Page:Essays on Political Economy (Bastiat).djvu/177

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169
WHAT IS MONEY?

credit—a fatal notion, a deplorable mistake, which takes its rise from the same source.

B. What! does this frightful commotion of the populace against capitalists arise from money being confounded with wealth?

F. It is the result of different causes. Unfortunately, certain capitalists have arrogated to themselves monopolies and privileges which are quite sufficient to account for this feeling. But when the theorists of democracy have wished to justify it, to systematize it, to give it the appearance of a reasonable opinion, and to turn it against the very nature of capital, they have had recourse to that false political economy at whose root the same confusion is always to be found. They have said to the people:—"Take a crown, put it under a glass; forget it for a year; then go and look at it, and you will be convinced that it has not produced ten sous, nor five sous, nor any fraction of a sou. Therefore, money produces no interest." Then, substituting for the word money its pretended sign, capital, they have made it by their logic undergo this modification—"Then capital produces no interest." Then follow this series of consequences—"Therefore he who lends a capital ought to obtain nothing from it; therefore he who lends you a capital, if he gains something by it, is robbing you; therefore all capitalists are robbers; therefore wealth, which ought to serve gratuitously those who borrow it, belongs in reality to those to whom it does not belong; therefore there is no such thing as