- "And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for [as for] this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him." Exodus 32:1
The practice of creating statues made of gold or silver was not mere superstition, but a practicality stimulated by fear and a lack of faith.
The people literally deposited their gold, as well as other goods, into a common purse  sacrificed the right to it, and took, in turn, some sort of exchangeable token. The gold was poured or plated into a large statue for all to see. The wealth of the community was melted together.
The result of this common purse was that no one person could leave in the face of an enemy attack or trouble without leaving behind the wealth deposited in the golden idol. This was a way of creating a closed society but it bound the people and their loyalty and lead to centralization of power in society.
Their scarabs or tokens, which acted as a medium of exchange in a closed economy, were worthless except within their community. There was a possibility of some exchange with other communities but management practices may very from group to group creating inequalities that allow for profit. The priests of the temple kept track of all the complexities of this monetary system and, of course, eventually the profits from interest and usury.
These systems besides leading the people back to the bondage of Egypt were to common in the world which produced a need for the principle of "just weights and measures".
The Reserve Fund
This was a common plan found in many governments of that day and this. They deposited their family wealth in a central vault controlled by trusted men of government, in this case the golden calf was their “reserve fund”. Moses understood how it was a wicked thing to bind the people by anything more than love for one another, a passion for mercy and justice and the way of God the Father.
This practice was used in Athens, who called their golden statue of a god the “reserved fund”. In 406 B.C., at the close of the Peloponnesian war, after a naval disaster, Athens equipped and manned its new fleet by sending the gold statue of the god Nike (in the Parthenon) to the mint.
These idols of old were not just superstitious mumbo-jumbo, but paganism with a purpose. The statues were symbols for systems created by the hand of men. To bow down to an idol was to make yourself subject to the system it represented. That was idolatry.
Where these statues were made of precious metal like gold they did more than represent the system but also were a reserved fund established to protect the wealth of the people in a common purse but also to guarantee their loyalty. It also assured the power of the ruling elite. The king of Sodom had put more value on ”his” human resources than the treasure of his city. 
Aaron also knew these “arts of the temple” and accommodated the people. But Moses was outraged with the people for entrusting their family wealth in this unrighteous mammon. He knew it would return people to the bondage of Egypt. Moses then called out the Church in the wilderness to undo the mess they got into. Christ did the same when He called out the Church.
"Bishops, presbyters(Elder) and deacons occupy in the church the same positions as those which were occupied by Aaron, his sons, and the Levites in the temple." –Jerome, Ep. 146
The early Church did not depend upon a centralized treasury nor men who called themselves benefactors but exercised authority one over the other and neither did the Levites. They did not pray to the fathers of the earth but to their Father who art in Heaven. Those prayers were often answered by the Holy Spirit living in the hearts of the men and women as they freely assembled through faith, hope and charity and the perfect law of liberty.
Some people believe “Capitalism enables the richest few to control everything for their sole benefit.” They believe that, “Efficient rationing by the State would allow everyone to have the ability to get everything they need to have at least close to the same quality of life as everyone else.”
Rome tried state control of the means of production and they got chaos, economic decline and eventually collapse. While the Roman empire was suffering under runaway inflation, forced price controls, regulated rationing and free bread. They still suffered mass shortages.
However the christian community was not only surviving, but thriving. They did this by balancing capitalism with moral virtue and a network of charitable practices rather than the covetous practices of Rome's socialist state. The only reason the rich may have an advantage over the poor because the poor do not come together in a similar system of moral virtue and a network of charity.
Christ had forbid socialism and the use of government control, but not without offering an alternative. One of the basic problems with society today is that it does not understand what the early Christians were doing, including the modern Christians.
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- "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:" (Proverbs 1:10-14)
- In Egypt they used clay scarabs, in Rome they used iron coins and clay scarabs, in many countries they use notes and now even credit entries but none are "just weights and measures"
- This allowed some accountability which is always a problem but it did not solve the problem of over issuing the exchange tokens which caused inflation.
- The camp was now gated not only to keep people out but to keep the people in. Exodus 32:26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who [is] on the LORD’S side? [let him come] unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
- Leviticus 19:36 Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.
- Proverbs 16:11 A just weight and balance are the LORD’S: all the weights of the bag are his work.
- Athens, under the leadership of Pericles, was driven to her golden goddess, their reserve fund, and compelled to melt it down and coin it into money Peloponnesian Wars. They eventually minted a plated bronze tetradrachms in Athens during the hard times which followed the Athenian collapse, viz. from B.C. 406-393. “In 393 the wretched bronze money of necessity was cried down, the Town Crier being sent round to proclaim that silver was once more to be the only legal tender :” ARIST. Eccl. 819.
Aerarium (from Lat. aes, in its derived sense of ``money) the name (in full, aerarium stabulum, treasure-house) given in ancient Rome to the public treasury, and in a secondary sense to the public finances. The treasury contained the moneys and accounts of the state, and also the standards of the legions; the public laws engraved on brass, the decrees of the senate and other papers and registers of importance. These public treasures were deposited in the temple of Saturn, on the eastern slope of the Capitoline hill... In addition to the common treasury, supported by the general taxes and charged with the ordinary expenditure, there was a special reserve fund, also in the temple of Saturn, the aerarium sanctum (or sanctius), probably originally consisting of the spoils of war, afterwards maintained chiefly by a 5% tax... The later emperors had a separate aerarium privatum, containing the moneys allotted for their own use, distinct from the fiscus, which they administered in the interests of the empire. From a 1911 Encyclopedia
- "And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself." (Genesis 14:21)