Toward a Universal and Sacred Economy
Building Community as if the Earth (and the History of the Earth) Matters
(Dedicated to the Tree that Grows in Brooklyn; to my sister and soulmate--my Messiah; to my Mother, and to my Father who wouldn't talk to God, but made it possible for us; to true religion; to Felix Adler; John Lovejoy Elliot; The Hudson Guild Farm and the Settlement House Movement; to the 1920s, 30s; 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s; to the great Social Movements and events of these times; to Union Square; to Dorothy Day; to Robert Swann and Susan Witt; Ralph Barsodi; Mildred Loomis; Paul Salstrom; Lincoln County, West Virginia; to Dot Black at Myra Store; the Religious of Appalachia; to Native America; to Pete Seeger; Don West; to Shelli at the Southern Mountains Folklife Center; to my friends and Fellowship everywhere. To Charlie and Phyliss up on Little Laurel, To Bob and Betty Finton up on Wade Adkins in Wayne County, and to that brooding prophet of depression and despair, Jim Chojnacki. To Tom Joad, the afflicted, the displaced and homeless everywhere, to all my teachers; to the young people of our time; to every pacifist and spiritual activist that I have ever met; to everyone who walks in the light of Christ's Sermon on the Mount, and the Buddha's Eightfold Path).
Psalm 50; Proverbs 4:14-19...(KJV).
This paper could also be subtitled Experiencing Apocalypse, The Year of Release, or Coming to the Birth. In the same manner as every child is conceived in the secret of its own mother's womb, and grows until it can no longer contain itself within the confines and darkness of its own surroundings, so the present, emerging state of human consciousness was anciently conceived into the world. In nature's mix of fire and water, air and earth (the life-giving substance of our own maternal environment), the child develops, its parts appear, its history unfolds. Then one day the world in which this unborn child resides begins to tremble, more than ever before (its institutions begin to collapse). The infant feels itself being moved beyond its own control in the direction of the event--a narrow place from which light begins to appear. The light grows brighter, until at once the child is delivered. And so it is with this present generation. We are being swept along in a great historical process that can have no other outcome but the birth of this Child (Revelation 12:1,2). Nor can we exercise "choice" in the matter, because if the Child will not be born in a multitude it will be born in a remnant, and still grow up to fill the world with its presence (Daniel 2:44).
But it is a bloody event. Our view of this light, is all filtered through the color red, and naturally so (Isaiah 63:1-4; 66:6-19; Matthew 16:1-4). As it is with the birth of every human child so is it with the birth of the world. And just as the Divine Mother gave birth to the present age two thousand years ago, She is now descending again and giving birth to the coming age. She is also delivering it out of Her own lower parts--here at the Western ends of the earth. (It is a Great Mystery, one that will be understood in the process itself...Micah 4:9,10). It is a Child already wise in the ways of human nature, but also in the ways of God. Though hidden as God is in the garments of Their own creation, They are at the same time visible to those who can see. They are visible in history--in the sum of every natural, and every human event--and now cleary visible in all the events that are unfolding in the world at this present time.
But yet, even though these things were alluded to in the 1988 Conference Highlights by Tom Dunham, (Community Service Newsletter, Yellow Springs, Ohio, January/February 1989...Building Community As If The Earth Matters)...
JUBILEE PARTNERS...has been a dream for years at the older Koinonia Partners community in southwest Georgia. In the spring of 1979 it took root in 258 acres of beautiful meadows, fields, and forest in northeast Georgia. A small group from Koinonia pitched their tents on the new land. The sounds of construction have been echoing ever since as one new building follows another.
Soon another part of the dream also began to take shape. From the first we had found inspiration in the words of Jesus' sermon on the Isaiah text about THE YEAR OF JUBILEE..."good news for the poor...release for prisoners...recovery of sight...freeing broken victims" (Isaiah, chapter 61). Continual reports about the suffering of the Vietnamese boat people suggested a way in which we could make the Jubilee promise a reality among us...
...the Augustinian, liberal-intellectual, kind-of-religious world view--a belief that history is an un-preordained, linear, open-ended affair, and that such things (as a Jubilee and a Day of Release) will not actually happen in anyone's lifetime (much less our own), but rather in some far-off distant time in the future--always carries the day. So why even prepare for such an event? Why even consider it, or focus the whole weight of discussion in that direction? Why take the time to study the broad sweeping chapters of Isaiah themselves, or even try to place them in the context of present world events, or in the context of the other social and economic precepts that must be enacted into the life-stream of any people who would be so bold as to actually wish others free, not only from economic oppression but from the collective effects of their own lack of understanding and historic insight as well). The world is passing out of Darkness into Light, and economic homeostasis is the ultimate goal, wherein no part of the world is being made mindful, or affected by the disease of injustice in any other part of the world. This will happen only when the precepts under which man guides himself are in perfect accord with the precepts and mandates of Heaven--with the Tao of absolute justice and true righteousness. (No compromises and half-way measures allowed):
Are there yet treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked? and the scant measure that is abominable?...(Micah 6:10-12; Ecclesiastes 5:8-13).
Tom Dunham reports: "Susan Meeker-Lowry discussed socially responsive investing--its problems, its goals, and its hopes." She makes the right leap into the future when she says: "Its focus is on quality and relationships, not profit and quantity," and when she outlines the simple natural requirement that local people maintain--not control as we understand such things in our present economy, but stewardship over local resources, and especially where she requires such communities to continually assess and respond to the effects of their activities on those around them and on the world at large. But her foot gets caught in the trap of this present age (the present paradigm), and we all get caught in it together, when she ties this forward thrust of the spirit to the activities of the American banking system. This giant (indeed, the entire idea of banking itself) cannot proceed, no not even in its finest set of peace beads and new age garments. No, not even if it put on sackcloth and mourned its own complicity in all of the economic crimes that have been committed upon humanity and the environment these last several hundred years. It must instead be stripped bare and seen for what it really is, the devil's child--an instrument in the hands of Darkness and the very present means whereby the Darkness is able to consolidate and maintain its power over the lives of others.
Give us this day, (O Creation) ourDaily Bread...(Matthew 6:11).
Lay up NO treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where Thieves break through and steal...(Matthew 6:19).
Owe no man (men of commerce) ANYTHING, but to love one another...(Romans 13:8).
In the erosion and eventual abrogation of these sacred precepts the mercantile and capitalist impulse gained a foothold in the course of Western history. (Of course, obey these precepts and the capitalist system will immediately collapse).
Even when the banking system seems to be responding to the (almost wholly-contrived, almost wholly-material) needs of society (while it is foreclosing on some other group in some other place), it does so for personal gain, for profit--the very profit it requires to keep its otherwise unproductive, yet wholly destructive existence intact...
WHY AMERICANS MUST KEEP SPENDING
by Louis Uchitelle
Nothing props up the economy more than consumers, and dips in their spending frighten forecasters. But that is all that has happened in recent years--dips, not plunges. Consumers in America spend because they feel they must spend. More than in the past, the necessities of life, real and perceived, eat up their incomes.
That treadmill spending is good news for the economy. As recovery takes hold, the biggest threat to its survival would be a downturn in consumer spending. That is not inconceivable: The support for recent spending--the household cash generated through mortgage refinancings and tax cuts--is disappearing and a new source of cash, from many new jobs and many new paychecks is not yet a reality.
But do not worry, various experts say. Consumers will keep spending anyway, GOING DEEPER INTO DEBT TO DO SO IF THEY MUST. They have too many needs, some that were luxuries only yesterday. A second car and child care, for example, are now necessities for millions of households with two earners commuting to jobs...
Consumers are purchasing roughly $7.6 trillion a year in goods and services...AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO BY GOING INTO DEBT, OR DEEPER INTO DEBT, to acquire what they view as essential... The New York Times, December 1, 2003.
And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth...
So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God...(Luke, chapter 12...KJV).
Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations...
No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON...(Luke 16:9-13).
(Think, however, of the sigh of relief the world will breath when it is relieved of the irrational development that banks also breed, when those who are presently employed in the financial industry and in advertising are freed to join the rest of us, and when all of us together are freed to join in the honest work of not only (re)building a world fit for everyone to live in but in reclaiming those parts of our sacred environment which finance and industry has come to the very edge of destroying).
...But more: it does so with the totally misguided belief that it can slip into the coming age unnoticed, where it can set up shop again. And we will swear that we left all those old troubles behind. We will not understand why this new order of things is still breeding unrest and dissension in various parts of the world. There is even some plan afoot in government and banking to reemerge after a nuclear, or some other apocalyptic event with a new supply of currency (electronic or otherwise)--which it will naturally continue to print or manipulate, and which it expects that we will naturally take up with and submit to again, as if we were not completely aware that theirs are the very same machinations that are bringing the fire down upon the house in the first place.
"These are the real causes of war, and it is chimerical to try to lay the foundation of peace without removing them first. It is doubly chimerical to build peace on economic foundations which, in turn, rest on the systematic cultivation of greed and envy, the very forces which drive men into conflict.
How could we even begin to disarm greed and envy? Perhaps by being much less greedy and envious ourselves; perhaps by resisting the temptation of letting our luxuries become needs; and perhaps by even scrutinizing our needs to see if they cannot be simplified and reduced. If we do not have the strength to do any of this, could we perhaps stop applauding the type of economic 'progress' which palpably lacks the basis of permanence and give what modest support we can to those who, unafraid of being denounced as cranks, work for non-violence: as conservationists, ecologists, protectors of wildlife, promoters of organic agriculture, distributists, cottage producers and so forth? An ounce of practice is generally worth more than a ton of theory.
It will need many ounces, however, to lay the economic foundations of peace. Where can one find the strength to go on working against such obviously appalling odds? What is more: where can one find the strength to overcome the violence of greed, envy, hate and lust within oneself? I think Gandhi had the answer: 'There must be recognition of the existence of the soul apart from body, and of its permanent nature, and this recognition must amount to a living faith; and in the last resort, non-violence does not avail those who do not possess a living faith in the God of Love.'" Small Is Beautiful, by E.F. Schumacher, p.40.
"Economics...deals with goods in accordance with their market value, and not in accordance with what they really are. The same rules and criteria are applied to primary goods, which man has to win from nature, and secondary goods, which presuppose the existence of primary goods and are manufactured from them. All goods are treated the same, because the point of view is fundamentally that of private profit-making, and this means that it is inherent in the methodology of economics to ignore man's dependence on the natural world.
Another way of stating this is to say that economics deals with goods and services from the point of view of the market, where willing buyers meets willing seller. The buyer is essentially a bargain hunter; he is not concerned with the origin of the goods or the conditions under which they have been produced. His sole concern is to obtain the best value for his money.
The market therefore represents only the surface of society and its significance relates to the monetary situation as it exists there and then. There is no probing into the depths of things, into the natural or social facts that lie behind them. In a sense the market is the institutionalization of individualism and non-responsibility. Neither buyer or seller is responsible for anything but himself. It would be 'uneconomic' for a wealthy seller to reduce his prices to poor customers merely because they are in need, or for a wealthy buyer to pay an extra price merely because the supplier is poor. Equally it would be 'uneconomic' for a buyer to give preference to home-produced goods if imported goods are cheaper. He does not, and is not expected to, accept responsibility for the country's balance of payments." p.46.
"Economics operates legitimately and usefully within a 'given' framework which lies altogether outside the economic calculus. We might say that economics does not stand on its own two feet, or that it is a 'derived' body of thought--derived from meta-economics. If the economist fails to study meta-economics, or, even worse, if he remains unaware of the fact that there are boundaries to the applicability of the economic calculus, he is likely to fall into a similar kind of error as that of certain medieval theologians who tried to settle questions of physics by means of biblical quotations. Every science is beneficial within its proper limits, but becomes evil and destructive as soon as it transgresses them.
