Brakteaten Money

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An important historical example of a non-scarcity based monetary system:


Definition

Brakteaten money, by Margrit Kennedy

“Between the 12th and the 15th century in Europe a money system was used called "Brakteaten." Issued by the respective towns, bishops and sovereigns, it not only helped the exchange of goods and services but also provided the means of collecting taxes. Every year the thin coins made from gold and silver were "recalled," one to three times re-minted and devalued on an average about 25 % in the process. Since nobody wanted to keep this money, people instead invested in furniture, solidly built houses, artwork and anything else that promised to keep or increase its value. During that time, some of the most beautiful sacred and profane works of art and architecture came into existence. "For while monied wealth could not accumulate, real wealth was created." We still think of this time as one of the cultural culmination points in European history. Craftsmen worked a five-day week, the "blue" Monday was introduced and the standard of living was high. In addition, there were hardly any feuds and wars between the various realms of power. However, people obviously disliked the money which lost so much at regular intervals. Finally, towards the end of the 15th century, the "eternal" penny was introduced and with it came interest and accumulation of wealth in the hands of increasingly fewer people, as well as the accompanying social and economic problems. The lesson here is that taxes should be levied separately and not connected with the circulation fee on money." (www.margritkennedy.de)

See also information on the above author at http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~roehrigw/kennedy/english/