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I think it's one of those 'When you have a hammer, everyone looks like a true Scotsman' arguments.

Most of these suggestions - including Martin Hay's disaster - confuse the various functions of money in not very insightful ways.

I think it would be interesting to have currencies that make all the different functions explicit, so you would know for sure whether your transaction was based on a claim of future resources, or executive rationing, or a simple power play, or any of the other things that people get up to while trying to hoard and/or spend imaginary tokens.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Sep 6th, 2013 at 03:31:26 PM EST
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That is a fascinating idea, which I will try and think some more on.
by Zwackus on Fri Sep 6th, 2013 at 09:08:26 PM EST
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There are plenty of people aiming to design just such currencies and good luck to them.

I take the view that most people would understand and accept in payment a local currency based upon and returnable in payment for the use value of land. The majority of fiat currency is in fact indirectly based upon capitalised land rental value.

I also take the view that most people would accept a currency returnable in payment for energy use.

Other currencies? Be my guest, invent what you like and see who accepts it.

But people-based (P2P) credit in respect of goods and services is not the same as currency, and is not to be confused with P"P debt in respect of existing fiat currency.

It is quite possible to envisage a community credit card owned by local businesses and people in common, and operating on a 'not for loss' basis as a utility, managed by a service-provider-formerly-known-as-a -bank.

Such a community credit (mobile SIM) card will require neither deposits nor currency for settlement of obligations because settlement may take place by chain generation A>B>C>D>E>A of open balances.

Such a mutual credit clearing system does require a meaningful unit of account, however. I'm open to suggestions as to what such a unit of account should be.

In my view, only a unit of energy works as a unit of account.

Unfortunately, Martin does not understand how the existing system works and that is a big mistake on ET.

I believe I understand it better than most, and I'm willing to learn from anyone. But I've found that the best way of learning is by doing.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Sep 7th, 2013 at 04:19:59 AM EST
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A>B>C>D>E>A appears to be a chain sequence as typed, but is actually a wave. You can choose to see "credit" circulating clockwise, "debt" circulating anticlockwise or both taking place at the same time.
by martinahay on Sat Sep 7th, 2013 at 04:44:11 AM EST
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the use value of land.

I think the majority of people have no idea what 'use value' is. And unless you're planning to throw open the big estates and country parks in the UK and allow people to grow food or put up holiday cottages on them, 'use value' is meaningless anyway.

I'll try to explain this really simply - most people do not understand financial abstraction.

They understand that they can buy stuff, or not buy stuff, and do stuff, or not do stuff.

They particularly understand whether or not they can do more buying and doing of stuff than their neighbours can, because this kind of competition is encouraged and praised as a fruitful activity.

A few understand gold is shiny, and people seem to want it, so gold is good.

Everything else will forever remain a mystery to at least 95% of the population. (Including most politicians and not a few bankers.)

The majority of fiat currency is in fact indirectly based upon capitalised land rental value.

No, the majority of fiat currency is based on faith in the future, and violence - or threat of same - in the present.

Land ownership happens to be one of the claims on resources this system encourages. There's nothing primary about it at all.

I suggest you read the introduction to Polanyi ARGeezer mentioned in today's Newsroom, because it explains all of this much more succinctly than I can.

But the basic problem with all your suggestions continues to be that you're still essentially a marketista.

I'm not. Changing units of accounts does nothing to destroy market ideologies such as the Holy Rite of Competitive Acquisition.

And it's the ideologies that are the problem, not which metaphorical fingers people use to count with.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Sep 7th, 2013 at 09:11:03 AM EST
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And it's the ideologies that are the problem

Classical economics pretty much culminated with John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx. In his work On Socialism Mill noted that, while the capitalists system was the most effective system known for generating wealth it did not follow that private ownership of that system was the most efficient means of distributing that wealth. Marx of course went further. That is what brought the 'neo' to classical economics.

Henry George showed just how damaging the classical economists could be in the hands of someone who cared about fairness to the people. At the same time economics was coming to be a more standard university discipline. Several of the very wealthy wanted to make certain that a version of economics was taught that was favorable to their interests. Add to that the fact that the most likely employment outside of academia for economists was in banking and in the administration of large privately owned trade and manufacturing concerns and it is not hard to see why neo-classical economics developed.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Sep 7th, 2013 at 11:05:19 AM EST
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I most certainly am a marketista.

Just not markets with value-extracting middlemen - public or private - in them. That's so Last Century.

It changes the game entirely if intermediaries are bypassed, and that is precisely what they are doing because with conventional financing and funding terminally fucked it is their only remaining option.

There is no profit or loss or double entry book-keeping in such a bottom up networked market, but there is shared risk and reward, and there is shared surplus and there is a meaningful unit of account for as long as the market persists pending the arrival of a gift economy.

The accountancy of such a networked market is interesting.  

But I won't go there just yet. :-)

Ideology? I'm not into ideology. I'm into seeing 'what works' to do what we need to do, and seeing who joins in.

In my view we won't see a Party create Policy in future: we'll see the Policy create the Party/Movement.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Sep 7th, 2013 at 02:39:25 PM EST
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