Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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alternative money

what are the ideal features for and ideal currency?
  (+2, -4)
(+2, -4)
  [vote for,

I found on this site the idea of energy based money and I think that since our society is woefully in need of a better medium of exchange and store of value that this type of thought should be fostered and expanded. I have given much effort to the same topic and have arrived at the same conclusion, that energy would be perfect..........with some obvious problems in implementation.

It has been well said that the first step in solving a problem is understanding the problem. Following this axiomatic logic I would like to offer an exercise that will prove imensely usefull.......... and that is. What are the characteristic of the perfect money?

I will say that the first thing to do is examine the most popular currencies of the past which will show precious metals and specifically gold.

Why did they become the ultimate currencies of our ancestors?

OK, I will start portibility easily identified dense( for the past that means easy to measure accurately in small quant) long lasting/durable/impervious rare or difficult to mine/create does not deteriorate over time. point of transaction exchange(less degrees of freedom less opportunity for fraud. i.e. not ious or debit/credit.

on the negative side has little intrinsic value of utility.

try this with energy or other ideas.

look forward to see what everyone comes up with.

porge, Feb 05 2009

LETS http://www.gdrc.org/icm/lets-faq.html
What we did - a failure [nineteenthly, Feb 06 2009]

Technocracy http://www.technocracy.org/
Still happening, amazingly. [nineteenthly, Feb 06 2009]

Potlatch http://www.psychohi....com/htm/money.html
Think this link is more general [nineteenthly, Feb 06 2009]

Kula ring http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kula_ring
From WIkipedia, unfortunately [nineteenthly, Feb 06 2009]

Forvik http://www.forvik.com/
Unsure about this but sure it's relevant [nineteenthly, Feb 06 2009]

Freecycle http://www.freecycle.org/
Nice but stupid - no production [nineteenthly, Feb 06 2009]

Intellectual property http://www.youtube....watch?v=GeA3TrMVfd8
Indra Ghandhi National Open University. I think it is alway nice to see people praising other nations that do things right. India is a major producer of engineers. [MercuryNotMars, Feb 09 2009]

Japan's recession of the 90's http://mises.org/story/1099
repeating mistakes already made. [MercuryNotMars, Feb 10 2009]

Economics in One Lesson http://jim.com/econ/
Not all economists are equal [MercuryNotMars, Feb 10 2009]


       We've been on a currency kick here at the halfbakery. I probably came into the halfbakery on a search that brought up a Vernon idea or something. I am pretty sure this will be deleted mainly because it is neither a good or bad idea, nor is is a mediocre idea.   

       Too bad we can't have ideas like: "lets all" learn from our mistakes.   

       The ideal currency has entrensic value or is one that you are not required to use, it is simply thought of as a commodity and is thus imbued with the kind of restraint that nuclear war holds. Inflation being an extra bad option because people can and will opt out of it if it becomes a taxing method. You can't take away consequences without consequences   

       The ideal currency relies on market forces for it's dirrection. Intrinsic value or simulated .   

       The ideal currency is managed and used by capitalists. If there is nothing to buy then there is no value to the currency. If everything is taxed away the currency has only the personal utility value such as toilet paper or hoarding (of gold) until regime change.   

       The ideal currency is universal. Demand is supply, supply is demand. Money simply helps people find the matches that need made. In doing so it helps us evaluate the demand for the thing we supply. It gives us comparative dirrection that solves the complicated relations between true costs and true benefits.
MercuryNotMars, Feb 06 2009

       The idea of an energy-based currency is not from here. It appeared in the technocracy movement, a North American group which was founded early last century, which wanted to base money on thermodynamics. I think the notion is that human activity can temporarily reverse entropy, but i've never really got how that concept can be turned directly into money. Unsurprisingly, it's linked to quite a "gee-whiz", jetpack-style approach to society which does have quite an allure in itself.   

       The problem with barter is that you can't swap things unless both people want both offers and wants. The problem with payment in kind and private currencies, the latter of which was used by mill owners in the early nineteenth century, is that it ties people into dealing only with particular groups. There is a plus side to that, as it can scale things down, but it seriously curtails liberty.   

