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L. P. Jacks

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Better that the nation grow poor for a cause we can honor, than grow rich for an end that is unknown. Who can regard without deep misgiving the process of accumulating wealth unaccompanied by a corresponding growth of knowledge as to the uses to which wealth must be applied? This is what we see in normal times, and the spectacle is profoundly disturbing. Far less disturbing at all events is that process of spending the wealth which we have now to witness.
--
"The Peacefulness of Being at War." in The New Republic (11 September 1915), p. 152

 
L. P. Jacks

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If exclusive privileges were not granted, and if the financial system would not tend to concentrate wealth, there would be few great fortunes and no quick wealth. When the means of growing rich is divided between a greater number of citizens, wealth will also be more evenly distributed; extreme poverty and extreme wealth would be also rare.

 
Denis Diderot
 

If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free; if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.

 
Edmund Burke
 

The Landlord is a gentleman ... who does not earn his wealth. He has a host of agents and clerks that receive for him. He does not even take the trouble to spend his wealth. He has a host of people around him to do the actual spending. He never sees it until he comes to enjoy it. His sole function, his chief pride, is the stately consumption of wealth produced by others.

 
David Lloyd George
 

The elaborate financial interdependence of the modern world has grown up in spite of ourselves. Men are fundamentally just as disposed as they were at any time to take wealth that does not belong to them. But their relative interest in the matter has changed.
In very primitive conditions robbery is a moderately profitable enterprise. Where the rewards of labor are small and uncertain, and where all wealth is portable, the size of a manís wealth depends a good deal on the size of his club and the agility with which he wields it. But to the man whose wealth so largely depends upon his credit, dishonesty has become as precarious and profitless as honest toil was in more primitive times. The instincts of the City man may at bottom be just as predatory as those of the robber baron, but taking property by force has been rendered impossible by the force of commercial events.

 
Norman Angell
 

Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth. Those to whom the system brings windfalls, beyond their deserts and even beyond their expectations or desires, become 'profiteers,' who are the object of the hatred of the bourgeoisie, whom the inflationism has impoverished, not less than of the proletariat. As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery.
Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.

 
John Maynard Keynes
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