Masters and Slaves of Money

Last Updated on July 6, 2021 by Haven Direct

Bitcoin is the global declaration of independence from central bank tyranny.

Masters And Slaves Of Money | Nextlevel Ventures 2021
Robert Breedlove

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Money is a tool for trading human time. Central banks, the modern-era masters of money, wield this tool as a weapon to steal time and inflict wealth inequality. History shows us that the corruption of monetary systems leads to moral decay, social collapse, and slavery. As the temptation to manipulate money has always proven to be too strong for mankind to resist, the only antidote for this poison is an incorruptible money — Bitcoin.

Masters And Slaves Of Money | Nextlevel Ventures 2021

Counterfeiters are Slavemasters

“Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” —Frederick Douglass

In ancient western Africa, aggry beads—small, decorative glass beads—were used as money for many centuries. Of uncertain origins, these beads were a means of wealth transfer between people in trade (as money) and across generations (as dowries or heirlooms). When European explorers appeared in Africa in the 16th century, it was quickly apparent to them that aggry beads were highly valued by African locals. Since glass-making technology in Africa was primitive at the time, aggry beads were difficult to produce and, therefore, reliably scarce relative to other goods—a monetary property which supported their market value.

Back in Europe, glass-making technology was more sophisticated; counterfeit beads virtually identical to aggry beads could be mass produced at a low cost. Seizing the economic opportunity, many crafty Europeans soon began arranging expeditions to western Africa, shipping in huge quantities of (indistinguishably counterfeit) aggry beads expertly fashioned in European glass-making facilities. This scheme was one of the first known large-scale money counterfeiting operations in the world. What followed this seemingly innocuous exportation of glass beads was a multi-decade plundering of African wealth, natural resources, and—ultimately—time.

As European ships arrived on African shores, many with hulls packed full of glass beads, locals readily traded their hard-earned assets for what they believed were precious aggry beads. Spanning the course of decades, this trading of real assets for counterfeit beads facilitated a surreptitious confiscation of African wealth by Europeans—a slow-motion criminal episode that crippled African society for centuries to come. Aggry beads would later become known as “slave beads”; as newly impoverished Africans became desperate, some were forced to sell themselves or others as slaves to their European usurpers. Slave beads—one of history’s many monetary systems weaponized by counterfeiters—became instrumental in the multi-century trans-Atlantic slave trade.

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Over the course of 365 years, over 12.5M slaves were transited from Africa to Europe and the Americas.
In a barbaric irony of history, ships landing in Africa stuffed with (counterfeit) aggry beads later departed for European and American shores with full payloads of precious human cargo. Inhumane and unforgivingly precise, masters of these slave ships packed their hulls tightly with African slaves, just like the glass beads that were used to purchase their captive human cargo in the first place.

Masters And Slaves Of Money | Nextlevel Ventures 2021

Like the counterfeit aggry beads used to purchase them, African slaves were packed tightly inside the hulls of ships for transit to Europe and the Americas.
Unfortunately, this pillaging of wealth was not an isolated episode. Cloth strips were another form of money used in ancient Africa, which became a well-established transactional medium over many centuries of dealing with Muslim traders from the north. Local African tribes soon began producing these cloth strips—known colloquially as panos—but were outcompeted by the more efficient production methods employed by the Portuguese. A perversely profitable economic arrangement ensued, in which the Portuguese used panos to purchase African slaves who were then put to work producing the very cloth strips with which their freedom was stolen. As Scottish historian Christopher Fyfe described this dreadful trade relationship:

“Some of the slaves were weavers by profession, and wove the cotton into country cloths as they had done on the mainland. New elaborate patterns of North African type were introduced, and from the middle of the 16th century Cape Verde panos [cloth strips] were regularly exported to Guiné to be exchanged for slaves.”

Lured by a virtually limitless profit potential, Portuguese panos producers soon established a state-sponsored monopoly called the Grão Pará and Maranhão Company, which mandated the use of its warehousing and trading-post operations for all financial flows denominated in panos. This company enforced the use of panos for tax payments, to forcibly denominate slave trade contracts, and to hire soldiers. To name just one similar, non-coincidental example today: the US government enforces the use of dollars for tax collections, as legal tender, as the nominal currency for contracts on oil (the energy slave of modernity), and as the international reserve currency (the infamous “exorbitant privilege”).

