Recent discussion of Gresham’s Law of currency in the December 2009 issue of the Culture Wars monthly, includes comments on Gresham’s Law which tells us that “bad money drives out good” should also be interpreted as saying that “cheap money drives out expensive money” according to the author W. Patrick Cunningham in his article on “Devouring Our Young: Teen Ministry and the Politics of Discontinuity.” I would like to call attention to historic background of the Gresham’s Law.
Protracted monetary crisis in early sixteenth century Poland was caused by flooding the country with debased Polish coins minted fraudulently by the Hohenzollerns of Berlin, who thereby destabilized the economy of Poland and damaged the Vistula wheat trade. Acting as Poland’s finance minister Nicolaus Copernicus described the necessary monetary reform in his book and while working with the Polish Seym, he established in 1526 a new currency unit named “złoty.” Thus, zloty became a basic unit of the monetary system in Poland.
Copernicus published in Latin his book on monetary reform early in 1526 under title: “Monetae Cudende Ratio” in which, for the first time in history, he stated the law of currency that “bad money derives the good money out of circulation.” At that time Thomas Gresham (1519-1579) was seven years old.
The Seym immediately passed it into law The Act of Monetary Reform of 1526. The currency reform was adopted by Prussia in 1528 because Prussia was then a fief of Poland after Albreht von Hohenzollern paid on his knees the first act of homage in the market of Kraków in 1525 and recognized the control of the Polish king over Prussia. It was the first pact in Europe torn by religious conflicts, between a Catholic king and a Protestant vassal duke.
Economics were Copernicus’ family tradition. His father Nicolaus Copernicus Sr. registered in Cracov as a copper wholesaler for trade with Gdansk. In 1454 Nicolaus Copernicus Sr. served the acting chancellor of Poland Zbigniew Cardinal Oleśnicki as an envoy to the Prussian Estates to negotiate the unification of Prussia with Poland. In order to perform his duties Nicolaus Copernicus Sr moved in 1458 from Cracov to Torun closer to Prussia and there in 1473 was born Nicolaus Copernicus Jr who became the father of modern astronomy after he discovered (about 1504) that the earth rotates daily on its axis and with other planets it is in orbit around the Sun.
Copernican Calendar was astronomically correct and was accurate within two minutes per year. It solved the problem of celebrating Eastern at the correct time, and it was used despite attacks by John Kalvin and Martin Luther who hanged and burned Copernicus in effigy in Magdeburg and called him “Damn Polack Astronomer.”
The Hohenzollerns paid homage to kings of Poland for over a century. King of Poland founded the University of Koenigsberg in 1544. The Hohenzollerns of Berlin were able to take advantage of panic of Jewish bankers in Poland, after the Cossack’s rebellion and horrible pogroms of 1648 in the Ukraine. These bankers feared the repercussions that would lead to eviction from Poland of all Jews, especially the money lenders, the way it happen previously in Spain.
The Hohenzollerns profited from the transfer of commercial capital to Berlin from Poland by Jewish bankers. In 1701 they were able to proclaim the Kingdom of Prussia, with capital in Berlin. When Austro-Prussian (1740-1749) war was fought for possession of Silesia it rendered Berlin government broke. It started again to flood Poland with bogus money to salvage its finances. At that time the Prussians stole from Leipzig the dyes to mint Polish zlotys and used Jewish minters to produce the bogus money. Berlin continued to act as an international parasite and on three occasions proposed schemes for dismembering Polish Nobles Republic starting in 1656 then in 1720 and in 1733.
Berlin, was burned down by the Russians in 1760. Russian minister Alexis Bestuzhev-Riumin tried to destroy the new Kingdom of Prussia in order to prevent it from acquiring means to dominate the 350 independent German principalities and form a new German Reich with capital in Berlin, which would mean modern unification of Germany for the first time in history. Bestuzhev proposed an exchange in which Russia would acquire parts of Podolia or Belorus, while Poland would acquire Silesia and East Prussia populated, especially in the region of Mazurian Lakes by Mazurs, colonists from Mazovia in Poland. The proposal failed because Polish citizens of the Noble Republic did not want to became subjects of the Tsar of Russia.
The miracle of Prussian history occurred, when a German women born in Stettin, became Catherine II of Russia and successfully conspired in the assassination of her husband Peter III (1728-1762). On July 9, 1762 she conducted a coup d’etat, which put her in power in St. Petersburg. The same year Berlin initiated partitions of Poland, after 65 years of “Saxon Night” (1699-1764) as the union of Poland with Saxony is known. It was the most dismal period of the history of Poland. Kingdom of Prussia was saved from destruction and Berlin was able to provoke a series of Polish-Russian wars; each war gave Berlin a chance for robbery of Polish land by annexation. Thus, one could add that the Poles saved the Kingdom of Prussia from final liquidation, after 244 years of its creation in 1701.
The partitions of Poland in 1762-1795 were crucial for the Kingdom of Prussia to acquire as much land as was the combined area of 350 other German independent principalities at the time. Thus, the annexation of Polish provinces was the key to Berlin’s domination over all of Germany.
Similarly as it happened with Copernican law of currency, which the British call the “Gresham Law,” so today one reads in British books fraudulent statements about World War II in which it is falsely stated that the British broke the German military code Enigma. This is false and even the British government officially accepts the fact, that on July 25, 1939, Poland gave Great Britain and France each a copy of a linguistic deciphering eletro-mechanical device for reading of the German secret military code Enigma, complete with specifications, perforated cards, and updating procedures. Thanks to the Polish system for breaking the Enigma, the British project Ultra was able to interpret and update German secret messages during the entire war of 1939-1945. In 1999 the American code expert David A. Hatch of the Center of Cryptic History, National Security Agency, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, wrote that: “the breaking of the Enigma by Poland was one of the cornerstones of the Allied victory over Germany.”
The history of Enigma and of perennial bad money problems now called the Gresham Law relate to the usurpation by the English of the work of Copernicus and Polish cryptologists, etc.