Thursday, June 17, 2010


I'm saving up larger denomination Swiss coins for use in the TPG machines. A stack of 2sf coins hefts a little, but they're just decorated disks of metal--plus something. In a sense I'm looking at little promises, and a kind of embodied trust. Not "in God we trust," but trust in the other Swiss; trust in their fellowman to trade effort for effort in an understandable way. Trust that you can wait until tomorrow before getting what you need: work now and be able to eat next year. Trust that someone else will tangibly value your effort.

Dante put forgers and coiners in the second-lowest circle of hell, next to the traitors; and they are a species of traitor too. Earlier, and perhaps not foolish, centuries put them in boiling oil. The forgers, whether amateur or official, destroy trust as they debase the money.

The official forgers rob from everyone at once on a huger scale, and history considers them villains--villains and traitors they surely are. But most of them went into the business with a "only a little bit won't cause problems" attitude: 4.5grams of silver or 4.4 grams--what can such a little difference do? It is only a little bit of robbery--but it is a lot of breaking trust.

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