Time is of the essence if the paradox that is money is to be unraveled; the rate at which the word “money” is re-defined in the world’s dictionaries may just spawn another paradox and the rules are clear on this: only one paradox at a time! Levity aside, this is a serious issue; money, by definition, is a paradox; why do you think there is a catastrophic global economic crisis? That’s quite a mouthful for an opening paragraph, isn’t it? Let’s take a step back, together, and take a “bird’s eye” view of this issue, it’s not as complicated as one might think as far as paradoxes are concerned, but it will change your perspective – on everything.
This paradox, true to form, is born of a contradiction; which are common when it comes to money. It lives at the crux of two particular contradictions; the first one is found in the formal definition of the word: money. The second one is found is the history of our relationship with money.
Let’s start with the first contradiction which exists in the formal definition of the word: money. In any and all the definitions of the word money, you will still find a good portion of its original definition, in particular the part which defines money as “a measure of value” or more completely, as “a store of value”. That’s as far as you have to go to reach the paradox and probably why the latter portion is quickly disappearing from the official reference books of the English Language. It is incredible to conceive that the colossal mess we all have on our hands can stem for four little words: “a store of value”. The word value (you can click on the word to link to its definition(s) on the web) is a mathematical term which describes a calculation designed to render the relative worth of a thing. Specifically, when used as a noun, value is defined as “a point in the range of a function corresponding to a given point in the domain of a function”. This means that value, the noun is what we call the result of value, the verb which is “to calculate or reckon the monetary value of”. Here we see the direct link between the words value and money, to the point where they are each contained in the other’s definition and we can also understand that the value of money is a mathematical calculation which must be carried out whenever money is to be used so that it’s specific point in the function of valuing a thing can be pinpointed and calculated. Next, let’s look at the word store which can also be used as a noun or a verb. In the first case it is defined as “an establishment where merchandise is sold…” and as a verb it can mean “to supply or stock with something, as for future use” and “to accumulate or put away, for future use”. Simple, isn’t it? This word described the act of putting something somewhere to be used later. When we add of this up, the paradox becomes evident: Value cannot be stored, only calculated; attempting to store value is not a physical possibility, you can’t store value, you can only store a particular value for later use. In the case of money, this means that only one calculation of the value of money can be stored for later use (presumably ours). This being the case, which particular calculation and resulting value is the one that was stored as “The Value Money”? Who approved or agreed to it? What is the universal stored value of money? It doesn’t exist because Money doesn’t exist: it’s a paradox. If the value of money were calculated at one particular time and then stored, that would be the worth of money, period. If there were an actual stored value of money, there would never be inflation, or recession or ups and downs in the dollar index because there would be a stored value to refer to that would eliminate the possibility of any of these other things occurring. That’s not what we did, however. No one ever sat down and ran the math to calculate the value of money and then stored it for future reference, as the definition implies, we actually tried to store the concept of value, which is nothing more than a mathematical equation, and kept a straight face while doing it. If we were to actually attempt to store the process of a calculation as the result of the calculation, why that would be way too convenient for whoever controls the definitions of things, like money. If one tries to do the math on this, the answer would be clear: the value of money would be whatever the person or entity controlling the calculation of its value wants it to be. Do you know who controls the calculation of the value of money? Nobody. Money isn’t even a thing; it’s a construct that represents something else. Aristotle knew this way back when he wrote his second book on Politics. He knew that we (humans) would get this confused and wrote “..money is not wealth, it is merely the representation of wealth. We must not get the two confused.” Money isn’t even real, it exists in lieu of something else, therefore to claim that money is a store of value without the “value” being a universally accepted constant is a paradox, or in simpler terms, it would be what Tom Sawyer would call “a fib”.
