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New Dollars In Beijing
by Dr. Richard Kirby,
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The second story in the Thalers saga, click here for Part One, "The Dance of Dollars."

Richard Kirby continues to work as a theologian by writing (like C.S.Lewis, J.R.R.Tolkien, H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, and Olaf Stapledon) fiction and non-fiction in a parallel stream to convey the truths of the spiritual life and the power of spiritual values to build new civilization.


The Finance Minister of India was relaxing in Beijing. Indira Mayur, this was her name. Brahmin was her caste. Holy India was her Mother and her Motherland; and secular India was her employer through its government.

It had been a tiring trip to meet her Chinese counterpart; but now at last she was able to enjoy a little relaxation on a short tour of Beijing. With a happy sigh, she put away her copy of the Far Eastern Economic Review and allowed her mind to unwind as the travel guide spoke of the beauties of old China.

She admitted to herself that the life of a Finance Minister is not all glamour. True, you have the limousines and the chauffeurs and the air-conditioning in the government offices, and you have a few secretaries. But you are bound by government policy; you have to please the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, and if you do not your wings are clipped and you are reduced to the role of a mere functionary. Frustrating!

And the wider truth of rough-and-tumble politics was that at any moment you might be the one thrown to the wolves to be a scapegoat for the government's mistakes or perceived failings. She unscrewed the bottle of mineral water and took a sip to refresh her thoughts. Well, there were always the - admittedly highly variable - pleasures of family life. Even so, Indira took her job seriously. Too seriously, her husband jealously said. But although her children complained at her absences on official business, she cared about her work enough to do it with real earnestness.

And sometimes with puzzlement and frustration. Take these Thalers, for example. They were becoming a real thorn in the side of Finance Ministers from quite a few countries. And the World Bank. Their notion of 'free money', or New Money, which they called Neumeny, was not only ridiculous, it was conspicuously false. She wished that could dismiss them as amiable lunatics - they were at least affable - but they were well too educated for that. Her German counterpart had suggested that 'Great wits were sure to madness near allied,' and the Thalers, though admittedly brilliant, were simply insane. They had flown too near the sun and their sanity had melted under its heat. Even so, he confided to her that their revolutionary civic energies had something of genius about it, even if it was a mad genius. And certainly not relevant to the real world economic situation.

Their ideas of quadrupling the World National Product more or less instantaneously were preposterous. Worse, they were gaining enough popularity among poor people to become a real threat to the true economic doctrines which guided the rational policies of sane finance ministers. The iron laws of economics may be sad in some ways, but they are laws - so she agreed with her finance minister colleagues around the world and at the World Bank. True, there were some dissenting voices.

The readers and writers of Wired magazine were fond of arguing that wealth was primarily in the imagination, not in fossil fuels or matter of any kind. But this argument would lead, if followed to its logical conclusion, from the idea of material things being wealth to that of mental ones being wealth to the destination of the argument - that it is spiritual energies, or at least moral ones, which are and which engender real wealth. And although Indira was a devout Hindu she could not assent to the idea that divine energies touching the earth plane were anything substantially valuable for hard-bitten Finance Ministers.

Oh dear, it was so hard to relax! Even in the Palace Hotel in the heart of Bei-Jing - the 'Northern Capital' - it was not easy to unwind when there were such revolutionary notions circulating. She knew that in the days of Einstein's first publications most physicists dismissed his ideas as incomprehensible, untestable or false. But economics had no Einstein, she was sure of that. The same had been true when Quantum Mechanics was born.

Few understood or believed it, though it had led to concrete results. But even the theorists such as Richard Feynman confessed that the Quantum World was not common-sense one. In fact, it was bewildering. Yet it worked.

But there was no quantum theory in economics. Nor could there be one. For a few mystic dreamers and speculative professors, maybe, but Finance Ministers had to deal with the real world, the world of Besides, the Thalers and their ideas about Neumeny were political revolutionaries primarily; they were de-stabilizing, even seditious. The fact that they were amiable, even charming, and persuasive too, could not alter the falsity of their so-called theories. Indeed, they were no theories at all in the sense of rigorous economics. As for their so-called Money Lab, it was more like a marketing trick, though a clever one, than any kind of economic laboratory, let alone an economic engine. The Wizard of Oz!

The Thalers had recently taken to decking out their economic fantasies in the form of a so-called theory or even an economic ideology, which they called Social Quantum Finance. She knew is was really a conjuring trick. She knew that periodically people would imagine they had discovered the idea of perpetual motion, only to find the error in their reasoning which deflated their idea and their invention and their ego. The same applied to economic laws. Money could not just appear; it had to backed up by productivity.

As to the Thalers, the idea of "Free Money", even if it was packaged in quotations from Hebrew prophets about hungry people with no money coming for a meal - well, such prophecies were all right about a heavenly kingdom, but Finance Ministers have to deal with the real world.


It was evening. The hotel was pleasantly air-conditioned. Indira had spoken to her husband and children by phone, and was trying to catch up with the backlog of paperwork, after a refreshing shower, before the evening meetings with Chinese dignitaries. She knew there would be too much food, but it was hard not to eat when everyone else was!

The hotel room was a lonely place, despite the telephone, the television, the private bar, the fax machine, the sumptuous beds. Indira's secretaries were nearby, but she still felt lonely. And angry. She was quite angry still, thinking about those charlatans, those impostors, those frauds - the Thalers. She had heard that they had even dared to apply for a visa for India to present their loony ideas to the people of India. Of course, the poor people of India wanted to hear about free money - who wouldn't? But government was not about philanthropy; that was a different realm of society. Government was the art of hard choices. It was about management and leadership. It was about difficult decisions - not benevolence. The life of a Finance Minister was not made easy by fantasies masquerading as potential government policy.

