The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 71
To the Single-Tax and Socialist Section
To the Single-Tax and Socialist Section.
To those who hold the faith that prosperity and fair distribution of wealth in a country can be attained by a "land and income-tax"—great measures as they are or could be made—history has pointed out how inadequate they must be—alone—while the present mechanism of money has such enormous powers, uncontrolled by the people. Under this mechanism at present, adventitious causes may contract page 26 the measure of value, resulting in "falling prices" continuing for twenty, fifty, or one hundred years; and the magnitude of the changes, which would take place in connection with the process during those intervals—while money was rising in value day by day, and commodities and produce constantly and persistently falling—would cause the wealth of the world to flow into one class, and the people would be enslaved. Further, this machinery is—within certain economic limits-susceptible to the control and monopoly of the great capitalists of the world, through its basis gold; and by "cornering" it they can—within limited and definite periods—control "prices;" and as a common money now prevails in most countries, to control "prices" is to control everything in the world—land, mines, stocks, produce, and labour. This power has produced the gigantic capitalist of modern times.
To those who hold the hope and belief that the State ought to be, and will be, the owner of all the means of production, capital, and distribution, and will be the sole producer and the sole distributor—in which case there would be no necessity for a medium of exchange, as there would be no exchanges, and the distribution would be by the State—to those advanced minds, this subject would appear a useless discussion; but a certain interval of progress, causing a better material condition of the mass of mankind, must take place before these ideas are practicable—politically or socially. To those then is pointed out that this question of a "national currency" would be a means to an end. The power of capital at present is too strong to be stormed or taken by assault—it must be sapped. The currency on a Gold Basis is their great power—national currency, wherever it prevailed, would undermine that power.