Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

IREF Europe - Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

Fiscal competition
and economic freedom


Playing Into the Hands of the Money Sharks

As voices are heard everyday to "regulate" and "discipline" the finance industry, Lawrence H. White, Professor at George Mason University, Virginia and top scholar in money and banking, bring to our attention this very relevant quote from William Graham Sumner (1840-1910), Yale Professor, historian and sociologist.

Lawrence H. White Words of wisdom from William Graham Sumner, in an 1896 essay by the above title, worth keeping in mind when reading about Senator Dodd’s bill for new financial restrictions or the charges against Goldman Sachs: We hear fierce denunciations of what is called the “money power.” It is spoken of as mighty, demoniacal, dangerous, and schemes are proposed for mastering it which are futile and ridiculous, if it is what it is said to be. Every one of these schemes only opens chances for money-jobbers and financial wreckers to operate upon brokerages and differences while making legitimate finance hazardous and expensive, thereby adding to the cost of commercial operations. The parasites on the industrial system flourish whenever the system is complicated. Confusion, disorder, irregularity, uncertainty are the conditions of their growth. The surest means to kill them is to make the currency absolutely simple and absolutely sound. Is it not childish for simple, honest people to set up a currency system which is full of subtleties and mysteries, and then to suppose that they, and not the men of craft and guile, will get the profits of it?

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