EDISON SUGGESTS GOVERN
MENT CONTROL OF PR,)DUCE
Wellesley Hills, Mass. November 11
1922. Thomas Edison has submitted
to the staff engineers of the Babson
Institute his plan for establishing
business and breaking the backbone
of the High Cost of Living. He has
authorized the following popular de
scription of his theory.
With characteristic audacity, he
goes to the heart of economic life. He
proposes to afford the ordinary con
sumer cheaper commodities, to fur
nish the producer wit-r ready capital
and security and to eliminate such
parasites as unnecessary middlemen
and dishonest speculators-by estab
lishing the government as the coun
try's great Middleman ant y making
ordinary commodities as well as gold
the basis of currency.
The Government On The Job
Sometime ago, at the suggestion
of Henry Ford and others, Edison
devoted himself to study the causes
of economic unrest. His solution of
this momentous problem is now under
the scrutiny of the ablest economists
and business experts at Wellesley.
His plan is simple and startling.
He would have the government list
some forty basic commodities, such
as cotton, corn, copper, wheat, flax,
iron, and then taking the prices of
the last twenty-five years as a basis,
establish an average price for each.
This price he would have determined
in terms of gold and called a unit or
He would have the government
take over or establish great ware
houses and storage plants, When the
producer is ready to market his prod
uct he brings it to the agent at the
government warehouse, who gives
him a certificate covering his whole
deposit and at the same time pays
him half of the value of the deposit,
's computed on the 25-year average
basis, in cash. The government then
stores the product.
When a dealer wants wheat, coal,
cotton, or any other commodity he
buys the producer's certificate on
the market; he presents it at a ware
house, pays the government back the
money advanced, and takes the prod
The government-fixed average price
safeguards the producer from the
ravages o dishonest. speculation. The
one-half payment he receives from
the government affords him a ready
capital. The certificate he receives
is put on the market subject to the
ordinary laws of supply and demand.
But the certificate does not depend on
the gold in Treasury vaults but on
the commodity in the warehouse. In
one sense the Edison plan is a return
to the ancient system of barter as
fa- as the complexity of modern life
How the Far'mers Would Find It.
Unit money in the Edison plan is
not money in the popular conception
-that is,metal money with a metal
basis. The day when metal furni'sh
ed the most exclusively practical bas
is for a medium of exchange as well
as a measure of value has, according
to Edison, gone by. His money would
still be determined in terms of gold.
But instead of gold in Treasury
vaults being its only basis, you would
hav.e wheat 'in the Government bins,
coal in the Government pits, rice in
storage, cotton in 'the warehouses,
"All articles deposited in the ware
house," said Edison, "bear the same
ratio when loan of unit money is
made, only one kind of unit money
is issuedl together with the dleposit
"Suppose a farmer puts in the
warehouse 1,000 bushels of wheat
graded by the Government as No. 1
Red. The average price for 25 yearg
of this grade, including high war
prices is, say $1.00 per bushel. The
farmer is given $500 in unit money
-he then can hold his wheat by
means of his certificate until he
thinks the price is satisfactory and
thus be independent of the specula
tors who now set the price ahead
months before the crop is reaped.
This certificate is bought on the ex
change, at market price ' now, say
$1.15 for No. 1 Red. The farmer
would get $650--as the wheat is high
er than the 25 year average. If, on
the other hand, it was selling at 96
cents he would only get $460.
"But the unit money would not va
ry. It would always be the same,
because wheat would not be likely
to be sold over a period of one year
for 59 cents. In other words, the
certificate or equity would have to
be valueless to impair the value of
the unit money.
"The averages are changed every
year, a new year being added and the
earliest year of the 25 is dropped.
Backing Up Gold.
"In 4 or 5 years the 25 year average
would be less and the three year high
war prices will bring the average
down so if wheat sold at even 59
cents it wouldl not impair the value
of the unit money.
"If a person wants peanuts he buys
peanu ertificates or if he wants
rice he buys rice certificates, or any
thing else which the Government ac
cepts for storage; hands in the cer
tificate and the amount of unit money
loaned, and the commodity is at his
order for shipment. The unit money
you notice is common to all articles.
"The unit money cannot fluctuate.
