The Duke of Bedford

The Neglected Issue: Some Essays On The Need for Monetary Reform (1944)

The Neglected Issue: Some Essays on The Need for Monetary Reform (1944) by The Duke of Bedford


Have you ever heard the expression, "barking up the wrong tree" and do you know what it means? It appears to be of American origin and was originally associated with the chase of the raccoon. The raccoon is a nocturnal animal which, when pursued by dogs, takes refuge in a tree. A well-trained 'coon-dog, by barking at the foot of the right tree, attracts the attention of his master, who is able to shoot the quarry by moonlight. A badly-trained or foolish dog, on the other hand, may lead his master a wild-goose chase by barking at the foot of a tree where there is no raccoon or where some other kind of animal has taken refuge: thus, that they are" barking up the wrong tree," has come to be said of people who announce loudly that they have discovered, in what is, in point of fact, the wrong place, the cause of some social evil or the seat of some grievance.

Now if we leave out of account human selfishness, weakness and stupidity for which true religion is the only adequate cure, no single factor in any way approaches the defective monetary and foreign trade system in importance as a cause of mental and physical suffering, social injustice and war. Comparatively few people, however, realise this. Most of them, if they are reformers, are busily engaged in barking up what are largely wrong trees, at "capitalism"; or "profit"; or "private ownership." Meanwhile the financier-raccoon, who keeps the whole civilised world in a seething mess by restricting the supply of money in the interests of moneylenders, grins as he sits safely in a different tree and from time to time puts over some sly bit of propaganda which keeps the misdirected barking at fever pitch and effectively prevents the dogs or their friends from looking anywhere in his direction!


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