Up until 1500 B.C. all money was cattle, lambs, goats, or pigs—live money that was real life-support wealth, wealth you could actually eat. Steers were by far the biggest food animal, and so they were the highest denomination of money. The Phoenicians carried their cattle with them for trading, but these big creatures proved to be very cumbersome on long voyages. This was the time when Crete was the headquarters of the big-boat people and their new supreme weapon—the lines-of-supply-control ship. Crete was called the Minoan civilization, the bull civilization, worshippers of the male fertility god.
The pair of joined bull's horns symbolized that the particular ship carried real-wealth traders—that there were cattle on board to be exchanged for local-wealth items. The Norsemen with their paired-horn headdress were the Phoenician, Veenetian, Veeking (spelled Viking but pronounced "Veeking" by the Vikings). Veenetians, Phoenicians. (Punitians, Puntits, Pundits. Punic Wars. Punt = boat = the boat people. Pun in some African Colored languages means "red," as in Red Sea.). The Veekings were simply the northernmost European traders. The Veekings, Veenitians, Feenicians, Friesians—i.e., Phoenicians, Portuguese—were cross-breeding water-world people.
Graduating from carrying cattle along for trading in 1500 B.C. the Phoenicians invented metal money, which they first formed into iron half-rings that looked like a pair of bull's horns. (Many today mistake them for bracelets.) Soon the traders found that those in previously unvisited foreign countries had no memory of the cattle-on-board trading days and didn't recognize the miniature iron bull horn. If metal was being used for trading, then there were other kinds of metal they preferred trading with people—silver, copper, and gold were easy to judge by hefting and were more aesthetically pleasing than the forged iron bull horn symbols.
This soon brought metal coinage into the game of world trading, with the first coin bearing the image of the sovereign of the homeland of the Phoenicians.
This switch to coinage occurred coincidentally at just about the same time as the great changeover from city-state dominance to line-of-supply dominance of the power-structure group controlling most of world affairs. This was the time when the Phoenicians began trading with people of so many different languages that, in need of a means of recording the different word sounds made by people around the world, the Phoenicians invented phonetic spelling—Phoenician spjelling—which pronounced each successive sound separately and invented letter symbols for each sound. With phonetic spelling human written communication changed very much—from the visual-metaphor-concept writing of the Orient, accomplished with complex idea-graphics (ideographs), several of which frequently experienced, generalized cartoons told the whole story visually. It was a big change from ideographs to the Phoenicians' phonetic spelling, wherein each letter is a single sound—having no meaning in itself—and whereby it took several sounds to make a whole word and many such words to make any sense—i.e., a sentence. This is the historical event that Ezra Pound says coincides with the story of the Tower of Babel. Pound says that humanity was split into a babble of individually meaningless sounds while losing the conceptual symbols of whole ideas—powerful generalizations. You had to become an expert to understand the phonetic letter code. The spelling of words excluded a great many people from communicating, people who had been doing so successfully with ideographs.
This gradual alteration of world trading devices from cattle to gold brought about the world-around development of pirates who, building small but swift craft, could on a dark night board one of the great merchant ships just before it reached home, richly laden after a two-year trip to the Orient, and take over the ship and, above all, its gold. With the gold captured, the pirates often burned the vanquished ship.
As already mentioned in our Introduction, it was in 1805, 200 years after the founding of the East India Company, that the British won the Battle of Trafalgar, giving them dominance of all the world's lines of supply. They now controlled the seas of the world. It was said by world people that the British Empire became the first empire in history upon which "the sun never set." In order to get their gold off the sea and out of reach of the pirates, the British made deals with the sovereigns of all the countries around the world with whom they traded, by which it was agreed from then on to keep annual accounts of their intertrading and at the end of the year to move the gold from the debtor's bank in London to the creditor's bank in London to balance the accounts. In this way they kept the gold off the ocean and immune to sea pirate raiding. This brought about what is now called the "balance of trade" accounting.