The science of economics is 'so prone to usurp the rest'--even moreso today than it was 150 years ago, when Edward Coplestone pointed to this danger--because it relates to certain strong drives of human nature, such as envy and greed. All the greater is the duty of its experts, the economists, to understand and clarify its limitations, that is to say, to understand meta-economics.
What then is meta-economics? As economics deals with man in his environment, we may expect that meta-economics consists of two parts--one dealing with man and the other dealing with the environment. In other words, we may expect that economics must derive its aims and objectives from a study of man, and that it must derive at least a large part of its methodology from the study of NATURE." pp.48,49.
Banking, as it gave rise to, and as it functions in our present era of international capitalism, will find no place in the coming age. It was not only an intricate, controlling factor in an age, and of an economic philosophy that is now being judged by History, but of an entire order of things that will not yield peaceably, and surrender to the rule of those who are the true heirs of the future. It is poised now to wage the final battle against the Lord of History Himself. Not only this, but it is also prepared to arrest and execute those who will not support it in its final hours.
"What emerges from this study? Above all, I suggest, the conclusion that Fascism is nothing but monopoly capitalism imposing its will on those masses whom it has deliberately transformed into slaves...a partnership between monopoly capitalism and the Nazi party in which that supreme coercive power which is of the state's essence is used to compel obedience to the system...
There is no reason to suppose that any nation is so inescapably wedded to democracy as to be free from the dangers of Fascism. Professor Brady shows how profound are fascist tendencies in the United States
The lesson of all foreign experience is that the governing class will not permit the use of democratic institutions to abrogate its economic privileges. So long as these institutions do not operate as to interfere with the basic structure of Capitalism, they are respected. But so soon as they are used to attempt a fundamental change in the incidence of economic power, faith in the validity of democratic institutions is rapidly undermined. Indeed, the experience of Western Europe makes it plain that the attempt need only be potential...
The regime which the Nazis proceeded to establish is fairly described by the nature of the major interests which sponsored it, as a dictatorship of monopoly capitalism. Its 'fascism' is that of business enterprise organized on a monopoly basis, and in full command of all the military, police, legal, and propaganda power of the state...(In its attempt) it must divert the gaze of the masses from material to spiritual things." The Spirit and Structure of German Fascism, by Robert Brady.
And there shall be in every place, and in the next cities, a great insurrection upon those that fear the Lord.
They shall be like mad men, sparing none, but still spoiling and destroying those that fear the Lord.
For they shall waste and take away their goods, and cast them out of their houses.
Then shall be known who are the chosen, and they shall be tried as gold in the fire...(2 Esdras 16:70-73...KJV; John 16:1-11).
And he (the leader) causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
And that no man might buy and sell, save he had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name...(Revelation 13:16,17; Deuteronomy 6:5-15).
The banking system cannot survive into the coming age because of its relationship to money itself, nor can money itself, nor the use of money of any kind, when money is tied in value to any commodity that is not equally accessible to every member of society.
Money (and we shall depart here from all the technical definitions of money and its interuse between one form and another; we know what we mean--their money) presently finds its way from the printing house into public use through the Federal Reserve System and the nation's banks. It is loaned into use, at INTEREST. When we borrow a sum of money from a lender we promise to pay that much back, plus Interest. The practice is called Usury as in:
Thou shalt NOT lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of anything that is lent upon usury...
(And here is a clause built into the Law to catch the wicked hearted)...Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land (the state of mind) whither thou goest to possess it...(Deuteronomy 23:19,20; 1 Timothy 1:5-10).
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender...(Proverbs 22:7).
Now the lenders (the bankers, and, of course, the agencies of government that exist solely on their behalf, and which are in turn subject to them) are either our brothers, or they are strangers oppressing us (and most often in the name of our own beliefs). They do profess the religion of Abraham, do they not? For pity sakes, they do not even treat each other as brethren (except when they are in collusion with each other), how much less the rest of us? and this is how they operate: They lend into public use the amount we have borrowed from them, but they do not issue into public use the amount we actually owe. They place the amount of the principle into circulation but not the amount of the interest. Thus there is only so much money available, enough theoretically for every soul to pay back the collective principle of our debts...but where do we all go to find the interest that we also owe? This extra amount of money does not in fact exist. So we are left to compete against each other for it, from the principle amount of money that is in circulation.
The strongest, the most cunning, and the most willing, have no trouble competing for it (they just keep their hearts and minds closed to the implications of it all). We, however, see their branch banks and businesses, office buildings, hotels and chain stores springing up everywhere, desecrating the land (not to mention their old smokestacks and factories rusting away), and we see their houses and estates springing up everywhere, further attesting to the ongoing, mindless assault upon the natural world that is underway in America today. Where do these privileged get the money (the interest) to keep their own private economies intact and circulating? From the rest of society--by constantly exploiting the limits of the economy, by manipulation and fine tuning the amount one can charge for goods and services, and for labor. Thus from the disenfranchised (those without economic power), and from those who have dropped out of the cycle because they either cannot, or will not, compete (these are called the poor and the poor-in-spirit). They prosper at the expense of others who must remain content to live with depressed wages (and depressed opportunities) from week to week (or perhaps even from loan to loan), to finance the lives and lifestyles of those above them. (Those who support the ones above them have traditionally been known as the working class, but even this class is changing into something else as some of its children fall out of it to levels of uncertain subsistence, and others give themselves over to the materialism and tactics of those above them and disappear upwards). And, of course, they extract this means from the gargantuan assault upon the natural environment that is steadily underway across the land, simply because they have acquired the power to do so.
The Root of all Evil...(Malachi 4:1).
The Bush Syndicate (a Global Crime Family).
The capitalist class lives off of the labors of its workers (not to fail to mention all the blood that is being spilled by the common man on their behalf). No matter how many material rewards are ultimately passed down and spread around, and no matter how much social movement there is between the classes, in God's sight, and in the eyes of History, it is a crime against humanity--a crime that now has serious global and biblical implications. It is called Taking Increase...
He that hath not given forth upon usury, NEITHER HATH TAKEN ANY INCREASE, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man.
Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly: he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God...(Ezekiel 18:8,9).
The worker earns, say, ten dollars an hour for his employer, is paid five and goes home. (Perhaps he or she is paid only three, or two, or one, depending on how successful the employer is in exploiting them, or how much the employer fears the overthrow of his system from below. The minimum wage is a concession--no matter how seemingly humane--by those in power in order to remain in power, and must be almost always forced upon those in power against their collective will. But we are not breaking the ground of new economic theory here. We are just rehearsing the things we have known all along...
Go to now ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields (and labored in your mills, and who have built your empire), which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth, and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of History.
You have lived in pleasure on the earth, and have been wanton: ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord (unto the coming of History), behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and the latter rain.
Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh...(James 5:1-8).
The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.
He raiseth the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and He hath set the world upon them.
He will keep the Feet of His saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness...
The Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and He shall give strength unto His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed...(1 Samuel 2:1-10).
"The manuscripts he wrote at the age of twenty-five while an exile in Paris...often dismissed by hard-line fundamentalists as 'immature,' contain some of his most profound ideas. His critique of capitalism in those Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts did not need any mathematical proofs of 'surplus value.' It simply stated (but did not state it simply) that the capitalist system violates whatever it means to be human. The industrial system Marx saw developing in Europe not only robbed them of the product of their work, it estranged working people from their own creative possibilities, from one another as human beings, from the beauties of nature, from their own true selves. They lived out their lives not according to their own inner needs, but according to the necessities of survival.
This estrangement from self and others, this alienation from all that was human, could not be overcome by an intellectual effort, by something in the mind. What was needed was a fundamental, revolutionary change in society, to create the conditions...for the flowering of human potential, for a leap into freedom as it had never been experienced in history." Howard Zinn, On History, pp.75,76.
The employer then takes the other five dollars (times all the workers in his employ) and goes home--to a different neighborhood. He pays the interest on his loans, he expands, and he increases the state of his own economic well-being, at every one else's expense. (The impoverished state of the world's peoples is the product of this system multiplied by the millions who are prospering at the expense of the billions). The capitalist even competes against his own class because this is the nature of the beast. He has no spiritual affections. He competes and competes, he builds and builds, until at last the whole house falls down. And great was the fall of it...(Matthew 7:24-27). It will happen because it is the plan of history. God built the towers so that we could see them, and so that we could see them fall. Why? So that we would learn to never build them again. How else could we understand without the experience? (Even now, as we rewrite this paper, plans are unfolding to replace the World Trade Center with another, 1,700 feet tall).
The Federal Reserve, in conjunction with the other central banks, realizes that there must be a certain amount of cooperation in the market to insure growth, and a certain amount of growth to keep the house of cards they have built from falling. If there is not--if there is no public incentive to keep borrowing (keeping the limited money supply in flux between the bank, the public, and back to the bank again), fueling, so-to-say, the steady fires of development needed to keep everything in motion--then people will wake up one day and realize that there (really) is only so much money out here between us and that we have been at each other's throats to get at it. It is evident when we answer an ad in the newspaper and find twenty others sitting in the company's employment office, applying for the same position. We do not speak to each other, or wish each other well, because we know we are competing for the same job--for the same limited amount of money in circulation--and our love for each other is diminished by how much we need or want this job...
And we learn that there is not enough money in circulation (by the amount of money that is being skimmed off the top of the economy by the rich and powerful, by the amount of interest on the sum of all loans that are being repaid, and by the amount of savings that are being kept out of circulation in violation of the sacred precept, Give us this day, O God, our daily bread), to stop the chain effect of monetary collapse when once it is underway. It will not come to a halt like the old un-grinding of a locomotive, but like a skipped beat, an alarming pulse, and then suddenly the lights blink and an entire government collapses into default.
If those nations, notably Japan, which bankroll America's enormous debt, should decide to take their investments offshore (or if Japan's economy itself should collapse), precipitating a fiscal and poltical crisis of unimaginable magnitude in Washington, the government will either have to close down (unable to pay its bills) or convince the American people that it is still (electronic) business as usual, and that nothing of apocalyptic proportions was happening. Of course it will have to enact the strongest economic measures possible, including the suspension or dismantling of its own constitutional framework. (Already underway). Those who resist, or who refuse to comply with the other authoritative measures that must accompany such an event, will be called the enemies of the people (not "communists" anymore, but some other new-coined threat, a red scare nevertheless). Among them will be the sons and daughter of God, the Remnant in this generation. (Romans 8:19-28). Those who do not sense the import of this crisis, who do not resist, will be violating the law of the Great Sabbath (Hebrews 4), and exchanging their birthright for one morsel of meat. (Hebrews 12:12-17...KJV). The banks, meanwhile, begin foreclosures on outstanding loans to satisfy their depositors (who are demanding to know where there money is). Even the collateral the banks seize in place of money will become a burden, because it will be of little value until the crisis is over. And through the confusion, the panic, and the demand for order, we realize that Nature (God) Herself is foreclosing on the giant. She is taking back what men have stolen from Her, and from Her children (Jeremiah 7:9,10).
Capitalism (and American capitalism in particular), was built upon unsound principles--completely out of harmony with Nature's laws--and upon an ever-evolving assumption that it would always stand, that it would never be called into account, and that it was too powerful a system to collapse. This was all the work of a Dark mentality which, from the beginning, has been deprived of the light of Divine Reason and of the ability to see into its own future. Thus in the interest of continued economic growth, when it is not interfering politically and militarily abroad (to assure international stability)...
