How much Munch should the Munchkins have?

Can you imagine a connection between The Wizard of Oz to banking and finance?  Some have,  perhaps, even L. Frank Baum, the creator of the Oz stories.  The story of The Wizard of Oz may be an allegory to the issue of the creation and circulation of money.  Whereas, the Scarecrow represents the farmers;  the Tin Woodman – the industrial workers, the Lion – silver advocate William Jennings Bryan, and Dorothy – the typical all American girl.

Dorothy’s march to the Emerald City to petition the Wizard was like the populist movement that urged Congress to return to a system of debt-free government-issued Greenbacks initiated by Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln had found a way around bank interest and control of the currency.  US notes (Greenbacks) were issued that did not have to be paid back to the banks or have interest. Greenbacks were halted after Lincoln’s assassination.

The bankers reasoned that printing government paper money would be highly inflationary. But the banks’ money was highly inflationary because the gold denoted to back up the printed money was used  or lent many times over.  It was a counterfeiting process.  When bankers lent their paper money to the government, the government wound up heavily in debt for something it could have created itself.

Sixteen ounces of silver was said  to equal one oz of gold.  Are ounces represented in The Wizard of Oz title?  L. Frank Baum was a supporter of the populist movement and marched with Bryan in 1896.  The Republican message of the gold standard was the accepted practice of the day.  In order to express a populist message, it had to be buried in symbolism as in The Wizard of Oz.

Kansas was the story of the Great Depression and the dust bowl. People needed to be transported into an ‘American Dream’ such as the magical world of Oz.  The house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East (Wall Street bankers and their man Grover Cleveland), who had kept the Munchkins, farmers and factory workers  in bondage.

Dorothy’s magic silver slippers (silver, the solution to the money crisis) had the magic power to solve Dorothy’s dilemma of being able to return to Kansas—just as the silverites thought that expanding the money supply with silver coins would solve the problems facing the farmers.

When Dorothy wanted to go to the Emerald City to seek guidance from the Wizard of Oz (the President whose strings were pulled by  invisible puppeteers or financiers), she was told that the path to the Emerald City was paved with yellow brick (gold).  Like The Wizard of Oz, the yellow brick road would turn out to be an illusion.  In the end, the silver slippers are what would carry Dorothy home to Kansas.

The poignancy of the debate about the bankers creating the money supply and charging the government interest continues today in the conversation about taxes and government debt.  Who should be controlling the puppet strings?  Or should the control come from government of the people, by the people and for the people?

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