The concept of “money” is a hard one and I have spent a lot of time the last couple of years trying to get a better understanding of what money means and what it really is. The value of money appears to be based on a community agreement that it is worth something. There is a continuing debate between the Austrian economists who believe that money should be backed by gold and the people who are in control (Federal Reserve/banks) who promote fiat currency that is, money not backed by any commodity.
But it gets even more complicated. Most people don’t really understand that the Federal Reserve is not a government agency but a private bank that creates money and loans it as debt. I’m currently reading Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed subtitled “The Bankers Who Broke the World.” Mr. Ahamed, a former World Bank Economist tells a lively story that begins around 1914 and continues through WWII and argues that the Great Depression and WWII can pretty much be blamed on the bankers who form the focus of his well-written tale.
Banker’s reputations are certainly on the ropes these days and deservedly so if one lends credence to articles such as Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone article, Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?
Ron Paul does a good job explaining the Federal Reserve in his book End the Fed.
A full length documentary titled the Secret of Oz does a really good job of telling the history of banking in the US and argues a strong case for having governments issue currency as debt free money, taking the play away from the Federal Reserve.
The film’s hook is the famous children’s book The Wizard of Oz which the filmmaker argues is full of symbolism about the currency debates of the day. It’s educational and watchable though nearly two hours.
Who knew that Dorothy’s slippers in the book were silver and changed to ruby in the film because of technicolor? When that happened most of the monetary symbolism in the Wizard of Oz was lost.