Poverty exists, because money exists. Money created poverty; therefore poverty can only be eliminated at its source. Money must solve the problem it created.
Earlier in our history, human beings created a means of exchange of goods and services. This means of exchange was meant to serve our needs as we went about our daily lives interacting with each other and sharing the goods and services that we each, individually, produced. Instead of continuing serving us, we have allowed money to take on a persona of its own and become our master. Instead of money serving us, we serve it. Money has become an image of something much greater and more powerful than the rights of a person to pursue individual happiness.
We think about money day and night and seldom rest from worrying about it. Whether small or great, rich or poor, free or bond, none of us can escape the mark it has left upon our hands and in our foreheads. We worship its image and desire its name. And the name by which it has been known throughout most of Earth’s history is: GOLD.
So how did gold create poverty and inequality? How did some people decide and justify that their life, and the goods and services that they provided, were of greater worth and value than those provided by another? Money cannot determine these values. Money is an inanimate object and cannot create or destroy anything. People set its value. Money is an abstract value system used by humans to determine individual worth, or rather what one person’s contribution to life is worth compared to another’s. A lawyer, for example, earns much more than a farmer because the lawyer’s individual worth has been accepted as more important than the farmer’s. Yet, without the farmer, the lawyer wouldn’t have any food to eat to pursue a legal career.
Money determines the value of each person’s contribution to society, and in the process, relegates the majority to menial jobs of unimportance, thus less pay, thus more poverty. People set the standards and values on human life, and in so doing support perpetuate inequality that ultimately ends in creating poverty for the less-valued person. In order to end poverty, we must end the misappropriate way that we value what a person chooses to do with his or her life. But in order to do this, we must learn to value each person upon Earth as our equal. To understand how to accomplish this, we must first find out how we learned to justify inequality—where one person’s worth and desires for individual life is not equally valued by others.
Poverty exists because we allow it to exist. We allow it to exist because we emotionally justify its existence. We emotionally justify its existence because of the personal prejudices towards others that we were taught as children. It makes sense to many that poverty will always exist. It makes sense to them because of the things that they were taught as children. The renowned physicist, Albert Einstein, stated,
“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired before the age of eighteen.”
The devaluation of human life and prejudice is taught to children in cultures where ideologies exist that support a belief system that separates people into groups of good and bad. What determines good and bad is often nothing more than personal opinion of how a person should live life. The people, who believe that they are good, justify the exploitation and harm to the people who they believe are bad. These discriminations and separations create the borders and nations of the world. And one of the greatest sources of this human inequality can be traced to the most popular and widely accepted book ever written by humans: the Bible.
Ancient biblically inspired societies believed that their god commanded his followers to destroy the people of all the cities throughout the land that didn’t follow their god’s commandments. The Old Testament god commanded his people to,
“… take all [their] cities … and utterly destroy the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, [they] left none to remain. Only the cattle [they] took for a prey unto [themselves], and the spoil of the cities which [they] took.” (Deuteronomy 4:24-35)
These religious societies subjugated people to their terms and made slaves of all the people who did not believe in their god. The people who tried to fight back were,
“… delivered into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee. Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee [i.e., foreigners not close to Jerusalem], which are not of the cities of these nations. But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance [i.e. the non-believers in and around Jerusalem] thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them; … as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee.” (Deuteronomy 20:10-17)
The Bible became the lawgiver of the most influential religions and nations upon Earth. And the prejudice and inequality it started continues strong to this day. Billions of people accept the Bible as God’s infallible word, thus justifying the mistreatment of other human beings who do not accept their religion. This religious pride and prejudice, not only led to the destruction of millions of innocent people and their cultures, but it also allowed Bible-believing nations to enslave millions of others and create great wealth for themselves, which in turn, created widespread poverty for the majority. There is little argument that the early American explorers, financed by European Christian nations and their Christian-appointed monarchs, overran the Native American peoples of the Western Hemisphere, and with the justified motivation to convert them to Christianity, destroyed them and subjected them to European economics, which included slavery and great economic inequality.
