High Colonical Economics #SOPA

Stop SOPA.This is based on a true story. That means that, most likely, people named George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin really did exist. Beyond that, however, there may be some historical inaccuracies. I spent countless seconds imagining – I mean researching – but some errors have may have crept in. Besides, as I write this, Wikipedia is protesting SOPA, so I’m making up the stuff I don’t know. Even though we are now controlling transmission we are not responsible for the content. Enjoy!

It was a fine beautiful day in the Colonies as Thomas Jefferson strode purposefully to his neighbor’s house, a fine upstanding gentleman by the name of George Washington.

Stopping at the gate, Thomas chuckled as he often did at the signs George had posted. “Trespassers will be musketed” and “We don’t lamp for the Constable.” He let himself in the gate and found his friend near the porch, apparently taking a break from afternoon chores.

“Hey, ho, George,” Thomas said. “How goes the marijuana farm?”

George paused to wipe sweat from his brow. “Not too bad. It should be a good crop.”

“Say, have you thought about how you’re going to explain that particular peccadillo for the history books?”

“My plan is to say I did it for the hemp.”

Both men shared a hearty laugh.

“So, Tommy, how goes things with that slave girl?”

“Never better,” Thomas said with a wink.

With the preliminary idle chatter out of the way, it was time for the men to get down to business. “What can I do for you today, Tom?” asked George.

Thomas nodded at the porch and the partially assembled rocking chair. “I find myself in need of one of your chairs, preferably whittled by your own hands out of cherry wood.”

George thoughtfully stroked his chin. “I see,” he said at last. “The usual?”

“Yes. A measure of butter from my own larder, and ‘churned’ by yours truly. And yes, those are air quotes.” They shared another laugh.

George stuck out his hand and Thomas fiercely clasped it in his bear grip.



Just then there was a commotion. “Wait!” cried Benjamin Franklin rushing urgently up the walk.

“What the devil is it now, Ben,” asked George impatiently with exasperation. “This isn’t more of that flatulence nonsense, is it?”

“No, no, heavens no. This is important. I just invented money!”

George and Thomas both paused. This did sound like something important. They allowed a few minutes for Ben to catch his breath, who then launched into his spiel.

“You just completed a trade,” he explained, “and that’s great. If you both happen to want what the other person has.” The men shared a quizzical look.

“What if,” Ben asked, “you each didn’t have something the other wanted? What then?”

“What then?” repeated George. “Then we wouldn’t trade, you damn fool!”

“But what if there was a way you still could? What if you could do business without having exactly what was needed at this particular moment in time?”

The men had never imagined such a thing, but they listened as Ben explained how a currency system might work.

“And, here’s the rub,” he continued. “Once I get you guys to believe in the value of money, you’ll willingly give up your chairs, and yes, your butter, Tom, in exchange for little bits of paper that I shall have printed at once! Of course, I’ll keep a portion for myself, a trifle of a fee for my part in the bargain, for arranging this convenience on your behalf.”

And thus the concept of a financial instrument had come to pass. (And, for historical accuracy, let us imagine that, perhaps, Benjamin may not have been the very first person to come up with the idea.) And with this wonderful invention a method suddenly existed for third-parties who added absolutely nothing of value to become rich in the style they so desperately wanted to become accustomed to.

Without financial instruments where would bankers be? In the poor house, I dare say!

And, if you’ll allow me to extrapolate just a bit further in honor of today’s SOPA protests, imagine the fatcat financiers who run Hollywood and the RIAA. What do these dudes bring to the table? Money. Do they write songs? Author compelling stories? Know how to work a microphone or a camera? Nope. Just like bankers they add little of value to the system while profiting from those who can actually create. And, besides from being wealthy beyond avarice and (presumably) power-hungry assholes, they are also greedy. They want more. To me, that’s the story of SOPA.

Money is that which makes it all possible.

Addendum: Yes, this is what a post without Wikipedia looks like. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

8 responses

  1. If this is what your posts look like without Wikipedia… I’m not worried at all.
    The grey-matter in your brain pan is more than capable, the rest is all just mucus… designed to reduce friction and chafing, but not really essential to the process.

    Chafing helps the lesson go down?


    1. Thanks so much. Thanks also for getting the word “mucus” in there. Now I feel ready to chafe on the day!


  2. Beyond being so very, very entertaining, you are a creative breath of fresh air. I love your re-imagined history….with or without Wiki’s help.


    1. A critic once raved about my blog, “A pith a freth air!” So I’ll take that as a compliment.

      I’m glad you like re-imagined history. The George Washington/Thomas Jefferson bit is one of my favorite memes on this blog. It seems to always find Thomas wanting George to whittle a rocking chair out of a block of solid cherry. I guess that’s just the way I see it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      It sure was annoying without Wikipedia yesterday. I think there were at least four separate occasions I went there to check on something throughout the day. Then I ended up cheating and used the Google cache to see what I wanted.


    1. Very kind of you to say. I was hoping perceptive people would bother to read this. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. It is true that Wikipedia could be accused of draining creativity. With all the facts (or should that be ‘facts’?) readily available, who would need to invent clever stories like this?


    1. Hi Andreas, and thanks! When commenting, don’t be afraid of your spell checker. You missed it on “cleaver.”



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