Part 5 of PEACE PLAN 11,
Public insurance and compensation money
by Ulrich von Beckerath
This file was created near end of nov 98; last minor changes in dec 98
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concerning all sorts of currency issues

part 5
for the table of contents go to part one

as for this final section:
we are in the middle of concluding remarks concerning 'seam anew', 'circulatory satisfaction' and the French Revolution.

The present ruler, Rez Sha Pahlevi, has preferred to dispense with taxes in kind rather than tolerate any longer the existing abuses. In China the experiences with taxes paid in rice have not been more satisfactory than those in Iran with corn. Only the Milhaud system renders it possible to place the taxpayer monetarily in a  po 257 sition as if he were allowed to pay in kind and yet for the Government not to be monetarily worse off than  i f  i t  were paid  i n  m o n e y, the settlement procedure being at the same time as  s i m p l e and obvious as if payments were effected in coin.
( An aside: As many asiatics cannot reed the purchasing certificates should be so assigned that an illiterate could negotiate them. The coins of which the certificate is the equivalent, should therefore be imaged on the certificate besides which there should be as many dots or figures as correspond to the value of the certificate Thus a certificate for 5 rials or 5 rupees should contain the number five times - perhaps one figure in each corner and one in the centre- and somewhere also 5 dots. The people would readily understand this. The dots could be at a distance of 1 inch or 1 centimetre from one another, This would provide the peoples with a useful measure. Asiatic households mostly lack such facilities)
          We may remark here that the transition from barser to safe for money should not beregarded as a transition from  s i m p l e  economie conditions calling for no reflection to  c o m p l i c a t e d  ones requiring this, To recognise that, the descriptions of bartering provided by travellers should be reed. Thus H Barth,the African explorer writes in his "Reisen und Entdeckungen in Nord und Zentral-Afrika von1849 bis 1855", ('Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa from 1849 to1855' : "A small farmer who brought his corn to the Monday market at Kukawa (in the Sudan) refused firmly to accept shells in payment and was seldom satisfied with thaler, (This is the well-knoen Maria Theresa thaler). He who wants to buy corn must accordingly, if he only possesses thaler barter these for shells, or rather he buys shells and with these, he buys a shirt _ ''kulgu" _ and only after repeated barter -transactions is he able to get his corn. The inconvenience experienced by a market frequenter is really so great that I frequently saw my servants return utterly exhausted," Karl Menger, from whose "Grundsaetze der Volkswirtschaftslehre' (Principles of Economics, second edition, p 245) the quotation is taken, reports even more circuitous, but quite common, barter operations from East Africa following V L Cameron's work "Across Africa" ( 1877 ). (Readers wishing to consult Menger's treatise in English, are referred to the translation published in 1934 bv the London School of Economics and Political Science, constituting No. 17 of Reprints of Scarce Tracts in Economic and Political Science. The work is one of the best ever printed)
              The inhabitants of Kukawa, which was then a town of 60 000 inhabitants, had evidently no conception of what Knapp, in his "Staatliche theorie des Geldes" (State Theory of Money), called the  "c i r c u l a t o r y  s a t i s f a c t i o n"  of a creditor, as against his r e a l satisfaction.  This is the more surprising as the kingdom of Bornu is an old civilized country and has had for many centuries commercial relations with peoples to whom the meaninq of a "circulatory satisfaction" has been familiar from antiquity. Furthermore, in Barth's time both cowry shells and Maria Theresa thaler circulated in that country, however not as money, but as goods. It appears that when the majority of a people lacks the sense of "circulatory satisfaction", this represents an important, although as yet uninvestigated,  r a c i a l  mark This racial mark is not to be found in any Asiatic people.
                The lack of an appreciation of the more perfect forms of exchange need not signalise general  i n f e r i o r i t y. Barth's accounts suggest, for instance, a high state of civilisation in the people of Bornu. The sense for poetry is strongly developed in them. Any reader interested in this aspect may be referred to the "Mitteilungen des Seminar" fuer orientalische Sachen" = "Reports from the Seminar for Oriental Languages" , published in Berlin 1914, Abt. III , which contains a translation by R. Prietze of a song of lament of young slave girl from Bornu, whose fellow slave and lover Hamadu was held by his master to Morocco. Here is a song that Herder would have gladly placed in his collection. Attention may also be directed to the collection of 377 proverbs of this people, published by Prietze in the following year, a people which three or four generations back had no sense for the circulatory satisfaction of a creditor. (Now, under French rule, they have probably learnt it. Prietze quotes a proverb current among the peoples of Bornu, which certainly must date from recent times. "A man's goodness resides in his money and he who has no money, deteriorates.")
