Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

History Lesson: "Money Was Actually Created by Bureaucrats"

"We now know from ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian records… that credit systems (what is today called virtual money) preceded the invention of coinage by thousands of years. Money was actually created by bureaucrats to track state resources and spread unevenly, never completely replacing credit systems. Barter, in turn, is largely an accidental byproduct of the use of coinage or paper money, a refuge for people operating in cash economies where currency has for some reason become inaccessible."
The actual history of money.

8 Comments / Post A Comment

Who created bureaucrats?

deepomega (#1,720)

Wait, how did we think money was created before? Was there an origin story involving farmers planting coins in freshly tilled soil?

AL (#890)

I thought it was the Founders?

Tulletilsynet (#333)

Never has the governing class allowed anyone to question the sacred principle that we all must pay our debts. And don't forget that related massive deception about keeping your promises.

deepomega (#1,720)

Or not taking other people's shit.

Smitros (#5,315)

Was the writer paid in cowrie shells or in cacao pods?

Leon (#6,596)

Wait, I thought "having sex in exchange for jaguar meat" and "telling jokes in order to make sure nobody realized you were bad at, well, stuff" had a baby and that baby grew up to become "Money"?

Scum (#1,847)

Sort of interesting but also sort of crap. Lots of the economic history is plain wrong and it is conceptually silly.
It is absurd to think of credit as a trading mechanism alternative to barter or money. A creditor loans something and a debtor pays back something. If someone gives, say, 40 chickens in return for future labor at his estate then then it is a barter transaction, if someone gives $3000 in the hopes of getting $5000 at a later date then it is a monetary transaction. Credit must take the form of either money, services or goods and as such a barter or money economy are prerequisites for the existence of credit. This isn't hard to work out.
All in all he basically gets the problems of the modern economy back to front. We should end the debt forgiveness of the few not universalise it to all. We should be enacting monetary policy which operates on a more solid less malleable concept of money not reducing it to a 'promise'. Money and debt although abstractions are abstractions underpinned by real things and, nice as it would be, we cant redefine ourselves out of our problems.

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