Capital Vol. III Part V
Division of Profit into Interest and Profit of Enterprise. Interest-Bearing Capital
It should be noted in regard to the accumulation of notes in times of stringency, that it is a repetition of the hoarding of precious metal as used to take place in troubled times in the most primitive conditions of society. The Act of 1844 is interesting in its operation because it seeks to transform all precious metal existing in the country into a circulating medium; it seeks to equate a drain of gold with a contraction of the circulating medium and a return flow of gold with an expansion of the circulating medium. As a result, the experiment proved the contrary to be the case. With a single exception, which we shall mention shortly, the quantity of circulating notes of the Bank of England has never, since 1844, reached the maximum which it was authorised to issue. The crisis of 1857 proved on the other hand that this maximum does not suffice under certain circumstances. From November 13 to 30, 1857, a daily average of £488,830 above this maximum was circulating (B. A. 1858, p. XI). The legal maximum was at that time £14,475,000, plus the amount of metal reserve in the vaults of the Bank.
Concerning the outflow and inflow of precious metal, the following is to be noted:
First, a distinction should be made between the back and forth movement of metal within a region which does not produce any gold and silver, on the one hand, and, on the other, the flow of gold and silver from their sources of production to various other countries and the distribution of this additional metal among them.
Before the gold mines of Russia, California and Australia made Their influence felt, the supply since the beginning of the 19th century sufficed only for the replacement of worn-out coins, for general use in articles of luxury, and for the export of silver to Asia.
However, in the first place, silver exports to Asia have since increased extraordinarily, owing to the Asiatic trade of America and Europe. The silver exported from Europe was largely replaced by the additional supply of gold. Secondly, a portion of the newly imported gold was absorbed by internal money circulation. It is estimated that up to 1857 about 30 million in gold were added to England's internal circulation. Furthermore, the average level of metal reserves in all the central banks of Europe and America increased since 1844. The expansion of domestic money circulation resulted at the same time in bank reserves growing more rapidly in the period of stagnation following upon the panic, because of the larger quantity of gold coins thrust out of domestic circulation and immobilised. Finally, the consumption of precious metal for luxury articles increased since the discovery of new gold deposits as a consequence of the increased wealth.
Secondly, precious metal flows back and forth between countries which do not produce any gold or silver, the same country continually importing, and also exporting. It is only the preponderance of this movement in one or another direction which, in the final analysis, determines whether a drain or an augmentation has taken place, since the mere oscillations and frequently parallel movements largely neutralise one another. But for this reason, in so far as the result is concerned, the continuity and, in the main, the parallel course of both movements is overlooked. A greater import or a greater export of precious metal is always interpreted to be solely the effect and expression of the relation between the imports and exports of commodities, whereas it is simultaneously indicative of the relation between exports and imports of precious metal itself, quite independent of commodity trade.
Thirdly, the preponderance of imports over exports, and vice versa, is measured on the whole by the increase or decrease in metal reserves of the central banks. The greater or lesser precision of this criterion naturally depends primarily on the degree of centralisation of the banking business in general. For on this depends the extent that precious metal in general accumulated in the so-called national banks represents the national metal reserve. But assuming this to be the case, the criterion is not accurate because an additional import may be absorbed under certain circumstances by domestic circulation and the growing consumption of gold and silver in producing luxury articles; furthermore, because without additional import, a withdrawal of gold coin for domestic circulation could take place, and thus the metal reserve could decrease even without a simultaneous increase in exports.
Fourthly, an export of metal assumes the aspect of a drain when the movement of decrease continues for a long time, so that the decrease represents a tendency of movement and depresses the metal reserve of the bank considerably below its average level, down to approximately its average minimum. This minimum is more or less arbitrarily fixed, in so far as it is differently determined in every individual case by legislation concerning backing for the cashing of notes, etc. Concerning the quantitative limits which such a drain can reach in England, Newmarch testified before the Committee on B. A. 1857, Evidence No. 1494:
"Judging from experience, it is very unlikely that the efflux of treasure arising from any oscillation in the foreign trade will proceed beyond £3,000,000 or £4,000,000."
In 1847, the lowest gold reserve level of the Bank of England, occurring on October 23, showed a decrease of £5,198,156 as compared with that of December 26, 1846, and a decrease of £6,453,748 as compared with the highest level of 1846 (August 29).
Fifthly, the determination of the metal reserve of the so-called national banks, a determination, however, which does not by itself regulate the magnitude of this metal hoard, for it can grow solely by the paralysis of domestic and foreign trade, is threefold: 1) reserve fund for international payments, in other words, reserve fund of world-money; 2) reserve fund for alternately expanding and contracting domestic metal circulation; 3) reserve fund for the payment of deposits and for the convertibility of notes (this is connected with the function of the bank and has nothing to do with the functions of money as such). The reserve fund can, therefore, also be influenced by conditions which affect every one of these three functions. Thus, as an international fund it can be influenced by the balance of payments, no matter by what factors the latter may be determined and whatever its relation to the balance of trade may be. As a reserve fund for domestic metal circulation it can be influenced by the latter's expansion or contraction. The third function — that of a security fund — does not, admittedly, determine the independent movement of the metal reserve, but has a two-fold effect. If notes are issued which replace metallic money (also including silver coins in countries where silver is a measure of value) in domestic circulation, the function of the reserve fund under 2) drops away. And a portion of the precious metal, which served to perform this function, will for a long time find its way abroad. In this case metallic coins are not withdrawn for domestic circulation, and thus the temporary augmentation of the metal reserve by immobilising a part of the circulating coined metal simultaneously falls away. Furthermore, if a minimum metal reserve must be maintained under all circumstances for the payment of deposits and for the convertibility of notes, this affects in its own way the results of a drain or return flow of gold; it affects that part of the reserve which the bank is obliged to maintain under all circumstances, or that part which it seeks to get rid of as useless at certain times. If the circulation were purely metallic and the banking system concentrated, the bank would likewise have to consider its metal reserve as security for the payment of its deposits, and a drain of metal could cause a panic such as was witnessed in Hamburg in 1857.
Sixthly, with the exception of perhaps 1837, the real crisis always broke out only after a change in the rates of exchange, that is, as soon as the import of precious metal had again gained preponderance over its export.
In 1825, the real crash came after the drain on gold had ceased. In 1839, there was a drain on gold, but it did not bring about a crash. In 1847, the drain on gold ceased in April and the crash came in October. In 1857, the drain on gold to foreign countries had ceased in early November, and the crash did not come until later that same month.
This is particularly evident in the crisis of 1847, when the drain on gold ceased in April after causing a slight preliminary crisis, and the real business crisis did not come until October.
The following testimony was presented at the Secret Committee of the House of Lords on Commercial Distress, 1848. This evidence was not printed until 1857 (also cited as C. D. 1848/57).
