Pull a dollar bill out of your wallet and take a close look at it. What is it worth? $1? Why? After all, it’s simply a piece of paper (cloth for the finicky out there). You only believe it’s worth $1 because the government insists that it is worth $1 and you have faith in the government. More importantly, the people and businesses where you hope to spend that $1 have faith in the government. So, what do anarchists do about money? Excellent question.
According to Greg Goebel’s A Short History Of Money, the first paper money was introduced by Kublai Khan in 13th Century China. It only lasted about 150 years. The fact is, mankind has survived (and performed commerce) for the vast majority of its history without government money at all. Returning to Goebel’s article we learn,
Pacific islanders used cowrie shells; Aztecs used cacao beans, the main ingredient of chocolate, though it seems a bit unlikely that this was the origin of the modern term of “bean-counter” for an accountant; livestock was common among herding cultures; slaves were sometimes used, too, but they were much harder to control than cattle and so not as popular; and many cultures used salt, including the Romans for a time, leading to the modern term “salary”. Incidentally, after World War II cigarettes were used as a medium of exchange in many countries then in very poor condition, and it is said that in Italy “penny candy” was commonly used as “small change” even into the 1970s.
Most likely modern man would return to using silver and gold as the primary medium of exchange. In order to avoid the need to carry large sums of coins, private companies (read: banks) would likely issue paper money for day to day transactions. The value of these paper notes would vary based on the amount of faith the interested parties had in the issuing organization.
Personally, I’ve started collecting actual silver coins and bars from eBay. I decided to go primarily with silver U.S. coins for two reasons: 1) I can’t afford gold, and 2) the percentage and weight of silver in U.S. coins is fairly well established and widely recognized. Of course, I then read a post at FSK’s Guide To Reality called Protect Your Gold and Silver Coins, and now I’m a bit more concerned. FSK addresses the very genuine concern of precious metal coins becoming worn (and thus devalued) through repeated exchanges. Fortunately, he also proposes some simple and practical solutions for these very problems. I suggest you read his post, it’s both short and to the point (unlike most of my posts 😉 ).
The Complete Applied Anarchy Series-
- What Is Applied Anarchy?
- Applied Anarchy – One Way I Legally Avoid Taxes
- Applied Anarchy: Financial Security Without Fiat Currency
- Practicing What We Preach
- Applied Anarchy: Why Anarchists Should Vote For Ron Paul
- Applied Anarchy – Parking Meters
- Applied Anarchy – Minimizing Your Income Tax Burden
- Sales Tax and Couponing For Cash
- Applied Anarchy – 12 Steps To Recovery
- Money Makes The World Go Round
- Doing Away With Fiat Currency
- Applied Anarchy – Free Market Health Care
- Applied Anarchy – How Would It Work?
- Applied Anarchy – Listen To Your Kids
- Happy Birthday Comrade Kropotkin!
- The Market Finally Takes Down DRM – Copyright Quivers In Boots
- Pushing The Political Easy Button
- A Call To Arms For Anarchist Bloggers
- Applied Anarchy – Voting As Self-Defense
- Applied Anarchy: Why Taxes Are Theft
- I’m Now A Silver AMPlifier for Free Talk Live!
- Applied Anarchy: You CAN Trust Politicians…
- How The Market Can Enforce Intellectual Property
- Applied Anarchy – Make Freedom A Bestseller
- Why Seek Liberation?