POVERTY : Its Illegal Cause and Legal Cure - Part First.by Lysander Spooner
We may say, without assenting to all the positions or conclusions to which Mr. Spooner has arrived on the important subjects discussed in this work, that it is an able expose of the author's views, which
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We may say, without assenting to all the positions or conclusions to which Mr. Spooner has arrived on the important subjects discussed in this work, that it is an able expose of the author's views, which are generally expressed in a clear, forcible, and logical manner. It moreover abounds in bold and original thoughts. The illegal causes of poverty are stated, and a number of important propositions bearing on the subject laid down; and, on the whole, we consider it a work well worth studying, affording, as it does, many valuable hints to the statesman and political economist. Great good must result from the discussion of such subjects; and we confess that, with a more just and equal distribution of wealth, we look for a marked improvement in the public morals.
An excerpt from the beginning of the first chapter:
The existing poverty would be rapidly removed, and future poverty almost entirely prevented, a more equal distribution of property than now exists accomplished, and the aggregate wealth of society greatly increased, if the principles of natural law, and of our national and state constitutions generally, were adhered to by the judiciary in their decisions in regard to contracts.
These principles are violated by the judiciary in various ways, to Wit:
1. In a manner to uphold arbitrary arid unconstitutional statutes against freedom in banking, and freedom in the rate of interest; thus denying the natural and constitutional right of the people to make two classes of contracts, which will hereafter be shown to be of vital importance, both to the general increase and to the more equal distribution of wealth.
2. In a manner to extend the obligation of certain con¬tracts beyond their natural and legal limit, and hold men liable to pay debts no longer due; thereby condemning large numbers of men to perpetual poverty and destitution, by making their expired debts a burden upon their future acquisitions, and an obstruction to their obtaining credit for the capital necessary to the successful employment of their industry.
3. In a manner to reduce the obligation of the contracts of corporate bodies below their natural arid legal limit, and thus enable the privileged debtors, who have the means of payment, to withhold payment of debts actually due, and make themselves rich by making others poor.
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