposition on the lower levels. The proletarian is always ready to help destroy the rights of his fellow proletarian.” Mencken illustrates this with the use of the American Legion and the America Federation of Labor in the program against the Reds just after World War I. Another illustration is that “[t]he city workman, oppressed by Prohibition, mourns the loss of his beer, not the loss of his liberty.” [If the war on drugs is substituted for prohibition, the same is true today. How many are really concerned about the loss of liberties that the war on drugs has brought?] The inferior man, the proletarian, “is ever willing to support similar raids upon the liberty of the other fellow, and he is not outraged when they are carried on in gross violation of the most elemental principles of justice and common decency.” [As happens in the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on cancer, war on Confederate monuments, and all the other wars that the elite who controls the U.S. government creates.]
    The “few genuine believers in liberty and justice survive, huddled upon a burning deck. Is it to be marvelled at that most of them, on inspection, turn out to be the grandsons of similar heretics of earlier times?” Mencken thinks not because it “takes quite as long to breed a libertarian as it takes to breed a racehorse. Neither may be expected to issue from a farm mare.”
    According to Mencken, the inferior man, the masses, opposes progress. He writes, “The whole progress of the world, even in the direction of ameliorating the lot of the masses, is always opposed by the masses. The notion that their clamour brought about all the governmental and social reforms of the last century, and that those reforms were delayed by the superior minority, is sheer nonsense.” He cites several examples of these reforms — most of which extends the government’s control over the masses and which the masses initially opposed. In Germany, the elite enacted various types of social legislation, such as workman’s insurance, minimum wage, and child labor restriction laws. The United States and other countries followed Germany’s example. However, the masses tended to oppose these acts. [Libertarians naturally oppose such laws as they reduce liberty by forcing people to do what they would not naturally do. Socialists naturally support such laws as they provide for the security of workers, which socialists consider liberty. Since these laws reduce liberty by giving the government more control over the masses and, therefore, less real liberty, the masses were standing for liberty against the elites, their betters as Mencken called them, who were extending their control of the masses via the government. Here Mencken seems to contradict his arguments about liberty and the masses. That Mencken would consider these laws as progress is amazing since he claims to be a libertarian. If he does consider these laws as progress and an extension of liberty, he needs to congratulate the superiors, the elites, for educating the uneducable. Now, the inferior man would strongly resist their repeal.]
    Mencken writes, “Public policies are determined and laws are made by small minorities playing upon the fears and imbecilities of the mob — sometimes minorities of intelligent and honest men, but usually minorities of rogues.” In agreement with Maine, Mencken notes that universal suffrage would have prohibited the use of industrial inventions and machines, such as the spinning-jenny, power looms, and threshing-machines. [Sir Henry Maine {1822-1888} was a British comparative jurist and historian.] Moreover, universal suffrage “‘would have prevented the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar; it would have restored the Stuarts. It would have proscribed the Roman Catholics, with the mob which burned Lord Mansfield’s house and library in 1780; and it would have proscribed the Dissenters, with the mob which burned Dr. Priestley’s house and library in 1791.’” [As suffrage has been extended, the quality of political leaders has declined. First, the vote was given to Black males {1870}, next to women {1920}, and then to eighteen-year olds {1971}; along the way, the requirement to pay taxes was removed {1964}. Each time the quality of political leaders declined. The last Jeffersonian president was Cleveland {1885-1889 and 1893-1897}. Has not the time come to require voters to understand the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of their State and to pay a minimum but more than token direct tax? When voters had to meet these requirements, the country had much higher quality of political leaders.]
    In the United States, Mencken identifies democracy as leading to anti-vivisection and anti-contraception statutes, the licensing of osteopaths (which he considers a fraud), and restrictions on free assembly and free speech. [The police state laws enacted during the War on Terrorism has restricted assembly and speech, and the controllers of various internet sites, such as search engines and social media sites, have also restricted free speech. Also, Mencken’s attitude toward osteopathy appears like that of an inferior man. He does not understand it, and, therefore, fears it. Fearing it, he wants to suppress it as quackery. He has the same attitude toward chiropractic.]
    Mencken agrees with Lecky: “‘Nothing in ancient alchemy was more irrational than the notion that increased ignorance in the elective body will be converted into increased capacity for good government in the representative body; that the best way to improve the world and secure rational progress is to place government more and more under the control of the least enlightened classes.’” [William Lecky {1838- 1903} was an Irish historian, essayist, and political theorist.]
    Mencken explains the inferior man’s opposition to things that benefit him: “He is against it because it is complex, and, to his dark mind, occult — because it puts an unbearable burden upon his meagre capacity for taking in ideas, and thus propels him into the realm of the unknowable and alarming. His search is always for short cuts, simple formulae, revelation.” Continuing, Mencken adds “that all political platitudes and shibboleths [have] . . . one aim [and that] is to make the unintelligible simple, and even obvious.”
    Also, Mencken condemns Fundamentalism, creationism, chiropractic, “osteopathy, Christian Science, spiritualism and all the other half rational and half supernatural quackeries with it” as food for the ignorant, uneducable masses. [Mencken was an evolutionist and believed that creationism was a myth and a superstition — and so was much of Christianity. Being uneducable, the inferior man believed in creationism. Now, most inferior men believe in evolution, and even more theologians are evolutionists. Moreover, Christianity is waning. Would Mencken congratulate the superior man for doing the impossible of educating the uneducable inferior man? As science learns more about paleontology and genetics, evolution becomes more untenable. Would this new information cause him to change his mind about evolution? Would he recognize that today evolution has become a religion based on a set of beliefs?]
    Mencken laments, “It is a tragic but inescapable fact that most of the finest fruits of human progress, like all of the nobler virtues of man, are the exclusive possession of small minorities, chiefly unpopular and disreputable. Of the sciences, as of the fine arts, the average human being, even in the most literate and civilized of modern States, is as ignorant as the horned cattle in the fields. What he knows of histology, say, or protozoology, or philology, or paleontology, is precisely nothing. Such things lie beyond his capacity for learning, and he has no curiosity about them. The man who has any acquaintance with them seems to him to be a ridiculous figure, with a touch of the sinister. Even those applied sciences which enter intimately into his everyday existence remain outside his comprehension and interest.” [Unfortunately, he is close to the truth. For this reason, the nefarious elite finds the common man easy to manipulate.]
    About learning, Mencken writes, “Learning survives among us largely because the mob has not got news of it. If the notions it turns loose descended to the lowest levels, there would be an uprising against them, and efforts would be made to put them down by law.” He warns against putting the fine arts into the common school curriculum because once the ignorant uneducable masses discover them, they will seek to suppress them. [Instead of suppressing the fine arts overtly, they supplant them with trash that is promoted as art, with the elite doing most of the promotion.]
    Mencken adds that “there is a great deal less of yearning for moral perfection than there is of mere hatred of beauty.” Continuing he writes, “Beauty fevers and enrages him [the inferior man] for another and quite different reason. He cannot comprehend it, and yet it somehow challenges and disturbs him. If he could snore through good music he would not object to it; the trouble with it is that it keeps him awake. So he believes that it ought to be put down, just as he believes that political and economic ideas which disturb him and yet elude him ought to be put down. The finest art is safe from him simply because he has no contact with it, and is thus unaware of it.”
    Moreover, “[t]he common man, as a matter of fact, has no yearning for moral perfection. What ails him in that department is simply fear of punishment, which is to say, fear of his neighbours. He has, in safe privacy, the morals of a variety actor.”
    In summary, human progress passes the inferior man. “Its aims are unintelligible to him and its finest fruits are beyond his reach: what reaches him is what falls from the tree, and is shared with his four-footed brothers. He has changed but little since the earliest recorded time, and that change is for the worse quite as often as it is for the better. . . . He is still a slave to priests, and trembles before their preposterous magic. He is lazy, improvident and unclean. All the durable values of the world, though his labour has entered into them, have been created against his opposition. He can imagine nothing beautiful and he can grasp nothing true. Whenever he is confronted by a choice between two ideas, the one sound and the other not, he chooses almost infallibly, and by a sort of pathological compulsion, the one that is not. Behind all the great tyrants and butchers of history he has marched with loud hosannas, but his hand is eternally against those who seek to liberate the spirit of the race.” “Such is the pet and glory of democratic states.”
    [Mencken seems not to recognize that of the betters, the upper class, the superior man, the elite, only a few love liberty. Most superiors love power more than liberty and use their intellect to feed their lust for it.]

