seigniorage

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pages: 361 words: 97,787

The Curse of Cash by Kenneth S Rogoff

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Note that the Swedish central bank would still be making money over most of this period using the opportunity cost definition of seigniorage. We return to the Swedish experience in Box 7.1 of chapter 7. Seigniorage revenues have been relatively modest as a share of GDP for many decades. It is true that in the high-inflation 1970s, seigniorage revenues from paper currency were notably higher for some European countries. For example, between 1974 and 1978, seigniorage revenues from currency (outside banks) ranged from 2.2% to 2.7% annually for Greece, and from 1.1% to 1.4% annually for Italy.8 But given the advent of alternative payment media, including credit and debit cards, levels this high are unlikely to be seen again in most advanced countries absent a brief spike from a large burst of unanticipated inflation. HOW MUCH WOULD SEIGNIORAGE REVENUES SHRINK? If currency were substantially phased out, the extent to which seigniorage revenues would shrink would depend in part on how much residual currency the public ends up holding after the transition.

True, these profits are likely flattered by the extremely low level of interest rates that have prevailed after the crisis,2 but even before policy interest rates collapsed to zero, the US take was still averaging 0.25% of GDP. (This calculation does not include seigniorage from electronic bank reserves, which of course should increase after paper currency is phased out. The government’s profit will depend on a variety of regulatory factors, such as the minimum level of reserves that banks will be forced to hold against deposits and what kind of interest rate the central bank pays on these.) MEASURES OF SEIGNIORAGE Importantly, there are two ways to think of seigniorage in a modern context, and both matter if one is contemplating scaling back the paper currency business. The calculations above for the euro and the dollar were based on using the simple and intuitive concept of “monetary seigniorage.”3 This concept asks to what extent the government is able to spend beyond its means each year by printing money and spending it.

At present, interest rates are very low; the average interest rate that the US Treasury paid on its marketable debt in March 2016 was just 2.03%, so an extra $1.4 trillion in debt would cost only just over $28 billion a year.4 However, if the average interest rate on marketable government debt was a more “normal” 4% (corresponding to a 2% inflation rate and 2% growth rate in real income), then opportunity cost seigniorage would be $56 billion in nominal terms (though in real terms, adjusting for inflation, the cost of the interest-bearing debt would be only 2% annually, or $28 billion). Figure 6.1 shows average revenues from printing paper currency as a percentage of GDP for a range of countries, using the monetary seigniorage approach. Switzerland and Singapore, at 0.60% and 0.62%, respectively, have average revenues similar to the Eurozone’s 0.55%. Canada and the United Kingdom are much smaller at 0.18%. China is not listed on the table, because the available dataset does not go back far enough, but in recent years, its monetary seigniorage on paper currency has averaged 0.5% of GDP a year, in the middle between the United States and Eurozone rates.5 Most countries’ seigniorage profits in recent years have almost certainly been exaggerated by the extremely low level of interest rates.


pages: 357 words: 110,017

Money: The Unauthorized Biography by Felix Martin

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But as a wily and circumspect pamphleteer, Oresme realised that to campaign for the abolition of the seigniorage altogether—by bringing the tariffed, nominal value of the coinage exactly into line with the market value of the precious metal that it contained—would never fly. He therefore recommended a more moderate course. In exchange for the benefit of using the sovereign money, the community should bear both the costs of minting and a modest seigniorage, so that the sovereign could continue to enjoy “a noble and honourable estate, as becomes princely magnificence or royal majesty.”27 Yet Oresme was aware that this proposed monetary reform begged a further question. Eliminating—or at least strictly regulating—seigniorage would certainly reduce the sovereign’s room for discretion in the management of money. But if the sovereign’s choice of the level of seigniorage was not to determine the quantity of money in circulation, what should?

Medieval sovereigns had few ways of raising revenue apart from the proceeds of their personal domains: levying direct or indirect taxes was far beyond most feudal administrative capabilities. Seigniorage was therefore a uniquely attractive and uniquely feasible source of income—and medieval sovereigns happily indulged in it. Under normal circumstances, when seigniorage was levied only on the gradual increase in the coinage supply demanded by a growing monetary economy, the revenues were relatively modest. But when the need arose, a sovereign could raise enormous sums by crying down or even demonetising altogether the current issue of the coinage and calling it in for re-minting off a debased footing. In 1299, for example, the total revenues of the French crown amounted to just under £2 million: of this, fully one half had come from the seigniorage profits of the Mint following a debasement and general recoining.20 Two generations later, the recoinage of 1349 generated nearly three-quarters of all revenues collected that year by the king.21 When such large sums could be raised, it is hardly surprising that there were no fewer than 123 debasements in France alone between 1285 and 1490.22 The remonetisation of Europe over the so-called “long thirteenth century,” from the late twelfth to the mid-fourteenth century, therefore generated two phenomena that would eventually come into conflict.

