Table of contents:
Introductory remarks about the peace plan productions and pointers to other publishers
1) Beckerath's Concept of a Limited and Justified Compulsory Insurance
2) The following are some of the objections Ulrich von Beckerath has raised himself against today's compulsory Insurance schemes:
a) Compulsory insurance while inflation is
almost guaranteed through certain laws.
b) Compulsory insurance under present-day Trustee Acts, insufficient funding and capital market control
c) Compulsory insurance whi1st the money monopoly persists ?
d) Compulsory membership in a monopoly insurance company?
e) Compulsory membership mitigated by self-government and decentralization
f) Compulsory insurance and employers contributions
SOME NOTES ON THE TWO TYPES OF GOLD STANDARD WHICH
ARE POSSIBLE AND HONEST : THE 100 GOLD COVERED CURRENCY AND THE GOLD-CLEARING
OR GOLD-FOR-ACCOUNT STANDARD
(Standards? Does the golden sun not just 'stand' but meander, swerve and for all we know help a hell of a lot besides? How can we talk about an honest standard if the digging, destilling and shifting of the stuff is not all hunky dory happiness for most of those involved? Piet)
1 ) Popular Attitude Towards Money
2 ) Some Remarks on the Monetary Theory of the Austrian School of Economics
3 ) Is a 100% Gold Cover Necessary and Justified
start of peace plan 11 supplement part 2
4 ) Current Gold production adn the total gold supply
5 ) Some Notes on the Total Gold Supply
6 ) An Estimate of Gold Coin Denominations which Might Be Required
7 ) Clearing end the Requirement of a 100% Gold Cover
8 ) Some Suggestions for a Rightful Currency Reform
9 ) Further Remarks on Price Adaption to an FxclusiYe Currency
10 ) Unequal Distribution of Gold Currency Liquidity.
11 ) Gold Production and Inflation
12 ) Rigidity of an Exclusive Metallic Currency
13 ) What is the Meaning of a "Gold Price" Provided thatGold is no longer Outlaeed as a Standard of Value?
tool Nedstat installed end of nov 98 but not correctly till july 99
created in nov, last changed in dec 98
Go see what else poetpiet can puzzle us with here
or check the intro to this file and all the others in my first batch of guest appearances which happens to concern all sorts of currency issues.
COMMENT ON Bth's SUGGESTION OF
A LIMITED COMPULSION IN PUBLIC INSURANCE
267 page numbers are kept in for later corrections and this is the last out of a threesome to which an index was appended
Dear reader please do not expect "our" kind of philosophical purity of libertarian thought in Bth's writings. If you cannot for instance agree with him on the limited compulsion which he suggests in the sphere of insurance do not let this disagreement stand in the way of your appreciation of the radically libertarian solutions he offers to major problems of present-day life like unemployment, deflation, depression, inflation, economie development, the social question in general and basic constitutional reforms, problems which are interrelated with almost all other human problems. Although seemingly he deals only with the technique of monetary freedom his reform would in reality tering about a new economic, social and political order based on individual liberty and peace and harmony as the naturel condition between exterritorial and autonomous communities of volunteers.
I foresee your objection against compulsory insurance but find it really somewhat absurd to accuse a man who advocates individual secession from the State - because he advocates simultaneously a degree of compulsion in the sphere of insurance. In reality there is no contradiction as we will see later on. Let us pay him the respect he obviously deserves for his other studies and at least try to understand the case he makes out for a limited compulsion in insurance In his own objections against compulsory insurance he largely agrees with you and me (Compare 273-276.)
1,) v. Beckerath's
Concept of a Limited and Justified Compulsory Insurance
Ulrich von Beckerath called a natural or human right, one not yet codified by the U.N. or in any other well known code -the riqht of the individual within its obligation to provids for his own livelihood himself, even in case of inability to work- to provide for this personal security without government assistance and intervention through private organizations or suitable private contracts the individual is furthermore obliged to make somehow unmistakably known in what way he has taken care of his future subsistence."
In point 36 of the human rights draft contained in plan 110 this right and duty has been expressed as follows: "Every rational individual has the right and duty to provide against the risks of normal life, e g. by taking out an insurance with an insurance company of its choice.
Comment : It may only be forced to take out an insurance just sufficient to guarantee a minimum standerd of living in case of illness, accident, invalidity, and old age, so that it may never become a burden to others,claiming support based on its right to life. Membership in an exterritorial and autonomous community of volunteers guaranteeing its members such a protection on the basis of an assumed human riqht to receive the minimum material requirements for existence from society, either free of charge or as a loan, is a sufficient insurance."
In other words his concept of compulsory insurance implies that alt those whose income or property precludes a self-insurance against the usual private emergencies & needs arising out of sickness, accidents, invalidity, old age and catastrophesshould be forced, if necessary, to provide for their minimum requirements in such cases themselves. Each would remain free to take out an insurance with a company of his choice or one he sets up in association with others. The principle justifying this kind of intervention in his eyes is that to force a man to do what as a rational being he would do himself does not do him (his personality as a rational being wrong, even then, rational beings would only interfere if the mistake made is not just a trivial affair I wish someone would undertake the trouble and thoroughly explain the applicability of this principle and its limits. I hola that it would, for instance, well justify the forceful prevention of most suicides)
The compulsion to take care
of one's own requirements, the immediate ones and the future private emergencies
and nceds which according to general life experience one must expect, would
lead to a situation where nobody who tends to be improvident and would
voluntarily neither save sufficiently nor insure himself - could any longer
be a burden for the general public. He would instead, by means of the insurance
system, be 270supported
by his own efforts only, even in times shen he is unable to support himself
through his current work.
