I wish I could locate the quote that insisted that money remembers. Maybe that’s why our currency tries to appear so classically Roman.
If money remembers, it also forgets. Until the beginning of the 20th century, American currency shunned portraits of historic people. Jack Weatherford, author of The History of Money, has written: “Despite nineteenth-century proposals to circulate coins with the likenesses of American heroes such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, public disapproval prevented them: no individual, no matter how great or how popular, could adequately symbolize America.”
Well, the Bible did have that injunction against worshipping graven images.
Still, the buffalo, Indian head, wheat sheave — even Lady Liberty — receded as America became more urban, more militaristic, and perhaps unconsciously more ashamed of the destruction of so much of its natural inheritance.
Just image would adequately symbolize America today?
Where in all of this imagery is an acknowledgement of money’s dark side? Are there clear messages of controls and limits? Or is there only noble enlightenment?