       Concerning LETS, the problems were many. Despite the name, LETS aren't always local, but one issue include what is actually available as offers and wants in the system. What it amounts to in the end is land ownership, since land is used for obtaining raw materials, including food, and for either building shelters or charging some kind of rent or mortgage. These might not be for housing, but they could be for parking a caravan/trailer, mooring fees for a boat or ground rent or rates for a cabin. This has to be in money unless you own the land. Therefore, you can't opt out unless you have been part of the mainstream economic system. Then there's Freecycle.   

       I suppose one option might be a gift-based economy, which does happen in some places. These would include the potlatch, which to be honest sounds like a complete bloody nightmare though i don't speak from experience, the kula ring, where goods circulate in two directions continuously, and some system whose name i don't remember where groups of people turn up and give a large number of things fairly randomly to another group which is expected to be reciprocated. In Europe and it seems also in international relations, you get things like the exchange of pandas, works of art and even territory, which brings up another point.   

       The Shetlands were pawned to the king of Scotland by Norway, so some people argue they are not part of the United Kingdom and therefore have the status of the Isle of Man and the Channel Isles - crown dependencies and therefore tax havens. This brings up a whole new issue concerning the free market and libertarianism, which i'm sure is relevant but once again, having financially-oriented learning difficulties, i can't grasp.
nineteenthly, Feb 06 2009

       //look forward to see what everyone comes up with.//
That's a shame, I was looking forward to reading what <b>YOU</b> had come up with. This is, after all, a website for poorly thought out inventions.
gnomethang, Feb 06 2009

       //The Shetlands were pawned to the king of Scotland by Norway//
And they repay with one lousy Christmas tree a year for Trafalgar Square? What kind of interest rate is that?
coprocephalous, Feb 06 2009

       //axiomatic logic// Money hurts those who do not have enough of it for what they need.
Money hurts those who are so drawn by what it can buy that their moral basis is pulled off-centre.
Money hurts those who have too much as they abuse it to obtain power, privilege and other things to which they are not morally entitled.

       Hence, as a direct consequence of this axiomatic logic:
The ideal money is one which poor people always have enough of; and rich people are unable to waste on excesses and obtaining that to which they are not morally entitled.

       At the end of the day; the real problem with money is that it has become the centre of society and the aim and basis of life for far too many people. On its own the concept is fine - but unfortunately it becomes an outlet for greed and ambition and and excuse to deny our neighbours what they need.
vincevincevince, Feb 06 2009

       // And they repay with one lousy Christmas tree a year for Trafalgar Square? What kind of interest rate is that? //   

       Actually, they can supposedly get it back for four hundred and sixty pounds of gold or five thousand one hundred pounds of silver, so in a way it's on the gold standard. Of course, by the time they come back for it, someone else might have bought it so they'd better get a move on. It's already been five centuries.
nineteenthly, Feb 06 2009

       //The ideal money is one which poor people always have enough of; and rich people are unable to waste on excesses and obtaining that to which they are not morally entitled.//   

       so the ideal money is one that is not usable in any way. As soon as you distort equilibrium it rebalances and you have no benefits in using the money.   

       Aparrently, for some, the ideal currency is the ones that are not used and have no relevance. Fortunately for the rest of us they do not last long.   

       So again I reiterate that the idea that the ideal currency is managed by capitalists and not communists like [vincevincevince].   

       //Money hurts those who do not have enough of it for what they need.// I guarantee that under the bartering system that they would find no advantage without the kindness and charity of others. If their production is such that they would be poor with a money system they would be poor without it. The poor we have with us always as a relative measurement are we better off before or after money?   

       If you want to talk about getting thrown off your moral center: //The ideal money is one which poor people always have enough of; and rich people are unable to waste on excesses and obtaining that to which they are not morally entitled.// The ideal money is therefore one that does not carry any consequences to those who do not work and does not carry any benefits to those who produce exceptionally well.   

       Wealth comes from getting work done that people want done. Production is the thing that actually overcomes poverty. If overcoming poverty is your goal giving moral weight to the people that produce is your goal.   

       The mistake is: in thinking that there is fixed amount of resourses in the world, that there is a fixed amount of work to be done, that money is constant wealth or that wealth is a pie where bigger pieces by some mean smaller peices for everyone else.   

       This misunderstanding is the misdirrection that keeps people in poverty. Find poor people and you will find that where they are your ideas are most closely adheared to. [VVV]   

       Charity must be voluntary, The most useful money to the poor is not wasted or squandered it is invested in profit making bussinesses that make poorer people productive and richer, which us used and used again. Any money that is not spent creating value is relativly speaking squandered.   

