By Toby Maloney
Bill Wilson and his wife Sally settled on the little valley farm over thirty years ago. They pretty much kept to themselves, and never had a family.
Bill grew pumpkins, cucumbers, water melons and such like, and sold them at his farm gate on an honour system of take and pay.
He got to know his community only slowly, and more through listening than speaking. He kept a library, read widely, and was interested in ideas.
There was something in his manner which invited confidences, but he seldom offered ready advice. Perhaps weeks or months might pass, and then he’d offer an article, magazine clipping or suggest someone who might help. He seemed to live his private life of reading, listening and inquiry with the questions and problems of local people in mind.
With the aid of his library, his access to the internet, and his not inconsiderable initiative, he worried away at such local needs as finding a cheap and effective means of controlling some insect pest, or discovering a good gluten free recipe for bread for a local celiac who was highly gluten sensitive, or finding useful excerpts from medical or veterinary manuals for difficult or unusual cases.
By the time Bill had unobtrusively helped a hundred local people he began to be appreciated. True, most people soon forgot his help or neglected its acknowledgment altogether at first.
A proper appreciation of Bill’s worth really began in the school yard.
One day Mary, the animated and sensitive teenage daughter of rather insensitive and rough parents accompanied them to Bill’s “veges stall”. Her beloved dog “Truffles” threw a fit amidst Mary's copious tears and her parents’ active distain.
Bill later rang an eminent vet, received a certain diagnosis and ordered a cure. When the tablets arrived he carefully soaked off the label and affixed it to a large chipped bottle with a battered paint flaking lid.
Next week he gave it to Mary’s parents with a streaky photocopy of literature on Truffle’s malady and its cure, saying “I had this in the shed. Perhaps it will help Mary’s dog.” And it did.
Mary told the whole school yard, and not to be outdone, the stories of Bill’s modest miracles came flooding back from all directions. Hereafter reports of goldfish with white spot and mice with emaciation came Bill’s way more often, as too did accounts of the outbreak of army worm plagues, obscure personal afflictions and sundry mystifying dilemmas.
Perhaps Bill’s greatest asset was his possession of a kind of stupefied innocence which preserved him from offering help without the prefixes of “Perhaps" or “Maybe” this will help, and carefully giving another’s authority as the basis of his hope. When his help was too late, too little, or wide of the mark (which wasn’t often), he won points for trying. When it hit the spot precisely, his unselfconscious modesty lead others to acclaim his achievements tenfold more.
He never in his whole life joined any club or organisation whatever, and conducted his life as a committee of one, relating only to other committees of one.
How Bill came to become a maiden is not only bizarre, but a tale of contorted local political scheming with no known precedents.
Daniel (Dan) Anderson, the local Member of Parliament, secure in his safe conservative seat, with his cutting tongue and forthright jarring opinions, was even known by his partisan friends as “Dam Arrogance” in their private exultations at his goading of opponents.
While Dan’s electors were not very politicised in their apathetic Aussie way, and laughed at his antics which brought interest to their lives and attention to their part of the world, he drove his few disorganised though committed opponents to becoming enemies. Not simply more determined adversaries, but enemies possessed of a cold rage, resorting in their hearts to a passionate will to accomplish his undoing, and forever considering more dramatic, more subtle, more simple, more elaborate, or more “something” means to accomplish “Dam Arrogance’s” humiliation.
The election in question come during a period of great rural unrest, which grew out of the neglect of government, the drought, and deteriorating terms of trade for commodity producers.
Dan Anderson, M.H.R., took the party line of course, that primary industry had to compete in the world’s markets and that protection from his government for it, was “counterproductive”. Unrest was in the air.
Still, Dan’s comfortable win at 60% of the vote last election was safe. It was not just that the opposition was non-committal. Changing one’s political colours was not a thing to be contemplated seriously until years later, when a majority detested all Parties.
Mr Anderson’s enemies were so possessed with a seething imperative to dash his ambitions, that they decided in their inner councils, to abrogate their own for this one election. And so his troubles triumphed in the bizarre manner as follows.
