“The first form of culture,” wrote historian Will Durant, “is agriculture.”
And he was right. When human beings discovered 10,000 years ago that the soil would provide more food than they could possibly eat, this changed everything.
For the first time ever, early humans could actually work WITH nature and reliably control their food production.
They were no longer dependent on unpredictable wildlife or the dangers of the hunt.
Nor were they resigned to devouring an entire beast in one sitting, only to end up right back where they started– in search of their next meal.
Agriculture gave them the opportunity to produce far more than they could consume. And to easily save the surplus for a later time.
To save like this is completely natural. And by that I mean saving is part of nature.
Dogs bury their bones. Squirrels hoard nuts. Even plants set aside some excess solar energy for a rainy day by producing and storing sugar.
For us humans, agriculture was our earliest form of savings. And it was the key ingredient to civilization.
With a vast pool of food savings at his disposal, early man could put down roots and build societies without having to worry about where the next meal would come from.
It was this sense of savings that formed the dividing line between primitive man and civilized man.
This reminds me of that old criticism about gold being a “barbarous relic”.
John Maynard Keynes first coined the term when he denounced the gold standard, and Paul Krugman has echoed this sentiment in our own time.
Both men are champions of government spending and the inexhaustible creation of paper money.
It’s a curious statement, though, given that gold is an acknowledged form of savings.
Even governments and central banks around the world continue to hold gold as part of their official reserves.
Owning gold is saving, which by definition is civilized, i.e. NOT barbarous.
Debt, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. It is a lack of savings that shows a complete disregard for the future.
It is the modern equivalent of gorging on some wild beast with no thought to tomorrow’s meal… or in this case, no thought of tomorrow’s generation.
Debt is the barbarous relic. Not gold.
And governments are up to their eyeballs in it, continuing to engage in this primitive, uncivilized behavior with wanton abandon.
Don’t expect them to change their ways.
Our society awards our most respected prizes for intellectual achievement to faux-scientists who encourage these barbarous acts.
They create complex mathematical models, ‘proving’ why our Neanderthal governments should print more money, borrow more debt, and stage fake alien invasions to boost the economy.
No doubt future anthropologists will find this to be a curious and savage system.