Events strikingly similar to aggry beads and panos are playing out today throughout the global economy: the US dollar in your pocket, the one you sacrificed so much to obtain, was recently mass-produced by the US government with a (near-effortless) keystroke. In the same way Europeans had access to superior glass-making technology that gave them the ability to counterfeit money at a low cost, or the Portuguese monopolized panos production, central banks have an exclusive privilege to produce money at near-zero cost, enabling them to confiscate wealth from all users of dollars at will. Although less visible and overtly violent, central banks today carry out operations using the same weaponized methods of theft as those wielded by wily Europeans against unsuspecting Africans.

Histories of human action related to aggry beads and panos hold important lessons for societies suffering under central banking: those who can monopolize money production become de facto currency counterfeiting operations that steal human labor in perpetuity. When free market forces are manipulated, producers gain an asymmetric ability to set prices without regard to customer preferences, thereby converting economic democracies into dictatorships, and freedom into tyranny. For money, this implies monopolists can acquire human time (aka labor) in the marketplace at an unfair price. Said differently: money monopolists can steal human time—a malevolent power that effectively makes them slavemasters.

Masters And Slaves Of Money | Nextlevel Ventures 2021

An exclusive right to produce money without regard for competitive market pressures is an apparatus of enslavement—a vile privilege that monopolists can only preserve through deception and violence.

Counterfeit aggry beads and panos were weapons used to acquire human time; acts which led to the direct theft of 12.5M human lives between 1501 and 1806 (and the indirect theft of their progeny). The trans-Atlantic slave trade was a slow-motion holocaust on Africans; roughly 2M died in transit through the infamous Middle Passage, and those who survived spent the rest of their waking lives toiling away, or bearing children to replenish their slavemaster’s stock. Quantifying this atrocity from an economic perspective (not counting those born into slavery): assuming the average slave could labor 5,000 hours each year for 40 years, the staggering total time stolen amounts to over 2.5T (2,500,000,000,000) hours, or 6.8B hours stolen per year for 365 years (source link).

Masters And Slaves Of Money | Nextlevel Ventures 2021

The trans-Atlantic slave trade was a travesty as gruesome as it was gigantic; if only money production monopolies had faced free market competition, this horror of human history would not have reached such a colossal scale. In (non-violent) market competition, producer actions are guided by the preferences of customers: a dynamic that drives low prices and technological innovation. Absent this accountability, producers are incentivized to do anything necessary to expand their market share—up to and including violent coercion. Simply, market pressures keep people honest: as such, the structures of markets and moralities are mutually intertwined.

Markets, Sovereignty, and Morality

“To be moral, an act must be free.”―Murray N. Rothbard

Competition is a natural process of discovery: in sports, it is the way we discover which team is more competent in any single game; throughout an entire season of play, repeated competition is how we discover which team is best overall. In free markets, competition is the set of games played to discover “satisfactions of wants”: each entrepreneur places “bets” (investments of capital, money, and time) as they attempt to prove their competitors wrong in the marketplace by delivering better, faster, or cheaper solutions to the problems their customers want solved. Market competition is the catalyst of honest work and true progress for civilization. As the American pragmatists said: “truth is the end of inquiry”—in this sense, the free market may be thought of as a setting of continuous inquiry that zeroes-in on truth. The ideas competition generates, which survive its sustained entrepreneurial inquisitions, are our best approximations of truth—as William James said:

“Any idea upon which we can ride … any idea that will carry us prosperously from any one part of our experience to any other part, linking things satisfactorily, working securely, saving labor; is true for just so much, true in so far forth, true instrumentally

Pragmatically, truth is difficult to distinguish from that which is most useful. In forums of free exchange, truth is generated in the form of accurate prices, useful tools, and individual virtue. Prices dynamically represent market participant concurrences on relative exchange ratios, a derivation of countless trade decisions across time. A tool with superior usefulness is the manifestation of mankind’s sharpest present knowledge for solving a specific problem. Put another way: as entrepreneurs inquire about the nature of reality through experimentation, the tools they produce—and the knowledge structure with which these tools are configured—adapt according to customer preferences until one or a few favored solutions become market dominant. Virtue and competitive competency are the character traits infused into successful entrepreneurs that manage to survive the constant economic pressures holding them accountable for profit generation. This truth-seeking function of free markets is inherently iterative: prices, tools, and virtues are constantly changing according to market conditions.

“Points” in market-based games of discovery are denominated in money — the tool used to calculate, negotiate, and execute trades most effectively. Market competition is the process that keeps producers honest: when it is suppressed through coercion or violence—as it is within “legal monopolies”—truth becomes distorted into inaccurate prices, low-quality tools, and individual wickedness. For money producers, monopolization means dishonest producers become counterfeiters and gain a (deceptive and violent) dominion over human time.

