Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Energy-based Economy

The Joule-Standard for the Dollar
  (+10, -2)(+10, -2)
(+10, -2)
  [vote for,

Before the Federal Reserve faith-based currency system, the US dollar has been backed by gold and silver. I propose a new system in which a dollar is tied to a certain quantity of usable energy. For example, assuming gasoline is $2.50 per gallon, has 45 MJ/kg, is 750 kg/m^3, and is 30% usable, you end up with $0.065 USD per Megajoule. There are other forms of energy, of course.
kevinthenerd, Oct 01 2009

The GOG A_20New_20and_20Use...Unit_3a_20the_20GOG
El Mikeo [MikeD, Oct 05 2009]


       I like the concept, but energy prices vary with time of day, location, and form of energy.
sninctown, Oct 01 2009

       Two possible issues:
i) Energy is ephemeral. Electrical energy can't be stored as easily as a lump of gold bullion in Fort Knox, for example.
ii) As you say, there are other forms of energy. This would mean that something would become intrinsically more valuable when you lift it (grav. potential energy) - which, in turn is linked to mass.

       There is potenital, however, to link a country's GDP to 'work done' though...
Jinbish, Oct 01 2009

       I will trade spiritual energy for dollars.
sninctown, Oct 02 2009

       Calories. Everybody knows calories.
smendler, Oct 02 2009

       mmm... [+] but needs lots of work: for instance if I owe somebody a few J-bucks, can I pay them with the boulder that's on my property?, assuming I'm at a higher altitude than they are.
FlyingToaster, Oct 02 2009

       as long as you can deliver than bolder, and they want it. Really this idea is bunk as the form of energy is critical to it's value. Every step of processing crude oil comes at the loss of energy, yet each step increases the value of the final product (or so the refiner hopes) thus value=/=energy value=usefulness and thus a currency would have to be measured by the lowest common denominator of energy, the KWH. All other forms of energy would be relative to the absolute market value of 1 KWH and a calorie of seed corn would be worth more `KWH' than a calorie of coal.
WcW, Oct 02 2009

       This is analogous to the "Air Dollar" suggested by H G Wells in "The Shape fo Things To Come". In effect, the currency was pegged to the cost of moving a fixed mass a fixed distance at a fixed speed.   

       A more rational system than using rare (and technically useful) heavy metals, or indeed, blind faith.
8th of 7, Oct 02 2009

       // as long as you can deliver than bolder//
umm.. but if they're on a lower level and I deliver it then there's no energy... well... I guess paying somebody by dropping rocks on them is pretty novel.
FlyingToaster, Oct 02 2009

       [UB] .. not quite; because the price of the petroleum is not based on its energy value but on the results of a complex combination of criminal cartels, 'traders' too lazy to actually work for a living, and whether it is raining in San Francisco.
vincevincevince, Oct 02 2009

       [UB] you are right (this time); but if you review the idea text, it is not to use oil as a currency, but to use energy in joules as a currency.
vincevincevince, Oct 02 2009

       Here in the Pacific Northwest (US), we get our J (kWh) of energy from the amount of salmon we can chum with our hydroelectric systems. So does that mean that moving water is worth it's weight in gold?   

       Oh, and I'm working under a 5-year contract that offers incentives to folks who want PV collectors on their homes. We should probably drop the incentive if they're going to be making an equitable item.   

       And the food I grow gives me the ability to return a certain amount of Joules by riding a stationary bicycle linked to my television.   

       Heck, I could charge you for odd jobs based on the calories I expend rather than the work being done!
bdag, Oct 02 2009

       Sorry, this is dumb except for the parts that are baked. Oil in it's many forms are a currency as much as gold, diamonds, cigarettes and many other things. As for anything's energy value, the calculations are really only conjecture unless it is tied to a specific application. I'm guessing in your example you are giving gas a 30% usability rate based on it's efficiency in automobiles, but what if I burn it in a 1940s auto at only 10% efficiency or in a large turbine at 40% efficiency? What if I put it in my Mr Fusion and us it to power my DeLorean? Potential energy means everything is worth more in Denver than NYC, but thermal means it kind of adds energy in Miami over Detroit.   

       Don't tie currency to volatile commodities.(-)
MisterQED, Oct 02 2009

       Let's boil it down to the actual energy unit that's useful to cells which is ATP.
leinypoo13, Oct 02 2009

       3.6 megajoules = $0.23 USD = 1 kilowatt hour   

       Well, the problem of artificial pricing is that it causes problems. California actually tried setting the price of electricity at $0.10/kw-hr, and that resulted in rolling blackouts. Given that, I'd say just let the marketplace set prices on energy, because energy resources are subject to supply and demand just like any other material resource. At least this (artificial pricing) isn't as bad an idea as taxing net weight income, but I've still got to give it a [-].
quantum_flux, Oct 03 2009

       i still think you have to aim for the highest and purest and most universal form of energy, and today that is metered AC power, not the gallon of gasoline or liquefied petroleum or btu's of wood or calories of potato chips. its really really stable. On the other hand your 'watt' is going to change value from location to location so it still makes a poor currency.
WcW, Oct 03 2009

       I get how dumb the idea is. The joules in a 9v battery are worth far more than the joules that come through the 120v outlet. The joule is not a broadly applicable measure of value.
WcW, Oct 03 2009

       Antimatter is tough, and fusion is years off. Perhaps we should aim for more nuclear fission (and less dense materials)?
quantum_flux, Oct 03 2009

       We have already seen this idea and found it wanting <link>. Don't let this idea distract you with the fancy physics, it's still carp.
MikeD, Oct 05 2009

       In several sci-fi novels by Christopher Stasheff, the accepted unit of currency is the kwaher (kilowatt hour).   

       Of course, since money is still printed by the government, a kwaher bill is worth less than a full kilowatt hour of energy.
goldbb, Oct 05 2009

       [+] Bun out of confusion..the kind that says, "I don't know what you are talking about but you sound like you do," as I nod with a blank stare.
Jscotty, Oct 05 2009


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