Page:Instead of a Book, Tucker.djvu/258

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242
INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

he keeps commodities which he does not wish to consume, they may perish on his hands. If he exchanges them for gold, the gold may decline in value. If he exchanges them for government paper promising gold on demand, the paper may decline in value. And if he exchanges them for mutual money, this transaction, like the others (though in a smaller degree, we claim), has its element of risk. But, as long as merchants seem to think that they run less risk by temporarily placing their valuables at the disposal of others than by retaining possession of them, the advocates of mutual money will no more concern themselves about giving them recompense beyond the bare return of their valuables unimpaired than the advocates of gold and government paper will concern themselves to insure the constancy of the one or the solvency of the other. As for the "something out of nothing" fallacy, that is shared between God and the Shylocks, and, far from being entertained by the friends of free banking, is their special abomination. "Credit without remuneration!" shrieks Mr. Fisher in horror. But, if credit is reciprocal, why should there be remuneration? "Debt without cost!" But, if debt is reciprocal, why should there be cost? "Unlimited or very plentiful money without depreciation!" But if the contemplated addition to the volume of currency contemplates in turn a broadening of the basis of currency, why should there be depreciation? Free and mutual banking means simply reciprocity of credit, reciprocity of debt, and an extension of the currency basis. Mr. Fisher has been so inveterate a drinker of bad economic whiskey that he has got the economic jim-jams and sees snakes on every hand.

(3) In applying it to his own views also, Mr. Fisher takes the sting out of the word "fad." But it was and is my impression that he originally applied it to the views of the free money advocates, not in the playful spirit in which all independent men call themselves "cranks," but in the contemptuous spirit in which they are given that appellation by the mossbacks. And it was natural enough. In finance, Mr. Fisher is a mossback. Contempt for contempt,—that's fair, isn't it?

(4) It has been repeatedly stated in these columns that we ask nothing but liberty. Given liberty, if we fail, we will subside. Nevertheless, with Mr. Fisher's permission, we will continue to put in our best licks for liberty in those directions which seem to us most promising of good results. Meanwhile we accord to Mr. Fisher the privilege of rapping away

for spelling reform so long as he does it at his own expense,