Their plan was to “pull" their own candidate, indeed, not to run a candidate at all, through some “accident” or last minute “illness”, and to throw all their 40% of votes to some independent to be found, who would be a credible “half-way house type candidate,” to allow the disaffected conservative votes to also flow thereto.
The mood and climate of opinion was such, that while an opposition victory remained impossible, the defeat of “Dam Arrogance” was assured if a respected and genuine independent candidate could be found. But could one be found?
Apparent ease and confidence at finding such a candidate turned into despair and difficulty in time, and within two days of nominations closing for the election, into desperate measures—anything to undo the Honourable Member, now in the full flight of his vindictive verbosity.
One such enemy of Dan’s, Harry, was an acquaintance of Bill Wilson’s, even a friend, and certainly an admirer. Acting alone, he had come to contemplate the idea of not just nominating an unwilling independent candidate, but an unaware candidate.
On the day that nominations closed, he went to an Electoral Office at which he was unknown. He presented himself as Mr William Edward Wilson with his nomination form in order, and dually signed it before witnesses. Knowing that after the close of nominations no candidate can withdraw, he presented himself to Bill at that hour, and threw himself upon Bill’s mercy.
“Bill,” he said “I’m clearly guilty of fraud, I’m intensely sorry that this bitter cup has had to be passed to you. One word from you, and I’m going to jail.”
“Be assured, you’ll be elected unless you send me to prison.
“I cannot presume to advise or press you as to the choice you make. I shall think neither more nor less of you, however you choose. As of now, I am unrepentant of my crime. It is possible, that I shall repent at leisure, but please always believe that I am sincerely sorry that so kindly and honest a man as yourself, has been made to suffer so preposterous an imposition, as either jailing a well-meaning friend, or going to Parliament.”
Bill was too stunned to speak, and never did speak of it through the whole of his life.
He had been conscripted into Parliament by a “Committee-of-one” named Harry, and this conscription came to be endorsed by 52% of the electors shortly afterwards.
The arrogant rooster, Mr Dan Anderson, became a feather duster that day, and poor Bill, when he rose to utter his first words in Parliament, became but another maiden rising to give his maiden speech.
His nervousness and perhaps even some resentment at his conscription showed in the strange nature of the early part of his speech. My own interpretation of his difficult opening minute or so, is that it represents one of the most profound and fulsome condemnations of politicians (his audience) that has ever been devised, and although it was delivered directly into the face of all the nation’s politicians in full assembly, its coded language was such that at first hearing, no politician even recognised the assault.
This “dark side” to Bill soon passed however, and he quickly settled into his idea of what it was important to say, and such had never before been said in such hallowed halls.
I give you its full text, so you can see for yourself.
I am 59 years old. I was born male. In all my life to the best of my knowledge, I have never been ascribed any maidenly attributes, nor have I at any time felt the least maidenly.
To me, the primary, that is, first concern of a man, is to be one. If he does but this, and does it in its full and proper sense, he differentiates himself from the beasts off prey, which from a disinterested biological standpoint, is the most immediate and obvious classification of the Male Omnivorous Homo Sapiens.
When I use the term “man" in the above sense I differentiate him not from the other gender so much, as from the MOHS, ie. the Male Omnivorous Homo Sapiens— the biologically and obviously beasts of prey.
I differentiate “man” from “MOHS,” not just ethically, morally and spiritually, but absolutely. I know that there are those who attribute our moral nature to the biological good sense of synergy, and they are right to do so, but such a differentiation can only be relative and therefore ultimately partial.
The death of the biological unit as opposed to his biological co-inheritors deaths, is a matter for expedient judgement on the evolutionary playing field which has biological goal posts in the hazardous sport we call life. To eat or be eaten, from a synergistic standpoint, is a matter of crunching the numbers to identify the greatest likelihood of the most goals in evolutionary outcomes.
There is only one ground for absolutism in ethics, morals and the spirit, and that is that God exists.
Now although my stated policy is in this way, absolutism, I can only claim relative success in my belief and adherence thereto.
Perhaps it is for this reason, that although as you have seen, the nature of my manhood is not unexamined or unproclaimed, I stand before you a maiden.
I am given to understand that at the conclusion of this address, I shall no longer, in the eyes of this Parliament and my peers in this house, be imputed such status.