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Stealing human time through currency counterfeiting led to the the auctioning of slave labor.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, money is not “the root of all evil,” it is actually just a tool for trading time (or labor)—the means by which market participants signify sacrifices and successes to one another across the history of economic transactions. Like all tools, money has no independent morality of its own. Tools are amoral, meaning they can be used for both good and evil purposes alike. The moral outcome of using a tool is inextricably dependent on the intention of its user. Money is a temporal trading tool, but (as we’ve seen) it can also be wielded maliciously to steal time, in the same way a hammer can be used to build a house or bash a skull.

More accurately, money—along with its precursors action and speech—is “the root of all sovereignty”: the authority to act in the world as one sees fit. Sovereignty — a word etymologically associated with monarchy, money, and royalty — refers to the locus of supreme power in the sphere of human action. According to Natural Law, sovereignty inheres within the individual, as each person must consciously decide what actions to take, despite any exogenous influences they may face. An inner sanctum of sovereignty’s generative source lives within each of us — an inviolable principle of reason known as the logos. An interface layer between the primary domains of experience—order and chaos—the logos is the defining feature of humanity: our ability to tell and believe stories is what distinguishes man from animal. Victor Frankl calls this interiorized space the “last human freedom”:

“The last of the human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you become the plaything to circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity…”

From sovereignty, we derive the word reign, which commonly refers to a period of royal rulership. Most of us now live in an era well-past submission to a royal family, and our civilizational conception of sovereignty has been steadily decentralizing over time, moving closer to a clear reflection of Natural Law. As Jordan Peterson charts this historical progression:

“First of all, the only sovereign was the king. Then the nobles became sovereign. Then all men became sovereign. Then came the Christian revolution and every individual soul, impossibly, became sovereign. That idea of individual sovereignty and worth is the core presupposition of our legal and cultural systems, so we all walk around acting as if every one of us is a divine centre of logos. We grant each other the respect of individual citizens who are sovereign and are equal before the law.”

At the foundation of Western Civilization today is the precept that the sovereignty of the individual is held higher than the state: an embodied belief at the heart of legal principles such as habeus corpus, the presumption of “innocent until proven guilty,” and freedom of speech rights.

Masters And Slaves Of Money | Nextlevel Ventures 2021

Freedom of speech is essential to a peaceful society, as our ideas must be free to clash and resolve conflicts so that our bodies don’t. Speech arose in humans as a direct result of our evolutionary development: once a vertical stance was adopted by our ancestral primates, our visual field was expanded, and our hands became more adept at manipulating the natural environment since they were no longer needed for locomotion. Newly outfitted with opposable thumbs, we developed a dexterity that enabled us to particularize the natural world in useful ways—like sorting things, counting, and making tools. Fine musculature in the face and tongue evolved alongside this precision of hand, giving rise to spoken language, which complemented the hand’s ability to categorize the world, and the mind’s ability to comprehend it (even our internal dialogue is composed of speech). An ability to manually reconfigure the world reinforced our abstractive capacity to do so verbally, thereby forming a feedback dynamic between these two defining faculties of man. This co-evolution of craftsmanship and verbal articulation led naturally to trade, and (quite simply) the most exchangeable thing in any trading society is its most important tool—money.

Seen this way, money is a direct derivation of action and speech: all three of which are essential media for sovereign self-expression. In this sense, money may be considered a form of speech in and unto itself—the language of value. Placing limitations on the use of this language (the purpose of central banks) is commensurately catastrophic to restricting the freedom of speech (which can lead to absurdities like illegal numbers). Free speech digs the grave for despotism, whereas its suppression is the trademark of totalitarian regimes. Indeed, the first effort of every aspiring dictator is always to restrict the voice of dissent—to darken the light of inquiry radiating from the logos. The 20th century had many logos-suppressing dictatorships, we will name two:

“In 1917, the Russian Bolsheviks moved to limit freedom of speech the very day after the October coup-d’état. They adopted the “Decree on the Press,” which shut down any newspapers “sowing discord by libelous distortion of facts.” Similarly, only a few months after coming to power in 1933, German National Socialists started to burn books, and the Ministry of Propaganda introduced strict censorship.

Logos (λόγος) is a Greek word that means “ratio” or “word”—the principle at the core of interpersonal communications, which are largely conducted via words and prices (which are exchange ratios expressed in monetary terms). Both words and prices are “categorical comparatives,” protocols for encapsulating, contrasting, and communicating different aspects of reality — herein lives the power of the divine logos to render order from chaos. In language, consider how all words only have meaning relative to one another: all definitions are comprised of other words. In markets, the intersection of objective supply and subjective demand is the price: a dynamic figure reflecting the consensus of the collective logos on any particular good’s exchange ratio to any other good (for simplicity, expressed in the common language of economic numeracy: money).

