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Greenbacks And Absolute Money

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The oxisting greenbaek, it may be claimcd, is -worth as mueh as a nationalbank note of corresponding denomination, but it is to be answered that the greenback, as it exists, does not pretend to be "absolute money." Itisa promise of the United States to pay money, and there is no sane financia] man who doos not know that it is a promise to pay coin, or something that directly seuts coin. A greenback is good, and only good, becauso the country accepts it as a plcdgc of gold oí silvcr. The precious metáis have been accepted, the world over, as the basis of currency.and when men talk about money th'cy jnvariably talk ubout that which. has tía basis in coined metala. A paper dollar alvays represente a gold or a ailver dollar. Throughout the long poriod dning which specie paymenjts lmvc been suspended in the United States, the valué of bank notes and of greenbacks has been sustained by the faith t'nat nitimntely - sooner or later - every dollai would be redeemed or redeemable in coin. There was a time when it took $2 in paper to buy $1 in gold, and the gap between that perio'd and this has gradually been closed, as the certainty has increased that the promise upon the face of the paper dollar would be redeemed. If the greenbaek were to be changcd to-day, so that it would bear no such pledge, it would becomc veiy eheap money, indeed. It would liárdly be worth the paper it is printed on. There is no power on earth that can legislate value into paper. If paper does not represent value, it is good for nothing, and no government can make it good for anything. The question of cheap money, for the benefit of the laborer, for instance, is " as broad as it is long." If money is good for anything, it will have to be paid for in labor. The jarkets of the world settle the values of merchandise. We inav legislate that every bushei of wheat sliall bc worth $5, but our legislation will not have the slightest effect upon the price. Wheat is wheat the world over, and the price is regulated by the great law of demand and snpply. Money is money the world over, and money is gold and silver the world over, and every article that a man possesses and has for sale will be regulated in its price by the relation which it bears to some gold unit in the markets of the wórld. Money cannot be so made that a man can get something fsr nothing. It cannot be so made that he can get it for less than the market price of labor. The idea that it can be so made is a delusion and a snare of the devil, or a demagogue, who is lus most obedient servant. - -. G. Holland, in Scribner for November.


Old News
Michigan Argus