Monday, August 27, 2012

Mary Hobart, 1891, Presages Parts of Modern Monetary Operations


"Our government exacts taxation, but devoid of justice, fails to provide the means in sufficient quantity to meet these exactions. A government “by the people, of the people, and for the people,” demanding from the people that which it is impossible for them to obtain ! 

Can human tyranny sink to lower depths of infamy ? And has it come to this in our free Republic, that the people, armed with the ballot, have not the power to provide themselves with a currency sufficiently large to pay their taxes ? Have we no right as a people to establish a currency which will be sufficient in quantity to adjust our social debts and credits ? "

Sounds like a very smart lady. What happened, the banking lobby?

ps:  She was very much against a gold-standard.


31 comments:

Matt Franko said...

"She was very much against a gold-standard."

And silver... ;)

(probably copper too!)

rsp

Anonymous said...

Our medium of exchange should be based upon the credit of the nation and issued by the people in their sovereign capacity.

It has been shown that banks produce financial panics by the mathematical law of limitation; that interest must be largely canceled by foreclosure; that gold and silver do not possess intrinsic value, and are not the real basis of the credit system; that they are only nominally considered such for the purpose of making money scarce, and thus enabling the money power to literally reap a profit upon every trade which the people make, and that they do this so completely that it requires an annual tax of fourteen dollars from every man, woman and child to keep money in circulation. It would now scarcely seem necessary to give further reasons for basing money upon public credit and issuing it from the hands of the general government at a low rate of interest. Banks can furnish nothing more than the private capital of a comparatively small number of individuals for a basis of credit. This is entirely insufficient to perform the exchanges of sixty-four million people. Hence, at all times, business is dull and depressed, and men, deprived of land and money, are compelled to stand idle and either beg, steal, or starve.

Matt Franko said...

Anon,

She writes:

"that gold and silver do not possess intrinsic value"

But then Roger below posts from this moron Gouge in 1833:

"they (notes) differ from metallic money as having no inherent value"

So there are two sides in this perpetual war.

It could be looked at as that on one side are the "metal lovers" and on the other side are humans.

rsp,

Matt Franko said...

Here is a link to Plato's 'Republic':

http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.html

What some may find interesting is to open up each of the 10 Books and use your "find in file" browser utility and just do a sequential search for the word "money" and just read the few sentences around this word where it appears....

Food for thought...

rsp,

Anonymous said...

"that gold and silver do not possess intrinsic value"

Gold DOES possess intrinsic value, but not in the way goldbugs realize. Taking the Austrian School gold standard advocates as a ferinstance: their concept of "value" does not allow anything to possess it intrinsically, since they use it to mean something subjective. It is expressed in terms of objects, but its only existence is within the subject.

To presuppose that value can be intrinsic to an object means we're working under a different definition of "value": in this case meaning something objective, such as a particular social relation expressed in terms of the embodied labor contained therein - just to give one example. (Sound familiar?)

Under a subjective value system, fiat money would never need an external, objective referent, since we'd only need to think of it in terms of its desirability at the margin. This makes the Chartalist account of tax-driven money sufficient to explain every aspect of money, up to and including its role as a store of value. The "regression theorem" is wholly unnecessary when the thing serving as money has a distinct and unique utility unto itself: discharging public debts.

I'm not saying one concept of value is correct and the other is wrong; just that certain folks (e.g., Mr. Roddis) really need to be consistent about their usage of the word.

Tom Hickey said...

The idea that value is complete subjective is wrong. It conflates price and value. There is use value of means and intrinsic value of ends. For example, medicine has use value to preserve life, while life has intrinsic value as an end in itself. What is your life worth? What does that even mean? How much you are willing to pay as a ransom to save it?

Matt Franko said...

"Gold DOES possess intrinsic value, but not in the way goldbugs realize."

Do you mean as a corrosion resistant conductor used in mission critical electronic systems????

That is the only "value" I see in it.... FWIW

Are you and Tom talking about something different???

rsp,

Anonymous said...

