Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Replace "light" with "sausages" and this may work...

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Commodity-Backed Dollar

A dollar backed by thin air
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A currency can be backed by anything: gold, dirt, salt, silver, gems, or, in the U.S. dollar's case, faith. As our economy falters, we could shift to a currency based on thin air (stored in high-pressure tanks). Air is both tangible and liquid, and dollars would be redeemable on demand for a certain fixed quantity of compressed air. The dollar would be a representative currency backed by a commodity, just like it used to be. And inflation would have a whole new meaning.
plasticspoon, Mar 06 2009

FDR's New Deal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_deal
For [bigsleep] maybe FDR was a socialist, but it's certainly nothing new. [zen_tom, Mar 09 2009]

[link]






       This would make my air compressor illegal.
Spacecoyote, Mar 06 2009
  

       There could be a trace gas in the compressed air that would operate like a watermark. It could be a sulfur additive, like in gasoline.
plasticspoon, Mar 06 2009
  

       Air? Why not custard? That could actually work. Especially if people from Wisconsin took over the world first.
Smurfsahoy, Mar 06 2009
  

       //people from Wisconsin took over the world// God help us.
Spacecoyote, Mar 06 2009
  

       Custard spoils. Thin air is forever.
plasticspoon, Mar 06 2009
  

       You can have my bike pump when you prise it from my cold dead hands.
coprocephalous, Mar 06 2009
  

       Custard in vacuum sealed drums and injected full of sodium azide doesn't spoil! And isn't it worth it to have an industry of custard moonshiners?
Smurfsahoy, Mar 06 2009
  

       I like the idea of a faith-backed currency, but rather than it being a general faith in the issuing authority and the strength of the economy over which it resides, it might be interesting to have Denominational Dollars, who's worth might be prayer based, or dependent on the activities and/or beliefs of their issuing religious creed.
zen_tom, Mar 06 2009
  

       Those are called indulgences. Baked since 13th century AD.
Spacecoyote, Mar 06 2009
  

       Xenon.
nineteenthly, Mar 06 2009
  

       Would the value of my retirement fund drop when a high pressure system passes through due to less usable energy?
saprolite, Mar 06 2009
  

       This is probably the only commodity the IMF would even consider, if what I've heard is true. (I heard that they won't allow a currency backed by something that is non-inflatable).
Zimmy, Mar 06 2009
  

       I work for a compressor company, so I love this idea. [+] We could get government contracts!
gisho, Mar 06 2009
  

       <radio announcer voice>"And to the weather...a high-pressure front will bring prosperity to the South-West, but this will be short-lasting."</rav?
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 06 2009
  

       //Amazing. The world has finally baked itself into socialism.// No it hasn't [bigsleep] at least no more so that the last time this happened back in the 1930's - it's FDR's new deal time all over again, the Global Power in Residence is faltering, and elsewhere, people are getting all antsy over immigration...   

       All that's left is for a big drought, and a couple of countries to shut up shop and try going it alone, and then before you know it, we'll start seeing people promoting BIG IDEOLOGIES and we'll be right back to where we were 80 years ago.
zen_tom, Mar 09 2009
  

       As a metaphor for the actual economy, I'd like to see the currency backed by a commodity which is either very rare (let's make life difficult for economists), or which has a half-life (good for declining economies), or which can be synthesised from other elements in the laboratory (useful when you want to print money to get yourself out of a hole).

If these don't work, choose something which is rare, has a short half-life, *and* can be synthesised in the laboratory, such as Francium.

([zen_tom] I could quite easily believe a bankrupt Eastern European or South American state will lurch towards facism in this recession.)
hippo, Mar 09 2009
  

       [hippo] a currency backed by a material with a half-life is genius, it means au revoir to inflation, assuming you adopt the appropriate material - are there any materials who's half-lives can be manipulated? You might imagine a great boulder of Halflifinum glowing menacingly in the vaults of the bank of England, surrounded by expensive scientific equipment, carefully monitoring its decay - and, when there's a bit more inflation than usual, the BOE scientists could just zap it with Decay-Rays to make it decay faster.   

       On the fascism thing, I really wonder - I was sent an invitation from someone I used to go to school with to a pro-BNP (British National Party) group on Facebook - the general theme seems to be "Proud, not Racist" - which is funny* because one of the first things they suggest is the repatriation of anyone who's not English! (for pride purposes only of course) - I know one anecdote isn't equivalent to the rise of European Fascism in the '30s - but this wildly Nationalistic point of view seems to be becoming everso more mainstream these days.   

       * when I say funny in this instance, I of course mean something else entirely.
zen_tom, Mar 09 2009
  

       //the repatriation of anyone who's not English//
Could you forward me the invite, please [z-t]?
I only ask 'cos Mrs AWOL is Scottish.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 09 2009
  

       [zt] Well, different isotopes of a single element often have different half-lives, so the half-life of the whole thing could be manipulated by adjusting the mixture of different isotopes. Then the half-life would be announced on the news just like inflation figures are today: "The Bank of England Radioactive Decay Policy Committtee announced today that the half-life of Britain's strategic currency reserves has dropped to 200 days...".
hippo, Mar 09 2009
  

       Larry Niven did the idea of radioactive currency in "Yet Another Modest Proposal".
nineteenthly, Mar 09 2009
  

       The original "Modest Proposal" being Swift's satirical pamphlet suggesting the Irish solve their famine problem by eating their children?
zen_tom, Mar 09 2009
  

       Yes, but i don't think the title is particularly good as it happens, but i can't remember why. It's in 'Limits'.
I feel a lot of affinity with Jonathan Swift, though i'm not from Mars.
nineteenthly, Mar 09 2009
  
      
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