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Coley Allen.

More political articles.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Review of the Race Problem and Human Progress

Review of the Race Problem and Human Progress
Thomas Allen

    The following is a review of The Race Problem and Human Progress by Dr. Wesley Critz George (Ostara Publication edition, 2013). I have provided references to pages in his book and have enclosed them in parentheses. My remarks are enclosed in brackets, and most are supporting commentary.
    George argues that racial differences need to be considered and accounted for in formulating public policies (p. 4). [Unfortunately, for both Whites and Blacks, and the world, George and people like him have been ignored. The dogma that racial differences, especially in intellect and behavior, are nonexistent or at most insignificant has prevailed in the United State and Europe for decades. As a result, both the United States and Europe are fading away and will soon be no more than a historical footnote. Most of today’s social, economic, and political problems are caused by this nihilist, egalitarian dogma.]
    In the sixteenth century, tyrants suppressed the science of astronomy that declared a heliocentric solar system. Today, tyrants suppress the science of racial genetics that declares that human races differ significantly genetically and this difference extends to intellect and behavior (p. 7). Racial egalitarians and racial nihilists have distorted scientific and historical facts to promote their agendas and dogmas (p. 7).
    Socialists are racial nihilists, or at least act like they are. They promote the notion that racial differences are insignificant or unimportant. Their underlying principle “is that human beings are plastic creatures who merely reflect their exterior environment” (p. 7). [This is Lysenkoism. Lysenkoism denies that genes have any effect on an organism. Environment is the sole determinant of the characteristics that an organism has. Lysenkoism was the official policy of the Soviet Union under Stalin.]
    Archibald Roosevelt notes in the introduction that he wrote for George’s book that no “intelligent anthropologist will claim that one race is superior in all counts to other races. The only thing a scientist can say is that one race is better fitted to certain conditions — better adapted in mind, and better adapted in body” (p. 8). Then he states that Blacks can thrive and reproduce in tropical forests where Whites perish in a generation or two. Blacks fair even better than any other race except perhaps Indo-Australians in such habitat. On the other hand, Whites do better in the modern technical civilization than do Blacks. Unfortunately, for Whites and Blacks, the guiding dogma of the United States and Europe is “that all people must be forced into one common mold” (p. 8). Thus, people are forced to do things that are unnatural to them (pp. 8-9).
    Dr. Henry Garrett, who wrote the forward to George’s book, notes:
. . . all individuals are unequal at birth, and as they live and pursue their divergent ways tend to become even more unequal, i.e., their differences increase. This would be true even if we lived under identical conditions, ate the same bread, slept the same sleep, breathed the same air. No two individuals have the same complement of genes (except identical twins), and each of us possesses different qualities of mind and character. . . . What applies to the individual, applies in a broad sense to races of men. Races differ, too (pp 8-9).
    Garrett continues, “The equalitarian-collectivists argue — with no real evidence — that all men are born with equal endowment and can be kept equal if given the same opportunities and the same environment. . . . Yet this is the philosophy that dictates the social policies of our time” (p. 11).
    George writes:
If we can continue to develop a programme of friendly co-operation between the races, with separateness in social life, we can go forward in promoting the talents of the white man and the Negro and can contribute to the welfare and happiness of both. Otherwise, tragedy lies ahead for the American people (p. 13).
[America has ignored George’s advice. Now it is at the edge of the abyss that George feared.]
    He feared that integration and amalgamation of the races would lead to a breed of people incapable of maintaining the American civilization (p. 13). [In only a few decades, what he feared has happened. After nearly 60 years of forced integration, the American civilization is on its deathbed.]
    George observes that the White race has produced most of the civilizations of history. The Black race has produced none (p. 14). Then he remarks, “The creativeness, the productiveness, or the lack of such qualities, in man are related to and in large measure the result of their inherent natures. These inherent natures have a genetic or hereditary basis” (p. 14).
    Next George discusses heredity verse environment (pp. 14ff). Heredity dominates some characteristics, such as “general body form, skin texture and pigmentation” (pp. 14-15).
    He comments that:
. . . each race has a pool of genes different from the pool of genes of every other race, although some genes in the pool appear to be common to all races, probably to all mammals. This pool of genes is the major factor in determining the appearance of individuals of a race, and not only their bodily appearance but their reactions, their intellectual capacity and their accomplishments (pp. 15-16).
    Then he concludes, “The importance of heredity in the production of physical features is scarcely denied; but in the sphere of intellect and behaviour there is a campaign of denial of the importance of heredity” (p. 16). [This denial of the importance of heredity in the sphere of intellect and behavior is the guiding dogma of today. This dogma has brought a great deal of destruction to the Western world.]
    George goes into more detail about the influence of genes on intelligence (pp. 16ff). He cites several well-known authorities who show the importance of genes in determining intelligence.
    Then he discusses the intelligence of Blacks, whose intelligence on average is significantly less than that of Whites on average (pp. 17-19). He quotes Dr. Carothers, who spent his life working in mental hospitals in Africa:
The African has accordingly been described as conventional; highly dependent on physical and emotional stimulation; lacking in spontaneity, foresight, tenacity, judgment and humility; inapt for sound abstraction and for logic; given to phantasy and fabrication; and, in general, as unstable, impulsive, unreliable, irresponsible, and living in the present without reflection or ambition, or regard for the rights of others outside his own circle. To counteract these ruderies, he has also been described as cheerful, stoical, self-confident, sociable, loyal, emotionally intuitive, and eloquent, and as bearing no grudges and having an excellent memory, a large vocabulary, and an aptitude for music and the dance (p. 18).
    Next George comments on the high crime rate of Negroes (pp. 20-21) and Haiti (pp. 21-23). Haiti went from being the most productive colony in the Caribbean under White-man’s rule to one of the most impoverished countries in the world under Black-man rule.
    George continues his discussion of race, heredity, and civilization with a quotation from Ernest Hooten, formerly head of the department of anthropology at Harvard:
The errors of humanitarianism are based on the assumption that it is under-privilege that makes the underdog, and that the potentialities for intellectual and cultural development are essentially equal in all men — in short upon the delusion that mind and social capacity in man are independent of the organism and that an equalization of opportunity will bring the millenium (p. 23).
    Next George discusses the race problem, integration, differences in intelligence, and other race related issues (pp. 24ff).
    He discusses some of the political and religious slogans used to promote racial integration (pp. 26-27). [Many of these same slogans can easily be used to promote sexually integrated restrooms and locker rooms — and some have been.]
    First slogan: “[C]ompulsory mixing of the races is the democratic, American way” (p. 27). George replies, “That, of course, is false. The United States was founded and for 180 years has prospered on the principle of union and strength in diversity. Compulsory conformity and uniformity is not the American way; it is a perversion of the American way” (p. 27). [Today, diversity emphases and even demands conformity and uniformity.]
    Second slogan. “[T]here is no fundamental difference between men” (p. 27). George replies, “Most of us will admit that all men should be equal in their right to justice and fair play; but in the biological sense there is no truth in the quotation and it has no valid force or use in solving the race problem” (p. 27).
    Third slogan: “the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man" (p. 27). To this slogan, George replies, “Fatherhood and brotherhood are fine ideas and factual states, but they do not solve social problems without regard to other facts any more than they solve family problems. In reaching decisions on vital social problems we are admonished to disregard ‘race, creed, colour and national origin.’ These are all major facts of life” (p. 27).
    Fourth slogan: “[I]ntegration is the Christian way and that separation of the races is un-Christian” (p. 27). George replies, “It is not clear why anything should be accepted as Christian when its virtue has not been demonstrated” (p. 27).
    George identifies several reasons for opposing racial integration. One is the low moral behavior of Blacks and their high rate of crime (p. 29). [Since integration Whites have adopted the low moral behavior of Blacks instead of Blacks adopting the high moral behavior of Whites. Moreover, integration has done nothing to reduce the Black crime rate.]
