Currency.

Oral Answers to Questions — Kenya Colony. – in the House of Commons on 23rd March 1922.

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Photo of Mr Augustine Hailwood Mr Augustine Hailwood , Manchester Ardwick

36.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in view of the fact that most of the industrial trouble, such as strikes and rising prices, lockouts, unemployment, and trade depression is caused through the fluctuating value of currency, he has ever considered the advisability of basing the currency on an article of real and constant value like wheat, instead of, as at present, having it remotely connected to an article of no value like gold; and, seeing the gain to the nation a stable internal currency would bring, will he take immediate steps to effect this reform?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

Economists have frequently speculated on the possibility of a standard based, not on gold or silver, but on the purchasing power of some particular commodity or of commodities generally as measured by a representative index number. Such a refinement of currency policy may be theoretically sound, but has never yet been practically tested. In any case, before embarking on so ambitious an experiment, it is surely desirable for us first to get back to that approximation to stability which the gold standard supplies, and to which the world before 1914 was thoroughly accustomed. I must demur to my hon. Friend's statement that gold has no value. It is because of its value that it has been chosen as a standard.

Photo of Mr Augustine Hailwood Mr Augustine Hailwood , Manchester Ardwick

In view of the fact that the trouble may be intensified by a further reduction in the price of commodities, will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of appointing some sort of Commission to go thoroughly into this question?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

There have been very many Commissions.

Mr. J. JONES:

Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to support the proposal of the organised workers that an inquiry should be held into the whole situation in connection with the present industrial disputes?