In 1299, for example, the total revenues of the French crown amounted to just under £2 million: of this, fully one half had come from the seigniorage profits of the Mint following a debasement and general recoining.20 Two generations later, the recoinage of 1349 generated nearly three-quarters of all revenues collected that year by the king.21 When such large sums could be raised, it is hardly surprising that there were no fewer than 123 debasements in France alone between 1285 and 1490.22 The remonetisation of Europe over the so-called “long thirteenth century,” from the late twelfth to the mid-fourteenth century, therefore generated two phenomena that would eventually come into conflict. The first was the emergence of a class of individuals and institutions whose wealth was held, and whose business transacted, in money—a politically powerful “money interest” beyond the sovereign’s court. The second was the growing addiction of sovereigns to the fiscal miracle of the seigniorage—a miracle which grew in proportion with the increasing use of money. The more activities were monetised, and the more people were drawn into the money economy, the larger the tax base on which seigniorage was levied. As sovereigns were to discover, this apparently magical source of fiscal financing did in fact have limits. They were not technical, however, but political. At some point, the new money interest was bound to assert itself against the sovereign’s perceived excesses. This point was reached in the mid-fourteenth century.


pages: 363 words: 107,817

Modernising Money: Why Our Monetary System Is Broken and How It Can Be Fixed by Andrew Jackson (economist), Ben Dyson (economist)

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This ensures that the total balance of all accounts – and therefore the total electronic money supply – cannot be increased in any way by banks. Banks would only be able to transfer money from one account to another. Reclaiming seigniorage on notes & electronic money Post-reform, the state will earn the seigniorage on the creation of electronic money. The cost of production of electronic money is practically zero, meaning that the seigniorage is effectively 100% of the face value. Strictly the only costs of the production of electronic money would be paying an official at the Bank of England to increase the balance of the Central Government Account, plus a couple of other officials (probably including the Governor) to validate the process and enter necessary passwords. This reform reclaims the seigniorage on the creation of money from commercial banks. Within the current system, the commercial banks do not earn the full face value of the money they create; instead, they gain by the interest they earn from the interest-bearing assets (i.e. loans, mortgages) that they buy with the money they create.

The interest that must be paid on this debt results in a transfer of wealth from the bottom 90% of the population (by income) to the top 10%, exacerbating inequality. In addition, any attempt by the public to pay down its debts will result in a shrinking of the money supply, usually leading to recession and making it difficult to continue reducing debt. The state currently earns a profit, known as seigniorage, from the creation of bank notes. However, because it has left the creation of electronic money in the hands of the banking sector, it is the banks that earn a form of seigniorage on 97% of the money supply. This is a significant and hidden subsidy to the banking sector, and the loss of this seigniorage requires that higher taxes are levied on the population. The instability caused by the monetary system harms the environment. The burden of servicing an inflated level of debt creates a drive for constant growth, even when that growth is harmful to the environment and has limited social benefit.

Within the existing system in the US, coins are manufactured by the US Mint, which sells the coins at face value to the Federal Reserves, who in turn sells them at face value to commercial banks. The profit on the creation of coins,1 which is the difference between the cost of manufacture and the face value, is known as seigniorage, as described in the US Mint’s annual report: “Seigniorage equals the face value of newly minted coins less the cost of production (which includes the cost of metal, manufacturing, and transportation). Seigniorage adds to the government’s cash balance, but unlike the payment of taxes or other receipts, it does not involve a transfer of financial assets from the public. Instead, it arises from the exercise of the government’s sovereign power to create money and the public’s desire to hold financial assets in the form of coins.”