In this way Bth wanted to replace the present welfare State system - which compels everybody to provide for the welfare of everybody else and does not allow anybody to take care of himself without restricting such efforts - not only by the right of everybody to take care of himself (either by individual saving or reserve funds or by some mutual aid agreement with others according to his own choice) but by the enforced obligation of everybody thus to take care of himself and his dependents for common and calculable future needs and emergencies. Thus in his future misfortunes and inabilities he would, as a rule, not have to appeal to the charitable feelings of others, would not become a ward or a responsibility of others. Social security would then be a "right" but a self-earned, a purchased, a contractual right against the insurance company of one's choice. A rational being (one which at least knows and respects the natural or human rights of others) foresees the risk of personal emergencies and disabilities and would, as a rational and responsible being provide for such emergencies at least at the subsistence standard. Thus the above indicated compulsion is not directed against their natural inclinations 'does' not reduce their choice. It is instead directed against the irresponsible and improvident ones who are now allowed to prey on the responsible ones - anonymosly, by means of taxation, that is with the help of government compulsion - or by their appeal to our charitable sentiments (sentiments developed as a survival trait of the species before insurance was invanted).
To be economically independent not only from a Welfare State but also from private charity is a desirable aim for many whose charitable feelings or reliqious beliefs including a religious duty to be charitable - are not strongly developed. We are in this respect in a period of transition which tends to break down even family communism and charitable relationships between parents and children. Many do already regard the dependency on the charity even of close relatives and the'obligation to be charitable at least to such people- as a burden, not as a pleasant duty.
Few of those individualists who are only too ready to exclaim: Let them starve if they did not provide for themselves in time! would actually have the stomach to let a starving man die before their door. Their wording does already indicate this. They do not definitely state: I would let him starve. Furthermore, they would not find it pleasant either to fight looters during a huntger riot.
I do still think that Bth has a strong case here in favour of a limited compulsion which rrould force the improvident and irresponsible to support themselves. If Beckerath's suggestion had been realized in time we would not have to carry the present Welfare State burden and most people would by now have learned that they cannot have something for rothing, that they have to pay a price for the social security they desire, All who now without your consent, live at your expense, could then be self-supporting, One might therefore consider this compulsion as a defensive and protective measure of those who love liberty and consider their property as inviable.
From I. Kant' s remark, quoted on p. 215, one might only conclude that all parties must at least submit to predetermined arbitration should a collision of rights and interests occur. Does such a collision occur when some persons do not insure themselves against personal misfortune and age, aqainst fire, theft, floods etc.? I most cases and directly only the victims suffer, The others would be indirectly influenced whenever and to the extent that "Catiline existences" are created, strong appeals to their charitable sentiments are made, or the concept of a "duty of 'the right to help the poor" becomes popular and finds expression in laws, that "Catiline existences" are a threat to the safety and property of others has been vividly demonstrated by the riots in recent years which took place even in countries with the highest standard of living. Whether the appeal to charity does constitute a threat is a matter of doubt or is strongly denied by all those who have not yet reed Ayn Rand's works, But please, do consider the present situation The improvident, as voters and through their representatives in parliament do act as predators on the productive and self-suppording part of the population, quite legally and quite immorally. If this is not depredation, then what is?
271 It can hardly be denied that liberty lovers should mind their own business. But it must also be recognized that when Statists interfere with such rightful aspirations and mind not their own business teut that of others, then it is the business of the Liberty lovers to "intervene" against the interventionists and to force them to mind their business, in our case, to force them to provide for their own social security themselves. If it is rightful to defend oneself against an individual predator, a criminal, to restrain him and to reform him into a responsible and self-supporting citizen then it is also rightful to employ preventive and defensive force against Welfare Statists.
Do I have to go on arguing this point? Under freedom to set up or join exterritorial and autonomous communities of volunteers the Statists would undertake the required compulsory measures themselves, would introduce, through the elected shepherds compulsory social and other insurance for all members of the herd. This one ought to be a really striking argument against the objectors. Alas, how many of my readers are already able to clearly visualize a society of this kind.
Let us therefore discuss further some of Beckerath's arguments on compulsory insurance. He believes that a compulsory fire insurance would be justified in the same way as a conpulsory membership in a juridical community (p 215) The comparison holds to a large extent - with regard to old type towns r/heie wooden houses prevailed and the carelessness of a single uninsured could causeafire that would go out of control and burn the town down. Then at least compulsory fire prevention and protection measures seem justified if they stay within certain limits. Perhaps one might under such conditions consider not only this but also a compulsory insurance, comparable to that of bank-cashiers,so that whoever started a fire might be successfully held responsible by the burnt down neighbours The insurance Company selected by the insured would then see to it; its own, the insured's 'the neighbours' interest, that he takes a minimum of precautions against fire hazards If this compulsory insurance would only cover the fire damage done to others and not at all the damage suffered by the guilty party then the premium required might be reasonably low. Apparently in practice, the guilty party is only rarely held responsibe,, for instance e.g.of a careless smoker being charged with having set off a large scale forest fire and sued at least for part of the damage he caused. Should people always be charged and sued in such cases? If so then they ought to be forced to acquire an insurance cover which would enable them to fulfil such a responsibility. Instead the present tendency seems to consider irrational acts or irrational human beings as a natural hazard and one attempts only to provide an insurance cover once such "natural catastrophes" have occurred. typical instance: insurance against theft. An extension of the above indicated degree of compulsory fire insurance could only be defended on the basis of the three arguments discussed before: prevention of "Catiline existences", of the need for charity, and prevention of income distribution schemes of governments. Nowadays houses can be built almost fireproof, and most of them are, People are at liberty to build only fire-proof houses in the vicinity of wooden other ones. Thus only the careless or guilty ones need suffer directly from a fire they start. Furthermore, those who have lost their homes and many of their private possessions through fire are not necessarily reduced to "Catiline existences" thereby. They may be forced to speed a higher percentage of their income than before on accommodation (rent for a furnished flat) and may have to make an extra savings effort to enable them to acauire again certain property they appreciate. In a society with economic freedom, including the economic freedom Beckerath demands which would make full employment possible to the extent that those who have labour power for safe desire it, no poverty need result from failure to insure property against the fire hazard.
