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EYE EYE

Stephanie, Great Video. Thank you!

 

The Next Octave: a Sustainable Economy Encoded in Music5.0 out of 5 stars7

by Stephanie McPeak Petersen et al.

https://www.amazon.com/Next-Octave-Sustainable-Economy-Encoded/dp/B09BC8MNRP/?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_w=DFbSt&content-id=amzn1.sym.ed85217c-14c9-4aa0-b248-e47393e2ce12&pf_rd_p=ed85217c-14c9-4aa0-b248-e47393e2ce12&pf_rd_r=139-7372157-4588558&pd_rd_wg=vP1ga&pd_rd_r=7dc7541a-d3f4-4c9b-b388-d309ddf04510&ref_=aufs_ap_sc_dsk&asin=B09BC8MNRP&revisionId=&format=4&depth=1

"Music and money share an immutable connection. Both systems, encoded with mathematical ratios of creative tension, have the power to produce both harmony and dissonance. Over the centuries, governing philosophies tempering both music and money have created two systems of fiat notes, the values of which have been noticeably distorted. Musical regulations temper our monetary system, while a correlating theory of systemic debt tempers musical pitch. At the center of this controversy sit two powerful philosophers: Plato and Bacon. Plato lured us in with encoded musical ratios built into the political structures of his city-states; can Bacon lead us out with a ciphered trail of breadcrumbs revealing the musical conspiracy of the tritone? If we read between Bacon's lines, we find that tuning music and money with just intervals seems to hold the key to dismantling these debt-based systems and creating a more harmonious and economically sustainable world."
 
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On 6/26/2023 at 11:31 PM, Stephanie McPeak Petersen said:

Has anyone has ever pointed out the connection between several Shakespeare "eye" references and the one made in New Atlantis? I discuss it briefly in this video: 

 

You've tapped two areas of interest I have--the history of economic thought and Bacon's interest in harmonics. I'm not sure I follow what is meant by saying that the money system can be in harmony or in dissonance. What we have for a system of money is a ledger system which uses double entry bookkeeping. It is always balanced. Asset has its counterpart in obligation, as it has always in the history of how humans keep track of "balances". Money must be borrowed into existence and gets represented in trade by a token. It is canceled by paying off a debt. We trade in each other's obligations and in the obligation the government has to us to accept the token for the settlement of obligations to it. The obligations we have are tied to the taxation system and our citizenship. What gives money its value is the fact that obligations are enforced. If you do not meet your obligation assets will be taken from you to settle them. The all seeing eye in that case is the entity that keeps an eye out on you meeting your obligation. It works best when it sees all and everyone equally. You can place God in that role if you wish and have him be "not happy" with you not meeting your obligations as they are spelled out by him. You might want to express that as "In God we Trust". In other words, meet your obligation or else deal with the almighty later. It's like putting your hand on the Bible to mean you will keep your economic promises.

It's best to view money as an accounting system. It does not matter what gets used as a token. If we go back to the ancient Sumerian culture clay tablet was money. The ledger was a physical ledger. The ruler gave you an asset which was a surveyed piece of land with the means to work it and you accepted an obligation that was settled on the threshing floor when the harvest came in.  The agreement was in clay. A ruler in need of defense could have paid mercenaries with clay tablet, ensuring they would be on the receiving end of the crop harvest later. At the time of settlement the clay tablet would have been broken and discarded. It is why what is most often found in tablet form in excavations are economic records. 

There is something that existed in these early times which was done to ensure that obligation did not seize up the economy, and that was to forgive debt. If you took on land and obligation and there was a flood or a catastrophe that meant you could not deliver, the ruler had no interest in removing you from being a contributor. He could, and he did, cancel debts regularly. That can be thought of as keeping the system running along at its highest efficiency since every "borrower" would try again as opposed to be saddled by accruing debt to the point he would no longer see a point in contributing his efforts (he would have possibly owed everything he produced).  In the history of money there was a thing called a Jubilee year which was a prescribed time of cancelation of debt. A good ruler respected the Jubilee, and he was often called Chrest (the good one) if he did.

All the later economic problems that came from having a physical token which was rare and hoardable are by now well known. The world, if it has given the illusion of going all to Hell, has done so to the degree that men have chased gold and silver as an end in itself. The scarcity of it spelled the demise of Empires and populations standing in the way of acquiring it.

What is egregious today is that debts exist which have no intention of ever being paid. Those are made effectively smaller by the "growing" of the value of the economy. This is having the effect of removing people as honest contributors. We could talk about this for a very long time. When obligation ceases to have meaning,  money ceases to have value, because it relies on the fundamental nature of shared obligation. Same thing with taxation. When the rich pay no taxes obligation loses its meaning and money is without a sound backing.

