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AN IDEAL SUPER-PAPER           141

speak, in its own person. From the application of
this great economy to gold two consequences have
followed; the first is that the effectiveness of gold
as a standard of value has been weakened because
this power that banks have given to it of circulating
by substitute has obviously depreciated its value by
enormously multiplying the effective supply of it.
Depreciation in the buying power of money, and a
consequent rise in prices, has consequently been a
factor which has been almost constantly at wrork for
centuries with occasional reactions, during which
the process went the other way. Another conse-
quence has been that people, seeing the ease with
which pieces of paper can be multiplied, representing
a right to gold which is only in exceptional cases
exercised, have proceeded to ask whether there is
really any necessity to have gold behind the paper
at all, and whether it would not be possible to evolve
some ideal form of super-paper which could take the
place of gold as the basis of the ordinary paper
which is created by the machinery of credit, which
would be made exchangeable into it on demand
instead of into gold.

It is difficult to say how far the events of the
war have contributed to the agitation for the sub-
stitution for gold of some other form of international
currency. It would, seem at first sight that the
position of gold at the centre of the credit system
has been shaken owing to the fact that in Sweden
arid some other neutral countries the obligation to
receive gold in payment for goods has been for the
time being abrogated. The critics of the gold