Evidence of Tooke:
In April 1847, a stringency arose, which, strictly speaking, equalled a panic, but was of relatively short duration and not accompanied by any commercial failures of importance. In October the stringency was far more intensive than at any time during April, an almost unheard-of number of commercial failures taking place (2996). — In April the rates of exchange, particularly with America, compelled us to export a considerable amount of gold in payment for unusually large imports; only by an extreme effort did the Bank stop the drain and drive the rates higher (2997). — In October the rates of exchange favoured England (2998). — The change in the rates of exchange had begun in the third week of April (3000). — They fluctuated in July and August; since the beginning of August they always favoured England (3001). — The drain on gold in August arose from a demand for internal circulation .
J. Morris, Governor of the Bank of England:
Although the rate of exchange favoured England since August 1847, and an import of gold had taken place in consequence, the bullion reserve of the Bank decreased.
"£2,200,000 went out into the country in consequence of the internal demand" (137). — This is explained on the one hand by an increased employment of labourers in railway construction, and on the other by the "circumstance of the bankers wishing to provide themselves with gold in times of distress" (147).
Palmer, ex-governor and a Director of the Bank of England since 1811:
"684. During the whole period from the middle of April 1847 to the day of withdrawing the restrictive clause in the Act of 1844 the foreign exchanges were in favour of this country."
The drain of bullion, which created an independent money panic in April 1847 was here therefore, as always, but a precursor of the crisis, and a turn had already taken place before it broke out. In 1839, a heavy drain of bullion took place for grain, etc., while business was strongly depressed, but there was no crisis or money panic.
Seventhly, as soon as general crises have spent themselves, gold and silver — leaving aside the inflow of new precious metal from the producing countries — distribute themselves once more in the proportions in which they existed in a state of equilibrium as individual hoards of the various countries. Other conditions being equal, the relative magnitude of a hoard in each country will be determined by the role of that country in the world-market. They flow from the country which had more than its normal share to those with less than a normal amount. These movements of outgoing and incoming metal merely restore the original distribution among the various national reserves. This redistribution, however, is brought about by the effects of various circumstances, which will be taken up in our treatment of rates of exchange. As soon as the normal distribution is once more restored — beginning with this moment — a stage of growth sets in and then again a drain. [This last statement applies, of course, only to England, as the centre of the world money-market. — F.E.]
Eighthly, a drain of metal is generally the symptom of a change in the state of foreign trade, and this change in turn is a premonition that conditions are again approaching a crisis.
Ninthly, the balance of payments can favour Asia against Europe and America.
An import of precious metal takes place mainly during two periods. On the one hand, it takes place in the first phase of a low interest rate, which follows upon a crisis and reflects a restriction of production; and then in the second phase, when the interest rate rises, but before it attains its average level. This is the phase during which returns come quickly, commercial credit is abundant, and therefore the demand for loan capital does not grow in proportion to the expansion of production. In both phases, with loan capital relatively abundant, the superfluous addition of capital existing in the form of gold and silver, i.e., a form in which it can primarily serve only as loan capital, must seriously affect the rate of interest and concomitantly the atmosphere of business in general.
On the other hand, a drain, a continued and heavy export of precious metal, takes place as soon as returns no longer flow, markets are overstocked, and an illusory prosperity is maintained only by means of credit; in other words, as soon as a greatly increased demand for loan capital exists and the interest rate, therefore, has reached at least its average level. Under such circumstances, which are reflected precisely in a drain of precious metal, the effect of continued withdrawal of capital, in a form in which it exists directly as loanable money-capital, is considerably intensified. This must have a direct influence on the interest rate. But instead of restricting credit transactions, the rise in interest rate extends them and leads to an over-straining of all their resources. This period, therefore, precedes the crash.
Newmarch is asked, B. A. 1857:
"1520. But then the volume of bills in circulation increases with the rate of discount? — It seems to do so." — "1522. In quiet ordinary times the ledger is the real instrument of exchange; but when any difficulty arises; when, for example, under such circumstances as I have suggested, there is a rise in the bank-rate of discount ... then the transactions naturally resolve themselves into drawing bills of exchange, those bills of exchange being not only more convenient as regards legal proof of the transaction which has taken place, but also being more convenient in order to effect purchases elsewhere, and being pre-eminently convenient as a means of credit by which capital can be raised."
Furthermore, as soon as somewhat threatening conditions induce the bank to raise its discount rate — whereby the probability exists at the same time that the bank will cut down the running time of the bills to be discounted by it — the general apprehension spreads that this will rise in crescendo. Everyone, and above all the credit swindler, will therefore strive to discount the future and have as many means of credit as possible at his command at the given time. These reasons, then, amount to this: it is not that the mere quantity of imported or exported precious metal as such which makes its influence felt, but that it exerts its effect, firstly, by virtue of the specific character of precious metal as capital in money-form, and secondly, by acting like a feather which, when added to the weight on the scales, suffices to tip the oscillating balance definitely to one side; it acts because it arises under conditions when any addition decides in favour of one or the other side. Without these grounds, it would be quite inexplicable why a drain of gold amounting to, say, £5,000,000 to £8,000,000 — and this is the limit of experience to date — should have any appreciable effect. This small decrease or increase of capital, which seems insignificant even compared to the £70 million in gold which circulate on an average in England, is really a negligibly small magnitude when compared to production of such volume as that of the English. But it is precisely the development of the credit and banking system, which tends, on the one hand, to press all money-capital into the service of production (or what amounts to the same thing, to transform all money income into capital), and which, on the other hand, reduces the metal reserve to a minimum in a certain phase of the cycle, so that it can no longer perform the functions for which it is intended — it is the developed credit and banking system which creates this over-sensitiveness of the whole organism. At less developed stages of production, the decrease or increase of the hoard below or above its average level is a relatively insignificant matter. Similarly, on the other hand, even a very considerable drain of gold is relatively ineffective if it does not occur in the critical period of the industrial cycle.
In the given explanation we have not considered cases in which a drain of gold takes place as a result of crop failures, etc. In such cases the large and sudden disturbance of the equilibrium of production, which is expressed by this drain, requires no further explanation as to its effect. This effect is that much greater the more such a disturbance occurs in a period when production is in full swing.
