Stamp Scrip (by Irving Fisher, 1933)
REASON FOR THIS BOOK
STAMP SCRIP is not a panacea. My diagnosis of the depression and my remedial
suggestions for it may be found in "Booms and Depressions," recently off the
press. (1) That is a small enough book, but by no means as small as this one
which selects a minor point for special treatment. For, at this juncture of our
economic difficulties, a minor point seems to me to have become a key point.
Also it has become a sensation by reason of the recent spread of the stamp scrip
idea throughout this country. With the help of Mr. Hans R. L. Cohrssen I have
recently answered four or five hundred inquiries about it. The letters come from
literally every state in the union, and are written by persons, largely in
official positions, who have a practical interest in introducing Stamp Scrip in
their several towns, cities and states.
But Stamp Scrip has two basic forms, and the one which happened to establish itself in this country as a precedent, is, in my opinion, the wrong one of the two. Partly to help change the precedent, partly to help spread the idea over a wider territory, partly to provide a "manual" for those who are trying and are yet to try to work out the practical application of the idea to their respective regions, and partly to simplify the task of handling a correspondence which seems to grow by leaps and bounds - for all these purposes, I have prepared this little book.
There is one other purpose: to unleash a force on which the ultimate cure of the depression really depends. I refer to the credit currency of the land which is now so tragically bottled up and has hitherto baffled the most heroic efforts at rescue. It has simply refused to be rescued - refused with an apparently insane perversity.
Why did we, last June, start to recover and then fail so ignominiously? I venture to think it was for the lack of just such an agent as Stamp Scrip.
The movement began with the small towns for purely local purposes. Perhaps, therefore, as an unexpected sequel, the small towns are to get the glory, not precisely of rescuing the credit currency of the land, but of "priming the pump" which shall enable that currency at last to gush forth - after which Stamp Scrip, having fully performed ist temporary and incidental office, can automatically retire.
I am indebted to the "New Republic" for permission to reprint a large part of Mr. Hans R. L. Cohrssen's article on "Wara."(2)
I am indebted to Mr. Cohrssen for the same favor, and for his assistance in assembling the elements of the book.
And I am indebted to my brother, Herbert Wescott Fisher, for rearranging these elements, and splicing and unifying them, in a few days of fast and furious work.
(1) Adelphi Company, New York, November 1932.
(2) Issue of August 10, 1932.