       What rich people buy with charity money is a small measure of respect from idiots that don't understand how money works. How are morals twisted? If you want to have moral indignation maybe you should hate rich people who squander their wealth without profit motive or stop making money at their dayjob. I however think that people have a right to choose to be poorer, not that that helps anyone. I certainly don't want to impose poverty through ignorance.
MercuryNotMars, Feb 06 2009

       whoa there Merc' man, them's fightin words. Your dogma is just as canine as the next man's, and your logic is just as flawed. I think that your assertions are just a naive as VVV's. Calling him a communist, like it was a dirty word, with no basis in his words shows your shallow unexamined understanding. Be civil.
WcW, Feb 07 2009

       MercuryNotMars... your comments do make sense and are well written; however, you seem to have built them upon core assumptions about society which you base upon the society around you. The biggest is that there needs to be a society significantly based upon value-based trade, whether mediated by a currency or via barter.   

       Why do we rush to trust in a system driven by greed and want (this includes capitalist and communist) rather than embrace a a system in which we take the shorter route and give those who are productive greater moral weight (as you suggest) through the respect and gratitude of others?   

       Why does property need ownership (in this I include the embodied and controlled ownership of the communist model as well as that of the greed-driven hoarding in the capitalist model)? We teach toddlers to share their toys without protest, and that it's a good thing to do; something we forget by the time we reach our adult years.   

       So, essentially, the ideal alternative money is the currency of being a good neighbour. Just as within a family there are no divisions of property, so too should be society.   

       Needless to say, such a concept is not necessarily a workable model for society - but it is an ideal model; and that's what this idea is about - the ideal alternative model.
vincevincevince, Feb 07 2009

       Unfortunatly there is a distinct difference between a family and a nation. The ability I have within my family to make moral judgements and assert a positive influence on their decisions is somwhere lost on the national level. Also for me working to acheive my goals includes having goals in front of me. Providing for those I aprove within my sphere of influence motivates my work.   

       There exists no person in this world who thinks that the government knows how to spend their money better than they do. There exist people in this world however who think that they know better how to make the government spend everyone's money better than the people themselves. How do they hope to control that in a democracy? Through ignorance, or through something not so democratic. How to win the lottery of control?   

       No matter how much of a genius Castro or any other elitist or dictator responsible for the dirrection of the national funds may be they are already starting five steps back because they don't have the worker's imediate interest bound up in his personal effort to supply this work/value/money. (true of all terms though they are not the same)   

       Unfortunatly they have to also maintain their support and this generally involves buying off votes. Supporting people who are poor is the cheapest way to buy people off and unfortunatly it also is the best way to: Remove people's incentive to work. Remove people from those that support them (family for example). Remove moral judgments from their lives. Some people need to hit rock bottom. Some people need to be turned away. My sister was old enough to be on the public dole when she was in need of humility. She blew through her college fund and the public money. Thank you government for dipping into my father's back pocket to take care of his rebelious daughter. Thank you for undercutting the family and local community.   

       [WcW] communism has a definition. He might as well have copied and paisted it in his comments. It is a dirty word and them are fighting words. I do thank him for sharing but it is dangerous. I'm down $70,000 this year in charity(market) I blaim idiots who got together in a big enough mass to elect bad decision makers.   

       //Why does property need ownership // So that it comes into existance. Ownership gives incentive. Nationalization of property kills all future private investment.
MercuryNotMars, Feb 07 2009

       I see the problem as one of scale and individual character rather than left or right wing ideology. It's easier to care less about individual people if you're dealing with millions of them, and that applies to both large private enterprises and governments. At the same time, there can be helpful and harmful behaviour in any system. If the scale is smaller, two of the effects this has are that individual character to dominate more easily, which can be good or bad depending on what those people are like, and for less power to be exerted by people on a larger scale, meaning that there are neither Stalins nor rich philanthropists. In any case, personal morality needs to be able to make a difference.
nineteenthly, Feb 07 2009

       Well I my Faux Pas was over looked by the sites cops for not fitting the forums purpose. Thanks for the newbie slack.   

       I was kinda thinking more along practical lines than philosophical but since the brains are bubbling now I will tangent as well.   

       I agree that everything should be merit based and that seems to be a common theme in most of the comments.   