...it is busy manipulating the money supply, as well as other material and psychological conditions at home. It does so in accordance with its own complex interpretation (well, it wants us to imagine that it is all so naturally complex that the process must always be entrusted to those who are trained and disposed to such matters, like priests in the temple--other bankers and professional economists--who understand the meanings) of the index of economic factors as it moves from day to day, month to month, and region to region. Thus it exercises a vast, diabolical power over the personal lives and well-being of every soul in the nation, no, in the world. Those who acquire this power are able to remove funds from one sector of the economy (by manipulating interest rates, thus the supply of money...or by shifting investments), thus upsetting the lives of many thousands upon thousands while creating a boon for others. Thus the money keeps flowing from the banks--we get to touch what little comes our way--and back again, while the vast toll of human misery continues. We can't measure all of the misery at home, because much of it is hidden behind the doors of regular working people, and passes for normal family life, but we see enough of it to understand. The capitalist economy, and the banking profession that empowers it, has no real concern for individuals (and neither do we want it to). It is only concerned with equations and statistics, production and consumption, maximizing profits and self preservation.
All of this under the shadow of the National mythology, which includes the subtle belief that the America nation and Manifest Israel are one and the same (they are not). The Wise Men of Zion, in fact, have very little regard for Zion's statutes:
Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just weights, just balances, a just ephah, a just hin, shall ye have: I am the Lord your God which brought you out of Egypt...(Leviticus 19:35-37).
Thou shalt not have in the bag diverse weights, a great and small. Thou shalt not have in thy house diverse measures, a great and small...(Deuteronomy 25:13-16).
For all things shall be laid bare in the weighing scales and in the books on the great judgment day...(Secrets of Enoch LIII).
As the sons of Darkness were unwittingly amassing all this wealth and power, they were also unwittingly approaching the Day of the Lord, a day in which they would have to give an account, but also in which a great people in the earth would awake, having finally been educated in all the ways of Darkness...
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth...
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled...
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God...(Matthew 5:1-19).
And among the many lessons we have learned is the true meaning and the nature of money itself...Real Money (not gold, not silver, not coins, not dollars, not yen, not Euros, not checks, not securities, not tobacco, not corn), being the product of Labor, the Labor of Love (and if accounts must be kept--Time). These things belong to the people, not their overlords...
THE HISTORY OF MONEY
"While the exact origins of money are unknown, all its earlier forms were deeply related to the mysteries of the sacred, and its first role was as a symbol. A symbol is 'something which represents something else which is immaterial or abstract,' according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which goes on to point out that all early symbols were related to religious concepts.
One of the oldest coins is a Sumerian bronze piece dating back to about 3200 BC. On one side of the coin is a representation of a sheaf of wheat, and on the other is a representation of Inanna (the Ishtar of the Babylonians), the Goddess of life, death, and fertility. It was called a "shekel," and it was a sacred symbol embodying the mysteries of life's fertility. The shekel is by no means atypical. Throughout history, virtually every society has conferred some mysterious sacred qualities on its currency. More than 2500 years after the Sumerian shekel, the first Greek coins were actually tokens given to citizens as proof of payment of their dues. These tokens could be redeemed for participation in the annual hecatomb or sacred meal to be shared with the deities.
The Arab scholar Ibn Khaldrun claimed that "God created the two precious metals, gold and silver, to serve as a measure of all commodities." Without further need for intervention by any religious institution, gold and silver remained symbolically associated respectively with the sun and moon. For centuries, their prices stabilized mysteriously in a fixed ration of 1/13.5, astrologically determined to reflect the heavenly cycles. The two metals remained divinely ordained currencies after the astrological justification was long forgotten. There are many people who, to this day, claim that 'real' money would be a return to the gold standard. Some even keep invoking biblical origins...
Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath...(Zephaniah 1:14-18).
...There is some irony in the fact that the almighty dollar is no exception to this mystical phenomenon. Issued by a country with a scrupulous separation between Church and State since its founding, where school prayers can still stir a heated debate, the most ordinary one-dollar bill has as motto, "In God We Trust." That same bill is illustrated with both sides of the Great Seal of the United States. That seal has been described...as extraordinarily laden with esoteric symbols...
Central bankers, in particular, still shroud their doings in priestly mystery. A hearing of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve in Congress has just as much ritual and studied ambiguities as the oracles of the priests of Apollo in Delphi in Ancient Greece. Two quotations illustrate this perfectly. The first is my favorite Allan Greenspan witticism: 'If you have understood me, then I must not have made myself perfectly clear.' The other comes from William Greider in his well-named best-selling book on the Federal Reserve, Secrets of the Temple. 'Like the temple, the Fed did not answer to the people, it spoke for them. Its decrees were cast in a mysterious language people could not understand, but its voice, they knew, was powerful and important.' However, there is more to the mystery of money than just a reflection of the well-established conservatism of the financial world.
THE CONFIDENCE GAME
If a friend were to offer you a choice between a $20 note and a piece of paper on which was written, "I promise to pay $20 to the bearer of this note," which would you prefer? You may know your friend as a sterling and trustworthy person. But if you try to exchange the little chit at the hardware store for a new garden hose, the assistant wont take it. Even if they also know your friend, they will be concerned about the shop's ability to pay its suppliers with the note. So naturally you would prefer the $20 note, because lifelong experience has taught you that the $20 note will be accepted by everyone as worth $20. You have a deeply held belief--and here is the key--not that the $20 note is valuable (after all, its only a piece of paper), but that everyone else will accept it as valuable. It really doesn't matter what you think about your money, you still know that you can spend it. You believe that everyone else believes that the money is valuable. What you are talking about is a belief about a belief.
Matters of belief and social convention can be powerful and practically indestructible. History abounds in examples of people who have chosen torture and death rather than change their beliefs. We also recognize that someone can choose to continue believing something, even when faced with ample evidence to the contrary. So belief has a formidable presence in the human psyche...Moreover, a chain of belief about a belief is only is strong as its weakest link. If I think that someone on the other side of the world has stopped believing in the Mexican peso, the Thai baht, or the Russian rouble, then I have to fear that his neighbors will stop believing. As a result the whole house of cards may fall down, as it did for Mexico in 1994, for Thailand in 1997, or for Russia in 1998.In brief, the game of money, exactly like the Ancient Greek oracles, is a confidence game. Whenever the emperor has no clothes (i.e. whenever a 'crisis of confidence' looms), those in the know hope that no guileless child will make an improper remark. Under such circumstances, a facade of regal confidence, mystery, decorum, and ritual serves to ensure that a long and fragile chain of beliefs will hold.
WHY MONEY IS NOT A THING
We should now dissipate a key illusion in the magic about money: money is not a thing.
For most of history, money has definitely appeared to be a thing, in fact, an incredible variety of things. Without even mentioning the most recently prevailing forms of money, such as paper, gold, silver, or bronze, Glyn Davies created a full money alphabet with a small selection of objects that served as symbolic of value: amber, beads, cowries, drums, eggs, feathers, gongs, hoes, ivory, jade, kettles, leather, mats, nails, oxen, pigs, quartz, rice, salt, thimbles, umiaks, wampums, yarns and zappozats, which are decorated axes.
Interestingly, a simple thought experiment can separate the aura of money from any or all of these things. Let us assume that you are stranded alone on a deserted island. If, when you were left stranded, you had a thing in your pocket - say a knife - that knife will still be useful as a knife on your island. Now you may take with you a million dollars in money in this fantasy, and you may have it in any form you like...even any of the forms of the alphabet money that strikes your fancy. Whatever form you choose, on your island that money changes into paper, plastic, metal or whatever else, but it has ceased to be money.
Events in recent decades have further made evident the non-material nature of money. In 1971, the United States ceased to define the value of the dollar in terms of gold. Since that time, the dollar has represented a promise from the US government to redeem the dollar with--another dollar. At least when the dollar was backed with gold, we could more easily believe it had some objective value. With the demise of the gold-dollar equivalency, such self-deception has become more difficult.For another analogy of money and magic--no magician's routine is complete without a disappearing act. Money has been performing this feat in a rather spectacular way. Once upon a time, when money was mostly gold and silver coins, banks started issuing pieces of paper that stated where the metal was kept. The sentence "I will pay the bearer the sum of one Pound Sterling" which adorns the Pound bill is still a reminder of the weight and silver content of the metal currency. The next step in the disappearing act is already well under way. The vast majority of paper money has further dematerialized into binary bits in computers belonging to our bankers, brokers, or other financial institutions, and there is serious talk that all of it may soon join the virtual world. Should we wait until the last paper bill has disappeared into a cyber-purse to wake up to the true non-material nature of money?
A WORKING DEFINITION OF MONEYOur working definition of money can now be very straight forward. Money is an agreement, within a community, to use something as a means of payment. Each one of these terms is essential in this definition. Seen as an agreement, money has much in common with other social contracts, such as political parties, nationality, or marriage. These constructs are real, even if they exist only in people's minds. The money agreement can be attained formally or informally, freely or coerced, consciously or unconsciously...Money as an agreement is always valid only within a given community. Some currencies are operational only among small groups of friends...for certain periods of time, or among the citizens of one particular nation. Such a community can be an entire global community...
MONEY SHIFTS AND POWER SHIFTSMoney is, therefore, much more than a technical issue. Whenever a currency is accepted within a community, it makes an implicit statement about power in that community. So when priests or priestesses were in power, temples issued money. When kings dominated, Aristotle attributed to them personally the 'Sovereign right to issue currency.' In the Industrial Age nation-states became the paragon of power, so national currencies automatically became dominant.
Now that power is starting to shift away from the nation-states, it should not come as a surprise that new non-national currencies are emerging. Some people still assume that there is only one kind of money possible in the modern world--the familiar national currency, in the form of bills and coins. Of course, the magicians's trick concerning money is to make us believe that we need the magician's help to create money. This is not true, unless we choose to take sleight of hand for reality..." The Future of Money, by Bernard Lietaer, pp. 32- 43.
Every soul is born into the world with all the money it needs to get from one side of life to the other. It is rich at birth. Real money (the only true medium of exchange) is "work performed/services rendered," that's it, period. If everyone got up and went to work today just as they always do, but accepted no pay for it, and if they were still able to go to the store and pick up the things they needed, and found them there as usual, and if everyone suddenly developed the social resolve and made all the intellectual and spiritual adjustments necessary to implement such an economy, and if everyone else outside of this economy was educated and enfranchised into it--every soul equal to the other in each other's eyes (the greatest among us, the teachers and physicians, the poets and the artists, our servants)--the True-Money economy would be immediately in place. Of course the present world economy stands directly in the way of such realities and therefore the great economic judgments that are already underway.
(At a Rainbow Family gathering in the Upper Peninsular of Michigan a few years ago, our granddaughter, Kalila, with a pocket full of change and a few dollar bills, took a stroll with the other children down the main path--on their own--hoping to buy some of the handmade beads and jewelry things that were on display along the way. She came back about an hour later and threw all her cash down, exclaiming: "This stuff is no good around here." No one along the way would trade for it. "You can trade for other things," we told her, "something that you made with your own hands, something with love in it, something that they would like, or perhaps you could see if there was something you could help them with...some work that they needed help with." It was her first lesson in real economics--a simple and rudimentary lesson to be sure, one not fraught with the initial complexities that will present themselves in the worldwide implementation of such a true economy--but a first lesson nevertheless).
Real money can also consist of a promise, or a token representing a promise, by one person to perform so much work in exchange for another persons goods and services. But the work or the actual item traded is the money, not the token used to symbolize the exchange. The token, or the currency, becomes money only when we lose our grasp on its meaning, when we mistake it for real money. When we mistake the tokens or the currency-in-use (dollars or whatever) for real money, the ones who create the tokens and print the currency get to be in charge of the whole economy and, in the process, of every one lives and well-being as well. There are historical factors (spiritual lessons) leading up to our present world economy and we want to understand them, so that we do not recreate them.
The capitalist system does not operate on real-money. It performs no real work. There is a lot of paper currency (and now plastic) in circulation which capitalists print, which passes as money, and seems like money, but it is not real money. It is, in fact, worthless unless it can be exchanged for something of real value. The wealthy do not produce anything of real value, others do. And when they actually get their hands on the levers of real production it is always in the sole interest of amassing further wealth, more power to protect that wealth; and their methods are always (always) grounded in the exploitation of others and the continual and ceaseless assault upon the Earth and her precious resources...
