TAX  & SALT        מעשר

     The salt monopolies established at the turn of the millennium, such as  the Gabelle [fr]/gabellum [latin]/quabala [ English =receipt] [arabic]/gavia [hebrew] were the basis for a 'relatively' ordered but still  authoritarian Medieval history.    They were administered by the monks, and their Royal siblings. The customs and salt tax collecting points, 'limes' delineating the local inland salt monopoly or alternatively the through trade became the future frontier lines  of today's 'sovereign' states. It also led to the misunderstanding that a government monopoly in certain public sectors must be efficient and for 'our own' good

The  monopoly ensured that the population was bound to contribute to the community wellbeing willingly.   Provided that the demand was not in the extreme and that citizens could discern improvement and service for all,  any available valued asset or proportion of such assets were 

Mankind can live without gold...but not without Salt -[CASSIODORUS]

ESSAY  - SALT and the evolution of MONEY

ESSAY  - SALT and the community loss of civil liberty

ESSAY  - SALT and the evolution of MONOPOLY

  [ המלח והתפתחות המונופול ]

SALT and the evolution of TAX

The salt monopolies and their enforcement were the cruelest but perhaps the most practical of instruments for consolidating and wielding power until  the Industrial Revolution produced cheap salt. The inventive use of modern burning fuels suddenly allowed the efficient mass production of salt for everyone . The remnants of these authoritarian regimes are still with us, because anti-trust law is not yet fully recognized by most except the West's form of democracy. Even in some of the most advanced capitalist and democratic regimes this legislation is not fully understood.

An important component of wielding the power of the salt monopolies was the forced collection of valued contributions to an authority. An authority was established the moment a community needed to organize community services.  Possibly the first relevant and important community service was the preservation / salting of meat proteins for extended periods.   In the case of the temples it was a portion of the meat [(Hebrew: קָרְבָּן "sacrifice"; plural: korbanot or qorbanoth קָרְבֳּנוֹת), in Judaism  which was processed by sacrifice.   In the Temple in Jerusalem it was called a MA'ASAR מעשר  (Tithe) or Pe'ah (Hebrew:   פֵּאָor - a poor man's tithe] ie: approx. a tenth of the perceived value or portion.  In the case of the Temple operation The Tithe gave the Temple workers their living income and later  developed into a tax and gave the Temple a status of an authority . 

Prior to the establishment of money the contribution could have been of anything with a mutually agreed value   Later as the services provided by the Temple regime became more varied and included protection of the monopoly and bye products of the sacrifice processing,  it was  necessary to make widely available  a more universal means of exchange which developed into money, eg Cowry shells, and gold.  In extreme cases of famine even slavery became a means of exchange.

In order to impress confidence and perhaps to give a type of branding  to these important services the exclusivity of Cowry shells or gold and coins were no longer enough.   In order  to represent and give value to a growing community Hall-marked and self-stamped coinage and self-printed paper money given to citizens as tax receipts,  gave the  economy its own additional means of exchange without limit.  Today printing a personal cheque might be considered to be printing money.


Heller money  printed in the City of HALLE [hal -  αλάτι - alati = Greek salt]           The term heller (Czech: haléř, Slovak: halier) was also used for a coin valued at 1/100 of koruna in the Czech Republic (Czech koruna) and Slovakia (Slovak koruna),




Aristotle believed that primitive barter trading of standardized commodities 'hall-marked" by an authority for correct weight and quality, represented the first use of "money". He says......."as the the necessaries of nature were not all easily ,portable, people agreed for the purposes of barter, mutually to give and receive some article which.....was practically easy to handle in the business of life.....The trading of standardized pieces of salt, and metal have all the the aspects of dealing in what we call


Minor Unit of Salt-bar Money [Pitt Rivers Museum, South Parks Road Oxford.]      The Museum has many fine examples of local currencies from around the world—shell money, feather money, stone money, salt money


For instance bread-like moles of salt each weighing about 5 kg still circulate in Ethiopia as a means of payment     The Horn of Africa is  presently considered to be one of the poorest parts of Africa and  salt "Amoles"  were only until recently still used as means of exchange



An old Persian word for the shekel was  a [pathuka]--a 'ram'" (Dandamaev and Lukonin) It also meant five fingers [or worth a handful of salt?] possibly the handful of salt was the  amount required to de-hydrate by osmosis the meat of one ram and render it "kosher"


