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Industrial Justice Through Banking Reform

Industrial Justice Through Banking Reform

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Excerpt from Industrial Justice Through Banking Reform: An Outline of a Policy of Individualism

Whilst the evil of governmental restrictions on banking was frequently noticed by economists (notably by Spencer) during the last century, the theories hitherto advanced are, for the most part I think, seriously defective. Most of the earlier critics - those that wrote during the latter part of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth - objected merely to governmental restrictions on the establishment of banks and the issue of notes: they have generally overlooked the necessity for the abolition of the legally-fixed price of gold. Sir James Steuart, however, in the eighteenth century; Earl Stanhope, James Taylor of Bakewell, Jonathan Duncan and John Gray, in the earlier part of the nineteenth century; then Proudhon, Josiah Warren and, latterly, Tucker, drew attention to the more radical evils of our credit system. Their work was carried on by Messrs. Hake and Wesslau, A. Kitson, and also by a little knot of men who formed the Free Currency Propaganda in London during the last decade of the nineteenth century, of which men Messrs. Armsden, Badcock, Seymour and Tarn stood out most prominently.

Yet, even the works of most of the above named reformers are somewhat defective in that they fail in the first place to trace the successive steps which must lead from the present system to their own. Their plans are usually for such ideal systems of banking as call for a greater development of mutual trust in the commercial world than exists at present, and since they omit to show how this increased mutual confidence is to be generated, their schemes have been brushed aside as visionary. Secondly, they have usually failed to meet the objections of orthodox economists regarding the effect of paper credit issues upon the movements of gold, a serious omission, as I shall later show. There still remains much to do in the elaboration of the case for banking reform.

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