Homo sapiens is the species that has changed the world (not necessarily for the better) but the power to reshape our physical environment and dominate other species (including the early homo species like Homo rudolfensis, erectus, neaderthalensis, florensis etc.) is unquestionable.
What makes Homo sapiens so powerful is its ability to create a third reality besides the objective reality shared by all beings and subjective reality inhabited by the single individual. Homo sapiens has created an inter-subjective reality – a network of inter-subjective meaning: a web of laws, forces, entities and places that exist purely in the common imagination of humans and that can coordinate the action of millions of individuals. This is the central thesis of the mind-expanding book Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Money is one of the most successful elements of our shared inter-subjective reality. No monkey will trade a banana for a piece of paper issued by the Federal Reserve, yet we do because we collectively believe it is valuable. Other figments of our collective imagination we believe are real? Our system of law, the concept of nation, the concept of human rights, the concept of corporation, the economic system etc.
Speaking of which, Chapter 16 – The capitalist creed is the first assigned reading in the course I will be teaching in September.