Tom: The idea that value is complete subjective is wrong. It conflates price and value.

I don't think it does this, though. At least, I don't see how it does. I'm not sure what you're getting at with the stuff about "what is your life worth," since there is a distinction not made between the subjective and objective. If what you're really asking is "what is your life worth to you?" then you are bound to get a different answer than "what is your life worth to that guy?" As a bonus confounding factor in this example, assume that you are Osama bin Laden.

Matt: Are you and Tom talking about something different???

Yeah, I suspect so. Most discussions of "value" wind up going nowhere, in my view, because people so often use completely different definitions of it. That's why I was careful to delineate the usage behind subjective/objective conceptions.

There's nothing "wrong" with either definition, because that's all either one is: a definition. Words can and do have multiple meanings all the time. However, we need to be clear about them.

I was just trying to demonstrate that the Austrian gold crowd can't even seem to stick to a consistent definition when describing gold as having "intrinsic value."

Now, insofar as we are discussing which concept of value actually corresponds to the laws of motion of a capitalistic society, then there's actually a reason to pit one definition against another. But that's not really what's happening here, so otherwise I don't see a reason not to take either case on its own terms.

paul said...

Matt,

Caps and fillings.

Tom Hickey said...

Matt, I am using "intrinsic" in its philosophical sense wrt to differentiating ends and means/ Ends have value based on what they are while means have value wrt to ends, i.e., their value is conditional or consequential on something else. These aspects of value are objective in that they are concerned with entities and properties.

Subjective value is the valuation assessed by reflexive (conscious) entities other than the entity in which value resides.

In economics, this approximates to use value and exchange value. Use value is real, while exchange value is nominal.

Utility theory confuses utility (pleasure, satisfaction) with real value of objects. Utility in the sense of satisfaction is value of objects assigned by subjects. So from this point of view, value is subjective. Plato and Aristotle, for instance, said bosh to the idea and considered it adolescent. They would judge a society based on utility in this sense corrupt instead of just. So would medievals such as Aquinas.

This notion doesn't really appear as a serious "theory" until Bentham's utilitarianism, and Mill, also a utilitarian, rejected Bentham's view as overly narrow and uncultured. In fact, he compared it with pigs.

Tom Hickey said...

I don't think it does this, though. At least, I don't see how it does. I'm not sure what you're getting at with the stuff about "what is your life worth," since there is a distinction not made between the subjective and objective. If what you're really asking is "what is your life worthto you?" then you are bound to get a different answer than "what is your life worth to that guy?" As a bonus confounding factor in this example, assume that you are Osama bin Laden.

Intrinsic value is "priceless." Subjectively objectifying it with price is abhorrent to many if not most philosophers. Yet economists do it all the time, e.g., in the health care debate over affordability, or, similarly, a safety net, etc., where the price of ends of intrinsic value that is priceless are priced based on affordability.

Interestingly, when it comes to abortion, many take the position of life as an end with priceless intrinsic value, but after the child is born, no so much. Completely contradictory views that many don't seem to be able to get.

Tom Hickey said...

With the price of gold rising, anyone with a mouth full of gold is at risk.

Matt Franko said...

Tom,

Ive been "skimming" Aristotle and Plato in light of these issues...

Looks like with "nomisma" they wanted to make the 'medium of exchange' how I may describe as "nuetral" in how people could transact with each other... iow the institution of 'nomisma' was not involved in people's transactions with each other.

Like a mathematical "constant", it could not vary....

rsp,

Tom Hickey said...

I don't think there was a financial sector in the Athenian economy. They were interested in just price and wanted a system of monetary exchange that would support it. In their view this requires price stability, which under nomisa is up to the legal authority, in Athens at that time the laws arrived at democratically.

Matt Franko said...

"With the price of gold rising, anyone with a mouth full of gold is at risk"


Tom dont laugh that is probably true if things keep getting worse...

rsp

Matt Franko said...

btw the gas prices here in MD are going up 10 cents throughout the day here in light of the hurricane hitting the gulf....