Crisis and Dollarization in Ecuador: Stability, Growth, and Social Equity by Paul Ely Beckerman, Andrés Solimano

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Of course, the degree of integration in goods, capital, and labor markets in the EU is far higher than in the CAN (or MERCOSUR).13 Still, the development of practices of mutual consultation in monetary and exchange-rate matters among member countries is worth pursuing. Seigniorage and Lender of Last Resort A classic argument in the case for national money14 is that, by giving up the use of national money and adopting a foreign currency, a country loses a source of revenue, given by the difference between the real command of resources that the creation of money entails and the low cost of producing (paper) money. This difference is called seigniorage. For ranges of low to moderate inflation and with “normal” demand for money, seigniorage can 10 CRISIS AND DOLLARIZATION IN ECUADOR represent several points of GDP. By adopting the U.S. dollar as its national currency, Ecuador loses this source of revenue and transfers seigniorage to the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States. However, the quantitative importance of the loss of seigniorage in Ecuador is bound to be modest, as the economy was already highly demonetized and de-facto dollarized before the U.S. dollar was officially adopted.

U.S. interest rates and U.S. business cycles explain half the variance of real exchange-rate changes and accumulation of international reserves (Calvo and Reinhart 2000). It seems reasonable enough to conclude that U.S. economic influence operates under any exchange-rate regime. Another presumable disadvantage of dollarization is the loss of seigniorage. Having a local currency allows the central bank to secure seigniorage gains, whereas full dollarization leaves the seigniorage gains in the hands of the U.S. Federal Reserve.2 The appropriate comparison, however, would be not with an alternative theoretical system where the central bank holds no international reserves, but with a more realistic system in which the central bank maintains a large international-reserve stock. As noted earlier, weak credibility and flexible exchange-rate arrangements in developing economies oblige their central banks to 86 CRISIS AND DOLLARIZATION IN ECUADOR maintain large international-reserve balances.

Calcagno, Alfredo, Sandra Manuelito, and Daniel Titelman. 2001. “Dollarization in Ecuador: A Parallel with Argentine Convertibility.” Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Processed. Calvo, Guillermo. 1999. “On Dollarization.” University of Maryland. Processed. Eichengreen, Barry. 2002. “When to Dollarize.” Journal of Money, Credit and Banking 34(1):1–24. Fischer, Stanley. 1982. “Seigniorage and the Case for National Money.” Journal of Political Economy 90(April):295–313. ———. 1993. “Seigniorage and Official Dollarization.” In Nissan Liviatan, ed., Proceedings of a Conference on Currency Substitution and Currency Boards, pp. 6–10. World Bank Discussion Paper 207. World Bank, Washington, D.C. ———. 2001a. “Exchange Rate Regimes: Is the Bi-Polar View Correct?” Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government, American Economic Association and Society of Government Economists. ———. 2001b.


pages: 275 words: 77,017

The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers--And the Coming Cashless Society by David Wolman

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Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, carbon footprint, cashless society, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, Diane Coyle, fiat currency, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, German hyperinflation, greed is good, Isaac Newton, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, mental accounting, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, place-making, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, special drawing rights, Steven Levy, the payments system, transaction costs

Mint, for example, has already earned the Federal Reserve an estimated $4.6 billion in seigniorage.24 In total, the Fed will have earned about $70 billion in 2010 and 2011 by way of providing you, me, and the rest of the greenback-using world with physical money.25 (The Fed also earns seigniorage when it issues electronic money, but that’s a more convoluted form of earning over time, compared with straight-shot profit, which is like any business that sells its product for more than it costs to produce. Then again, having a legal monopoly makes this very much unlike other businesses.) Conspiracy theorists in the United States tend to obsess over seigniorage and the Federal Reserve’s semi-private nature, claiming that the Fed is a malevolent secret society—think Knights Templar meets the Council on Foreign Relations. These evildoers, say the theorists, use their power and wealth to manipulate world governments to their benefit. The more boring fate of seigniorage is that the Fed transfers this profit to the Treasury at year’s end.

The key is something called seigniorage. The opaqueness of the term itself bespeaks the “secret incantation” of central banks and “transactions so powerful and frightening they seem[ed] to lie beyond common understanding,” as William Greider put it in Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country.23 All it is, though, is profit pocketed by central banks and their governments, earned for providing us with currency with which to go about our business. Because the cost of making a coin or banknote is (usually) less than the face value of the object itself, the supplier of the money gets to keep the difference. The new state quarters series issued by the U.S. Mint, for example, has already earned the Federal Reserve an estimated $4.6 billion in seigniorage.24 In total, the Fed will have earned about $70 billion in 2010 and 2011 by way of providing you, me, and the rest of the greenback-using world with physical money.25 (The Fed also earns seigniorage when it issues electronic money, but that’s a more convoluted form of earning over time, compared with straight-shot profit, which is like any business that sells its product for more than it costs to produce.

