Delivered from the plinth of the Eastern Dragon, south side of London Bridge, 7th November 2016 (this being New Year’s Day):
What is money?
Money is time. It represents all that time you have spent, in your office, in your factory, in your art, in your craft, at your desk, in your job, focussing your attention on a task of some kind, sometimes, but not exclusively, doing something that is socially useful, something that other people might appreciate.
Money is value. It is art. It is ingenuity. It is thought. It is planning. It is execution. It is service. It is giving over a part of your life to other people’s wants and needs.
Money has always been with us, since the beginning of time. Since the first human took the first steps on this planet, we’ve had money as our companion.
It is the item of exchange, the gift, the promise, the valued object, the carved stone, the rainbow-coloured shell, the glinting metal, which we offered to another as a token of trust. This is my pledge to you that I will pay you what I owe. Before the invention of writing, it was accompanied by our breath, our word, our promise. We promised to pay the bearer.
In this City, passed these gates, the wealth of the world is locked up. We want to set it free.
Money is work and there’s work to be done. Our planet is in grave danger. We need to learn new ways to relate to it. We need to find new ways of harvesting its produce. We need to find new ways to harness its energy. We need to plant whole forests of trees. We need to end the loss of species and take care of those we still have. We need to clean the rivers and reintroduce diversity. We need to rewild the remotest places, and bring back the bear and the wolf and the big cats to these shores.
Money is the key to it all.
It is lack of money that fuels crime. It is lack of money that drives people into gangs. It is lack of money that encourages addiction. It is lack of money that creates domestic abuse. It is lack of money that impedes our education. It is lack of money that forces people into bondage. It is lack of money that forces people into prostitution. It is lack of money that forces people into mercenary regimes. It is lack of money that forces people to destroy their environment. It is lack of money that stops people from fulfilling their destiny.
Don’t say it is just a bit of paper. It is so much more than that. It is our enabler. It is the means by which we store and distribute the value that we have made.
People without money are made desperate for it. People with too much money are made heartless and cruel.
We want to cure the wealthy of their wealth, and the poor of their poverty. Both are suffering from sicknesses of the soul.
We are one family, one people, one species on this planet. When a child goes hungry for lack of money, that is our child. When a man kills himself for shame because he can’t feed his family, that is our brother. When a woman sells herself to put food on the table, that is our sister. When a veteran of the war dies of cold on the bleak winter streets, or a lonely old widow freezes to death in a flat she can’t afford to heat, those are our Father and Mother, our blood relations, and we should grieve for them as we grieve for our own.
The word “capital” means the head, as in the head of a column. It has the same root as cattle and chattel. It is capitalism that has turned us into chattels that are milked for our labour. The word redeem means to buy back what we once owned. It is through debt that we became slaves, mere property without a soul. The redeemer is the one who pays the price of redemption, which is release from debt-slavery. The Jubilee is when all debts are forgiven, when the people return to the lands of their birth, when the liberty bells ring, and freedom sounds throughout the Kingdom.
Let us make today the day of jubilation. Let the Jubilee begin.