Adulterating the Currency
There is an old bumper sticker that reads, "Don't steal! The Government doesn't like competition." Folk do not often contemplate that an entire government could be devoted to theft. Yet why should it surprise us? Sin and evil continually breaks forth out of the human heart; it is desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9). Christ alone can cleanse it, making men new--regenerating them.
When unregenerated men gain control of a polity it is the most natural thing in the world for their addiction to sin to be woven through government policies, laws, and regulations. Why, then, ought it to surprise us that governments should do evil? Why, then, should we be shocked when governments steal?
The most common form of government theft is adulterating the currency.
Mixing silver and gold coinage with dross metals, or clipping bits off silver or gold coins, or making them slightly smaller for the same ostensible value have been employed by unscrupulous governors and tyrants for centuries. The modern way of currency adulteration is printing cash--or, as it is euphemistically termed these days, "quantitative easing". What a joke!
The idea is that if the currency is made up of gold and silver coin at a defined weight but thieving governments adulterate the pure metal with dross, the mint can stamp much more coinage into circulation. More coins chasing the same amount of goods and services mean that money is worth less, and prices rise. Before the adulteration sixpence would buy a week's groceries. After the adulteration you would need a shilling because the value of the sixpence had halved.
These days adulterating the currency is easie peasie. Paper and ink is really cheap; just roll the presses. Even better, credit can be created instantaneously by means of a few strokes of an electronic key. Or the Central Bank can create its own credit and go out into the market and buy up things at a prodigious rate and in prodigious quantities, thereby releasing lots of hot adulterated cash into the economy.
But theft it is, and theft it remains. When Russel Norman, a leader of the Greens proposed that New Zealand copy other "advanced" countries like the US and the nations in the European Union and print money because quantitative easing is the last desperate measure of unscrupulous thieves and is now avant garde he showed in that instant how sin and evil, graft and corruption lurk in the heart of every man--and, therefore, in our political leaders and in our governments. Unless it is dealt with by the Lord of glory, it will break out inevitably--to the hurt of us all.
When Henry VIII debased the coinage to fund his war with France the poor and common people suffered immensely. In effect Henry was engaged in the rape and pillage of his own subjects. He was at war not just with France, but with his own people. Russel Norman would have us believe it was a good thing, actually. A smart move. Enlightened economics.
The bumper sticker was correct. If you were to counterfeit the currency the government would prosecute you as a terrible criminal. Yet governments claim the prerogative to counterfeit and adulterate and debase the currency at will.
The cynical bumper sticker is right on point. Don't steal, because the government does not like competition. Evil men doing evil things because they are enslaved to sin.