Free issue of MICHAEL
A banker!... A BANKER! ...
An angel coming down out of
the clouds couldn’t have inspired
more reverence and respect in
our men. For after all, aren’t we
accustomed to genuflect before
bankers, these men who control
the lifeblood of finance?
6. Civilization’s god
“Mr. Oliver, as our banker, your
only occupation on this island will
be to look after our money; no
“I shall, like every other bank-
er, carry out to complete satisfac-
tion my task of forging the com-
“Mr. Oliver, we’re going to
build you a house that will be in
keeping with your dignity as a
banker. But in the meantime, do
you mind if we lodge you in the
building that we use for our get-
“That will suit me, my friends.
But first of all, unload the boat.
There’s paper and a printing press,
complete with ink and type and
there is a little barrel which I exhort
you to treat with the greatest care.”
They unloaded everything.
The small barrel aroused intense
curiosity in our good fellows.
“This barrel,” Oliver an-
nounced, “contains a treasure be-
yond dreams. It is full of... gold! ”
Full of gold! The five all but
swooned. The god of civilization
here on Salvation Island! The yel-
low god, always hidden, yet ter-
rible in its power, whose presence
or absence or slightest caprice
could decide the very fate of all
the civilized nations!
“Gold! Mr. Oliver, you are in-
deed a great banker ! ” “Oh august
majesty ! Oh honorable Oliver !
Great high priest of the god, gold !
Accept our humble homage and
receive our oaths of fidelity ! ”
“Yes, my friends, gold enough
for a continent. But gold is not for
circulation. Gold must be hidden.
Gold is the soul of healthy money
and the soul is always invisible.
But I’ll explain all that when you re-
ceive your first supply of money.”
7. The secret burial
Before they went their sepa-
rate ways for the night, Oliver
asked them one last question.
“How much money will you
need to begin with in order to fa-
cilitate trading? ”
They looked at one another,
then deferentially towards the
banker. After a bit of calculation,
and with the advice of the kindly
financier, they decided that $200
each would do.
The men parted, exchanging
enthusiastic comments. And in
spite of the late hour, they spent
most of the night lying awake,
their imaginations excited by the
picture of gold. It was morning
before they slept.
As for Oliver, he wasted not
a moment. Fatigue was forgotten
in the interests of his future as a
banker. By dawn’s first light, he
dug a pit into which he rolled the
barrel. He then filled it in, trans-
planting a small shrub to the spot
about which he carefully arranged
sod. It was well hidden.
Then he went to work with
his little press to turn out a thou-
sand $1 bills. Watching the clean
new banknotes come from his
press, the refugee turned banker
thought to himself:
“My ! How simple it is to make
money. All its value comes from
the products it will buy. Without
produce, these bills are worth-
less. My five naive customers
don’t realize that. They actually
think that this new money derives
its value from gold! Their very ig-
norance makes me their master.”
And as evening drew on, the
five came to Oliver on the run.
8. Who owns the new money?
Five bundles of new banknotes
were sitting on the table. “Before
distributing the money,” said the
banker, “I would like your attention.
“Now, the basis of all money
is gold. And the gold stored away
in the vault of my bank is my gold.
Consequently, the money is my
money. Oh ! Don’t look so discour-
aged. I’m going to lend you this
money and you’re going to use
it as you see fit. However, you’ll
have to pay interest. Considering
that money is scarce here, I don’t
think 8% is unreasonable.”
“Oh, that’s quite reasonable,
“One last point, my friends.
Business is business, even be-
tween pals. Before you get the
money, each of you must sign a