Reading "Debt: The First 5,000 Years".
One take-away: the stories that (a) money evolved from barter and (b) credit evolved from money are both wrong.
Credit came first (invented by large organizations as a way of tracking resources) then money (which was, if I understand right, mainly used within and between said large organizations).
Barter is only used among people who are already familiar with money. Trade in non-monetary societies tends to be very ritualistic and just one or two steps away from combat; internally, resources are allocated in a way that sounds more like socialism (you need shoes? the council will get you some shoes from storage.)
Let's play a game.
I make a lot of playing pieces, some which I will give to anyone who can give me things I want.
In order to make you want to have some of my pieces, I will demand that you give me back a certain number of pieces every year. If you can't give me enough, I'll put you in prison.
The playing pieces are money, the yearly payment is a tax, and this is how rulers create money and markets... and acquire the necessary supplies to run their empires without doing the necessary work.
"Markets" exist only as a side-effect of taxation.
Modern economists pretend not to believe this (it's considered essentially a conspiracy theory), but their advice aligns with it completely.
Lemme say that again, only shorter: "markets" only exist because of government coercion.
Tell that to your favorite free-market fan and let me know how it goes. ^.^
@clacke Well... "primarily", perhaps. But the evidence does suggest that markets, the larger economic sense, only happen when governments act to create them.
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