But because Birch doesn’t want to embarrass the old lady by showing her what she’s doing wrong, he charitably chooses to pay for my chocolate souvenirs with his British Airways American Express card. Leaving the bank, we walk to the Underground station at Canterbury Lane. “Maybe the problem is that they’re not doing the sums properly across government agencies,” says Birch. While national treasuries receive revenue from seigniorage, other branches of government—from the IRS and FBI, to the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Agency—are paying up big for cash’s mélange of downstream consequences. Birch asks a fair question: don’t those respective budgets eventually impact how things are looking over at the Treasury? One shorter-term proposal floated by Birch and others for taking a bite out of cash-related crime—not to mention national debts—is to demonetize higher-value banknotes, namely the $100, €500, €200, and €100.


pages: 444 words: 151,136

Endless Money: The Moral Hazards of Socialism by William Baker, Addison Wiggin

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Taxes would not be raised for at least another century, but this emperor began the practice of seigniorage, wherein the silver content of coinage was reduced. Nero clipped coins by 10 percent. At first this produced immediate wealth for the emperor, but it began to backfire, and a long line of successors would blame rising prices upon the behavior of businessmen, not understanding the fundamental role of money. Importation of wheat for the masses contributed to a trade imbalance, and the consumption of luxury goods by the aristocracy led to the outflow of gold to the east. Central planning became difficult, with a geographic reach stretched thinly by military conquest and the populace having lost incentives to improve crafts or agricultural production. Trajan (98 ad–117 ad) upped seigniorage to 15 percent, Marcus Aurelius (161 ad–180 ad) made it 25 percent, and Septimus Severus (193 ad–201 ad) debased by 50 percent.

The American embrace of fiat currency benefitted colonial governments, since its first usage was to finance public obligations, after which it would be circulated. It added wealth to the colonies and undermined the monetary base of Britain, essentially making the colonists legal counterfeiters. It also underscores that government has two means of financing: one is to tithe the income of its citizenry; the other is to tax the value of circulating medium simply by printing money. The latter benefit to government is known as “seigniorage,” and it accrues directly to the holder of the press. Perhaps on account of living through such an extreme episode by necessity, or perhaps from its repeat in France during that country’s revolution (1789-1797), blatant issuance of paper money came to an end. The Founding Fathers expressly wrote into the U.S. Constitution that the nation’s currency would be gold and silver coins, fixed at a ratio of 15-to-1 such that a dollar would equal 371.25 grains of silver or 24.75 grains of gold.

When social programs soak up central bank accommodation of Treasury issuance through monetary expansion, savers see their wealth diminished in relative terms, as if a tax had been placed upon them. In such an arrangement socialism flourishes, because there is no perceived cost to those who hold wealth. In actuality, the difference between the low single digit inflation of modern fiat currencies and the natural deflation that would accrue from productivity gains, and from the integration of billions of lowwage laborers into the world economy represents seigniorage transferred to the political beneficiaries of socialized credit. It is a staggeringly large number annually. Taken to the extreme, bank reserve requirements could be set near zero to permit infinite expansion of the money stock. The panic of 2008 may have this very characteristic. The experience of the early 19th century provides some evidence of Rothbard’s observation of how strong the profit opportunity was when the United States first witnessed fractional reserve banking.


pages: 457 words: 128,838

The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey

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Countless monarchs after King Alyattes used similarly dramatic symbols to put their stamp on coinage. It gave the coin authenticity but also functioned as a kind of royal branding, an advertisement of the omnipresence of the realm. We are reminded that money and power are inseparable. The sovereign’s capacity to issue money afforded one specific benefit: the creation of seigniorage, the ability to profit directly from the issuance of currency. These days, seigniorage arises because of the interest-free loan that a government obtains by printing money on comparatively worthless pieces of paper. But when currencies were associated with particular weights of precious metals, monarchs exploited this power through more overt methods. Many would “clip” gold or silver coins to melt down and redeem the value of the shavings.