Bacon was a very pious man in many ways. He did not seem to have any interest in hoarding money. In fact, one can argue he turned all he had into the efforts he wanted to see in the world. That's the smart use of money. I'd be curious to know what he thought of Gold. He obviously understood it's old symbolic nature. One can ask what it means to be enlightened in regards to one's views of commodity wealth. 

 

 

 

Edited by RoyalCraftiness
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Thank you for such a detailed response.  I see the crux of the problem in this way: a debt made possible through fiat (tokens) would not be possible using capital (savings) in the form of hard money (bullion). I believe this is the point of Bacon's comment in New Atlantis that of gold/silver and commodities, to us all are one. This is a precursor to Bastiat's statement that money is supply, and I believe Bacon was the first to communicate this idea.

I also believe Bacon saw the difference between hoarding and saving. The Strangers House had been saving for 37 years. I believe that Bacon would have understood that there's a balance between treating money as "muck" and spreading it around, and holding it back to prevent unnecessary consumption, especially as the act of saving increases the value of circulating money.

Edited by Stephanie McPeak Petersen
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3 hours ago, Stephanie McPeak Petersen said:

Thank you for such a detailed response.  I see the crux of the problem in this way: a debt made possible through fiat (tokens) would not be possible using capital (savings) in the form of hard money (bullion). I believe this is the point of Bacon's comment in New Atlantis that of gold/silver and commodities, to us all are one. This is a precursor to Bastiat's statement that money is supply, and I believe Bacon was the first to communicate this idea.

I also believe Bacon saw the difference between hoarding and saving. The Strangers House had been saving for 37 years. I believe that Bacon would have understood that there's a balance between treating money as "muck" and spreading it around, and holding it back to prevent unnecessary consumption, especially as the act of saving increases the value of circulating money.

But it was when the ledger was clay. The amount of obligation a ruler could have initiated wasn't limited to just the physical quantity of land. That's even the case today. Your life can be demanded of you in defense of the Kingdom, so to speak. The coercive forces in the economy might conspire to make you have to serve others. That's a less obvious sort of obligation we accept on the grounds that allows us to participate in market exchanges. The ruler/government wants to get things done. You on the other hand might just want a bauble.

I agree that man can and has made the error to think of token as money/power on the basis that it once functioned that way as tributary (the ultimate form of power brokering). All metals had their own appreciation going back to tin and copper. Not every King had access to them. 

I'm not sure exactly what Bacon would have to say in his defense of us saying he thought one way or another. He may give us a vision of a sort of currency that behaves in one way or another, but do we know what commentary he is making while using that in a work of fiction? An economy which is based in the supply is doomed to have to find the supply or else debase its token, and that is absolutely a scenario that we know mattered to all European powers in Tudor times. It took Drake's piracy of the Spanish in the new world to fill Elizabeth's coffers with silver and raise England out an impoverished condition. To want to champion this sort of thing is to accept that the world must be dominated by force. I don't think that fits Bacon's enlightened views, but I could be wrong. He may have been more of a Machiavellian than I assume. 

The act of saving hurts economic activity unless you are willing to accept a ledger form of wealth and pass on the commodity token to another to use it. In our economy saving is frowned upon because it is said to contribute to lower economic productivity of the economy. Having you "save" by purchasing a third party note which can be traded (speculated with), perhaps a share or a bond, is in fact putting the token in someone's hands. Since money is borrowed into existence and the amount of that borrowing is a consequence of a fractional reserve, new money will appear to satisfy the demand for it when people are willing to take on the debt obligation. There is never a lack of money for them since it is mainly a bookkeeping entry with a small reserve requirement.  When they pay off the debt the obligation is gone and so is the money. Paying off debt removes money from the economy. It makes other more likely to have to borrow some into existence since there is less to go around.

It wasn't that long after Bacon that the classical economists started to build theories about the benefit of economic activity. This is what was supposed to raise man out of his condition of being a sharecropper to a Lord.  limiting consumption seems like a great idea in our time, but I would argue that it was the exact opposite then. Part of what England exported was a vision of classical economy that valued as much trade as possible, and that means plenty of consumption. The point was to make Britain great. I think Bacon was on board with that. I don't know if his religious views imposed a certain frugality on him. It doesn't appear that it did. He was quite busy investing in various ventures, and even the wealthy of that time used patronage to get things done by those who had talents.

At any rate there were certainly many ideas about political economy.  A statesman would probably have a different one than a monarch or a preacher. Bacon, being a Philosopher, might possibly have harbored novel ideas about how to think of wealth and how to raise the fortunes of all men.

