Category Archives: Jamaican

Bitcoin: All You Need To Know, Part 1 – Defining the Monetary System

In recent years there has been a significant increase in the value of cryptocurrencies, particularly ‘Bitcoin’. Cryptocurrencies are units of value which are used to verify the transfer of funds independently of a central bank. They are based on secure encryption techniques and are seen by many as the way forward. Before we can understand the assumed need for cryptocurrencies we need to assess the current monetary system and the history of its development. Money like crytocurrencies is a medium of exchange, but before money was invented we used the bartering system.

The bartering system is a method of trade where goods and services are traded for other goods and services instead of for money. The value of goods and services compared to the value of the goods or services for which it is being traded, is subjective and based on the parties involved. The bartering system was introduced by Mesopotamia tribes and adopted by the Phoenicians. this method of trade dates back to 6000 BC (1). The system was improved by the Babylonians. Roman soldiers were paid with salt as it was a very valuable commodity. It is interesting to note that the bartering system was used during the Great Depression of the 1930s due to the lack of money (1).

Bartering has the advantage of flexibility as items traded do not have to be consistent. on one day a cow can be traded for 2 goats while on another day a cow can be traded for a service. The  system however suffers as there is no trade protection. Defected items can be exchanged without prior knowledge. Trade may also be unfair to one party or even impossible and goods may not be divisible to allow for fair trade, for example trading a chicken for a turkey. Portability of goods being exchanged was also a major limitation.

The bartering system formed the basis of trade which gave rise to the invention of money. Initially value was placed in gold and silver and they became a medium of exchange. The Greek state of Lydia introduced the first old coin in 560 BC (2). The use of gold quickly spread and the gold Ducat introduced by Venice became the most popular coin for half a millennium. Silver came into use when the bimetallic monetary system emerged in 19th century America. The USA didn’t authorize the printing of paper until 1861. Paper money became a sort of receipt to represent gold owned in the bank as paper money was backed by gold. The Bretton Woods agreement, in 1946 fixed the price of gold at $35 when the USD became backed by gold (2).

So why did the bartering system end? Why was paper money introduced?

There are several features of money that must be satisfied for efficient exchange. Money must be:

  • Divisible
  • Durable
  • Portable
  • Widely accepted
  • The same for equal unit values
  • Easy to Identify (3)

This made it more practical to have paper money as a representation of value.

This seems to be a good enough system but there is a significant problem. Who controls the money? Not the government! The central bank does. This bank can freely print money and loan it to the government and has the power to cause or prevent inflation. In 1971 the USD was taken off the gold standard, meaning it was no longer backed by gold. The money is then called fiat currency and its use is completely based on trust. The currencies of all central banks are backed by the USD but the USD is backed by nothing. Unlike the case of the gold standard, money is now very unstable. Gold is valuable because there is limited quantity in existence. This forced stability. But now that money is not backed by gold and can be freely printed, its supply is not limited making it much less valuable (4).

How is money created?

When the government needs more money than it receives from taxes it asks the treasury for money. The treasury then receives a bond (IOU) from the government. The treasury then gives this bond to =the federal reserve through the banks. The federal reserve then writes a cheque for the bond  and gives it to the bank, which then hands it to the government. At this point money is created as the federal reserve writes the cheque with no existing money to back it (4). Another example is the credit card, a bank issues a credit card which allows you to spend money you don’t have, this money literally comes from nowhere as it is not drawn from another person’s account. you repay this debt with interest and as a result the bank creates money. It is legal as they create the system and please note that this is not run by the government. We therefore have a debt based monetary system as increasing debt is needed for the creation of money.

What would be the issue with having a decentralized monetary system not controlled by any one individual? Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a system in which the supply of money is limited and not subject to inflation? Well Bitcoin appears to have the solution. In the next installment we will explore the new method of accounting for transactions using cryptography.

 

References

  1. https://www.mint.com/barter-system-history-the-past-and-present
  2. https://www.thelocal.no/20111114/the-long-history-of-gold-trading
  3. http://www.virtualkollage.com/2017/01/the-features-of-money.html
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQUhJTxK5mA&t=73s

 

Aldeam Facey 2018

Advertisements

Conflict Of Interest #8 Minister of Religion Cheats In Exam

It has been a while since I last updated my ‘Conflict Of Interest’ series, but this story is quite interesting. I remember some time ago I wrote a blog about my experiences invigilating exams at UWI. I started invigilating again and just this week a theology student, a minster of religion was caught red-handed cheating in her examination. She had a paper of notes neatly hidden behind her ‘minister of religion’ identification card. Caught in the act of cheating she couldn’t deny it.

