So then, not every piece of paper that said it was worth a certain amount of gold was actually worth that amount. I think it got as stupid as you only had to have 10% of all the gold you said you did (as evidenced by the papers they were giving out, which by this time had been standardized into a central process).
Eventually someone realized a mess was well on its way...and instead of working it back down to manageable and realistic levels...they just decided "to hell with it...no more gold backing at all...". This was a retarded move...
So then the standard switched to "America"...the dollar being king. America was willing to go into places and defend their "nationalism"...which included their money policies..which included the whole "the dollar is powerful, because we say it's powerful" policy that they were determined to make work...because if they didn't some very rich people would no longer be as rich.
Until technology came along...and all of a sudden...money is literally a number on a screen. That's all there is...just a number of how much you're worth.
I don't even know what banks are anymore. Just buildings, I guess. I mean, if there is not a physical backing...what the hell do they do all day? All there is is a database showing what your numbers are. It's like, you know how countries buy and sell gold at fort knox or wherever...and what the guys at fort knox do is take a pile of gold from france's pile, for example, and give it to brazil's? This is what banks do with people....they're just "balancing piles of gold" by taking some from your pile and giving it to others...and vice versa. All the while taking their cut...which is how they make money.
So, literally, a bank is like a data warehouse....it's ridiculous that they even exist in their physical form still. But, then again, most banks have moved beyond "personal" banking and have gone into "investment" banking...that is, "scamming businesses with the same exact processes they got people with"...
It's a good thing...they'll die by killing themselves.
And whoever gets a handle on the next step in the evolution of money is a very very "rich" (or whatever the word will be, it comes down to influence anyway) wo/man.
As for intrinsic value, I guess that's the rub....humans still have no idea what is in fact valuable. The problem is that value is a concept and we want to attach something real (tangible) to that concept to feel safe.
At the end of the day, I'd say what is actually valuable is whatever you think is valuable.