So be it. You will appreciate I beg, that when I say therefore, “Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to speak to you today...” it is a substantial consideration that my maidenhood be hereby spoken for henceforth.
While much of what I shall say has no precedent in how this House has been spoken to previously, I assure you that this is not wholly unconnected with my resolve “That a man has to do, what a man has to do”.
SPEAKING OF MONEY
The mother of this Parliament, the English House of Commons, became a substantive power, and in time the substantial power in England, because it had one sanction— the power of the purse. All other powers and sanctions proved to be dependent upon, and secondary to the power of money, which lay with the House of Commons.
This sanction over matters relating to money is the birth right of this Parliament, and its franchise to govern continues so long as it remains with us.
While a Parliament, ideally, is a government of the people, its means of governing is with money, by money, and of money. Other means of governing are dependent upon and secondary to this means.
The people have granted this sanction to this Parliament. It is a sacred trust.
I will put it to you that while modern Parliaments spend 90% of their time speaking about money, they almost never speak of money.
We speak interminably about taxes, costs, statistics, revenue, financial projections and balance of payments.
Have we ever set aside a day to discuss what money is, how much of it exists at the moment, why we have sanctioned the issuing of this amount of Australian dollars at this time, the advisability of it being perhaps a little more or a little less, or the advice, research, projections or whatever basis it was which determined what the money supply now is, or to explore the considerations which should bear upon changing the volume of money existent in any coming period?
I quote you published figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Bulletins for the years 1991 to 2001.
In the ten years from the 30th of June in the year 1990 to the year 2000, the Australian dollars in existence (M3) increased by $216 billion. The increase was from $I90 to $406 billion. Why was it not twice this? Should it have been half this?
Who knows? We never discuss it. Treasury has never reported to this House to explain themselves. The basis upon which this House’s sanctions are presumed upon to increase the money supply, are a mystery to it.
We are like the petulant child who doesn’t want to answer parent’s questions. Our attitude both to the community, and to those who have made the decisions and acted to create additional A$, is “We don’t want to talk about it.”
Why? Is it because we don’t want to think about it, or just because we don’t think about it? Should we think about it? Is it O.K. to think and speak of it?
As previously said, the money supply, the Australian dollars in existence in the form of notes, coins and bank deposits was increased in the last decade by $216 billion.
How was this done?
Every Treasurer since Federation has run the printing presses. Again quoting the Reserve Bank Bulletins cited above, in the last decade $12 billion in notes and coins was added to the volume in existence. How was the balance of the increase, an amount of $204 billion, issued and circulated? This House doesn’t know. “We don’t want to talk about it.”
This balance of $204 billion was obviously put into circulation somewhere. Where? Who got it? Why did they get it? On what terms did they receive it? Who knows? We don’t want to talk about it.
All of the money in existence has ownership attached to it. When additional Australian dollars are created, we not only issue more money, we confer the ownership of this money onto somebody. The ownership of the AUD $204 billion was not conferred upon Government. It does not appear in any annual budget.
So who got this issue? We don’t know. “We don’t want to talk about it.”
Did they pay Government anything for this money? No, there’s nothing like that in our budgets. Did they get it for nothing then? How preposterous, you say. All right, then who did they pay for this money, which was created by presuming upon the powers of this Parliament to issue the Australian money supply?
“We don’t want to talk about it. If we wanted to talk about it, we would. But we don’t.”
This House allowed 204 billion additional Australian dollars to be created. It did not claim the ownership of this new money, or it would be in the Annual Budgets and listed under revenue.
Obviously somebody else got it, but, that’s right... “We don’t want to talk about it.”
Is it a coincidence that Bank assets always increase by approximately the same amount as the money supply increases? We don’t know that they do, because we don’t talk about it.
Nor can we deny it. Why? Because again, we don’t talk about it.
So let’s change the subject.
It is probable that some maidens have spoken through parables, and some have spoken by example, and yet others have spoken through their hats. I should like to do all three simultaneously.
TALKING THROUGH MY HAT
One day in central Australia, I was in a little country town. It was deserted except for a singular gentleman sitting on a bench in front of the pub. It was hot. It was very hot.
I joined him. No word was spoken.