           We must bear in mind such ethnographical accounts in order not to lose patience when noting that recent money theorists (because of atavism?) are destitute of any 258 sense for appreciating circulatory satisfaction through means of payment as where for example, they dismiss Zander' s railway money (Annals, 1934) with the remark that everybody does not travel daily by rail. These theorists attribute the value of paper money exclusively to the  o b e d i e n c e of subjects to a State  c o m m a n d, as if the consciousness of having done one's duty as subjects and the feelinq of being satisfied as creditors were not two entirely different sentiments. These theorists forget that the commercial value not only of paper money but even of gold and silver resides wholly in that  'c i r c u l a t o r y  satisfaction' and in no way in being able to use the old coins received for stopping a tooth of ours or for plating our watch cover (See Knapp "Staatliche Theorie des Geldes" chapter 3).
      Milhaud's system, although based on a new and somewhat abstract principle, is yet so simple, clear, and concrete that already the initial steps in its execution must strongly influence the prevailing misconceptions of men includinq those of theorists, about the essence of a means of payment. Although, on the whole, based on  c i r c u l a t o r y satisfaction. Like every system of paper means of payment, it opens for everybody who does not understand the nature of this satisfaction, or forgets it for the moment, or becomes suddenly suspicious, or allows himself to be incited the way to a  r e a l  and immediate satisfaction. The shops where he can exchange the means of payment he dislikes for breed, butler, etc., are indicated by posters. This advantage of a clearness obvious also to the  m a s s e s  of our time with its currency madness which has completely taken the place of the ancient delusion of witchcraft, cannot be too highly valued.
           But the Milhaud system of payment does not represent only a technical imerovement, after the manner of postage stamps or electricity meters (the want of which latter retarded for decades the deveLopment of electrical technique). It is much more than that. More particularly, its application to insurance leads to the recognition of its significance for the  t h e o r y  o f  p r o p e r t y. That is, the system renders nossible (to this we shall return at the close) a quite different type of property to that with which men particularly in Asia, had to be satisfied, Thereby lt opens the way for a different and better type of civilisation.
           If it be true that  i n s u r a n c e  is the  c o n d i t i o  s i n e  q u a  n o n  for surmounting those semi-barbarous social conditions that still prevail in Asia in spite of the high cultivation of its elite and the remarkable intelligence of its masses; if the sum of suffering in human society cen only be reduced through insurance to the degree reached here and there in Europe (mortality of men 30 years old 3 per mil; only 3 days illness per annum; only 1 policeman for every thousand inhabitants; and scarcely a drunken man on pay-day - this exists in quiet parts of Switzerland, Denmark and Scotland); and if, moreover,  i n s u r a n c e  is simply  u n r e a l i s a b l e  in most regions of Asia without the Milhaud payment system, then this in itself demonstrates the significance of the system for the  c i v i l i z i n g  o f  t h e  A s i a t i c  m a s s e s.
             For the populations of the eichteenth century insurance was stiel somethinq of a novelty, but they nevertheless fully recognised its value. They esteemed it so highly that they found nothing more laudable to say in justification of the State than that it is a general  i n s u r a n c e  i n s t i t u t i o n  for mankind, taxes being its insurance premiums (Thus in his "Essai philosophique sur les probabilites", Laplace writes in the section treating of insurance companies: "A free people may be regarded as a large association, the members of which mutually guarantee tbeir possessions, by bearing proportionately the charges of such a guaranty".) This belief, however, was badly shaken by the French Revolution, particularly among the profoundest thinkers, - e q., in the -case of Wilhelm von Humboldt, who accordingly published in 1794 his: "Die Grenzen der Wirksamkeit des Staates". (It only circulated in manuscript for some of his friends and was not published before 1851 in Brestau. The Ed.),- and in that of Joh. Gottl. Fichte who already in 1793, in his volume on the French Revolution, contended that men should have the right to resign from States such as the old feudal State or the Terror State of 1793,a s they do from a church. (secession)
       It came to pass that the Government of France, the greatest of the then existing 259 civilised States spread in one year more insecurity among its citizens than the lack of insurance companies had meent for it durinq the preceding century. It did this by requisitions that were more extensive than haa been previoualy those of the feudal lords by mess executions (more especially of State creditors, of whom Robespierre had lists prepared) which not even Torquemada would have risked; by legalising (already under the rule of the Gironde) a system of denunciation unknown before or since (Nicolas, Robespierre's friend, printed forms for denunciation which the authorities furnished to any applicant; see Sieburg "Robespierre', n. 61 ), and by an inflation capable of astonishing us, accompanied by laws on "price profiteering", "foreign exchange", etc. , such as have been genera lly issued durinq inflationary periods. Hundreds of thousands were thrown into prison. Such a State could no longer appear as an  i n s u r a n c e  i n s t i t u t i o n  to  a philosopher and led, especially in Germany to reflections which were very much opposed to those we have cited from Laplace. By examining more carefully the idea of insurance Girardin first showed that whilst States have thus far not been true insurance institutions the State could be and should be the great insurance institution of mankind. He further pointed out that the synthesis of compulsion and freedom sought by philosophers in the lan of nature, end jeered at as a chimera by "practical men", had been long since realised in insurance- and that the princieles of the science and the technique of insurance were only waiting to demonstrate their usefulness in sociology, economics,and public right (See "la Politique Universelle", second edition, 1854.)