    Another reason for opposing racial integration is that racial integration leads to interracial mating. Interracial mating destroys the unique gene pool of both the White and Black races. Destruction of their gene pools devastates the unique abilities of both races (p. 30).
    George comments:
There is much evidence to show that the Caucasoid people, the white race, have creative talents and abilities that have not been demonstrated to any considerable extent by the Negro race. Great achievement in human individuals is correlated with a high degree of intelligence combined with a number of traits such as zeal, vigour, persistence, co-operativeness, adaptability, imagination, courage, self-confidence (p. 31).
    To dilute the gene pool of the White race with the genes of the Black race will bring to an end all the great religious, philosophical, political, artistic, engineering, medical, agricultural, and scientific advancements that the White race has given the world. Even the Negro has greatly benefitted from the achievements of the White race (pp. 33-34). [Is the annihilation of the White race being motivated by a desire to end these advancements?]
    Not only is intellect highly influenced by genetics, so are personality and various abilities (pp. 34-37).
    Some proponents of integration claim that integration will not lead to interracial marriages. [Marriage statistics disprove this claim.] George offers two examples to disprove this assertion: Portugal and Brazil.
    Portugal began importing Negro slaves in the mid fifteenth century. The Portugese interbred with these Blacks. Now many Portuguese display Negroid characteristics. Moreover, before racial amalgamation, Portugal was a first-class power. Now it is an insignificant nothing (p. 37).
    In Brazil, the Portugese first interbred with the Indians and then with the imported Negro slaves. Today, Brazil has a highly mixed-breed population. It is a large country with a large population and is endowed with great natural resources. Yet it is still a backward country depended on foreign aid (p. 37).
    Racial amalgamation will lead the United States down the road to Portugal and Brazil. [The United States are being so overwhelmed with non-White immigrants that amalgamation can only accelerate. Within a few generations, Whites will cease to exist in the United States. Furthermore, Europeans seem determined to annihilate the White race in Europe.]
    George overviews how the United States got into the racial mess that they were in when he wrote (pp. 38-40). [It is even worse today because Americans ignored the warnings of George and others like him. Because they ignored opponents of integration, White America will soon die. Sadly, many Whites look forward to that day with gladness. Oh, how they must hate themselves and their family. How they must hate the Negro to destroy him to destroy themselves.]
    He blames the clergy for America’s racial problems (pp. 38-41). About the clergy, George writes:
        They preach sociological sermons that will not stand the test of analysis, they pass resolutions, they quote the Golden Rule. They seem not to realize that quoting the Golden Rule does not answer the question. What is the right and moral thing to do? It merely raises the question. The admonition ‘Do unto others as you would have them do to you,’ applies not only to our relations with Negroes.
        It applies also to our children and to our children’s children through future generations. Do you think that the Golden Rule requires or permits that we make racial hybrids of our posterity? I hardly think so (pp. 38-39).
[The clergy is not only responsible for the race problem and the destruction of the White race; they are also responsible for many of America’s other problems — most of which are related to race. Because of them, the United States have become a tyrannical police state with the government spying on everyone. They are behind the endless war on terrorism to protect Israeli imperialism. The agendas of homosexuals and other sexual deviates have received much support from them. {Sexual integration is a natural outgrowth of racial integration.} Most support and promote unlimited non-White immigration, whether legal or illegal. Whether they support the destruction of America and the death of the White race out of ignorance or collaboration with the ruling elite is not known. However, most likely, it is the latter for most clergy.]
    George remarks, “The National Council of Churches and its predecessor, the Federal Council of Churches, have for many years made racial integration one of their main objectives” (p. 39). [The National Council of Churches is an illuministic front to promote the agenda of the ruling elite in religious circles.]
    George concludes his admonishment of the clergy, “By all means let us be kind, generous and helpful to Negroes and all men, but let us rid ourselves of the delusion that Christianity requires us to sacrifice our children and our children’s children to the cause of integration.” [Contrary to the teachings of the integrationist clergy, God does not demand the sacrifice of our children. He abhors such sacrifice.]
    Next George asks, “Shall we submit to programs designed to convert the American Caucasian race into an American mulatto race?” (p. 42). [As the last 50 years have shown, Americans chose to convert the American Caucasian race into an American mulatto race. The domestic Negro was not achieving this goal fast enough. So they open the borders to unlimited non-White immigrants. The White race, which many consider the cancer of the universe, must be eradicated! Naively, George thought that if the people knew the truth about genetics, race, and racial amalgamation, they would turn from the destructive effects of integration. Most did not and do not care to care to learn the truth — even those who opposed coercive big government. Of the few who care to learn, most will ignore it. All fear being called “racist” — a fear instilled with decades of propaganda by the ruling elite. So controlling has this fear become that nearly all Whites declare that they are not racists before they make a comment about race. Non-Whites can discuss race openly and frankly without fear. Whites cannot.]
    George remarks:
        It should make a great deal of difference in many of our human affairs whether man is in the main an environmentally dominated creature or whether genetic heredity plays a major role in our lives.
        Instead of seeking the facts bearing on these questions, environmentalism has been accepted and promoted as a dogma by those attempting to bring about socialism, communism, amalgamation of the races, and by the left wing generally. The scientific evidence they present is virtually non-existent, and yet we have been driven ahead into what may be very foolish programs (p. 43).
[The ruling elite and its lackeys and toadies do not care what the science shows. Environmentalism supports their dogma of statism, which transfers all wealth and power to them. To achieve this goal, they must annihilate the White race. Only the White race stands between them and their goal. The irony is that most of the ruling elite is White. Are they to be among those killed? Probably. Behind them is Lucifer, and his objective is to annihilate the White race by amalgamation or other means because it is the race created in God’s image.]
    About a minister who declared “that love is the ultimate solution of the race problem” (p. 43), George writes:
        Any one worthy of being the shepherd of a flock should know that unrestrained and unguided love has led many people to tragedy.
        By all means, love should be involved in considering human affairs including race relations; but love is not necessarily wisdom and it does not eliminate the necessity for making judgments based on fact and reason (pp. 43-44).
    Then he remarks that this type of sophistry fills academia. Academia tries “to instill the idea that in human affairs the inherent nature of the seed corn is of little concern — that only the conditions of cultivation are important” (p. 44).
    Committing on political, religious, and academic leader controlling and manipulating people, George writes, “In our present situation emotional words like ‘brotherhood’ and ‘love’ are made to do useful service for those who wish to manipulate people. ‘Prejudice,’ ‘racism,’ ‘bigotry’ are also signal words used to produce rejection responses while evading truth and reason” (p. 45).
    About funding racial genetics research, George observes, “No money seems available to search out the truth although money is available from government and foundations to establish the dogma without the truth” (p. 45). [The same situation is found with the global warming dogma. Plenty of research money is available to show that human activity is the primary, if not the sole, cause of global warming. {Such finding gives the ruling elite something that they can use to scare the masses into giving the ruling elite more power over the masses.} Little or no money is available for research that questions global warming and that shows man’s contribution is insignificant.]
    To refute the environmentalists’ assertion that good schools are needed to produce eminent men and, therefore, schools need to be integrated, George offers examples of some eminent men, most of whom were born in poverty, and all of whom had little or no formal schooling (p. 47).
        George notes two primary factors that determine one’s life and achievements:
    1. The pool of genes assembled when the egg is fertilized in the womb.
    2. The concatenation of events in the prenatal and postnatal environments in which the genes operate. As evidence continues to accumulate, the importance of genes becomes increasingly clear (pp. 47-48).
