that of capital; by enlarging the volume of money and reducing interest.
The impoverishment of the people through an inability to earn and consume
has curtailed markets; while the ever-increasing productiveness of improved
machinery has constantly added to the embarrassment, by producing commodities
in excess of the limited demand. To-day, one man does what would have
been the work of a hundred fifty years ago. The steam-power of eight tons
of coal, is sufficient to make 40,000 miles of cotton thread in ten hours,
equal to the hand-labor of 70,000 women! A few shoe-making machines now
displace a whole village of cobblers.
Consumption does not keep pace
with the production by machinery. Markets become glutted. Unhealthy competition,
struggling for life, establishes unprofitable prices. Then, the spindles,
the workshops, the counting-houses are brought to a stand-still, and labor
is left to wait as best it may, in idleness and distress, until consumption
has overreached production, and new life is infused into a profitable
These uneven pulsations of activity and idleness follow in continuous
succession. Now exhausted markets stimulate excessive production to supply
urgent wants and then the quick action of machinery paralyzes these markets.
The remedy is to enlarge markets, through the currency, by enabling the
people to interchange the results of their labor. By perfecting machinery
without creating a more general consumption, financial depressions will
be increasingly aggravated.
Universal Consumption not Extravagance.
Some believe a larger consumption by the people generally, is a dangerous
encouragement to extravagance. They confound the enlarged necessities
of a higher civilization with the recklessness of dissipation. They forget
that increasing consumption is a token of progress, in favorable contrast
with the simple wants of barbarism. The undeveloped virgin soil, the home
of naked savages, is valueless until the activity of civilization gives
impetus to production.
Consumption stimulate industry. The usefully busy cannot be very vicious.
The brigands on the world's moral highways generally do not come from
the ranks of trained industry. They are usually the fungous growth of
idleness, entailed on society like hereditary disease. A plague or fever
receives prompt attention