The capacity or possibility of fluctu
ation is entirely transferred to the
certificate which is subject to the
prices due to supply and demand.
"It is not necessary for the govern
ment to pass any laws legal tender
or otherwise with unit money.
"This unit money together with
gold for paying foreign balances
mirht well be the basis of our cur
rpncy. The business of the world is
rapidly increasing; in a few years a
single commodity like gold will not
"If it were not for the War we
should not have probably more than
40 per cent of our currency backed
by gold and even that subject to be
ing partly taken away from us. We
should have behind every paper dol
lar commodities of the w;arehouses
type, including gold worth more than
one dollar on forced sr.les.
"As most of our business is done
with credit money which is also based
on credit and commodities, there
seems to be no reason why the pres
ent Reserve Bank and system shoul-!
be disturbed. The commodity or unit
money could be made the legal re
serve instead of gold alone.
Taxes To Build Warehouses
"You note that unit money is re
deemed and again paid out probably
every fifteen months. When wheat
and cotton comes into warehouses un
it money is issued in huge amounts,
just when needed by the farmers.
This automatically solves the bank
ing problems which now arise at peak
:emand, for currency expansion and
contraction of unit money can never
do harm. There is not any illusion in
it. Tt can't stay out because they
must have the unit money to get their
cotton or wheat out.
"Again, these commodities are
quick liquidators. The certificates
can be sold on the Exchange by tele
"In books on the history of bank
ing, I find for eight centuries it's
the same old story-'Suspension of
Specie Payments.' This need never
take place in an agricultural country.
There are a number of administrative
details, such as, if the stored material
is not removed within the time alot
ted the same will be sold at kpublic
auction. The equity after storage
charges is placed to the credit of the
owner as shown on the duplicate cer
"The warehouses are to be built
gradually ovir a period of years oy
money received from taxation. The
arehosing charges include depre
ciation and 5 per cent interest on the.
ost of warehouse and handling ma
Knocking The Bottom Out Of Coal
In the light of current events, the
working of Edison's plan in regard
to coal is interesting.
A coal producer would mine a ton
of coal. This he hauls to the near
est government coal reservoir. The
overnment gives himi a certificate
for one ton of coal and pays him half
of its value, on the 25-year-average
basis, in cash. This enables the pro
(lucer to mine coal every day the year
round, practically financing his opera
tion on the money the Government
turns over to him every (lay.
Now, a buyer wants 100 tons of
hard coil. He purchases certificates
for 100 tons on the r~pen market- at
the prevailing price which has been
determined by supply and demand.
turns these certificates into the Gov
ernment delivers 100 tons of hard coal
to him from the. nearest reservoir.
He in turn, delivers this to your
house, adding areasonable charge to
his cost for shipping and handling.
The Speculator Squelched
The result, in general, would be
this: A ton of hard coal today costs
about $6.60 at the mine-a cost whicn
would be reduced by the steady op
eration allowed under the Edison
plan. The average freight charge is
about $2.50 a ton. The actual net
cost of coal should be about $10.00
which it would be under the Edison
plan. But today it actually costs a
bout $14 a ton, the difference being
created by interest, storage charges
and speculative profit.
"Coal should be: stored," says Edis
on, "in concrete reservoirs sunky in the
ground, 1000 feet long, 80 feet wide,
17 feet deep and kept under water,
(Bituminous coal deteriorates in air.)
The mine owners could then give their
men steady employ9ent and produce
cheaply. Supplies tb all would be
certain and price variations less. The
storage charges would be trifling, and
best of all, the miine companies would
get one half of the value of the coal
in unit money without interest, to
help carry the coal."
The Edison plan would be of great
assistance to the farmer. At present
the farmer sells his wheat because
he must have money to live on. If
he tries to hold it and borrow money
for operation he has to pay an exhor
bitant rate of interest. Nine times
out ofte he must sell his pronduct
when it is in marketable form. It
ts or'dinarily bought by a speculator.
held in'warehouses for higher prices,
and may be sold back and forth a doz
en times at a profit each time before
it finally reaches the hand of the man
ufacturer who must use it. Edison's
plan would enable the farmer to hold
his crop by paying a small warehouse
or storage charge and without paying,
any interest whatever. He could live
on the 50 per cent money that the
government advances him and could
sell the crop whenever he thought the
market was right, but must sell a
percentage each month.
