Sunday, July 31, 2011

Another Coin Hoard Found in U.K.

21 more silver denarii found at a site in northern U.K. this month. Picture of the find below. Expanded story here.

This is in addition to some other recent much larger finds that I did posts on here and here.

This hoard (in MMT-speak: Savings) was again found buried in the ground in a shallow depth. Here is an excerpt from the article:

The archaeological context suggests that the hoard may well have been deliberately buried, rather than lost, and was probably the savings of an individual who was unable to recover his money. Twenty-one denarii in the late second century represented a substantial sum being roughly one tenth of a ranking auxiliary’s gross annual salary...

Based on the small number of coins (21) I have to think that this was an individuals personal savings, a bit over 1 month's pay. The small number of denarii would not be enough for a payroll of Roman soldiers at a wage of 1 denarius per day. So this person had put away a bit over one months salary.

I recently read some history that in the Roman Empire historians estimate that 1/3 of the population were in the Roman military/govt, 1/3 were 'free', and 1/3 were slaves. Some "advanced" society. You can look at these 21 denarii and perhaps assume that many other soldiers and free persons would have the same savings desires as the person who apparently lost possession of these 21 denarii.

Just as in the operations we witness by the Treasuries of our Western governments today, Roman Treasury/Finance officials in Britannia most certainly did not plan for the additional circulation of denarius to accomodate these savings desires; just spending enough denarii into circulation in Britannia to adequately provision the Roman military and government. So again like our situation today in the U.S., savings desires or "hoarding" led to a general shortage of denarii to be able to pay the Roman poll tax and/or to settle private transactions. Individuals who were not in position to obtain the denarius to pay the poll tax and/or provide for their means of subsistence would quickly be selling themselves into slavery or face conscription or prison labor camps, etc... depraved results. Though of course not exactly the same, one can see many parallels with the results in our current economies in the west.

Although we have made much social progress in 2,000 years, we in the west still have quite a long way to go to first reach a general accurate understanding of how our monetary systems operate, and then harness these systems to deliver the most righteous economy the west has ever experienced.


Anonymous said...

Probably just another crazed silver bug not sophisticated enough to understand the benefits of a pure fiat non-precious metal currency.

Ryan Harris said...

At the time, all the financial advisers in Rome were telling citizens to convert in to Silver Hoard I.R.A.s.

Anonymous said...

Mike Norman's Roman ancestors were telling clients that silver was a passing fad. He steered them towards Caesar bonds.

Anonymous said...

I wish they would just melt that old junk down and make some more circuit boards with it, they kind of are looking worn out anyways.

Matt Franko said...

Worn out: yes some of the coins were substantially larger than others yet they were all worth the same... silver content/weight obviously did not matter.

You either had the token (denarius) or not. If not, the empire picked up some more slaves.

Calgacus said...

Anonymous: Silver coins were Caesar bonds. A Caesar bond is what money is. And sometimes Caesar asks us to render what is his unto him. (The Indian rupee was "a note printed in silver" - from Keynes's first book.)

The commodity theory of money describes nothing, no human society ever. This is not saying that commodity convertibility never had any economic function.

Ralph Musgrave said...

“Although we have made much social progress in 2,000 years…” Oh yes? They had a credit crunch in Ancient Rome 2,000 years ago and dealt with quicker than we’ve dealt with the recent crunch. They opened their treasury and threw money around all over the place, and it worked.

Matt Franko said...

OK Ralph then I take it back... we have actually gone backwards in our understanding in 2,000 years!


PS Ralph: Are they giving away metal detectors over there or something? ;)