The ten-minute gap is somewhat arbitrary, but by choosing an interval and programming the software to stick to that fixed schedule, he could arrange the currency-issuance schedule to be consistent over a 130-year period. In monetary-theory terms, the payout is seigniorage, the profit that a currency issuer—be it a sovereign, a monetary authority, or in this case a winning bitcoin miner—derives from the privilege of minting the community’s money. The corollary is, this cost is borne by the rest of the community, since fresh supply depletes the market value and purchasing power of the existing currency. Seigniorage is unavoidable; someone has to be the first to own newly issued currency. The question is how to make it fair. Some cryptocurrency designers have created nonprofit foundations and charged them with distributing the coins based on certain criteria—to eligible charities, for example.

Some designers have given fixed allotments to people formally registered as belonging to a particular group, such as a national registry. But that creates the potential for fraud as people can set up more than one wallet per person, hiding behind the system’s anonymity, and get higher allotments for themselves. Some have created the coins and sold portions of them to the public—garnering the seigniorage for themselves, much like a government.* Often this strategy requires some elaborate maneuvers to keep the faith with the community, occasionally employing a “proof of burn” strategy, where the founders periodically transfer some of their coin holdings to a verifiably unusable wallet to maintain scarcity and bolster the value of everyone else’s coins. How Transactions Are Confirmed on the Blockchain (Courtesy of Michael J.


pages: 700 words: 201,953

The Social Life of Money by Nigel Dodd

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Those forms of payments that seem to liberate us from the clutches of banks and large corporations base their attractiveness on an underlying sense that they are enabling us to escape from the old vested interests that were present—somewhere in the background—whenever we used money. The classic expression of such interests, of course, is seigniorage, which used to be the difference between the value of money and what it cost to produce. Seigniorage was classically seen as a tax—economists called it an inflation tax—because it was usually the state (via its central bank) that produced the notes and coins in question. Today, however, the “tax” on the everyday use of money is paid not to the state but to the providers of the payment networks. These are the very providers—PayPal, Square, Google, and M-Pesa—whose primary attraction lies in the fact that they are not government. This phenomenon is the new, private, seigniorage.50 The expansion of mobile money has proceeded hand in hand with the development of increasingly sophisticated ways for private corporations to “mine value in the act of payment” (Maurer 2011: 10).

This goal may not be as ambitious a concept as Hardt and Negri’s vision of the financial commons (see Chapter 6), but it is arguably more realistic and achievable. The increasingly private character of payment systems militates against this situation and explicitly encourages a form of profiteering from money’s mere use, which is arguably no more logical or ethically defensible than usury. Since the 2007–8 crisis, most public debate about the nature and purpose of the monetary and financial system has been preoccupied with debt. But the “new seigniorage” has all of the potential to be an equally corrosive feature of the world’s monetary landscape. The second key issue is connected to the first. It concerns the relationship between the two main payment networks I have been discussing here. At present, the two road systems meet in various ways, or in many instances not at all. Local currencies such as London’s Brixton Pound are only exchangeable in specific places in a delimited area.

Bearers of local currency vouchers do not benefit from the same level of consumer protection as banknotes issued by either the Bank of England or the authorised commercial issuing banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland” (Naqvi and Southgate 2013: 1). 47 See http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/april2004/040704bajabeachclub.htm and http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/06/09/spain.club/index.html. 48 M is for mobile; pesa is Swahili for money. 49 https://squareup.com/wallet. 50 Although it is not exactly seigniorage, the term goes some way toward capturing the idea that this is essentially a fee that is charged for the mere use of money, like the opposite of demurrage. As Maurer points out, “We may need a better vocabulary for fees, rents, taxes, tribute—not everything, as the Islamic bankers remind us, is usury” (Maurer 2011: 11). 51 Payment service providers wield significant power in other ways, too, as exemplified by the involvement of Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union in the WikiLeaks case.


pages: 207 words: 86,639

The New Economics: A Bigger Picture by David Boyle, Andrew Simms

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Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, congestion charging, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, garden city movement, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, land reform, loss aversion, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, peak oil, pensions crisis, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, working-age population

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford teamed up to urge that government borrowing for capital projects should be done differently: the government should create the money themselves, lend it to the project without interest – or as the Islamic banks do, at a fee – and withdraw it from circulation to avoid inflation as the project began to pay.19 At present, the profits that come from creating money – known as seigniorage – nearly all go to the banks, when it is argued that they properly belong to us as citizens. It is certainly true that the WHY DID CHINA PAY FOR THE IRAQ WAR? 59 power to create unlimited sums, which has been taken up by the banking system as a whole, is a privilege that ought to be taxed at the very least and certainly better regulated. But the idea that governments alone should create money, while it is clearly part of the alternative economics tradition, is not strictly ‘new economics’ in the sense that it does not share the new economics scepticism about money and its measuring power.