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>>An economy which is based in the supply is doomed to have to find the supply or else debase its token, and that is absolutely a scenario that we know mattered to all European powers in Tudor times.<<

I apologize for not responding to your entire post; we have a busy day ahead and I can't commit the time. But in response to this one snippet, New Atlantis seems to be addressing the concept of a limited supply of metals:

These caves we call the Lower Region. And we use them for all coagulations, indurations, refrigerations, and conservations of bodies. We use them likewise for the imitation of natural mines and the producing also of new artificial metals, by compositions and materials which we use, and lay there for many years.

But a limited supply of gold needn't necessitate debasement. That's only done because those in charge want the economy to expand too quickly. Here in the US, we had the British Keynes arguing for an infinite growth paradigm. The BEAUTY of bullion is that it naturally limits growth and slows inflation. This is the great argument between credit and capital. Based on what I've read, I believe Bacon was on the side of capital, that Coke was on the side of credit (along with Plato) and that he needed to weave these ideas subtly into his work to avoid (more) friction.

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8 hours ago, Stephanie McPeak Petersen said:

>>An economy which is based in the supply is doomed to have to find the supply or else debase its token, and that is absolutely a scenario that we know mattered to all European powers in Tudor times.<<

I apologize for not responding to your entire post; we have a busy day ahead and I can't commit the time. But in response to this one snippet, New Atlantis seems to be addressing the concept of a limited supply of metals:

These caves we call the Lower Region. And we use them for all coagulations, indurations, refrigerations, and conservations of bodies. We use them likewise for the imitation of natural mines and the producing also of new artificial metals, by compositions and materials which we use, and lay there for many years.

But a limited supply of gold needn't necessitate debasement. That's only done because those in charge want the economy to expand too quickly. Here in the US, we had the British Keynes arguing for an infinite growth paradigm. The BEAUTY of bullion is that it naturally limits growth and slows inflation. This is the great argument between credit and capital. Based on what I've read, I believe Bacon was on the side of capital, that Coke was on the side of credit (along with Plato) and that he needed to weave these ideas subtly into his work to avoid (more) friction.

That's a fantasy world he is describing. An Atlantean-type Utopia could be described in this way and ring true. This involved alchemical ideas that have not yet been cast aside when that work was written. There are no "artificial" metals that we can transmute into being underground. Gold was to be produced by alchemical Projection.  Projection also was said to work with souls. It was the way the man became his most noble self as he was perfected into the realm of God, symbolized by the golden solar disk. The gold we have on this Earth was synthesized in stars many times larger than ours. It is here today because of bombardment, or seeding, from the exterior. It is in limited quantities. Putting aside the small quantity of gold that we can produce by crashing nuclei together and by radioactive decay we are stuck with what we have.

There isn't any intrinsic "beauty" in a rare physical token. What it allows is hoarding, for those who have it under foot to be rich in it  and for a previous generation to have an upper hand on the next. If you wanted gold for your domestic economy you could not borrow it into existence. Your population's affluence would be capped as another nation's wouldn't, to no fault of your citizens. You'd have to turn to a holder of it and deal on their terms (an extremely unfair advantage). The holder would name the price. That's a recipe for the price of gold to be anything imaginable. Exchange value is something determined in market exchanges. Commodities that exchange at any price are volatile and  they are of no use to run economies with. We' re lucky to live in a time where this "bad idea" has been put to life with a non physical token called Bitcoin for us to relearn that lesson with. It is rare and getting rarer to produce. Is that good? Not if you want to buy one. The early adopters of Bitcoin soon figured out that to hodl meant that any increased demand (due to any factor, including speculative hype) would force the price to the moon. And we have seen how that has powered all sorts of swings. No one can depend on it to back anything. The value tomorrow could be high or it could be low. Someone with immense means could decide to hoard it all and push the price temporarily to a very high level.

A fiat dollar has its value pinned to our obligation. You know what to work for and what no to work for if you want to own a house. You will have to trade your labor for no less that the tax obligation on it. This shared obligation is not only stated before you work, you can count on the fact that one dollar will always cancel one dollar of your government obligation. Bitcoin or gold can swing in price all it wants. The government does not accept it in the settlement of its obligation. You are left speculating with commodities. The difference between having exchange value and being a standard of value is monumental. Gold, as you know, gets valued in the standard of value. People ask: what is my gold worth today? That gets answered in the unit of the standard of value. A standard of value is made that by obligation. 

