Publisher’s note: With conditions as they are in the Fifty States right now, I am taking a “semi-break” from all the bad news, and publishing a few more general or even lighthearted commentaries that I hope readers will still find useful and encouraging. At the same time, there IS a tie between this subject (coins – money) and the current roiling of society. Read on, please!
Coins have been part of human culture and society – and our economy – since time immemorial. Most likely, they were invented before the Flood, and the chances are that Noah and his family had a few in their bags when it started raining.
(Yes, I know that Wikipedia (and Britannica) claim coins were invented in Asia Minor in the 8th Century BC and in China in the 11th Century BC. Like so many other things, they assume that early humans were “primitive people” without imagination or the ability to reason. I think they are wrong.)
It may be that Midas of Lydia (or his wife, according to some stories) was the first ruler (government thug) to produce and circulate coins, but I’ll bet you that private individuals (and their companies) came up with the idea a long time before government adopted it. It makes as much sense as writing – indeed, there is a relationship: writing transmits (and stores) knowledge. Coinage stores and transmits the value of goods and labor. BOTH can function without involuntary government.
Indeed, the concept of coins was included in the Bible, in the Law of Moses. Deuteronomy 25:15-16 was written around 1400 BC, if not earlier. The Hebrews were required to have honest weights and measures, to be honest. That certainly can include coins.
Anyway, coins have long been a useful tool – not just for selling and buying. Especially for governments, as coins have been used for spreading government propaganda far and wide. As they continue to, today. Ancient Greek and Roman coins had lions to represent government power, and horse’s heads (to celebrate the victory of Greeks using the Trojan horse). And pictures of emperors and gods, with inscriptions citing their power and glory. Of course, it was governments that took dishonesty to an extreme when it came to counterfeiting and debasing the coinage.
But what is quite interesting to lovers of liberty may be the many coins that promote liberty, not government. Freedom, not the all-powerful state. And I mean more than the recent (and not exactly common) liberty dollars and the like.
Look at this one, from the Bar Kokhba revolt (Hebrew: מֶרֶד בַּר כּוֹכְבָא), AD 132 to 136: the last war for independence of Judaea from the SPQR (Roman Empire), expressing their love of, and desire for, liberty from oppression:
Here are a few from about two and a quarter centuries ago, “on this continent” by those fighting British tyranny (so much lighter than today’s):
The words are stirring, or should be. Not merely repeating the words of victims of tyranny and oppression. “MIND YOUR BUSINESS” rejects government control. “WE ARE ONE” makes a lot more sense than “I can’t breathe” or “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Fugio! is a reference to “time flies” – and recalls to me, at least, the truth that “Time is Money.”
We see some of these principles in more modern coinage – “tokens” by (stupid) law, since to produce a “coin” even with pure metal (gold, silver, copper, platinum” is illegal except for the fake money produced by government fiat.
Just some thoughts.
AFTERWORD: The current madness sweeping hundreds of cities, especially in the Fifty States, could (as our friends over at Agora/Laissez Faire hinted at), be called The Twenty-dollar Rebellion. (If you accept an FRN as “really” twenty dollars, remembering that the original definition of the value of the dollar was that 20 dollars equaled one ounce of gold.)
Because George Floyd was KILLED by a jackbooted thug, a murdering cop, over a supposedly-fake $20 FRN (bill).