It has been said the money is the root of all evil. The quest for wealth is closely tracked to the quest for power, or in broader terms social standing, with many believing that wealth is power. The theory that more is better has been perpetuated throughout the history of man, and has long been the measure of mans success in life. The quest for power has manifested itself in many forms; money, the learned helplessness of religion, brute force are the more common examples. Over time it has been demonstrated that the combination of these three things in particular has a multiplying effect and so each is used in varying degree's of combination with great effectiveness.
I find the concept of faith, born of religion, to be the bane of human existance. The conditioning faith has provided can be tracked to many counterproductive aspects we all deal with today. The one I will harp on now is money, a concept second only to religion in its detriment to societal stability.
What is money? It is the medium with which to measure the accumulation and transfer of wealth.
What is wealth? It is the measure of the money or valuable property you or I posess.
What is value? It is the amount of your wealth, typically measured by money that you are willing or able to trade for a good or service.
How it was decided that a metal ore should be the basis or medium by which wealth should be determined is a mystery to me. But it was, and for a large portion of human existance it was the benchmark of wealth, and the basis for all currency, if not in practice, definately in principle. The majority of items we tend to associate with wealth have little if any useful purpose. Gold has no structural integrity to speak of and was not used in commercial application until fairly recently. Same with diamonds. Mental capitivity to uncommon, shiny objects could well be mans greated weakness.
When mans lust for wealth exceeded the somewhat limited quantity of available gold, the gold standard was discarded in favor of government backed curreny notes and coins. A rather arbitrary move as far as I am concerned. Now the only thing that gives value to money is faith in the promise that those who are entrusted to power will recognize that money as wealth.
Now, this is a simplistic view of modern currency, it is far more complex than that these days. The financial miracle of interest and the credit that generates it, have seriously complicated the matter, throw in nearly 200 governments and nearly as many currencies all vying for a worlds goods and services we find ourselves in a mind numbing place.
Money has trapped and enslaved us. It has become necessary for the basic act of survival. Everything has a value, everything is owned. This leaves our present generations of Americans in a difficult place. Our money is becoming worth less and less every day. I purchased a one ounce gold coin last year for about $600 it is now worth $832. If still attached to the gold standard this would be impossible. Commodities such as gold, oil, foodstuffs etc. do not flucuate in value per se. It is the money needed to purchase the items that moves and provides the value of said items. So the gold I bought did not increase in value, it requires more of my wealth to obtain the same amount of gold, because the dollars that measure my wealth have less value.
The amount of wealth contained in the dollar versus other forms of government backed currency is falling a a phenominal rate. Once the preffered currency in the world, nations are divesting themselves of dollars causing an exponential tailspin, the faster the dollar declines in value, the faster other countries dump dollars. When all of those dollars are injected back into the domestic economy it creates a glut of currency. There is less demand for the dollar when more are available in a given market and with out the dollar being attached to anything tangible there is nothing to stop the government from borrowing more dollars from the federal reserve. (notice the .gov designation in the link, the federal reserve is a private, for profit entity)
You read that right, our government borrows all of the dollars available in our economy. The federal reserve prints the currency and our government borrows it and pays interest to the federal reserve to do so. (recently they stopped publishing the M3 or money supply so the average citizen can no longer see how much money the government is borrowing from the federal reserve, this in my opinion is why the current powers that be don't care about deficit spending, they just print more money, and hide that fact by doing things like sending pallets of dollars to Iraq to be used as footballs) Our tax dollars pay the federal reserve for the privilge of using thier notes. Pull out a dollar bill, it doesn't say United States Note, it says Federal Reserve Note. That's right a conglomoration of private for profit banks control our currency. JFK tried to abolish the Federal Reserve, he issued executive order 11110, and in my opinion sealed his fate in doing so.
This long path leads me to my point. For the dollar to have value all that is necessary is that the people holding them believe they have value. The more value we believe dollars have the less we are willing to trade for goods and services. The conditioned faith that the general populace has regarding the intentions of our government, which largely draw on the conditioning seen in religion, has ensured that the wealth of a nation is syphoned of to a tiny faction. While I find this futile in the grand scheme, it has damaged any chance of the average person being anything but average. They manipulate the faith of the people by adjusting interest rates, fuzzy math to hide things like inflation, trade deficits, unemployment figures etc. In short we are beginning to awaken, more and more people a becoming hip to the fact that money is an illusion, and the declining confidence of faith is showing. Unfortunately this illusion is so closely tied to our survival, when it is laid bare we are all in serious trouble.