by R. Buckminster Fuller
Excerpts of the book Critical Path
by R. Buckminster Fuller
I'M GOING TO REVIEW my prehistory's speculative assumptions regarding the origins of human power structures.
In a herd of wild horses there's a king stallion. Once in a while a young stallion is born bigger than the others. Immediately upon his attaining full growth, the king stallion gives him battle. Whichever one wins inseminates the herd. Darwin saw this as the way in which nature contrives to keep the strongest strains going. This battling for herd kingship is operative amongst almost all species of animal herds as well as in the "pecking order" of flocking bird types.
I'm sure that amongst the earliest of human beings, every once in a while a man was born much bigger than the others. He didn't ask to be—but there he was. And because he was bigger, people would say—each in their own esoteric language—"Mister, will you please reach one of those bananas for me, because I can't reach them." The big one obliges. Later the little people would say, "Mister, people over there have lost all of their bananas and they are dying of starvation, and they say they are going to come over here and kill us to get our bananas. You're big—you get out in front and protect us." And he would say, "OK," and successfully protect them.
The big one found his bigness continually being exploited. He would say to the littles, "Between these battles protecting you, I would like to get ready for the next battle. We could make up some weapons and things." The people said, "All right. We'll make you king. Now you tell us what to do." So the big man becomes king quite logically. He could have become so in either a bullying or good-natured way, but the fact is that he was king simply because he was not only the biggest and the most physically powerful but also the most skillful and clever big one.
Every once in a while along would come another big man. "Mr. King, you've got things too easy around here. I'm going to take it away from you." A big battle ensues between the two, and after the king has his challenger pinned down on his back, he says, "Mister, you were trying to kill me to take away my kingdom. But I'm not going to kill you because you'd make a good fighter, and I need fighters around here to cope with the enemies who keep coming. So I'm going to let you up now if you promise to fight for me. But don't you ever forget—I can kill you. OK?" The man assents, so the king lets him up.
But instinctively the king says secretly to himself, "I mustn't ever allow two of those big guys to come at me together. I can lick any one of them, but only one by one." The most important initial instinct of the most powerful individual or of his organized power structure is, "Divide to conquer, and to keep conquered, keep divided."
So our special-case king has now successfully defended his position against two or more big guys who are all good fighters. He makes one the "Duke of Hill A," the second "Duke of Hill B," and the third "Duke of Hill C," and tells each one to "mind your own business" because "only the king minds everybody's business," and he has his spies watch them so that they can't gang up on him. Thus, our considered king is doing very well in his tribe-defending battles.
However, there are a lot of little nonfighting people who are not obeying the king regarding preparations for the next fighting period. The king says to his henchmen, "Seize that mischievous little character over there who is really being a nuisance around here." To the prisoner the king says, "I'm going to have to cut your head off." The man says, "Mr. King, you'd make a big mistake to cut my head off." The king asks, "Why?" "Well, I'll tell you, Mr. King, I understand the language of your enemy over the hill, and you don't. And I heard him say what he is going to do to you and when he's going to do it." "Young man, you've got a good idea at last. You let me know every day what my enemy over the hill says he is going to do and so forth, and your head is going to stay on. In addition, you're going to do something else you've never done before. You're going to eat regularly right up here in the castle near me. And I'm going to have you wear a royal purple jacket (so that I can keep track of you)." The king now has that little man under control and useful. Then another little man makes trouble for the king. As he is about to be beheaded, he shows the king that he understands metallurgy and can make better swords than anybody else. The king says, "You better make a good sword in a hurry." The man makes a beautiful, superstrong, and sharp sword—there's no question about that. So the king says, "OK, your head stays on. You, too, are to live here at the castle."
Next, under the threat of beheadment, another man making trouble for the king says, "The reason I am able to steal from you is because I understand arithmetic, which you don't. If I do the arithmetic around here, people won't be able to steal from you." The king makes him court mathematician.
As each of these men are given those special tasks to do for life, the king says to all of them, "Each of you mind only your own business. You, Mr. Languageman, mind only your own business; and you, Mr. Swordmaker, mind only your own business; and you, Mr. Arithmetic, mind only your own business. Each one minds only his own business. I'm the only one that minds everyone's business. Is that perfectly clear?" "Yes sir." "Yes sir." "Yes sir."