The first contradiction establishes the paradox beyond the shadow of a doubt, but as we have come to learn; doubt apparently has a very long shadow; there will those who cry foul and assert that the first contradiction is not one at all, that it is merely a trick on words or the like. This is why the second contradiction is presented next; it leaves no room for doubt or argument. Every effort will be made to keep the explanation short, but some things can simply not be said in 25 words or less. The second contradiction lies in our relationship with money throughout history. We won’t need to review our entire history for this, just some of the highlights. We should begin roughly 12,000 years ago at the time of Neolithic revolution. This is when we (humans) came up with agriculture, one of the most significant moments in our history. Prior to having the extra food which was the life-altering by-product of agriculture, we were grouped into small, nomadic tribes of hunter-gatherers. We communicated with words and hand signs for certain things but we did not have the need for language, or for specialized words like value or store. We did however, understand what a priority was: it was a priority to eat, or one would die. We spent all of our time looking for food. This took up the vast majority of our time, all of which was spent doing one of 4 basic things: eating, drinking water, sleeping and procreating the species, until we did the math and developed agriculture, which changed everything. Suddenly, where before life was all about the quest for food, there was extra food. This was one of the most significant moments in our history: immediately, we realized that the extra food could be stored; wheat and barley were stored in sacks and milk in barrels and these were then warehoused in storage areas belonging to those who had risen to power thanks to the extra time that agriculture freed up, allowing us to come up with other concepts like social classes, and government, and religion and trade and almost everything else that we came up with since. When all of those things were added up, we came to the conclusion that the food we had stored was valuable because we could eat it later and could therefore abate hunger and death. This was so important that eventually, people would sell themselves and their children into slavery for food.
Not everyone had all kinds of food in their store of value. As an example, the people who had stored grain may not have had milk and this is how trade and commerce began. One of the new groups of congregated humans that formed what we now call kingdoms would trade with another kingdom. Those who had the most food stored had the higher store of value (sound familiar?). We quickly discovered the difficulty of negotiating the trade of large quantities of food and other goods by directly transporting these quantities to the point of the trade. What if something happened to the other guys? What if there was a robbery? (We developed stealing almost immediately after agriculture). These were important questions, so we decided to use smaller and more easily transported representations of what was being traded, their quantity, weight and worth. At different points in time, we used salt, shells and other types of coinage as representations of the accumulated stored value of a sovereign nation’s wealth in food (do you now see where all of the terms came from?) Eventually, we settled on 3 basic metals to use as the core materials for the coins that we would mint to represent different values of stored wealth (food). The most value was assigned to gold; it was easily malleable into coins and it was rare enough that it could be compared to food. In very little time, everything was transacted in gold, silver and bronze; all of which were representations of weights and tares of food and as time passed, people started to forget that gold represented food and began to identify the value of wealth with gold until gold became the thing of value that was stored. Gold has been the most valuable thing in the world for a long time now, or so we think; it’s still food, no one every officially changed the thing of value that was stored and which represented wealth from food to gold, but it just happened. Food eventually became disconnected from the definition of wealth and to the great benefit of many, became commodities, which formed another stratum of value where there was none before. There was no uniformity in the calculation of the value of gold however, it became erratic and variable around the time of the industrial revolution and this inconsistency became worse until the second world war, after which the gold standard was implemented by the Breton-Woods system, with the U.S. dollar as the measure of the value of gold and the reserve currency of the world. The gold standard was in effect and somewhat stabilized the already weakened value calculations for money that occurred with the arbitrary selection of gold as the thing of most value in the world until 1973, when U.S. President Richard M. Nixon dissolved the gold standard and created fiat money as legal tender, which has no value or formulas at all. Their worth and their value are set based on the opinion and word of the government that prints the money that has represented nothing at all since 1973. When you have money, which is defined as a measure of wealth in representation of the store of value and there is no wealth or value linked to the money with which to calculate any kind of value whatsoever, you are left with a contradiction that forms a very ugly paradox.
So, now we are clear on this: money is a paradox, and as such it is only performing its function as a social tool for trade because we still believe that it is real and based on something, somewhere that has value. A great many people think that paper money is still backed by gold. The reality that it is not is hitting everyone like the proverbial ton of bricks and the question to be asked is imminent: how do we unravel it?
We write new math. We’re the ones who invented all of this anyway and we’re the ones who need to come up with something that works before this paradox stops us all in cold in our tracks. None of the things we’ve ever tried up until now have worked; otherwise we wouldn’t be in this situation. We need new ideas for our new world. Are we up to the task?
New concepts and ideas are readily contemplated by people who have QI (Quantum-dynamic Index thinking). www.whatsyourqi.com