Conversations We Are Not Having – A Black Youth Project Economic Justice Series: All money is not the same
By: John A. Walton
African Americans have had lots of catching up to do. To have thought ground was being gained in the economic progress of African Americans over the past 40 years, only to witness how the 2008 debt collapse disproportionately impacted black communities is understandably frustrating. Government printed money used to reverse and preserve debts owed between banks and speculators should remind African Americans of the Civil War between North and South, where losses were reversed as land promised to former slaves was returned to Southern farmers under the Compromise of 1877 to save the Union.
While land and labor combined to produce prosperity and wealth in the nineteenth and twentieth century, debt and printed money emerged as masters over all the world’s resources, and became irreplaceably useful for production in the twentieth and twenty-first century. The need for laborers to service land is why the slave was invented to replace the indentured servant. The need for money to service debt is why government money printing was invented to replace gold and silver. Gold and silver, ornate for other reasons over thousands of years were logical symbols as early money to connote the measure and store of value; except, they are finite, slow to mine, and located in whimsical places. Eventually, these limitations as money were subdued by the inherent dangers of human imagination and led to an infinite supply of substitutes, which devolved money: first, to gold linked to paper; and then, for the past 43 years, paper, cooper, lead, plastic, electronics, and now maybe even bitcoins.
Ironically, the history of money in the United States coincides with African American struggles from 1870 to 1968 entering, exiting and regaining the first class citizenship franchise. In fact, the issue of money was only resolved for the world as it is today by the United States on March 21, 1968, and executed on August 15, 1971. The definition of money accepted around the world now is that it is not money unless it is legal tender, and the authority to make it so, commonly reside in the sovereignty of national governments, such as the United States of America.
Unsurprisingly, until August 15, 2008, few citizens of any ilk understood that debt, which grew multiple times faster than legal tender over the past forty years, could only be finally repaid with legal tender. So while government and mainstream media promoted bailouts and guarantees as “necessary to save the system”, the real problem was not systemic, but a simple “debt crisis” caused by more debt than legal tender, or money to repay. Consequently, the wealth gap for blacks is caused by a lack of access to legal tender printed by the Federal Reserve System, which is exclusively accessible to Wall Street banks that discriminately fund the extraordinary wealth reboot for whites. Seemingly, African American communities accept, or fail to recognize this modern day “forty acres and a mule” trickery, where to “save the Union” became “save the System”, which today means the global trade markets that once consisted of land and labor, but for the foreseeable future are defined by debt and government printed money.