And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead (those dead to the world of spiritual reality), that they should be judged, and that thou shouldst give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldst destroy them that destroy the earth...(Revelation 11:18).
The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for fear of her torments, weeping and wailing.
And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off.
And they cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate...(Revelation 18:15-19).
Gold and silver are worthless to a people who are coming up out of the darkness, to those who are coming up out of the mines and away from the oppressions of the old order. (Let them come up, and let everyone care for their needs while they shift their labors to the true economy). We will come up from the use of metals as a medium of exchange because we had to go down into the darkness, and destroy the earth, in order to extract them. We will come up in the very same way as we will come up from a dependence on fossil fuels for energy. God is releasing new technology into the world (and just in time)--energy from sunlight, from geothermal sources, from water and wind, and from (spiritual) sources not yet discovered (so that the rich and powerful could not get their hands on them). But most of all a new frame of mind. A great healing process and restoration must take place first.
A TRIBUTE TO ROBERT SWANN
1918 - 2003
For centuries men have attempted to change human attitudes, to achieve disarmament agreements, to promote international understanding and cooperation. But little attempts have been made, and except in a nationalistic framework almost no success has been achieved, in elimination poverty, exploitation and imperialism. In my opinion, only an economic program can reach to the heart of the world peace problem.
Whatever approach to the economic situation we wish to take, it must be a non-national context. Our vision should encompass the world as a whole. It should be a cooperative vision concerned with all mankind, excluding none, and should focus upon the task of bringing justice through non-violent means.
Robert Swann in The Economics of Peace, 1966.
"...He came to believe that people need access to land where they can live and work, a system of currency that enables economic self-sufficiency, and community institutions that work to sustain both land and people. When he left prison, he set to work on the reforms he felt were essential to building a peaceful world.
Much of this work involved picking up a hammer and building things. Bob organized a crew of black and white Americans in the South to rebuild churches that had been burned in the struggle for civil rights in the sixties. He created the country's first community land trust to provide farmland for African_American farmers in Georgia. Years later, he designed and built affordable housing for the community land trust in Great Barrington. He pioneered the movement for local currencies. IN 1980 he founded the E. F. Schumacher Society to put the decentralist ideas of Small Is Beautiful author E. F. Schumacher into action. Bob believed that building what Schumacher called 'an economics as if people mattered' could steer us away from the conflicts that lead to war. He died in January at the age of eighty-four.
As a friend and advisor to the Schumacher Society, Wendell Berry was well acquainted with Bob's interest in community credit, land trusts, and local currencies, all of which grew out of his peace activism. In fact, Berry could have been paying tribute to his friend's life and work when he wrote the final sentence of his cover story for this issue: 'If we are serious about peace, then we must work for it as ardently, seriously, continuously, carefully, and bravely as we have prepared for war.' Peace, in other words, is not something you can hope for or fight for. It is a way of living.
At the wake held for Bob Swann was a simple, beautiful wooden casket, upon which rested a hammer and a measuring tape, among other tokens and symbols. The message, or so it seemed, was let us all now get to work building the kind of world we want to live in."
Thus he or she who does not know how to produce something with their own hands, will in the end have to come to those who do (to those who have always seen that such things were given away in exchange for nothing more than met their own simple needs). "Everything is collapsed," they will say. "Give us bread and milk, we will give you silver and gold." Those of "true estate" will say, "Keep these things and make nice trinkets of them for your children. We will give you something greater just because you have humbled yourselves and asked. We will give you God's love. Here, sit at the table, eat, drink. You are not in charge any more. We will teach you how to think properly, and how to work so that you can have some real-money to carry around with you...
Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price.
Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David...(Isaiah 55:1-4; 1 Samuel 2:1-10...KJV).
Thus the real pauper is served by the real prince and all the sacred prophecies are fulfilled.
We will also come up from the use of currency that is printed by anyone who cannot see deep into these matters (that would be all of those who are presently in charge of the world), and who do not understand the meaning and the necessity for the revolution in human consciousness and in human relationships that is underway in the earth (which is being facilitated by the great judgments that are already falling on the present world order). We will not employ the currency of any nation or institution which does not understand the economic equation that exists between the individual and the time each soul expends doing what it does in the interest of others--regardless (totally regardless) of the product created or the service rendered. We will also abandon the use of currency issued by any nation or institution that is oblivious to the meaning of history and the two pathways it has taken to the 20th (now 21st) century--the path of Darkness and the path of Light. One has lead downwards into the ways of Cain, the other upwards in the ways of Abel (Genesis 4:1-15):
"And when he (Cain) had traveled over many countries he, with his wife, built a city named Nod (asleep) where he also had children. However, he did not accept his punishment in order to amend, but to increase his wickedness...for he only aimed to procure everything that was for his own bodily pleasure, though it obliged him to be injurious to his neighbors.
He augmented his household substance with much wealth, by rapine and violence; he excited his acquaintances to procure pleasures and spoils by robbery, and became a great leader of men into wicked courses. He also introduced change in that way of simplicity wherein men lived before, and was the author of measures and weights; and whereas they lived innocently and generously while they knew nothing of such arts, he changed the world into cunning craftiness. He first of all set boundaries about lands, he built a city and fortified it with walls, and he compelled his family to come together to it, and called the city Enoch after the name of his oldest son." Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews I.II.2.
Cain is all the children of Adam who have not only found justification for exercising power over the lives of others in the earth (contrary to the Laws that were received and passed down by their first parents), but who have also justified the commission of war and the otherwise taking of human life in the exercise of this power. In the West he is all the Gentile, Jewish, Christian and Islamic (and even Hindu) peoples who have come to positions of political and economic authority in these last times. It is what Paul meant when speaking of Adam and Eve: This is a great mystery, he said, but I am (really) speaking of Christ and the Church. (Ephesians 5:30-32...KJV). In essence, Paul is referring to the last two thousand years of Western history. Eve is a literary figure of the Church (the great Congregation), and she has brought forth in the earth a multitude of those who are like Cain, her firstborn, who fight and kill to preserve what they have stolen, lands and wealth which they have come to believe is rightfully theirs. (James 4). She has also brought forth those who are like Abel, who will not kill and who do not make war in the earth. (Open the pages of the Book of 1 John; Galatians 5:16-26).
From the spirit of Cain came the figure of the original strong man, Nimrod, as it is written: Even AS Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord (Genesis 10:8-11). Just what does Nimrod hunt? The allegiances of men--their souls:
"Now it was Nimrod who excited them against God...He persuaded men to ascribe their strength and happiness to their own courage. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny--seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence upon his power. He also said he would be revenged on God (Romans 13:1-5) if he should have a mind to drown the world again, for he would build a tower too high for the waters to reach...The multitude followed." Josephus, Antiquities I.IV.2
"Who are kings after all? (wrote Thomas Paine). If we could trace back through history, we should find the first of them nothing but the principle ruffian of some wrestless gang, whose savage manners...obtained him the title of Chief among plunderers." T'was Seeding Time, by J. Ruth.
Nimrod is the biblical figure of the strong leader. Paine, however, failed to see this familiar spirit rising up in the merchant leaders of the American Revolution, or in the person of the American presidents. What is the saying? "One can not see the trees for the forest." (Matthew 7:16-23; Mark 8:22-25). From the beginning, Nimrod was able to consolidate the uncertainties men entertained about natural and human events (their inabilities to see into the spiritual world) against the people themselves. And after all these thousands of years, this same spirit was able to more fully capitalize on man's descent to these Western ends of the earth. These final historical events are known in the Prophets as the Great Falling Away (2 Thessalonians, chapter 2; Hebrews 6:4-8...KJV). Such things had to occur, however, not only in order for us to finally grasp the principles upon which the world was created (the higher Dialectic--Thesis, Antithesis, and the final spiritual Synthesis), but in order for us to freely and knowingly choose to return to the simple economic relationships we all shared before the rise of Cain and Nimrod in the earth (but now at an exquisitely higher plain of human consciousness).
What could have happened to destroy those relationships? It certainly had to do with the delineation at some time or another of tribal borders (the earliest stages of nationalism), and the eventual introduction of weights and measures, but even before these there was the evolutionary issues of human nature itself--psychological, intellectual and moral, ethical, and finally spiritual. For what does it mean to be created in the image of God? What does it mean to become a true human being? (I want to believe that we have finally attained to that stage--out of the Darkness into the Light--that we are no longer a species of...well, golems, droids and orcs, incapable of freedom...precious)...
And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there, and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there...
I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts...(Ecclesiastes 3:16-21).
One day in the distant past someone must have said to another, "I cannot take your word for it." It was a among those most dramatic yet unrecorded world-changing moments in human history, like when the first legible word was uttered. Perhaps it was in spite, perhaps that person had become untrustworthy, or perhaps it was simply a business decision, purely in the interest of Self. "I am going away for awhile, and I am afraid that when I return you will have forgotten that I made that spear for you and fixed your traps. Give me a token that I can keep, which will remind both of us that you still owe me for these things." Perhaps a small smooth stone was exchanged, or some other token. Perhaps the debtor put his mark on it. Or perhaps a priestly class was empowered in the transaction, some esteemed figure before whom the two appeared, as a witness between them, and a sacred symbol common to all, and understood for its power, was inscribed on the stone. The mark gave this stone a special meaning among all other stones, and was invested not only with the promise of an individual but with the word of the tribe or the group. In some such way as this was (un-real) token-money created--but in reality, in a breach of trust. (The Fall of man, and history itself was underway...The Capitalist order is still thousands of years in the future). Of course, where a level of trust was still present a stick or some other personal item could serve as well.
Of importance, however, is the fact that the debtor issued his own money. (We will assume for now that the Strongman, Nimrod, has not appeared on the scene yet. There is no temple yet in the center of the province. The doctrines of Adam and the spirit of Cain are not yet abroad in the earth...Genesis 1:26). It is soon understood that others in the group will actually accept the stone in exchange for their own labors, as long as they felt confident they could redeem it again, or eventually bring it back to the person who first issued it, to be paid in kind. If it had the mark of the tribe or the group on it, then there were further social pressures in place to assure that the stone maintained its integrity. And before long a person with one of these stones in their bag, while on a journey to visit another clan or tribe, met another on the way to visit their own tribe. Perhaps the other had a token with a mark on it also, which he acquired in the village to which our sojourner was heading. And so they traded these objects assuring each other they could be redeemed for certain necessities in the place they were going. (Of course it is difficult here not to give some passing thought to the idea of the first profession, and its impact on the political and religious development of a given people).
Perhaps good relationships began to ensue, along with further and more sophisticated means of keeping and transferring such accounts between more-distant groups. Token-money in this sense may have led to a certain level of expansion in human relationships--a certain amount of good out of a certain amount of, let us say, not-good. Not-good because it was also leading to the early rise of a trading or merchant class. (The fall continues). Soon alliances were being forged between groups (ah, a hint of political authority, the language of power begins to appear). Perhaps things fell out between groups, and the tokens between them ceased to be honored. The tokens, we realize, began to acquire a power of their own, a power that affected human relationships in every future way.
Other complexities began to emerge as relationships began to expand and civilization as we know it began to emerge. "How authentic are these tokens?" some surely reasoned. "How do we know that you did not make them on your way here, or that they can actually be redeemed for real things on the other side? After all, such stones can be picked up anywhere" (As long as trade was confined to the realm of barter, meat for axes, seeds for skins, firewood for woolen sweaters, a general stability ensued--it was all more or less related to time--but when token-money was introduced, along with the possibilities of making a profit [on other peoples' labors as well] entered the equation, economic instability was a natural result). So it became necessary that cash--our promises to provide goods and services at a future date, or at another place--be made from materials that are not so easy to pick up along the way, something whose value (whether real or imagined) men can commonly agree on...such as metals. For theoretically, if some debtor refused to redeem the coins, the coins themselves could be forged into a sword to attack him and take by force what he would not yield peaceably.
