tirsdag 14. mars 2017

Filthy Rich and No Future

A rich, Lutheran country like Norway like to impress the world by giving away huge amounts of polluting oil money. Norwegian politicians give an impression of austerity by not showing off the country’s wealth to the population.

They do not build 1000 meters high skyscrapers, modern railways, the state of the art classrooms, hospitals without beds in the corridors and old age homes where the old people can die with dignity. No, the best way to show off the country's puritan riches is pretending humility and waste money on gold rich countries that do not need the money.

The rulers of the Byzantine Empire thought otherwise
From the 10th century, however, until the end of the twelfth, the Byzantine Empire projected an image of wealth and luxury. Constantine V's reforms (c. 765) marked the beginning of a revival that continued until 1204. The travelers who visited its capital were impressed by the wealth accumulated in Constantinople; riches that also served the state's diplomatic purposes as a means of propaganda, and a way to impress foreigners as well its own citizens. (Wikipedia).
   Gold coins then as now, were important political and monetary instruments: When Manuel became emperor he ordered 2 gold coins to be given to every householder in Constantinople and 200 pounds of gold (including 200 silver coins annually) to be given to the Byzantine Church. When his niece Theodora married King Baldwin III of Jerusalem in 1157, Manuel gave her a dowry of 100,000 gold coins, 10,000 gold coins for marriage expenses, and presents (jewels and silk garments) which were worth 14,000 gold coins total. (Wikipedia).

Good as Gold
Gold coins are not present in the official economy of Norway, at least not on the surface. However, gold coins live their shadow lives in the Norwegian private economy. Bullion is not the kind of riches that are talked about if it can be avoided. The political elite and the one percent rich have not forgotten the powers of gold.  And if we can learn from long dead cultures. Read more about the fascinating gold economy of Byzantin gold

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