The king now has his kingdom operating very well. He has great fighters, superior metallurgy, better arithmetic and logistics, better spying and intelligence. His kingdom is growing ever bigger. Years go by, and these experts are getting old. The king says, "I want to leave this kingdom to my grandson. Mr. Languageman, I want you to pick out and teach some younger person about language. You, Mr. Swordmaker, I want you to pick out and teach somebody about metallurgy. You, Mr. Arithmetic, I want you to pick out and teach someone about arithmetic." And his total strategy became the pattern for the ultimate founding of Oxford University.
The way the power structure keeps the wit and cunning of the intelligentsia—who are not musclemen, who cannot do the physical fighting—from making trouble for the power structure (if the intelligentsia are too broadly informed, unwatched, and with time of their own in which to think) is to make each one a specialist with tools and an office or lab. That is exactly why bright people today have become streamlined into specialists.
Nobody is born a specialist. Every child is born with comprehensive interests, asking the most comprehensively logical and relevant questions. Pointing to the logs burning in the fireplace, one child asked me, "What is fire?" I answered, "Fire is the Sun unwinding from the tree's log. The Earth revolves and the trees revolve as the radiation from the Sun's flame reaches the revolving planet Earth. By photosynthesis the green buds and leaves of the tree convert that Sun radiation into hydrocarbon molecules, which form into the bio-cells of the green, outer, cambium layer of the tree. The tree is a tetrahedron that makes a cone as it revolves. The tree's three tetrahedral roots spread out into the ground to anchor the tree and get water. Each year the new, outer-layer, green-tree cone revolves 365 turns, and every year the tree grows its new tender-green, bio-cell cone layer just under the bark and over the accumulating cones of previous years. Each ring of the many rings of the saw-cut log is one year's Sun-energy impoundment. So the fire is the many-years-of-Sun-flame-winding now unwinding from the tree. When the log fire pop-sparks, it is letting go a very sunny day long ago, and doing so in a hurry." Conventionally educated grown-ups rarely know how to answer such questions. They're all too specialized.
If nature wanted humans to be specialists, she would, for instance, have given them a microscope on one eye, which is what nature has done with all other living organisms—other than humans. Each has special, organically integral equipment with which to cope successfully with special conditions in special environments. The low-slung hound to follow the Earth-top scent of another creature through the thickets and woods . . . the little vine that can grow only along certain stretches of the Amazon River . . . the bird with beautiful wings with which to fly, which bird however, when landed and in need of walking, is greatly hampered by its integral but now useless wings.
Humans are not unique in possessing brains that always and only are coordinating and storing for later retrieval the integrated information coming in from each and all the creature's senses—visual, aural, tactile, and olfactory. Humans are unique in respect to all other creatures in that they also have minds that can discover constantly varying interrelationships existing only between a number of special case experiences as individually apprehended by their brains, which covarying interrelationship rates can only be expressed mathematically. For example, human minds discovered the law of relative interattractiveness of celestial bodies, whose initial intensity is the product of the masses of any two such celestial bodies, while the force of whose interattractiveness varies inversely as the second power of the arithmetical interdistancing increases.
The human mind of Bernoulli discovered the mathematical expression of the laws of intercovarying pressure differentials in gases under varying conditions of shape and velocity of gas flow around and by interfering bodies. The Wright brothers' wing foils provided human flight, but not the information controlling the mathematics of varying wing foil conformations. Bernoulli's work made possible the mathematical improvement in speed and energy efficiency of various wing designs. Human mind's access to the mathematics of generalized scientific laws governing physical phenomena in general made possible humanity's production of its own detached-from-self wings to outfly all birds in speed and altitude, while being able to loan one another those wings and modify them to produce even better wings.
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I'm sure our human forebears went through quite a period of giants and giant-affairs evolution. These probably led to all sorts of truth-founded legends from which fairy stories were developed, many of which are probably quite close to the facts of unwritten history. Then humans developed to the point at which a small man made a weapon, a stone-slinger, such as in the story of David and Goliath, with which the little man slays the big man by virtue of a muscle-impelled missile. At the U.S. Naval Academy "ballistics" is defined as: the art and science of controlling the trajectory of an explosively buried missile. After the sling and spear we got the bow and arrow with which a small man could kill a big man at much greater distance than with spear or sling. So skill and human-muscle-impelled weapons ended the era of giants.
