This section is from the "The Science Of Wealth" book, by Amasa Walker.
Suppose the indebtedness of a country were one hundred millions, and its currency ten millions.
Then, if fifty millions of the bills of exchange and notes of hand fail to be paid, there still remains the ten millions of currency with which to pay the balance; and currency is twice as plentiful, relatively to indebtedness, as before.
Suppose, on the other hand, that one-half the currency fails, while the whole amount of bills of exchange, &c, remain to be paid; or, to go further, suppose the entire currency to fail: then how can the private bills be paid at all?
So far from being currency, then, they are the very opposite in their nature, and can be discharged only by the use of currency.
The more bills of exchange, the less, relatively, is the currency: the fewer bills of exchange, the more plenty, relatively, is money.
flow, then, can bills of exchange and promissory notes be synonymous with currency?
6th, Do bills of exchange affect the standard of value, and consequently prices? If plenty, are commodities higher? if scarce, are they lower?
If bills of exchange were passed from hand to hand in exchange for merchandise (which we are sure is not the case to any considerable extent in the United States, if anywhere), it would seem that, so far as thus used, they would affect prices; but this could only be temporarily, because, in a short time, the state of the money market would restore the equilibrium. If they do raise the prices, they will in so far prevent exports, and increase imports and consumption; and thus a demand must arise for specie for export, to settle the balance of trade; and this will cause a contraction and a fall of prices.
7th, A scarcity of bills of exchange, however great, can never, under a sound currency, be the occasion of pressure for money, or a panic; but a scarcity of currency may do this, and often does.
Do we not see, then, that there is a wide distinction between currency and all forms of credit? — that to confound them is to destroy necessary distinctions?
labor, salaries, fees, &c.), profits, interest, and rent. Between these parties the product is to be divided. This division is made by natural laws, which, if not interfered with by legal enactments or social customs, will secure to each its rightful share.
But, while this is true, another party enters the field, and makes a peremptory claim to a portion of the wealth which the joint efforts of these has produced. That party is government, demanding a revenue for its maintenance, to which all must and should contribute. This is done in the general form of taxation.
Distribution is now complete, — wages, profits, interest, rent, and taxation. These we shall examine in their order.