    Next George discusses the importance of genes on intellect and behavior (pp. 49ff). Genetics has a good deal of impact on personality traits, specifically dominance-submissiveness (p. 49). Intelligence has been found to have “about the same genetic correlation as do physical features” (p. 49).
    About the problem of low-grade intelligence, George quotes Bradley Patten, formerly head of anatomy at the University of Michigan:
The most serious defects of the nervous system from the standpoint of human progress are neither extremely manifest or clinically remediable. They become evident only as an individual develops and proves to have an intelligence level too low to cope successfully with the problems of living in our modern complex and highly competitive society. As far as we know the background of such situations, it is the old and inexorable law of ‘like begetting like’ . . . But the fact remains that to have a good brain one must choose ancestors with good brains, just as one must stem from physically sound stock if one is to have a good body. . . (p. 50).
    Then George adds:
A mouse, a seal, an elephant, a frog, a bird, or a man behaves according to his kind because he has inherited the brain of his kind. His brain, which guides his behavior, is of course embedded in and influenced by the matrix of his other organs and the body is embedded in and influenced by the matrix of the general environment (p. 50).
    Next George cites a few leaders in the field of neuroanatomy and neurology (pp. 49-53) to show that the brain is much more complex than “a mass of homogenous wax” (p. 51). People need “to look upon the mind as some transcendental essence” (p. 51). Studies have shown “that there is a striking relation between brain size, histological brain structure and learning capacity” (p. 53).
    George cites several studies on the development of the brain in infancy. These studies show “that most of the material substrate of mind (nerve cells and their fibers) develop before kindergarten age — only about ten percent after that age” (p. 57).
    He adds:
Experience, including schooling, undoubtedly exercises an important function in imprinting memory vestiges and in selectively facilitating synaptic transmission of impulses, but it is not evident that it can contribute significantly, if indeed at all, in adding to the inherited material basis of the mind (p. 57).
    George remarks, “That there are many hereditary racial features, not evident to the casual observer, has been revealed by scientific researches” (p. 57). Then he identifies some pathological conditions that are hereditary and vary with race (pp. 57-59). He concludes, “Race is not merely skin deep” (p. 59).
    Next George compares the Negro and White brains (pp. 59-62). Two important factors have been found:
    1. [T]he average weight of adult male Negro brains is about ten percent less than the average weight of adult male White brains. And it has been established that intelligence in mammalian animal groups is correlated with the size of the brain. We have seen above that there is such a correlation also in the growing child.
    2. Through microscopic study of many brains it has been revealed that there is a similarly significant difference in the two races in the thickness of the supragranular layers of the cortex — the layers that are credited with being those portions of the cortex most directly involved in the higher mental functions (p. 59).
    George concludes, “It appears then that the Negro race is at a disadvantage in his mechanism for intellectual activity just as he is at an advantage through pigmentation for protection against the harmful effects of a tropical sun” (p. 60).
    He notes that the anatomical differences in the brains of the two races probably account for “the average Negro score on IQ and educational achievement tests [being] about 20% below the average White score” (p. 60). Also, the “high scores near the gifted-child level are 6-7 times as frequent among White children” (p. 60). During the 1950s and early 1960s, after a generation of compulsory schooling, 67.2 percent of Black inductees and enlistees where rejected because they failed the military education tests while only 18.9 percent of the Whites were rejected (p. 60). [Anyone who claims this disparity was caused by segregated schools are in effect claiming that Black teachers were too stupid or too incompetent to teach Black pupils.]
    George notes that the differences in the brains of Whites and Blacks may explain “why extensive integration of Negro and White children in schools has been a failure and destructive of the educational process” (p. 61).
    George states:
But in light of the historical record of the Negro race and their current behavior it seems highly probable that the hybrid blending of Negro and White nervous systems in the formation of a mulatto race would have a harmful effect on our civilization (p. 62).
    He adds, “It becomes therefore a matter of great importance that our people and politicians should be made aware of racial differences known to exist and the nature of hybrid mixing of genetic characters” (p. 62). [Many are aware of racial differences, but have no desire to prevent racial amalgamation. Politicians like fail policies. Fail policies allow them to argue for more control and money, higher taxes. Moreover, if the genetic component is insignificant or nonexistent, the racial differences are caused solely by the environment. Attempting to manipulate the environment to overcome racial differences concentrates more power into the hands of the politicians and their owners. Also, environmentalism supports the prevailing and guiding ideology of the United States: equalitarian Marxism. {The 10 planks of the Communist Manifesto have been almost fully implemented.} Innate genetics differences do not. Furthermore, some desire total annihilation of the White race because they are filled with hatred. {Why would anyone want to breed a race out of existence, which is genocide, unless hatred is the motivation?} Most people just tremble in fear of being labeled a racist and, therefore, do not oppose racial amalgamation. {The great irony is that Whites who fear being called “racist” are already considered racists by non-Whites, and they can do nothing to change this no matter how much they grovel.}]
    George asks, “Is it too much to hope for an open minded consideration by politicians and the public of the facts vital to our problems?” (p. 62). [Yes. Most Whites would rather be tortured to death than to be thought of as racists. Most non-Whites like things the way they are: Whites cowering before their demands.]
    George states:
If intelligence, behavior, and achievement are primarily due to something within ourselves, then the genetic composition of our population is a matter of major concern for social planning but if they are brought forth primarily by external factors then social engineers and statesmen should be primarily concerned with manipulating environment (p. 63).
    He argues that social policies should be based on genetics being the primary determinant of intelligence, behavior, and achievement. He presents evidence to support his argument (pp. 63ff).
    To overcome the difference in achievement between Blacks and Whites, the government has made various programs to raise the socioeconomic environment of Black infants and preschool children. Being unable to overcome the genetic component, these programs have done little to close the gap (p. 64). [However, they have cost a great deal — thus, making some rich. More importantly from a statist perspective, they have given the government much more control over the people.]
    In conclusion, George writes, “We should try at least to ameliorate our race problems by more hopeful means than compulsory programs that violate established biological truths. The establishment of schools fitted to the Negroes’ intellectual talents would be a step in the right direction” (p. 66).
    Summarizing his book, he writes:
        1. Powerful forces in the world are trying to foist on the people an educational and social revolution based on the equalitarian dogma.
        2. This equalitarian dogma is unsupportable on the basis of scientific facts.
        3. Individual organisms including man vary in their genetic constitution, not merely in the effects of environment on body and personality.
        4. Genes are potent determining factors not merely for gross morphology and superficial features but for many, perhaps most, features down to molecular structure, including brains and consequently behavior.
        5. Biological racial features are numerous and all pervasive and involve the brain as well as externally visible characters (p. 67).
    [Racial integration is part of the illuministic program to transfer all wealth and power to a small number of illuminists. However, the primary purpose of racial integration is racial amalgamation. The purpose of racial amalgamation is the annihilation of the White, Aryan, Adamic, race — the race created in God’s image.
    At the time that George wrote, the major racial issue was White verses Black. For the most part, the American Indian issues have faded. If he were to write today, he would have focused a good deal on the exploding Turanian invasion — mostly from Mexico and other Latin American countries and the Far East (Japan, Korea, China, and the Philippines). Another important race that he would need to consider is the Melanochroi — mostly from India, Pakistan, the Arabian peninsula, and Somalia. Percentage-wise, the Melanochroi is probably the fastest growing race in the United States. He would surely be weeping over the death of the White race and, thereby, the death of the American civilization.
    George feared that the mongrelization of the White race with the Black race would bring down America. As important as mongrelization is to the demise of the White race, genocide through replacement has become more important. Massive third-world non-White immigration is overwhelming White America and annihilating it. Whites will soon be a minority in their own country.]

