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Hypercomplex money

Not the same as the "complex money" idea linked below
(+2, -2)
  [vote for,

Money is currently quantified in real numbers, including debt, credit, interest, cost, profit, loss and other quantities. Taxation is also in real quantities.

When i was a member of a LETS scheme, i used to charge leaves for my services and money for my goods, so people would pay me in two separate units. There was a problem with units based on time because it meant, for example, that if you needed childcare to do something for someone else, that would "cost" exactly the same as the units one received for the service one offered. Another problem was that governments sought to tax it and to deduct a notional conversion rate from benefits, making it difficult for people to operate if the work they offered was normally paid as well.

There are also values which are less quantified, as i've mentioned before.

This is my solution: Buy and sell in the normal way using real units of currency, but at the same time trade using currency units defined in terms of complex numbers, not as a way of indicating interest as in the linked idea, but as a way of measuring qualities not normally taken into consideration in monetary terms at all. Thus, you might go to a small shop where you have a more personal relationship with the shopkeeper and pay them for the quality of service and positive experience you get there in mathematically imaginary terms, or you might pay a second price in imaginary quantities for an item which was locally sourced, more sustainably produced, more durable or something else, where this is not taken into consideration by the real number of the price. Alternatively, you might sell something with an extra imaginary value if it had extra sentimental or ceremonial value to you, so a family heirloom, a napkin with one's future partner's telephone number on it or the signature of a famous person could be valued in those terms rather than in the terms of the cost of the item. This could also be flipped over so that the real value of a napkin with Elvis's signature on it corresponded to its auctionable price, but the imaginary value corresponded to the cost of the materials.

Introduce this second dimension of currency in everyday trading. When you offer a tip, carry on doing so in real money anyway, but also give them a cheque, like a LETS cheque, which represents the value of that person's politeness and consideration to you in imaginary "monetary" terms. Give a shop assistant at a checkout counter a similar cheque personally as a compensation for their boring, repetitive work. Use them for and as random acts of kindness and paying forward. Get it to creep gradually into society until it becomes mainstream, maintaining an organisation like those involved in running LETS to keep track of the imaginary currency units. Mark prices in shops using complex numbers by two sets of price tags. Donate to charity with these units. Above all, mark these units clearly and unambiguously as being in imaginary numbers in the mathematical sense.

At some point, should this become successful, the government will attempt to intervene, as it did with LETS, to tax or establish a conversion rate to conventional currency so it can deduct from welfare. However, under current legislation this would be impossible. All financial transactions currently involve operations on real numbers alone. The imaginary portion of prices in complex numbers cannot be taxed or converted to conventional money because they are in a different dimension from real numbers.

It was hard enough for governments to deal with LETS, which were in real numbers. They would have considerably more difficulty dealing with these, particularly as everyone would still be paying tax, receiving income and buying things using real money at the same time.

Edit: I agree with [bigsleep] about the hypercomplex point and i want to amend the idea to include that.

nineteenthly, Feb 28 2009

Complex money complex_20money
[suctionpad]'s idea, which is to do with interest and credit, unlike this one. [nineteenthly, Feb 28 2009]

LETS http://en.wikipedia...ange_Trading_System
[calum, Mar 01 2009]


       I'm sorry, but this reeks of Libertarian sophistry. If you want to "opt out" of paying taxes, then cut the B.S. and break the law. Do you want the fire department to come to your house and douse it with "LETS" non retardant "water"? Do you want your potholes filled with "LETS" non solid "concrete"? Please.
WcW, Mar 01 2009

       Furthermore, giving your labor to someone, FOR FREE, has never been taxable.
WcW, Mar 01 2009

       "i, i !!, Where did all my money go?"
gnomethang, Mar 01 2009

       Yes, i did think of the likes of quaternions and octonions, and in fact i will absolutely go with that, and the vector aspect is a really good point.
[WcW], LETS is flawed. When i was involved in it, my idea was to start with a LETS and modify it, but Freecycle is more similar to what i wanted to turn it into. Unfortunately, Freecycle has other flaws which are just as serious. Concerning giving services for free, that would be a metaethical issue. Much of what i mentioned are friendly acts, and one theory of friendship sees it as involving an exchange of intangible but intentionally mutual benefits, which will fall apart. This corresponds to the idea that there are no truly unselfish acts, meaning also that there's no such thing as a free lunch. I don't agree with this, and this extra dimension could illustrate the absurdity of this idea. If this was taxed, the government would effectively be putting a tax on friendship and then using the imaginary money collected to do - what?
nineteenthly, Mar 01 2009

       [m-f-d] All LETS
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 01 2009

po, Mar 01 2009

       Taking your pun semi-seriously, it's only semi-LETS. There is generally a real money portion (moiety?) involved. Also, when i tried to pull a stunt somewhat similar to this with a real LETS - randomised positive and negative transactions - the scheme was described as, and i quote, a "variant" by the members.   

