|Direct Credits for Everybody by Alfred Lawson|
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Modern Life Based on Trade
The base of human existence today is trade.
There was a time when man could make his home in a cave for which there was no rent to pay. He could go into the jungles and by artful maneuvers trap some other brute and eat it to sustain himself. He could also use the skin of his victim for clothing. His drink came from a nearby spring or stream of running water.
At that stage of his career man was more or less independent. He paid no rent, no taxes, no interests, no profits, no protection fees. He paid for nothing.
All he had to do was to go out and catch his food on the run, or pick it from the bushes, go to the spring or stream for drink, make his own clothing from the skins of his victims, and protect himself as best he could from other brutes, insects, bacteria and weather.
In those days he had to be a man or the length of his life was short. He either had to be strong enough to whip, single handed, every other animal he encountered, or else swift enough on his feet to keep out of their way. He had to keep his eyes open both while awake and asleep or he would suddenly disappear without leaving flesh or bones to prove that he had lived.
But possession of a thing is seldom appreciated and so man became dissatisfied with his independence and individualism when he had it. He craved social ability and the power to dominate the living as well as devour the dead. So he began to use his wits as well as his arms and legs. He learned to be social and crafty.
It was a long stretch from early individualism to the present complex social state. None of the old-timers remember anything about it.
But somewhere betwixt and between, humans began to trade their belongings. The hungry man, for instance, at the start, would trade his skins for some fresh meat. That was the direct method of trade in which the producer received something tangible from the purchaser.
Later, however, this method of payment was supplanted by a medium of exchange called money. Bits of metal were carved and marked to represent certain values and became generally recognized as the method by which trade should be conducted.
Owing to the brightness and scarcity of gold, as well as to its glittering appeal for childlike people, that metal was principally used as money in the beginning, and eventually became the standard of money value throughout the world.
But the visible supply of gold in the world could not keep pace with the ever increasing population who needed money for trading purposes, and credit then came into vogue which permitted trade to be carried on many times larger in amount than there was gold to pay for it.
And because there was not enough money for everybody to use there were men who made it their business to get control of it and make everybody pay for its use in the shape of interest.
No autocrat of any type ever held such power over human beings as is held by the present international financiers who control the supply of money. They are the real masters of office holders, manufacturers, merchants and workmen. And they are gradually screwing them all down to nothingness.
The branch of capitalism which allows interest to be charged on money, has not only paralyzed mankind, but it is the two-edged sword that will destroy Capitalism unless abolished at once.