Copyright © 2016 by Thomas Coley Allen.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Poor on Macleod

Poor on Macleod
Thomas Allen

    In 1877, Henry Varnum Poor (1812-1905) wrote Money and Its Laws: Embracing a History of Monetary Theories, and a History of the Currency of the United States. He was a financial analyst and founder of a company that evolved into Standard & Poor’s. Poor was a proponent of the real bills doctrine and the classical gold-coin standard and, thus, the quality theory of money. He gave little credence to the quantity theory of money — especially if credit money, such as bank notes, were convertible on demand in species. Also, he contended that the value of money depends on and is derived from the value of the material of which it is made and with paper money, its representation of such value.
    In the latter part of his book, he discusses leading monetary theorists from Aristotle (350 B.C.) to David A. Wells (1875). Most of the economists whom he discussed were proponents of the quantity theory of money. We will look at his discussion on Henry D. Macleod. My comments are in brackets. Referenced page numbers enclosed in parentheses are to Poor’s book.
    Henry D. Macleod (1821-1902) was a Scottish economist. Among his works are Theory and Practice of Banking (1856), Elements of Political Economy (1858), A Dictionary of Political Economy (1859), Principles of Economist Philosophy (1873), and The Theory of Credit (1889). He is credited with coining the term “Gresham’s Law.” Poor reviews Macleod monetary theory presented in Theory and Practice of Banking.
    About Macleod, Poor comments that he “has erected a vast system, measured by the number of pages devoted to it, the fundamental principle of which is that gold and silver serve as money by reason of being representative of debt; that paper serves as such by reason of being the representative of transferable debt; and that whatever represents transferable debt is currency, — paper money” (p. 383). [Today, debt is money with no involvement of gold and silver. In today’s monetary system, money would cease to exist without debt. Under the gold standard, money would continue to exist as gold coin if all debt disappeared. {Some fiat money reformers would argue that government notes are not debt instruments. But they are albeit noninterest-bearing and nonpayable debt. They cannot extinguish debt; they can only transfer debt from one person to another, and eventually the government ends up with the country’s debt as government notes are its obligations.}]
    Macleod claims that the notion “that money represents commodities, and that paper currency may be based upon commodities” (p. 363) is a “stupendous fallacy” and a delusion. “Money does not represent commodities at all, but only debt; or services due, which have not yet received their equivalent in commodities” (p. 364). [This is a strange notion. In its origin, money did not represent a commodity, because it was a commodity, much less debt. In the ancient world, money was never thought of as representing debt. Credit and debt were not common and even abhorred. To discourage debt, much of the ancient world outlawed charging interest on loans.] Moreover, he claims that the quantity of money that a person has “is just the quantity of debt services due to him” (p. 364). Also, “the quantity of money a nation possesses is simply the quantity of accumulated industry it possesses over and above all commodities; but they have no relation to each other” (p. 364). Money “represents that portion of a man’s industry which is reserved for future use” (p. 364). He states that “the value of money depends upon its relations to what it represents, namely, debt, and not to commodities” (p. 364). Furthermore, he declares, “If money or currency increases faster than debt or services due, it immediately causes a diminution of its value. If debt increases faster than money or currency, then the value of money is raised” (p. 364). [Macleod errs with this statement. Raising prices nearly always results in a monetary regime of government notes and legal-tender bank notes, which are functionally the same as government notes. As such notes themselves are debt, debts are always increasing faster than money or currency. According to Macleod, the value of money, by which Macleod seems to mean the purchasing power of money, should rise, i.e., general prices should fall.] According to Macleod, John Law erred in basing his paper money on a commodity, land, instead of debt. Macleod writes, “Where there is no debt, there can be no currency” (p. 364). [As mentioned above, in the ancient world and even when Macleod wrote, many people used a currency that did not involve or represent debt. When people bought by shaving silver from a silver bar to buy goods priced in the weight of silver, as some people did in the nineteenth century, they were using a currency that neither involved nor represented debt. This seems to conflict with Macleod’s concept of money.] He also disagrees with the concept of bankers issuing bank notes on good bills, real bills of exchange (p. 365). Continuing, Macleod writes:
[T]hat the only true foundation of a paper currency is that substance which is the legal or the universally accepted representative of DEBT. . . . [A]mong all civilized nations, gold or silver bullion is the acknowledged representative of debt. Consequently, gold or silver bullion is the only true basis of a paper currency. Among all civilized nations, the weight of bullion is the acknowledged measure of value; and, consequently, bullion is the only true basis of the “promises to pay” (p. 365).
He continues:
[I]t is not as a commodity that bullion is the basis of a paper currency, but as the substance which is the accepted representative of debt. . . . Bullion, then, as the symbol of debt, is not only the sole proper basis of a paper currency, but is the only true regulator of its amount. As all paper currency is a “promise to pay” gold or silver bullion at some definite time, it is quite evident that the “promises to pay” floating in a nation must bear some proportion in quantity to the actual quantity of the bullion (pp. 365-366).
    Macleod claims that a yard of broadcloth or a Dutch cheese could represent debt and be the measure of value as well as gold (p. 365). Poor response to this notion as:
flippant and incoherent nonsense, swollen into two spacious volumes, when Dr. Schliemann shall have dug up at Troas or Mycenae Dutch cheeses perfectly fresh and sweet, and bearing upon their surfaces the dimples in the exact form and shape in which they were impressed by the tiny fingers of the pretty Dutch milkmaids three thousand years ago. Till then the habit or prejudice of mankind in assuming gold, as money, to be capital instead of debt, will be considered as resulting not from accident, but from law (p. 366).
    Next Macleod discusses inconvertible paper currency. If paper money ceases to be convertible into gold or silver, the paper money will establish a new standard that replaces the gold or silver standard (p. 367). [This occurred with the U.S. note when it was not convertible into gold.] The only way for an inconvertible paper currency to remain at par with gold is to limit its quantity. [Even reducing the quantity of U.S. notes could not keep it at par with gold. Only making U.S. notes convertible into gold on demand kept them at par with gold.] By limiting its quantity, he means, “devising some means whereby a greater quantity of it shall not be issued than if it were convertible into gold” (p. 367). If more than this is issued, the paper currency will trade at a discount to gold (p. 367). [Even with a fixed quantity several years before U.S. note became convertible into gold, they always traded at a discount to gold. Basically, what Macleod is proposing is using the price of gold as an index for regulating the quantity of paper currency.]
    About Macleod’s concept on inconvertible paper currency, Poor writes:
This is only the old story over again, that value is not necessary to the circulation of a government or inconvertible currency; that, no matter how worthless it may be, it will circulate at the value of coin, if it do not exceed the amount of convertible paper which would have circulated in its place, or if its quantity do not exceed the wants of the community in its exchanges (p. 368).

