- The system under which they live works fairly well.
- Somehow, they are being exploited.
I suggest a third element, other than the above two contradictory ideas, contributes to the formation of monetary cranks. That is a surprising revelation about some details about how some institution that you interact with every day actually works. What do you mean that banks don't have money for my deposit immediately on hand? Doesn't this paper, accepted as money, represent a quantity of gold that the government is obligated to pay out? People naturally look for a concrete foundation for their practices and are left in the air when it isn't to be found.
I suggest some combine some such mishmash of ideas to conclude that the system can be set right if one particular thing is changed. And something about money is often taken to be the thing to be changed. Others might look at rent on land. I find it suggestive that Henry George's popularity is almost contemporary with closing of the American frontier.
For purposes of this discussion, I deliberately do not identify which ideas are crankish, whether it be advocacy for stamped money, social credit, or a belief that interest rates reflect the interaction of supply and demand for loanable funds. Nor, of course, does labeling an idea with an insult show why it is wrong, if it is.