       To morality being the base criteria.......that is a moving target..........one mans vice is another mans virtue. Certain behavior had survival value in the past or in different circumstances and even within the same society and circumstances there is no accounting for each individuals world view. So that won't work.   

       Totally agree with the scale comment. Any system will work well on a small scale because abberant behavior is easily identified and the only needed "punishiment" is exclusion..simple. Large scale? Not gonna work.too many opportunities to cheat and get away with it.   

       Like it or not humans are hard wired to be deceitful.....many species are..it holds survival value and has become a dominant feature of many gene pools. We have to accept this fact and work with it.   

       So we are back at the rule of law. This is an old idea and I think Hammurabi of Babylon might be the first on record to publicly post the laws of the land on stone stiles around the city.   

       Way off topic, I know but the thoughtful comments got me going. So since we can't count on each other to be nice we need laws that are punishable when broken..I hate it but that is what it is.   

       As for the energy as the basis for money. My thought was that if you recognize that humans and by extention our economies are simply a part of the larger ecosystem/universe than it isn't that hard to see that maybe we should base our activity around the most basic unit of the big picture. Energy is it. and by conversion mass is energy E=MC^2. Have no idea how to integrate any of this but it seems like a natural rabbit hole to follow. Going to get some coffee and see if I can think of anything more substantial to annotate.
porge, Feb 07 2009

       I'm sorry if i came across as giving you a hard time. I was trying to suggest possibilities. The local etiquette might be hard to get used to.   

       I've personally been involved in LETS, Freecycling and barter, and like anyone who has given or gotten a present, in the gift economy. Freecycle would be better if it were more flexible. Right now, it's just getting rid of or getting goods others make in the mainstream economy and has quite strict rules. LETS lacks literal and figurative grounding. Barter for me is generally in the form of plants for consultations, and the problem is the lack of expertise among my patients. I can easily get nettles and dandelions, but less easily recognisable plants are harder to find. Generalising this to economics, people need to have considerable expertise to provide sufficiently useful goods and services on the basis of barter as well as the absence of a freely tradable currency. You don't need to know what you're doing to keep and hand over currency, pay by card, set up direct debits and so forth, but adding value is another matter.   

       What i meant about morality was that whereas political views may differ, people can rise above or sink below the principles of a system, making it heaven or hell, regardless of the nature of that system. You can be a benevolent or evil dictator, and the same applies to bureaucracy, management and any other position. Politics and economics impinge on that, but there's more flexibility than might appear.   

       Scale is a problem, but on a small scale there can still be pretty dodgy interpersonal dynamics. A manager can bully their only employee or in a small, apparently egalitarian business such as a certain co-op i can think of and a certain homeschooling group for that matter, there are unacknowledged power games going on between people which might be resolved on a larger scale by, for example, a grievance procedure or the chance to move to another position for a larger employer.   

       As to regulations, they exist because people aren't perfect, but in two senses. One of them is that they tend to do bad things, which it could be argued is contingent, but the other is to do with the inability to anticipate the unexpected, by definition. This is also often to do with scale.   

       Energy as the basis for money? I like the idea and it's a familiar one from technocracy, but lose track of it. The reason i like it is because it gives me a sense of security, out of the quantifiability, but how quantifiable are certain things about our lives that we value? In most circumstances, air is free to breathe, but it's probably the most valuable material of all.   

       I'm not really going anywhere with this, just commenting on your comments, [porge].
nineteenthly, Feb 07 2009

       Are most of you guys Brits or Strualians? I can tell by the use of language.
porge, Feb 07 2009

       I think it is safe to say we are from the english speaking internet. I am american. I think there is a tendancy toward UK here. I am fairly certain Jutta our host is one of them types.   

       I tend to post ideas that I take seriously. Lots of people enjoy a good joke idea including myself that exploits some quirk of reality or fake reality.   

       I think the thing about currencies is that when someone thinks about the consequences and understands that a currency is something that we all participate in redeeming and giving it it's value and defending it from undermining actions. it becomes a let's all do this or lets all vote for that idea.   

       People not so constrained, like those who think fiat money works, have ideas that are based on alternate realitiy that though fundamentally wrong, are ideas. They are therefore not excluded from the site. They are themselves good or bad ideas and are delt with on that level.   

       I compare them to perpetual motion machines they are useful when people present their ideas so that you can assist them, only slightly more dangerous because people implement these things and in dangerous ways where you cannot easily measure success and failure. No matter how many times it is tried and how much failure and poverty it creates people manage to not catch on.   