Since the Bible is responsible for inequality and human discrimination, it must take responsibility for its role in developing and supporting the current economic conditions of the world. To understand our current status of increasing poverty and human desperation throughout the world, we must first consider what the Bible presents as the greatest economy that ever existed upon Earth, at least according to the stories of the Bible: the kingdom of Solomon.
Although there are many scholars who reject the Bible as a truthful historical account, none will disagree with the great effect that the Bible has had on our world, and which it continues to have, concluding that it is the basis for most human conflict and suffering throughout the Earth. Yes, it would be helpful in the war against poverty if the Bible never existed. But it does, and it continues to affect the minds and hearts of billions of the Earth’s inhabitants, and more crucially, the minds of the few people who control the world’s economic policies.
The Bible sets the course for the perpetuation and justification of poverty and inequality in the story of King Solomon:
The Bible presents Solomon as a king who,
“… exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.” (1 Kings 10:23)
The story tells that Solomon was the richest and wisest king that ever lived upon Earth. All the other kings and queens of the Earth came to Solomon to hear his wisdom and bring him gifts of expensive spices, precious stones, and most importantly, gold. King Solomon built a throne of pure ivory “overlaid with the best gold.” With the gold that was brought to Solomon, the greatest economy that had ever existed flourished in a city called Jerusalem. There was an abundance of everything … but only for the citizens of Jerusalem who were the believers in the god who they believed had called and blessed Solomon. Everyone else became a slave to them.
King Solomon’s economy did not flow to him effortlessly because of the righteousness of his people, but with ease and the blessings of the other nations and peoples of the earth. Not that other nations particularly liked Solomon and the Hebrew people, but, according to the Bible stories, they were afraid of Solomon because of his great military force. As it was in the story, so it is now: the nation with the strongest military force controls the world’s economy.
Whether the story of Solomon is true or not, the belief that God blesses those who follow his commandments and condemns those who don’t, instills the disposition necessary in the human mind to allow it to accept and justify inequality and poverty.
The Bible stories increase the likelihood of poverty because of the beliefs of its believers and the law and policies that they allow their governments to enact and support. Present day Jerusalem, for example, where the Jewish State of Israel exists, is full of abundance and prosperity, with very little poverty and desperation, per capita, among the people. But just across an imaginary line, a border enforced by the powerful Israeli military, in what is known as the West Bank to the east of Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip to its south, extreme poverty and desperation abound. Why? There is little question as to why this profound inequality exists among people who live in such a small area of the earth and share the same ancestry: the teachings of the Bible. The Jewish people and their government continue to believe that the ancient god of their scriptures gave the land of Israel to their ancestors as “the promised land.”
But without the backing of the most powerful nation upon Earth, the United States of America, Israel would never be able to maintain its stronghold on the land around Israel. The United States is well known as a Christian nation. And Christianity is a direct result of the Bible and the ancient Jewish religion. For this reason, modern-day Israel remains successful at fulfilling the mandates of its god to subject all people to his commands. And upon so doing, Israel’s god will bless them with economic prosperity and security, so they believe.
Aware of what the Old Testament of the Bible had done to the world, and to counter the offensive nature of the Old Testament Hebrew god, wise authors invented a counteroffensive and presented solutions to the problems that the Old Testament had caused in the world. The New Testament presents stories of a new god, Jesus, the Christ, who has a completely different outlook on what the “kingdom of god” upon Earth actually means. The Christians believe that Jesus, who was killed by the Jews, according to accepted Christian history, will one day return to the Earth and get rid of poverty and inequality by judging those who supported and justified poverty compared to those who wanted to get rid of it:
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
“Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25:31-46.)
Unfortunately, the new scripture failed to convince the people of the world that the most important part of any religious belief should be ending poverty and inequality. Not that the new scripture didn’t explain it perfectly, but the religious leaders who interpreted the scripture invented their own uses for it that benefited them and increased their personal wealth.