The international trading became the most profitable of all enterprises, and great land-''owners" with clear-cut king's "deeds" to their land went often to international gold moneylenders. The great land barons underwrote the building of enterprisers' ships with their cattle or other real wealth, the regenerative products of their lands, turned over to the lender as collateral.
If the ship did come back, both the enterpriser and the bankers realized a great gain. The successful ship venturer paid the banker back, and the banker who had been holding the cattle as collateral returned them to their original proprietor. But during the voyage (usually two years to the Orient and back to Europe) the pledged cattle had calves, "kind" (German for "child"), and this is where the concept of interest originated, which was payable "in kind"—the cattle that were born while the collateral was held by the banker were to belong to the banker.
When the Phoenicians shifted their trading strategy from carrying cattle to carrying metal money, the metal money didn't have little money—"kind"—but the idea of earned interest persisted. This meant that the interest was deducted from the original money value, and this of course depreciated the capital equity of the borrower. Thus, metallic equity banking became a different kind of game from the original concept.
In twentieth-century banking the depositors assume that their money is safely guarded in the vaulted bank, especially so in a savings bank, whereas their money is loaned out, within seconds after its depositing, at interest payable to the banker which is greater than the interest paid to the savings account depositor and, since the metal or paper money does not produce children—"kind"—the banker's so-called earned share must, in reality, be deducted from the depositor's true-wealth deposit.
The merchant bankers of Venice came to underwrite the Venetians' (the Phoenicians') voyaging ventures. Such international trade financing swiftly became the big thing in the banking game. The "Merchant of Venice"—Shylock and his "pound of flesh forfeit" of the debtor—was Shakespeare's way of calling attention to the fact that the bankers' "interest" was in reality depleting the life-support equity of both the depositors and the borrowers.
It was the financing of such international voyaging, trading, and individual travel as well as of vaster games of governmental takeovers that built the enormous wealth-controlling fortunes of early European private banking families. It was under analogous circumstances of financing inter-American-European trade that, in the late nineteenth century, J. P. Morgan became a man of great power. By having his banking houses in Paris and London, Philadelphia and New York, he was able not only to finance people's foreign travel, all their intershipment of goods, and to give letters of credit, but also to finance and control major "new era" railroading, shipbuilding, mining, manufacturing, and energy-generating enterprises in general.
Such powerful banking gave insights regarding the degrees of risks that could be taken. The people doing the risking came to the banker for advice. In such a manner J. P. Morgan developed the most powerful financing position in America, as society went from wooden ships to steel ships and the concomitant iron mining, blast furnace building, and steel rolling mill development, as well as the making of boilers and engines, electric generators, and air conditioning systems.
Josef Theisen wrote:Money, in and of itself, is not evil. It is simply a tool for social interaction.
Josef Theisen wrote:
Fast forward to the United States under Nixon, and people have become so accustomed to using paper bills, that they no longer needed any backing to function. Thus we enter the third great evolution. The gold standard is abandoned, and we begin to use fiat money, otherwise known as "It has value because I said so!" This form of money has detached itself from the real world of tangible things and has allowed for some pretty disturbing behavior. It is created by a privately owned banking cartel called the Federal Reserve, and it's value seems to be derived from the threat of violence. It makes insanity, such as fractional reserve banking, derivatives, and credit default swaps possible. It has allowed a system of parasitic, rent seeking behavior to flourish and grow. Grow to the point that, I am supposed to sit here and accept the proposition that 15 minutes of time for a CEO or Stock Broker is equivalent to 40 years of my hard labor.
The problems we see are not intrinsic to the concept of money, only to the current iteration of money.
Josef Theisen wrote:
But I do have to correct you and say that you can actually hand someone some bitcoin. You can put the private keys on a piece of paper or stamp them in metal and exchange them that way. Of course (unless you are freaky good at math) you would need help from a machine to verify that the numbers you receive are valid and really do correspond to value locked on the blockchain. But those kinds of machines are getting cheaper and more accessible every day.