What effect on the commerce and trade of the world will result from the creation in so short a time of so immense an amount of new and indestructible wealth, with a debt-paying quality based wholly on tacit agreement among nations, remains to be seen. That a general advance will occur in the market price of all other commodities may be confidently expected. That interest rates as a whole will decline should be quite as certain. That wages should advance seems also natural, for with that amount of new capital arising in so short a time every department of human activity is bound to be stimulated, and this will create an enormously increased demand not only for all those things that machinery and art can produce, but also for those that can only be brought into being by human hands and human service.
Of course strikes, tumults and wars may for a time cut down even the normal output, as was the case when the South African mines were closed by the Boer war, but this is very unlikely. The financial world has experienced the discomfort that occurs when its gold supply is interfered with, and is not likely to permit another such happening. In other words, the gold-mining industry, like all other international industries, makes for international peace.
An examination of the table of production for 1906 shows that nearly eighty-three per cent. of the total output was made by the Anglo-Saxon world. This is a most significant fact, and the proportion is so overwhelming as to leave no doubt whatever as to the communities that are to stand at the apex of material humanity during the twentieth century. When one looks for the causes that have led up to this astonishing predominance it is necessary candidly to admit at once that it can not be only a question of race, for the gold mines of North America, Australia and South Africa were unknown when Britain sent out her sons to these new lands. It was the lust for gold that sent the Spaniards and the Portuguese abroad, but it is the desire for homes that has spread the English people over the face of the earth. Back of this is the love of freedom, resulting from a national life that has evolved through the centuries a code of human laws fostering individuality and encouraging individual effort. So long as the great men of the race whose dwelling places encircle the globe preserve these ideals, so long will they remain secure and in the lead.
And the commanding position they hold at the present time may be credited entirely to the establishment and growth during the thousand years of English history of the principle (somewhat obscured in certain parts of the English-speaking world) that the land and all that is in it belongs to the people, and that the usage thereof is their direct and inalienable and rightful heritage.