“Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.”
“…Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce.”
-President James Garfield
“Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.”
The above quotes about money are just a few examples of the many statements made by politicians, businessmen, philosophers, and ordinary people throughout the ages, showing that money has always attracted a lot of attention and controversy. The meaning of money, how it was created, and how it influenced everyday life for Americans inspired Wright Patman throughout his professional life as a Congressman from 1928 to 1975, as chairman of the powerful United States House Committee on Banking and Currency from 1963 to 1975 and a life-long populist in the good sense of the word. He defended the little guy, farmers, veterans and small businessmen against big business, big chain stores, big banks and especially the Federal Reserve system.
Together with his Subcommittee on Domestic Finance, Patman released in 1964 A Primer on Money explaining how the US monetary system works and indicated where it needed reform. As a supplement to that report, he released Money Facts--169 Questions and Answers on Money, which is designed to highlight in question and answer form the basic points brought out in A Primer on Money. It answers, for example, what money is: “Money is anything that people will accept in exchange for goods or services, in the belief that they may, in turn, exchange it, now or later, for other goods or services,”, but it also raises many other questions such as:
- Who issues currency?
- What is a central bank?
- What is active monetary policy?
- What is the main problem of the Federal Reserve System?
Although this publication is over fifty years old, and some changes have been made to the Federal Reserve System since then, this booklet is still relevant and important to understand more about the history and meaning of money and how the Federal Reserve System plays a crucial role in the US economy.
This report is interesting reading for students of monetary policy, academics, policymakers, journalists, and anyone interested to learn about the basics of money and the monetary system.