All commodity token is problematic. There are two eras in US history where that was shown acutely. In 1933 all gold was called in by the government to ensure that there were sufficient reserves to back a weakening currency that would have otherwise been trampled do death by the Great Depression. This solidified the US economy in relation to other large economies like Britain's. This was an era when the US was still a domestic mining leader in the world (but it was rapidly nearing the end of that era). The next one came when the gold standard was finally eliminated. At that point there wasn't enough of it to cover the gold redemptions French banks were asking for from the US dollars that the 2.5 million American soldiers in Vietnam were dropping in the SE Asian economy (a French colonial area). In an effort to not reach a point where the US would be caught with its pants down with its war spending, it put an end to a gold backed currency and instituted the fiat currency we have now. The currency is still backed solidly. It is backed by enforced obligation. The only real difference is that no one has to turn to a holder of gold to borrow money. We can borrow it from our own future incomes now, for an absurdly low price. 

Growth of economies, or prices, have no real impact when there is a fair distribution of assets in the economy (and IF there are no negative environmental impacts to that growth). Everyone would benefit from the increase of asset values if everyone was an equal share owner. Growth (even natural growth) does have a potential for great negative consequences, and that comes from the environmental impacts.  Environmental impacts follow Ehrlic's equation. E.I.=popualtion factor x affluence factor x technological demand factor. When we gain affluence it is as if the population grew by that same factor. When technologies come on-line which create negative environmental impacts that is as if population increased also .  The product of these three variables does have a ceiling. We can ruin everything with our desire for affluence and the nice things that technology can provide if they contribute negatively.

Blaming the token in our economy for growth that is not beneficial is wrong headed . Growth that is not beneficial comes from our own desires to have better lives and to indulge in technologies that are harmful. Inflation has been greatly studied. The main historical driver of inflation is war spending and what wars do to the pricing of commodities. We will suffer inflation even more as consumers if economic inequality is rampant. 

In my humble opinion, many people today could not give a crap about environmental impacts. They'd rather not recognize them or think of them. This is why we have a ridiculous focus on inflation which we attribute to some misunderstood aspect of the economy that few can wrap their heads around. It's hard to blame the masses for their ignorance. The main bogey men are still wars and economic inequality.  Inequality today is manufactured, and to be honest greedy/self driven people with assets love it. It makes them richer and it makes them feel smarter. Inequality can be combated by obligation. When every dollar faces the same obligation no one gets an advantage as they all are forced into a beneficial circulation that produces higher levels of societal well being (even high enough to tolerate lower levels of inequality). The problem we face with money today is that too many are getting away with having their pile go obligation free. Some countries are tax havens, some states are income tax free. That's inequality producing. The incessant demand for freedom from obligation is the ruination of the global economy via inequality. Inflation will crush the non owners everywhere, not just in America. Again, if we were all equal owners no one would get ahead with inflation. That's a better Utopian idea to implement in a Atlantean story. Capitalism does use the undesirable "getting ahead" we can achieve as the main incentive. And inequality grows...One can certainly ask if God would be a capitalist. The answers you might get would be laughable since many still feel God rains down reward on deserving people (called the gospel of prosperity).

Whatever Bacon's views on political economy were they would have likely been as infantile as some of his scientific ideas. He meant well, and he had great innovative ideas about how to build to dependable knowledge, but we should certainly not favor any of his ideas over those of men who followed later who described the dynamics of economies in increasingly better ways using his guidelines. Classical economics was an improvement over mercantilism. It got replaced by neoclassical economics which does have serious problems. In theory (a theory that depends on us being reasonable) we should be willing to progress as we learn to map economic complexity, but that is not what we are seeing. We are understanding what the shortcomings are, and well placed people are taking advantage of them. In that regard economy has ceased to function like a science and it has become a game of winner take all no different than a gladiatorial game. There' s really nothing very enlightened about how we incentivize the economy. It favors cheaters and dishonesty and it rewards the worse forms of pettiness. It is said the alterative is warlords and tribal wars. I think Plato had a good idea to suggest that we will work our way to that no matter what route we take. Evil is in all of us, and it has roots in our own self betterment.

 

 

 

 

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I don’t dismiss New Atlantis so quickly as passing fantasy. One of the things Bacon may have been onto is the dissolution of gold tellurides, and if he was up to what I think he was up to, this passage in New Atlantis could be a veiled hint at that. Regardless, I will again repeat that gold supplies need not be increased for an economy to be healthy. In fact, quite the opposite. Gold supplies need to remain stable and that’s the beauty of using gold rather than fiat: gold can’t be printed or borrowed into existence. Perhaps we simply disagree on the necessity of inflationary policies.

As Smith would point out roughly 150 years later, wealth (what you refer to as affluence) is not the same thing as money. Wealth is alchemically produced by transmuting unconsumed savings into value. It’s NOT, as Bacon pointed out, generated by debt or usury. The economy becomes wealthy not by mercantilist measurements of bullion, but of its richness and diversity of commodities. I can’t say that Bacon would agree on this last point, though I do believe his writings suggest he was moving in that direction.

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