Discovery of energetic principles, and human inventiveness in using those principles, such as the invention of catapults and mechanically contracted, steel-spring-coil arrow impelment, advanced the art of weapons. The human power structures that could best organize and marshal the complex of interessential "best" weapons and support an army of best-trained people with each of the special types of weapons were the ones who now won the battles and ran the big human "show." The discovery of gunpowder by the Chinese and the invention of guns introduced the era of ballistics, or as the Navy terms it, "explosively hurled missiles."
Going back to the stone-sling, bow-and-arrow, spear, club, and knife era of weapons, we find that territorial battles between American Indian nations were fought over the local hunting and fishing rights, but the land itself always belonged to the Great Spirit. To the Indians it was obvious that humans could not own the land. There was never any idea that the people could own land—owning was an eternal, omniscient omnipotence unique to the greatness, universality, and integrity of the forever-to-humans-mysterious Great Spirit. Until a special human-produced change in the evolution of power structures occurred, the ownership of anything being unique to the Great Spirit—in whatever way that might be designated by local humans—was held by all people around our planet.
In 1851 Seattle, chief of the Suquamish and other Indian tribes around Washington's Puget Sound, delivered what is considered to be one of the most beautiful and profound environmental statements ever made. The city of Seattle is named for the chief, whose speech was in response to a proposed treaty under which the Indians were persuaded to sell two million acres of land for $150,000.
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In my prehistory accounting I talk about the time when each ice age is engaging an enormous amount of the oceans' water, lowering the waterfront and bringing together the islands of Borneo, the Philippines, and others, all to become part of the Malay Peninsula. I also spoke of the ice cap pushing the furry animals southward until they were suddenly pushed into the land of the previous islands now formed into the new peninsula—into land they could never before reach. This is how animals like tigers got out to now-reislanded places like Bali. Human beings suddenly confronted with these wild animals learned how to cope, hunting some and taming others. In following the evolution of human power structures we are now particularly interested in the humans who found themselves confronted with a tidal wave of wild animals. Those who were overwhelmed became aggressive hunters, and those who were not overwhelmed became peaceful domesticators of the animals. Some of the most aggressive men mounted horses, moved faster than all others, and went out to seek the beasts.
We have learned in the last decade from our behavioral science studies that aggression is a secondary behavior of humans—that when they get what they need, when they need it, Old are not overwhelmed, they are spontaneously benevolent; it is only when they become desperate that they become aggressive because what they have relied on is no longer working. There are two kinds of social behavior manifest today around the world—the benign and the aggressive. It is probable that this dichotomy occurred in the human-versus-animal confrontation in the ice age time.
When an ice age starts to recede, the horsemen start north—hunting with clubs and spears. At the same time, moving much more slowly, we have the beginnings of great tribes of humans following their flocks of goats and sheep as the latter lead them to the best pastures—sometimes high on mountainsides, sometimes on great plains. With the big man as king—the head shepherd—we have humanity migrating off into a wilderness that seemed to have no limits. The land belonged to the Great Spirit. The people lived on the flesh of their animals and the encountered fruits, berries, nuts, and herbs. They kept themselves warm with clothing made of the skins of the animals and also with environment-controlling tents made of local saplings and the animal skins.
We have a king shepherd, from the day of the giants, tending his people and his flock, when along comes a little man on a horse, with a club hanging by his side. He rides up to the king shepherd and, towering above him, says, "Well, Mr. Shepherd, those are very beautiful sheep you have there. You know, it's very dangerous to have such beautiful sheep out here in the wilderness. The wilderness is very dangerous." The shepherd responds, "We've been out in the wilderness for generations and we've had no trouble at all."
Night after night thereafter sheep begin to disappear. Each day along comes the man on the horse. He says, "Isn't that too bad. I told you it was very dangerous out here. Sheep disappear out in the wilderness, you know." Finally, there is so much trouble that the shepherd agrees to accept and pay in sheep for the horseman's "protection" and to operate exclusively within the horseman's self-claimed land.