We have also omitted from consideration the function of the metal reserve as a security for bank-note convertibility and as the pivot of the entire credit system. The central bank is the pivot of the credit system. And the metal reserve, in turn, is the pivot of the bank. The change-over from the credit system to the monetary system is necessary, as I have already shown in Vol. I (Ch. III) in discussing means of payment. That the greatest sacrifices of real wealth are necessary to maintain the metallic basis in a critical moment has been admitted by both Tooke and Loyd-Overstone. The controversy revolves merely round a plus or a minus, and round the more or less rational treatment of the inevitable. A certain quantity of metal, insignificant compared with the total production, is admitted to be the pivotal point of the system. Hence the superb theoretical dualism, aside from the appalling manifestation of this characteristic that it possesses as the pivotal point during crises. So long as enlightened economy treats "of capital" ex professo, it looks down upon gold and silver with the greatest disdain, considering them as the most indifferent and useless form of capital. But as soon as it treats of the banking system, everything is reversed, and gold and silver become capital par excellence, for whose preservation every other form of capital and labour is to be sacrificed. But how are gold and silver distinguished from other forms of wealth? Not by the magnitude of their value, for this is determined by the quantity of labour incorporated in them; but by the fact that they represent independent incarnations, expressions of the social character of wealth. [The wealth of society exists only as the wealth of private individuals, who are its private owners. It preserves its social character only in that these individuals mutually exchange qualitatively different use-values for the satisfaction of their wants. Under capitalist production they can do so only by means of money. Thus the wealth of the individual is realised as social wealth only through the medium of money. It is in money, in this thing, that the social nature of this wealth is incarnated. — F.E.] This social existence of wealth therefore assumes the aspect of a world beyond, of a thing, matter, commodity, alongside of and external to the real elements of social wealth. So long as production is in a state of flux this is forgotten. Credit, likewise a social form of wealth, crowds out money and usurps its place. It is faith in the social character of production which allows the money-form of products to assume the aspect of something that is only evanescent and ideal, something merely imaginative. But as soon as credit is shaken — and this phase of necessity always appears in the modern industrial cycle — all the real wealth is to be actually and suddenly transformed into money, into gold and silver — a mad demand, which, however, grows necessarily out of the system itself. And all the gold and silver which is supposed to satisfy these enormous demands amounts to but a few millions in the vaults of the Bank. 
Among the effects of the gold drain, then, the fact that production as social production is not really subject to social control, is strikingly emphasised by the existence of the social form of wealth as a thing external to it. The capitalist system of production, in fact, has this feature in common with former systems of production, in so far as they are based on trade in commodities and private exchange. But only in the capitalist system of production does this become apparent in the most striking and grotesque form of absurd contradiction and paradox, because, in the first place, production for direct use-value, for consumption by the producers themselves, is most completely eliminated under the capitalist system, so that wealth exists only as a social process expressed as the intertwining of production and circulation; and secondly, with the development of the credit system, capitalist production continually strives to overcome the metal barrier, which is simultaneously a material and imaginative barrier of wealth and its movement, but again and again it breaks its back on this barrier.
In the crisis, the demand is made that all bills of exchange, securities and commodities shall be simultaneously convertible into bank money, and all this bank money, in turn, into gold.
[The rate of exchange is known to be the barometer for the international movement of money metals. If England has more payments to make to Germany than Germany to England, the price of marks, expressed in sterling, rises in London, and the price of sterling, expressed in marks, falls in Hamburg and Berlin. If this preponderance of England's payment obligations towards Germany is not balanced again, for instance, by a preponderance of purchases by Germany in England, the sterling price of bills of exchange in marks on Germany must rise to the point where it will pay to send metal (gold coin or bullion) from England to Germany in payment of obligations, instead of sending bills of exchange. This is the typical course of events.
If this export of precious metal assumes a larger scope and lasts for a longer period, then the English bank reserve is affected, and the English money-market, particularly the Bank of England, must take protective measures. These consist mainly, as we have already seen, in raising the interest rate. When the drain on gold is considerable, the money-market as a rule becomes tight, that is, the demand for loan capital in the form of money significantly exceeds the supply and the higher interest rate follows quite naturally from this; the discount rate fixed by the Bank of England corresponds to this situation and asserts itself on the market. However there are cases when the drain on bullion is due to other than ordinary combinations of business transactions (for instance, loans to foreign states, investment of capital in foreign countries, etc.), and the London money-market as such does not justify an effective rise in the interest rate; the Bank of England must then first "make money scarce," as the phrase goes, through heavy loans in the "open market" and thus artificially create a situation which justifies, or renders necessary, a rise in the interest rate; such a manoeuvre becomes more difficult from year to year. — F.E.]
How this raising of the interest rate affects the rates of exchange is shown by the following testimony before the Committee of the Lower House concerning bank legislation in 1857 (quoted as B. A. or B. C. 1857).
John Stuart Mill: "2176. When there is a state of commercial difficulty there is always ... a considerable fall in the price of securities ... foreigners send over to buy railway shares in this country, or English holders of foreign railway shares sell their foreign railway shares abroad ... there is so much transfer of bullion prevented." — "2182. A large and rich class of bankers and dealers in securities, through whom the equalisation of the rate of interest and the equalisation of commercial pressure between different countries usually takes place ... are always on the look out to buy securities which are likely to rise.... The place for them to buy securities will be the country which is sending bullion away." — "2184. These investments of capital took place to a very considerable extent in 1847, to a sufficient extent to have relieved the drain considerably."
J. G. Hubbard, ex-Governor, and a Director of the Bank of England since 1838:
"2545. There are great quantities of European securities ... which have a European currency in all the different money-markets, and those bonds, as soon as their value is reduced by 1 or 2 per cent in one market, are immediately purchased for transmission to those markets where their value is still unimpaired." — "2565. Are not foreign countries considerably in debt to the merchants of this country? — Very largely." — "2566. Therefore, the cashment of those debts might be sufficient to account for a very large accumulation of capital in this country? — In 1847, the ultimate restoration of our position was effected by our striking off so many millions previously due by America, and so many millions due by Russia to this country."
[At the same time, England owed these same countries "so and so many millions" for grain and also did not fail to "draw a line" through the greater portion of these millions via the bankruptcy of the English debtors. See the report on Bank Acts, 1857, Chapter XXX above. — F.E.]
"2572. In 1847, the exchange between this country and St. Petersburg was very high. When the Government Letter came out authorising the Bank to issue irrespectively of the limitation of £14,000,000 [above and beyond the gold reserve — F.E.], the stipulation was that the rate of discount should be 8%. At that moment, with the then rate of discount, it was a profitable operation to order gold to be shipped from St. Petersburg to London and on its arrival to lend it at 8% up to the maturity of the three months' bills drawn against the purchase of gold." — "2573. In all bullion operations there are many points to be taken into consideration; there is the rate of exchange and the rate of interest, which is available for the investment during the period of the maturity of the bill [drawn against it — F.E.]."
