Money is older than history. What came first? The written word, or the IOU? No one knows.
Mankind's first official currency consisted of notches on a tally stick – a simple but effective way of keeping score.
We are usually taught that money was created to simplify barter between people. This is false.
Money is created as debt, and used for control.
Early forms included farm products such as grain, later coins, i.a. for taxation.
How goldsmiths became the first bankers:
- People trusted them to hold on to their coins.
- The goldsmiths gave the people receipts.
- People started using these receipts as if they were the coins themselves.
- Goldsmiths noticed that people were quite happy to use receipts instead of coins.
- This tempted the goldsmiths to issue more receipts than there were coins.
- This 'extra money' was money the goldsmiths created.
The battle over our money has raged on ever since. First with paper money as described, then with cheques, and then by computer. The history of money creation is closely linked to that of warfare – states going into debt for war.
Before proceeding to our next article with further details, you might want to relax a little with this friendly list of things to NOT worry about:
- Abandonment of the Gold Standard in 1971. It's over. Good.
- The shift from paper to electronic money. This only mattered when banks exploited a loophole regulators hadn't anticipated.
- Money that is basically just information, i.e. not a commodity or backed by one (fiat money).
- Money as such. "Money is an achievement" – quote from the accompanying text to our petition.
- People betting with their own money where no one else gets hurt if they lose it.
- If you are worried about interest, see: Is interest the problem?
If one wanted to worry about money, shouldn't it be relevant WHERE IT COMES FROM?
Why is this so rarely asked?
IMF researchers Benes and Kumhof:
"Any debate on the origins of money is not of merely academic interest, because it leads directly to a debate on the nature of money, which in turn has a critical bearing on arguments as to who should control the issuance of money."
In plain English: "Don't ask. It will lead to more questions!"
by Michael K for Banks need Boundaries!
- Graeber, quoted in IMF 'Chicago Plan Revisited', p. 12
- Please note the word "and" – no causal connection is inferred.
- Some say this can be considered fraud, later legalised.
- See Positive Money, 'How we got here?' for a more extensive account based on the UK system.
- Mining is often tough on labour and the environment.
- IMF 'Chicago Plan Revisited'