Page:Rise and Fall of Society.djvu/70

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"Easy Come, Easy Go"

clothes he expected to get out of the yardage. He has been cheated. As a result of this experience, his esteem of money drops; he demands more of it in exchange for his labor. And that is all that the "economic planner" has accomplished; he neither controls consumption nor regulates production by his counterfeit operation. Until his trickery is discovered, Society has been robbed of some of its output; but the robbery, when discovered, undermines confidence in the market place, discourages production (and therefore consumption), until Society insists on the correction of the wrong done it. The net effect of inflation, of cheapening the value of money, is to retard man's pursuit of happiness.

To sum up, it is the human capacity for evaluating desires and making choices that is the motive power of Society. Were it not for this phenomenon the market place would never arise and the abundance of specialization would be impossible. And man would be reduced to grubbing along on what he would find in nature, like other animals. No other animal gives evidence of a consciousness of comparable desires. No other animal shows a capacity of measuring one want against another or of acting upon a decision resulting from such comparison; that is, of deliberately relinquishing possession of one desirable thing for the purpose of acquiring another. No other animal trades. On the other hand, this potential pervades man's existence; he could hardly exist without a sense of value. From cradle to grave, man is ever making distinctions in desirability. Whether he shall play with this toy or that, study law or medicine, eat fish or fowl, wear a red or a white hat—which does he account more favorably? Which will give him the greatest satisfaction, cause him the least discomfort, taking into consideration all