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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 73

The Fiction of Convertibility

page 5

The Fiction of Convertibility.

There is no such thing in reality as convertibility of paper obligations into gold coin excepting to a very fractional extent. The real basis is the value of the property or commodities exchanged. Thus you perceive that the law of 1816 is not framed in accordance with the fact. And, that being so, only one thing is certain—viz., endless uncertainty, and evils which no one can estimate. All calculations made upon a fluctuating basis are upset, and no one can tell how his purchases or his productions will turn out when he has to estimate in a measure of value which varies. One certain evil resulting, as we know from experience, is that, protected by law, those who trade in gold will make the best, of their opportunities. They will work to raise the price of that in which they deal. They will (to use the language of the Stock Exchange) "appreciate gold." This necessarily, as cause and effect, produces a contraction of the currency, with all those accompanying dreadful commercial crises which always result, and bring ruin and distress all round. This has been done over and over again down to the present time, with disastrous consequences to the world. It explains the numerous crises which have occurred in England.