While Junton has no river for many miles, and its last water hole had dried up months ago, I began thinking about the hose I had seen around the side of the pub.
Presently I said “I’ve a good mind to jump in the river.” He said, “Good work if you can get it.”
After another few minutes I took off my hat, pushed it up the bench towards him, and asked “Would you mind looking after my hat? He looked at it, then at me, and said “Alright.” I ambled off out of his sight, slipped around the side of the pub, hosed myself thoroughly, and then returned to resume my seat, dripping wet and with boots squelching.
After a certain round eyed look from the gentleman, which I didn’t meet, he resumed his composure of staring towards the horizon. After some minutes of further contemplation, he pushed the hat back up the bench, saying “Your hat Sir.”
I said “Thank you.”
After a pause only appropriate to those with all the time in the world, he said, “No, indeed I must thank you. You have done me the great service of so directing my thoughts, that a mystery I have left unexamined all my life, has been revealed. Thank you.”
It was my turn to look at him with round eyes, which he in turn did not meet, and then I stared into the horizon for some time, too.
I knew that my reappearance all wet and bedraggled, would have prompted for an automatic instant, his thought that I had indeed jumped into the river, ..what river?... impossible ...what then? There weren’t many sources of water in Junton. He’d have gone through each in the near vicinity, found the hose and visualised my quick if thorough shower.
My little joke had been appreciated in deep silence. Deservingly so. But I had not contemplated the compliment being returned so intelligently.
A great service? What mystery? How revealed? How so, did I “so direct his
I decided to call his bluff, to see if he could keep it up. This thing of his was probably a one-liner from some remembered experience. He could never invent, examine and unravel a mystery to maintain the gravity of his enigmatic rejoinder.
So I said, after a time, “I would indeed gladly own to so great an honour, if you might but convince me of my propriety thereof.”
He said “You entrusted me with your hat and,...and I could not account for it.”
“I was going to the river” I said.
“No, no, I could not account for the hat, not the river,” he replied.
I looked at my hat.
Now my hat it is true, had seen its share of adventures, and had weathered more seasons than most, but still, in those parts such hats are often to be observed, and the sundry indignities inflicted upon them are common knowledge, more or less.
“It has lived life to the full,” I said in defence of my hat, and of the appearance of myself a little.
“No, not that hat, any hat. How to account for it?” he said.
After a period of perplexity, I decided to persist.
“The sun out here accounts for the baking of all and any hats, and a good many of the contests thereof,” I said, “If you hear my meaning.” And gave him a look.
He looked back and smiled a little, and seemed to take assessment of me, and depth my interest. I held his gaze.
“All right,” he said, “I’ll start at the beginning.”
“Until I retired, and came out here for its quite, and its stillness, and its vast expanses that free the mind of clutter, I was a banker.”
“I’m a trained accountant. I was the senior accountant for my Bank for years. I prepared the annual financial reports, the balance sheet which accounted for all the Bank’s assets and liabilities, and it is in that sense that I could not account for your hat.” He stopped.
This conversation was heading into unchartered territory, beyond my competence, so I offered a cautious “How so?”
“Well if you give anything to a banker on trust for safekeeping, he automatically treats it as a deposit. His whole life is a matter of deposits; his training, his experience, and his habit, has produced this.”
“I looked at your hat, and I said to myself, ‘once a banker, always a banker’ and I saw a deposit.”
“In this land of the Akubra I had opened my first account to the credit of Mr River Jumper Esquire,” and giving me a quick glance, he continued, “and the Board Meeting was tomorrow.”
“Now if I was a solicitor with a trust account, or the local stock and station agent, or the village idiot, the balance sheet would have balanced.”
“I should have itemised your hat as both a liability owing to yourself, and as an asset held in trust, and had a balance.”
“But I am a banker, something unique in all the world of accounting, and there is no reconciling a hat as a deposit, in a Bankers balance sheet.”
He paused, so I offered another “How so?” to keep him going.
“Well, as a banker, convention compels me to value all deposits a worthless.”
“Impossible!” I said in shock.
“If you place your money with a bank,” he continued, “it enters your deposit as a liability owing to yourself, but values your money which it holds in trust as worthless to it, and does not give any value to your money as an asset held in trust.”