For money, governments corrupt the pricing mode of comparative expression by constantly violating the supply of money (via inflation) while simultaneously compelling its demand (via legal tender and tax collection laws). Distorting natural price discovery, a manipulation of the collective logos, is equivalent to perverting the vox populi—the voice of the people. George Orwell once said: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” An inability to speak the truth (with words), or prove others wrong in the marketplace (with prices), is the death of liberty; as the 20th century so painfully taught us, restricting the logos is a slippery slope toward totalitarianism. Free expression in all forms is antecedent to proper moral action.

Masters And Slaves Of Money | Nextlevel Ventures 2021

In Soviet Russia, freedom of speech was suppressed and dissent was punished. Independent political activities were not tolerated, whether these involved participation in free labour unions, private corporations, independent churches or opposition political parties.
Like speech, money lacks an intrinsic morality of its own. However, its economic character does influence moral standards—as Buddha taught us: “Money is the worst discovery of human life, but it is the most trusted material to test human nature.” Honest money encourages righteous action, and dishonest money induces moral hazard. To comprehend money’s impact on morality, consider the (hypothetical) case of a winemaker living in a centrally banked economy. He knows that his central bank recently doubled the money supply by printing trillions of dollars to “save the economy,” and is now faced with three options:

  1. Continue selling his wine for $20, knowing that the value of each dollar has declined 50% due to inflation*
  2. Water down his wine or use cheaper ingredients, thereby decreasing the production cost and the quality of his wine, but continue selling it for $20
  3. Double the selling price of his wine to $40, to get the same value for his wine denominated in post-inflation dollars

*For simplicity, we will ignore the spatiotemporal unevenness of inflation.

If the winemaker chooses the first option, he incurs a 50% loss. If he decides to water down his wine, he defrauds his customers by selling them an inferior product. If he doubles his price to maintain quality, he risks losing customers to less honest competitors who are willing to compromise on quality. Since diluting wine with water is difficult to detect (for non-connoisseurs) and offers an immediate financial gain, all winemakers face strong incentives to defraud their customers when inflation strikes (a cause of wine scandals). In a similar vein, monetary inflation incentivizes sellers across all industries to deceive their customers. Inflation imposes the temptation of larceny onto seller’s hearts, forcing them to weigh financial wellbeing against moral integrity. In this way, inflation is an infectious disease to society’s moral fabric. Inflation-resistant money, then, is an antidote to an afflicted social morality. In this (critically important) sense, Bitcoin—the only money with a 0% terminal inflation rate—is the cure for many of the moral cancers riddling our world.

Masters And Slaves Of Money | Nextlevel Ventures 2021

Inflation is a great immiseration on the soul of humanity—a source much moral sickness worldwide.
Money is a source of great temptation, as it can be considered the “list of who owns what,” since money can (by definition) be used to buy anything in the marketplace. When a singularly privileged group (a monopoly) can create money out of thin air, they can amend this “list of who owns what” arbitrarily, and have a powerful incentive to do so to their own benefit. This “money as an ownership ledger” angle sheds light on the underlying impetus for central banking—an institution which arrogates itself as “master of the list” with an exclusive privilege to advance the interests of its private shareholders, even at the expense of enslaving everyone else.

Since everything in the marketplace requires sacrifices of human time to produce (even land needs hands to sell), we can say that money is human time emblematized. In the same way a stock certificate is title to company capital, money is title to human time; people sacrifice time earning money which they can then spend on commensurate sacrifices from others. Clearly, a tool that can command human time is an object of great temptation, as it is a potent source of power (defined by physics as work over time). A lust for power is the motivation of most warfare—typically involving attempts to forcibly acquire capital, food, or territory. And a lack of power is closely related to unhappiness, which makes its consolidation alluring—as Philo Judaeus said:

“No slave is really happy, for what greater misery is there than to live with no power over anything, including oneself?”

Money has always been a critical piece of mankind’s notions of sovereignty and slavery. When naturally selected by free market processes, money is a culmination of the collective logos: a synthesis of individual self-sovereign expressions. But natural money has been hijacked by artificial tyrants: the reason we call states sovereign today is entirely because they are the gangs that reign over the world’s freely chosen money — gold.

The So-Called Sovereign States

“I did not know I was a slave until I found out I couldn’t do the things I wanted.”—Frederick Douglass

For over 5,000 years, precious metals have been favored as money since they best fulfilled its five properties: divisibility, durability, portability, recognizability, and scarcity. Gold came to reign supreme because of all the monetary metals, it was the most scarce. Scarcity is arguably the most important property of money, as without an assurance of supply limitation, someone always gives in to the temptation to inflate and steal the value stored therein (see: aggry beads, panos cloth money, or fiat currencies today).

