Friday, July 15, 2011

Thomas Edison's Famous Interview on Money.. Gold is the devil

OK maybe not so famous.  But to the readers of the January 16, 1939 edition of the newsletter "Social Justice" it was famous enough to merit that for a byline in CAPS LOCK.  Here is the first page of the story.

For better resolution, download the page in two parts..  Top half and Bottom half.
Edison was making a case for the government to issue a special currency to pay the workers and suppliers for the Muscle Shoals Dam public project, instead of issuing bonds so they could borrow American dollars from the Fed.   There is a continuation to the interview which I will have to obtain and post later,but there is enough on this one page to chew on for a while.

This was back when the dollar was based on the gold standard, something that Ron Paul and the Tea Baggers clamor for today and try to claim would solve the USA's financial problems.  Turns out that 72 years ago when there was a gold standard for the dollar, the forerunners to the modern day Tea Party considered gold as an evil tool of the bankers that forced the USA into paying interest on bonds for public works projects instead of simply issuing paper currency.  hmmm.  interesting take. 

As for "Social Justice" it was a newsletter of articles written by a variety of columnists and pundits from 1939 and it's Patriarch was a Catholic priest named Father Coughlin from the Detroit area.  The tone of the columns was that Communism was the biggest threat to the USA in the days leading up to WWII, not the Nazis in Germany or the Japanese. It is pro-labor union and anti-banker.  It is an interesting history lesson to read through the articles to get some counter-mainstream perspective on the pre-WWII debate in the USA.  Most of the articles centered on the revolution in Spain and the communist infiltration into the USA.

 The only evidence in this issue of what would be considered Antisemitism was written (allegedly) by a Jewish man explaining how he had been conditioned from youth to see himself and all other Jews as victims in any and all situations.  It is a 1939 example of the self-hating Jew I suppose.  That article was bad enough, but actually I expected much worse from "Social Justice" based on all I had read and heard of Father Coughlin.  Perhaps by January of 1939, he had already been told from on high to tone it down.     

I wonder what Edison would say today about an impending default on the dollar due to in part the USA's compounding interest payments on the federal debt.  He might be calling for a special currency to use only within the USA for debts like social security checks or public employee paychecks. 

In any case it's an interesting perspective from one of the great thinkers in American history.

No comments:

Post a Comment