I remember reading stories of people being upset that Europeans paid Native American Indians in ‘beads’ and such for things that were ‘worth’ much more. However, the Indians were generally satisfied with the exchanges, seeing the immediate cash value of the beads in their society. With hindsight, we might be tempted to conclude that they failed to see the monetary change coming to their land and were storing up money that would soon be useless.
Who told them to use and accept these particular items for money? At least in those days, government control over money in such remote areas was loose. People could trade with whatever they wanted to as money, as long as both parties found it agreeable. Now, it seems, we have been downgraded to something even less valuable than beads – pieces of paper and questionable coins that are meaningless receipts representing nothing and being multiplied at the whim of government powers.
But, wait, you say. The government says those pieces of paper and coins have unique value. Aren’t they all backed up by something of value somewhere? The short answer is, “No.” The only value in the government money is an illusion perpetrated and manipulated by the government (and currently nearly every government worldwide). The fact is, try as they might, the government can’t actually create money or impute value to anything. They can only create the illusion of their ‘money’. The very motivations that energize these people in government to attempt to control money lead to the things which degrade and destroy the money they trick and force us into using.
In the past, I have heard people say we “just need to get back on the gold standard.” We need to ‘make’ the government hold a certain amount of gold to validate their currency. For a while, I could not figure this out. I had been brainwashed by public education and political advertising into thinking of ‘dollars’ as ‘money’. I didn’t realize that the original idea was that such paper bills were supposed to be bank receipts for deposits of something having value in and of itself. The concept was also blurred by wondering why I would care if the government had a bunch of gold sitting around somewhere that they weren’t really going to give to anyone anyway. Plus, I didn’t need gold, I needed ‘money’.
I didn’t even know then that the government pretty much confiscated all the money supplies of gold in 1933. I didn’t know why gold is so universally useful as ‘money’. I didn’t understand yet that by putting a few people in charge of printing and controlling the new, fake money, the government was essentially setting up a monetary system to control and limit the lives of its citizens.
After some research, I am now questioning the government’s involvement in money at all. Even with a so-called ‘gold standard’, there has to be an arbitrary value assigned to the gold by the government. When I read about such price fixing in historical examples, it never works out well. (read more about the real issues and misrepresentations of the government having a ‘gold standard’ here.)
It is intriguing to realize that even though the government(s) have limited our options for money, we could still choose to use something besides government monopoly money. That ‘something’ of value just has to be something that can function as money. In fact, since their stuff is losing value as I write, there is good reason to be thinking of other ways for storing value of what we have worked for. Gary North, in the book Honest Money, lists the 5 necessary properties of money as:
- scarcity (that is, high value in relation to volume and weight)
But long term storage of value doesn’t need to be in ‘money’, especially fake money. It can be in other things of value, that generally don’t depreciate with time and use. Like land or business ownership (including stock purchases).
Even now, storing value in anything besides government ‘money’ makes sense, because it helps to guard against the inflation inherent when the government keeps making its fake money whenever it wants to. They put other people in jail for arbitrarily printing or coining ‘money’ but they can just decide to do it for whatever political reason they want to, regardless of its real effect on the economy. They ‘legally’ distort the value of what we have worked hard to earn yesterday.
Unfortunately, they still tax us on any imaginary increases in value, illusions of their own inflation producing policies of infusing pretty pieces of paper into the economy. Not to mention the weird multiplication of ‘funds available’ in the marketplace through what is glibly called fractional banking, like somehow this official label makes it okay. All it really means is that several people can actually be using the same ‘money’ at the same time. Thus, with our current banking system, putting money in the bank allows them to defraud us further of the value of our paychecks. (I recommend Murray Rothbard’s book What Has Government Done to Our Money? (Large Print Edition)for a concise explanation of fractional banking.)
So, what would you use for money? Maybe the Native American Indians weren’t any less sophisticated than we are, after all? One could even argue that the beads were worth more than the paper and cheap metals in change that we trade with today. The Indians weren’t magically multiplying beads with funny bank accounting and loans, so a bead in the hand was a bead with the value they thought it had in the community. Since our government’s monopoly money is rapidly loosing value, you might actually want to think about your options.