In a last ditch effort to convince the people of the need to get rid of poverty and inequality, a wise author invented the book of Revelation. True or not, this esoteric, and the least understood book in the Christian Bible, profoundly identifies the effect that money has on the people of the world. Hidden in its symbolism, its author illuminates the great affect that gold has on people. The author uses Solomon’s gold as a clue:
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” (Revelation 13:18)
Christian leaders and scholars have never been able to break the simple code of Revelation’s symbolism. Even if they did, Revelation’s disclosures would destroy their justification of material blessings that many religious leaders exploit through the donations given by their devoted followers. But a correct interpretation of Revelation couldn’t be more simple and clear: the author used Old Testament analogies to present his ideas.
Ignorant religious leaders and scholars, who are supported by religious offerings, and are part of the cause of poverty, subject their followers to fear and ominous warnings involving the devil and evil. Yet, Revelation’s true meaning eviscerates modern religious dogma that would otherwise support the economic security of religious leaders. And for this reason, few religious leaders want their followers to know the real truth behind “the beast” that is devouring the world. It’s much easier to allow their followers to remain afraid of the devil instead of focusing their attention on what religious leaders do behind the scenes to maintain their personal wealth.
“The Beast,” when studied correctly in context, is nothing more or less than a representation of the economic policies of the world that fight the good policies presented and established in the teachings of the Christian Jesus. According to Christian belief, Christ will return and conquer “the beast.” To understand what was intended, we need a full understanding of “the beast” that Christ will conquer:
The “number of the beast” is exactly what the clue explains: not the number of the devil, but “the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Solomon was Revelation’s author’s “man,” and his “gold” was intended to represent the “number of the beast”:
“Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, (1 Kings 10:14 and 2 Chronicles 9:13)
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” (Revelation 13:18)
The book of Revelation utilizes Jewish and Christian myths and ideologies to present a solution to poverty and inequality. Centered on the teachings of Christ, Revelation explains that the end of “the beast” (which represents the world’s economic policies) comes when Christ returns again. Represented as a powerful entity riding upon a white horse, Revelation describes the returning Christian god:
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
“And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
“And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16)
Then Revelation profoundly describes the effect that Christ’s return will have on the “kings (politicians) and merchants (business entities)” of the earth:
“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
“And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning; Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble; And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
“The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.” (Revelation 18:1-19)
The idea of a god who blesses those who obey him with economic blessings and condemns those who don’t is the greatest stumbling block that allows the continued existence of poverty. It is highly unlikely that a personal belief in a god will diminish anytime soon. So the question remains, if we cannot solve poverty by teaching people how it is justified and allowed, maybe we can convince them to unite and end it if we help them understand how the valuation of money began in the first place:
The Story of Ug and Thug—How Money Began
A long time ago, long before the discovery of silver and gold, there lived a man named Ug.
Ug lived in a community of people who prospered well for that time, herding sheep, raising cows, and growing grain.
One day while Ug was fishing in a stream near his home, he noticed a shiny rock exhibiting its countenance through the crystal clear water.
“That’s a nice looking stone,” Ug thought as he retrieved it from its resting place.
As Ug pondered on the discovery he had made, he wondered what use this pretty rock could have. He decided that although the rock was beautiful, it served him no real purpose; so he threw it back. Now that he had discovered the existence of the rock, he began to notice that the stream bed where he was fishing was full of the peculiar looking stone.
Ug’s neighbor, Thug, was a lazy sort, and spent many a day down by the stream idly dreaming up ways he could get out of the responsibilities of work that were required of him by the community of people where he lived.
One day, Thug noticed the shiny rock that his friend, Ug, had discarded.
“Hey!” thought Thug, “I bet I could convince Ug’s wife that this pretty stone is worth a mammoth meat pie.” (Something Thug loved to eat, but was too lazy to make himself.)
Thug took the stone and fashioned it into a trinket and gave it to Ug’s wife, who upon seeing it, immediately fell in love with its shiny attributes. She made Thug his pie, and couldn’t wait to show off her new trinket to her friends.
