What are we talking about?

What are we talking about?

In order to understand thoroughly, let’s keep it simple.

There’s a small island, where we are few; everyone produces something useful and we exchange it with barter.

Barter has limits, though: yesterday I didn’t catch any fish, today you don’t want to eat potatoes, and so on, therefore we separate the two parts of barter by noting down the incomplete exchanges: I owe you a fish, you owe him a potato.

Then the owner of the beach of shells proposes we use his shells. We accept.

And in exchange for the shells we give him fishes and potatoes…
Fishes and potatoes are hard work to us, shells cost the beach owner nothing.

No one comes to wonder, “why on earth he alone must have this privilege?”

But that’s not all: in a race where only one rides a bike and all the others run on foot, who wins?
At every turn, the beach owner can offer more: shells cost nothing to him.

How does it end? Simple: sooner or later the beach owner takes possession of everything. And of everyone.

But that’s still not all: so far the beach owner limited himself to give us shells in exchange for fishes and potatoes; now he begins to lend them to us at interest.

No one comes to wonder, “if we must return more shells than we received to the only one who has the privilege to put them into circulation, from whom are we going to get the extra ones?”

How does it end? Exactly as before: the beach owner takes possession of everything and everyone. Only, it happens more quickly and more inexorably.