What, then, was the ultimate cause of the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 and its steadily growinq cruelty which at last shocked the terrorists themselves? (It happened in July 1794, a few days before the fall of Robespierre. The Revolutionary Tribunal had condemned 160 accused, mainly, it appears, owing to soffle remarks concerning the food of Prisoners - putrid herrings the stench of which caused some to faint away But the Convention dared not to have the 160 accused executed at the same time, but spread the "fournte" over three days.)
It is welf worth seeking to discover what was the primary cause of the horrors of the French Revolution, for it was the same cause that is now intensively operating in Asia (just one of the many contributing factors neglected by both sides in Vietnam, The Ed.) making not only impossible there a broadly based  i n s u r a n c e  system, but occasioning in many localities revolutionary horrors not behind those of the Paris September murders (It is too often forgotten that there is in China a region much larger and more densely populated than France, which has been for years, and is still, ruled by terrorisinq communist governments)
       Besides, the means that would make practicable insurance in Asia in circumstances sunnesting to most that they are an absolute obstacle to this and, - these means (they, and they alone), drawn from the arsenal of the Milhaud system, may represent in a social conflagration like the great French Revolution, what a carbonic acid extinguisher is in case of fires involving wood, paper, and even celluloid, namely a means which acts effectively where ordinary fire appliances fail. If such expedients have already been bied out in a domein like insurance, a statesman does not have to create them out of rothing in an emergency.  They are  a t  h a n d, and trained persons also exist who know how to use them. But should a Government, during an event such as the storming of the Bastille, lose its head (which has happened to more robust natures than louis XVI. - read the story of the Nika rebellion under Justinian by Gibbon) a loca`l authority would be able to satisfy the rebellious masses namely (since in rebellions brought about by deflationary emergencies this is mostly the aim) to provide means of payment and foodstuffs, within one hour if necessary, if it is conversant with the Milhaud system of purchasing certificates. And this familiarity with the system, the local authority will possess if there are public insurance societies where the system is applied in practice The reverse side of this medal should not be overlooked The system offers financial facilities to the leaders of a revolution who know how to manipulate it while most revolutions in the history of the world miscarried because the revotutionaries did not know how to finance their sovement, (An extensive manuscript by Ulrich von Beckerath on the financial history of revolutions and containing a programme for the sound financing of rightful revolu 260 tion was alas, destroyed in one of the allied air raids on the civil population of Berlin. The Ed.) Whether, for instance, the Soviet Government could maintain itself if the Milhaud system were known throughout the country, is doubtful. Of course, before the system becomes a menace to a Government, the latter must have been very reckless. The average man, inclined as he is to tolerate considerable oppression rather than to run serious risks, is not easily moved. "It is fear that gives rise to rebellions", says a Bornu proverb. (See the aforementioned collection) (again:)
       What then, was the cause proper of the French Revolution or, more exactly, of the forms that marked its birth? Was feudalism really, as commonly thought, the cause? This is impossible, for centuries before that event feudalism had assumed far more brutal forms than under Louis XYI and the people remained quiet on the whole, Where the encyclopaedists the culprits? No; for most Frenchmen were unaware of their existence simply because they could neither reed nor write, Besides, Robespierre, Saint-Just, Marat, and the whole Jacobin Club esteemed them lightly and even persecuted them later. Was it due to the extravagance of the Court? No; for this extravagance was not so great as a few decades before under Louis XV. when the country was less developed industrially The upkeep of the Court demanded at most one-fiftieth of the national output, probably much less. Was the Church to blame? Was it unable to keep alive the religion of the people? No;for after the storming of the Bastille, the masses spontaneously organised processions of gratitude in honour of St. Genevive. They were therefore decidedly religious. Was it due to revolutionary propaganda? No! In her memoirs Madame Roland testifies that among the 1.200 deputies of the General Assembly only about a dozon were Republicans by conviction, Robespierre himself was long after 1789 no Republican and even published a periodical called "Le Defenseur de la constitution".

What, then was the cause?
