This question is all-important, whether the currency be national or international. Mr Kitson speaks of a currency “just sufficient” for the community’s commercial needs. Who is to decide when the currency is just sufficient? The Government? A sweet world we should live in, if among other party questions, Parliament had to consider multiplying or contracting the currency every year or every month, with all the interests that would be affected by the consequent rise or fall in prices, lobbying, speech-making, and pulling strings to work the oracle to suit their pockets. And, according to Mr Kitson’s view, that the volume of trade is limited by the supply of currency, this volume would then depend on the whims of the House of Commons, half the members of which would probably be innocent of a glimmering of understanding of the enormously important question that they were deciding. The gold standard, which makes the course of prices depend, more or less, on the chances of digging up a capricious metal from the bowels of the earth, has its obvious drawbacks; but it is a clean and sensible business compared with making them depend on the caprices of Parliament, complicated by the political corruption that would be only too likely to follow the putting of such a question into the hands of our elected and hereditary representatives and rulers.
Such, however, seems to be the Promised Land to which Mr Kitson wants to lead us. Thus he propounds his remedy. “The remedy is surely obvious. Divorce our legal tender from its alliance with gold entirely, so that the supply of money and credit for our home trade is no longer dependent upon our foreign trade rivals. Base our currency upon the national credit ... treat gold as a commodity only, for the settlement of foreign trade balances.”
This passage in his article in the September Supplement tells us what to do. Keep gold, out of deference for foreign prejudice, for the settlement of foreign trade balances, but make as much paper money as you like for home use. As our legal tender money is to be “divorced entirely from its alliance with gold” it clearly cannot be convertible into gold. So that apparently we shall have a paper pound and a gold pound (the latter for foreign use) with no connection between them. This stage of economic barbarism has been left behind now even by some of the South American republics. The paper pound, based on the national credit, can be multiplied as fast as our legislators think fit. If they do not multiply it fast enough, Mr Kitson will tell them that they are strangling trade, because the volume of production is limited by the amount of money available. At the same time bank credits will be multiplied indefinitely because, as was shown in the November Supplement, Mr Kitson supports a view that the average business man holds (according to him) that he ought to have a legal right to as much credit as he wants. With the Government printing paper to please its supporters,