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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

144        INTERNATIONAL CURRENCY

fear of some chain of circumstances arising in which
only gold would be taken in payment for commodi-
ties. On the whole, I am inclined to think that the
power of gold as a desirable commodity merely
because it is believed to be always acceptable has
not been appreciably shaken by the events of the
war.

This does not alter the fact that, as has been
shown above, gold, complicated by the paper which
has been based upon it, cannot claim to have risen
to full perfection as a standard of value.    In primi-
tive times the question of the standard of value
hardly arises.   Transactions are for the most part
carried out and concluded at once, and any seller
who takes a piece of metal in payment for his goods
does so with the rough knowledge of what that
piece of metal will buy for him'at the moment, and
that is the only point which concerns him.    The
standard of value only becomes important when
under settled conditions of society long-term con-
tracts bulk large in economic transactions.    A man
who makes an investment which entitles  him to
5 per cent, interest, and repayment in 30 years'
time, begins to be very seriously interested in the
question of what command over commodities his
annual income of 5 per cent, will give him, and
whether the repayment of his money at the end of
30 years will represent the repayment of anything
like the same amount of buying power as his money
now possesses.   It is here, of course, that gold has
failed because, as we have seen, the process has
been a fairly steady one of depreciation in the buying