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Abstract

In his book “Money and Magic”, recently republished in English, Hans Christoph Binswanger explains the long-hidden message of the second part of Faust, the most famous drama by Germany’s leading poet, philosopher, researcher and statesman, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Not unlike the Revelation of John, Faust II, was written in a cryptic way (and Goethe did not want it published during his lifetime at all). Unlike the far more accessible Faust I, it had long been neglected.  In his exposition of its content, Binswanger reveals that the drama is about economics, and the link between money creation and economic growth in particular. It tells the profound story of the human quest to challenge God, by producing an alternative ‘creation’, overcoming mortality and transcending time and attempting to achieve mortality – all through economic growth – the eternal ‘economic project’. This quest, however, is revealed to be doomed, based as it is on deception, trickery and fraud, with the monetary system being the modern version of the medieval alchemy, whereby the alchemist attempts to gain money, power and eternal life, and using this promise to motivate followers. In Faust, the alchemist’s guiding hand is the devil. Goethe identified central bank money creation as another deceptive scheme by the ‘Great Deceiver’, Satan. In the process, lives and the environment are being destroyed.