THE HISTORY OF MONEY PART 1
Tell someone you are going to a convention of accountants and you might get a few yawns, yet money and how it works is probably one of the most interesting things on earth.
It is fascinating and almost magical how money appeared on our planet. Unlike most developments we enjoy, which can be traced back to a source, civilisation or inventor, money appeared in places then unconnected all over the world in a remarkably simular way.
Consider the American Indians using Wampum, West Africans trading in decorative metallic objects called Manillas and the Fijians economy based on whales teeth, some of which are still legal tender; add to that shells, amber, ivory, decorative feathers, cattle including oxen & pigs, a large number of stones including jade and quartz which have all been used for trade across the world, and we get a taste of the variety of accepted currency.
There is something charming and childlike imagining primitive societies, our ancestors, using all these colourful forms of money. As long as everyone concerned can agree on a value, this is a sensible thing for a community to do.
After all, the person who has what you need might not need what you have to trade. Money solves that problem neatly. Real value with each exchange, and everyone gaining from the convenience. The idea is really inspired which might explain why so many diverse minds came up with it.
BUT ALL IS NOT WELL
"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance."
President James Madison
Money, money, money, it's always just been there, right? Wrong.
Obviously it's issued by the government to make it easy for us to exchange things. Wrong again!
Truth is most people don't realise that the issuing of money is essentially a private business, and that the privilege of issuing money has been a major bone of contention throughout history.
Wars have been fought and depressions have been caused in the battle over who issues the money; however the majority of us are not aware of this, and this is largely due to the fact that the winning side became and increasingly continues to be a vital and respected member of our global society, having an influence over large aspects of our lives including our education, our media and our governments.
While we might feel powerless in trying to stop the manipulation of money for private profit at our expense, it is easy to forget that we collectively give money its value. We have been taught to believe printed pieces of paper have special value, and because we know others believe this too, we are willing to work all our lives to get what we are convinced others will want.
An honest look at history will show us how our innocent trust has been misused.
Let's start our exploration of money with:
JESUS FLIPS (many coins) 33 A.D.
Jesus was so upset by the sight of the money changers in the temple, he waded in and started to tip over the tables and drive them out with a whip, this being the one and only time we ever hear of him using force during his entire ministry.
So what caused the ultimate pacifist to become so aggressive?
For a long time the Jews had been called upon to pay their temple tax with a special coin called the half shekelshekel. It was a measured half ounce of pure silver with no image of a pagan emperor on it.
It was to them the only coin acceptable to God.
But because there was only a limited number of these coins in circulation, the money changers were in a buyers market and like with anything else in short supply, they were able to raise the price to what the market would bear.
They made huge profits with their monopoly on these coins and turned this time of devotion into a mockery for profit. Jesus saw this as stealing from the people and proclaimed the whole setup to be. "A den of thieves". 1
Once money is accepted as a form of exchange, those who produce, loan out and manipulate the quantity of money are obviously in a very strong position. They are the "Money Changers".
1. King James NT, Mt 21:13, Mr 11:17, Lu 19:46
MEDIEVAL ENGLAND (1000 - 1100 A.D.)
Here we find goldsmith's offering to keep other people's gold and silver safe in their vaults, and in return people walking away with a receipt for what they have left there.
These paper receipts soon became popular for trade as they were less heavy to carry around than gold and silver coins.
After a while, the goldsmith's must have noticed that only a small percentage of their depositor's ever came in to demand their gold at any one time. So cleverly the goldsmith's made out some receipts for gold which didn't even exist, and then they loaned it out to earn interest.
A nod and a wink amongst themselves, they incorporated this practice into the banking system. They even gave it a name to make it seem more acceptable, christening the practice 'Fractional Reserve Banking' which translates to mean, lending out many times more money than you have assets on deposit.
Today banks are allowed to loan out at least ten times the amount they actually are holding, so while you wonder how they get rich charging you 11% interest, it's not 11% a year they make on that amount but actually 110%.
THE TALLY STICKS (1100 - 1854)
King Henry the First produced sticks of polished wood, with notches cut along one edge to signify the denominations. The stick was then split full length so each piece still had a record of the notches.
The King kept one half for proof against counterfeiting, and then spent the other half into the market place where it would continue to circulate as money.
Because only Tally Sticks were accepted by Henry for payment of taxes, there was a built in demand for them, which gave people confidence to accept these as money.
He could have used anything really, so long as the people agreed it had value, and his willingness to accept these sticks as legal tender made it easy for the people to agree. Money is only as valuable as peoples faith in it, and without that faith even today's money is just paper.
The tally stick system worked really well for 726 years. It was the most successful form of currency in recent history and the British Empire was actually built under the Tally Stick system, but how is it that most of us are not aware of its existence?
Perhaps the fact that in 1694 the Bank of England at its formation attacked the Tally Stick System gives us a clue as to why most of us have never heard of them. They realised it was money outside the power of the money changers, (the very thing King Henry had intended).
What better way to eliminate the vital faith people had in this rival currency than to pretend it simply never existed and not discuss it. That seems to be what happened when the first shareholder's in the Bank of England bought their original shares with notched pieces of wood and retired the system. You heard correctly, they bought shares. The Bank of England was set up as a privately owned bank through investors buying shares. Even the Banks resent nationalisation is not what it at first may appear, as its independent resources unceasingly multiply and dividends continue to be produced for its shareholder's.
These investors, who's names were kept secret, were meant to invest one and a quarter million pounds, but only three quarters of a million was received when it was chartered in 1694.
It then began to lend out many times more than it had in reserve, collecting interest on the lot.
This is not something you could just impose on people without preparation. The money changers needed to created the climate to make the formation of this private concern seem acceptable.
Here's how they did it.
With King Henry VIII relaxing the Usury Laws in the 1500's, the money changers flooded the market with their gold and silver coins becoming richer by the minute.
The English Revolution of 1642 was financed by the money changers backing Oliver Cromwell's successful attempt to purge the parliament and kill King Charles. What followed was 50 years of costly wars. Costly to those fighting them and profitable to those financing them.
So profitable that it allowed the money changers to take over a square mile of property still known as the City of London, which remains one of the three main financial centres in the world today.
The 50 years of war left England in financial ruin. The government officials went begging for loans from guess who, and the deal proposed resulted in a government sanctioned, privately owned bank which could produce money from nothing, essentially legally counterfeiting a national currency for private gain.
Now the politicians had a source from which to borrow all the money they wanted to borrow, and the debt created was secured against public taxes.
THE HISTORY OF MONEY PART2
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