Cash became not only a medium of exchange but a means of communication between peoples. Commerce became the language. A person from an hundred, or a thousand miles away in those times, could not pick up the phone (or log on the computer) to see if the promise is really good. The token, then, was a long-distance way of saying, "yes, our promise is good." If a person's word, however (honesty that is, and personal integrity), is a form of cash, and it is, we can return to it. And in some collective sense we already are, but not in the way that we ultimately will. (A whole wicked capitalist world has gotten in the way between us, between those of us with real money--talents, skills and labor, organizational abilities and spiritual resolve--and those we wish to serve). Our energies are presently being absorbed in the system, and diffused in a form of currency (the dollar, the pound, the Euro and the Yen) that does not find its way to those places we want it directed--which, when the house falls, can be brought back to the banks and exchanged for...nothing! It is backed by nothing other than our own belief that this system is a viable one, that it is strong enough to weather the impending storms, and that it can somehow be made responsive to real human needs--if only we empower and support the right political personalities and forces. In the recent edition of Winds of Change, the newsletter of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, our friends there naively quote a tribute to Granny D, by Jimmy Carter. Despite all the lofty rhetoric to the contrary, individuals such as Carter are fully invested members of the capitalist ruling elite and the destroying class, and if it is destroy they must to keep the American ship of state afloat, destroy they will.
In a collapse neither the Federal government or the banks will be able to satisfy the claims of their creditors and depositors, because the money that each believes is there in the system somewhere is, in fact, not really there, nor does it really exist. The Western economy has been operating on such a growing counterfeit basis since the very first individual ever accepted a note (or a stock, or a bond) from any mercantile or capitalist institution. It has been operating on the belief (blind faith and trust, and some sense that it all reflects the natural order of things on our part, and power and cunning on its part), that the process is essentially (if not always) just, and that international relations, upon which the flow of manufactured goods and natural resources depends, can be manipulated and maintained indefinitely, as if God Himself was one of them. It is on this belief that money is continually created, and continually lent into existence. The age of dinosaurs was a great historic metaphor, but it seems that most of us have not learned the meaning of it. Nor have we understand the recent speculations around the existence of a Death Star, or Companion Star, which sent giant comets in earth's direction, bringing about the demise of the great serpents. Only the real star, appearing now out of heaven upon the plain of human comprehension, is the totality of the events of our time--the end of the age.
The first banker, and the first government to uphold and protect his operation (they were probably one and the same as they are today), was the first to understand and exploit the relationship between real money--the things needed to sustain a civilized life, and the labor required to produce them--and the things men were using in place of real money. In time, of course, men were using precious metals such as gold and silver in place of real-money. This came about as the evolution of world economy was accompanied by the rise of the strongman, the strong city-state and eventually the strong nations and empires of the earth. Only the strongman (and the stronger than he) could command such an economy--only through the coerced and enforced labors of other human beings. (For what man in his right frame of mind would choose to work in a mine or quarry from sun up to sun down just to increase the wealth and power of other men)? Only the strongman (in league with a priestly caste) could control the means of gathering and storing these metals in a central place, paying in kind for services rendered to the government...while coercing others at the same time to bring their personal wealth inside the gates for safe keeping. The government, caught in a thicket now, also found it necessary to impose a tax on the people (tribute from others and tolls along its roadways) to keep itself in existence. Those who did not agree with such impositions, or who refused to bend themselves under the yoke of Nimrod, either compromised and paid or left (if they could). They went into the wilderness, and finally to America, until at last there was no place to go...
CITY OF SCHEMES. All those corporate scandals and business bubbles out there have one thing in common: New York was pulling the strings.
"Aren't all these awful crooked C.E.O.'s and C.F.O.'s out in the sticks just...awful? How did this spirit of shameless greed come to infuse the corporate cultures of the heartland? Enron: Houston. Arthur Anderson: Chicago. WorldCom: Clinton, Miss. Adelphia: Coudersport, Pa, Haliburton, Bechtel...Out there, beyond the Hudson, in the vast unfathomable America of discount superstores and chain restaurants and sunbaked suburban business parks, a decadent amorality had worked its way like some malignant rot through the nation's fiber...It turns out that all the Bedford Falls are actually Pottersvilles..." Kurt Andersen, The New York Times Magazine, Oct.6, 2002.
Woe to them that join house to house, that lay field to field (and township to township, county to county, and state to state) till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth...(Isaiah 5:8).
Those charged with safekeeping the gold and silver (the first bankers), as well as those who withdrew from their own accounts from time to time, found that a note expressing the actual amount of metal on hand was as expedient as withdrawing the metals themselves. The owners of the gold could then write checks, or issue their own notes, to cover their own transactions, which eventually found their way back to the bank for redemption. Sometimes those who held the notes were not as interested in withdrawing the metal themselves, they just wanted to be assured that it was still there. Satisfied that it was, they had the portion owed to them transferred to another account in their own name, and left with a voucher or bank draft stating that they were now the owners of so much gold or silver. It did not take long before those who possessed the real-money--the labor that others were employing or coercing to advance their own fortunes--actually came to believe that the bankers and the employers were in possession of the real-money. (After all these bankers and employers not only owned the gold, but they had the power to publish the notes that said that they did, indeed, own the gold). What could laborers do about it, even if they understood what happened in the transformation from real-wealth to contrived-wealth? Hardly anything seeing how the powers-that-were (and which still are--the government, the police and the military, and the bankers) were all serving the interests of one another. (Open the Book of Psalms). They could stage a Spartican uprising. But we see where that led. The workers could stage a Soviet-style revolution, but this was a departure from the central doctrines of Christ. Or the most altruistic among them could find their way up into the hierarchy of the mercantile and capitalist world--with an idea of reforming it--but this too is a departure from the teachings of Christ--doing evil to do good. The truly righteous in the earth could do nothing but remain a remnant, devote themselves to educating others (rescuing as many as they could, as they could, from both themselves and their oppressors) and endure; all the while searching the times for signs of God's kingdom and practicing in one's own life the spiritual, social and economic means by which we may at last enter into it. (2 Kings 5:26; Matthew 6:33).
SUSAN WITT..."What do you think is the most pressing issue facing the environment over the next ten years?"
FRANCES MOORE LAPPE..."The most pressing issue is that our mental map is going global. We are being told that the global market is our salvation...The new global religion, with its false notion that the market mechanism can somehow allow us to reconnect with the earth and protect the earth, poses our greatest environmental threat...
S.W...."Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of the environment?"
F.M.L...."I think you would call me a possibilist. From what I have observed, having spent so much of the past year traveling to places that are part of the emergence of a new/old way of relating to the earth, I definitely think it is possible that we will awaken from the trap we are in of believing that everything can be reduced to market value, and I want to do everything I can to make the possible happen."...
S.W..."Please describe your new book."
F.M.L..."The book is a sequel, not an update, to Diet for a Small Planet. The title is Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet: Life Beyond Globalization. It describes a mother-daughter journey on five continents. We observed an emerging trend that is largely invisible: people are reinventing the market with more human values, respecting the earth, respecting community. It was a journey on which we saw people filled with fear of change who nevertheless sometimes experienced moments in which they became conscious of the disconnect between their life and their deepest values. Do they deny this awareness and go on in the cycle of fear, or do they step out of it to meet new people and connect with a more positive cycle? The book has a lot to do with fear but also with what is emerging to counter that fear in positive ways.
The book begins and ends with the theme of perception. We human beings are so much the product of who we believe we are. We live according to a dominant mental map with five thought traps that Anna and I have identified, traps that make us replicate the scarcity we fear. We keep replicating who we believe we are...If we pause (instead), to recognize our deeper needs for connection and for effectiveness in the world, then we can let go of that ersatz meaning tied to consumption and find a more satisfying life. So the book is a multi-level, mother-daughter exploration of the key questions for our planet."
S.W..."Thank you Frances Moore Lappe." (www.smallisbeautiful.org).
The bankers in the meantime noticed that there was always a certain percentage of the original metal on hand. People almost never came in to remove the gold and silver owed to them, only to take stock of it. We must also realize that up to this point the currency in circulation was (theoretically) equal to the amount of gold and silver in stock. Anyone in possession of a corresponding note could go into the bank and ask for all the gold that the paper represented (minus a handling charge, of course). Even if the metals physically left the bank they almost always found their way back into the bank, or into some other bank--which made no great difference because in time the bankers found that they had as much in common with each other as they had with the people or the governments the people clung to. (Is there a conspiracy of banking interests in the world today? Well yes, if you want to see it and understand it in that light, as almost everyone does...seeing how clearly complicit and responsible banks are for almost all of the oppression and injustice that is being carried out in the earth. But then again, no, not in the cosmic sense, because it is God who has brought the world to its present state of Darkness, so that we could see it and experience it for ourselves, so that we never allow it to happen again in the future. The there is only one conspirator in the universe, and that is the Creator of the Universe Themselves).
"Most New Yorkers are just rubbing sleep from their eyes, but a day at the Fed already has begun--especially for William J. McDonough, the Bank's president, who is reviewing notes prepared by his advisers. In a few hours, McDonough will attend a Thursday meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)--the Federal Reserve System's top monetary policy board--in Washington, D.C. The meeting, usually held on a Tuesday, was rescheduled because Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the FOMC and of the System's Board of Governors, was attending an international monetary conference...
Congress created the Federal Reserve System in 1913 (during the administration of Thomas Woodrow Wilson) and delegated to the new central bank its Constitutional prerogative over money and the regulation of money's value. Congress also required all commercial banks chartered by the Federal Government--called national banks--to become members of the Federal Reserve System.
Formulating and implementing monetary policy in order to balance the flow of money and credit against the demand for goods and services. (A precarious dollars and cents balancing act, always tilted in favor of those who are the most heavily invested in the system). The goal is to foster a sustainable rate of economic growth and stable prices by influencing money and credit conditions in the economy." A Day At The Fed, The Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
However the idea (the scheme) arrived (with or without the permission of those who owned the gold itself), the idea of making loans out of the bank itself emerged. Not of the gold itself, but of notes and currency in place of the gold. (Another layer of obfuscation was added to the original layer, as the workers and laborers--the owners of the true wealth--faded further from the monetary and other fiscal considerations of the ruling elite. They could always be kept in place)...
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood (against the enemies of the American order of things), but against principalities (of the mind), against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places...(Ephesians 6: 10-19).
The amount to be loaned out of the bank would be equal to the amount of gold that was on the average always left in the bank, so that if anyone with a note came into the bank, just to see if the gold was still there (as long, of course, as it was not a panicked run on the bank), it would be there. There was a stipulation in this scheme, however. In exchange, the borrower had to agree to pay back not only the principle amount of the loan but interest on the loan as well. The world has been at each other's throats ever since. For we already understand, there was only so much gold and silver (or cash) in circulation, and in order to satisfy the banks requirements, individuals had to compete against each other for that limited amount in order to pay back the interest on such loans. The eventual effect helped give further rise to a cunning merchant and entrepreneurial class of men (unbridled growth, business and commerce, eventually all the great banking and investment houses and, at last, the greatest industrial and commercial empire in the history of the world--the United States of America...Revelation 13, KJV).
A colossal state of poverty exists in the world, just to further the expanding (now global) interests of others--others who live on the imbalance. Even a feather's weight of injustice can produce enormous despair in the lives of some, and enormous wealth in the lives of these others. Thus the words in Daniel concerning Great Babylon: Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. (Daniel 5:27). Those to whom much was committed, much was required.