The following points are important because, on the one hand, they show how England recoups its losses when its rate of exchange with Asia is unfavourable, at the expense of other countries, whose imports from Asia are paid through English middlemen. On the other hand, they are important because Mr. Wilson once again makes the foolish attempt here to identify the effects of the export of precious metal on the rates of exchange with the effect of the export of capital in general upon these rates; the export being in both cases not as a means of paying or buying, but for capital investment. In the first place, it goes without saying that whether so many millions of pounds sterling are sent to India in precious metal or iron rails, to be invested in railways there, these are merely two different forms of transferring the same amount of capital to another country; namely, a transfer which does not enter the calculation of ordinary mercantile business, and for which the exporting country expects no other return than the future annual revenue from the income of these railways. If this export is made in the form of precious metal, it will exert a direct influence upon the money-market and with it upon the interest rate of the country exporting this precious metal; if not necessarily under all circumstances, then under the previously outlined conditions, since it is precious metal and as such is directly loanable money-capital and the basis of the entire money system. Similarly, this export also directly affects the rate of exchange. Precious metal is exported only for the reason, and to the extent, that bills of exchange, say on India, which are offered in the London money-market, do not suffice to make these extra remittances. In other words, there is a demand for Indian bills of exchange which exceeds their supply, and so the rates turn for a time against England, not because it is in debt to India, but because it has to send extraordinary sums to India. In the long run, such a shipment of precious metal to India must have the effect of increasing the Indian demand for English commodities, because it indirectly increases the consuming power of India for European goods. But, if the capital is shipped in the form of rails, etc., it cannot have any influence on the rates of exchange, since India has no return payment to make for it. Precisely for this reason, it need not have any influence on the money-market. Wilson seeks to establish the existence of such an influence by declaring that such an extra expenditure would bring about an additional demand for money accommodation and would thus influence the interest rate. This may be the case; but to maintain that it must take place under all circumstances is totally wrong. No matter where the rails are shipped and whether laid on English or Indian soil, they represent nothing but a definite expansion of English production in a particular sphere. To contend that an expansion of production, even within very broad limits, cannot take place without driving up the interest rate, is absurd. Money accommodation, i.e., the amount of business transacted which includes credit operations, may grow; but these credit operations can increase while the interest rate remains unchanged. This was actually the case during the railway mania in England in the forties. The interest rate did not rise. And it is evident that, so far as actual capital is concerned, in this case commodities, the effect on the money-market will he just the same, whether these commodities are destined for foreign countries or for domestic consumption. It could only make a difference when capital investments by England in foreign countries exerted a restraining influence upon its commercial exports, i.e., exports for which payment must be made, thus giving rise to a return flow, or to the extent that these capital investments are already general symptoms indicating the over-expansion of credit and the initiation of swindling operations.
In the following, Wilson puts the questions and Newmarch replies.
"1786. On a former day you stated, with reference to the demand for silver for the East, that you believed that the exchanges with India were in favour of this country, notwithstanding the large amount of bullion that is continually transmitted to the East; have you any ground for supposing the exchanges to be in favour of this country? — Yes, I have.... I find that the real value of the exports from the United Kingdom to India in 1851 was £7,420,000; to that is to be added the amount of India House drafts, that is, the funds drawn from India by the East India Company for the purpose of their own expenditure. Those drafts in that year amounted to £3,200,000, making, therefore, the total export from the United Kingdom to India £10,620,000. In 1855... the actual value of the export of goods from the United Kingdom had risen to £10,350,000 and the India House drafts were £3,700,000, making, therefore, the total export from this country £14,050,000. Now as regards 1851, I believe there are no means of stating what was the real value of the import of goods from India to this country, but in 1854 and 1855 we have a statement of the real value; in 1855, the total real value of the imports of goods from India to this country was £12,670,000 and that sum, compared with the £14,050,000 I have mentioned, left a balance in favour of the United Kingdom, as regards the direct trade between the two countries, of £1,380,000" [B. A. 1857].
Thereupon Wilson remarks that the rates of exchange are also affected by indirect commerce. For instance, exports from India to Australia and North America are covered by drafts on London, and therefore affect the rate of exchange just as though the commodities had gone directly from India to England. Furthermore, when India and China are considered together, the balance is against England, since China has constantly to make heavy payments to India for opium, and England has to make payments to China, so that the sums go by this circuitous route to India (1787, 1788).
1791. Wilson now asks if the effect on the rates of exchange will not be the same whether capital
"went in the form of iron rails and locomotives, or whether it went in the form of coin."
Newmarch correctly answers:
"The £12 million which have been sent during the last few years to India for railway construction served to purchase an annuity which India has to pay at regular intervals to England. "But as far as regards the immediate operation on the bullion market, the investments of the £12 million would only be operative as far as bullion was required to be sent out for actual money disbursements."
1797. [Weguelin asks:) "If no return is made for this iron (rails), how can it be said to affect the exchanges? — I do not think that that part of the expenditure which is sent out in the form of commodities affects the computation of the exchange.... The computation of the exchange between two countries is affected, one might say, solely by the quantity of obligations or bills offering in one country, as compared with the quantity offering in the other country against it; that is the rationale of the exchange. Now, as regards the transmission of those £12,000,000, the money in the first place is subscribed in this country ... now, if the nature of the transaction was such that the whole of that £12,000,000 was required to be laid down in Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras in treasure ... a sudden demand would very violently operate upon the price of silver, and upon the exchange, just the same as if the India Company were to give notice tomorrow that their drafts were to be raised from £3,000,000 to £12,000,000. But half of those £12,000,000 is spent ... in buying commodities in this country ... iron rails and timber, and other materials it is an expenditure in this country of the capital of this country for a particular kind of commodity to be sent out to India, and there is an end of it." — "1798. [Weguelin:] But the production of those articles of iron and timber necessary for the railways produces a large consumption of foreign articles, which might affect the exchange? — Certainly."
Wilson now thinks that iron represents labour to a large extent, and that the wage paid for this labour largely represents imported goods (1799), and then questions further:
"1801. But speaking quite generally, it would have the effect of turning the exchanges against this country if you sent abroad the articles which were produced by the consumption of the imported articles without receiving any remittance for them either in the shape of produce or otherwise? — That principle is exactly what took place in this country during the time of the great railway expenditure . For three or four or five years, you spent upon railways £30,000,000, nearly the whole of which went in the payment of wages. You sustained in three years a larger population employed in constructing railways, and locomotives, and carriages, and stations than you employed in the whole of the factory districts. The people ... spent those wages in buying tea and sugar and spirits and other foreign commodities; those commodities were imported; but it was a fact, that during the time this great expenditure was going on the foreign exchanges between this country and other countries were not materially deranged. There was no efflux of bullion, on the contrary, there was rather an influx."
