[Illustrations, footnotes and references available in PDF version]
Money is power. You can use money to get people to do things for you, and to obtain real stuff. Most people will do almost anything, if you offer them enough money. In the current financial system, money is manufactured by central and private banks out of thin air: they make something from nothing. This is a great power. There is a system of checks and balances surrounding it, but the safeguards are imperfect. This is the story of the rise and abuse of that power.
The paper aristocracy, those who manufacture money and the financial smarties who work the system of paper money, have easy jobs and far more stuff than the rest of us. If you are not part of the paper aristocracy, you are effectively working for them, being subtly and persistently disadvantaged in ways you probably are not aware of. Ultimately those who wield the power to manufacture money have great financial and political influence, and have come to quietly rule the financial world.
This essay explains the story as simply as possible, for members of the public. There are a lot of interconnecting parts to the story, so unfortunately the essay cannot be short. So far most readers have found it eye-opening, informative, and thought-provoking. The essay starts a little slowly because we need to understand the basics of money manufacture, but then moves quickly.
And global warming? The money behind trading carbon emission permits will be colossal. The proposed system bears remarkable similarity to the paper money system: permits are manufactured out of nothing, given value by government decree, traded at a profit by big banks, and then the rest of us have to buy them. The same sort of game by the same people.