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Coley Allen.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Mencken on Liberty and the Inferior Man

Mencken on Liberty and the Inferior Man
Thomas Allen

    In 1926, H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) wrote Notes on Democracy in which he expressed his views on democracy and related issues. He was a journalist, satirist, and critic and a libertarian and one of the leaders of the Old Right. In his book, he describes liberty and the inferior man, pages 51-58. Below is an overview of his discussion on the liberty and the inferior man; my comments are in brackets.
    “All the revolutions in history have been started by hungry city mobs.” From this fact, some historians deduce “the doctrine that city life breeds a love of liberty.” To this notion, Mencken replies, “It may be so, but certainly that love is not visible in the lower orders. I can think of no city revolution that actually had liberty for its object, in any rational sense.” For example, freedom of speech “was actually given its first support in law by the most absolute monarch of modern times, to wit, Frederick the Great.” Mencken adds, “When it [the city] wins, its first act is to destroy every form of freedom that is not directed wholly to [satisfying hunger].” Its next objective “is to butcher all professional libertarians.”
    Mencken notes “that liberty, in any true sense, is a concept that lies quite beyond the reach of the inferior man’s mind. He can imagine, and even esteem, in his way, certain false forms of liberty — for example, the right to choose between two political mountebanks, and to yell for the more obviously dishonest — but the reality is incomprehensible to him.” “[G]enuine liberty demands of its votaries a quality he [the inferior man] lacks completely, and that is courage. The man who loves it must be willing to fight for it; blood, said Jefferson, is its natural manure. More, he must be able to endure it — an even more arduous business.” [Perhaps this explains the great clamor for the welfare state by people with a lower-class mentality.] Mencken continues, “Liberty means self-reliance, it means resolution, it means enterprise, it means the capacity for doing without.” [Sacrifices the inferior man is not willing to make — especially those in the Democratic party and many in the Republican party.]
    “The free man is one who has won a small and precarious territory from the great mob of his inferiors, and is prepared and ready to defend it and make it support him.” Having no friends, the free man “can hope for little help from other men of his own kind, for they have battles of their own to fight.”
    The inferior man has no talent for self-reliance. Furthermore, he cannot even “understanding that such a talent exists. Liberty is unfathomable to him.” Moreover, “[h]e can no more comprehend it than he can comprehend honour.” To the inferior man, liberty “is simply the banal right to empty hallelujahs upon his oppressors. He is an ox whose last proud, defiant gesture is to lick the butcher behind the ear.” He shrinks from the responsibility of standing and acting alone.
    Mencken explains that until the latter part of the eighteenth century, 80 percent “of the people of the world, white and black alike, were slaves, in reality if not in name.” Liberty to most people is a recent occurrence. “Thus the lower orders of men, however grandiloquently they may talk of liberty to-day, have actually had but a short and highly deceptive experience of it. It is not in their blood.” He adds, “The heritage of freedom belongs to a small minority of men, descended, whether legitimately or by adultery, from the old lords of the soil or from the patricians of the free towns.” Mencken contends “that such a heritage is necessary in order that the concept of liberty, with all its disturbing and unnatural implications, may be so much as grasped — that such ideas cannot be implanted in the mind of man at will, but must be bred in as all other basic ideas are bred in.” Consequently, most men are “still incapable of bearing the pangs of liberty.” Liberty makes them uncomfortable, alarms them, and fills them with great loneliness. Not only does the common man not long for liberty, “he is quite unable to stand it. What he longs for is something wholly different, to wit, security. He needs protection. He is afraid of getting hurt.” [The type of person whom Mencken is describing can be seen in the masses of people who were ready to abandon all liberties for security following 9-11. They all but shouted from the rooftops, “I will be your slave if you will protect me from the bogeyman.” And many did shout it. Of course, the elite who controlled President Bush was willing to oblige, and they brought forth the police state.]
    As a result, “[t]he great masses of men, though theoretically free, are seen to submit supinely to oppression and exploitation of a hundred abhorrent sorts.” Obviously, they can resist but do not. “The worst tyrant, even under democratic plutocracy, has but one throat to slit. The moment the majority decided to overthrow him he would be overthrown. But the majority lacks the resolution; it cannot imagine taking the risk. So it looks for leaders with the necessary courage, and when they appear it follows them slavishly, even after their courage is discovered to be mere bunkum and their altruism only a cloak for more and worse oppressions.” Consequently, “[p]olitics become the trade of playing upon its [the majority’s] natural poltroonery — of scaring it half to death, and then proposing to save it. There is in it no other quality of which a practical politician, taking one day with another, may be sure. Every theoretically free people wonders at the slavishness of all the others. But there is no actual difference between them.” [Democratic and Republican politicians have become highly skilled at making half the population fear the other half. Only Democrats can save the masses from the evil Republicans, and only the Republicans can save the masses from the evil Democrats. And that is why the country has one party with two names.]

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Coley Allen.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

America’s Adulteration of the Gold Standard

America’s Adulteration of the Gold Standard
Thomas Allen

    Between 1879, when the United States returned to the gold standard, and 1914, when World War I began, was the peak of the gold-coin standard. However, a pure gold-coin standard did not exist. Perhaps the United States had the most adulterated gold standard among the major countries. The United States adulterated the gold standard with various forms of fiat money.
    In 1789, Congress adopted a silver standard with a bimetallic silver-gold system. It defined the dollar as 371.25 grains of fine silver. It fixed the silver-to-gold exchange rate at 15 to 1 (the value of 15 ounces of silver equaled the value of 1 ounce of gold).  This ratio overvalued silver relative to gold. Thus, gold coins did not circulate.
    To encourage the circulation of gold coins, Congress changed the silver-to-gold ratio from 15 to 1 to 16 to 1 in 1834. It did so by reducing the weight of gold in a dollar to 23.20 grains of fine gold from 24.75 grains. Three years later it changed the weight of gold in the dollar to 23.22 grains of fine gold. (Thus, a $10 gold coin with 232.2 grains of fine gold was equivalent as legal tender to 10 silver-dollar coins with a total of 3721.5 grains of fine silver.) These changes placed the United States on a de facto gold standard. As the dollar continued to be defined as 371.25 grains of silver, the United States remained on a de jure silver standard. (They remained of a de jure silver standard until 1900 when Congress changed the definition of the dollar to 23.22 grains of fine gold.)
    In 1837, Congress changed the gold content of the dollar to 23.22 grains. It remained at this weight until 1933 when the United States abandoned the gold standard.
    In 1863, Congress enacted the National Banking Act. A key part of the Act was requiring banks charted under the Act to secure their bank notes with U.S. government bonds. (Later bank notes of State chartered banks were taxed out of existence.) Thus, the Act guaranteed a market for U.S. government bonds. As a result, bank notes represented U.S. government bonds instead of the gold value of goods on which real bills of exchange were drawn — the real bills doctrine. Bank notes did not increase or decrease in response to the market demand for them pursuant to the real bills doctrine. They increased and decreased in response to the expansion and contraction of U.S. government debt. (As hard as it is now to believe, there were times when the U.S. government’s debt actually decreased.)
    The first major adulteration came in 1862 when Congress authorized the issue of legal-tender government notes, called U.S. notes and nicknamed greenbacks. These notes immediately became undervalued relative to gold. Thus, the United States quickly converted to the U.S. note standard.  (The west coast remained on the gold-coin standard. In the East, gold traded at a premium to U.S. notes. In the west, U.S. notes were discounted against gold.)
    After reducing the quantity of U.S. notes during the late 1860s and early 1870s, Congress fixed the quantity of U.S. notes at $346,681,000. It required the Secretary of the Treasury to maintain this level.
    Pursuant to an 1875 law, U.S. notes became redeemable at par with gold on January 1, 1979. In anticipation of redemption, the U.S. government acquired enough gold to back about a third of the U.S. notes.
    After U.S. notes became redeemable in gold, U.S. notes remained a fiat currency for two reasons. First, the government instead of the markets determined the quantity issued. Second, they were never fully backed by gold.
    The next major adulteration came in the form of the silver dollar. With the Coinage Act of 1873, Congress ended the free coinage of silver. (This Act became known as the Crime of  ’73.) Ending the free coinage of silver ended bimetallism in the United States. However, under the Act, silver dollars continued to be full legal tender in unlimited amounts. (No rational person would have used silver dollars to pay a debt when this law was enacted. Then the silver content of a silver dollar was worth more than a dollar in gold, which was worth more than a U.S. note dollar.)
    Soon after the enactment of this law, the value of silver began to fall relative to gold. Thus, if the free coinage of silver had remained, the United States had returned to the silver standard.
    Because of the fall in the value of silver, the sliver mining interest, greenbackers (people who wanted the country to remain on the irredeemable U.S. note standard), populists (most of whom came out of the greenbackers), and debtors agitated for the free coinage of silver at the 16 to 1 ratio. In response Congress passed the Bland-Allison Act in 1878.
    The Bland-Allison Act ordered the Secretary of the Treasury to buy silver bullion and coin it into silver dollars. It declared the silver dollars legal tender. Moreover, they were not directly redeemable in gold. It required the Secretary to buy between $2 million and $4 million of silver bullion each month for coinage.
    Although each of these silver dollars contained 371.25 grains of silver, they were fiat money — albeit expensive fiat money. Instead of the markets deciding the quantity of silver dollars to issue, Congress and the Secretary of the Treasury decided. Furthermore, the monetary value of a silver dollar exceeded the value of its silver content. Unlike silver dollars coined under free coinage, these silver dollars were the property of the U.S. government. (Silver dollars coined under free coinage were the property of the person presenting the silver bullion for coinage.)
    In 1890, Congress revised the Bland-Allison Act with the Sherman Act, also called the Silver Purchasing Act of 1890. The Sherman Act created a new fiat money: legal-tender Treasury notes of 1890. It ordered the Secretary of the Treasury to buy 4.5 million ounces of silver bullion each month at the market price with Treasury notes until silver reached $1.29 per ounce. This was the price at which 16 ounces of silver had the same value as 1 ounce of gold, i.e., the 16 to 1 ratio. The purchased bullion was coined into silver dollars as necessary to redeem the Treasury notes. However, the Secretary had the discretion to redeem them in gold. In 1893, Congress repealed the silver purchasing provision of the Sherman Act and by that the issue of Treasury notes.
    With the enactment of the Gold Standard Act in 1900, Congress placed the United States formally and clearly on the gold standard. It defined the dollar as 23.22 grains of gold. It required the redemption of U.S. notes and Treasury notes of 1890 in gold only. Thus, it converted Treasury notes into government notes redeemable in gold. Treasury notes were to be replaced gradually with silver certificates. As silver dollars became convertible in gold on demand, the Act made the silver dollar a subsidiary coin like dimes, quarters, and half-dollars. However, silver dollars remained full legal tender. However, even with the enactment of the Gold Standard Act, the silver dollar because of its legal-tender status remained a fiat currency along with the U.S. note.
    The monetary system of the United States began as a bimetallic silver-gold system with the dollar defined as 371.25 grains of silver. Between 1862 and 1879, the United States were on the fiat U.S. note monetary standard. As long as the United States remained on the gold standard, the U.S. note and the silver dollar adulterated the gold standard. The United States never did operate on a pure gold-coin standard.