In his estimate of the need for compulsory public insurance v. Beckerath seems to have assumed a statie situation and to have forgotten the fundamental and dynamic changes implicit in his system once it it applied, at least by a minority, and allowed to spread:
272 Already the insurance companies he proposed would alleviate the continuous currency -shortage so typical for most Asian and other underdeveloped countries (even, and more so, when they are empoverished by the over-issue of forced and exclusive currency). Moreover, this issue of new and stable exchange media would most likely not be the only one. I can hardly imagine a situation where only public insurance companies would be permitted to make use of monetary freedom or would realize it in a revolutionary way. The change brought about by a sufficient supply of healthy exchange media and stable value measurement would directly and indirectly immensely facilitate - among many other things- the spread of private insurance. These two reforms could reach their optimum effect naturally only if they are accompanied by all the other aspects of a free market economy. Inflation would no longer make insurance unattractive, deflation would no longer make it difficult or even impossible. Competition would lead to the offer of the most attractive insurance cover scheme. The decentralization Bth envisions would permit the setting up of cooperative fire, health insurance etc. on a level attractive to people still living in a village economy. To the extent that people would then at last be fully employed, if they desired this - and could thus gradually accumulate some savings to the extent that they would thus become removed from a'mere subsistence economy, they would get interested in taking out insurance covers. Private and voluntary insurance would be likely to spread still faster when cooperative banks would ask that as an additional cover for themselves the deblor insure himself and 'his property' They might, as Beckerath suggested take out an insurance for him and recover the expense together with the loan money, (That loan conditions of banks can increase personal security has e g been demonstrated in the early nineteenth century in the Southern States of the U.S). Duelling had become fashionable again at least among certain' classes of society and was eliminated by bankers stipulating that any loan would fall due immediately of the debtor engaged in a duel, See Charles Sealsfield (Karl Anton Post) "The Cabin Book", 1841'. Automatic and regular deductions of insurance contributions from bank accounts would make the collection of insurance contributions as simple and possibly even cheaper than their collection together with taxes. This, again, assumes that free banking is introduced generally and at the same time. It must be admitted that European or American style commissions for insufance agents would be out of question for some time. However, do we have to consider this as an unsurmountable obstacle? I hold that localized insurance companies applyina the principles of monetary freedom would not find it very difficult to become locally sufficiently known and appreciated. Every single one of their notes would act as an advertising leaflet. Particularly if the local clergy physicians lawyers, shopkeepers and money lenders ( who by then would be likely to have set up local issuing centres would cooperate, in their own interest, no great difficulties will arise in:'building up a large voluntary membership Perhaps considerable premium reductions for those who join without having to be persuaded by an insurance salesman and discounts when people join as a group, on their own initiative would be possible advisable, and help spread voluntary insurance faster. The group principle might be further applied by granting a no-claim or low claim bonus to those smal groups which through preventive measures' and mutual supervision would keep the total claims of group members at a low level, last not least by reducing and almost eliminating fraud. If experience is any guide cooperative insurance companies of the type suggested by Beckerath would- be likely to succeed very fast e. g. in China, provided that there are no local obstacles (no matter how well intentioned) and that genuine co-operatives maybe set up and not only state-owned and State-regulated enterprises, either explained or subsidized by the State, and wrongly named "cooperative".
It can be foreseen that a number of irresponsible Statists and childlike primitive people would remain uninsured if insurance is not compulsory and if we tacitly assume the continued existence-of territorial uniform, centralized and warlike States with a monopoly for passing laws and regutations, However, in a genuinely free society, granting each individual a free choice even regarding political, social and economic institutions and laws, all people sho have not privately taken care of their future 273 would be likely to be taken care of by Statist oriented exterritorial and autonomous communities of volunteers, societies they would be likely to join or which would remain as a remnant of the present States once the individual's right to secede from the State is recognized. The Statist communities could provide for their voluntary members all the compulsory insurance and general Welfare State benefits they fancy -but at their own expense only. Indeed as membership is voluntary, these Welfare States could then have much in common with private insurance companies. Only the kind and extent of coverage would be different and less individualized. I do not believe that many adherents of the Statist religion and welfare Communities, that the host of well-meaning "organizers" would fail to succeed in signing them up.
The few remaining "Catiline existences" could not be dangerous any more and could, as objects of charity, help those whose charitabLe sentiments would otherwise become frustrated.
The right of individuals to resign from a State without having to migrate and without losing any human or natural right provides paradoxically for a non-compulsory method to introduce compulsion, introduce it by individual consent of all concerned - for all members of an exterritorial and autonomous community of volunteers constitutinq another new State within the general human society, Likewise it provides an opportunity for compulsory. private insurance for all the members of a libertarian community, Furthermore, personal law communities, parallel, or alternative or competing governments might be set up which nould e g outlaw insurance altoqetter and impose instead a religious obligation on their menbers to act charitably. Where does the Libertarian objection come in there? Even if they should still feel the need to argue and advise against such system they would have no reason or justification to resist it. Thus, viewed in perspective and combined with the competition he proposes between private end public companies and with the individual's right to secede from e 9, a Welfare State, the element of compulsion in his insurance plan becomes almost reduced to naught.
2, ) The following are some of the objections Ulrich von Beckerath has raised himself against today's compulsory Insurance schemes.
a) Compulsory insurance
while inflation is almost guaranteed through certain laws.