Fortunately for her grace was granted and she was at least allowed to complete her examination. Cheating is not a rare occurrence in examinations, but this one got a lot of attention because invigilators usually do not critically watch theology students as cheating is not expected from ministers in training. It is interesting to note though that subsequent to that event, all theology students are keenly watched during examinations.

At the end of the exam, the lecturer for the course was summoned and was making inquiries of her cheating student. The examiner asked ‘Do you think Jesus would d such a  thing?’ and the shocking reply from the student, who appeared to be in her late 50s ‘I don’t think God would want me to fail’.

Should we be critical of her simply because she is a theology student? We certainly do not make such a big deal of other cheating students. Med students cheat very frequently and they are being trained to saving lives. Should we forgive and forget and allow her to cheat 70 times 7? The criticisms are based on the expectations of a minister, can we trust her lead her church by example? Could it be she was the victim of possession and the devil made her do it?
I am in no way qualified to throw any stones, but this certainly is a conflict of interest.

Aldeam Facey 2017

 

The Role Of A Woman

There have been many talks recently of equal rights. You are probably aware of the stimulating topic that is now taking over Jamaica. There has, for year been a conflict between gender roles and traditional views are being trampled by modern thoughts. Women want to be treated the same way men are treated, but should they? What is the role of women in the family and in society? The trending paradigm shift will certainly tear the fabric of our culture. Is this benifical or detrimental?

I believe in equity, not equality. Women and men are not equals and should never be treated as such. In certain contexts I believe both genders should be treated equally such as, equal pay for equal work or promotions. I don’t believe that is a problem in Jamaica as we have more female managers then males and significanly more females achieving tertiary education. If we should treat everyone equally, it would require everyone to be of the same gender, colour, height, weight, age, race and physical abilities. This is certainly unachievable! Imagine a physically challenged man in a wheelchair trying to get up a staircase vs a healthy man, who would you assist? Clearly the disabled. That, is equity.

Why should I open a door for a woman when she can clearly open it for herself? Why should I pull out a chair? Are her hands numb? Why should I pick up the bill at a restaurant? How do you feel after reading those questions? Probably you assume that I am not a gentleman. I would assume the same. I actually believe that women should be treated specially, as they are deserving of such. But in the cry for equality, shouldn’t a woman open the door for me too? Why plea for something only when it benefits you? The point is we are different and should be treated accordingly, within the confines of the law.

So what is the role of a woman?

In the begining God created the Heavens and the Earth…. He created man, then for him a ‘help meat’. So women are created to support, care, nurture, while men lead, love and protect them. If we look at some scriptures in the bible as well, it definately supports this point. A woman may never usurp authority over a man a man should ( as much as possible) be the leader. Idealy, In a relationship, or organization, there should be a leader and a support/support team. The Jamaican proverb states that “two bull can’t live inna one pen”. This means that if two leaders are in the same space there will be conflicts. In a relationship, given the man is fulfilling his duties, a woman should submit herself to him. Now women will argue that ‘he is not fullfilling his duties’ and in her own way try to define his duties. Such women must be taken to dinner, and left there with the bill, never to be called again… I kid.

In the adventist church, women cannot be ordained pastors.
Women can be leaders where men fail to lead, but as long as there are fully capable men, let the gender roles remain.

It is also important to note that these gender roles are biological, not self-identified. Bruce/Catlin Jenner, is a man, and should be treated as such!

– Aldeam Facey 2017

To Beat Or Not To Beat

It was a cold dark night, full of mischief that evades memory. I stepped through the gate like I was the ‘man a yaad’, only to be greeted by the lady of the house. She was clearly angry about what I had done. Back in those days we kids didn’t have smart phones, so I doubt it had anything to do with nude videos on Instagram or voice notes telling her how good it taste. But whatever transpired that night was whipped from memory as the lady of the house made her inquiries. We were still at the gate, lack of preparation this time around prevented her from having the special leather belt with the names ‘Aldeam’ and ‘Everlee Facey’ etched on its buckle. As she held my shirt, I could see her silhouette looking left and right for an instrument of correction. Knowing this I made attempt to escape the prison of her arms. But like the love of God ‘neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature…’ was able to separate us. As I struggled to be free I recognized the strength of a woman. She finally found a substantial element capable of forgiving sins, purifying and creating a new creature. A loose chain hanging from the gate became less an item of security, less an element of aesthetics but became a whip, a lie detector test and a rod of correction. As the chains of Olympus fell squarely on my back, ‘wooii’ was my cry. All secrets were revealed, all apologies made and the lord was remembered.

‘Weh yuh did deh?’

Chains…

‘Look from when mi a call yuh?’

Chains…

‘Dweet again!’