1802. Wilson insists that with an equalised trade balance and par rates between England and India the extra shipment of iron and locomotives "would affect the exchanges with India." Newmarch cannot see it that way so long as the rails are sent out as capital investment and India has no payment to make for them in one form or another; he adds:
"I agree with the principle that no one country can have permanently against itself an adverse state of exchange with all the other countries, with which it deals; an adverse exchange with one country necessarily produces a favourable exchange with another."
Wilson retorts with this triviality:
"1803. But would not a transfer of capital be the same whether it was sent in one form or another? — As regards the obligation it would." — "1804. The effect therefore of making railways in India, whether you send bullion or whether you send materials, would be the same upon the capital-market here in increasing the value of capital as if the whole was sent out in bullion?
If iron prices did not rise, it was in any case proof that the "value" of "capital" contained in the rails had not been increased. What we are here concerned with is the value of money-capital, i.e., the interest rate. Wilson would like to identify money-capital with capital in general. The simple fact is essentially that 12 million were subscribed in England for Indian railways. This is a matter which has nothing directly to do with the rates of exchange, and the designation of the £12 million is also the same to the money-market. If the money-market is in good shape, it need not produce any effect at all on it, just as the English railway subscriptions in 1844 and 1845 left the money-market unaffected. If the money-market is already in somewhat difficult straits, the interest rate might indeed be affected by it, but certainly only in an upward direction, and this, according to Wilson's theory, would favourably affect the rates of exchange for England, that is, it would work against the tendency to export precious metal; if not to India, then to some other country. Mr. Wilson jumps from one thing to another. In Question 1802 it is the rates of exchange that are supposed to be affected, and In Question 1804 the "value of capital" — which are two very different things. The interest rate may affect the rates of exchange, and the rates of exchange may affect the interest rate, but the latter can be stable while the rates of exchange fluctuate, and the rates of exchange can be stable while the interest rate fluctuates. Wilson cannot get it through his head that the mere form in which capital is shipped abroad makes such a difference in the effect, i.e., that the difference in the form of capital is of such importance, and particularly its money-form, which runs very much counter to enlightened economy. Newmarch replies to Wilson one-sidedly in that he does not indicate that he has jumped so suddenly and without reason from rate of exchange to interest rate. Newmarch answers Question 1804 with uncertainty and equivocation:
"No doubt, if there is a demand for £12,000,000 to be raised, it is immaterial, as regards the general rate of interest, whether that £12 million is required to be sent in bullion or in materials. I think, however"
[a fine transition, this "however," when he intends to say the exact opposite]
"it is not quite immaterial"
[it is immaterial, but, nevertheless, it is not immaterial]
"because in the one case the £6 million would be returned immediately; in the other case it would not be returned so rapidly. Therefore it would make some"
"difference, whether the £6 million was expended in this country or sent wholly out of it."
What does he mean when he says six million would return immediately? In so far as the £6 million have been expended in England, they exist in rails, locomotives, etc., which are shipped to India, whence they do not return; their value returns very slowly through amortisation, whereas the six million in precious metal may perhaps return very quickly in kind. In so far as the six million have been expended in wages, they have been consumed; but the money used for payment circulates in the country the same as ever, or forms a reserve. The same holds true for the profits of rail producers and that portion of the six million which replaces their constant capital. Thus, this ambiguous statement about returns is used by Newmarch only to avoid saying directly: The money has remained in the country, and in so far as it serves as loanable money-capital the difference for the money-market (aside from the possibility that circulation could have absorbed more coin) is only that it is charged to the account of A instead of B. An investment of this kind, where capital is transferred to other countries in commodities, not in precious metal, can affect the rate of exchange (but not the rate of exchange with the country in which the exported capital is invested) only in so far as the production of these exported commodities requires an additional import of other foreign commodities. This production then cannot balance out the additional import. However, the same thing happens with every export on credit, no matter whether intended for capital investment or ordinary commercial purposes. Moreover, this additional import can also call forth by way of reaction an additional demand for English goods, for instance, on the part of the colonies or the United States.
Previously (1786), Newmarch stated that, owing to drafts of the East India Company, exports from England to India were larger than imports. Sir Charles Wood cross-examines him on this score. This preponderance of English exports to India over imports from India is actually brought about by imports from India for which England does not pay any equivalent. The drafts of the East India Company (now the East India government) reserve themselves into a tribute levied on India. For instance, in 1855, imports from India to England amounted to £12,670,000; English exports to India amounted to £10,350,000; balance in India's favour £2,250,000. [i.e, approximately 2¼ million: more precisely, £2,320,000. — Ed.]
"If that was the whole state of the case, that £2,250,000 would have to be remitted in some form to India. But then come in the advertisements from the India House. The India House advertise to this effect that they are prepared to grant drafts on the various presidencies in India to the extent of £3,250,000."
[This amount was levied for the London expenses of the East India Company and for the dividends to be paid to stockholders.]
"And that not merely liquidates the £2,250,000 which arose out of the course of trade, but it presents £1,000,000 of surplus" (1917) [B. A. 1857].
"1922. [Wood:] Then the effect of those India House drafts is not to increase the exports to India, but pro tanto to diminish them?"
[This should read: to reduce the necessity of covering the imports from India by exports to that country to the same amount.] Mr. Newmarch explains this by saying that the British import "good government" into India for these £3,700,000 (1925). Wood, as a former Minister for India, knows full well the kind of "good government" which the British import to India, and correctly replies with irony:
"1926. Then the export, which, you state, is caused by the East India drafts, is an export of good government, and not of produce."
Since England exports a good deal "in this way" for "good government" and as capital investment in foreign countries — thus obtaining imports which are completely independent of the ordinary run of business, tribute partly for exported "good government" and partly in the form of revenues from capital invested in the colonies or elsewhere, i.e., tribute for which it does not have to pay any equivalent — it is evident that the rates of exchange are not affected when England simply consumes this tribute without exporting anything in return. Hence, it is also evident that the rates of exchange are not affected when it reinvests this tribute, not in England, but productively or unproductively in foreign countries; for instance, when it sends munitions for it to the Crimea. Moreover, to the extent that imports from abroad enter into the revenue of England — of course, they must be paid for in the form of tribute, for which no equivalent return is necessary, or by exchange for this unpaid tribute or in the ordinary course of commerce — England can either consume them or reinvest them as capital. In neither case are the rates of exchange affected, and this is overlooked by the sage Wilson. Whether a domestic or a foreign product constitutes a part of the revenue — whereby the latter case merely requires an exchange of domestic for foreign products — the consumption of this revenue, be it productive or unproductive, alters nothing in the rates of exchange, even though it may alter the scale of production. The following should be read with the foregoing in mind:
1934. Wood asks Newmarch how the shipment of war supplies to the Crimea would affect the rate of exchange with Turkey. Newmarch replies:
"I do not see that the mere transmission of warlike stores would necessarily affect the exchange, but certainly the transmission of treasure would affect the exchange."