Compulsory insurance on the basis of a legal tender paper currency is wrong. Any depreciation of this currency would partly or completely destroy the security as aimed at and paid for. Only insurance schemes applying the levy principle could form an exception. But, to finance old age and invalidity pensions by levies raised on members would destroy the self-responsibility principle and impose an excessively large burden on the younger or still working members. The rightful and sensible alternative is productive investments of the reserve funds (accumulated insurance premiums) on a stable currency basis allowing every member - according to the law of large numbersto be supported out of the additional production due to his invested insurance premium dues. To compel a person to take out an insurance while at the same time the government systematically destroys accumulated insurance funds through its monetary policy - is a particularly evil trait of monetary despotism and Welfare Statism. The 'insured' are thereby compelled to pay a price out of proportion to the service they will receive. In some instances the purchasinq power of the insurance amount will be so reduced they will ineffect have been forced to buy scrap paper for their old age security. Governments usually cover up their embezzlement and force the new generation to foot the old age pensioner bill out of their current earnings - which are much lower than they would be if the insurance reserves would have been properly invested at the highest interest rates obtainable on a free market. The pensioners, at the expense of the new generation, are treated as if their accumulated insurance funds had not been wasted by the governments monetary policy. They thus become the accessories to the-huge fraud committed by the Government against the new generation,
b) Compulsory insurance under present-day Trustee Acts, insufficient funding and capital market control
Largely from the above objection follows the objection against compulsory insurance as long as today's Trustee Acts are still valid end capital transfers and interest rates are controlled end regulated by professional inflationists, exoropriators, and mismanagers (known under various fancy titles). As long as government securities had the least fluctuations on the stock exchange there seemed to be a case for compulsion to invest insurance funds in these at first sight safest and most unobjectionable securities 9ut already since several generations government securities have become the least safe, the most insecure investments, Nevertheless, in most countries insurance companies are still forced to invest a considerable percentage of their reserves in government "securities". (The insufficiency of parliaments as guarantors of natural rights is well demonstrated by this glaring example) But compulsory insurance, while this hypocritical malpractice persists, is objectionable for still another reason. Not only do the "insured" not get their money's worth back when they are forced to invest it by way of their insurance company in unproductive or inefficient government projects and are repaid only in inflated paper - but they themselves, as Taxpayers, have to repay this compulsory government loan which the government owes them in their nature as insured citizens from whom the government "borrowed". In other words, they are compelled to pay their premium twice and to pay in form of taxes the interest they nominally receive for their insurance funds forcefully invested in various as a rule unprofitable government projects. Moreover they may soon be forced to subsidize these projects. Compulsory insurance is unjustifiable in this case. Furthermore, the government, through imposing an interest ceiling prevents the optimal use of accumulated insurance funds and indirectly increases the premium to be paid for one and the same insurance cover. This also offends against the ideal of investing insurance funds as productively as possible, for as high interest rates as can be obtained on a free market a system which would allow people to reduce their premiums to a minimum and permits e.g. old people to live as pensioners from the added production due to their insurance funds, almost in the same way as if they had obtained old age security through a private savings plan The aim of those benevolent souls who passed the Trustee Acts can easily be achieved by requiring a credit insurance for all insurance investments. Prospective members would demand This additional safeguard from insurance companies of their choice and other companies not providing this protection would be driven out of business Ulrich von Beckerath wrote an article on the subject in "Oesterreichische Revue" of 12/9/1927, called "Kreditversicherung und Muendelsicherheit"Prof Heinrich Rittershausen dedicated a whole book to the subject : ''Die Reform der Muendelsicherheitsbestimmungen und der industrielle Analgekredit - zugleich ein Beitrag zum Erwerbslosenproblem " (Gustav Fischer, Jena 1929, Compare page 23).
It is likewise wrong to compel people to contribute to an insurance fund which can easily be shown to be insufficient to cover the amount insured for. The apologists for such an institution consists insure Taxpayers. Otherwise this type of "insurance" can only be compared to forcing people to invest in a business which, as cen be seen right at the beginning, is going to be bankrupt in a few months. Whoever voluntarily joins such a social security fund or accepts this kind of State guaranty without protesing is morally no better than a member of a robber band. To conscript people into a robber band is naturally neither morally nor otherwise defensible. Simple tables can show that the social security taxes are often out of proportion to the benefits promised and that they would, as a ruie,be recovered within a fev months after the insurance falls due.This has been clearly pointed out in the case of the U.S. in Robert E. Slayton's article "Recovery of Social Security Taxes", Rampart Journal, Winter 67 Box , Larkspur, Colorado 80118.
c) Compulsory insurance
whilst the money monopoly persists ?
Ulrich von Beckerath is among the very few who recognized that compulsory insurance (275) is wrong not only when the insurance cover is in danger of being wiped out by an inflation or reduced through interest ceiling or when it is confiscated for welfare State and warfare State (...ah....well- and warfare statism, ....sounds plausible poetic) purposes or when others are compelled to pay a large share of the contributions, but also as long as the insured would have trouble to acquire the necessary exchange media to pay their premiums - because the money monopoly almost guaranties a permanent money shortage. He shows clearly how this particular objection to compulsory insurance cen be overcome.
d) Compulsory membership
in a monopoly insurance company?
likewise von Beckerath objects against compulsion to insure oneself only sith one particular insurance company. If public insurance would fulfil the expectations of its supporters it would not need this compulsion. 90% of the population sould join voluntarily because they should be offered a better and cheaper insurance cover. Furthermore, only under competition can a public insurance company convincingly show what its services are worth, and Beckerath advocates this kind of competition - e.g. on pp 209 and 216 and suggests likewise a cooperation between private and public insurance companies, e.g on p 250. Thus in still another way, he would reduce compulsory insurance to a minimum. I predict that in the long run the public insurance companies he suggests would be competed out of existence. You might counter this by saying that Beckerath proposes tax-exemption, that is privileged public insurance companies. However, instead of attacking him for thus proposing what appears to be an obvious privilege you should consider his proposals as a whole. Then you would realize that he would like to see insurance companies to take the place of States and that he is far from condoning the present penalizing taxation of private enterprise but suffers voluntary taxation instead, that is repeal also of compulsory taxation for private insurance companies. He opposes such taxes as much as e.g. special taxes on note issuino banks, private competing police forces voluntary fire-brigades or private schools (or parents who at their expense send their children to private schools) He opposes taxes in the insurance sphere particularly because they amount to an attempt to tax "competinq governments" out of existence. No government is authorized to tax private efforts which would tend to make government "help" superfluous. At the time and place when he wrote he could not express this clearly.