No one dared question the horseman's claim that he owned the land on which the horseman said the shepherd was trespassing. The horseman had his club with which to prove that he was the power structure of that locale; he stood high above the shepherd and could ride in at speed to strike the shepherd's head with his club. This was how, multimillennia ago, twentieth-century racketeers' "protection" and territorial "ownership" began. For the first time little people learned how to become the power structure and how thereby to live on the productivity of others.
Then there came great battles between other individuals on horses to determine who could realistically say, "I own this land." Ownership changed frequently. The ownership-claiming strategy soon evolved into horse-mounted warfare as each gang sought to overwhelm the other. Then the horse-mounted gangs, led by a most wily leader, used easily captured human prisoners to build them stone citadels at strategic points. Surrounded by prisoner-built moats rigged with drawbridges and drawgates, they would come pouring out to overwhelm caravans and others crossing their domains. "Deeds" to land evolved from deeds of arms. Then came enormous battles of gangs of gangs, and the beginning of the great land barons. Finally we get to power-structure mergers and acquisitions, topped by the most wily and powerful of all—the great emperor.
This is how humans came to own land. The sovereign paid off his promises to powerful supporters by signing deeds to land earned by the physical deeds of fighting in shrewd support of the right leader. Thereafter emperors psychologically fortified the cosmic aspect of their awesome power by having priests of the prevailing religions sanctify their land-claiming as accounted simply either by discovery or by arms.
In another set of events that opportuned the power structure the land barons discovered the most geographically logical trading points for caravaning: a place where one caravan trail would cross another caravan trail; where, for instance, the caravaners came to an oasis or maybe to a seaport harbor and transfer some of their goods from the camel caravans to the boats. The caravaners would say, "Let's exchange goods right here. Fine. You need something; I have it."
One day they're exchanging goods when along comes a troop of armed brigands on horseback. The head horseman says, "It's pretty dangerous exchanging valuable things out here in the wilderness." The caravaners' leader says, "No, we never have any trouble out here. We have been doing this for many generations." Then their goods begin to be stolen nightly, and finally the merchants agree to accept and pay for "protection." That was the beginning of the walled city. The horse-mounted gangsters brought prisoners along to build the city's walls and saw to it that all trading was carried on inside the walls. The lead baron then gave each of his supporters control of different parts of that city so that each could collect his share of the "taxes."
This is how we came to what is called, archeologically, the city-state, which was to become a very powerful affair. There were two kinds: the agrarian-productivity-exploiting type and the trade-route-confluence-exploiting type. These produced all the great walled cities such as Jericho and Babylon.
The agrarian-supported city-state works in the following manner: For example, we have Mycenae in Greece, a beautiful and fertile valley. It is ringed around with mountains. You can see the mountain passes from the high hill in the center of the valley. At the foot of the high central hill there is a very good well. So they build a wall around the citadel on the top of that mid-valley hill and walls leading down to and around the well so that they can get their water. When they see the enemy coming through the passes, the Mycenaeans bring all the food inside their walls and into their already-built masonry grain bins. What they can't bring inside the walls, they burn—which act was called "scorching the fields." The enemy enters the fertile valley, but there's nothing left for them to eat. The enemy army has to "live on its belly"—which means on the foods found along their route of travel—and is hungry on arrival in the valley. The people inside have all the food. The people outside try to break into the walled city, but they are overwhelmed by its height and its successfully defended walls. Finally the people outside—only able to go for about thirty days without food—get weaker and weaker, then the people inside come out and decimate them.
This was the city-state. It was a successful invention for a very long period in history. At the trade-route convergences city-states operated in much the same way but on a much larger scale with the siege-resisting supplies brought in by caravans or ships. The city-states were approximately invincible until the siege of Troy. Troy was the city-state controlling the integrated water-and-caravaning traffic between Asia and Europe near the Bosporus. It had marvelous walls. Everything seemed to be favorable for its people.
Meanwhile in history, we have millennia of people venturing forth on the world's waters—developing the first rafts, which had to go where the ocean currents took them; then the dugouts, with which they paddled or catamaraned and sailed in preferred directions; and finally the ribbed-and-planked ship, suggested to them by the stout spine and rib cage of the whales, seals and humans—stoutly keeled and ribbed, deep-bellied ships. With their large ships made possible by this type of construction, sailors came to cross the great seas carrying enormous cargoes—vastly greater cargoes than could be carried on the backs of humans or animals. Ships could take the short across-the-bay route instead of the around-the-bay mountain route.