The real cause of the Revolution operated with such force that no student could overlook it, although most have regarded it as a simple accompaniment of these phenomena which made  m o r e  n o i s e thee, The cause was the catastrophic shortage of coins in the country due - as the sudden reappearance of thecoins after the Reign of Terror proves- in large measure to hoarding and not a little to export, Why so many coins should have been suddenly hoarded, we shall not examine here but hitherto e v e r y revolution in the history of mankind, even every local rebellion, has resulted in the masses holding fast to their ready money. (Here one has to keep in mind that the French Revolution consisted out of a series of risings. While a currency famine existed already before it began, each successive rising tended to make it worse The Ed.) This happened, for instance' during the inflation in Germany in 1918 and 1919,when, as a result, in many localities in December 1918 the war loan interest coupons were officially declared means of payment for the time being. In France it also happened that some time before the Revolution the notes of the Caisse d'Escompte had their exchange rate fixed,even if only for Paris, and that at the time the nature of a forced currency was known even to the man in the street. Modest shopkeepers also were then aware that such measures were almost always harbingers of a coming inflation.
                In any event, already in 1788 there were abundant signs in France of deflationary phenomena taxpayers lacked the means wherewith to pay their taxes. To aggravate the situation, many taxes were  f a r m e d  o u t  and the tax farmers proceeded in the case of any delay in payments as they have ever done, with utter ruthlessness. "The "publicans" so often mentioned in the New Testament, were tax farmers That Christ did not keep this class of men at a distance and that he considered them even capable of being saved, aroused no less amazement and indignation than does to-day Gandhi's assertion that the pariahs are men just like the Brahmins. (See Matthew, ctr. 9, 11, Luke, ctr. 3, 12)
         Landlords were not paid and "debtors' morals" reached an "unprecedentedly low level", i e, it was as it always has been in times of disturbed monetary circulation. In turn, landlords were pressed by their mortgage creditors and ran the risk of losing their houses, indeed the whole creditor class appeared to consist of anti-social individuals - also as it has always been in times of disturbed monetary circulation, Manufacturers were unable to collect the amounts long due to them from shopkeepers, They 261 there fore decided on reducing the sages of their men and knes how to enforce their decision Frequently enough, they postponed wage payments for a time, and all that whilst food prices remained almost unchanged, ( The quantity theory teaches that a change in the price level corresponds to the quantity of money. This is quite correct but change within what time? A difference in time of o n e month cen give birth to the gravest social revolutions )
             The number of beggars in france soared while almsgiving declined. Public workshops were established, precisely as later in 1848 and as in many countries after the depression of 1930. Of the 600.000 inhabitants of Paris, 200.000 became unemployed  directly or indirectly (as dependents) and, with a passion that alarmed the propertied classes, clamoured for bread and work, The Church which usually knew how to meet emergencies and which maintained-at the time a quarter of the population in Spain, could not give because its own revenues were rapidly ebbing. Priests had to listen to harsh invectives and were convinced that these could only have been larnt from Voltaire and Diderot. The Minister of war was in arrear with the soldiers' pay in many regiments and the soldiers revolted, refusing to fire at the people storming the bekers' shons The Government imposed n e w taxes and the population called for a reduction of the old. Many priests did not receive their stipends and sympathised with the masses. Even a considerable proportion of the feudal lords, hard pressed by their creditors, also came to feel sympathy for the people.
               Parliamentary government, and even many useful reforms were introduced Only money became more and more scarce. The party in power was at a loss what to do. The first assignats were being printed, the issue being manipulated as ineptly as possible, e.g. as already remarked no. assignats under 200 livres were issued  i n  o r d e r  not to drive out the metallic money circulating amang the masses - strangely missing the fact that it was just from here that it had long been removed and that it should have been therefore, on the contrary, a question of providing the masses with new means of payment. However, the Ministers, the National Assembly, the experts, public opinion, all shared the general prejudice which shortly before had induced the then much admi red Eng'lish Parliament to pass legislation in 1765 in Scotland and in 1775 in England prohibitinq the issue of banknotes under 1 pound - the same prejudice which induced an Adam Smith to state that metallic currency has a natural tendency to apeear in sufficient amounts whereever paper money is kept away, (In his "Free Banking, Henry Meulen describes the highly interesting events associated with the publication of the Acts of 1765 and 1775. His is among the few descriptions based on a personal and careful study of sources) From this it undoubtedly transpires that the English and Scotch bank of issue system eas the outcome of a  d e f l a t i o n  and for a time - and up to a certain point, actually removed it). France's metallic currency did not, as was hoped confirm the general prejudice. It had definitely vanished and the masses, who could not pay Church estates, were confiscated. A pity 'tis, however, that soldiers cannot be paid with estates.