Chains…

With each question tied to a swing to encourage a speedy response, confirmation was guaranteed. The session was probably two minutes long, but it felt like an hour. All I know for sure, is that whatever I did, was never repeated.

www.lifeofajamaican.com

Memories of my most noteworthy spankings floated around my mind as the video of a young girl being spanked by her mother was echoed by the Jamaican media. Naturally people took sides; some believed the mother (who has since been arrested) was too extreme and was guilty of child abuse, others thought nothing was wrong. It may seem contrary to the truth, but based on my experience, such expressions of anger by a mother, when her child misbehaves,comes from a heart of pure love. She wants what is best for her child, she doesn’t want her daughter to make the same mistakes she did. At least that is what I believe. Our culture is supported by a large number of people who believe they should never ‘spare the rod and spoil the child”. Majority of the Population are Christians and as a child I often hear the following text used to justify spankings:

“Proverbs 13: 24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (KJV).

There are many other methods of punishing children for their misconduct such as removing privileges. In the context of rural Jamaica, where such privileges were initially nonexistent  that may not be the best option. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with spanking, majority of the concerns regarding the recent video was the mothers use of the machete. Now clearly, this mother knew what she was doing, clearly she is an experienced machete wielder. No dogs or children were chopped and as in my case, that was probably the closest ‘rod of correction’ she could find. In any case, I disagree with the use of a machete as it is a ‘high risk’ choice but I completely support spanking!

 

-Aldeam Facey 2017

Equal Rights!

Recently, Jamaican dancehall artiste, Ishawna, has been the center of attention for her song “Equal Rights”. While I am a little late to the dinner party, I thought I would take a bite out of this cake of controversy as this tasty topic is often ignored. The song endorses cunnilingus and clearly indicates that if one expects to ‘receive’, one should also ‘give’. This is a fair point but does one expect a macho Jamaican man to stoop to such levels and openly admit it? Have a listen!

 

I recall writing an article about this very topic where I interviewed some Jamaican males and some were open to the idea. This indicates the changing views in the Jamaican culture. In the article I noted that a friend of mine was willing to have his name posted, but when the article was published, and friends started mocking him, he messaged me asking to be anonymous. Here is his comment when asked his views on cunnilingus:

Anonymous 4: “Yow pum pum fi eat! Mi naa hide an talk! Das why my girl love me enuh. All when e jaw dem big an yuh…”  (he was very descriptive).

The poll at the end of the article had 69% of the respondents (males) supporting cunnilingus. What a coincidence!

Most, however, still oppose openly. Jamaican men are very egocentric and macho, they view oral sex as being degrading and or emasculating. I found this to be particularly true when doing some surveys for the same topic using the female population. Literally every female asked, whether or not they have performed oral sex, support the activity. Why is it that women support the activity but men don’t? Let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of equal rights with regards to oral sex for  Jamaican men.

Advantages of supporting Equal Rights:

  1. Your female partner may finally cum!
  2. Possible reduced frequency of infidelity.
  3. You may receive more sex.
  4. Wetter is better. Foreplay will make sex more enjoyable for females. She doesn’t have to flick it, if you lick it before you kick it.

 

Disadvantages of supporting Equal Rights:

  1. Lose respect from your friends. Because, I mean, you HAVE to tell them about it.
  2. You may bruise your knees.
  3. Your tongue may get tired.
  4. If your wife wants to kill you, she may choke you with her thighs.
  5. Your partner will start to boss you around, you will lose the authority as man of the house and the power of the puss with reign! ha ha ha.

 

There are no real disadvantages. It all comes down to ego. Whether or not you support it, should be your decision, not society, not friends, not culture. If you don’t agree with it, don’t do it, and don’t ask for it. If you do agree, enjoy your meals.

 

– Aldeam Facey 2017

Unwritten Rules And Norms Of The Jamaican Culture

For such a small country, Jamaica has one of the richest cultures worldwide. While many try to duplicate, a significant portion of or norms can only be experienced here. Let’s Look at some of our norms that have been etched in our culture.