e) Compulsory membership
mitigated by self-government and (from
here on down more end's instead of and's; sorry, but there is a war on
right now) decentralization
The self-government he demands ( p. 210) for public insurance companies combined with the large extent of decentralization he suagests (without it self-government would be no more than a farce) would from still another angle, reduce compulsion to a minimum and would- like competition - offer an easy way to do away with compulsory public insurance altogether.
f) Compulsory insurance
and employers contributions
Like any sensible man with economic insight Beckerath also objects against the deceptive (towards the employees) end unjust (at face value) system of charging the employers with part of the insurance premium of the employees. Moreover by force of law, the employers are degraded into tax collectors for the State) this method deceives ignorant workers aho do not realize that these deductions are calculated by all employers as part of the wages (without this compulsion eages aould include these amounts) end makes them believe that they could get a cheap insurance coverat the expense of someone else, once they would have to pay the full amounts themselves end directly they would soon come to realize how inefficient most large scale public insurance companies are run and would begin to shop around for a better cover, to get
their money's worth.
Lastly, one has to keep in mind that in spite of the inclusion of a limited compulsolry insurance in his economic freedom proposals his main preposal, monetary freedom, 276 does not depend on it. On the contrary, he expressly mentions money issues based on private contributions or cues (e g on p.222) and such issues are generaliv discussed or implied when he discusses acceptance, clearing, creditor cover, debt foundation duty to issue exchange media, readiness to accept etc. If he had written instead: "Private Insurance and Compensation Money" not much in this book would have to be altered.The monetary principles involved are the same: "every possibility of applying the principles of the Milhaud system throws light on all other possibilities of its application as well as on the principles of the system itself'' - he wrote on p. 227,
SOME NOTES ON THE TWO TYPES
OF GOLD STANDARD WHICH ARE POSSIBLE AND HONEST : THE 100 % GOLD COVERED
GURRENCY AND THE GOLD-CLEARING OR GOLD-FOR-ACCOUNT STANDARD
Standards? Doesn't the golden sun not just stand but meander swerve and for all we know help a hell of a lot besides? How can we talk about an honest standard if the digging, cleaning and 'trading' of the stuff is not all hunky dory happiness for most of those involved?
1 ) Popular (misconceived)
Attitude Towards Money
Money is still such a mysterious good for most people that they think only of finding winning, taking, or, at best, earning it in free exchange. They hardly ever think of (literally) m a k i n g it. Whenever this does happen, only forgery, infiation or fraud enter their mind (immediately) as either disgusting or attractive possibilities. They feel unable to produce sound money themselves but believe that certain other people or certain institutions somehow possess this mysterious capacity for "creating" money and that they ought to be restrained in this "dangerous power". If exclusive and forced currency were the only possible currency then they would even be right. This type of currency has nowadays become so predominant that it has almost become a category of thought. All other currency and standard of value possibilities are either considered as non existent or ignored or as being defended only by "money cranks''. Even the otherwise very advanced adherente of the Austrian School of Economics are not quite free from this prejudice as they consider a 100% gold cover to be necessary as a restraint on private money issues.
Amons the remnant of those who love freedom as much as they love peace (end who realize the close relationship between the two) it has almost become fashionable to consider the 100%_covered gold currency as ideal and to a large extent so it is - compared with the paper currencies issued and mismanaged by governments This attitude is strengthened by the weakness end wrongness of arpuments favouring central banking end discrediting the gold standerd ( the old classical or the 100% cover type) The other type,which beckerath advocates, is hardly discussed at all. (The argument that the gold standerd would not allow a government to pursue an independent monetary policy is typical. It is only comparable to complaints of thieves about solid locks and alert nightwatchmen.) In fact, the old type "classical" gold cover and ths various 'gold reserve currencies' are far from ideal and even the 100% gold cover and convertibility advocated by some has several major defects. Ulrich von Beckerath has treated these currency standard possibilities directly only with some side remarks and generally by criticizing the right of creditors to demand a particular and exclusive currency, He concentrates instead on advising on rightful, sound and practicable alternatives whenever and wherever a shortage of qold coins arises. Apart from this he only discussed gold as an account or clearing standerd of value, combined with a similar silver standerd in a parallel currency. A comprehensive end objective evaluation of the still current concepts of a gold standerd has apparently still to be Britten or at least still to be published.
2 ) Some Remarks on the
Monetary Theory of the Austrian School of Economics
I am looking forward to a scholarly comparison between the monetary theory advocated by economists of the Austrian School and the monetary freedom theory upheld by von Beckerath and a few other economists. My own knowledge of the Austrian School is very limited, being confined to the reading of a few magazine articles and in the sphere of free banking there are many more books I would like to read than I have read so far. Nevertheless, I have formed for myself a preliminary judgment and it might inspire someone else' and be it only through errors which have crept in, to undertake a thorough investigation and comparison.
From what I have learnt about it, the Austrian School of Economics does much good in upholding the torch of liberty. For this reason I recommend its literature to everybody. In the monetary sphere it effectively fights some prejudices whilst still defending some others it stands for gold as the ideal standerd of value, but it makes no distinction between gold as ideal standerd of value and gold as a means of payment, a very important distinction which v, Beckerath frequently points out. While making gold the exclusive standard of value (a free market would give it a predominant position in this sphere anyhow) it also wants to turn it into an exlusive means of payment, either in coin form or in forw of 100% covered paper money, (For the sake of simpilcity I have here generalized the views of various writers of this school. They do not agree 100% on
this subject and some have already gone far along the road to monetary freedom.)