The Phoenicians, Cretans, and the Mycenaeans, together, in fleets of these big-ribbed and heavily planked ships, went to Troy and besieged it. Up to this time the besiegers of Troy had come overland, and they soon ran out of food. But the Troy-besieging Greeks and Cretans came to Troy in ships, which they could send back for more supplies. This terminally-turned-around voyaging back to the supply sources and return to the line of battle was called their "line of supply." The new line-of-supply masters—the Greeks—starved out the Trojans. The Trojans thought they had enough food but had not reckoned on the people besieging them having these large ships. The Trojan horse was the large wooden ship—that did the task of horses—out of whose belly poured armed troops.
At this time the power structure of world affairs shifts from control by the city-state to the masters of the lines of supply. At this point in the history of swiftly evolving, multibanked, oar- and sail-driven fighting ships, the world power-structure control shifts westward to Italy. While historians place prime emphasis on the Roman legions as establishing the power of the Roman Empire, it was in fact the development of ships and the overseas line of supply upon which its power was built—by transporting those legions and keeping them supplied. Go to Italy, and you will see all the incredibly lovely valleys and great castellos commanding each of those valleys such as you saw in the typical city-states, and you can see that none of those walls has ever been breached. Also in Italy—in the northeastern corner—is Venice, the headquarters of the water-people. The Phoenicians—phonetically the Venetians—had their south Mediterranean headquarters in Carthage in northern Africa. In their western Mediterranean and Atlantic venturings the Phoenicians became the Veekings. The Phoenicians—Venetians—in their ships voyaged around the whole coast of Italy and sent in their people to each castello, one by one. The Venetians had an unlimited line of supply, and the people inside each castello did not. The people inside were starved out. Thus, all of the regional masters of the people in Italy hated the Venetians-Phoenicians-Veekings who were able to do this.
There being as yet no Suez Canal, the new world power structure centered in the ship mastery of the line of supply finally forcing the Roman Empire to shift its headquarters to Constantinople some ten centuries after the fall of Troy. The Roman emperor-pope's bodyguards were the Veekings-Vikings, the water-peoples' most powerful frontier fighters. The line of supply from Asia to Constantinople was partially caravan-borne and partially water-borne via Sinkiang-Khyber Pass-Afghanistan or via the Sea of Azov, the Caspian and the Black seas. From Constantinople, the western Europe-bound traffic was rerouted from overland to waterway routes. Because the Asia-to-Constantinople half of the trading was more land-borne-via-caravans, whose routes were dominated by the city-state-mastering Turks, Constantinople in due course was taken over by the Turks who established the Byzantine Empire in the Aegean Sea and Asia Minor.
Before leaving the subject of the great power-structure struggle for control of the most important, greatest cargo-tonnage-transporting, most profitable, Asia-to-Europe trade routes, we must note that the strength of the Egyptian Empire was predicated upon its pre-Suez function as a trade route link between Asia and Europe via the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, overland caravan to the Nile, and then water-borne to Alexandria, or via Somaliland, overland to the headwaters of the Nile, and thence to Alexandria. The latter route was not economically competitive but was the route of travel of the ship-designing and -building arts that in due course brought the stoutly keeled, heavily ribbed, big-bellied ships into the Mediterranean.
We have seen the Greek Alexander the Great crossing Persia and reaching the Indian Ocean, thus connecting with the Phoenician trading to Asia. A thousand years later the Crusaders—ostensibly fighting for holy reasons—were the Indian Ocean-Phoenician-Venetian-Veeking water-borne power structure fighting the older overland-Khyber Pass power structure over mastery of the trade route between Asia and Europe.
In our "Humans in Universe" chapter we spoke about the 600-200 B.C. Greeks' discovery that our Earth is a sphere and a planet of the solar system. This was the typical scientific product of a water-navigation people. We witnessed also the originally horse-mounted Roman Empire's destruction of such knowledge, as their earlier grand strategy sought to reestablish the Asia-to-Europe trade pattern via Constantinople and the inland, overland, Khyber Pass route. This explains why the power structure saw fit to Dark-Age-out the mariners' spherical concept. It explains Ptolemy's 200 A.D. conic map's cutting off the around-Africa route mapped by Eratosthenes 400 years earlier.