Anyhow, she knew - and smiled briefly as she considered this fact - that the Thalers would be denied a visa, so they would not be able to spread their seditious lies in Mother India.

Indira decided she would turn her attention to the history of China for a little while, and she considered the fact of psycho-archeology, as an American professor had called it. The Chinese mind was in layers or strata. She never could be sure whether the layer of the Chinese mind with which she would be dealing was that of Confucian times, or revolutionary Maoism. She might be conversing with that part of the Chinese mind which was Taoist, or that part which was Communist. Of course the same was true of India. Both these huge countries, with their two billion citizens, were negotiating a movement from being an ancient civilization to a modern one. And they were trying honorably to work out a noble financial ethic, a shared capitalism which was TRULY just, unlike the pseudo-justice which the Thalers pretended to be propagating.

The Thalers! She could not get them out of her mind. Their ideas about new money, new dollars, were plain magic, mysticism, Moonshine. To be fair, they admitted that it was 'magic money' which they offered. They were scholars enough to know that back in the days of the post-World War Two economic councils, there was an attempt at the Bretton Woods conference to create a new world currency, the Bancor, but this was voted down by the financial statesmen of the time. They simply said that their own new currency, their New Dollar, was a far more intelligent currency {what impertinence!}.

Indira admitted to herself that she could not concentrate. She felt her worldview had been destabilized by the Thalers and their dreams of magic money. She decided she would meditate instead, to regain her center. Sitting down in a comfortable chair, she focused her mind, steadied her breath and began to use a mantra which she had learned when young. Allowing other thoughts to pass by her mind, she would begin to open a kind of skylight in her mind. It seemed like a flap in the top of her head; and sunlight would seem to come through it and bless her.

India began her meditation. It calmed her. She allowed inspiration to come to her; and as it did she pictured a shower of blessings like a garland of blossoms around her whole head. She allowed this picture to stay with her, and then relaxed her concentration so that she could see this blessing touching the whole planet. It was spiritual wealth.

It was then that IT happened. Suddenly, before her mind's eye, the flower-petalled elements of the shower of blessings became banknotes. She knew with another part of her mind that her profession had led her unconscious or higher mind to translate her imagery into economic pictures. And yet with another part of her mind she also knew that this was her attempt to digest the Thalers' theories - money BLESSING the whole world; a global financial-civilizing cultural wealth, a spiritual finance indeed. And to stop this line of thought she opened her eyes, which had been closed. This was easy, for she was distracted by what seemed to be an insect brushing her face. She opened her eyes to identify the stimulus, and her eyes opened wide indeed.

For what was drifting down from the ceiling was not an insect. It was a procession of banknotes. They were real. They were tangible, palpable, crisp and new. They bore the designation, One New Dollar.


Years later, after Indira had been promoted from Finance Minister to Prime Minister, she thought of that moment as the turning point in her career. It had been a blessing and a revelation not just for her, but for Mother India also.

The sheer goodwill that had ensued! Her New Paradigm in Finance had brought together business and religious leaders in India. It had done the same in China. Together the new countries had created a new definitions of currency valuation. They had inspired a global community. The United Religions community adopted the ideas of her spiritual economics, as did the World Parliament of Religions committees. She knew now that Mother India had once again blessed the world. Ex Orientis Lux indeed (Out of the East comes light.)!

The Holy Finance movement was Asian in origin, but it touched the world. It had been a magic moment indeed. Money had in that sacred hour been summoned to the heights; had been initiated into a state of grace; had mutated into an instrument of blessing. As a social invention, New Money was a gift of Mother India to the hungry world. Holy India had once again brought glory to world culture, and transformed civilization with a new continent of thought.



Dr. Kirby is also crafting a new genre - Financial Fiction. This is a new branch of literature, just as Science Fiction was the New Thing 100 years ago. Financial Fiction studies future finance and its effects on society just as science fiction studies future science and technology and their effect on society. And, just as science fiction can inspire actual new science and technology and public policy (NASA gave Arthur C. Clarke an award for his intellectual motivation, perhaps "inspiration" in encouraging them to get to the moon), so Financial Fiction [FinFi or FF] aims to inspire future, better finance in its many constituent "financial sciences" (and their associated arts) such as banking, economics, stock markets, venture capital, etc.

New Dollars in Beijing is new fiction, a sequel to "Dance of the Dollars." Specially written for WNRF, it is more about the mystical Thaler family, bearers of magic money. Just as science fiction created its "myth of the future" as described by such writers as Brian W. Aldiss in Trillion-Year Spree: the History of Science Fiction," so Financial Fiction [FinFi or FF] aims to create a new myth, a myth of future financial culture, a global financial civilization of love and abundance. This implies a spiritual economics, finance as a way of life, a global financial ethics of creativity and abundance, a road for religious communities to walk in as they redeem the worlds of money and their motives.

The WNRF Academies are building creative teams to turn stories such as this into movies and other visually-enriched and cyber-innovative art. We are also looking especially for cartoonists to illustrate a new cyber-cartoon strip telling the life of the Thalers. Please contact feedback@wnrf.org if you would like to be a part of the teams.

URL: http://www.wnrf.org/cms/dollars2.shtml

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© 1998-2010 by World Network of Religious Futurists
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