       Why would anyone be against their ideas? It must be because rich people like to keep their money and are selfish. Lets dismiss these people as evil.   

       Poor people are like people who don't know how to swim. They certainly can't do it on their own nor are they calm enough to properly accept help without dragging you down with them. Generally speaking it is all in the aproach so long as they don't have diving boots on, too bad they are too shortsighted to save everyone.
MercuryNotMars, Feb 07 2009

       I'm British, from a Glaswegian family but i've always lived in England. Some people are not originally Anglophone. I tend to mix British and American idioms, for some historical family reason i don't understand.
People whose names begin with a J which is pronounced as Anglophones pronounce a consonantal Y are generally not British. None of the indigenous languages here do that, not even Cornish or Romany. I've always assumed [Jutta] to be mitteleuropäische, though more specifically i don't know.
nineteenthly, Feb 07 2009

       Yutta? I think when they come to America they just go with the native J pronunciation until perhaps recently. Jesus is certainly pronounced with a J even if we know better. It seems to be a recent sign of intelligence to be accommodating. I happen to be a trained name reader but the J isn't one that is easy to guess unless there is a Spanish surname on it here. There is some name simplification that went on at Ellis island.   

       Why can't we be easy like Spanish?
MercuryNotMars, Feb 07 2009

       Yutta? I think when they come to America they just go with the native J pronunciation until perhaps recently. Jesus is certainly pronounced with a J even if we know better. It seems to be a recent sign of intelligence to be accommodating. I happen to be a trained name reader but the J isn't one that is easy to guess unless there is a Spanish surname on it here. There is some name simplification that went on at Ellis island.   

       Why can't we be easy like Spanish?
MercuryNotMars, Feb 07 2009

       I read your profile and now I understand. I advise anybody who doesn't completely "get" [NotMars] to do the same.
WcW, Feb 07 2009

       [WcW] maybe you can put on your profile why you think his profile is odd ?
FlyingToaster, Feb 07 2009

       I think she came through a lot more recently than when people went through Ellis Island, [MercuryNotMars]. In the IPA, /j/ is a voiced palatal semivowel, so i think of that as the standard way to pronounce it. Also, since German is my second language, i would automatically assume it to be pronounced that way. My German ex's sister-in-law's name is Jutta, so the name came as no surprise to me. Concerning accommodation, we've had to put up with people pronouncing "Kyoto" as /kai'oudou/ since Dubya got elected, which really grates with me.   

       I don't think the name "Jutta" is common in non-German speaking communities.
nineteenthly, Feb 08 2009

       Small/interesting point here: // //Why does property need ownership // So that it comes into existance. Ownership gives incentive. Nationalization of property kills all future private investment.//   

       There seem to be an assumption that things which are not personally owned are nationally owned / nationalised. How about going a step further and dispensing with the concept of ownership entirely? After all; everything we find around us here on earth rightfully belongs to God and to assert otherwise does seem rather weak.
vincevincevince, Feb 09 2009

       I don't exactly know anyone outside of Japan who does pronounce kyoto correctly. It is usually key oh toe. It is in fact two sylables. I consider my self somewhat of an expert I've been studying Japanese 2.5 years now. Now that I have looked it up kyou gets two beets to gets one. The main thing is there is no vowel between k and y. Hit the constanants hard and fast and drag out the O followed by a short TOE It means something like capital/archery, metropolis   

       http://www.jisho.org you have to know to include the "u" "kyouto" or ‹ž“s Not that you get any pronuciation help.
MercuryNotMars, Feb 09 2009

       How do you propose keeping something from being owned? If I go to use this non owned thing will I get clubbed over the head if it is scarce? Where do I get the right to utilizes such a thing. Not everything is air. The point of my statement is that if I have no particular right to profit from my work I do not spend my effort on it. There is no specialization other than taking care of my self because squatters can come along and have as much right to my effort as I do.   

