Perhaps you can recall the economic havoc that King Charles V created in Spain when he forced the banks of Seville to empty their vaults and loan their contents to the King (Images 24-27).
Between then and the arrival of the Marranos in London about a century and a half had passed. This said, La Casa de la Contratación (La Casa) was still in operation, and the trade routes between the cities of Seville, Lisbon, Antwerp, Amsterdam, and London — despite all of the political disruptions over the decades — were still in tact, as well as the many Jewish family-business connections between them. Then too, already before the Dutch rampjaar in 1672 signs of corruption can be detected. Surely, you recall the beheading of Rutger Vieck in 1673 in Dam Square, Amsterdam. He had been embezzling for some two decades at the Wisselbank before he was finally caught (Entries 120-121).
Institutional memory dies hard.
No, neither the recepissen of the Wisselbank (Entries 118-119), nor the anonymous deposit receipts of the London guildsmen-bankers (Entry 129) were either fraudulent or disruptive. On the contrary, so long as the one-to-one relationship between coin and paper was preserved trade was enhanced. Paper was “as good as gold”, but now far easier to carry and hide from potential thieves.
Already we have touched on the moral temptation with which warehouse bankers throughout the ages have been confronted. Already we have made it clear why lending out the money of others without their permission is criminal. And, already we have hinted at the evil nature of money-ex-nihilo (Entry 129). Let us now examine more closely the criminal nature and reality of money-ex-nihilo — London anonymous deposit slips gone afoul.
Indeed, what was true during the last half of the 17th century is just as true today as it was then. Simply matters have grown worse as the sophistication of deception has advanced.
Now, you may be in the habit of setting aside the morality of the past with the claim that technology has changed everything, and that the moral rules of yesteryear have no place in contemporary society. And, for some things I am sure that you can make a strong case that I can likely applaud. This said, I defy you to prove that the currency of today is not an abomination of the money of yesteryear, and that it is not wreaking havoc in modern society.
Just because something is common does not make it right. It only proves how sophisticated the criminals have become in their ability to make their criminality appear anything, but criminal. The morality of money is simple, and I have provided many variations of its use in an effort to render clearly the simplicity of its underlying moral concept.
Once again, money is a form of property with an owner and a user. The owner and the user can be the same or different, but the property remains the same no matter who owns or uses it. Everything else is deception and hyperbole.
Keep these several notions in mind and all that follows will make perfect moral sense, and demonstrate clearly the deep trouble that we are in today, and what we must do to right the buoy of free-market enterprise and escape our demise.
In liberty, or not at all,
Roddy A. Stegemann