Graffiti near Queen St. S.

This is one of my favourite local stencils, up for ages despite the site clearly having graffiti painted over before. No idea who did it and I haven’t seen any others like it, but it’s an unbelievably deep question and it really stands out nicely.

What is money?

Money is power. It dominates all of our lives and the society around us. It can literally buy us by the hour. Money might be the most insidious, effective and resilient form of control ever devised. It takes the burden off those in power and drives us to manage ourselves and each other in the most “rational” and “efficient” way possible. Whether the currency is dollars, Soviet ration tickets or Roman gold coins, the value it represents stems from the government’s ultimate control of everything around us. Money is tiny, quantified, state-sanctioned units of this control. Some people gain lots of status and influence by becoming gatekeepers of these systems (CEOs, bankers, managers etc), but only as long as they serve the system’s interests. Ultimately, neither money nor power care who’s in control or who holds the reigns, as long as the system itself grows and evolves. This whole process is obvious enough from the statesmen and women who’s head adorn our bills and coins, who prints our money and who ends up with most of it at the end of the day. Money is not and has never been neutral – the evolution of currency came via the most despotic and imperialistic regimes in history, from Babylon, through Rome, and all around the globe shortly after the development of organized credit, banking and corporations in Europe starting around 1500. Today, a quick at many of these same regions (Greece, Rome, Spain etc), shows how totally questions of currency and credit can decide the fate of nations and continents.

Ultimately, money has value because somewhere out there, there’s a man with a gun who says so.