Posted 2 years ago on May 5, 2012, 6 p.m. EST by whatismoney
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Hi everybody, im a student in philosophy at Stockholm University. This started some weeks ago when I watched some videos on youtube of David Graeber and started thinking. Maybe this is not new and if it is not I would be glad to read more about it. It is a simple idea on how money was invented and an idea of how to create debt free money.
It goes like this. First, it seems that the idea of primitive money is false. Graeber points out there is no records of money in primitive societies from anthropology. If this is true then what happened when money was invented? If money is not a natural way of hanteling things then money is an invention. I suggest that what happened was that different primitive "shops" and producers in the early agrarian society, probably somewhere in Mesopotamia, came up with the idea of credits. So, say that someone came with a cow to the bakery and wanted to exchange the cow for bread. This someone with the cow doesent want all bread at once, instead he wants some fresh bread every day. The way to fix this is for the baker to promise to bake for him every day and the way to remember how much of the promise that is left is throgh handing out symbols for every bread that he owes. So the baker starts making symbolic bread that can be traded for real bread at his bakery. Theese symbols are loaded with value, the value of a bread. So the guy with the cow can when he has some bread symbols start trading them around for other things and theese symbols will be treated as money. Probably all shops start doing the same thing and they all notise that their promises are treated like money. Probably what happened next was that the biggest or most reliable money symbol issuer would be the prefered money symbol to use and it will be accepted as money all around in every shop. So now we have the first universal currency. But also, this developent would not go unnoticed by the state if there was a state. So the promise symbol issuing buisness would soon be taken over or it would become a part of the state. So now money is produced by the state and it is universal. This gives us some conclusions. Money is a promise that people can trade and it doesent just start existing. Money are loaded with the value of promises. It could also be claimed that there has never been a state without money and never money without a state. They are dependant of eachother. Obviously this notion has political consequenses. So if one wants a system where the the money and the state are not intertwined it is the universal money that is the problem. I think you agree with me that there is noting wrong with promises per se but when they are not specified and personal they become a problem. I mean, maybe there was a time when every shop issued their own currency in promise symbols when the state was not in control of the money issuing. Maybe that is where we have to look for inspiration today. Well there happens to be a technical solution that provides a similar system in our times. The solution is just to attach a unique digital number to all money symbols and they will become personal again. This is the same idea that bitcoin is built upon. Every money unit must have its own number. This would make fractional banking impossible since a coin can no longer be on two places at the same time. Instead of the promises beeing in some universal cunnrecy they would be in an unique currency. This would mean that when i buy some milk at the store i make them an unique promise instead of a general promise. Since every coin has its own number then every coin could be said to be a specific currence but one that is generally accepted. It is a way of going back to the time when all shops issued their unique currency and it is now possible because of our technology. This is some if the ideas that have popped up in my head the last couple of weeks.
What do you make of this? Is it resonable? Is it new?
What would happen if, say the state or some other organisation, started numbering all the money?
My guess is that the most specific thing that would happen is that lending would be inpossible and that there would not be any banks anymore.