its redemption. There should be no monopoly, but any and every person complying with the terms should be furnished with the national note. Of course, no one who had not the requisite capital could procure these notes, and rightly so, because notes made by those who have no capital would swindle the people. And, as our government has no property or capital, except the necessary tools for carrying on the affairs of the nation, and as government should have no debts and no gold and silver accumulated, it is obvious that it cannot properly make a good note beyond the amount which could be redeemed in payment of taxes. And, as taxes ought to be diminished and ultimately abolished, there is no valid basis for a government note to be used as currency. Neither will Mutual Banks answer any good purpose if the notes are based on land.
The remarks that follow are not intended to debar "Apex" from answering his opponent in his own time and way, but simply to combat, from Liberty's standpoint, such of the positions taken by "Basis" as seem to need refutation.
The first error into which "Basis" falls is his identification of money with capital. Representative money is not capital; it is only a title to capital. He who borrows a paper dollar from another simply borrows a title. Consequently he takes from the lender nothing which the lender wishes to use; unless, indeed, the lender desires to purchase capital with his dollar, in which case he will not lend it, or, if he does, will charge for the sacrifice of his opportunity,—a very different thing from usury, which is payment, not for the lender's sacrifice, but for the borrower's use; that is, not for a burden borne, but for a benefit conferred. Neither does the borrower of the dollar take from the person of whom he purchases capital with it anything which that person desires to use; for, in ordinary commerce, the seller is either a manufacturer or a dealer, who produces or buys his stock for no other purpose than to sell it. And thence this dollar goes on transferring products for which the holders thereof have no use, until it reaches its issuer and final redeemer and is cancelled, depriving, in the course of its
journey, no person of any opportunity, but, on the contrary,
- It is interesting to note that "Basis," abandoning later the theory of interest maintained by him in the above article, took the initiative in the formation of a society for the abolition of interest, and now considers such abolition essential to the solution of the social problem.
- Nevertheless, to everybody but the issuer, representative money is capital to all intents and purposes, because it will procure capital. But to the issuer it is not capital, because he issues it against security belonging not to himself but to the borrower, would not be able to issue it were it not for such security, and therefore parts with nothing in issuing it. Now the idea that money is capital does not sustain the position of "Basis," unless it be taken to mean that money is capital to the issuer.