“Deposit your assets with any other entity on earth, and it will give your assets the dignity of value. They will enter your deposit as an asset in hand, and as a liability to you of the same value. Thus their balance sheets actually balance.”
“A bank with nothing but a deposit, insists that it has nothing at all by way of assets, but owes its depositor his deposit.”
“I had a liability to you of one hat, but though I could see and touch your hat, and it was indeed the very asset I needed to fulfil my obligation to you, I could not acknowledge it as existing in my balance sheet. My Balance Sheet read Liabilities, one hat, and Assets, nil— and the Board Meeting was tomorrow.”
I sat for a long time, and re-read his words in my mind. He was trying to tell me something. As best I could reason it, I put this proposition to him:-
“So a Bank fiddles its books to make it look as though its liabilities are greater than they are. It ignores the value of its deposits as assets available to meet its liabilities, in order to do this. Am I right?”
“You are exactly right, absolutely right.” he said.
“But why? Surely this is incomprehensible?” I could but say.
“I told you there was a mystery I had left unexamined all my life. Now you have it.” he said.
I thought it time to take stock, so I said to him “So I have inherited your mystery; namely, that banks fiddle their books to make themselves look poorer than they are, correct?”
“Correct.” he said.
“But I’ve no comprehension of it,” I said. “Why must they do this? Where is the motive? What the need? To whom goes the advantage? Where is the result to be found?”
“My situation exactly, until you forced me to resolve the mystery with your hat as deposit.” he said.
“Corporate fiddles,” I said, “are more or less a given of life, a constant varying only with degree, time, place, company, opportunity and avarice—but fiddling the books with the intent of being poorer, is outside my experience and I don’t believe it.”
“Nor I, he said.
I waited a long time, wondering if he would go on. I let him sense my interest by staying there and staring into the horizon, and chewing on a match stick or such. At length I ventured “Would I understand the answer to this mystery if given it?”
“Yes, if it were well given, you would.” After a time he seemed ready, and asked, “Do you have a bank account?
“Yes.” I said.
“Have you ever had it reduced by the Bank because they lent your deposit out to another?”
“No.” I answered.
“Have you ever heard of another person’s account being reduced, so they could lend it to someone else?”
“Never.” I said.
“So you can believe that nobody has less money in the bank, because that bank has made a new loan?”
“I can.” I said.
“But when a loan is made and the money spent, whoever receives it has more money in his bank, does he not?”
“He does.” I said.
“So if nobody has less money, but somebody has more, there is more money in the world?”
“There is.” I said.
“But the amount of extra money in the world is equal, is it not, to the amount of the loan?”
“It is.” I said.
“So the loan has increased the amount of money in existence, it has increased the community’s indebtedness to the bank, and since the bank owns the loan it has increased its assets also by the amount of the loan?”
“It has.” I said.
“So the bank is richer by the amount of the loan?”
“Yes." I said.
“But the community is both richer by the increase in money, and poorer by owning the money to the bank, so it is neither richer nor poorer?”
“That is so.” I said.
Can you see that if a bank was seen to get richer by the amount of the loan, every time it made a loan, there would be a need to disguise this?”
“I can.” I said.
“But if a bank receiving a deposit, so accounted that deposit as to make itself appear poorer by the amount of the deposit, this would help the disguise?”
“It would.” I said.
“And if the borrower drew his loan from the bank, by writing a cheque to pay another who deposited the cheque in the bank, the amount of the cheque would be both the exact amount that the Bank became richer, and the exact amount that it disguised that it had become richer. The disguise is perfect?”
“Well I’ll eat my hat!” I said.
But I didn’t. Just like I didn’t jump in the river. But lest the cock crow thrice, I shall make a proposal to this House.
I propose that this House legislate so as to change the way that our banks account their activities.
Firstly, they shall have to account their deposits not just as liabilities to their depositors, but as assets available to meet those liabilities.
This will end the disguise. It will reveal that a Bank’s net worth is equal to its loans, plus net shareholder funds. It will unveil the truth that Banks are not just as rich as Croesus, but as powerful as Zeus.