              Having come to power, the Girondists proceeded like so many other people's governments have done when in money diffculties. They incited to war with other countries, countries that, it was said conspired with the nobility and kept on depressing the exchange rate of the assignats by a bourse manoeuvre difticult for us to conceive Robespierre, without an inkling of-insight into economics, but no dolt, and at heart a Rousseauite pacifist, struggled desperately with the Jacobin's against war', thereby naturally placing the weakling still further at the mercy of the Girondists, wholly dependent financially as he was on his Parliament. On 20 April 1792, wifh a heavy heart the king, in the name of France: -nine-tenths of which was for peace- declared war. (How different would have been the course of history if  Louis had had some "rasp of monetary matters; if he had in good time made appropriate decisions; and if he had in this way become strong enough to defy the warmongers!) Financial difficulties became, of course, intensified. No Girondist had the faintest notion how to finance a war. Despite the multiptication of assignats, the shortage of ready money was not less acute, not did the tax revenue rise. The feudal lords were in the sane predicament as the Exchequer. They, and their stewards more particularly brought correspondingly greater pressure to beer on any of the peasantry suspected of still possessing something, perhaps ready money, No talk now of respites such as were frequently granted before the 262 Revolution in cases of emergency, or of temporary transformations of money payments into payments in kind, and of course no assistance in hard cases, as was formerly often rendered by many feudal lords. There was a prompt reply to this. Hundreds of local peasant revolts drove a large proportion of the nobility across the frontier, its estates were confiscated and sold; and for a few days this helped to fill the coffers of the State.
         The authorities, pressed by soldiers demanding their pay, by starving unemployed workers by State creditors who feit themselves defrauded, a by taxpayers sinking under their burdens "payable in ready money, be it understood" were at their wits end. Frequently, there were among the authorities humanely inclined individuals sharing the views of the encyclodaedists,who imperilled their own life rather than order the crowds to be fired at, The king, perhaps the noblest representative of the Bourbon dynasty, was wholly of the same mind. But the soldiers cried for food and demanded their pay. A decision had to be reached, and eventually this could only be to seize relentlessly money whereever it might be found.
     Would Turgot, who was justly admired have been a b l e to act differently than d i d his successors? It may be emphatically asserted that he would have acted just as they did and this indeed maybe based on a remark of his,a remark that in his daywas generally approved and greatly increased men' s confidence in him. "It is therefore," wrote Turgot in a letter to Abbi cici, "a point both of theory and experience that the masses cen never receive papers as (Editor's addition: "otherwise than") representing money and consequently as convertible into money". (See "Das Geld" ( Money ), by Prof. Robert Eisler, p. 240).
     A statesman holding  s u c h  a view cannot, even if he be a genius, proceed differently than did every French Finance minister down to Napoleon's time. Turgot not otherwise than Terray, Calonne not otherwise than Cambon. Faced by a sharp deflation, in fact by an inflation created by him as an emergency measure such a statesman would be helpless. Daily, disturbed monetary conditions will cause him unaccustomed difficulties in every official step he takes to overcome which the ordinary experience of Governments is of little assistance to him. Inevitably he will look upon this resistance, which he finds amongst almost all with whom he has dealings,as the very cause of his deficits. (Similarly, in 1911, the New York Water Supply Board charged the city's inhabitants with being incorrigble water wastrels who did not respect the collective good and were indifferent to all appeals- until, by accident, it discovered a huge hole in a water main.) If, in addition, a statesman has sprung from the people, has had no experience in governing, and belongs to a family who were always the  o b j e c t s, never the  s u b j e c t s, of administrative activity, in whom therefore certain qualities of temperament and character indispensable in "dealings with subordinates" could not be inherited,then even from the first day this statesman will misjudge the special influences affecting every large administration, influences entirely independent of the individuality of the various subordinates. He will be lost in personalities. Every inevitable friction in the State machine, he will at once ascribe to opposition and corruption. He will not even, as did the statesmen of the "ancien regime", know how to distinguish the new ''monetary" disturbances from the purely administrative ones, which are also of daily occurrence in normal times. Quite novel phenomena, such as the depreciation of just issued State paper money, despite its being ''over-covered" by "the wealth of the whole nation'', only unfortunately with an insufficient fiscal basis (which often already appears when the State paper money is only equal to half of the annual tax revenue) - such a phenomenon is simply regarded as the work of "speculators", for the nature of stock exchange speculation is naturally unknown to him, and also to public opinion, which supports him. If the new ruler has once made some victims (perhaps punished with death a few official irregularities, where in normal times a reprimand would have sufficed) he ceases to be capable of straightforward thinking and if only to justify his conduct in his.own eyes he discovers continually fresh conspiracies and "punishes" these. The more evident the futility of his deep devotion to the public welfare appears, the more he seeks for  p e r s o n s who cross his plans, for his failure, he thinks, could not be due to anything but individuals  p e r s o n a l l y  antagonistic to him (Any one whose ancestors had renarded for thousands of vears thunder and lingtning as the work of 263 p e r s o n s, although super-terrestrial ones, as also epidemics, bad harvests, conflagrations, and accidents of every kind, has without knowing it. to struggle against a special type of inherited defect) He will only apply the category of causality. when the application of the category "persona" is opposed to his personal interests. The excuses of the French terrorists  a f t e r  the Reign of Terror offer in this connection an interestinq illustration Attempts were even made to explain the September murders "causally". Robespierre was in any event completely incapable of thinking "causally". He had already sacrificed his co-rulers who were too humane to be as consistent as he was. Danton, Camille, Desmoulins none was spared.