In this case he thus distinguishes capital in the form of money from capital in other forms. But now Wilson asks:
"1935. If you make an export of any article to a great extent, for which there is to be no corresponding import"
[Mr. Wilson forgets that there are very considerable imports into England for which corresponding exports have never taken place, except in the form of "good government" or of previously exported investment capital; in any case imports which do not enter into normal commercial movement. But these imports are again exchanged, for instance, for American products, and the circumstance that American goods are exported without corresponding imports does not alter the fact that the value of these imports can be consumed without an equivalent flow abroad; they have been received without reciprocal exports and can therefore be consumed without entering into the balance of trade],
"you do not discharge the foreign debt you have created by your imports"
[but, if you have previously paid for these imports, for instance, by credit given abroad, then no debt is contracted thereby, and the question has nothing to do with the international balance; it resolves itself into productive and unproductive expenditures, no matter whether the products so consumed are domestic or foreign],
"and therefore you must by that transaction affect the exchanges by not discharging the foreign debt, by reason of your export having no corresponding imports? — That is true as regards countries generally."
This lecture by Wilson amounts to saying that every export with no corresponding import is simultaneously an import with no corresponding export, because foreign, i.e., imported, commodities enter into the production of the exported article. The assumption is that every export of this kind is based on, or creates, an unpaid import and thus presupposes a debt abroad. This is wrong, even when the following two circumstances are disregarded: 1) England receives certain imports free of charge for which it pays no equivalent, e.g., a portion of its Indian imports. It can exchange these for American imports and export the latter without importing in return; in any case, so far as the value is concerned, it has only exported something that has cost it nothing. 2) England may have paid for imports, for instance, American imports, which constitute additional capital; if it consumes these unproductively, for instance, as war materials, this does not constitute any debt towards America and does not affect the rate of exchange with America. Newmarch contradicts himself in Nos. 1934 and 1935, and Wood calls this to his attention in No. 1938:
"If no portion of the goods which are employed in the manufacture of the articles exported without return [war materials], came from the country to which those articles are sent, how is the exchange with that country affected; supposing the trade with Turkey to be in an ordinary state of equilibrium, how is the exchange between this country and Turkey affected by the export of warlike stores to the Crimea?"
Here Newmarch loses his equanimity; he forgets that he has answered the same simple question correctly in No. 1934, and says:
"We seem, I think, to have exhausted the practical question, and to have now attained a very elevated region of metaphysical discussion."
[Wilson has still another version of his claim that the rate of exchange is affected by every transfer of capital from one country to another, no matter whether in the form of precious metal or commodities. Wilson knows, of course, that the rate of exchange is affected by the interest rate, particularly by the relation of the rates of interest prevailing in the two countries whose mutual rates of exchange are under discussion. If he can now demonstrate that surpluses of capital in general, i.e., in the first place, commodities of all kinds including precious metal, have a hand in influencing the interest rate, then he is a step closer to his goal; a transfer of any considerable portion of this capital to some other country must then change the interest rate in both countries, with the change taking place in opposite directions. Thereby, in a secondary way, the rate of exchange between both countries is also altered. — F. E.]
He then says in the Economist, May 22, 1847, page 574, which he edited at the time:
"No doubt, however, such abundance of capital as is indicated by large stocks of commodities of all kinds, including bullion, would necessarily lead, not only to low prices of commodities in general, but also to a lower rate of interest for the use of capital. If we have a stock of commodities on hand, which is sufficient to serve the country for two years to come, a command over those commodities would be obtained for a given period, at a much lower rate than if the stocks were barely sufficient to last us two months. All loans of money, in whatever shape they are made, are simply a transfer of a command over commodities from one to another. Whenever, therefore, commodities are abundant, the interest of money must be low, and when they are scarce, the interest of money must be high. As commodities become abundant, the number of sellers, in proportion to the number of buyers, increases, and, in proportion as the quantity is more than is required for immediate consumption, so must a larger portion be kept for future use. Under these circumstances, the terms on which a holder becomes willing to sell for a future payment, or on credit, become lower than if he were certain that his whole stock would be required within a few weeks".
In regard to the statement, it is to be noted that a large influx in precious metal can take place simultaneously with a contraction in production, as is always the case in the period following a crisis. In the subsequent phase, precious metal may come in from countries which mainly produce precious metal; imports of other commodities are generally balanced by exports during this period. In these two phases, the interest rate is low and rises but slowly; we have already discussed the reason for this. This low interest rate could always be explained without recourse to the influence of any "large stocks of commodities of all kinds." And how is this influence to take place? The low price of cotton, for instance, renders possible the high profits of the spinners, etc. Now why is the interest rate low? Surely not because the profit, which may be made on borrowed capital, is high. But simply and solely because, under existing conditions, the demand for loan capital does not grow in proportion to this profit; in other words, because loan capital has a movement different from industrial capital. What the Economist wants to prove is exactly the reverse, namely, that the movements of loan capital are identical with those of industrial capital.
In regard to the statement, if we reduce the absurd assumption of stocks for two years in advance to the point where it begins to take on some meaning, it signifies that the market is overstocked. This would cause a fall in prices. Less would have to be paid for a bale of cotton. This would by no means justify the conclusion that money for the purchase of this cotton is more easily borrowed. This depends on the state of the money-market. If money can be borrowed more easily, it is only because commercial credit is in a state requiring it to make less use than usual of bank credit. The commodities glutting the market are either means of subsistence or means of production. The low price of both increases the industrial capitalist's profit. Why should it depress the interest rate, unless it be through the antithesis, rather than the identity, between the abundance of industrial capital and the demand for money accommodation? Circumstances are such that the merchant and industrial capitalist can more easily advance credit to one another; owing to this facilitation of commercial credit, both industrialist as well as merchant need less bank credit; hence the interest rate can be low. This low interest rate has nothing to do with the influx in precious metal, although both may run parallel to each other, and the same causes bringing about low prices of imported articles may also produce a surplus of imported precious metal. If the import market were really glutted, it would prove that a decrease in the demand for imported articles had taken place, and this would be inexplicable at low prices, unless it were attributed to a contraction of domestic industrial production; but this, again, would be inexplicable, so long as there is excessive importing at low prices. A mass of absurdities — in order to prove that a fall in prices = a fall in the interest rate. Both may simultaneously exist side by side. But if they do, it will be a reflection of the opposition in the directions of the movement of industrial capital and the movement of loanable money-capital. It will not be a reflection of their identity.