The economists of the Austrian School are certainly right in attacking a paper currency which is so dishonestly managed that it promises redemption in gold any time without there being a 100% gold cover available. They are wrong however in also attacking all kinds of paper money which do not promise convertibility and are not covered to 100%, or some other percentage by gold, are not legally endorsed with the legal tender quality but based instead on other foundations which would keep their exchange value on a free market, their market rate, either at par with their nominal value (which might be expressed in gold-weight units) or very close to it. They are right in attacking the present-day State paper money, which does not even promise any kind of cover, has no built-in limits for issues and provides no stable standerd of value but is instead according to admissions of the currency "authorities" and according to accepted policies "manipulated". (Would the Statist citizens also tolerate the manipulation of the yard or nallon measure by replacing the standerd units by highly elastic rubber-yards end rub6er-gallons? Lack of understanding the concrete substance of the propaganda language of Statist minded politicians end economists seems to be the main-stay of Statism lists of communist double-talk have frequently been compiled. We need now (Piet's input: Joern's grammar was (and is often still) so awkward in such cases, that I fear it must have hampered his effectiveness as far as he was striving to become an opinion 'paging publisher; Of course the sentence should go: We now need) whole dictionaries against the double-talk on our side, to provide an escape or liberation route for captive minds. Such a handbook would be only one of several similar ones ahich belong into the arsenal of overy defender of freedom.)
At the same time they make a mistake in asserting like e g. Murrax N Rothbard (in his very valuable pamphlet: 'What has Government Done to Our Money?', Pine Tree Press, Raspart College, Box 158, Larkspur, Colorado 80118) that State paper money cannot possibly have a sound basis. The reader will find many references to sound State paper money under the each word "tax foundation" in the index, This tax-foundation would not only work within the present at least partly unjust Statist framework but also whenever States are reduced in their influence to voluntary members only and would receive only voluntary tax contributions or fees for their services. (thy faith is great, dear pal o' mine)
Probably all representatives of the Austrian School have the laudable intention of wanting to prevent qovernments from inflating the currency realizing that no government in the pursuit of its welfare and warfare policy ever feels and/or falls short of an excuse for this kind of robbery. (Fraud, forgery, requisitioning, expropriation and taxation without consent fit this kind of 'monetary policy' as well) Alas, most of them vent to achieve this merely by 'imposing' on the government a 100% gold redemption obligation - while at the same time upholding the government's monopoly for the issue of money tokens. They do not fully realize that as long as this money monopoly exists this kind of 'restraint' is likely to be ignored by any government which is powerful enough to enforce the obedience of rationally dissenting citizens.
Provided, these economists have, like Murray N. Rothbard (ibid), advanced one step further and demand competition in the sphere of banking and banknote-supply - they still insist on convertibility as the only means of achieving the circulation of paper promises and stable value reckoning. Thereby they show that they still have not fully realized the possibilities of o t h e r free market covers, checks, and limits for the issue of money substitutes made out of paper. (References to these will be found in the index under market-rate, discount, acceptance, demand, shopfoundation, debt-foundation, creditor-cover, tax-foundation etc.)
Surprisinqly, most of these "free market advocates" underestimate the pernicious influence of legal tender and the possibility of a free market rate for various means of payment which allows the formation of a discount of means of payment against the 278 standard of value, e g. gold weight units for account (based on free gold coin exchanges in the open market), and thus automatically stops or prevents over-issues, In this sphere they have hardly advanced economic science for the last 100 years but have rather slipt back. A century ago the significance of legal tender -and of its alternative- was rather well known When they attack legal tender they do it only by attacking "fiat money" in general end wrongly apply the term 'fiat-money" to paper money which is not legal tender- merely because it is not convertible. Some of these economists, for instance Murray N. Rothbard end Orval V. Watts, have realized like v. Beckerath did, thatGresham's law applies only to legal tender money. But so far they have not yet, like von Beckerath did, drawn all the logical conclusions from this economie law - largely because of their preoccupation with one cover only: the 100% one. Ulrich von Beckerath explored the omissions in the monetary theory of the Austrian Economists and the monetary freedom potential they ignored. It is up to these economists now to take note of this scientific exploration end exposition - or to lose their credibility as scientists (in the eyes of all for whom this does not merely imply academic qualifications) end become reduced to mere partizans of one among many other monetary theories. Ulrich von Beckerath comes to the conclusion that gold in spite of its being the ideal standard of value - should not be enforced as an exclusive means of payment, neithetr in form of coins nor in form of 100% gold-covered banknotes, nor even as the exclusive standerd of value He shows that redemption into gold by the issuer, this foreign element in the "circulation" process, should be referred to the free gold market. This kind of market convertibility would suffice to allay and dispense suspicion against soundly founded paper money and would permit stable value reckoning like the old type of gold standerd it would not suffice on its own but must be accompanied or backed up by ''readiness to accept", a sufficient "demand", to ensure a "reflux", e g by "shop-foundation". In these exchanges on the free gold market qold would serve in its ideal capacity for determining end measuring values and would in no way reduce the turnover in a country to the amount of golden "measuring sticks" available standard of value. Gold in coin form or bullion is useful as a means of payment but it is far from ideal, even dangerous, as an exclusive currency.
To avoid misunderstandings I am not afraid of stressing again that von Beckerath does not raise any serious objection against honest, private or even honest government banks issuing nothing but 100% gold covered banknotes, deposit slips, gold certificates, or gold cheques - no objection, as long as they are not the customary, enforced, or exclusive means of payment, and as long as there is no compulsion to use only gold as a standerd of value (For some time v. Beckerath did indeed favour the idea of making gold, though not an exclusive means of payment, at least an exclusive standard of value, by investing gold weight units and nothing else with the status of legal tender. He has become more tolerant end freedom-minded since then end recognizes the right of e,g. index-standard fanatics to a standard of their choice)
3 ) Is a 100% Gold Cover
Necessary and Justified
The theory that it is necessary end justified end possible to cover all payment trans actions 100% by gold assumes a continuous end equal distribution and a steady circulation of gold-money everywhere - completely eliminating the speculative element existing in every present-day debt contract (an element clearly described perhaps for the first time by U. von Beckerath), even in quito ordinary ones like wage end rentcontracts. (What is here true for exclusive gold currency is equally applicable to an exclusive paper currency)
While it must be admitted that gold -if not-interfered with- has indeed a strong tendency in this direction (stronger than that of any other commodity) which has been formulated into the "law of fluctuating gold quantities", this distribution and regularity of circulation is not perfect enough end includes a dangerous time-element. Furthermore, the above theorry assumes that price fluctuations follow the gold fluctuations quite smoothly and are thus harmless. In reality these price adaptions require 279 time and in the period of transition prices either tend to run ahead or remain behind the money supply - thus worsening monetary crises. (Compare 285 ff.)