         Robespierre is the type of the 'incorruptible and virtuous' ruler never absent in any great revolution. He risks his life daily in order to save the State by the application of his principles. In private life he proves to be accessible, cultured, urbane, and modest. He does not understand, however, that providing the state and its citizens with  m e a n s  o f  p a y m e n t  does not represent an  a c t  o f  d e v o t i o n  of these citizens to the well-being of the State, It is rather a  t e c h n i c a l  problem ( and that not on the plane of P r o d u c t i o n, as Lenin thought, who closely resembled his predecessor Robespierre, but on that of p a y m e n t, which cannot be solved with ten million dynamos). hfter a ruler like Robespierre has sacrificed his friends he sacrifices his health, his sleep, his family happiness, and anything else there remains to sacrifice. But  m o n e y  he cannot procure his soldiers suffer want, townsmen are starving and freezing, peasants are being plundered, and only the inflation profiteers find ways and means not only to revel in luxury, but to live in quiet and unharmed. Cursed money! Is is not possible to live  w i t h o u t  money? Did not the Spartans live without ft? And Robespierre was not the only one who reached this conclusion. Everywhere projects for "rejuvenating society" were discussed. Towns were to disappear. Officials were to be paid in kind. Factories were to be abolished. Farming! Rural bliss in a people returned to nature. Money requirements replaced by virtue, and if necessary held down by terrorism! In fact, how many of the reform programmes of the last fifty, and particularly of the last twenty,years do not reed like this, too.
      Meanwhile the country overwhelmed Robespierre with manifestations of the deepest submissiveness. The coffers of the local authorities were, that is, as empty as his, They must requisition everything, as the taxation screw no longer squeezed out anything, and for this they must have the permission of the Committee of Public Welfare. Although in Paris 800 workers were busy day and night printing assignats, the shortage of means of payment (as in every inflation) remained unaffected.Bands of forgers assisted uninvited the Paris printers, some economists- probably rightly- estimating that a third of the circulating assignats were forged Cautiously, every requisition was made "in the name of the people and with reference to Government legislation, at least with reference to utterances by Robespierre and sometimes by Marat. A report was also forthwith sent to the capital, the local authority explaining how scrupulously it had carried out the Government's principles. At the same time a request was made for national guards because "the patriots, despite their zeal to transfer the possessions of the nobility to the people, are still in want" (If a few years previoualy public insurance societies or even private ones, had been organized and if they had been operated by a system of payment like that of the old scottish banks, every village would have possessed an instrument for collecting cues despite any money shortage. Everywhere recourse would have been had to this instrument instead of to requisitioning, if only because,at a low estimate, it would have yielded threefold).
        However Robespierre was fully aware that the requisitions of the local authorities diminishes his own resources. Accordingly, although unsuccessfully he asked that the system of requisitioninq should be cen'tralized in Paris, even that all executions should be concentrated there. One thinq is certain, namely that the general financial stringency, despite the apparent submissiveness of the tocal authorities, rapidly gave rise to a sharp opposition between the Committee of Public welfareaend the Provinces, as has been the case similarly, in all revolutions of all times among every people, when the revolution has spread to the population as a whole but Robespierre saw clearly that the Government could only carry through a decision to prohibit requi 264 sitioning on the part of the 'patriots' in the provinces, if it could obtain revenue for the local authorities. Who was responsible for the dsappearance daily of the daily stream of newly printed assignats? The stock exchange was closed (26/6/1793); then the joint stock companies (28/8/1793 ), including the insurance companies; a, lastly, the banks (8/9/1793 ) - all to no purpose. Money remained scarce, (Sieburg, "Robespierre", p. 103,) Eventually, Robespierre feit convinced that under a monetary system, "corruption" cannot be excluded and hence he resolved to introduce the social programme of the 27-year old Saint Just, a sort of moneyless economy, end to guillotine every opponent of this programma. On 7 Thermidor, two days before his fall, Robespierre attacked Cambon, the Finance Minister, end accused him also of "corruption" Cambon defended himself vigorously end with success. He was the first man, for months who had dared to contradict Robespierre. On 9 Thermidor, a few hours before the fall of the Triumvirate, Saint-Just commenced his great programmatic speech (the manuscript of which has been fortunately preserved), but he was soon interrupted by the events recorded in all history books.
         It may be said, what meaning have these long-passed events  f o r  u s ?  The answer is they are not passed. The forces- one might almost say: the events- of those times have always existed and will always exist. They are chained demons who from time to time, when the intellectual aristocracy fails mankind or is entangled in prejudices, regain their freedom and then rage until they are exhausted or until some superior spirit binds and imprisons them again.