In regard to the statement, it is hard to understand even after this exposition why money interest should be low when commodities are available in abundance. If commodities are cheap, then I may need only £1,000 instead of the previous £2,000 to buy a definite quantity. But perhaps I nevertheless invest £2,000, and thus buy twice the quantity which I could have bought formerly. In this way, I expand my business by advancing the same capital, which I may have to borrow. I buy £2,000 worth of commodities, the same as before. My demand on the money-market therefore remains the same, even though my demand on the commodity-market rises with the fall in commodity-prices. But if this demand for commodities should decrease, that is, if production should not expand with the fall in commodity-prices, an event which would contradict all the laws of the Economist, then the demand for loanable money-capital would decrease, although the profit would increase. But this increasing profit would create a demand for loan capital. Incidentally, a low level of commodity-prices may be due to three causes. First, to lack of demand. In such a case, the interest rate is low because production is paralysed and not because commodities are cheap, for the low prices are but a rejection of that paralysis. Second, it may be due to supply exceeding demand. This may be the result of a glut on the market, etc., which may lead to a crisis and coincide with a high interest rate during the crisis itself; or, it may be the result of a fall in the value of commodities, so that the same demand can be satisfied at lower prices. Why should the interest rate fall in the last case? Because profits increase? If this were due to less money-capital being required for obtaining the same productive or commodity-capital, it would merely prove that profit and interest are inversely proportional to each other. In any case, the general statement of the Economist is false. Low money-prices for commodities and a low interest rate do not necessarily go together. Otherwise, the interest rate would be lowest in the poorest countries, where money-prices for produce are lowest, and highest in the richest countries, where money-prices for agricultural products are highest. In general, the Economist admits: If the value of money falls, it exerts no influence on the interest rate. £100 bring £105 the same as ever. If the £100 are worth less, so are the £5 interest. This relation is not affected by the appreciation or depreciation of the original sum. Considered from the point of view of value, a definite quantity of commodities is equal to a definite sum of money. If this value increases, it is equal to a larger sum of money. The opposite is true when it falls. If the value is equal to 2,000, then 5% = 100; if it is equal to 1,000, then 5% = 50. But this does not alter the interest rate in any way. The rational part of this matter is merely that greater money accommodation is required when it takes £2,000 to sell the same quantity of commodities than when only £1,000 are required. But this merely shows that profit and interest are here inversely proportional to each other. For the lower the prices of the components of constant and variable capital, the higher the profit and the lower the interest. But the opposite can also be and is often the case. For instance, cotton may be cheap because no demand exists for yarn and fabrics; and cotton may be relatively expensive because a large profit in the cotton industry creates a great demand for it. On the other hand, the profits of industrialists may be high precisely because the price of cotton is low. Hubbard's table proves that the interest rate and the prices of commodities execute completely independent movements, whereas the movements of the interest rate adhere closely to those of the metal reserve and the rates of exchange.
The Economist states:
"Whenever, therefore, commodities are abundant, the interest of money must be low."
Precisely the opposite obtains during crises. Commodities are superabundant, inconvertible into money, and therefore the interest rate is high; in another phase of the cycle the demand for commodities is great and therefore quick returns are made, but at the same time, prices are rising and because of the quick returns the interest rate is low.
"When they [the commodities] are scarce, the interest of money must be high."
The opposite is again true in the slack period following a crisis. Commodities are scarce, absolutely speaking, not with reference to demand; and the interest rate is low.
In regard to the statement, it is pretty evident that an owner of commodities, provided he can sell the latter at all, will get rid of them at a lower price when the market is glutted than he would when there is a prospect of the existing supply becoming rapidly exhausted. But why the interest rate should fall because of that is not so clear.
If the market is glutted with imported commodities, the interest rate may rise as a result of an increased demand on the part of the owners for loan capital, in order to avoid dumping their commodities on the market. The interest rate may fall, because the fluidity of commercial credit may keep the demand for bank credit relatively low.
The Economist mentions the rapid effect on rates of exchange in 1847 of the raising of the interest rate and other circumstances exerting pressure on the money-market. But it should be borne in mind that the gold drain continued until the end of April in spite of the change in the rates of exchange; a turn did not take place here until early May.
On January 1, 1847, the metal reserve of the Bank was £15,066,691; the interest rate 3½%; three months' rates of exchange on Paris 25.75; on Hamburg 13.10; on Amsterdam 12.3¼. On March 5, the metal reserve had fallen to £11,595,535; the discount had risen to 4%; the rate of exchange fell to 25.67½ on Paris; 13.9¼ on Hamburg; and 12.2½ on Amsterdam. The drain of gold continued. See the following table:
|1847||Bullion Reserve of
the Bank of England
|March 20||11,231,630||Bank disc. 4%||25.67½||13.9¾||12.2½|
|April 3||10,246,410||,, ,, 5%||25.80||13.10||12.3½|
|April 10||9,867,053||Money very scarce||25.90||13.10½||12.4½|
|April 17||9,329,841||Bank disc. 5.5%||26.02½||13.40¾||12.5½|
|May 4||9,337,746||Increasing pressure||26.45||13.12¾||12.6½|
|May 8||9,588,759||Highest pressure||26.27½||13.15½||12.7¾|
In 1847, the total export of precious metal from England amounted to £8,602,597.
Of this to the
In spite of the change in the rates at the end of March, the drain of gold continued for another full month, probably to the United States.
"We thus see" [says the Economist, August 2, 1847, p. 954] "how rapid and striking was the effect of a rise in the rate of interest, and the pressure which ensued in correcting an adverse exchange, and in turning the tide of bullion back to this country. This effect was produced entirely independent of the balance of trade. A higher rate of interest caused a lower price of securities, both foreign and English, and induced large purchases to be made on foreign account, which increased the amount of bills to be drawn from this country, while, on the other hand, the high rate of interest and the difficulty of obtaining money was such that the demand of those bills fell off, while their amount increased.... For the same cause orders for imports were countermanded, and investments of English funds abroad were realised and brought home for employment here. Thus, for example, we read in the Rio de Janeiro Price Current of the 10th May, 'Exchange [on England] has experienced a further decline, principally caused by a pressure on the market for remittance of the proceeds of large sales of [Brazilian] government stock, on English account. Capital belonging to this country, which has been invested in public and other securities abroad, when the interest was very low here, was thus again brought back when the interest became high."
India alone has to pay 5 million in tribute for "good government," interest and dividends on British capital, etc., not counting the sums sent home annually by officials as savings from their salaries, or by English merchants as part of their profit to be invested in England. Every British colony continually has to make large remittances for the same reason. Most of the banks in Australia, the West Indies, and Canada, have been founded with English capital, and the dividends are payable in England. In the same way, England owns many foreign securities — European, North American and South American — on which it draws interest. In addition to this it has interests in foreign railways, canals, mines, etc., with corresponding dividends. Remittance on all these items is made almost exclusively in products over and above the amount of English exports. On the other hand what is sent from England to owners of English securities abroad and for consumption by Englishmen abroad, is insignificant in comparison.
