by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Labor was the first price, the original purchase money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or silver, but by labor, that all the wealth of the world was originally purchased. ~ Adam Smith (No relation, not even a distant one).
The original purchase price of everything was labor not even barter, per se, though it was bartering of a kind in which you exchanged labor for the things that you could not produce yourself or bartering for them with the good you had produced by your own labor.
Gold and silver, and later paper money, often backed by absolutely nothing even though it used to say on the British Pound notes (paper bills) “I promise to pay the bearer x-amount of Pound Sterling”, meaning silver in weight, the promise was worth very little to nothing, came much later.
Labor as purchase price remained the currency in many places, by means of barter, even while money was already in use, and even into the twentieth century.
The real change in this way of buying and selling, however, on an individual bases was beginning to come to an end with the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the move of people – aided and abetted by land clearances – into the towns and cities to work in the factories where they then got a pittance for their labor. Bartering for goods and services via one's own labor was then, no longer, possible.
This is why the organized labor of workers was and still is the only viable or appropriate response to the organized greed of capitalist business owners.
The love of money, as the Bible says, became the root of all manner of evil things and this is still to day the same as centuries ago, with the capitalists wanting more and more profit for themselves and their shareholders on the backs of the workers, regardless whether in factories or offices or in the field.
The love of money, of the fake means of exchange, which is not and never has been fair, really, is what has caused the destruction, also, of much of the natural environment, the health of the people and the Planet.
Greed, for money, lands, natural resources, and whatever else we can think of, has been the causal agent for wars and conflicts throughout the ages and even more so in the modern world, with oil being now the prime factor and the profits that it brings.
The demand for Lebensraum (living space) in the East, and especially the want to control the bread basket of the Ukraine and the oil fields of the Caspian Sea was one of the main reasons for Nazi Germany's treacherous attack on the Soviet Union in 1940, together with the racial purity ideas of having to wipe certain groups of peoples off the face of the Earth.
The warmongers and especially the armaments industry in Germany made money from all sides as Krupp guns were equally used by the Germans, the Americans and the Soviets, initially. Others too made their profit from this war (and others before and after), sacrificing the working class in the wake, and after the war they were willing to start all over again, planning constantly to attack the countries of the Warsaw Pact, including and especially the German Democratic Republic.
In the time between the two world wars Krupp (and they, probably, we not the only ones) held their workers much like slaves. The children of the workers had to attend the company's schools, workers were (partly) paid in tokens to be exchanged for goods at Krupp owned stores and they lived (predominately) in Krupp owned houses. And the little field that the women and younger children worked on which to grow food such as potatoes, cabbages and beets were also owned by the company. And, as said, Krupp was not the only firm that operated in that way. Workers were no more than serfs or villeins though not to a sovereign but to the company. Same thing, just different master.
If we ever are going to change things then money (and the love of it) will have to be consigned to the pages of history and we must start again with a system where one's labor, once again, is the unit of currency and not some metal or a piece of paper, the latter which is nothing more than an IOU.
As I have said so many times, we do not need a new government; we need a new system. A system based on the old and real values rather than values artificially created.