The Bean Breeders

By Charles Pinwill

Page 1.
Into the 20th Century, whole legions of bean counters marched through industry and commerce, disciplining the indolent and indulging the diligent. It was not the legions, but rather the ledgers, which imposed the pax universal across human endeavour.

Their rule was peculiar to its own medium. Whether it was better to produce six items of popular utility which lasted for only five years each, or one which endured for 30 years, was determined wholly by the counting of beans. The impact of building in obsolescence upon the environment, for instance, by consuming multiple resources instead of fewer, did not compute. How many beans went in, how many came out, and over what time, was the sole determinant of the well-being of the human organism and economy. Why?

This question was met with incredulity, for its answer was self-evident and indeed, axiomatic. The limiting factor governing human endeavour was everywhere undoubtedly, and unarguably, beans. If you had them people would respond to your expressed will, if you did not, they would not. Beans were to all things, obviously, as is the universe to oblivion.

Of course, I will concede that measuring costs and received values is a functional necessity in any economy. We need to know whether in consuming two units of value in a productive endeavour, the product attained has a value of four units, or only one. In the first instance we can do it again and often, and in the last it is destructive of value, and if sufficiently repeated, of the whole economy.

The bean counters, while everywhere credited with near absolute powers of determination in things economic, were, from another perspective, merely the musterers and minders of the cattle of another. Beans were neither born, nor did they expire, as a result of being counted. They all came from somewhere beyond the horizons and farthest perspectives of the incumbent counters. The beans in question here were units of credit, and credit is in turn, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.

Page 2.
In more primitive societies grain, salt or metals substituted for beans, but with greater sophistication any widely recognised claim upon others, such as a bank deposits which existed wholly in cyberspace were accounted beans. These beans were formless, enumerated abstractions, wraiths acknowledged in the minds of men as being powerful and omnipotent, though undiscoverable in any fixed physical form.

Money or mammon was now a child of the imagination; a thing of the spirit, a product of faith, an ethereal being (or bean). The really wonderful thing for bankers was that now money could be brought into being by a process which can only be described as one of miraculous concept.

The process of creating artificial claims and loaning them out on the one simple basis that people would accept them, is ancient in origin. The cuneiforms of the Sumerians were invented and used primarily, it is believed, to record debts and receipts. Once the clay tablets were accepted as valid and worthy of faith, their credit (from the Latin credo, I believe) was the basis of issuing more credit or breeding this particular form of “beans”. This practice descended in and through various forms and countries.

For our purposes we shall take it up in England in the 17th Century. The founder of modern bean breeding was one William Paterson. Born in Scotland in 1655, he fled under a cloud to England in 1672, and hence to the Bahamas becoming a wealthy merchant, where the New World Encyclopedia reports the rumour of his “keeping close connections with pirates”.

He returned to Europe and attempted to find support for his “Darien” scheme. This involved the trade of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans going to Panama, where the goods would somehow be transhipped across the isthmus. He eventually tried to achieve this with Scottish support in 1698 but it failed miserably. Maleria was part of his problems

Meanwhile he had conceived the idea and successfully promoted his proposal for a “Bank of England”. During the time of the Stuart Kings, Parliament was weary of banking suggestions. The fear was that the Kings may be provided with a means of evading Parliament’s control of supply, that is, the supply of funds to the King’s purposes.

Page 3.
Paterson advocated the bank with such as “The Bank shall hath benefit of interest upon all moneys which it createth out of nothing.” By 1694, with the Stuarts deposed, and the proposed Bank ostensibly to be established under Parliamentary control, the Bank was founded. Paterson was a Director for a time before being removed by his fellow Directors for what has been variously reported as either a disagreement or a scandal.

Looking back 400 plus years the idea that a Parliament could control a Bank is rather fanciful. Parliaments are, after all, simply large committees of persons intent upon self-promotion, and with no interest in understanding the vagaries of money creation, outside of a resolve to get some of it. Because politicians will not apply themselves to understanding banking and its awesome prerogatives, in all the areas that bankers choose to think sufficiently important, they have ever controlled the politicians.

Their chief means of control is through their overwhelming ownership or financial entrapment and direction of the media. The media does not need to tell us what to think, of course, it just tells us what to think about. By controlling the agenda, and in the propensity of every public to conform because believing what the most others believe is acclaimed as virtue, the comptroller of the Media, not Parliament, sets the agenda.

For the next 300 years the culture of the bean breeders determined a policy of industrial might (the object of the industrial revolution) and political hegemony (the object of the British