For untold thousands of years, gold was accumulated in various parts of the world. Circa 1500 BC, in Egypt, it finally emerged from the vast temple hoards and began to circulate as money. That one act began the transition to the world’s first advanced society and a prosperity that reached beyond just the ruling class.
Only circulating money can create the conditions conducive to sophisticated exchange and its offshoot – social behaviour. Prior to the point of circulating money, the only technological advances had been very modest modifications to flint knives and stone hammers. Untold millennia passed with no advances at all.
The emergence of Gold as money was the beginning of wealth creation and sophisticated human trade and thus behaviour. From Nile origins, civilisation quickly diffused throughout the world. Civilisation has one root source on Planet Earth. It did not arise spontaneously and simultaneously around the world.
When money’s utterly unique and irreplaceable role in the origins of our societies is understood, it becomes quite clear that humans are the only technologically advanced species that exists, or has ever existed, in the universe.
It is not that life or gold do not exist in the rest of the universe, for they certainly do. It is that the extraordinary circumstances that gave gold its stability of value, and that then led it into circulation in the marketplace, are highly unlikely to have been replicated elsewhere – about the same odds as a bunch of chimpanzees tapping out a Shakespeare play on a typewriter.
Without circulating money, there can be no technologically advanced society.
We have lived with the delusion: that ‘we are not alone’ (mea culpa). The nigh on certainty that we are, destroys one of our most deep-seated, cherished and comforting beliefs. We are as unique as the money that impels us.
Get used to it.