How did these bankers create this wealth? Not with their own productive labors, but with the stroke of a pen. Once they figured it out they literally created money out of nothing as it were. They put it into circulation, and then got it back at interest. They did legally what others go to prison for, they produced counterfeit money. Where there was previously 100% of money in circulation equal to the 100% of metals that were on hand, there was soon 150% of money to metals in circulation. The added percent was simply created by the bankers, and then 200% and then 500%....churning into existence the ever-recurrent cycles of inflation and deflation, surplus and falling inventories, that keeps everyone either employed or unemployed at any given time, but always uncertain and willing to do anything it takes to assure order in our own personal lives, even partake in the wholesale wickedness of it all, even kill in foreign wars for the right (the Freedom) to stay this way. It is INSANE. Because the wealth of this world is so concentrated in the hands of the few who keep recycling it in their own private interests (and sometime in our meager interests to keep us quiet and sedate), it seems like there there is not enough money by trillions of dollars, to meet the basic and growing needs of the world's peoples. The G-7 Industrial nations see it as a cultural and population problem, but it is really a Thorns and Thistles problem...
When Adam (do not think literally here) first gave in to the inclinations of Eve (not the Female gender, but the church of their time), The Lord said to them: ...Cursed be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee. (Genesis 3:17,18). Later we read: And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. (Genesis 4:3). And much later we read: Know ye not this parable? And how will ye know all parables? (Mark 4:13). And these are they which are sown among thorns (and thistles), such as hear the word, AND THE CARES OF THE WORLD AND THE DECEITFULNESS OF RICHES, and the lust of other things entering in, choke the word, and it become unfruitful. (Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:18,19; Ephesians 5:8-12). The Thorns and Thistles are the cares of this world which God has burdened upon the children of Cain, to prove them spiritually incapable and unequal to them, and the deceitfulness of riches which they offer instead, imaging that God would, for even one moment, accept such offerings.
The richer nations are even trying to convince the underdeveloped nations to teach their peoples how to cut off the Creator's entryway into the world, through the enlightened use of birth control. (But this is an entirely an another issue). The Spirit is more powerful and wiser than these devices. (Did someone count SIX billions of souls in the earth today). In reality there are enough resources in the world, enough labor, and the spiritual means, for the whole human family to meet its present needs, with plenty left over to begin to enhance the quality of life of every living soul. This will happen the minute we understand that LOVE is the true medium of exchange. This will happen when the control of this world's economy passes out of the hands of these "internationalists" into the hands of those who are truly citizens of the world--God's world. We mean those who realize that they are just passing through these dimensions, and that nothing here belongs to them, and that Love is the key that opens up the world beyond. (We are not talking about sappy, pie-in-the-sky sentimentalities here, but the very fabric of this universe and the very core of the coming world economy). Which is exactly the reason why depositors will get nothing from the banks when the present monetary system collapses. There is not an ounce of real Love in it anywhere.
In exchange for a certain amount of this counterfeit money the bankers required the borrower to put up a certain amount of real-property as collateral. It was a clever scheme, and it worked. The people put up real-property for not-real-money. When the borrower was not cunning or powerful enough to come up with the principle of their loan plus the interest, the lender foreclosed on the property, further increasing the real state of his own personal, or corporate wealth. The borrower thus handed over real wealth (houses, factories, land, capital investments), for created or make-believe wealth (backed by nothing but the bankers connections to the power-that-be--a trust that has been the ruin of thousands upon thousands, millennia after millennia after millennia. The wicked are like the waves of the sea. They keep crashing and crashing, and never learn).
Each time the bankers sensed a crisis they called in their loans, and foreclosed upon those who could not meet their demands. Then, as they say in criminal circles, they hit the mattresses and waited until the crisis was over. Then they came out, resold the collateral and began to loan out counterfeit money again, putting themselves right back in business. All the while, various historical theories began to formulate, some apologetic to the emerging capitalist order and some antithetical:
OF THE REAL AND NOMINAL PRICE OF COMMODITIES...
by Adam Smith
Every man is rich or poor according to the degree in which he can afford the necessities, conveniences, and amusements of human life...The far greater of them must derive from the labours of other people...The value of any commodity, therefore, to the person who possesses it...is equal to the quantity of labor which it enables him to purchase or command. Labor, therefore, is the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities...
What is bought with money or with goods is purchased by labor...LABOR WAS THE FIRST PRICE, THE ORIGINAL PURCHASE MONEY THAT WAS PAID FOR ALL THINGS. IT WAS NOT BY GOLD AND SILVER, BUT BY LABOR THAT ALL THE WEALTH OF THE WORLD WAS ORIGINALLY PURCHASED.
WEALTH IS POWER says Mr. Hobbs. But the person who either acquires, or succeeds to a great fortune, does not necessarily acquire or succeed to any political power, either civil or military. His fortune, may, perhaps, afford him the means of acquiring both, but the mere possession of that fortune does not necessarily convey to him either. The power which that possession immediately and directly conveys to him, is the power of purchasing; a certain command over all the labor, or over all the produce which is then in the market. His fortune is greater or less, precisely in proportion to the extent of this power; OR TO THE QUANTITY EITHER OF OTHER MEN'S LABORS, OR WHAT IS THE SAME THING, OF THE PRODUCE OF OTHER MEN'S LABORS, WHICH IT ENABLES HIM TO PURCHASE OR COMMAND. The exchangeable value of every thing must always be precisely equal to the extent of this power which it conveys to the owner." The Wealth of Nations, p.5.
"The history of all, hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles...Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guildmaster and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstruction of society at large, OR IN THE COMMON RUIN OF THE CONTENDING CLASSES.
Our epoch, the epoch of (Capitalism), possesses, however, this distinctive feature: it has simplified class antagonisms. SOCIETY AS A WHOLE IS MORE AND MORE SPLITTING UP INTO TWO GREAT HOSTILE CAMPS, INTO TWO GREAT CLASSES DIRECTLY FACING EACH OTHER: Bourgeoise and Proletariat. Owners and wage laborers who have no means of production themselves and who are, thus, forced or reduced to selling their labor in order to live...
The capitalist-industrial class, whenever it has gotten the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relationships. It has pitilessly torn usunder the motly feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors," (of course this has not all been bad), and has left no other nexus between man and man than naked self interest, and callous cash payment...They have stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked upon with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage-laborers.
It compels all nations on pain of extinction to adopt the capitalistic mode of production. It compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e., to become capitalists themselves. IN ONE WORD, IT CREATES A WORLD AFTER ITS OWN IMAGE...
Capitalist society with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up SUCH A GIGANTIC MEANS OF PRODUCTION AND OF EXCHANGE, is like THE SORCERER, WHO IS NO LONGER ABLE TO CONTROL THE THE POWERS OF THE NETHER-WORLD WHOM HE HAS CALLED UP BY HIS SPELLS...
It is enough to mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put on its trial, each time more threateningly, the existence of the entire Bourgeoise society...And how does the Bourgeoise get over these crises? On the one hand by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces (by closing factories, laying off workers, destroying surplus, and ultimately by war itself), on the other by conquest of new markets, and by the more-thorough exploitation of the old ones, that is, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises. And by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.
The weapons with which the Bourgeoise felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against themselves. But not only have they forged the weapons that bring death to themselves they have also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons..." Carl Marx, The Communist Manifesto.
"There is only one correction which history has made in Marx's concept of alienation. Marx believed that the working class was the most alienated class, hence that the emancipation from alienation would necessarily start with the liberation of the working class. Marx did not foresee the extent too which alienation was to become the fate of the vast majority of people, especially of the ever-increasing segment of the population which manipulate symbols and men, rather than machines. If anything, the clerk, the salesman, the executive, are even more alienated today than the skilled manual worker. The latter's functioning still depends on the expression of certain personal qualities like skill, reliability, etc., and he is not forced to sell his 'personality,' his smile, his opinions in the bargain; the symbol manipulators are hired not only for their skill, but for all those personality qualities which make them 'attractive personality packages, easy to handle and manipulate. They are the true 'organization men'--more so than the skilled laborer--their idol being the corporation.
But as far as consumption is concerned, there is no difference between manual workers and the bureaucracy. They all crave for things, new things, to have and use. They are the passive recipients, the consumers, chained and weakened by the very things which satisfy their synthetic needs. They are not related to the world productively, grasping it in its full reality and in this process becoming one with it; they worship things--and in this alienated world they feel as strangers and quite alone. In spite of Marx's underestimating the role of the bureaucracy, his general description could nevertheless have been written today: 'Production does not simply produce man as a commodity...it produces him in keeping with this role as a spiritually and physically dehumanized being...
To what extent things and circumstances of our own making have become our masters, Marx could hardly have foreseen; yet nothing could prove his prophecy more drastically than the fact that the whole human race is today the prisoner of the nuclear weapons it has created, and of the political institutions which are equally of its own making. A frightened mankind waits anxiously to see whether it will be saved from the power of the things it has created, from the blind action of the bureaucracies it has appointed." Erich Fromm, Marx's Concept of Man, pp.56-58.
Marx thought that the working class itself (in league with intellectuals and artists) could bring about the end of the Capitalist order, but his (and Hegel's) dialectics were the dialectics of materialism, and every order rooted in materialism must collapse. They could not see another, more mystic class of workers, intellectuals and artists rising to power in the earth, one being born directly out of the conflict between the two great Material Orders, Capitalism and Socialism. The Gorbachevs intuitively sensed that such an order could not rise out of Russia when they came to power, but only out of America. They tried to catch up by releasing the energy of the Russian people, by liberalizing and loosening the controls that the Russian government had imposed upon the people, without sacrificing the ideals of Socialism in the attempt. It was a fruitless attempt. Only in America can the true spiritual revolution unfold. It is only here, and nowhere else on earth (nor at any other time in history) that the people are having a full-effect encounter with Darkness (the unfolding conflict between Christ and Antichrist). It is only here, and nowhere else on earth, that so many people are in possession of so many skills, so much talent, so much spiritual energy, such total access to the means of communication, and such a (howbeit threatened) sense of their own freedom. The Divine Child will be born in America.
And while we are here, let us dispel the charges that many will make us against us; we are not in league with terrorists (only God), and we are not "communists" in the usually understood sense of the term. It is an outworn accusation; and besides we admit to it--if by communism we mean that form of it practiced by the early Church and by all truly faithful individuals since then. (We are followers of Christ's Sermon on the Mount, and the Buddha's Eightfold Path). These had all things in common--not their wives and husbands, not their personal belongings and private thoughts (they were always free to come and go as they as individuals saw fit), but their social and economic world-view, their understanding of the relationship between the inner spiritual world and the outer world in which the Divine Spirit dwells. And so will everyone else on earth come to share the same view (and enjoy the very same spiritual freedoms), as they come alive to the realization that as the Creators hold all of us in common (as sons and daughters everyone) we must have each other's needs in common as well.
The descent of God's kingdom, its realization in the Earth, cannot be accomplished within the framework of the laws and philosophies of the existing world powers. We must abandon them as we cross over to meaning of the words: An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the congregation of the Lord, even to their Tenth generation shall they not enter the congregation of the Lord for ever. (Deuteronomy 23:3). This means that no materialist, Communist of Capitalist, can inherit the coming age. To understand the parable we turn to the 19th chapter of Genesis, to when Lot and his family were being delivered from the judgments of their age, and from the Divine Fire that was falling down upon the city of Sodom. It says that Lot entered a place named Zoar to escape the Fire (vs.23,24 and 30), but abandoned it and took up residence in a cave with his two daughters. He abandoned Zoar (a small place, of limited possibilities), for the potential of a greater future). The cave symbolizes the place where hidden things were kept...just as many of those who are delivered from the judgments of this age will keep in their hearts a hidden desire to return to it, and to its ways. Thus the two daughters said to each other:
Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us AFTER THE MANNER OF ALL THE EARTH.
Come let us make our father drink wine (again, Proverbs 31:4,5; Jeremiah 25:15,16), and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father...(Genesis 19:30-38...KJV).
