Here below is another insightful gem from E. C. Riegel. In this essay, Riegel (1) highlights the predominant fallacy which holds that money is based on political authority and should be controlled by the State, and (2) explains why true free enterprise can only exist when private enterprisers control not only the means of production, and the means of distribution, but also the means of exchange.
The present global system of money is far from that. It is the product of collusion between politicians and bankers that has established a dysfunctional, exploitative, and violent despotism. –t.h.g.
The Right-Wing Socialists
THERE ARE three classes of socialists: the left-wing, or Marxist, group, who believe that the government should own and control everything; the middle-of-the road socialists, who believe the government should own and operate public utilities; and the right-wing socialists, who believe that the government should control only the monetary system.
The right-wing socialists are by far the most dangerous, because they are not known as socialists and call themselves capitalists, individualists, private enterprisers, etc. They even believe themselves to be anti-socialist and profess full faith in private enterprise. They are not only numerically the largest group of socialists but are also individually the most influential. Among them are the leading industrialists and mercantilists and bankers and statesmen.
The right wing socialists believe that with production and distribution facilities in the ownership and operation of private interests, and with monetary facilities in the hands of government, we can have free enterprise. They might as well believe that if a man owns an automobile, he need not worry about who or what controls the gas.
Private enterprise means the right among men to come to voluntary agreement on the exchange of their goods and services. These agreements, some written, some oral, some implicit, some explicit, run into the millions, and upon their fidelity rests the entire social structure. In a money economy, all these contracts are expressed in terms of the monetary unit, which is itself based upon a contract-the basic contract which is the foundation of the entire pyramid of contracts.
What is the money contract that makes possible or impossible the faithful performance of every other contract? Ask any businessman, banker, lawyer, economist or statesman, and you will find that his idea is not only vague, but that it involves legislation. In other words, he believes that money is a political product.
In contrast with this universal belief, the truth is that the state is incompetent to legislate money and powerless to issue it. The substance of money is supplied entirely by private enterprise. The state’s intervention in money is at best an impediment to private enterprise, and with the assertion of the issue power, it becomes the active agent of socialization. Thus those who believe in or accept political money power – and their number is legion – are the most dangerous, though innocent, socialists.
While the great mass of people have no ideology, those who think on the issue between private enterprise and socialism are virtually all socialists of the three classes named. This is a startling fact that we must recognize before the final battle lines are formed. The would-be friends of private enterprise must be made real friends, instead of innocent fellow travelers with those who would destroy our liberties.
Private enterprise, to survive, must control its three facilities, namely, the means of exchange, the means of production, and the means of distribution. To control the means of exchange, we must have separation of money and state.
# # #
This essay is contained in the republished version of Riegel’s, New Approach to Freedom. That book, and Riegel’s other major works can be found at http://www.newapproachtofreedom.info/.–t.h.g.
I can assure you that there will always be many who’re * not * thieves, liars, ignorant, selfish, fundamentalist, supremacist or even “racist” (in the way most use that label) who however * are most definitely * racialist in their worldview.
I’m one and I personally know thousands of others. Multiply that by thousands and you’ll have those I only * know of *. There are more.
We’re all up against the same bankster cartels and “elites” you write about. If you believe those two “groups” of parasitic sociopaths are inherently “white supremacists” then you’re sadly mistaken.
It seems you completely missed the point.
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The control of the money supply in all three socialist areas forces an increasing amount of “proselytizing” on the part of all of them. Eric Hoffer wrote in “The True Believer” in 1951: “If free enterprise should ever become a proselytizing holy cause, it will be a sign its workability and advantages have ceased to become self evident”. The simple fact is that “freedom” becomes merely a cover for corruption.
Was Riegel not aware of the individualist anarchists in the tradition of Pierre Joseph Proudhon, Josiah Warren, Lysander Spooner, Benjamin Tucker, etc.?
They were socialists who argued that government should control nothing at all, and especially not the monetary system.
@Peter Harrison: personally, I’d say that while the Tea Party had some socialist origins, it was quickly taken over by the “vulgar libertarians” (who do pro-corporate apologetics under the cover of phony “free market” rhetoric) who are definitely NOT socialist. Also, the big two US parties are also not socialists, being equally in collusion with big business (in particular financial businesses).
@Lukas: no-one claimed that anarchy would be a magic utopia. But if we had freedom (real freedom, including freedom of money), and that meant more prosperity (which IS claimed!), more wealth, and more opportunity, don’t you think we could better defend ourselves against invasion? (from thieves, murderer, fraudsters, etc.)
You ask how we can gain control over the means of production? The answer is we don’t have to! We just have to assert the right to issue money, and the right of labor to appropriate the whole product. Then we could cheaply rent the means of production, and keep the profits.