GITMO may not be big enough....

rsp,

Dan Kervick said...

The distinction between intrinsic value and extrinsic value is roughly the same thing as the distinction between non-instrumental value and instrumental value. And the latter distinction is clearly not the same thing as the economists distinction between exchange value and use value. Commodities have use value apart from their desirability as objects to exchange. But in general, little of that use value will be intrinsic or non-instrumental. People value apples for their uses in satisfying hunger and providing nutrition. This value is independent of whatever value an apple might also have as something you can exchange. But it is not intrinsic to the apple itself; nor is it non-instrumental. The apple is not desired for it own sake, but for what it can provide.

But I said the distinction between intrinsic value and extrinsic value is roughly the same thing as the distinction between non-instrumental value and instrumental value. In philosophy, the expression "intrinsic value" has usually been used to refer to an alleged type of value that some things possess independently of the existence of conscious being who value them. It is philosophically controversial whether there is any such thing.

My impression has been that when Austrians use the phrase "intrinsic value", and say gold has it, they are not using the expression in the same way philosophers have typically used this expression, but are only claiming that gold has some kind of value as a commodity apart from its value as a medium of exchange.

This is no doubt true, since there are uses for gold in industry and the arts. But where people often err is in failing to recognize that the chief value of gold is as a traditional form of money or medium of exchange. Gold bugs tend to think that the market price of gold is grounded in something deeper than these exchange conventions, and has something to do with gold's commodity value. But I doubt that is true.

Tom Hickey said...

In philosophy, the expression "intrinsic value" has usually been used to refer to an alleged type of value that some things possess independently of the existence of conscious being who value them. It is philosophically controversial whether there is any such thing.

Not only philosophers. It is at the foundation of many political arguments based on traditional, religious, and progressive notions like human rights and civil rights. If there are no intrinsic values admitted then pragmatism rules. See the progressive horror at the president pragmatic approach to human right and civil rights even though he has taught constitutional law. Perhaps you read the interview with constitutional law prof. Jonathan Turley that I posted recently. Intrinsic value in the philosophical sense is alive and well outside of economics.

Matt Franko said...

To the extent that there is a linear relationship between the price of gold and the energy required to extract it (specifically petroleum used in the mining process I'm thinking about):

$10 /bbl oil and $300 gold in 1999 would mean $3,000 gold today with oil at $100/bbl...

same with housing.

rsp,

Anonymous said...

The distinction between intrinsic value and extrinsic value is roughly the same thing as the distinction between non-instrumental value and instrumental value. And the latter distinction is clearly not the same thing as the economists distinction between exchange value and use value.

Well, it is and it isn't; you might say it depends on which monetary circuit you're discussing. In Marxian terms, the circuit of "simple commodity exchange" is C-M-C: you trade a commodity (such as your labor) for money in order to trade for another commodity. In this sense, money is instrumental, and thus exchange value is a means to the non-instrumental, use-value ends.

This is flipped in the circuit of capital: M-C-M', where buying means of production and labor power are instrumental to the end of getting even more money. Money, here, is the ends. And this calls to mind, as long as we're on the Greeks and the Medievals, the vice of pleonexia. Here's an excerpt of Alasdair MacIntyre's Marxism and Christianity that discusses it: "But Christian theologians in the Middle Ages had learned from Aristotle as well as from Scripture that pleonexia is the vice that is the counterpart to the virtue of justice. And they had understood, as later theologians have failed to do, the close connection between developing capitalism and the sin of usury."

How interesting, then, that the pleonectic circuit is the one that renders Say's Law impossible.

Matt Franko said...

'pleonexia' is I believe "more having" which is often translated "greed" in the English translations of the Greek Scriptures.

Apostle Paul used this word often in his dispensation to the nations from the context that it was to be avoided...

