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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/220

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

And thus that five-dollar bill may go round and round until it is deposited by some recipient in a bank, whence it may emerge and perform round after round of other service, and so on perhaps for years. In all its circuits, the thought of exchanging it for gold or silver may not enter the mind of a single person through whose hands it passes. It measures and rewards human effort; it is generally accepted because its recipients have ample confidence in the assurance of the bank, guaranteed by the Government that its value, as expressed on its face, will be preserved and maintained. They have confidence in the ability of the issuer to that end; they have confidence in the intention of the issuer to that end. The measure of value expressed by five dollars is definitely understood by them.

If other proof is required that neither coin nor bullion is essentially necessary to effect the exchange of human effort, attention need only be called to the emergency currency brought into existence by the currency famine of August and September, 1893. Clearing-house certificates, clearing-house duebills, certified checks, pay checks, negotiable certificates of deposit, bond certificates, grain-purchase notes, store orders, improvement fund orders, teachers' warrants and shingle scrip, sprang into being and measurably facilitated the exchange of human effort in many localities, especially in the West and Southwest, where mills, mines, and stores would have closed had there been nothing to take the place of the ordinary currency of the nation. These instruments in each instance were paper representatives of value as evidenced by the result of human effort; they each attained a circulation among those believing in the intention and ability of the issuers to make their expressed value good.

As it is by use of the results of human effort that further effort is made possible, as it is to obtain the result of human effort that human effort is put forth, what more logical, what more inevitable, than that the medium whereby human effort is exchanged, whereby it is measured and rewarded, be based upon the results of human effort? That is, it is by the exchange of human effort that we are fed and housed and clothed. It is by use of houses, food, and clothing that we are enabled to construct machines, build bridges and railroads. By the use of machines, bridges, and railroads other houses are built, other food, other clothing is prepared and distributed. To obtain houses, food, and clothing our effort is put forth. The medium which rewards us should assure us the possession of that for which we toil. As it is human effort that supplies human wants, and as human effort is known by its results, the medium of exchange and measure of value should be based directly upon the results of human effort; that is, effort of a certain quantity and quality, as evidenced by