       Please stop talking about what you may not be talking about and talk about what you are talking about. How do you get people to see the benefit in putting exceptional effort into making wealth? You have not answered that question just decided that I used a term that does not describe some aspect of your proposal without saying anything that describes a difference in motivating work.
MercuryNotMars, Feb 09 2009

       With rights comes responsibility The Tragedy of the commons is not just a parable
porge, Feb 09 2009

       you eat what you kill as long as it is not each other.
porge, Feb 09 2009

       I am having a lot of trouble posting........it is sending out the post when I hit the enter key. so I will just ramble in a stream of consciousness style. Property rights do create incentive and are a net positive providing they are not abused. The problem at this point in time I think is that there are too many humans and not enough untapped earth. Now that America is saturated there are not many easy to find niches to escape too from a mature society with a well established and entrenched heir archy. So, we need to start cooperating more. Try telling that to Americans!! One huge problem is that the reason that the human is so prolific is that an artificial energy source was introduced into the system namely fossil fuel and short of having a nuke in every back yard I don't think we will be able to replace that when the inevitable occurs. One obvious and simple solution is reduce the numbers through lower birth rates but that is a topic that broaches into ethics and I am not going to start down that road with guys i don't even know. Otherwise i think that nature is going to fix things for us the hard way. Enlightened Self interest. Do good for everyone and you will do well.
porge, Feb 09 2009

       //Why does property need ownership//

Because they are, conceptually speaking, integral to one another. Without ownership there is no property and without property there can be no ownership. That's not to say, of course, that stuff can't exist without being owned; obviously it can. But the concept of money really is that it is a "promisory note", i.e. an agreement to hand over property that you own in exchange for a promise that somebody else will hand over to you a certain amount of property that they own when you give them the money.
DrBob, Feb 09 2009

       I would pronounce "Kyoto" with two syllables without thinking about it and i think most people i know say it that way. The only time i've heard it pronounced any other way was when George W. Bush said it. Maybe it's connected to the difference between American and British approaches.   

       I was attempting, with considerable difficulty, to use the IPA on an Icelandic keyboard. What i typed as "u" is actually supposed to be an inverted capital omega, and to reflect the General American pronunciation of the diphthong which southern English people pronounce as a glide from our schwa to cardinal vowel fifteen. The "d" is supposed to be a voiced alveolar tap like the General American pronunciation of the intervocalic "t".
nineteenthly, Feb 09 2009

       Concerning property, whereas it's a non-natural quality, the issue of intellectual property as applied to mental events is a threat to the concept of personal identity. For instance, people may think of their opinions as their own, but they frequently result from their culture or the influence of their in-group, and that's no less true of me than of other people, so though i do think the concept of property is a little shaky, taking the rejection of the concept to its logical conclusion seems to lead to the dissolution of the concept of the self, since "one's own" mental events cease to belong to one. That would assume there's no distinction between alienable and inalienable property, which often occurs linguistically.
nineteenthly, Feb 09 2009

       Icelandic? I actually tried to post the Kanji for kyouto and it made that mess. I think this site is set up for English.   

       I usually think of intellectual property rights as something I respect in theory. I have cut back on my illegal downloads quite a bit. I don't remember the last movie. I enjoy anime quite a bit though. I both want it to grow and expand and I don't want to pay for it. I do think they have the right to restrict access for the purpose of charging. There seems to be a legal murkiness that people allow for and lets people beleive they are doing something legal. I am not a lawyer but I tend to think I am diluding myself. I want my anime in Japanese with subtitles and now there is a webside that licenses it and gives that I cheer them on from a distance.   

       Regarding property rights it is the concept of respecting it that is a non-natural. It takes a forced understanding on your part that the things you like, such as entertainment needs to be supported so that you get more. I remember being a freshman in highschool or so before someone imposed on me the idea that you can't just copy a computer program and my suggestion that a teacher do so was rightfully received very poorly. At the same time I was unconsiously taught how that a person can make a living creating such things and how a person can't.
MercuryNotMars, Feb 09 2009

       Yes, the HB doesn't do interrobangs for example, but it does do Icelandic, look:
Við eigum ekki, aþ ví bankar okkur illir eru.
That's probably wrong, by the way, probably in more than one sense, but as i said, economics isn't my strong point.
Anyway, i was thinking of the idea of intellectual property in metaphysical rather than legal terms, although i've heard that Japanese anime companies don't much care about their copyright outside their own country anyway. What i mean about property as a non-natural attribute is this: in theory, an international treaty could be signed giving Mercury to China and Mars to the US, but it would make no practical difference to the properties of the planets. They'd continue to have the same masses, compositions, surface features, sidereal periods and so on. For all we know, some alien with a telescope might have detected Jupiter and claimed it on behalf of the Pwqu Empire, but it made not one jot of difference to us on Earth when we sent Pioneer Eleven there. We do, however, talk about our hands, our kidneys, our children and so forth, and in the same respect we talk about our thoughts, memories, emotions and the like, so in a sense these things and people are our property. However, children are most certainly not property in Europe or North America any more than slaves are, though both children and slaves were seen as property in other circumstances. In some countries, one can forfeit property rights to one's hands or one's life. What criteria make property inalienable?