Furthermore, precisely what makes gold an ideal money metal makes it also an ideal means for hoarding (the derogatory name for the keeping of private cash reserves when the harmful effects under a system of exclusive currency are considered). As long as gold is an exclusive currency and is thus considered as the claimable basis of all debt contracts, that is, as long as there is either no freedom toissue gold substitutes or no technique is known how to supply privately sufficient stable-value means of payment made out of paper- many sudden gold coin hoardings or cash reserve increases) must be expected it does not matter here what reason or motive started them. Some of these are likety to turn into acute currency famines.
The right of creditors to demand gold seems to be completely harmless if confined to creditors of honest gold deposit banks charging a deposit fee. But if it is true that clearing or cheque accounts da turn over much more frequently than cash (not only that they account for a much larger share of the turnover - I have still to see detailed statistics of these relationships) then the sudden reduction of short-term or immediately withdrawable deposits, clearing or cheque accounts (if such a withdrawal is permitted and the permission is inherent in the system), undertaken in order to satisfy urgent cash needs of the deposit or account owner, would greatly reduce the turnover notential by reducing the possibility of clearing and increasing the need for cash when it is already in short supply. This danger lies in the nature of an exclusive currency and will therefore persist even if there is no other government meddling in the monetary sphere than the protection of the exclusive currency against competition.
Especially in revolutionary times the tendency to keep as large cash reserves as possible, is strong. It will increase the unemployment end depression which might have caused a revolution in the first place Thus hoarding (or cash-holding of exclusive currency) tends to further revolutionary violence. One might paradoxically say that the more gold or another exclusive currency is hoarded the more the individual hoarder benefits - when he finally speeds his cash reserve after all other commodities have reached rock-bottom prices, whiLe at the same time the general economy -including the hoarders- is correspondingly harmed through the at least temporary and all too sudden reduction of turnover with all the difficulties this implies during the period of adapti on to the new relationship between the monopoly currency in circulation and the volume of oods end services on the market.
The naturel self-recovery (two-way price adaption to restore the original relationship) requires time, In the meantime great harm is likely to be done in the balance. As v Beckerath treats hoarding (and how to render it not only harmless but beneficial) extensively, e,g, on pp. 131ff, no more need be said here.
The objection of insufficient adaptability could be likewise raised when there are instead of monetary fluctuations large-scale fluctuations on the side of the supply of goods or services like e.g. abundant harvests or widespread droughts, great refugee waves or large shifts of employment opportunities from one locality to another (due to technological developments). Experience showed that the gold currency supply and the price and wage level are not adapted with sufficient rapidity to permit under such circumstances all desired turnovers of labour end goods. Instead, as has only too frequently been observed, goods are destroyed, numerous bankruptcies occur, sales difficulties persist end famine conditions are approached combined with unemployment _ instead of low prices end a high standerd of living or high prices combined with overwork of all able to work (in order to allow them to earn sufficient money to purchase the high priced scarce foodstuffs).
Only under monetary freedom could the local supply of means of exchange adept perfectly to local fluctuations in the supply of goods and labour services- because only then would exchange media be based directly on these and would correspondingly contract or expand - while still stable value units are applied. Compare this adaptability (details in Beckerath' s writings) alth the tendency of an exclusive gold currency in times of a currency shortage. During the shortage formerly unused stocks of gold ought to be dissolved to relieve the shortage. Instead the tendency is rather that in balance the hoardings......
click here to go to part 2
some miscellaneous additions
The SCHOOL OF LIVING PRESS, after repeatedly printing-articles on monetary freedom in A WAY OUT ( e.g., in the Jan/Feb 66 end the Oct 67 issues ) announced the reprint of the monetary freedom essays of BENJAMIN R. TUCKER under the title 'Money and Banking'. Order from Heathcote School of Living Centre, Freeland, Maryland, U S A., for $ 1.75
The INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM ACADEMY, Sec Gen. Finn Andreen, Alstroemergatan 33, Stockholm K, S w e d e n, offers an international forum for the discussion of the problems of individual freedom and free enterprise. It tries to co-ordinate the activities of all similar organizations, publishes an address list, FREE ENTERPRISE TRENDS and pamphlets
I T O R I A L
( 1 ) These three special issues on monetary freedom contain as many words as about 600 pp of a work like Murray N Rothbard's ~Han Economy and State. ( 2 vol altogether 985p, Van Nostrand, U.S.$10.75. ) If I charged you as much as e.g Rampart Journal of Rampart College does, for ? issues ( less voluminous ~ p.a., US ~ 7.50, I would have to ask vou for at least $ 25 for my sories of 12 issues' Admittedly, my printing, paper and bindinq quality is not as good - but I have to use much more primitive equipment and have thus to invest much more labour. As this journal is not on the general market for books end magazines nor as yet known to all libertarians and peace lovers who might be interested it cannot command a free market price. Anyhow, I intend to increase subscriptions in the future, though not tenfold, The resultant reduction of my subscribers will, I trope, help me to catch up with my correspondence.
In the meantime I can only offer again apologies to all those whose LETTERS I have so far left unanswered. Very frequent ly,the more I appreci ate a letter and the writer and the more I think that it deserves a welt considered answer the longer the letter remains unanswered, as a rule far beyond the limits of politeness.
There were some complaints about the smallness of the PRINT. This print is in reality larger than most newsprint end comparable to the print-size of many pocket books.
Line-lenqth and intervals should not be real obstacles to skilled ànd interested readers witfiout eye defecte. The lack of sharpness of the letters -due to the way stencil and ink duplication process which I have still to use- may, combined with their smallness make reading a bit difficult for some. But why weren't you using a good magnifying glass? You have not got one? Do I have to enclose one in my next mailing?
