A criticism of the current Spanish government from an historical perspective.
Carlos García Hernández is managing director of the publishing house Lola Books
Translated and Edited by BRAVE NEW EUROPE
Carlos García Hernández – Traitors
About 5,000 years ago, a wise people from the Middle East decided to build this sociological triangle: central power, owners and producers. That’s how humanity went from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic. And life improved.
The tribal structures of the hunter-gatherers were not suitable for the new life. Agriculture and cattle breeding had been discovered and settlements had become permanent. This led to the division of labour, trade, and commerce – a real mess. Trade agreements were complicated and dangerous. There was no way to ensure compliance, and no means of making accurate payments. They never knew exactly how many sheep a cow was worth, or how much barley was equivalent to a hoe. They needed a means to organize and unite the new society. After much thought and many failed experiments, they found the solution: debt. That’s how writing and numbers were born. The cow became represented by symbols, and the same thing happened with the sheep, with the hoes, and with the barley.
So they built a palace that served as a central bank. Inside they put a king and a court. And they built a large slate. Only the court scribes, after learning the art of writing and maths in the palace, could write on it. There, the debts of the citizens were registered according to the debt that only the palace could issue. That was how the mess was solved. The cows, hoes, barley, sheep, and the rest of the goods and services of the country came to have a price expressed in units of palace debt.
That’s when the market was born. There, the country’s products were put up for sale in palace debt units. The palace debt became the national currency. Only the palace could issue it, so the palace could buy everything that was sold in the market. In order for the currency to have value, the palace decided that to access the market all sellers had to pay a tax on the debt that the palace itself issued. This was not done to finance itself, since it could not be left without the currency that it alone issued, but to prevent market prices from skyrocketing and creating a phenomenon that we call inflation.
Therefore, only the palace could impose taxes and only the palace could issue the money to pay those taxes. The first cities were created, trades and products for sale multiplied, the science of astronomy was born to plan the crops, in the palace the way to calculate the compound interest began to be taught and mathematics, great public works, hospitals and schools were born. Primary industry was dominant, but alongside it there was also a small secondary and tertiary industry. And corruption was also born.
The palace debt issuers (the king himself, the royal family, the officials, the temples, etc.) continued to maintain personal relationships with the rest of society. Because of these relationships, money transfers from the palace began to take place to a minority who began to accumulate large amounts of money. This is how the moneylenders and loan sharks were born, always attentive to “help” the citizens who, either by accidents, or by misfortunes such as diseases or natural disasters, or by vital mistakes, could not meet their debts. The loan sharks lent them money with interest. Referring to Babylon in his book “…and forgive them their debts”, the economist Michael Hudson writes that there they discovered “the basic dynamic of debt: to accrue and intrude increasingly into the economy, absorbing the surplus and transferring land and even personal liberty of debtors to creditors”.
In the beginning, the three vertices of the sociological triangle were in many cases composed of the same people. The head of a producer family was in turn the owner of a plot of land and the members of the palace (including the king) were drawn from the normal citizenry. Little by little, the vertices brought together people who belonged to only one of the vertices, and thus the social classes were born: the aristocracy or ruling class that issued money in the palace, the owners of the means of production and the dispossessed workers.
This tension remains to this day. Very few people understand it. However, society cannot be understood without one of the three vertices because if one of the three vertices disappears the other two are meaningless. That is why the financial oligarchies have been trying since the Bronze Age to take away from governments the power to issue national currency. If, as we have seen, the advantages of the transition from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic justify the creation of a government issuing national currency, why has there been a small financial oligarchy since then and a majority that is willing to work for that oligarchy? In other words, why are there entrepreneurs and why are there workers? Why are there people who want to own companies and people who want to work in them? There is only one answer to these questions: for money. However, money is only issued by states, so whoever controls the state controls the issue of money and also manages the object of desire of both workers and employers.
The state (the palace) first spends the money it creates to stock up on the market with everything it needs. This money is accumulated by the companies in the form of profits and by the workers in the form of salaries. Part of it is used to pay taxes and the rest is used to supply its own needs in the market. Without one of the three vertices, the rest cannot be understood.
It is difficult to know at what point in history this fell into oblivion, but the truth is that when the Enlightenment arrived, the great lie in which a large part of the population now lives had already taken hold. This great lie (today known as neoliberalism) is the following: the state needs to collect taxes or get into debt in order to be able to spend.
Kant, Hegel and Marx fell for this mistake. The first (the forerunner of neoliberalism) and the third (the forerunner of communism) were geniuses. Hegel was a charlatan who confused Marx.
For Kant, money “has no […] more utility (or at least it is not lawful for it to have) than to serve merely the traffic of men’s labour”. Kant shows that he does not understand that money is a creation of the state and that therefore the market (the place of exchange of products for money) is subsequent to the creation of the state. This error of Kant was used by F. A. Hayek, a true enemy of humanity, to say that “the law, language and money are the three paradigms of institutions that arise spontaneously”. Today we know that money did not arise at all spontaneously, but only in a very specific place and with the civilizing utilities that we have described above. However, Kant (and later Hayek) consider these utilities to be unlawful. The struggle of the coup oligarchy born in Babylon, bent on usurping the state’s capacity to create money, continues to this day in the figure of Hayek, who said he was convinced “that we will never have decent money again if we do not take away the government’s monopoly on issuing money”. His coup d’état in favor of the financial oligarchies resulted in him becoming an advisor to Pinochet and say that “I prefer a liberal dictator to democratic government lacking liberalism”.
For his part, Marx also failed to understand the sociological triangle and established the class struggle as the tension of the conflicting interests of the bourgeoisie and the workers, thus forgetting about the state issuing money. That is why, when analysing the question of wages, he says that “wages are determined by the open struggle between capitalist and worker” and does not cite the state, which as the monopoly issuer of national currency can acquire everything that is for sale in that currency, including the work offered by the worker. Marx surrenders to the arguments of Hegel, who, in analysing the relationship between the lord and the servant, establishes a merely spiritual interaction according to which the one and the other accept their state because they need each other to make sense in the general scheme of the spirit (as if the servant did not work for the lord for a money or a material welfare that he would not find elsewhere).
In ancient times there were great rulers who opposed the oligarchies. We can find them in the edicts of Hammurabi and Solon, as well as in the Gospels. Their message was the Jubilee, the forgiveness of illegitimate debts or those that by their own design cannot be paid. Today more than ever we need such rulers. The level of accumulation of the current oligarchies is allowing them to condemn the workers to a servitude similar to that which occurred in the ancient world. Since then we know that this weakens the states and condemns them to their downfall. That’s why Rome, Athens and Babylon collapsed. The European Union is following in their footsteps.
The European Commission is going to present the Spanish Government with a recovery plan. In exchange for an insufficient financial rescue, the EU will impose cuts and privatisations that will condemn Spain to an unacceptable increase of unemployment, declining public services, and increasing misery. The Social Democrats (PSOE) will accept this thanks to the power that the oligarchy exercises through Spain’ Minister of Economy Nadia Calviño. Unidas Podemos and United Left (and therefore the Communist Party of Spain), instead of defending the recovery of monetary sovereignty and the abandonment of the EU, will also accept it. Traitors.
Euro delendus est.