First Men

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Myths and legends of the market

The JC’s guide to the foundational mythology of the markets.™

None of your namby-pamby VM CSA arrangements for these fellas.

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The First Men were the survivors of an advanced garrison of “Salo-men” — mercentary soldiers loosely aligned to the ancient, ruined city of Salomoné — who, on a routine patrol of the wild Bretton Woods came across a ruined settlement — evidence of a now-vanished civilisation of child-like faeries — the Synthæse, or “Children of the Forest” — who eschewed all earthly rancour, regarded physical settlement of disputes as sinful and instead voluntarily exchanged their differences in a standardised, non-physical, “synthetic” terms[1] across a centralised marketplace.

After the predictable argument, followed by even more predictable drunken hand-to-hand combat in which all but two of the Salomen were killed, these two — the Saxon warlord Reg Margin and Romanian nobleman Oleg Paripasu — since remembered as the “First Men” — suddenly grasped these eternal verities and — isn’t it the way with mortal men? — thoroughly bastardised them. Instead of comparing idealised values plucked from a hypothetical realm of platonic perfection, and cash-settling any differences, the men used their metal tools to offset actual physical loan contracts in different currencies creating this unwieldy machine-age contrivance they called a “swap” (originally pronounced “swæp”, to rhyme with “crap”). But in doing so, inadvertently, they created the conditions for financial weapons of mass destruction and, eventually all-out destruction of the capitalist system as we know it. This has not yet happened, to be fair, and while it is foretold, the faithful yet wait, and pray, for some furry little futures brokers to arrive from nowhere with an army centrally cleared derivatives which may yet save us from ourselves.

See also


  1. The greek word συντίθημι, from which is the root of the name Synthæse, means “to bring together in one place” (from συν- (“together”) + τίθημι (“set, place”)).