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Pliny following Aristotle's ideas, interprets the use of salt as a means of payment ..."in Rome...the soldier's pay was originally salt and the word salary derives from it..." Plinius Naturalis Historia. XXXI -

 [  Pliny may well have interpreted this payment wrongly.  To judge from the missions and the locations to which the Roman army was dispatched,  it would seem that protecting the salt sources and ensuring the 'via salarium' was  the true military objective - The first "legions" aka : LEGIO : "levying"   for the monarchy,  were not paid  since the collection of salt from those sources which was clearly the ultimate value itself,  was the Military business and responsibility.  It was necessary for their economic viability as a domesticated entity.   The minting of money and its perceived representative value has always depended upon the health of the economy and on the effectiveness of the regime's governance.  Failing these  the mint could only rely on an intrinsic mint value - eg salt.  Thus Rome may not have "fallen" into decadent bankruptcy but only moved  to a location where this basic value  was available - the eastern end of the Mediterranean   where Jerusalem's Dead Sea salt and  the Tuz Golu  salt lake in Cappadocia gave apparent valuation to the economy.   ].  

The 2008 MONEY CRISIS and  our complete misconception of money

Tax collection or the return of debt as an added burden to the perceived value of an economy can reduce the availability of money as a currency.    Any regime seeking market influence  for example, within the Eurozone in the case of Germany, can force others to bow to conditions. However since it is not the availability of money which determines the value of an economy [Greece et al]   any form of debt should be fluid and extendable in terms of its return.  It has already been spent and prices have already been recalculated.

Money is not a commodity. Salt was a commodity and it's value was governed by it's availability - When extremely difficult to obtain salt was available in exchange for human bondage and the means of exchange was a slave and slavery.

MONOPOLY  - India  - The Near East India Co.


MONOPOLY  - France



MONEY  represents VALUE [  money  should be specifically used as a means of measurement and not as a commodity ]

MONEY should only be printed or minted   in an amount  to reflect  work and its value produced, and work in progress over a designated period or when needed to replace existing assets' representations of value.

MONEY  ought only to be spent at a relative rate equal to actual services and work in progress or  the changing of ownership of assets

MONEY  authorized as tax reflects and holds steady the perceived value of the community economy and the stability of regime

MONEY fulfils its representative  value when it is spent on an article or service of value to society and which improves the living standard.

MONEY represents little or no value when  those 'who know not'  how to spend it,  do not improve their quality of life.

MONEY represents negative book value   when wrongly or badly spent   [inflation]

MONEY represents increased value   when spending it improves 'life' on this earth   [deflation]

MONEY which is borrowed representing accompanying collateral should not be charged with interest unless it is earning that interest as a profit  reflecting the added value of goods, services and work in progress

ESSAY   - SALT and the evolution of MONEY

[המלח והתפתחות המונופול]

Means of payment or "primitive money" is not yet money in the sense of G.F.Knapp's "State theory" of money, however by introducing the "tally" system - "tessera" or "talea" in Latin, "kerbholz" [notched wood] in German, "Teomim" in Hebrew, "symbolon" in Greek, Chih-chi" in Chinese ....the essential element in the evolvement of money currency became possible, the deposits of stored valued goods [salt] were represented by the tally, which then itself became a means of payment.

The tally was treated as currency.  Metal coinage and and paper money both became mass produced tallies, cheap to make but also easy to imitate, and so eventually limited to "smaller money" and used to pay individual tax. . A further refinement - the records of the tally's existence, became tangible and transferable, and so on, until even work and services could be "notched up" as transferable value. Thus paper 'value' began to replace the wooden tally system. It was the State's "charter" which gave such transactions their value and credibility, and state monopolies on valuable goods, which ensured intrinsic value. For example, in China in 1329 AD, all tax was paid in paper money,  82% of which came from the salt monopoly.tally money notched wood

The Tally was conventionally, a willow stick up to eight feet long and notched to indicate the sums loaned to government, receipts and advances were normally only in very large amounts in millions of pounds. On repayment the split halves were matched together. Tallies were abolished only in 1826. The burning of these old tallies caused [by chance] the destruction of the Houses of Parliament in 1834

MONOPOLISING the salt supply allowed control of the meaning and the value which money represented  As recently as 1930  this was demonstrated by Ghandi in India.  In particular the French Revolution also demonstrated how vicious this control  could hurt inhabitants.




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