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::: Flaxscrip & Hempscrip :::

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  • DanC
    ... by Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson Flaxscrip was first introduced into Discordian groups by the mysterious Malaclypse the Younger, K.S.C., in 1968.
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 13, 2011
      ::: Flaxscrip & Hempscrip :::

      by Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson

      Flaxscrip was first introduced into Discordian groups by the mysterious
      Malaclypse the Younger, K.S.C., in 1968. Hempscrip followed the year
      after, issued by Dr. Mordecai Malignatus, K.N.S. (In the novel, taking
      one of our few liberties with historical truth, we move these coinages
      backward in time and attribute hempscrip to the Justified Ancients of

      The *idea* behind flaxscrip, of course, is as old as history; there was
      private money long before there was government money. The first
      revolutionary (or reformist) use of this idea, as a check against
      galloping usury and high interest rates, was the foundation of "Banks of
      Piety" by the Dominican order of the Catholic Church in the late middle
      ages. (See Tawney, _Religion and the Rise of Capitalism_.) The
      Dominicans, having discovered that preaching against usury did not deter
      the usurer, founded their own banks and provided loans without interest;
      this "ethical competition" (as Josiah Warren later called it) drove the
      commercial banks out of the areas where the Dominicans practiced it.
      Similar private currency, loaned at a low rate of interest (but not at
      no interest), was provided by Scots banks until the British government,
      acting on behalf of the monopoly of the Bank of England, stopped this
      exercise of free enterprise. (See Muellen, _Free Banking_.) The same
      idea was tried successfully in the American colonies before the
      Revolution, and again was suppressed by the British government, which
      some heretical historians regard as a more direct cause of the American
      Revolution than the taxes mentioned in most schoolbooks. (See Ezra
      Pound, _Impact_, and additional sources cited therein.)

      During the nineteenth century many anarchists and individualists
      attempted to issue low-interest or no-interest private currencies.
      _Mutual Banking_, by Colonel William Greene, and _True Civilization_, by
      Josiah Warren, are records of two such attempts, by their instigators.
      Lysander Spooner, an anarchist who was also a constitutional lawyer,
      argued at length that Congress had no authority to suppress such private
      currencies (see his _Our Financiers: Their Ignorance, Usurpations and
      Frauds_). A general overview of such efforts at free enterprise, soon
      crushed by the Capitalist State, is given by James M. Martin in his _Men
      Against the State_, and by Rudolph Rocker in _Pioneers of American
      Freedom_ (an ironic title, since his pioneers all lost their major
      battles). Lawrence Labadie, of Suffern, N.Y., has collected (but not yet
      published) records of 1,000 such experiments; one of the present
      authors, Robert Anton Wilson, unearthed in 1962 the tale of a
      no-interest currency, privately issued, in Yellow Springs, Ohio, during
      the 1930s depression. (This was an emergency measure by certain local
      businessmen, who did not fully appreciate the principle involved, and
      was abandoned as soon as the "tight-money" squeeze ended and Roosevelt
      began flooding us all with Federal Reserve notes.)

      It is traditional among liberal historians to dismiss such endeavors as
      "funny-money schemes." They have never explained why government money is
      any less hilarious. (That used in the U.S. now [1975], for instance, is
      actually worth 47 percent of its "declared" face value). All money is
      funny, if you stop to think about it, but no private currency, competing
      on a free market, could ever be quite so comical (and tragic) as the
      notes now bearing the magic imprint of Uncle Sam -- and backed only by
      his promise (or threat) that, come hell or high water, by God he'll make
      it good by taxing our descendants into the infinite generation to pay
      the interest on it. The National Debt, so called, is of course, nothing
      else but the debt we owe the bankers who "loaned" this money to Uncle
      after he kindly gave them the credit which enabled them to make this
      loan. Hempscrip or even acidscrip or peyotescrip could never be quite so
      clownish as this system, which only the Illuminati (if they really
      exist) could have dreamed up. The system has but one advantage: It makes
      bankers richer every year. Nobody else, from the industrial capitalist
      or "captain of industry" to the coal-miner, profits from it in any way,
      and all pay the taxes, which become the interest payments, which makes
      the bankers richer. If the Illuminati did not exist, it would be
      necessary to invent them -- such a system can be explained in no other
      way, except by those cynics who hold that human stupidity is infinite.

      The idea behind hempscrip is more radical than the notion of
      private-enterprise currency per se. Hempscrip, as employed in the novel,
      depreciates; it is, thus, not merely a *no-interest* currency, but a
      *negative-interest* currency. The lender literally pays the borrower to
      take it away for a while. It was invented by German business-economist
      Silvio Gesell, and is described in his _Natural Economic Order_ and in
      professor Irving Fisher's _Stamp Script_.

      Gresham's Law, like most of the "laws" taught in State-supported public
      schools, is not quite true (at least, not in the form in which it is
      usually taught). *"Bad money drives out good" holds only in
      authoritarian societies, not in libertarian societies.* (Gresham was
      clear-minded enough to state explicitly that he was only describing
      authoritarian societies: *his* formulation of his own "Law" begins with
      the words "If the king issueth two moneys ...," thereby implying the
      State must exist if the "Law" is to operate.) *In a libertarian society,
      good money will drive out the bad.* This Utopian proposition -- which
      the sane reader will regard with acute skepticism -- has been seen to be
      sound by a rigorously logical demonstration, based on the axioms of
      economics, in _The Cause of Business Depressions_ by Hugo Bilgrim and
      Edward Levy.

      Economists can "prove" all sorts of things from axioms and few of them
      turn out to be true. Yes. We saved for a footnote the information that
      at least four empirical demonstrations of the reverse of Gresham's Law
      are on record. Three of them, employing small volunteer communities in
      frontier U.S.A. circa 1830-1860, are recorded in Josiah Warren's _True
      Civilization_. The fourth, employing contemporary college students in a
      psychology laboratory, is the subject of a recent Master's thesis by
      associate professor Don Werkheiser of Central State College,
      Wilberforce, Ohio.

      [Appendix Vau of The Illuminatus! Trilogy]
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