              Whenover there is a deflation, like that which occurred in revolutionary France the masses and their leaders do not look for the causes of the prevailing evils, but for  c u l p r i t s. It is too late then to  e x p l a i n  to the masses that it is not a question of who is guilty. Every outstanding person - the wealthy man, the official of high and middle rank the artist, the scholar above all - will then be exposed to the same danger as in the period from 1792 to 1794, Just as at that time, there will be no lack of a Marat who persecutes the scholarly because they have killed with their silence some indifferent utterance of his (By the way, Goethe quotes a few such in his "Farbenlehre", similarly Gehler's oid encyclopaedia of physics under "Licht" ( light ) und."Waerme" ( heat ).) But there might be no Charlotte Corday to save science by sacrificing her own life end stabbing the monster before he could tering down the intellectual level of his country to that of the Spain of the Middle Ages.
          At the next revolution generated by the exigencies of a deflation, the Terror will dispose of a much more alluring terminology than under Marat end Robespierre, and it will be correspondingly more difficult to resist it. Since Trotzky for the first time represented the solution of our economie problems -which however, like most communists, he could not distinguish from social problems- in terms of a  w a r  to be won, speaking-e.g. of a production  b a t t l e, this form of expression, since it appeals directly to the inmost instincts of the average man, has already been widely adopted. In non-communistic countries dependent much less on  p r o d u c t i o n  than on  m a r k e t s, such as Japan, it serves to fill the posts of the ministry of Trade with h e r o e s. Trotzky's terminology has certainly led the masses -even more than formerly- to conceive the solution of economie problems: as a task -which like war, calls for: P e r s o n a l  d a r i n g, and not, as the older socialists believed, for men  e x e r t i n g  their  c o n s t r u c t i v e   p o w e r s. These powers, which terrorists, just because they are destructive, only very exceptionally possess, appertain to the  p e r s o n a l i t y of a man, not to his  p e r s o n. Already in Saint Just's programma, but even more in all Robespierre's speeches, is this want of constructive detail - exactly as in the declarations- modern terrorists ( reed Lenin's writings!) - this sharply marked inclinatjon to deal only in  g e n er a l i t i e s, noticeable. (Asiatic readers will here think of the great social reformer: Buddha, who abolished suttee, the caste system the lying on nailed planks, in order to attain to religious illumination, end did muc else for which pious Brahmins drove his disciples from India with fire end sword - Buddha, the one among all religious founders who declared sinful- the use of generalities in speech when important matters are under consideration. Once he surprised some of his disciples addressing a crowd in  g e n e r a l  t e r m s end was very indignant. He called them 265 together and gave them a model sermon: "the chain of suffering", which is to be found in every collection of his speeches and deals exclusively with concrete matter containinq not a single generality.) Speeches such as Robespierre was accustomed to deliver (scarcely one of these but rouses a feeling of tedium in reading) reveal also a want of what a statesman must possess even should he have no adminstrative experience namely true leadership. A true leader knows in veriest detail what he desires a,nd is able to convey this knowledge to others.
      A terrorist considers the first essential for solving the social problem to be  c o u r a g e  possesses some, and seeks for opportunities to display it. Without wishing to betittle courage (Schopenhauer says that next to sagacity, courage is a quality very important for our happiness"), we should remember that many animals excel man in this (see Schopenhauer' s Aphorisms). Perhaps during the whole Reign of Terror no Jacobin showed more courage in any fight than does a hen defending her chicks against a hawk. Of course, the higher type of terrorist also hazards his life, the life he has in common with every earthworm, and in fidelity, devotion, end incorruptibility many a brave sheep-dog has outdone a Couthon, Saint-Just, and Robespierre.
      Intellectualism, then? By no means. "Great thoughts spring from the heart", says Vauvenargues, end the masses feel that this is truc, In the end, they turn away from terrorism, perhaps even whilst the abuses that brought it about continue, as happened in Thermidor of the year 2 of the Republic.