Copyright © 2015 by Thomas Coley Allen.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Poor on McCulloch

Poor on McCulloch
Thomas Allen

    In 1877, Henry Varnum Poor (1812-1905) wrote Money and Its Laws: Embracing a History of Monetary Theories, and a History of the Currency of the United States. He was a financial analyst and founder of a company that evolved into Standard & Poor’s. Poor was a proponent of the real bills doctrine and the classical gold-coin standard and, thus, the quality theory of money. He gave little credence to the quantity theory of money — especially if credit money, such as bank notes, were convertible on demand in species. Also, he contended that the value of money depends on and is derived from the value of the material of which it is made and with paper money, its representation of such value.
    In the latter part of his book, he discusses leading monetary theorists from Aristotle (350 B.C.) to David A. Wells (1875). Most of the economists whom he discussed were proponents of the quantity theory of money. We will look at his discussion on John R. McCulloch. My comments are in brackets. Referenced page numbers enclosed in parentheses are to Poor’s book.
    John R. McCulloch (1789-1864) was a Scottish economist, author, and editor. He was a professor of political economy at the University of London. Among his works are Principles of Political Economy (1825), Principles, Practice and History of Commerce (1831), and A Description Statistical Accounts of the British Empire (1837). Poor reviews McCulloch’s notes to his edited work of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nation (1828).
    Poor introduces his review of McCulloch with:
Fully accepting the doctrines of [Adam] Smith, and the wide distinction which he made between the qualities of the precious metals which fit them for money and those which determine their value in exchange, he proceeds to consider the laws by which their value is determined when their movement is perfectly free; and those by which they are affected when artificial restraint is imposed upon it (p. 318).
    McCulloch states that under free competition, the value of gold and silver depend on the cost of their production. The prices of commodities, i.e., their value measured in money, vary with their cost of production, supply and demand, and the cost of gold and silver to which they are compared (p. 318). When the supply of gold and silver is restricted, the supply of money is limited. He writes, “Whenever the supply of money is limited, its value varies in inverse ratio to its quantity as compared with the quantity of commodities brought to market, or with the business it has to perform” (p. 318). For that reason, if the supply of commodities doubles while the amount of currency remains the same, their price would be reduced by half. On the other hand, if the supply of commodities were reduced by half and the amount of currency remains constants, their price would double (pp. 318-319). Thus, money is merely a ticket or counter used to compute the value of property, and in transforming it from one to another. [McCulloch seems to confuse value with price. The two are different. Price measures value, but it is not value. Furthermore, some items, e.g., air, patriotism, and religious beliefs, have great value, but are not priced.] He claims “that a debased currency may, by first reducing, and then limiting its quantity, be made to circulate at the value it would bear were the power to supply it unrestricted, and were it of the legal weight and fineness; and, by still further limiting its quantity, it may be made to pass at any higher value” (p. 319). [History shows that when governments debase their currency, prices rise even if the supply is limited, which it seldom is.] He believes that nonconvertible paper money can be given a higher value than an equivalently denominated gold coin if its supply is sufficiently limited. A half-sovereign coin can be made to do the work (number of exchanges) as a one-sovereign coin if all one-sovereign coins were replaced by half-sovereign coins and no new coins were minted. [He means replacing each one-sovereign coin with a one-half-sovereign coin. He does not mean replacing each sovereign coin with two half- sovereign coins.] The same quantity of commodities would now be exchanged for the same number of coins. [This conclusion is highly unlikely. When exchanges were made under the gold standard, they were based on the gold content of the coin and not the number of coins. People compared the value of the product to the value of the gold content of the coin and not to the coin itself. Most likely, what would happen if half-sovereigns replaced all one-sovereigns, dealers who sold their products for one sovereign would now sell them for two half-sovereigns. Cutting the money supply in half as in McCulloch’s example would significantly hamper commerce and, by that, production.] He offers no example where what he suggests would happen has ever happened. McCulloch maintains that the value of inconvertible paper currency “depend[s] on the proportion which its amount bears to the commodities brought to market, or to the demand; and wherever a currency of this kind, or a limited gold currency, is in circulation, the common opinion that the price of commodities depends wholly on the proportion between them and the supply of money is quite correct” (pp. 319-320). However, “with a freely supplied currency consisting of gold and silver, . . . fluctuations in the supply and demand of such currency have no permanent influence over its value. This is determined by the cost of its production” (p. 320). [In The Value of Money, Anderson argues that the cost of production determining gold’s value is incorrect. He asserts that the “value of money is a quality of money, that quality which money shares with other forms of wealth, which lies behind, and causally explains, the exchange relations into which money enters.” “Value {of money} is prior to exchange. Value is not to be denned as ‘power in exchange.’” According to Anderson, the social value theory best explains the value of money: “the social value theory is the only way of giving a psychological explanation to the demand-curve, and a marginal value explanation of marginal demand-price.” Thus, the value of money derives from the value of the commodity of which it is made and from its services as money. The value of the commodity as money is combined with the value of the commodity in its non-monetary use. Like all other commodities, and everything else, the value of the monetary metal and of its use as money is psychological. Anderson concludes, “The physical weight in gold, which itself is an object of social value, is commonly the immediate basis of the value of the dollar to-day, but money may get its primary value from other sources than valuable bullion. Given this primary value, the dollar may get an enhancement in that value from the services which it performs in the social technology of adjustment.”]
    Poor retorts:
Mr. McCulloch might as well have assumed a particular county of England to be fenced off by a wall so high that only a small amount of vital air could get into it; and that, in such case, the right to breathe would sell at an enormous price; and have inferred, therefrom, that, should the amount of money be limited, its price would rise in like ratio. One illustration is as pertinent, or rather as impertinent, as the other (p. 320).
    Poor continues, “Whoever gets gold, gets it to spend. There may be quarrels between those who dig and those who rule as to who shall enjoy the product; but, whatever the result, it would immediately go into circulation” (p. 320). [Today, the rulers have resolved the quarrel by driving gold from the monetary system. They have given themselves absolute control of the monetary system. Contrary to the claims of most orthodox fiat money proponents and probably all fiat money reformers, the Federal Reserve is not an independent agency independent of the government and does as it pleases. It is just the junior partner in the scam to pillage the American people. The government is the senior partner. It created the Federal Reserve; the Federal Reserve did not create the government. It exists at the pleasure of the government, which may abolish the Federal Reserve anytime. Working together, the government and the Federal Reserve can confuse the people by blaming the other for the country’s economic problems although both are guilty.]