The question, so far as it concerns the balance of trade and the rates of exchange, is "at any particular moment one of time."
"Practically speaking ... England gives long credits upon her exports, while the imports are paid for in ready money. At particular moments this difference of practice has a considerable effect upon the exchanges. At a time when our exports are very considerably increasing, e.g., 1850, a continual increase of investment of British capital must be going on ... in this way remittances of 1850 may be made against goods exported in 1849. But if the exports of 1850 exceed those of 1849 by more than 6 million, the practical effect must he that more money is sent abroad, to this amount, than returned in the same year. And in this way an effect is produced on the rates of exchange and the rate of interest. When, on the contrary, our trade is depressed after a commercial crisis, and when our exports are much reduced, the remittances due for the past years of larger exports greatly exceed the value of our imports; the exchanges become correspondingly in our favour, capital rapidly accumulates at home, and the rate of interest becomes less." (Economist, January 11, 1851 [p. 30].)
The foreign rates of exchange can change:
1) In consequence of the immediate balance of payments, no matter what the cause — a purely mercantile one, or capital investment abroad, or government expenditures for wars, etc., in so far as cash payments thereby are made to foreign countries.
2) In consequence of money depreciation — whether metal or paper — in a particular country. This is purely nominal. If £1 should represent only half as much money as formerly, it would naturally be counted as 12.5 francs instead of 25 francs.
3) When it is a matter of a rate of exchange between countries, of which one uses silver and the other gold as "money," the rate of exchange depends upon the relative fluctuations of the value of these two metals, since these necessarily alter the parity between them. This is illustrated by the rates of exchange in 1850; they were unfavourable to England, although that country's export rose enormously. Yet no drain of gold took place. This was a result of a momentary rise in the value of silver as against gold. (See Economist, November 30, 1850 [pp. 1319-1320].)
Parity for the rate of exchange of £1 is: Paris, 25 francs 20 cent.; Hamburg, 13 marks banko 10.5 shillings; Amsterdam, 11 florins 97 cent. To the extent that the Paris rate of exchange exceeds 25.20 francs, it becomes more favourable to the English debtor of France, or the buyer of French commodities. In both cases he needs fewer pounds sterling in order to accomplish his purpose. — In remoter countries, where precious metal is not easily obtained when bills of exchange are scarce and insufficient for remittances to be made to England, the natural effect is to drive up the prices of such products as are generally shipped to England since a greater demand arises for them, in order to send them to England in place of bills of exchange; this is often the case in India.
An unfavourable rate of exchange, or even a drain on gold, can take place when there is a great abundance of money in England, the interest rate is low and the price for securities is high.
In the course of 1848 England received large quantities of silver from India, since good bills of exchange were rare and mediocre ones were not readily accepted in consequence of the crisis of 1847 and the general lack of credit in business with India. All this silver had barely arrived before it found its way to the continent, where the revolution led to the formation of many hoards. The bulk of the same silver made the trip back to India in 1850, since the rate of exchange now made this profitable.
The monetary system is essentially a Catholic institution, the credit system essentially Protestant. "The Scotch hate gold." In the form of paper the monetary existence of commodities is only a social one. It is Faith that brings salvation. Faith in money-value as the immanent spirit of commodities, faith in the mode of production and its predestined order, faith in the individual agents of production as mere personifications of self-expanding capital. But the credit system does not emancipate itself from the basis of the monetary system any more than Protestantism has emancipated itself from the foundations of Catholicism.
14. The effect this had on the money-market is indicated by the following testimony of Newmarch: "1509. At the close of 1853, there was a considerable apprehension in the public mind, and in September of that year the Bank of England raised its discount on three occasions... In the early part of October there was a considerable degree of apprehension and alarm in the public mind. That apprehension and alarm was relieved to a very great extent before the end of November, and was almost wholly removed, in consequence of the arrival of nearly £5,000,000 of treasure from Australia... The same thing happened in the autumn of 1854, by the arrival in the months of October and November of nearly £6,000,000 of treasure. The same thing happened again in the autumn of 1855, which we know was a period of excitement and alarm, by the arrivals, in the three months of September, October and November, of nearly £8,000,000 of treasure; and then at the close of last year, 1856, we find exactly the same occurrence. In truth, I might appeal to the observation almost of any member of the Committee, whether the natural and complete solvent to which we have got into the habit of looking for any financial pressure, is not the arrival of a gold ship" [B. A. 1857].
15. According to Newmarch, a drain of gold to foreign countries can arise from three causes: 1) from purely commercial conditions, that is, if imports have exceeded exports, as was the case in 1836 to 1844, and again in 1847 — principally a heavy import of grain; 2) in order to secure the means for investing English capital in foreign countries, as in 1857 for railways in India, and 3) for definite expenditures abroad, as in 1853 and 1854 for war purposes in the Orient.
16. 1918. Newmarch. "When you combine India and China, when you bring into account the transactions between India and Australia, and the still more important transactions between China and the United States, the trade being a triangular one, and the adjustment taking place through us ... then it is true that the balance of trade was not merely against this country, but against France, and against the United States." — (B. A. 1857.)
17. See, for instance, the ridiculous reply of Weguelin [B.A. 1857] where he states that a drain of five million in gold is so much capital less, and thus attempts to explain certain phenomena which do not take place when there is an infinitely greater increase in prices or depreciation, expansion or contraction of real industrial capital. On the other hand, it is just as ridiculous to attempt to explain these phenomena directly as symptoms of an expansion or contraction of the mass of real capital (considered from the viewpoint of its material elements).
18. Newmarch (B. A. 1857): "1364. The reserve of bullion in the Bank of England is, in truth, the central reserve or hoard of treasure upon which the whole trade of the country is made to turn; all the other banks in the country look to the Bank of England as the central hoard or reservoir from which they are to draw their reserve of coin; and it is upon that hoard or reservoir that the action of the foreign exchanges always falls."
19. "Practically, then, both Mr. Tooke and Mr. Loyd would meet an additional demand for gold ... by an early ... contraction of credit by raising the rate of interest, and restricting advances of capital.... But the principles of Mr. Loyd lead to certain [legal] restrictions and regulations which produce the most serious inconvenience." (Economist [December 11], 1847, p. 1418.)
20. "You quite agree that there is no mode by which you can modify the demand for bullion except by raising the rate of interest?" — Chapman [associate member of the great bill-brokers' firm of Overend, Gurney & Co.]: "I should say so.... When our bullion falls to a certain point, we had better sound the tocsin at once and say we are drooping, and every man sending money abroad must do it at his own peril." (B. A. 1857, Evidence No. 5057.)
Next: Chapter 36