There would necessarily be a cer
tain amount of speculation, but it
would be in the hands of the farmer,
the actual producer of the material,
and not in the hands of a non-pro
ductive trader who is watching the
board in some brokerage office. Price
fluctuations would be gradually re
duced as forced sales by the producer
would be practically eliminated. As
a net result, the farmer would get
more'money for his crop and the mil
ler would pay less for his wheat than
they do today.
Gold Standard An "Absurdity"
It is of interest to note that when
Edison first began to 'work out this
problem he said! "It seems absurd
to me that all our values should be
based on boxes of metal in the Treas
ury. They are put into values, the
vaults are locked, and immediately
everyone belives that all is well.
They are taken out and their contents
distributed and everyone believes that
all is wrong.
"Sometimes a ton or so of the gold
which has been locked up in the Treas
ury vaults in put on a steamer and
sent to Europe, immediately re-ship
ped back to New York and business
stability is brought to pass, this
shuttle-cock business being kept up
because no one comes out with a plan
to stop such childish actions.
"It is an absurdity, but everybody
Anita Stewart in
of a $1.00 I
%4-PK CORN MEAL, 1 LI
VAN CAMP'S PORK AN]
GOLDEN BLEND COFF
has been educated to believe that this
absurdity is common sense-serious
and not to be controverted. Every
body believes because everybody has
been educated to believe that values
can be estab!ished and held stable on
ly by the creation and maintenance
of a standard based on the so-called
precious metals. In reality, civiliza
tion has become too complicated for
the continuance of such a system.
"What is gold's real usefullness ?
It makes pretty jewelry and picture
frames, and is used effectively for
filling teeth. Otherwise it is almost
a wholly useless substance. Yet, we
hold it the standard of all values!"
All that is necessary to put the Ed
ison plan into operation is a govern
ment ruling which would name the
standard prices over the 25 year peri
od, for all basic commodities and set
up the necessary machinery to re
ceive and store the commodities.
Whatever its defects, it would great
ly simplify and stabilize the operation
of all basic industries. It would mean
all'year employment for the majority
of our workers who now'suffer from
seasonal trends. And it would in
large measure reduce the high cost
While the Babson experts are still
studying its ultimate'effects, the plan
offers much for the average citizen
to think about.
COPY SUMMONS FOR RELIEF.
State of South Carolina,
County of Fairfield.
I The S. M. Jones, Plaintiff,
Caesar Mitchell and W. M. Patrick,
To the Defendants Above Named:
You are hereby summoned and re
quired to answer the complaint in
this action of which copy is herewith
served upon you and to serve a copy
of your answer to the said complaint
Y, NOV. 11th
"Sowing the Wind."
ews No. 82. a
ISH TO ANN
ye on sale som
, RICE, 2 LENOX SOAP, 1 OCT A
) BEANS, 1 CAN SOUTHERN S
EE, AND 1 CAN BR'ER RABI
ALL OF THE ASOVE IT E
n Libby's 2-lb. Can Roast Beef f
n Webster's No. 3 Spinach.
ins No. 2 Corn .............
ins Tall Salmon...........
ins No. 3 Sunkist Peaches.
ins Red Devil Lye ..... ..
n No. 3 Tomatoes ..
n No. 3 Sunkist Cherries.
ADDITION YOU WILL FII
~OUGHOUT OUR STORE THAT
on the subscribers at their office in
the City of Chester, S. C., within
twenty days after the service hereof,
exclusive of the day of such service;
and if you fail to answer the com
plain within the time aforesaid, the
plaintiff in this action will apply to
the Court for the relief demanded in
GLENN & GLENN,
Chester S. C., October 21, 1922.
To the Absent Defendant, Caesar
Unless you appear and answer the
Complaint herein, which has been filed
in the Clerk of Court's office for
Fairfield County, State of South Car
Anyone having a No. 2 Old!
will be glad to allow them $7
a No. 3 Lacer, making the p
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cel post prepaid to us, and v
a No. 3 for $17.50.
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olina, within the time allowed by law, 1W.
the Plaintiff will apply to the Court
for the relief demanded in said Com
GLENN & GLENN,
Chester, S. C., Oct. 21, 1922. 31-33
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