This done, this House shall be able to address this situation from the moral, social and political standpoints— matters left unattended since the creation of this House at Federation.
From the moral standpoint, it is the people who provide the goods and services which give money its value.
From the social standpoint, when Australian dollars are increased by creating more of them, we have a choice. We can either have our Banks richer to this extent, or use these funds to meet social objectives.
From the political standpoint, the choice between distributing money creations to the people, or alternatively insisting that the Banks become that much richer, is our choice.
The options are many.
We could open a special National Money Supply Account at our Reserve Bank, and distribute all money increases directly to the public in the post, we could allow the Bank to access these funds for on-lending to industry, or we could do some of each. We could liquidate the National Debt. We could fund public works, or defence, or social objects.
Or of course, we could do nothing at all, because we don’t want to talk about it.
“Are we to be forever children in this House, never speaking of Banks, or of the creators of our money, unless we are first spoken to, and then replying only in deferential terms?”
“Well then, Honourable Members, shall we speak of it, or have the Banks got our tongues?”
With that, Bill resumed his seat, resuming his status as an aging male.
It is usual to give a maiden a resounding round of applause. There was only silence for maiden Bill. The shuffling started presently and the Speaker rose to adjourn the House for dinner.
Those so stupid as to confirm that they hadn’t understood a word, asked their prompters “What was that all about?”
The bewildered who had the good sense not to show it, remained silent, or responded to questions with “useful” suggestions like “Take it up with Bill sometime.”
A few, known to each other, understood it all right.
They shared a few quiet words.
“You can’t win an election with that sort of stuff,” chuckled one.
“Zeus and his media minions would give us bad omens on all counts, I should think” said another.
“Yes indeed” concurred another.
“We don’t have to talk about it.” came the clincher, “At worst we may have to talk around it for a time, but only if someone notices the opportunity to put us on the spot.”
A few references were made to “obscure theories” and “informed modern economic thought” and such like to cover the very few embarrassed silences which occurred when some blundering idiot raised the subject of Bills speech.
But business pressed. The minor Parties were restive, and after two months crossed the House floor in a vote of no confidence. This brought on another election.
Bill went home and took good care that he was not renominated.
Only Bill ever remembered the bit in his speech about male omnivorous homo sapiens— the men who eat everything.
History is but a continuous progression of Post Scripts.
There were men present the day Bill spoke who noticed a certain discomfiture. It was well controlled, but undeniably evident.
Now there comes a time in every political career, when a pocket full of discomfiture is the very best currency with which to acquire one’s ambition.
It usually begins in the second term as a backbencher, when the ropes have all been felt, are more or less known, have begun to chafe a little perhaps, and the apprentice decides it’s time to consider pulling a few.
A backbencher gradually develops a presence amidst his peers, he works at his relationships, he makes himself available as an agent of those with real influence, and the quid pro quo for all this, is that they will promote him. Inevitably, they do not promote many with expedition.
The attrition in any Cabinet is insufficient to satisfy the supply of willing replacements. Seniority is deferred to, but one always needs something else.
The sort of man who is all deference is never welcomed into a cabinet. He can never control his Department and so the confounded thing bites the Government. A co-operative spirit with a demonstrated ability to wield a big stick, is just the thing.
After a time, a developing backbencher realises that those who are brought into a Cabinet (shadow or proper) are those who are too dangerous to be safely left outside.
The way forward is to develop a divergent viewpoint, and to pursue it intelligently. It must be done with all the appearance of one's good intentions to cause the opposing parties embarrassment. But ideally, one’s own party ought to be discomforted also, fearing their like treatment and doubting their ability to cope.
As time passed, amidst those who had heard Bill speak it was inevitable that several would find their ambitions checked, and their egos thwarted, and experience the relentless though gradual triumph of resentment over hope. From this grew a resolve, examined, abandoned, revisited, and yet again abandoned, that “I must do something.”
One such afflicted individual, Susan Brown, remembered Bills speech. She referred to Hansard and took a copy, and reading it several times with a view to it serving her ends, adopted it as one of the "somethings” which she must do.
Not understanding it really, or why there was reticence to talk about it, she decided upon a limited revolt.