Thus were both daughters of Lot with child by their father. And they bore sons whose names were Moab and Ammi, and their children, having grown up after all the way of men, were called Moabites and Ammonites. Who are they? Look into the earth. They have grown up to become the two great world-systems, state-Capitalism and state-Communism. Neither of these philosophies, or those who adhere to them, may enter the congregation of right-minded souls--for ever. Wherever factions exist between men, there is Moab and Ammi.
Communism, however (seen from an earth-born perspective), was an attempt to reverse the downward spiral of human nature, to facilitate its rise from Darwin's world where the most powerful prevail, from the self-obsessions and selfishness of Western Capitalism...
"But man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, AND IT IS VAIN FOR HIM TO EXPECT IT FROM BENEVOLENCE ONLY. HE WILL BE MORE LIKELY TO PREVAIL IF HE CAN INTEREST THEIR SELF-LOVE IN HIS FAVOR, AND SHOW THEM THAT IT IS TO THEIR OWN ADVANTAGE TO DO FOR HIM WHAT HE REQUIRES OF THEM. Whoever offers a bargain to another of any kind, proposes to do this:
Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, or the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interests. We address ourselves, not to their humanity, but to their self-love, and never talk to them of their own necessities, but of their advantage." The Wealth of Nations.
...to a state of Nurture, where the resources of society are gathered (not like crumbs that have fallen from the table of the rich and powerful), but totally in the interest of everyone alike. (The end of personal property? No, but rather the end of the private and personal ownership of the world's resources, the land and the wholesale means of production...These belong to everyone alike. These belong to God. Other owners out, people in. Profits out, the needs of the global family in). "Every man according to his abilities, and every man according to his needs." Marxism was an historic indictment against the Christendom (Russian Christendom included), that had abandoned the teachings of Christ in all of these matters, and had taken up with the darkness--the spiritual wickedness in high places--with the monarchs of the earth and, in these last times, with the Western capitalist elite. But Marxism as a spiritual philosophy will collapse (and it has) as Russia and China's mission in the earth is fulfilled. For just as Capitalism has given form to the political and military powers in the earth that have encompassed and conscripted the mind of the Nation-Church, Communism has given form to the political and military powers in the earth that God will use to release it. For there is no Power but of God: the Powers that be are ordained of God, (Romans 13:1-6).
"They pay no heed to the real hidden meanings of things, but divert themselves instead with all kinds of iniquitous arcane lore They do not know the hidden meaning of what is actually taking place, nor have they ever understood the lessons of the past. Consequently, they have no knowledge of what is coming upon them, and have done nothing to save their souls from the deeper implications of present events.
This, however, will symbolize things for you. What is going to happen is, as it were, that all iniquity is going to be shut up in the womb and prevented from coming to birth. Wrong is going to depart before Right, as darkness departs before light. As smoke disappears and is no more, so will Wrong disappear forever. But Right will be revealed like the Sun. The world will rest on the sound Foundation. All who cling to rarified arcane lore will cease to exist. The world will be filled with knowledge, and ignorance exist no more.
The thing is certain to come. The prophecy is true, and by this you may know that it will not be revoked:
Do not all peoples hate wrongdoing? Yet, is it not rampant among them all? Are not the praises of truth sung by all nations? Yet is there a single race or tribe that really adheres to it? What nation like to be oppressed by a stronger power? Or who wants his property plundered unjustly? Yet, is there a single nation that has not oppressed its neighbor? Or where in the world will you find a people that has not plundered the property of another?" The Dead Sea Scriptures, by. Theodor Gaster, p.429.
And this why the next economy must be built as if the history of the Earth really mattered, that is, as if the Sacred History of the Earth really mattered. To abandon it creates the danger that the cycle of Darkness will begin anew, and that at some future time the planet will have to endure the present conflicts again. The very sacred texts which we so often set aside and disregard, are the very oracles which gave rise to modern history itself. Do we dismiss the midwife and divorce the Father, right at the moment of birth? And be left alone, with only children as onlookers? (Some may find delight in the thought). Which is also why these events can not be left completely in the hands of New Agers and yuppies, with vested capitalistic interests of their own, and who cannot understand how every thought they entertain is rooted deeply in the Mysteries of the Old Order and in the historic teachings of the Law and the Prophets.
It is written: Who shall live? Those who do what is lawful and right...Those who have not consorted with the nations, or lifted up their eyes to the idols...Those who have not oppressed any by violence...Those who have given their bread to the hungry and clothed the naked...Those who do not traffick in usury, and who take no increase. (Ezekiel, chapter 18). Who shall live? The poor and the poor in spirit...Those who have mourned...The meek...Those who have hungered and thirsted after righteousness...The merciful, the pure in heart, and the true peacemakers. (Matthew 5:1-16). These shall inherit the coming age because they are now capable of understanding the relationship between real-money and the purest of all mediums of exchange between men, LOVE. It is Love which comprehends the real meaning, as well as the real joy, of denying oneself in the interest of others.
Love thy neighbor as thyself (go further)...
Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind, let nothing be done through strife and vainglory, BUT IN LOWLINESS OF MIND LET EACH ESTEEM OTHER BETTER THAN THEMSELVES...(Philippians 2:1-5).
Through the spirit of UNFEIGNED LOVE, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently...(1 Peter 1:21-23).
Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth...(1 Corinthians 10:24).
As the events of our time overwhelm and surround us like a great Womb, allowing only what is lawful, and only what is predestined, to pass through, the system of things in which our own thoughts were born must collapse. Ernest Morgan, in his commentary on the private use of scrip, touched the issues that will confront us when he said:
"Leo Gruliow is right that a local currency (scrip) can be used for exploitive purposes, as in a company-owned town. The same holds true for other monetary systems, such as a national currency. Originally developed as a medium of exchange, and valuable also as a tool of management, money in our society is widely used as an instrument of exploitation and power. Wisely managed (however), and with social vision, both scrip and currency can perform a valuable function in the operation of a healthy economy...
Barring nuclear war--which will solve all our problems--we can look forward to economic collapse. The imaginative and socially responsible use of scrip may play an important part in helping us to survive...I hope that in the future a new concept of currency management also will be employed--but that is another story." 1998 Conference Highlights, Building Community As If The Earth Matters.
"Barring nuclear war--which would solve all of our problems--we can look forward to economic collapse." The present world economy and the world banking system must collapse (it must be completely abandoned, especially when the Fire falls), before any meaningful reform can occur in in the economic life of the world's peoples. I am not so certain, though, what this old Humanist would think of all this talk of Love. I met him briefly several years ago and he didn't seem to have much time for all of this religious talk.
It would be a wonderful thing if we could skip the next phase of our spiritual and economic development and get right to the non-use of currency altogether (and no doubt many will be able to), with the keeping of accounts, and with even the most altruistic personal interests that are sure to beset us. But humanity is not collectively ready for it (or so it seems). Many will need to see, in their own possession, the symbols of their newly acquired, equal enfranchisement in the world economy. If they are to participate in a process of economic (spiritual) transformation--which for millions will involve a complete departure from their old patterns of livelihood, from the mental confines of the very small world in which they lived, and which all of us are helping to destroy, (continued)...
Rolling Stone, February 5, 2004:
THE ALASKA CHAINSAW MASSACRE
"President Bush is Letting the Timber Industry Clear-Cut America's Largest
and Wildest Forest--and He Plans to Stick Taxpayers With the Bill."
An article by Osha Gray Davidson
Those who are presently earning their livings destroying these forests at the behest of the criminal heads of industry and government, must be reemployed by the New Spiritual Order and payed (by the people) to restore and preserve these eco-systems and wilderness areas--n perpetuity. Any further use of such natural resources (be they timber, fossile fuels, waterways, wildlife) will not only be with the common consent of those who are charged now with "protecting" these resources, but with the consent of the holy ones and local shamans who live closest of all to the heart beat and pulse of the region.
Gadgets, blowdriers, salad shooters, microwaves, leaf blowers, nonstop entertainment, two or three of everything, track lighting, 50 billion appliances and computers left on day and night, the most, the biggest, the best of everything. The solution? STOP! Become immediately mindful of every single thing we do, and every single thing we touch, of the effect our lives are having on the planet (our Divine Mother Earth) and on every living thing upon it. Listen to the those who care and understand. The solutions lie in our coming together, in the love and submission that we have one for another.
(continued)...they will want to have the proof that it is actually working in their pockets. And this will mean "pay," "equal pay," and this will mean currency...Not just any form of currency, but a kind that can be used by everyone, everywhere, in every situation, even among those who see no need to use a currency at all.
But how can a person know if he or she is not being exploited again. What do we mean by equal pay? Equal to what? Or to who? Only to those who perform a similar kind of work, or who hold a similar station in life? No! no! no! no! We shall not try to pull off another wicked scheme as that. Why should one person's skills, their intellectual gifts (which all come from God and not ourselves), entitle that person to a higher standard of living? (If one comes up with a rationale for it, they have reached down into the depths of their own wicked heart to get it). All of the old arguments for it are shattered in the face of the realities of our own time.
Why should one person's profession (and the medical profession, as well as the preaching profession, comes immediately to mind--a profession that has a greater stake in our collective sickness than it does in our collective health), allow its practitioners to imagine themselves more entitled, or perhaps more important, than another's? Many would no doubt die if doctors suddenly disappeared (hardly any if most of the preachers disappeared), but millions would die if the trash was left uncollected, or if human waste was not processed, or if food was not grown and carried to the market...Well let us leave off with these indictments. There is hardly a soul in any profession who can escape the judgment. Those who refuse to enter into the next economy with the poor and the poor-in-spirit, will be an indictment against themselves. Their own thoughts will either excuse or accuse them (Romans 2:15,16; 1 Cor.4:4,5). Excusing themselves from their own past, they will not find the means, at least not the monetary means, to set themselves up in the practices of injustice again. And this, because the the value of the next currency will based upon a commodity (a spiritual commodity) equally accessible to every single soul in that economy: not gold, which very few can gain access to, not corn, which would make bankers of farmers, and not intellectual advantage, because the true intellectuals will uphold the truth...but Time. Time flows through every living being, and every soul passing through these dimensions of reality possess it, and has access to it, equally.
Leo Gruliow dismisses it as an outworn notion, not, I suspect, because he fails to understand its implications as a world currency, but because he could not see at the time how it could find its way from its confined use as a local scrip--with all the forces of the present world-economy acting upon it from every side--from a Soviet Collective Farm to the world at large. He says:
"But to employ scrip today is to institute a credit card of such circumscribed local use that it can have only an effect of local protectionism and isolation, somewhat like the effect of scrip in a company town--in a day and age when the economy is a world economy. To go back to scrip, even as an expedient, is to retreat into a shell and flee the real problems of a very troublesome world, in my opinion.
Too bad there was not time to consider all the implications of the subject. And I expressed myself badly, which I regret. I may even have left an apprehension when I spoke of the Soviet collective farms paying their member-employees in 'hours of work'--rather than in cash--a practice now being discarded for good and sufficient reason. 'Work-hours' and 'work-day' calculation without cash payment became just that: hours worked without much resultant work-product or compensation because, in the familiar Russian expression, 'They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work.'"
Gruliow, it is certain, does not share the same apocalyptic world-view as we, and cannot see how a currency based upon Days, Hours, Minutes and even Seconds could all at once displace the kinds of currency that presently power world affairs, and thus cannot see it emerging out of the temporary chaos we shall all experience as this system collapses, to a state of order again as the Phoenix rises out of the flames and ashes, and the coming age is born. Gruliow's concerns will alleviate when the law begins to issue forth from Zion (not from Palestine, but from the Higher Jerusalem, the City descending now into our awakening world-view). But this too is the subject of another work. (www.revelation2seven.org)...
