In our pages, we have already analyzed how money has been destroyed for centuries, how it has become less and less valuable, and it has been reduced from a gold item to a piece of paper. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, click this link. By the way, we also recommend our cycle about currency corruption in Poland (you will find it here). Today, however, we will deal with another aspect. Along with the decisions of politicians, rulers and officials, the thinking of people themselves about what money is actually changed. And in this series we will analyze how this thinking has evolved over the centuries.
Plato: money changes people (for worse)!
We don’t know when exactly people started thinking about the nature of money. Or in other words: we have indications that the ancient Greeks began to do it soonest, which does not exclude that the topic of “coffers” already appeared in conversations at the bonfire of our great-ancestors … ancestors who had just baked a steak from a just hunted mammoth.
Interestingly, the ancient Greeks had a problem with money, which is similar to the one each of us knows. Who, after all, is not pissed off by people who ‘overpower’ with excess wealth, right? It turns out that they caused similar irritation at … Plato. This one clearly preferred to talk with friends about the matrix in which most of us live (the Wachowski siblings evidently became acquainted with his famous cave metaphor), rather than exchanging information on which markets to transfer capital now.
– It’s sorry to be around them [pisał o ludziach, których interesują tylko pieniądze – przyp. Bitcoin.pl]because they don’t want to praise anything but money – complained the philosopher.
Although today most of us think that money is the foundation of the state and the rule of people, the Greek thinker and in this field had a different opinion.
– It seems that we have found new two things for the guards that they should be careful in every way so that it never sneaks into the city behind their backs – he reportedly played friends in Academy.
When someone asked what he was talking about again, he was surprised by the answer: – [To] Wealth and misery. Because one makes excess, laziness and subversive tendencies, and the other collapses and gives birth to crime, in addition to subversive tendencies.
To tell the truth, however, Plato noticed an interesting phenomenon that was followed for centuries. The creation of a very prosperous elite, which lacked a certain work ethos and continued development, always led to “Laziness” and “Luxury”. In other words, the richest were sluggish and had no – like their ancestors – apparent reasons for further development. It is true to argue whether it was purely the fault of the money, and not the lack of transmission of certain patterns, but, as you can see, Plato blamed it on the first factor.
The philosopher was also not a supporter of ore money. In his opinion, gold is only a means of accumulating wealth in the hands of the lower classes and – again! – source of moral corruption.
However, the one who just thought that Plato was the progenitor of communists, who dreamed of eliminating money as such, is wrong. Plato believed that gold should disappear from the market, but this place was to be introduced “Exchange mark”. What did that mean? We can think of something like fiat currency. Anyway, maybe even Bitcoin himself would like it in some sense!
Aristotle like Warren Buffett
Plato had his students. To this day we remember mainly Aristotle. There is no wonder, however, because it was this sage that went down in history as a teacher of Alexander the Great, that is the Macedonian ruler, who conquered a large piece of the world during his lifetime. And he did it well before 40!
Let us return to Aristotle. He was a student of Plato, but they both had so different opinions on many issues that they not only headed their own schools, but also inspired later generations of philosophers (even those important for Christianity, Saint Thomas or Saint Augustine).
Aristotle also had a completely different view on money. He thought that this was something necessary, but he was far from erecting altars to mammon.
“Sometimes, however, there is a perception that money is just an idle word, that its value is only based on a resolution, and inherently none, because if those who use it change, it loses its value and cannot be used to meet the needs ( …) “
He wrote and then recalled the famous myth of King Midas, who changed everything he touched into gold, but that is what eventually died. Man cannot live on gold! This is an argument that is often heard in the context of cryptocurrencies. As you can see, people do not change, only the decorations and props are modified …
Interestingly, Aristotle’s rhetoric was a bit like what Bitcoin tells us today … Warren Buffett. The famous Omaha investor is constantly saying that there is no cryptocurrency “No intrinsic value” and BTC “Is not an asset that creates value.”
“If you are buying something such as a farm, apartment building or business shares, this is an excellent investment. You see this investment and expect it to pay you back. However, if you buy something like Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, you really don’t have anything that produces anything. You just hope the next person will pay more. “
He said some time ago in an interview with Yahoo. Buffett, not Aristotle …
Now let’s return to ancient Greece again. Aristotle’s condemnation of usury also arose from the above thinking. He believed that if we lend a cow to someone, then we can demand interest, because the cow gives us milk. If you lend money to someone, the matter is getting more complicated because money does not multiply by itself. Centuries later, this philosophy led to a certain blockade in the development of the medieval economy, which worshiped the thoughts of Greek thinkers. It was about condemning deposits, loans and interest. However, we will talk about it in other parts of this series.
In another work, Aristotle added:
“Money has become a conventional means of replacing need, and is therefore called” nomisma “because it is something not inherent, but established by law, and it is our power to change it and render it useless.”
He even emphasized that the value of the bullion itself is only conventional and that the gold itself is also of no value. It should be added that there is some inconsistency in this, however. On the one hand, the philosopher did not like gold, but he also claimed that money itself is based only on the word of the rulers, and not on real value.
All these considerations later influenced real economies and strengthened the economic position of one nation. However, we will write more about this in the next part of this series.