  • We have the remarkable ability to replicate the American accent when talking to Americans, or after a short stay in the country. Whether or not this is done well, is a very subjective matter.
  • It is perfectly legal to park the letter ‘h’ anywhere in a sentence. Example ‘Hi am feeling very appy’. 
  • Whenever you are at a shop in rural Jamaica, often times no one is present to sell you items. You indicate your need for service by shouting “Serve”. Someone will appear to help.
  • You do not have fried dumplings for dinner. They are good for breakfast only.
  • Guys can have a complete conversation using only the sound ‘ahh’.
  • You must acknowledge the national anthem before watching any movie at the Theatre. 
  • It is your right to convey that you are filled with the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues when worshiping at a Pentecostal church, but not at a Catholic church.
  • More often than not, the biological father is absent from the household.
  • An effeminate male is immediately categorized as homosexual.
  • Rice and peas, with your choice of meat, is expected for Sunday dinner.
  • Ginger bulla, is eaten with pear (avocado).
  • Having multiple jobs is the norm.
  • If a vehicle “bad drives” you on the road, it is your duty to drive them down just so you can utter profanities at them.
  • Taxi drivers are known to be aggressive while driving. Make way.
  • Upon arrival from ‘foreign’, whichever country it may be, it is expected that you return bearing gifts.
  • There is absolutely nothing better that free food.
  • Everyone appreciates old Reggae Music.
  • We find being told negatives about our mothers to be especially offensive.
  • Most persons are not Rastafarians, most persons do not smoke weed and most persons rarely visit the beach. We find it surprising members of the international community believe those are norms.
  • The word ‘hush’ does not mean ‘shut up’. It is a sentiment of empathy. 
  • If someone is in our way when walking and we want to pass, we do not say ‘excuse me’ like the rest of the world, we say ‘sorry’. 
  • When singing the national anthem, it is ok to insert the sound ‘boom’  after ‘Jamaica’. Big up yuhself Omar McLeod. Boom! 

 

– Aldeam Facey 2016

Conflict Of Interest #7: Impregnating Two Women At Once – Part 1

This is a true story!

So we all know cheating is a big deal business in Jamaica. You are not a real Jamaican man until you have three ‘baby mommas’ you don’t care about.

 

So Matthew, 27, met a beautiful young lady, Samantha, 22, and wooed her panties to the floor. But other than falling in bed they fell in love and formed a ‘serious’ relationship. No one expected Matthew to joke around. But there is something powerful about vajay-jays that makes Jamaican men giddy headed. Matthew met another young lady, Sasha, mother of two children, and immediately fell into her. Of course, it was an accident. This accident happened over and over on the streets of an apparently busy highway, until the evidence of the mistake could no longer hide itself. She got pregnant. Naturally, the Jamaican thing for Matthew to do is to keep it a secret from Samantha for as many decades as possible, stressing about a possible revelation until he dies of a stroke. Okay so no big deal right? Wrong! Sasha is also in a committed relationship with the ‘father’ of her babies, a man who already questions the paternity of the children ‘given’ to him, who clearly lack the phenotypical characteristics that defines a father-child connection.

Sasha, naturally is afraid to tell her partner her big secret as he uses the machete very well and his mental stability has not been confirmed. So she presented the news to him in a brilliant fashion, ‘Babes, we havin a baby! I’m pregnant, for you’. Problem solved. We will get back to this later.

Matthew continued his relationship with Samantha and four months after Sasha got pregnant, Samantha had some good news for Matthew as well. Yes, you guessed it, Samantha found out she’s pregnant!…For ‘Matthew’.

At this point I’m sure Matthew shouted the very same profane words he did while he accidentally fell into those holes without head gear.

He eventually built the courage to tell his sisters that he got two women pregnant and without a doubt it was met with much surprise. No one else knew. Sasha’s baby, Kimberly, became Matthew’s first born and is loved by Matthew’s supportive sisters. It was a sibling secret and they kept their mother in the dark regarding the birth of Kimberly.

Months passed and Kimberly grew to become the clone of Matthew. So much so that Sasha’s physically abusive spouse is now asking for a DNA test. It is important to note that Sasha is a very close friend of the family, who often stays at the family house. Mathew had to break the secret to his mother, who resides overseas. But of course, he had to deliver the message in bite sizes. He told his mother Samantha is pregnant and was about to have his baby. Matthew’s mother was happy to hear such good news so he paused there for a bit.

This is where it gets interesting…

So Matthew’s mom decided to make a trip to Jamaica to meet her ‘first’ grand child, for whom she brought many gifts. She decided to have the entire family meet up at the family house. Samantha had just given birth to Shannele and they made the trip as well. It would have been a grand and happy time for stressed out Matthew except Sasha and Kimberly were staying at the house at the time.

Sasha and the siblings knew the whole story but the siblings eventually had to let their mother know. Much to her disappointment as she had given her heart and cash to Shanelle. It is important to note that during the visit Sasha felt so left out and unwanted, that she left. But to this day, Samantha is unaware that her child is not Matthews first.

Should he tell her knowing it would mean the end of their relationship?

Should Sasha tell her spouse?

In my view, to be honest, the truth sometimes really really hurts. Lets hope this is resolved soon, without injuries.

I can’t say I am excited to see how this story ends but it does encourage me to keep it in my pants until it rots.

I am an independent observer/advisor of the events. All names have been changed for privacy.

 

– Aldeam Facey (The Real Jamaican Man) 2016