She would not take a position about money supply increases. For a start she didn’t have one, but more importantly, she would never have to defend a position if she didn’t have one.
On the other hand, the treasurer could not avoid a commitment to knowing what was happening, of explaining why it was the best of all options, of revealing an outline, and then detail, of the considerations relevant. The “who, what, how, and why of the thing,” one could indignantly proclaim as proper that “the public has a right to know.”
Since the poor Treasurer, whose one forte when it came to money, was how to get it (taxes), and what to buy with it (votes), how many dollars ought to be brought into the world, and how they were conceived and born, or ought to be born, was as foreign to him as the dark side of the moon.
The Treasurer’s predecessors had left him no precedents for handling this. The cranks who put forward plans or policies were easy meat. One could immediately assault their suggestions as wrong-headed, confused, incorrect, bizarre, or outrageous, etc. Indeed the only limit to criticism is the extent of one’s vocabulary. One could attack. And in this area of National finances, where few noticed anything happening, fewer still made it happen, and the vast majority never knew anything happened at all, it was as easy as having one’s opponents naked and exposed in no-man’s land during World War I.
But this, “... this woman,” as the Treasurer privately called her, refused all comment excepting more questions.
“How can I suggest policy,” she asked, “when information is limited, inadequate, and either unknown or withheld?’ and she raised yet more examples of how this was so, with questions to redress the public dearth of knowledge.
In short, Susan hit pay dirt. The pure gold of which all glittering political careers are made; the public embarrassment of one's opponents.
The Treasurer's partial answers raised more questions than they answered, and fueled more questions to the fire.
Of course, she could not ask many in the House. That was soon gagged. But she loomed up serenely at the Treasurer’s side at public functions, sweetly hit him in the hallways, and passed him memos in the dining rooms.
Susan Brown developed imitators. Meek at first, they inquired of their political seniors as to what criteria was used, or ought to be, to determine money supply increases? Upon what basis it ought to be distributed, to whom, and on what terms?
The answer “The proper authorities” would not do. It meant nominating which such were, brought them and their policy decisions into question, and of course, made an explanation as to why Parliament ought not to be consulted, informed or deferred to in the matter, quite unavoidable.
The ancient prerogative of Bankers to determine the important directions for the economy, and thus social directions also, while Parliaments simply looked after the housekeeping, was brought under scrutiny.
The most pervasive sanction over human affairs which had ever presided, was eventually shattered, through nothing more than looking at it.
But then, it had become a problem, and are not all problems dissipated in this way?
The Post Post Script to this small affair, was simply the rest of history.
The private regulation of the creation of the money supply, which had reigned for centuries, had given way to its public regulation. Partially, within decades, and in some countries it had wholly become publicly regulated within 170 years.
The benefits of it with which we are now all familiar, such as impunity from inflation, the ending of the boom/bust economic cycle, the democratisation of the ownership of newly created money, (we enjoy having it regularly credited to our accounts), and the relative ease with which social and environmental issues can be financed and addressed in the ensuing economic conditions, precluded any reversal of this reform.
While nations became more independent financially, one from another, they also had no need to solve their financial problems by subduing the markets or economies of others, either.
The servility which sprang from dependence, or inter-dependence, atrophied. Likewise did the fear of others, and the need to dominate, atrophy.
A global economic order based around nonchalantly prosperous nations of independent means, proved to offer a more harmonious and relaxed approach to international relationships, and better outcomes. The earlier approach of enmeshing all nations in global debt and financial compulsion, so as to impose good citizenship upon them, fell from favour as the stupid, fear-ridden and calamitous folly which it was.
By the year 2,567 a Global “Maiden’s Day” had been declared in honour of that bizarre conversation which had taken place in front of the Junton Pub so long ago, and of all that it had wrought.
All people celebrated this day by wearing hats out of doors, but none their own, for all were borrowed for the occasion, whether outrageous or traditional.
The day was looked forward to, even yearned for, as it approached, for it was a day of silence, golden silence, in which only maidens were permitted to speak.
The holiday had a peaceful and relaxed mood. It was a time of deference to and appreciation of young ladies.
But for most, it brought a calming appreciation of the fact, that the very best thing that the unchaste could do sometimes, was simply shut up for a while.
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