The life of modern man depends upon his mastery of money.
Our political money system is breaking down and must be displaced by one that
serves the needs of modern exchange. Otherwise our civilization will perish.
As technological improvements tend to specialize and confine each man's
production, the need for the exchange of products increases, and, therefore,
man's dependence upon money makes the mastery of this vital agency more and
Production grows more mechanical, while consumption, on the other hand, has no
machine technique; it still operates by our hands and bodies. Therefore there
can never be mass consumption to coordinate with mass production. Consumption
remains private and individual. Production grows more
interdependent—requiring the coordination of many machines and many
hands—while the function of consumption cannot be shared or mechanized;
it is human, individual, self-dependent.
To fulfill the function of consumption (without which production is purposeless)
the individual must be, as buyer, a self-starter and self-stimulator, and
therefore, money power, sufficient to buy his production, must be at the
command of every man. Otherwise the people cannot coordinate their consumption
with their production and this deficiency causes the production machine to clog
and recoil with vicious consequences. Not only are these economic results
painful in themselves, but they cause the people to turn to political
intervention as a remedy, and this complicates the problem and increases the
WE MUST HAVE LESS RATHER THAN MORE POLITICAL INTERVENTION AND THIS BOOK WILL
SHOW THAT IT IS POLITICAL INTERVENTION THROUGH THE MONEY SYSTEM THAT BREEDS ALL
OUR ILLS. PRIVATE ENTERPRISE MUST, IF IT IS TO BE PRESERVED AND PERFECTED, HAVE
A PRIVATE ENTERPRISE MONEY SYSTEM. THE POLITICAL MONEY SYSTEM IS INHERENTLY
ANTIPATHIC TO PRIVATE ENTERPRISE AND INEVITABLY TENDS TO COMMUNIZATION.
Our mass production power must be balanced by our individual buying power and
our buying power is dependent upon our individual money-creating power. Money
cannot meet modern needs by descending to the people; it must rise from them.
Until this is comprehended mass production must continue to miscarry. We, as
consumers, must literally make money or be stymied. Government cannot assume
this responsibility for us. Every individual producer must exert the right and
assume the duty of creating money, if there be need therefore, to buy the value
of his own production. There cannot be full distribution of wealth without full
distribution of money power. He who would make must also take—in ratio.
Each of us must have the ability to create fountain pen money with our own
hands. Machine production must be coordinated with handmade money.
Recurrent business slumps, mal-distribution, over-production, unemployment,
panics and depressions are but the gentler reminders that our industrial life
is in danger. In the end war presses a gun against our head with the
demand—money or your life. Must our economic and political maladies be
compounded into periodic cataclysms and our civilization be destroyed before we
Typical of the stress laid by economists upon the need for sustained purchasing
power is the following quotation from "The Dilemma of Thrift" written
in 1926 by William Trufant Foster and Waddill Catchings:
"In fact, adequate, sustained consumer-demand would do more
than any other means now within human control toward increasing wealth,
abolishing poverty, maintaining employment, solving labor problems, increasing
good will among men generally, and maintaining the peace of the world. No means
of preventing war holds out such large immediate possibilities as this... It
is, therefore, difficult to exaggerate the importance of finding a means of
sustaining purchasing power. The next world war, if it does come, may well be
the last war—at least the last war in which the present nations will have
any interest, for it may well destroy civilization itself."
Well, "the next world war" has come and is upon us, and whether or not
it is leading to the destruction of civilization will not be determined by the
outcome of the military phase of the war. The issue cannot be determined by
military victory. Its cleavage is not the battle front. Both Axis and Allied
Nations are committed to the system of government-created purchasing power,
whether they be classed as fascist, communist or democratic. The broad question
that will determine the fate of humanity is whether the evil practice of
synthetic buying power by governments shall continue to the inevitable collapse
of the social order or whether the producer of wealth will exert his natural
buying power and thus avert disaster.
Without reservation I assert that the whole fate of society hinges
upon the one question of whether it can at this critical juncture gain mastery
through the mastery of money and thus coordinate purchasing power with
producing power. The issue is—money or your life.
—E. C. Riegel