       Transposing this, i don't think it's a "let's all" because the idea is completely new.   

       Then again, maybe i have no sense of humour.
nineteenthly, Mar 01 2009

       Sense of humour or not, in my opinion "Let's All" is not a valid case for m-f-d'ing ideas involving money or currency, because currencies are for all practictal purposes a let's all.   

       A currency only has value if everyone (or a majority) believes it does. Especially these days, when currency is not even backed by a representative amount of a substance with intrinsic value.
placid_turmoil, Mar 01 2009

       <sigh> Did we all leave our sense of humour in bed this morning?
If I'd wanted to really m-f-d this, I'd've written it out in full. It doesn't work unless you spell it out properly.
In that sense, perhaps, it is a little like my sense of humour.</s>
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 01 2009

       My sense of humour has been in a coma for several years now. But you know what they say, it helps to visit and talk to it anyway.
placid_turmoil, Mar 01 2009

       I have places where I do business where there is some "tit for tat" personal-touch exchange, but once you've introduced a medium for that exchange... there goes the "personal touch" by definition.
FlyingToaster, Mar 01 2009

       Sorry [Absinthe]. Maybe it's just that a lot of people are worried about money right now, so it's a sensitive subject.
nineteenthly, Mar 01 2009

       // currencies are for all practictal purposes a let's all.
The definition of "let's all" is more specific than just "everybody has to do it"; there's also lack of novelty. So, I think we're arriving at the same conclusion from different directions.

       I didn't like the original idea, but I think I like bigsleep's variation as an experiment. In a vector currency system, instead of agreeing on one value system, we're pulling out all the individual kinds of values and letting each user decide for themselves what their conversion rate from one to their personal utility is. The way to get rich is to trade with people who have orthogonal value systems and give you values they can't use.
jutta, Mar 01 2009

       Yes, [bigsleep]'s amendment really makes it. It occurred to me too, but i thought it made it too complicated. That was one of the objections made to our LETS, to which my response was eventually to suggest that it be turned into a simple directory of goods and services which could be exchanged without counting the cost. Leicester LETS didn't evolve in that way and it collapsed, but in the process of collapsing it splintered. One of the splinters really works that way and i still "trade" in that way with one other party, along with money. It's blurred professional boundaries, which is connected to the second dimension here.
Now, i want to get my head round vector arithmetic in order to work out the implications and equivalents. Also, what might the other dimensions be specifically?
nineteenthly, Mar 01 2009

       Hmmm, this has indeed inspired an idea for me.
quantum_flux, Mar 01 2009

       Go for it!
nineteenthly, Mar 01 2009

       You got it the wrong way round... The real component of money should represent that actual cost of the object in terms of physical material. It would be directly proportional to the embodied energy in an object or service. (i.e. the true cost to the environment). The imaginary component would be the value in human terms. Thus a work of art would have a low real cost but a HUGE imaginary value. One dimension represents the value, the other represents the cost. It is in fact the truth that GDP is proportional to energy consumption and a goal of ecological economics is to find a way to have growth in economic value without increasing energy production! I actually had the idea of complex money myself, did a search to see if there was anything like it and this popped up!
dizzyIntellect, Jan 26 2010

       Hello! Hope you don't get trapped here like the rest of us.   

       Well that already exists in part the form of technocracy, at least as an idea.   

       There are more than two different types of value. OK, i'll focus. Just a second.   

       In conventional economic terms, value is added to goods by labour. This means that there is no distinction between goods and services, since services include things like growing crops, mining ore and so forth. Everything is therefore a service in one-dimensional economic terms. It also has a market value, which is to do with demand, perhaps artificially created. That seems somewhat different than the Marxist theory of value, where there is alienation between use and exchange.   

       Then there are other kinds of value, not present in a "real" value, so complex money wouldn't be enough. One is sentimental value, another is ethical, a third aesthetic, but in terms of the last two at least, there are different values. How durable something is has ecological ramifications, but there are others. Take a piece of bacon. To a conservative Jew and a Muslim, it has negative value. To a Jain or other vegetarian, it has a different kind of negative value. To someone who likes bacon, it has a positive value, but to a patriotic Dane it has a greater and possibly different positive value. To a Jewish, patriotic vegetarian Dane concerned about the ecological impact of transport but partial to bacon, it has a series of different values, some positive, some negative.
nineteenthly, Jan 26 2010

       Perhaps rather than complex numbers this could be done with worthless bitcoins. You could give the babysitter $1 and 20 etherium and then they could swap the etherium for calculus tutoring. Etherium has value, but a valueless bitcoin would probably work well with a phone app.
beanangel, Jan 07 2018


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