Thanks to Shihali for the inspiration!
According to St. Paul in 1 Timothy 6:10:
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”
Not that money is a bad thing; money is a neutral tool. People will often do many bad things for money’s sake, though. It’s the intention behind the act that makes a thing evil, and most acts can be evil as well.
But Shihali thinks the origin of money in Final Fantasy II (gil) itself come from Hell:
FF2’s ending states that killing the Emperor made the monsters vanish. Therefore, the natural conclusion is that the monsters are in fact demons from Hell.
Monsters carry gil. Where did they get this gil, though? There aren’t enough adventurers in very dangerous areas to get that much gil by killing less skilled adventurers and looting their corpses. And the monsters in Hell carry the most gil of all, despite having no invading adventurers to loot.
This problem is solved at a stroke by hypothesizing that gil itself comes from Hell. Monsters carried it from home. It might be a tangible link to Hell, which explains why stronger monsters carry more of it. No adventurer-looting is required, nor any explanation of why a demon hornet would carry money.
Breaking this down, it’s true that the monsters vanish in once at the defeat of Emperor. And Shihali raises a good point. More monsters exist in the world than adventurers can carry gold. And the gil isn’t the same as poaching. These monsters are actually dropping gil. So then, could there be merit to this theory?
I think so!
The question is, why do monster carry gil. Do they have wallets? On the way to Hell, in the Jade Passage, you can encounter a hidden shop behind a waterfall. So then, on their way to the world, do monsters shop there before roaming the earth? But this is the same gil humans use. So does gil comes from Hell?
What if monsters somehow amassed a fortune through raiding the destroyed towns? According to this theory:
The use of gil as human money is a secondary development. We know that there was a major demonic invasion a thousand years ago because Ultima was created to drive them back to Hell. We also know that the world of FF2, both a millennium ago and now, suffers frequent and destructive wars. During wartime or other severe economic stress, a government that can’t borrow money will start making more and more cash. In a modern system that means printing lots of banknotes and causing (hyper)inflation; in a premodern system that means putting less precious metal into each coin, debasing it. A monetary system based on pure Hell gil is immune to these hazards, and the slow damage done by constant deflation would be less of a threat than the rapid damage a desperate king could do. If the supply of gil expands rapidly, that means a demonic invasion is in progress and the economy has gone to hell anyway.
It seems that humans had their own form of currency before they converted to the stronger gil. It also brings parallels to Hell as a capitalist country bent on subjugation of others through taxation.
The world of Final Fantasy II would lead a communist life after the death of the Emperor. Money, and by extension class, disappear. The kingdoms the Emperor tried to destroy would eventually fall, yet the world would be in peace.