            Let economists meanwhile bear in mind that in 1793 and 1794 a regulator of public opinion was silently at work which to-day is wanting but was then the cause that the ideas of the masses about value, prices (particularly maximum prices), money,buying and selling, could not widely depart from reality - that is, a little sound metallic currency circulated, although prohibited, beside the paper money. But to-day at least a thousand million people have never seen metallic money of full value and fewer people than a thousand years ago are accustomed to use it as a means of payment. It may not be inappropriate at this point to expose a mistake made by many of Milhaud's critics. His purchasing certificate is not intended to replace metallic money in all circumstances, but only to deal with or prevent a  s h o r t a g e  thereof, otherwise expressed, to function where coins are not available, The currency laws of a country should therefore, even where they favour the Milhaud system, expressly declare gold coins of full weight to be legal tender if presented as payment in the customary way. That is what jurists even to-day when Milhaud's writings are known, overlook. It is something quite different from the right that existed practically everywhere in 1913, of creditors to insist on being paid in gold coins ( Editor's note: With regard to the fanaticism exhibited by some enemies of a gold coin circulation and free dealings in gold, von Beckerath no longer advocates legal tender for gold coins but a general freedom to select for all private contracts a standerd of value of one's choice. He is convinced that a gold-reckoning standard based on actual coin circulation and the valuations of a free gold market, will ai last prove to be the least evil or most convenient and will thus be almost generally accepted voluntarily.) The general means of payment of the largest part of mankind is to-day, what it had  n e v e r  before been in the world's history a kind of paper money whose value end quantilv depend primarily on the opinions end the decisions of a very few men- perhaps not more than a hundred. Not many have insight into these relations and the masses are of course entirely without it. Hence in the case of monetary perturbations, public opinion never thinks of demanding, end it is not likely to think of demandina in the neer future, what it had demanded after the Reign of Terror in France and what would actually suffice in  v e r y  many cases in order to reestablish at least such monetary conditions as might enable people to remain alive This demand would include repeal of any legislation restricting the private possession of precious metals, access to the mint for those who desire to turn ingots into coins, and a Government declaration that it will not issue forced currency Public opinion demanded  t h i s  after the reign of the Jacobins was over and Napoleon granted it, we know with what success. That, however was the effect of the continued circulation, however restricted and illegal of metallic coins side by side with paper money. Today the masses would not think of making such demands, nor would Governments 266 think of beginning their reform activities  h e r e. The masses are not thinking to-day of metallic money, they only ask that their Government should run to earth the economic "mischief-makers". The Government of course, consisting to-day in almost all countries of energetic and talented personalities, who seem to know no theory of payment transactions, beats up  the mischief makers, identifies these as is inevitable, with those denounced by general opinion - with the middle class in Russia, with the importers in China, and with the shopkeepers almost everywhere, just as in 1793 and 1794 in France. The next revolution produced by deflationary exigencies can only intensify this attitude. Precisely as then and with less opposition, that which is really a problem of  l i q u i d i t y  will be regarded asone of performance, and that which is a problem of  t r a n s f e r  from individualto individual as one of  d i s t r i b u t i o n  of the social product (which naturally  a l s o  exists alongside it). The solution will not be soucht in the sphere of  e x c h a n g e, but in that of  v a l u e s  (Bastiats "De la valeur" should be consulted here.) in the main the money circulation will consist again of standardised requisition warrants issued by the Government then in power and its acceptance will be once more, an act of obedience to the Government, not an equitable arrangement between debtor and creditor.
          The economic world, weary of its Commoduses, who do not know how to speed better the labour product of the peoples entrusted to them than on (of course, well organized)  c i r c u s   p e r f o r m a n c e s (The Olympic Games took place in Berlin in 1936 and the Nazi government spared no costs The Ed.), even showing, like their illustrious ancestor, every kind of  h e r o i s m  (granted!) - weary also of its censors who call upon us to be  s t o i c a l  in  m o n e t a r y  s t a n d a r d  q u e s t i o n s  to agree to  s a c r i f i c e s  as the essential condition for increasing the sale of bread and cheese, to  d i s c i p l i n e  ourselves, so that walking sticks and opera glasses might be held to practice the v i r t u e s  of our forefathers in order to be able to bear the  crushing burden a little longer; this economic world is now awaiting its Pertinax.  (Bth waxes gospelly.) He is perhaps no hero, and in any case his head is not laurel-crowned; nor is he a scholar, for he is unable as much as to calculate trade cycles nor is he a genius apparently, for everybody understands him at once. He also seems to lack certain C a  t o n i c  v i r t u e s. But he is a  m a n who is  t r u s t e d, a  r u l e r who can  r u l e, and who ands the madness of his age simply by not participating in it. Perhaps a man who is a c c o  m o d a t i n g; who readily refrains from ordering everybodv about and from mixing himself in everything; and who prefers to teach his subjects how to help themselves and thereby bestows on his country more liberty than all the storm bells of the Great Revolution rang in. A man like all of us we hope; b u t who has made his own the new system of payment;  t h i s places him above his people and above his foreign colleagues.
       He does not ask his subjects for gold if they are without any, nor does he expect from Caius the banknotes that Titus has hoarded. He demands purchasing certificates, pays with these, and is at any time ready to sell his goods -that is tax receipts- for certificates accepted at par. Only under h i s  Government does real property become possible, for  h e alone permits proprietors to pay with what they  h a v e, not obliging them, that is, to pay with what only a happy chance can provide them, nor taking their property if chance should be  a g a i n s t  them. This is his new conception of governing. Silently, without blood or iron, without triumphal arches and processions without a new calender end without introducing new fashions, he opens a new age. Is this statesman already among us? Ulrich von Beckerath, Berlin, 1937/8