Letter to Mr. Davis who had requested to have a US$10 bill reimbursed into the lawful money that it promises
to be exchanged against. As quoted by Lawrence S. Ritter ed. Money and Economic Activity. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967) p. 33.
A floating, as opposed to a fixed, exchange rate is when the value of a currency is fluctuating continuously depending on a free market system. From 1945 to 1971, most of the world was operating on a fixed exchange rate system tied to the US$, which in turn was fixed at a rate of 35.2US$ per ounce of gold. This system had been created after World War II under the name of the Bretton Woods system, from the little town in New Hampshire, USA, where the treaty had been negotiated.
see Business Week article ....
Bernard Lietaer. Europe + Latin America + the Multinationals: a Positive Sum Game for the Exchange of Raw Materials and Technology (London: Saxon House, 1979)
Davis, Dick. Byzantine Coin In the Distance (1975)
John Maynard Keynes. A Treatise on Money (London, 1930) chap 1, pg. 13
The full significance of the relationship between money and feminine fertility goddesses in Sumer or Rome will become clear in the Part II, where we explore the archetypal origins of money systems.
U.S. Representative Bill Dannemeyer, from southern California, wrote to his constituency that "It is not an accident that the American experiment with a paper dollar standard, a variable standard, has been going on at the same time that our culture has been questioning whether American civilization is based on the Judeo-Christian ethic, or Secular Humanism. The former involves formal rules from God through the vehicle of the Bible. The latter involves variable rules adopted by man and adjusted as deemed appropriate" quoted in William Greider The Secrets of the Temple(New York: Touchstone Books, 1987) pg. 230.
Ibid. pg. 240
Glyn Davies. A History of Money from ancient times to the present day (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1994) pg. 27.
These are explained in more detail in Appendix A.
The entire Part II of this book will deal with the issues of collective unconscious behavior related to the Zeitgeist idea It is interesting that the concept of Zeitgeist, and its accompanying construct of Weltanschauung (literally, "Way of Looking at the World") were both developed by the German philosopher Hegel, who was also the father of the first theories of Nation-States. The importance of the needs for the fledgling nation-states in the early design of the modern money system cannot be too urgently emphasized.
These technical aspects are explained in Appendix A.
Technically in Judaism, usury was only prohibited among Jews, which enabled them to lend with interest to non-Jews, and became one of the reasons for their unpopularity in the Middle Ages "Unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury, that the Lord thy god may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hands to" Deuteronomy 23:20
Islam is more encompassing in its condemnation: "What ye put out at usury to increase it with the substance of others, hall hove no increase from God" Koran Sura 30:38
Given that the modern world has evolved mostly under Christian influence, it is this religion's change of direction over time which is really relevant. The emphasis on the teachings of the Christian Church about usury can only be compared with today's emphasis on the sex and abortion sins. It was definitely one of the most persistent dogmas of the Church. One of the earlier Church fathers, Clement of Alexandria specified already "the law prohibits a brother from taking usury; designating as a brother not only him whois born of the same parents, but also one of the same race and sentiments... Do not regard this command as marked by philanthropy". The litany of councils specifically repeating this practice as the most despicable is really impressive: the Council of Elvira (305-306BC), of Carthage (348), of Arles (314), or Nice (325), of Taragona (516),of Aix-la-Chapelle (789), of Paris (829), of Tours (1153), the Lateran Council (1179), of Lyons (1274), of Vienne (1311). This last one was perhaps even more sweeping than the previous ones : any rulers who would not criminally punish anybody in their realms committing usury (even if the rulers themselves did not do it!) would be excommunicated. Since the practice was often concealed beneath various devices, money lenders were compelled to show their accounts to the ecclesiastical authorities. The fifth Lateran council (1512-1517) reiterated the definition of the sin of usury as "receiving any interest on money" once again. The very first time that the original doctrine was questioned was in 1822. A woman from Lyons, France, had received interest on money and was refused absolution unless she returned the ill gotten gains. Bishop Rhedon requested a clarification from Rome which responded "Let the petitioner be informed that a reply will be given her question when the proper time comes; ...meanwhile she may receive sacramental absolution, if she is fully prepared to submit to the instructions of the Holy See". A forthcoming resolution was promised again in 1830, and from the Office of Propaganda in 1873. This promised clarification in fact never came. The sin of usury was never officially repealed, simply forgotten. The Canon Law of 1917 (Canon #1543), still operational today, suddenly makes it obligatory for Bishops to invest "As the administrators are bound to fulfill their office with the solicitude of of a good father of a family, they shall invest the surplus revenue of the church to the benefit of the church". Later still usury is redefined as "the charging of excessive interest."
The period when the Church started "forgetting" the sin of usury corresponds to a tremendous increase in the Church's own capital holdings (i.e. sources of funds), and a decline in its vast ownership of land (i.e. use of funds) in Western Europe.
Estelle and Mario Carota, two Mexican Catholics, in the hope of providing releaf to Latin American countries when they were reeling under the debt crisis of the 1980's, made a formal request to the Vatican to clarify its position on usury in 1985. They were informed by no less an authority than the Office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by Cardinal Ratzinger, that there had never been a new definition of the doctrine of usury. That "there has never been any change", but that there is unfortunately not one expert left in Rome in this topic, because they all have specialized in the issues of sex and abortion instead. Their attempts at finding an expert opinion among the Jesuits, Augustinians, Dominicans, Salvatorians, and even professors of moral theology in Third World seminaries teaching theology of economic justice failed to turn up anybody who remembered the forgotten Doctrine of Usury.
Thuillier, P. 'Darwin chez les Samourai' in La Recherche Number 181 (Paris, 1986) pg. 1276-1280
See Chapter 6 where we will discuss how these different kinds of currency could be integrated with the existing national currencies into a coherent whole.