This is a good one:

"17 This, then, I am saying and attesting in the Lord: By no means are you still to be walking according as those of the nations also are walking, in the vanity of their mind,
18 their comprehension being darkened, being estranged from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the callousness of their hearts,
19 who, being past feeling, in greed [pleonexia] give themselves up with wantonness to all uncleanness as a vocation." Eph 4:17-19

The word 'ignorance' here that Paul directly relates to the condition of pleonexia is 'agnoian' which means 'UN-knowledge'...

rsp,



Anonymous said...

What is your life worth? What does that even mean?

Mosler told me that many people posting about finance, couldn't spend that same time researching hayflick limits and cancer cures.

Obviously the lives here have decided death is OK, as long as we get to discuss gold and fiat and taxes. The truly bright among you who value thier own life, will never post again, will never read another money book. Instead they will spend every second on solutions to make DNA replicate forever.

Anonymous said...

Matt: Yeah, I figured you'd like that one.

Matt Franko said...

Anon, there is only One who can do that... death of the flesh remains in the code for now looks like.... rsp

Matt Franko said...

Anon/Save,

It doesnt seem like simply replicating DNA would do anything...
ie if you are just replicating a code and that code includes the information for death, seems like all you would be doing is replicating a code that leads to death anyways???

I dont really know much about this area tho so I could be making false assumptions....

rsp

Leverage said...

DNA does not make an human being, the environment is at least as important in determining outcomes (expression) of that DNA.

And for the record, is very easy to replicate DNA 'forever', there are already technical means for this, it won't change nothing. If you mean eliminating complete uncertainty to make these technical means survive whatever happens, it's a futile enterprise (given the nature of our universe).

This may be a joke or irony but is compelte nonsense.

Anyway, given all the pain, murder and lack of progress failures of monetary systems/policies and banking systems have provoked, I think personally this is one of the first (if not the first) things we should be devoted to fix for as long as possible (until we can prevent formation of egomaniacs, psychopaths and other psychological traits).

paul said...

Matt,

"you are just replicating a code and that code includes the information for death"

This reality appears to be an integral part of the system.

Seems to me changing it would be very disruptive, and self-correcting. Feedback 'ya know.

One of the many mysteries of life.

Tom Hickey said...

Looks to me like the physical immortality idea is based on a fallacy of composition from petri dish to entire organism.

Matt Franko said...

Paul and Lev,

I was looking into "utility" a while back wrt if "money" had "value" or I thought perhaps "utility"...

And then I happened upon something Richard Dawkins (evolutionist) wrote up a while back which he coined "God's utility function"....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God%27s_utility_function

Which from my perspective perhaps to oversimplify it seems Dawkins looks at it as our bodies live under the 'tyranny' or our genes... if you look at genes as a separate entity I guess....

I believe Dawkins view contrasts to group selection methods... where you could look at it as Group Selection is the "libertarian" view vs Dawkins view which is more authoritarian... so this is an interesting parallel in biology studies that we often see in political economy studies ie 'Libertarian vs Authoritarian' ... interesting!

Rsp



paul said...

Matt,

Although I lean heavily in the direction of libertarianism I don't object to legitimate authority.

I object to illegitimate authority.

Math, the nature of systems, the need to submit to rules (authority) so society can have a structure that is supportive to it's participants. I embrace this type of authority.

Libertarians seem to embrace the authority of the individual to the exclusion of all else.

We see what happens when individual cells get a mind of their own - cancer, among other things.

Is DNA natures equivalent of government? A dictatorship no less.

Matt Franko said...

right Paul I remember Bill Mitchell wrote something like wrt the Euro bosses: "someone should remind them of the tyranny of the math" and this line really resonates with me anyway...

And that is interesting your "DNA is nature's equivalent of government" I need to think about that some more...

wrt cancer, I also read as I was looking into this that the red blood cells contain NO DNA (I didnt know that!) and this fact leaves viruses incapable of operating against them, so I guess if a cell has no DNA it may be immune to many diseases...

Like Lev implies above, I'm waiting till we can discover a way to immunize against what ever is infecting the psycho-morons ;)

rsp,