from a manufacturer. When the mortgage expires a year later, the borrower fails to lift it. Meanwhile gold has declined in value. The farm is sold under the hammer, and brings, instead of $5000 in gold, $6000 in gold. Of this sum $2500 is used to meet the notes held by the manufacturer who took them a year before in payment for the implements sold to the farmer. Now, can the manufacturer buy back his implements with $2500 in gold? Manifestly not, for by the hypothesis gold has gone down. Why, then, is not this manufacturer a sufferer from the variation in the standard of value, precisely as the man who buys cloth with a short yardstick and sells it with a long one is a sufferer from the variation in the standard of length? The claim that a standard of value varies, and inflicts damage by its variations, is perfectly sound; but the same is true, not only of the standard of value, but of every valuable commodity as well. Even if there were no standard of value and therefore no money, still nothing could prevent a partial failure of the wheat crop from enhancing the value of every bushel of wheat. Such evils, so far as they arise from natural causes, are in the nature of inevitable disasters and must be borne. But they are of no force whatever as an argument against the adoption of a standard of value. If every yardstick in existence, instead of constantly remaining thirty-six inches long, were to vary from day to day within the limits of thirty-five and thirty-seven inches, we should still be better off than with no yardstick at all. But it would be no more foolish to abolish the yardstick because of such a defect than it would be to abolish the standard of value, and therefore money, simply because no commodity can be found for a standard which is not subject to the law of supply and demand.
A NECESSITY OR A DELUSION,—WHICH?
[Liberty, June 27, 1891.]
To the Editor of Liberty:
It is not only a delusion, but a misuse of language, to talk of a "standard of value." Give us a standard of pain or pleasure, and you may convince us that there can be a "standard of value." I am well aware of the difficulty of discussing this question, even with so precise an editor as Mr. Tucker; but since he has called in question the views presented in my pamphlet, I feel called upon to lay before the readers of Liberty some additional arguments to show the correctness of what Mr. Tucker has honored me by calling "the Westrup view."