In other words, I do not believe that the customer is always right. Furthermore,their contributions do not cover my expenses and their reading comfort does not concern me so much that I would be willing to double my expenses and my work. You are not going to reed these essays as a result? Your loss would be greater than mine!
Such complaints have in some cases brought about a certain suspicion in me Therefore, i appeal to you not to let the smallness of the arint end similar details serve you as an excuse end rationalization for not undertaking the effcrt required for intelligentty reading, studying end thinking through the monetary freedom practices and principles here described A real effort is required end it cen be tiresome. These articles were not written for your entertainment end you may have to be mentalLy quite rested and perhaps even at your best in order to cope with many pages at one sitting. This has, I assert less to do with the size of the print than with what the print tries to convey, if new ideas were always easily understood the sensible ones would always prevail in a short time. Certainly, you know at least some sensible ideas which are still fighting an age-old battle against overwhelming odds of prejudices.
I have so often in private conversation blamed authors end pulishers for not supptying a comprehensive alphabetical index that at last I feit caught in-a trap of mv own making, My conscience demanded the supply of an index for P.P. 911 11ow more than ever before I understand the extra effort involved and the hesitation of authors and publishers to supply this service Nevertheless now as before I hola that such an effort is worth it for all who are not blessed with perfect recall. Another summary of von Beckerath's views and proposals should not be necessary and might only be misunderstood like most other generalizations. After putting a really large amount of work into compiling the alphabetical index I prefer therefore to ask you to make frequent use of it -provided you want to understand the monetary basis of economie freedom.
information: The third lengthly work of von Beckerath' in this issue, was reprinted with permission from the English translation of the originally German work which was first published by the Annals of Public end Co-operative Economy., now at Liege 45 quai de Rome Belgium, - in either 1937 or 1938 in four languages. I do not know the German title, The English edition which I copied was published in cooperation with the 'Annals' by Williams, 8 Norgate, London, 1938, (Probably most of the impressions were stamped in during W.W. II's paper shortage - like so many other valuable works,
REPRINT is free end desired Provided the source is mentioned.
If you would appreciate these essays as much as I do, you would do your utmost to get them reprinted in a larger issue t an the 500 copies each I could afford. I undertook my effort largely in the hope of finding some sponsors or a publishing house for a larger 'normal' publication-But the number of monetary freedom advocates I found, is still so small that I can satisfy this demand fros my small scale private reprint.
TRANSLATION: As I do not possess the German original of this work I could not even try to improve the translation. U.v. Beckerath found it frequently incorrect.
In this essay aLso the author could not openly defy the Nazi regime end trope to survive, I trust that most libertarians are able to reed between the lines end make the necessary deductions end additions themselves, As a rather obvious precaution against Nazi censorship the author quoted Nazi utterances, e g on pp 7,56,149 03,251 (compare also index references under Goebbels, Goering and Hitler) and s?ressed references to Bismarck, Frederick the Great, Prussian traditions.
Leaders and leadership and, naturally, had to omit references to the noteworthy Jewish tradition regarding monetary affairs. Is there another religion which makes honesty in monetary relationships a religious duty? (I wonder what a Taoist would say to that)
Ulrich von Beckerath describes the problems of underdeveloped countries as due mainly to three factors:
1.) a continuous currency famine, increased, not mitigated by
2.) inflationary currency policies of their governments and
3 ) lack of insurance cover,
He provides detailed cures for all three points.
A more complete case could have been made to point out the relationship between lack of economic develonment end lack of monetary freedom. A future peace plan will deal with this using India as an example
You will find frequent repetitions of certain ideas, explanations and
examples on these pages - and can still bet on it that most of them will be misunderstood nevertheless. As v. Beckerath's essays were so far never printed together and appeared first spread over an interval of 5 years and were moreover never indexed the repetitions are largely excused. The matter dealt with is so new and complicated for most that the repetitions are not to be considered as a nuisance but rather as a help.
I had wanted to help a libertarian group to collect
addresses and to further the compilation and publication of a comprehensive
list of libertarian organizations, magazines and individuals- of all shades.
Therefore I printed free on page 153 an appeal for help - and Procotly
forgot to mention the address to be contacted
Mr. Cole S. PATTERSON, Sec. AUSTIN LIBERTARIAN ASSN., 1105 `1 12th St., Austin Texas.
The three special issues on monetary freedom, PEACE PLANS 9 - 11,are presently still for sale at $ 1.00 together.
So far sti l l only $ 2 .00 or US$ 2 50 per half page A 8 ~ or US' 5 -per full page.
Only one page per advertiser per issue. Condition: ~ntiTotalitarian!
ADDRESSES WANTED of all interested at least in one aspect of monetary freedom'
ROBERT ANTON WILSON ( 7428 North Paulina St. Chicaqo, Illinois 60626 ) wrote me a note in which he mentioned that "Larry LABADIE, of Suffern, N Y '' ( 20 De Baun, N.Y. 10009 - J,M. Zube (John has a production of Labadie's poetry forthcoming; he did the masters while I was there) "has records of 1000 currency reform attempts in U.S.A. history Two years ago, he lived in a town - Yellow Springs, Ohio - which had used auxiliary currency during the Depression. In all cases Federal authority finally intervened. - America is a free country, isn't ft? - Please keep thinking about the possibility not only of a monetary reform- but of a monetary revolution' J Zube.
NEW INDIVIDUALIST REVIEW,
Ida Noyes Hall, Univ. of Chicago, Illinois 60637 _ an independent journal associated with no organ1 zati on or political party, believes that in the realm of politics end economics the mest valuable system guaranteeing proper respect for individuality is that which historically, has gone by the name of classical liberalism; the elements of this system are private property, civil liberties, the rule of law, end, in genera!, the strictest limits placed on the power of government. It is the purpose ot the Review to stimulate and encourage exploration of important problems from a viewpoint characteized by thoughtful concern with individual liberty.