the plan for the future
27 June 2018
Natural Money may turn out to be a permanent solution for the ailments of the financial system. Natural Money already existed in ancient Egypt for more than 1,000 years. There is a story in the Bible that may explain how that happened. Once the Pharaoh had a few bad dreams his advisers could not explain. He dreamt about seven fat cows being eaten by seven lean cows and seven full ears of grain being devoured by seven thin and blasted ears of grain.
Joseph explained those dreams to the Pharaoh. He told the Pharaoh that seven years with good harvests would come followed by seven years with poor harvests. He advised the Egyptians to store food. They followed his advice and built storehouses for grain. In this way Egypt survived the seven years of scarcity.1
The food storage resulted in a financial system. The historian Friedrich Preisigke discovered that the Egyptians used grain receipts for money.2 Farmers bringing in the food received receipts for grain. Bakers who wanted to make bread, brought in the receipts which could be exchanged for grain. According to the Bible, Joseph took all the money from the Egyptians.3 As a consequence the grain receipts may have become money instead.
Farmers bringing in grain did get receipts for the grain. Bakers who wanted to bake bread, returned the receipts for which they received grain. The storage costs were settled when the receipts were exchanged for grain, hence the receipts lost value over time. The effect was similar to buying stamps to keep the money valid as happened in Wörgl. The actions of Joseph may have created this money as he allegedly proposed the grain storage and took all the money from the Egyptians.
During the reign of Ramesses the Great, Egypt became a leading power again. Some historians have suggested that Egypt's wealth during the reign of Ramesses was built upon the grain money. The money remained in circulation until the Romans conquered Egypt. The grain money was stable and survived for more than a thousand years, perhaps because there were no financial crises caused by interest payments.
The Bible provides us with an account as to how the Egyptian grain storage financial system might have come to be. The Bible and the Quran also comdemn charging interest even though that is less remarkable as several ancient philosophers and religions did the same. Still, there is a link between interest-free money with a holding tax and the Abrahamic religions. This universe could be a virtual reality4 so one might ask the question: "Is this mere coincidence or is it not?"
Featured image: Joseph interpreting the Pharaoh's dream. Illustrations for La Grande Bible de Tours. Gustave Doré (1866). Public Domain.
1. Genesis 41
2. A Strategy for a Convertible Currency. Bernard A. Lietaer, ICIS Forum, Vol. 20, No.3, 1990. http://folk.ntnu.no/tronda/finans/others/interest-free-money.txt
3. Genesis 47:15
4. Are You Living In A Computer Simulation? Nick Bostrom, Philosophical Quarterly (2003) Vol. 53, No. 211, pp. 243-255. Simulation Argument. https://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html