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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

Dynamic Agency of Money

Dynamic Agency of Money,

as contributing to the comfort and well-being "of all sorts and conditions of men." With this view, I must not raise myself, as if to the apex of the social pyramid, by means of a balloon, only to descend more quickly than I went up; but begin where the builders do—on the bed-rock—and, by a steady aim, raise the superstructure. I must discover where the use of money first comes in as an aid to labor and in the necessary distribution of the products of labor. It goes without saying that the sole source of human activity is the food supply, and the maximum of result is obtained when every member of the human family is usefully employed, each one according to his ability—a quantity continually to be increased by the exercise of proper technical instruction. I ask that the total food-supply of the population of the world shall be taken as a unit, and that the sources whence it is obtained shall be noted. This total supply is gained from the soil and from the sea by no other means than by the output of human labor, and ought, from year to year, to be equal to the sustenance of each individual for the entire period. If each individual were so located that he planted upon and gathered from the land or gained from the sea his own food and no more, and was content to make his own clothing and construct his own dwelling from materials raised or gathered by himself, there would be no place for money, as no exchange of commodities would be needed. page 4 But the instant any one, A, of the millions of human beings desires to have something—say the product of a day's labor of another—he begins to bargain for exchange by offering something that he can spare for the article that he wishes to have. It may happen that his neighbor, B, does not want the proffered article in exchange for what A desires. Notwithstanding, B supplies A with the commodity he asks for and receives a token, bearing the value of a day's labor on its face, as representing the cost of the article that B gave to A. By-and-bye B desires to have from C something that cost him a similar outlay of labor, and he passes over to C the token he had received from A in payment. It is a recognised doctrine that the transfer of a debt may be made ad infinitum. The only condition is that it was an honest debt to begin with; in the case supposed the exchange was a token for a day's labor for some commodity that took the same time to create.