Tuesday, January 24, 2006

On the Great God Money

I'm in the midst of building an ice rink for my son today so I've published an old musing from my collection of not ready for publishing stack of scribblings.

Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes her laws
. Mayer Rothschild

I remember the first time I came across the opening quote from Rothschild, thinking, wow, that is a profound insight. At the time I was working as a currency trader so I felt that I was playing the game of life at its highest level. I have since come to reconsider that view.

All people who believe in anything, and that includes just about everyone, believe in God although they define the attributes thereof differently. God being the word humans use to define the first and ultimate cause.

Some, the scientific, empirical crowd, believe that the universe of our senses is real and permanent. Of these there are steady staters who believe the universe has always been what it is and the big bangers who believe the universe exploded into existence from a primordial soup.

Some, like myself, believe in creation, by which is meant the stuff of consciousness, derived from the firmament of unchanging nature and the divine spark of the word.

Some, like the fundamentalists, merge the two faiths above. God, they say, created the material universe out of nothing and can and does change that universe when the divine will feels the need.

Some, like the early Christian Gnostics believe that the material universe is some sort of evil joke played on purely spiritual beings.

Many may not believe they believe any such thing but few of these can read David Hume's famous excerpt:

These two propositions are far from being the same: I have found that such an object has always been attended with such an effect, and I foresee, that other objects, which are, in appearance, similar, will be attended with similar effects. I shall allow, if you please, that the one proposition may justly be inferred from the other; I know, in fact, that it always is inferred. But if you insist that the inference is made by a chain of reasoning, I desire you to produce that reasoning. The connection between these propositions is not intuitive. There is required a medium, which may enable the mind to draw such an inference, if indeed it be drawn by reasoning and argument. What that medium is, I must confess, passes my comprehension, and it is incumbent on those to produce it, who assert that it really exists, and is the origin of all our conclusions concerning matter of fact.

without being shaken in that view. The question why, ubiquitous in every culture, begs assumptions about the working of the universe and how we humans have come to understand it, if at all.

The Rothschild quote above can be read in many ways. A charitable read might lead one to argue that the quote means that one who controls money within the confines of superior hierarchical assumptions, some of which are noted above, controls the path of mankind.

A less charitable read might lead one to argue that the quote means that he who controls money, controls the world.

This recalls Nietzsche's quote:

As long as a man knows very well the strength and weaknesses of his teaching, his art, his religion, its power is still slight. The pupil and apostle who, blinded by the authority of the master and by the piety he feels toward him, pays no attention to the weaknesses of a teaching, a religion, and soon usually has for that reason more power than the master. The influence of a man has never yet grown great without his blind pupils. To help a perception to achieve victory often means merely to unite it with stupidity so intimately that the weight of the latter also enforces the victory of the former.

Arguments like mine, that forecast the collapse of the current system of international exchange, presuppose that money only works, with lags, within the proper hierarchical belief structure.

Arguments that the current monetary system can be perpetuated indefinitely take Rothschild at (and beyond) his word. Those who control money are like Gods on earth, or at least the emissaries thereof, able to direct the path of mankind at their whim.

Choosing amongst these various faiths is not, I contend, an exercise in logic or deductive reasoning, which are merely tools for working within belief structures, but rather, leaps of faith as to the working of the universe.

To me, the 90s was the decade when faith in money, bolstered by the lack of a US economic collapse in the late 70s, led some, like Daedalus with his new wings, to fly where their predecessors had feared to go.

Throughout history, many have worshipped variously defined Gods. Most of these Gods have proven to be false. The causal relations which had been assumed, by virtue of faith in a God of certain attributes, to be constant through space and time ceased to work.

Will the great God Money prove to be equally false? Stay tuned.