Governments have always interceded in the market for money to commandeer gold coinage and warehousing operations, both of which sought to improve the divisibility, portability, and recognizability properties of money by issuing standardized coins or warehouse receipts. By monopolizing these “certification function” businesses, the state shifted the burden of trust from transacting parties onto itself. States throughout history have always made it their (exclusive) business to certify the value (weight or fineness) of money (coins or bars) and money-substitutes (paper warehouse receipts). Remember: insulation from competition interrupts the truth discovery process engendered by free markets; for this reason, trust placed in any monopoly always ends up shattered.

Masters And Slaves Of Money | Nextlevel Ventures 2021

Government exists to protect property rights: a purpose it defiles by monopolizing and counterfeiting money.
All national currencies began as paper promises for real money. Today, these currencies are no longer redeemable for real money, and instead have been transformed into perennially unfulfilled promises called fiat currencies. Governments require societies (a restriction of the collective logos) to transact in these money-substitutes and reserve the exclusive right to manipulate their supplies as a means of siphoning wealth (aka stealing time) from citizens. In effect, fiat currencies are uncollateralized debts undergoing slow-motion default while their use is forced on society. All the while, central banks continue to hoard the real money—gold—and perform final settlement with one another in this authentic, free-market-selected medium of exchange.

Seen this way,printing money” actually refers to currency counterfeiting—the production of false promises, as currencies are no longer tied to real money. Said simply: fiat currency is a living lie. Regardless of whether you consider it a tool or a weapon (depending on the subjectivities of user intentionality), manipulating money supplies is objectively useful for only one thing: inflicting wealth inequalities (by stealing time). As G. Braschi puts it: “Every tool is a weapon (if you hold it right).” As a means of gaining an advantage in contests of will, currency counterfeiting is a weapon.

In war times, belligerent nations have made attempts to counterfeit opponent currencies to cause hyperinflation. For example, Nazi Germany had plans to bomb England with counterfeit bank notes to sabotage their economy. And in Imperial Japan, the Noborito Laboratory experimented with currency counterfeiting operations as an economic subversion strategy. In peacetimes, currency counterfeiting is the exclusive domain of the central bank, whose “expansionary monetary policy” increases the money supply by, say, 7% per year—that is, stealing only 7% of dollar-holder wealth (an accumulation of time-savings) each year via counterfeiting operations.

Of course, when circumstances become too uncertain, market participants naturally flock back to the trust-minimization of physical gold, since money-substitutes are (at best) promises to receive money in the future, they are vulnerable to default. Unlike fiat currencies, gold is an expression of the collective logos, not compulsion from a counterparty. The self-declared “sovereign” state is a business model built on the confiscation of self-sovereign monies like gold and silver. The superior monetary properties of gold made it the most valuable form of self-sovereign money in history, a reign it has maintained since before the founding of ancient Egypt.

The Great Pyramids

“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”—John Adams

Ancient Egypt is the archetypal tyranny in the Bible. Egypt is renowned for its Great Pyramids, monoliths which were built on the backs of slave labor. Indeed, the grandeur of these constructions owes a major debt of gratitude to the many slaves whose time was stolen by the Pharaohs—masters of Ancient Egypt. To gain a glimmer of understanding as to just how arduous the construction process was for even a single Great Pyramid, consider this data point from the book Heroes of History by Will Durant:

“According to Herodotus… the pyramid itself required the labor of 100,000 men through twenty years.”

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Many slave hours went into building the Great Pyramids, but history has even worse pyramid schemes…
To quantify this time-theft from Egyptian slaves more precisely, again assuming that each slave spent 5,000 hours per year engaged in manual labor, a workforce of 100,000 slaves building for 20 years equals 10B hours of time stolen. A staggering amount of man hours condemned to the brutality of physical bondage during the construction of a single Great Pyramid, but (terribly) still less than the time stolen by the greatest pyramid schemes in human history—fiat currencies. As Henry Ford foretold:

“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

A pyramid scheme is an investment scam based on a hierarchical setup of network marketing, in which higher layer participants profit at the expense of those lower down. Fiat currencies are pyramid schemes erected by central banks, who restrict access to and suppress the price of gold, which would otherwise outcompete their inferior currencies on the free market, since gold is reliably scarce and holds its value across time. The use of fiat currencies is compelled via legal tender and tax laws. It may be hard to believe that the world’s most popular currency is a pyramid scheme, but the symbology of the US dollar tells its own story:

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