With the world three-quarters water the bigger ship-producing capability was the beginning of a complete change in the control of human affairs. Bigger and better engineering was developed. The rival power structures were focused on the water supply lines. The Romans' overland road to England became obsolete. The Phoenician ships sailing out through Gibraltar into the Atlantic outperformed them. This shifted the battles among the world trade-route power structures from on-the-land popular visibility to popularly unwitnessed seascape. Long years of great battles of the corsairs, the pirates of the Barbary Coast, and so forth were unwitnessed and unknown to the land people. Who the power structures might be became popularly invisible.
Finally, bigger ships got out of the Mediterranean and into the Atlantic, around Africa to the Orient, and then around the World. Thus, "those in the know" rediscovered that the world is a sphere and not an infinitely extended lateral plane. Great battles ensued—waged under the flags of England, France, and Spain—to determine who would become supreme master of the world's high-seas line of supply. These great nations were simply the operating fronts of behind-the-scenes, vastly ambitious individuals who had become so effectively powerful because of their ability to remain invisible while operating behind the national scenery. Always their victories were in the name of some powerful sovereign-ruled country. The real power structures were always the invisible ones behind the visible sovereign powers.
Because the building of superior fleets of ships involved a complex of materials to produce not only the wooden hulls but the metal fastenings and the iron anchors and chains and the fiber ropes and cloth sails, and because woods from many parts of the world excelled in various functions of hull, masts, spars, oars, etc., large money credits for foreign purchase of these and other critical supplies brought control of the sea enterprising into the hands of international bankers.
The building of invisible world-power-structure controls operates in the following manner. Suppose you know how and have the ambition, vision, and daring to build one of these great ships. You have the mathematics. You have the positioning of numbers that enables you—or your servants—to calculate the engineering data governing the design of hulls, spars, rigging, etc., and all the other necessary calculations for the building of a ship capable of sailing all the way to the Orient and returning with the incredible treasures that you have learned from travelers are to be found there. One trip to the Orient—and a safe return to Europe—could make you a fortune. "There are fabulous stores of treasures in the Orient to be cashed in—if my ship comes in!"
The building of a ship required that you be so physically powerful a fighting man—commanding so many other fighting men as to have a large regiment of people under your control—that you must have the acknowledged power to command all the people in your nation who are carpenters to work on your ship; all your nation's metalworkers to work on the fastenings, chain plates, chains, and anchors of your ship; all those who can make rope and all the people who grow fibers for your rope; all the people who grow, spin, and weave together the fabrics for your sails. Thus, all the skilled people of the nation had to be employed in the building and outfitting of your ship. In addition you had to command all the farmers who produced the food to feed not only themselves but also to feed all those skilled people while they built the ship—and to feed all your army and all your court. So there was no way you could possibly produce one of these great ships unless you were very, very powerful.
Even then, in building ships, there were many essential materials that you didn't have in your own nation and so had to purchase from others. You also needed working cash—money to cope with any and all unforeseen events that could not be coped with by use of muscle or the sword—money to trade with. It was at this stage of your enterprise that the banker entered into the equation of power.
Up until 1500 B.C. all money was cattle, lambs, goats, or pigs—live money that was real life-support wealth, wealth you could actually eat. Steers were by far the biggest food animal, and so they were the highest denomination of money. The Phoenicians carried their cattle with them for trading, but these big creatures proved to be very cumbersome on long voyages. This was the time when Crete was the headquarters of the big-boat people and their new supreme weapon—the lines-of-supply-control ship. Crete was called the Minoan civilization, the bull civilization, worshippers of the male fertility god.
The pair of joined bull's horns symbolized that the particular ship carried real-wealth traders—that there were cattle on board to be exchanged for local-wealth items. The Norsemen with their paired-horn headdress were the Phoenician, Veenetian, Veeking (spelled Viking but pronounced "Veeking" by the Vikings). Veenetians, Phoenicians. (Punitians, Puntits, Pundits. Punic Wars. Punt = boat = the boat people. Pun in some African Colored languages means "red," as in Red Sea.). The Veekings were simply the northernmost European traders. The Veekings, Veenitians, Feenicians, Friesians—i.e., Phoenicians, Portuguese—were cross-breeding water-world people.