The means of control in our societies since ever is VIOLENCE. Violence through arms, through lies, through money, through indoctrination, through adds. In my view Riegel does not answer to the basic problem of control through violence, which is definitely the guiding prinicple. The state by the way, as it was conceived by Montesquieu, thus a democratic state serving the people, was also the idea to give control-through-violence to the people, as the state, by definition should act in the interest of the people. Certainly this never really worked, as the state was under control of oligarchic classes (who have the power to issue money). So in the existing system the question is: how can the people have control over the state!
General empowerment through control of our own credit can diminish the power of the state, and eventually make irrelevant. That may take a while, but Alvin Toffler, in The Third Wave, argues that the power of the state is being assailed from above and from below. To me that means corporate power taking over state functions from the top, and people organizing to take over state functions from below.
Really strange this hatred of the state, as if the state would incarnate all problems we have. I don’t believe that the state is the probleme but always again the will of power, domination, superiority through ANY KIND of means. And corporations are exactly acting this way. So why should I want a society where corporations take over state functions? That is aboslutely crazy! I still don’t see what is wrong with a state under the control of the people! That is how any association works and pretty good.
I also abhor hatred of the state, and corporatism is not solution to the excesses of statism, but may be even worse.
The institution of the state is a phase of evolution we have had to go through. Eventually, we will transcend it as we mature and take responsibility for ourselves and the common welfare.
Riegel’s essay was not a blanket condemnation of the state, but merely an observation that the state has abused the money power and the fact that people have the power and right to devise their own means of mediating the exchange of goods and services.
The state is too big and impersonal for people to exercise any meaningful degree of control.
You need to get the full picture of my vision, which is largely contained in my book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.
The state could since 1913 at least not abuse the money power anymore in the US, as it gave it away to the banks. So all the state can abuse is its internal bureaucratic power, through corruption of its self defined function. This kind of abuse of power through the state was especially visible in Soviet Union and the US is at the same point today. In Switzerland we don’t have this kind of internal abuse of the state, but we have the same issue of the capital abusing the state for its purposes.
There would indeed be many ways the people can control the state apparatus, but many means of this control are not in the political structure and most people don’t understand the need for this control. Rousseau stated correctly that representative democracy in legislation (senat and congress) cannot work and is in fact not democratic by definition. Only if ALL LAWS have the consent of the people (and not just of their represenatives) we would have a functional social contract.
If we are already not able to establish this kind of state serving the people how do you want to establish an ecnomy based on self-responsibility?
You say, “The state could since 1913 at least not abuse the money power anymore in the US, as it gave it away to the banks.”
Not quite! The central banking, debt-money system is a collusion between politicians and bankers. The government is still able to inflate the currency indirectly. When central banks (and commercial banks, too) buy government bonds, they create the money that finances the government budget deficits. It’s the same effect as if the government printed money itself. Representative democracy, so-called is really government by an elite group that has arrogated power and massive wealth in their own hands.
If government by the people is the ideal, as I think it is, the means to achieving it is by exercising our power to use our own credit as a means of exchange (payment).
I don’t agree that there is a collusion of state and FED, at least as long as the money quantity is growing. A real state owned bank could emmit infrastructure credits (streets, hospitals, schools etc.) without interest as new money into the system. That would reduce taxes to near zero. But, ok, so here we get to the point: we agree about what real democracy is but the means you believe are appropriate are different from what I believe. I don’t think that control over money as Riegel proposes it is the cause of liberty but rather the consequence. Even if there would be this kind of money self-regulating system we would need the state to gurantee the rights.
And don’t forget: it’s weapons that still make the law. Intimidation, threats, assassination, all the mafioso vocabulary. As long as we don’t have an answer to this issue, new money rules will not change the settings.
I agree with what Thomas said. In addition to urging you to consult all the fantastic writing from the pens of anarchists (some of whom I noted above), I’ll bring you this quote from the Gustav Landauer:
“The state is not something which can be destroyed by a revolution,
but is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a
mode of human behavior; we destroy it contracting other
relationships, by behaving differently.”
I’m a bit confused by this. If you call everyone from the Socialist Worker’s Party to the Tea Party socialists, what’s left? Or rather, what’s right? The Black Flag non-party? All 3 of them?
I find that Idea of self regulation on all three levels very interesting. The question is the same though as in the actual political structure: what about the thiefs, the liars, the stupid, the ignorants, the self-obsessed, the racists, the supremacists, the fundamentalists? Will they magically disappear as soon as the so called individual has full control over his means of production etc.? Tell me how he will assure this control!