Sunday, July 09, 2006


Intentional Economics Day 2

Recall the 68 major money crashes in the last 350 years and they all have the same pattern. The handout we read for Day 2 was extracted from Bernard's book The Mystery of Money. The handout described the pattern of financial manias that result in crashes and how the pattern relates to the hyper-rational Apollo and irrational Dionysus. The four stages of financial crash parallel the four stages of the archetypal story of Apollo and Dionysus and even the words associated with financial crashes like mania (Maenads) and panic (Pan) originate from the story. The four stages:

1. The Build Up: Market pundits = Apollonian hyper-rational prophecies
2. Feeding Frenzy: Lambs move into the market = The child Dionysus is born
3. The Panic: Buying frenzy followed by selling frenzy = Orgiastic frenzy, mature Dionysus dismembered
4. Picking Up the Pieces: Committee of Wise Men investigates = Apollo returns

To be clear, the victims of the Dionysian mania are those who cling to Apollonian hyper-rationality.

The Mystery of Money was published in at least half a dozen languages. Unfortunately, none of them were English. It was sent for publication in New York. After the publisher sat on it for about a year, Bernard was told "This is a problem that doesn't exist in America." Months later, the tech bubble burst.

Bernard explains that no speculative crashes occurred before the 17th century. It's only modern money created by fiat (out of thin air) which allows this mechanism. Bernard says "A currency crash betrays trust, including trust in oneself."

The focus in the morning session is on archetypes. Bernard tells us that James Hillman is the school he is coming from and A Blue Fire is the best synthesis of Hillman's work.

"Why are money questions taboo?" Bernard asks. For example, the biggest taboo between a client and a therapist is not sleeping together. It is the therapist lending the client money.

It's well known that the two emotions of the market are fear of loss and greed. Bernard asked himself, "where do these two collective emotions come from? Are they natural? Why are they the only emotions?" He said nobody talks about them. They are considered natural.

It was at this time he started reading Moore and Gillette. They wrote books which discussed four of the five human archetypes: the Sovereign, the Warrior, the Magician, the Lover. The fifth archetype is the Great Mother. Where did it go? The earliest money systems were associated with the Great Mother archetype. The oldest known currency (3200 BC) is the Sumerian Shekel (Wheat Unit).

It's been repressed. When an archetype is repressed, the archetype splits and the two shadows are linked by fear. For instance, the Sovereign splits into Tyrant and Abdicator(Weakling).

The Great Mother splits into Greed and Scarcity which are the two market emotions. Money questions are taboo because the Great Mother archetype is repressed.

Modern money is the domain of Sovereign, Warrior, Magician and complementary currencies are the domain of Lover, Great Mother. We shouldn't (couldn't?) try to encompass all five archetypes with one currency.

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