Graduating from carrying cattle along for trading in 1500 B.C. the Phoenicians invented metal money, which they first formed into iron half-rings that looked like a pair of bull's horns. (Many today mistake them for bracelets.) Soon the traders found that those in previously unvisited foreign countries had no memory of the cattle-on-board trading days and didn't recognize the miniature iron bull horn. If metal was being used for trading, then there were other kinds of metal they preferred trading with people—silver, copper, and gold were easy to judge by hefting and were more aesthetically pleasing than the forged iron bull horn symbols.
This soon brought metal coinage into the game of world trading, with the first coin bearing the image of the sovereign of the homeland of the Phoenicians.
This switch to coinage occurred coincidentally at just about the same time as the great changeover from city-state dominance to line-of-supply dominance of the power-structure group controlling most of world affairs. This was the time when the Phoenicians began trading with people of so many different languages that, in need of a means of recording the different word sounds made by people around the world, the Phoenicians invented phonetic spelling—Phoenician spjelling—which pronounced each successive sound separately and invented letter symbols for each sound. With phonetic spelling human written communication changed very much—from the visual-metaphor-concept writing of the Orient, accomplished with complex idea-graphics (ideographs), several of which frequently experienced, generalized cartoons told the whole story visually. It was a big change from ideographs to the Phoenicians' phonetic spelling, wherein each letter is a single sound—having no meaning in itself—and whereby it took several sounds to make a whole word and many such words to make any sense—i.e., a sentence. This is the historical event that Ezra Pound says coincides with the story of the Tower of Babel. Pound says that humanity was split into a babble of individually meaningless sounds while losing the conceptual symbols of whole ideas—powerful generalizations. You had to become an expert to understand the phonetic letter code. The spelling of words excluded a great many people from communicating, people who had been doing so successfully with ideographs.
This gradual alteration of world trading devices from cattle to gold brought about the world-around development of pirates who, building small but swift craft, could on a dark night board one of the great merchant ships just before it reached home, richly laden after a two-year trip to the Orient, and take over the ship and, above all, its gold. With the gold captured, the pirates often burned the vanquished ship.
As already mentioned in our Introduction, it was in 1805, 200 years after the founding of the East India Company, that the British won the Battle of Trafalgar, giving them dominance of all the world's lines of supply. They now controlled the seas of the world. It was said by world people that the British Empire became the first empire in history upon which "the sun never set." In order to get their gold off the sea and out of reach of the pirates, the British made deals with the sovereigns of all the countries around the world with whom they traded, by which it was agreed from then on to keep annual accounts of their intertrading and at the end of the year to move the gold from the debtor's bank in London to the creditor's bank in London to balance the accounts. In this way they kept the gold off the ocean and immune to sea pirate raiding. This brought about what is now called the "balance of trade" accounting.
The international trading became the most profitable of all enterprises, and great land-''owners" with clear-cut king's "deeds" to their land went often to international gold moneylenders. The great land barons underwrote the building of enterprisers' ships with their cattle or other real wealth, the regenerative products of their lands, turned over to the lender as collateral.
If the ship did come back, both the enterpriser and the bankers realized a great gain. The successful ship venturer paid the banker back, and the banker who had been holding the cattle as collateral returned them to their original proprietor. But during the voyage (usually two years to the Orient and back to Europe) the pledged cattle had calves, "kind" (German for "child"), and this is where the concept of interest originated, which was payable "in kind"—the cattle that were born while the collateral was held by the banker were to belong to the banker.
When the Phoenicians shifted their trading strategy from carrying cattle to carrying metal money, the metal money didn't have little money—"kind"—but the idea of earned interest persisted. This meant that the interest was deducted from the original money value, and this of course depreciated the capital equity of the borrower. Thus, metallic equity banking became a different kind of game from the original concept.
In twentieth-century banking the depositors assume that their money is safely guarded in the vaulted bank, especially so in a savings bank, whereas their money is loaned out, within seconds after its depositing, at interest payable to the banker which is greater than the interest paid to the savings account depositor and, since the metal or paper money does not produce children—"kind"—the banker's so-called earned share must, in reality, be deducted from the depositor's true-wealth deposit.