“Wow!” thought Thug. “If Ug’s wife liked the stone, maybe all the other women will like one too. I’ll never have to make another mammoth pie again!”
Thug went down to the streambed and gathered up all the shiny rocks he could and, when the other men’s wives wanted a shiny trinket like Ug’s wife, their husbands searched in vain for the rocks Thug had already taken.
The other women were distraught that they could not have a trinket like Mrs. Ug. These women began to pester their husbands until the pestering became unbearable.
The men went to Thug and asked him for some of his shiny rocks for their wives. “What will you give me for one of these rocks?” Thug asked.
“I will build you a fence,” said one man. “And I will give you three cows to put inside the fence,” said another.
Soon Thug, the laziest man in town, had the best house, barn, fence, and animals in all the community. Thug spent most of his time looking and digging for the now “precious” stones. The more he found, the less there were for others to find.
It wasn’t long before Thug made a list of the things for which he could trade his stones. He divided his stones up into groups according to size. The littlest stones he traded for a cow, a sheep, or an ox. A bigger stone he gave in exchange for a new shed to be built on his land.
And the biggest stones well, these he kept for himself because he knew he could break them into littler stones that he could trade for practically anything he wanted.
Ug’s cow died and he didn’t have any way to procure milk for his growing children.
He asked his wife if she would let him have her trinket so he could trade it to his brother (whose wife had one but wanted two) for one of his cows. Reluctantly, Ug’s wife gave up her trinket so that her children could have milk.
Ug took the stone out of the trinket and traded the stone for one of his brother’s cows. Ug’s brother, Shrug, took the stone, which was way too big for just one cow, and traded it to another neighbor for six sheep and twelve bushels of wheat.
Ug’s brother never told him that his wife’s stone was worth more than just one cow. He knew his brother needed a cow more than he needed a stone that he couldn’t eat, wear, or sleep in; so he decided he had done his brother a favor. And for the favor, he would get more for the stone than what he gave for it.
This situation went on for some time. Before long, the stones were worth much more to the people of the community than any of their other possessions.
One wise man set up a little business by the bank of the stream where the stones had first been found. His wise premise was to help people save their stones and get more stones by lending them out to others in return for a bigger stone than what they had borrowed in the first place.
When this man lent out a stone that was the size of a walnut, he told the
borrowers that they would have to pay him back a stone the size of an apple. When the bigger stone was paid back as agreed, the man would then chip off a little bit of the apple-sized stone for himself and give the person who had deposited his stone in the business a stone which was bigger than what he had originally deposited.
“What an easy way to get more stones without finding any, or trading anything for them,” boasted the man.
Since his business seemed to be successful by the bank of the stream, he called his business, The Bank. Soon the people of the community were spending far more time figuring out ways to get and trade stones than they were raising things to eat, making things to wear, or building houses.
It wasn’t long before there were lots of stones lying around that no one could
eat, wear, or live in. The people began to die from hunger and the cold outside, or they were killed by someone wanting their stones.
Ug analyzed what had happened to his community, and called the people together and told them what Thug had done. He explained that Thug had taken advantage of all of them because he didn’t want to work like the rest of the community.
He made Thug’s name known throughout the land as a lazy con artist who took advantage of the peoples’ industry for his own good. His name has been infamous ever since.
It wasn’t long before Thug killed his brother for speaking against him; and because of Thug’s riches and power, no one dared punish him for what he had done.
So, you see, children, we invented money. We made important in our lives.
Wouldn’t it be a nice thing if we gave everyone just enough money so that they would have a nice house to live in, so that they would have healthy food to eat, to have warm clothes to wear, to have medicine when they were sick, and to be able to go to school and learn everything that they wanted to learn?
Money can do these things.
Because we invented money … because we control money … we can make money do what we want it to do.
Wouldn’t you agree children?
But you know why we can’t make money do what we want it to do?
Because there are too many Thugs in the world.
… Much more to come …