Page:Instead of a Book, Tucker.djvu/280

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INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

tained. It seems impossible that any unbiased mind should follow the author's reasoning carefully from the start to the finish and not accept the conclusion which he reaches in common with Liberty,—namely, that our financial legislation is the real seat of the prevailing social disorder, and that the only way to secure remunerative employment to all who are able and willing to work is to abolish the restrictions upon the issue of money.

Moreover, the author not only establishes the strength of his own position, but throws numerous and powerful sidelights upon the weaknesses of others. He shows the inadequacy of Henry George's theory as an explanation of enforced idleness, the futility of protection, tariff reform, factory acts, and anti-immigration laws as measures of relief from stagnation of commerce, and the absurdity of the fiat-money theorists and all who hold with them that the value of money is dependent upon its volume. If Mr. Lloyd, who lately proposed the use of communistic credit-money, will get Mr. Bilgram's book and carefully read pages 64-77 inclusive, I think he will be satisfied of the unsoundness of any credit-money system that does not specifically assure the ultimate redemption of each note by value pledged for its security.

Having thus declared my high appreciation of this book, I may add a word or two by way of criticism. The policy of the author in abandoning what he himself considers the true definition of the word capital and adopting the definition generally sanctioned by the economists is of very questionable utility. It is true that he does not allow this confessed misuse of a word to vitiate his argument, but it forces him nevertheless to separate capital from money; and thereby he strengthens the hold of the delusion which is exploited so effectively by the champions of interest,—namely, that in an exchange of goods for money the man who parts with the goods is deprived of capital while the man who parts with the money is not. If Mr. Bilgram had used the word capital to mean what he thinks it means,—all wealth capable of bringing a revenue to its owner,—he would have deprived his opponents of their favorite device for confusing the popular mind.

But this is a question of words only. It involves no difference of idea between Mr. Bilgram and Liberty. On another point, however, there is substantial disagreement. When Mr. Bilgram proposes that the government shall carry on (and presumably monopolize, though this is not clearly stated) the

business of issuing money, it is hardly necessary to say that