       Concerning software, i don't own this copy of Firefox, "my" copy of emacs or of Ubuntu, but i do, legally speaking, own this copy of Windows XP. Similarly, i declare my prescriptions to be open source but my patients' notes belong to my patients. Everyone gets a copy of their prescription every time with a full description of how it's made, my intentions, the correct doses and so forth. If you went to a healthfood shop and bought something OTC, you'd only get limited information, so for example Potters and Hydes own their prescriptions, but i don't own mine and no-one else does.
nineteenthly, Feb 09 2009

       Personally I don't think fiat currency is the problem. The problem is that politicians think a towering national debt is a good financial policy.   

       The deeper problem is that some people try to rip you off. There will always be goverments and other organisations that do this, regardless of how the economy works.
Bad Jim, Feb 09 2009

       //humans are hard wired to be deceitful//   

       Some significantly more so than others. The less deceitful ones often have other annoying characteristics instead, but there's no denying that they are palpably less deceitful.
pertinax, Feb 10 2009

       I wouldn't agree that they are deceitful. Humans are essentially rational but can be overcome by passion. Other animals can be deceitful, but ultimately, integrity means that deceit limits well-being even if one lives in a society, like most of them, which relies on deceit for its existence. Such a society is unhealthy and the health of the people in it is impaired.
nineteenthly, Feb 10 2009

       Fiat money does not exist for long, so it is not itself a problem the problem is with people who think it exists. For such people debts do not actually exist because the power of the mint is at your disposal. Most economics related fallacies tie back into the disconnection between wealth being fundamentally tied to production. Making the product that you produce rarer does not technically make anyone rich unless you the individual are allowed to produce more than average.   

       Stimulating the economy through public debt doesn't work because you with one hand spend(and unwisely so) and with the other hand you take on debt pulling money out. The net result is that you have simply misdirected the economy with slow and unwieldy government that people would have either spent on their own to buy the same thing or government fails and misguesses what the people want. You may look at large public works but as Henry Hazlett liked to point out you have an unseen loss of what would have otherwise been produced.   

       Likewise the argument that if people had a tax cut they would now just save it and not spend it is ludicrous because that money goes somewhere and does something. It is a pay raise and people need to pay off debts anyway. It gives their labors which produce what people want a raise making more production more appealing.   

       The government wants to stimulate demand? by spending without direction? Only people who believe in fiat money can see the emperor's cloths. the idea of fiat money obscures the fact that supply is demand. My supply of goods and services is my demand for other goods and services. Money may help direct me in my labor by being a measure of how much people want it and how much good it does people but measured in terms of money does not make it any less true that supply is demand. Saving is in fact spending(more likely on capital investments but spending none the less)   

       Recessions are simply then reevaluations of the direction of the economy. People put too much into building houses we are geared toward building them and we have more than we need. They are slow periods in which people suffer for miscalculations and misdirections of capital. The over spenders in a sector find their value of their commodity lowered and the producers find themselves out of work.   

       What they need to do is get out of that production area and move to producing the things we lack. Instead government looks to helping failing industries and misdirecting capital further. So I think I agree with you to a certain extent [Bad Jim].   

       FDR didn't make the depression he just made it Great. The current situation reminds certain people of Japan's recession of the 90's as well I have a post for you.   

       I recommend an old book that I recently found Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlett [nineteenthly]. I downloaded a torrent audio book of it. It might even be legal. If not public domain I think it is unrestricted I think the Mises institute has a .pdf of it for the public view. You probably have a library that would have it too. I am sorry if I made you skittish by pouncing on you too much for a stray comment.
MercuryNotMars, Feb 10 2009

       Don't worry, it's forgotten, and thanks.
nineteenthly, Feb 10 2009

       //supply is demand//   

       This reminds me of a saying of a fictitious philosopher in a Terry Pratchett book: "All places are one place, but that place is very large."
pertinax, Feb 11 2009


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