"It is hardly possible to talk about Marx's attitude toward religion without mentioning the connection between his philosophy of history, and of socialism, with the Messianic hope of the Old Testament prophets and the spiritual roots of humanism in Greek and Roman thinking. The Messianic hope is, indeed a feature unique in Occidental thought. The prophets of the Old Testament are not only, like Lao Tzu or Buddha, spiritual leaders; they are also political leaders. They show man a vision of how he ought to be, and confront him with the alternatives between which he must choose. Most of the Old Testament prophets share the idea that history has a meaning, that man perfects himself in the process of history, and that he will eventually create a social order of peace and justice. But peace and justice for the prophets do not mean the absence of war and the absence of injustice. Peace and justice are concepts which are rooted in the whole of the Old Testament concept of man. Man, before he has consciousness of himself, that is, before he is human, lives in unity with nature (Adam and Eve in Paradise). The first act of Freedom, which is the capacity to say 'no,' opens his eyes, and he sees himself as a stranger in the world, beset by conflicts with nature, between man and man, between man and woman. The process of history is the process by which man develops his specifically human qualities, his powers of love and understanding; and once he has achieved full humanity he can return to the lost unity between himself and the world. This new unity, however, is different from the preconscious one which existed before history began. It is the at-onement of man with himself, with nature, and with his fellow man, based on the fact that man has given birth to himself in the historical process. In Old Testament thought, God is revealed in history...and in history, not in a state transcending history, lies the salvation of man. This means that man's spiritual aims are inseparably connected with the transformation of society; politics is basically not a realm that can be divorced from that of moral values and of man's self-realization." Erich Fromm, pp.64,65.
The words shall attain more than ever: If any would not work, neither should he eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10). This is not a cruel precept in a socity that shall have an abundance of work to perform. It speaks to the individual, not at him or about him. What work will there be to perform? Will it be private enterprise or collective? Well for starters there is the restoration of the Earth, the healing of the planet and all of her peoples. And then the constant, ever-vigilant maintenance of a self-sustaining, ever-renewing environment. The elimination of all destructive and self-serving industry will be the immediate work of the next government (of the governing councils of Zion), depriving such industries of legal status and labor. (In a court of true justice the voices of reason, and dissent--the voice of the Shaman--will always weigh against the voices of self-interest). Human spiritual ingenuity, refreshing the soul where ever it is now encountered, will be released, encouraged and supported. Think of Middle Earth with the Two Towers in ruins and Dark Sauron gone. Think of the Fifth World...
The Gateway of Heaven
...and the Fourth Age of men (Genesis 15:16). Think of a world totally committed to the sacred, living environment in which all of us live, and breath, and have our being, a world totally committed to the production of healthy, life-sustaining, organic foods, to spiritual technologies, to education, to travel, to music, to art, to the Blessed Muses. We have had enough sorrow and despair to last an eternity. Let's begin to assure that those in the future do not have to endure it all again.
As we meet in the Center and lay the foundation for the new spiritual order, let us become, not only lovingly committed but radically accountable. (And we know the difference between 1984--or shall we say, 2004--accountability, and that form that is born in an atmosphere of free-thought and willing association). The Spirit of God will lead us to what is good (for God is always at the center of all our thoughts), and will ever impose sanctions on those things that are not good. (Airplane crashes, mental and physical disease, crumbling infrastructures, sanitary landfills, a failing ecology, unemployment, crime, and war; all of these are natural sanctions. They do not come by one man's sin alone but because of our collective and corporate transgressions. Many are the victims...many have born the burden of our innocence).
Work will be private (a person's own labors--their own means of wealth--alway belong to themselves). The individual does not belong to the government, and personal initiative does not cease with righteousness, it flourishes. Where there is real work to do people will just naturally do it, just as we already do. We will work for ourselves, as we already do. And we will work for others, and with others, and when we do we can be paid for it, just as we are today. And where the interests are in the public domain the work will be public--with every single working person sharing equally in the cost of that work. This depends, of course, on whether a person actually considers themselves a member of the spiritual commonwealth. Roger Williams established the precept of non-association in an essential way when he said that the Church had absolutely no authority over the lives of non-believers, and could not impose its will in any matters whatsoever upon such individuals. And likewise, that civil authorities (if there should be any, as it happened in the colonies), had absolutely no jurisdiction over the spiritual lives and conscious decisions of believers. Williams set the true believer free from both the (colonial) church and the state. So what will be the penalty for not sharing in the active work of the coming spiritual order? Well actually none. If a soul wishes to remain alienated from the life of the people, from the local/global economy (think of holdouts in Idaho, or fundamentalist settlers on the West Bank, each imaging that they are the last outpost of Zion), and if they can keep themselves together, life and limb, in the wilderness of their own makings, well God bless them. They will simply be subject to the wild winds that blow outside the walls of the City, or, to use another analogy, to the unpredictable temperaments of The Jaguar and the Tiger--the Lords of the Jungle who dwell outside of the Village compound. Disenfranchisement from the community is a penalty in itself, especially when the employment office is always open, and the office of public assistance is always closed (to the able-bodied that is).
How will each person be paid? In Currency. In Hours and Minutes (just like dollars and cents). What will they be paid for? For time spent producing goods and rendering services. What will each goods cost? The total accumulated amount of hours or minutes it took to produce it, from the cost (in seconds, minutes and hours) of the basic resource to the final appearance of the product in the market place. If a farmer, for instance, produced enough wheat in so much time to make 1,000 loaves of bread, his price for that amount of wheat would reflect the actual time it took to produce that wheat, to repair the tractor etc., plus the cost in hours and minutes of the products and resources he had to purchase from others to grow it. The total cost of all the products he sends to market each year cannot exceed, in terms of his own personal income, the amount of hours he worked that year. At, say, 40 hours a week (a generally agreed upon work week for all individuals--it could be more, it could be less, depending on the personal needs of the individual), at 52 weeks a year, this individual farmer's income should not exceed 2,080 hours a year. It makes no difference how large or how small the farm. If the farm is too big, and too productive, for one person, or one family, then those who share in the farmer's labors will earn the same amount (per-hour) as the farmer, and can be expected to share in the same expenses. Many things will change, many things will stay the same. (The farmer will not own the land, he will be the legal steward of that land. If he abuses his stewardship, others will simply stop working with him, or buying his products). The cost of everything will reflect the total amount of time it took to produce that product).
The transporter would then add his expenses in hours and minutes--the amount of time he actually works, or the amount of time required to provide his family with an equitable income--divided out over the amount of wheat he transported. (Accountability, but also flexibility, trust and good old common sense, must be factored into any such system so that dishonesty is not built into from the very beginning). And finally the baker divides his total expenses, plus the cost of his own labors in hours and minutes--the time in took him to bake and sell the 1,000 loaves of bread--into the price of each loaf. "How much for the bread please?" "Three and a half minutes." "Thank you." No one can earn more than the actual time they spent at work (unless there are extenuating circumstances, or common agreements that everyone understands). It will not be very long before every one knows exactly what the price of something should be, and when someone along the way is gouging or being dishonest. Decisions, if not shared by everyone in every single instance of the economy, will be explained to everyone, and their approval sought for. Approval or disapproval will come swiftly, if the price of an item goes up (without an acceptable explanation, an extra employee perhaps, or a new oven) when people go elsewhere to purchase those goods or services.
But neither shall we re-abandon ourselves to the wholesale possibilities of corruption in various sectors of the economy, or lapses into lax principles. Our leaders, our pastors and our teachers, will sit at tables as the captains of commerce and industry do today, and they will keep watch over our welfare. If it is seen that a particular producer is beginning to earn 10 hours in currency for what amounts to, say, only 8 hours of work, little flags will go up, the people will know. The Invisible Hand of God's Presence in all such matters will provide the corrective measures. Our pastors and teachers will also keep us apprised of the greater needs of the world at large, where resources and labor are needed, and of our collective responsibility to see that they are provided. It could cost all the productive workers in a given region as little as 1 minute, or 5 minutes, or even an hour a month (or ten hours) apiece to restore a forest, to build a village somewhere, to care for the elderly, to send teachers and healers to one place or another, to afford free travel and education for students everywhere throughout the earth...
A great clear clearing house (yes, just like the Beast...but without the mind of the Beast or the Dark intentions of the Beast), will serve the global interests of the new society. It will not be in charge of us, but will assist both the local and central governing councils (our designated agents) in collecting, regulating and disbursing public funds, keeping students and others informed as to where their labors are needed, arranging transport, suggesting accommodations, facilitating the great work of restoration that will be underway in the world.
Can a person work more hours a day than others? Of course. For less? Of course. Each person can work as many or as little hours as their health and their inclinations to do so allow, as long as their overall responsibilities to the community are fulfilled. If it is estimated that it require 1,000 hours to repair a local bridge, say, and everyone in the region has been assessed a half an hour to complete the task, a person can either pay the half-hour in currency, or theoretically go down to the jobsite itself and work for a half hour. The effect is the same. What if an artist or a craftsman assigns a value to their work out of proportion to the time it took to produce it? Don't buy it, unless, that is, you want to. No one can get overly wealthy in such a society without violating the trust of the community and their own integrity in the bargain. They will be soon discovered and put out of business. No dishonest enterprise will ever be subsidized or supported by the people.
Suppose we go to a physician and are treated for 30 minutes, but charged One and a half hours? We see, however, that there is a nurse, and another assistant earning their living in this office as well. The charge is an honest one. Perhaps the office has purchased a new piece of equipment, the cost of the visit can reflect that purchase until the item is paid for, and must return to normal again afterwards. I may even value this physician's care for me more than any of the other services I receive, and the amount I pay for this extra care may reflect that preference. But physicians, teachers, pastors and others who attend the soul of man itself, must first of all, and above others, be the servants of others, and must never, ever, be found exploiting others, or living above others, even when it is within their ability to do so. There should never even be a hint of it. When our natural leaders are obeying their holy orders, and showing us the way, we the people will obey ours, and follow them. If they should violate the trust we place in them, , leave them to find other work to do. And not to worry that the world will fall short of physicians and teachers. True physicians and teachers are born of love. They are interested in our physical and spiritual health, not in the ways they can capitalize on our affections or our sicknesses. God can fill the world with such souls. In fact it is already filled with true physicians, true teachers and true economists, these are just not yet at the forefront of human affairs. The wicked ones have risen above us to keep us down. The righteous ones have descended to us, and below us to raise us up. We will know them by their fruits, and will raise them up among us.
And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any Rock like our God (the only ONE God...many names, many forms...ONE Reality, ONE God).
Talk no more so exceedingly proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
They that were full have hired themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.
The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
The Lord maketh poor (Luke 6:20-26), and maketh rich (James 5): he bringeth low, and lifteth up.
He raiseth the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them amomg princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he hath set the world upon them.
He will keep the Feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; AND HE SHALL GIVE STRENGTH UNTO HIS KING, AND EXALT THE HORN OF HIS ANOINTED...(1 Samuel 2:1-10; Luke 1:46:55).
On such a note we will end this paper. The principles should be clear, as well as the possibilities. We only wait the commandment to participate in them. Such individuals are already alive in the earth, mature now in the ways of Darkness and Light. They are the children of the 20th century, the sons and daughters of God. We await the blessed event, the Day, the Hour, and the moment.
"...And all those with crafty and shameless dissembling as presbyters and reverend deacons looked to the person and the wealth of the suppliant and judged unjustly...doing injustice to others, more deadly than leopards and wolves...and all inordinately proud, and usurers, who heaping up usury out of usury in their houses wrought sore harm to orphans and widows...and gave to them of ill-gotten gain.
But of the righteous: angels shall bear them through the burning river and bring them to the light and to a carefree life where runs the immortal path of the Great God. Earth, the same for all, not divided by walls and fences, will then bear fruit of its own accord: livelihood held in common, wealth unapportioned, no pauper is there, no rich man, nor any tyrant, no slave, nor again shall any be great or small...but all sharing in common."...(The Sibylline Oracle, Books 260-65).