    Poor notes that in another work of McCulloch, McCulloch claims that controlling the movement of precious metals is impossible for governments (p. 320). Poor writes:
His illustrations, however, are in keeping with those of the school to which he belonged, which is always assuming impossible instances as a means of setting forth its conclusions and beliefs. It is the way of children, not the method of men of full stature. Neither the production nor possession of the precious metals can be monopolized. Their value everywhere, under all conditions (allowing for the influence of accidental circumstances), is measured by their cost (pp. 320-321).
[Governments may not be able to prevent the movement of gold, but they can greatly hamper its movement. For example, with few exceptions, the U.S. government prohibited Americans owning gold between 1933 and 1974.]
    Commenting on McCulloch’s belief that if the currency’s quantity is strictly limited, a debased currency can function as well as full-weight coin, Poor remarks that Locke had proven more than a century earlier, that a debased coin will not function as well as a full-weight coin. About the period of recoinage of English money in 1696 when Locke made his argument, Poor writes:
For a time, the amount of coin in circulation, or currency of all kinds, equaled hardly a tithe of that required for the exchanges of the country. These, for a considerable period, had to be made by means of credit or barter. Yet the necessity which then existed for a “circulating medium” did not exert the slightest influence in raising the value of the debased coins. The value of each was measured by the cost of the metal that each contained. Had their value risen greatly above their cost, supplies would immediately have flowed in from other countries. If tickets or counters were all that were wanted, these could easily have been provided, as McCulloch suggests, by cutting the pieces in circulation into a sufficient number of parts. It was capital, not counters, that was wanted, and relief came only when that was supplied (p. 320).
    Poor continues:
But even admitting that, by reducing the amount of metal in coins, their value might be maintained from the necessity of their use, there was still an important link wanting to connect his premise with his conclusion. Gold gets into circulation by means of its value. It circulates at its value. If its amount were permanently decreased, its value would increase. This is palpable enough; but how is that which is valueless in itself to get into the category of values (p. 322)?
[This is the question that others also ask: How can that which has no value itself and is not the representation of value measure value?]
    Poor asks how can something that has little or no value get into circulation in the first place? He answers that McCulloch would claim that some medium of exchange is needed and people agree that this worthless thing would be their medium of exchange. To this answer, Poor replies, “[I]t is useless to reply to such assumptions as these. They are the dreams or vagaries of persons bereft of all sense in reference to the subjects to which they relate, and who, unfortunately, are wholly impervious to reason” (p. 322).
    Commenting on bank notes, McCulloch writes:
Notes not legal tender, and payable on demand, or at some stipulated period, are not paper money, though they serve the same purposes during the time they continue to circulate. The value of such notes is wholly derived from the confidence placed in the ability of the issuers to retire them when presented for payment, or when they become due. Whenever, therefore, this confidence ceases, their circulation necessarily ceases also (p. 322).
    About paper money, i.e., government notes, McCulloch states that “confidence in the solvency of the issuers exercises the smallest influence over the value of paper money” (p. 322). Paper money is legal tender and not legally convertible into gold or anything else. “It circulates because it is made legal tender, and because the use of a circulating medium is indispensable; and its value, supposing the demand to be constant, is, in all cases, precisely as the quantity in circulation” (p. 322). He believes that the issuer of inconvertible paper money can maintain par with gold or silver without difficulty (pp. 322-321). To maintain a constant price of gold, all that the issuer needs to do is to decrease or increase the quantity of paper money. [This is the recommendation of some supply-side economist in recent years.]
    Poor questions McCulloch’s assumption that “an inconvertible government note of the nominal value of an ounce of gold, to be of equal value, and exchangeable therefor” (p. 323). Moreover, Poor comments that according to McCulloch, inconvertible government notes circulate “not from any value it possessed, but from the necessity for its use as a ticket or counter of exchange” (p. 324). Furthermore, according to McCulloch, such money need not be made legal tender (p. 324). Poor wonders how such money would ever get into circulation and who would accept it (p. 324). Also, how would the excess be retired? [The government can get its notes into circulation by printing them and paying them to its employees, welfare recipients, and suppliers. It can further encourage the circulation of its notes by requiring them in payment of taxes and making them legal tender at the debtor’s option for payment of debts. In theory, the excess could be removed by having tax receipts to exceed expenditures enough to retire the excess — when was the last time that happened?]
    McCulloch proposes eliminating precious metal, either as bullion or coin, as money because of the excessive cost. Paper should be substituted for metal. Thus, paper would replace gold as the reserves held by banks (pp. 324-325). [In the United States between 1862 and 1879, U.S. government notes replaced gold largely as reserves for banks. Today, all bank reserves are in paper and its electronic equivalent, which is even cheaper than paper.]
    If McCulloch’s proposals were implemented, Poor sarcastically remarks, “The monetary millennium would then dawn on the world” (p. 325). [If McCulloch had lived another hundred years, he could see the results of his monetary millennium. His monetary millennium arrived in 1971 when the world divorced itself completely from gold and substituted entirely a paper and electronic monetary system in its place.]
    In response to McCulloch’s proposal, Poor writes:
But what does every one seek in exchanging that which he possesses? To better his condition; to get something which will be more valuable to him than that with which he parts; in order to have that which, when he wishes to use it, will bring to him the greatest possible amount of values in other forms. Gold and silver, therefore, are always demanded in exchange, for the reason that they are values in their highest forms. The whole effort of mankind is to convert its industries and products into such values, or into that which shall produce them; and which, till its possession be demanded, is drawing interest in kind for the benefit of the party entitled to it. The whole effort of nature is in the same direction, — to convert lesser into greater values (p. 325).
Then Poor remarks that McCulloch “would invert all this order, by converting whatever a person has to sell, not into the most valuable, but into the least valuable form” (p. 325).
    In his concluding remarks on McCulloch, Poor writes, “Nothing can be more disgraceful in a man like him, — Professor of Political Economy in the university of a city which, commercially, is the very eye of the world, and standing at the very apex of his school, — than the ignorance and assurance he displayed” (p. 327).

Endnotes
1. B.M. Anderson, The Value of Money (New York: The Macmillian Co., 1917), pp. 8-9).

2. Ibid., p. 9.

3. Ibid., p. 42.

4. Ibid., p. 591.


Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Coley Allen.

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