(John Kenneth) 41, 51 gambling 14–15, 152 Gandhi, Mohandas (Mahatma) 18, 19, 21, 110, 112 Gates, Bill 141 Gates, Jeff 141–2 GDP (gross domestic product) 10, 32, 36–40, 42, 43, 54, 79 alternatives to 40–2, 43 bad measure of success 10, 37, 55, 78 INDEX global 141 UK 4 see also growth genetically modified crops see GM crops Germany 33, 50, 58 Gladwell, Malcolm 68 Global Barter Clubs 57, 58 global commons 113, 148 global currencies 56, 61, 120, 147–8 global greenback 61 global warming 3, 3–4, 115, 155 see also climate change globalization 8, 28, 143, 153 see also interdependence GM (genetically modified) crops 91, 117, 119, 140–1 Goetz, Stephan 124 gold standard 8, 143 Good Life, The (BBC sitcom) 69 goods, local 19, 109, 110 Goodwin, Fred 142 government borrowing 37–8, 49–50, 58, 62, 141 governments 2, 28, 116, 129, 158 creating money 58–9, 62, 90 propping up banking system 6, 7 Graham, Benjamin 120 Grameen Bank 26, 143–4, 153 Great Barrington (Massachusetts) 57, 151–2, 153 Great Depression 3, 36, 57 green bonds 157 green collar jobs 106, 157 Green Consumer Guide, The (Elkington and Hailes, 1988) 26, 69, 72 green economics 23, 100, 117 green energy 26, 97, 102–3, 114, 156, 157 Green New Deal 156–8 green taxation 153 greenhouse gas emissions 3–4, 115, 148 gross domestic product see GDP Gross National Happiness 43 growth 2, 11, 12–13, 23, 36–7, 38–40, 42, 43 185 bad measure of success 10, 158 maximizing 25 and poverty 4, 39–40, 81–2 and progress 39, 78 wealth defined in terms of 32 and well-being 4–5 see also GDP guilds 80, 80–1 happiness 12, 18, 29, 41, 43, 45–6 Happy Planet Index 32–3, 34, 43 Hard Times (Dickens, 1854) 36 HBOS 7 health 46, 72, 78, 96, 115, 129 health costs 117 healthcare 13, 33, 44 hedge funds 5, 7, 97, 120 Helsinki (Finland) 102 HIV/AIDS 70, 111, 135, 148 Honduras 139, 141 house prices 36, 46, 79, 83, 91, 126–7, 151 London 53, 54, 91 see also mortgages Howard, Ebenezer 105, 158 HSBC 5 human interaction 67–8, 74 human needs 20, 24, 67, 86 human rights 110–11, 116, 147 ill-health 35, 38, 46 ‘illth’ 29, 35 IMF (International Monetary Fund) 27, 82, 91, 135–6, 139, 143, 147, 147–8 incomes 24, 37, 43, 44, 78, 79, 81 and happiness 45–6 inequalities 37, 81, 82, 142 of poorest 4, 81, 82, 112, 142 Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare see ISEW India 82, 91, 110, 119, 136, 139–40, 153 indigenous knowledge 82, 117 inequality 4, 81–2, 96, 112–13, 116 inflation 8, 22, 58, 90 information technology 58, 59, 115 186 THE NEW ECONOMICS intellectual property 82, 91, 110, 113, 116, 117 interdependence 111–20, 135–8 Keynes on 19, 109, 110, 115, 143 see also globalization interest 8, 11, 11–12, 58, 77, 157 interest rates 144, 144–5 interest-free money 43, 73, 84, 90 intergenerational equity 25, 117 international bankruptcy 147 International Monetary Fund see IMF investment 14, 45, 53, 60, 104, 118, 137–8 ethical 26, 69–70, 74, 154 involvement 71, 75, 128–30 Iraq 49, 60, 136 ISEW (Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare) 40–1, 43, 78 Islamic banking 58, 90, 146 islands, small 31–2, 33–4 Italy 33, 119–20, 138 Ithaca hours currency 57, 58 It’s a Wonderful Life (film, Capra, 1946) 38 Jacobs, Jane 56, 110, 126 Jaffe, Bernie 126 Japan 26, 50, 91, 113, 119, 128 Jefferson, Thomas 18, 20 Jersey 52, 53 Jones, Allan 103 Jubilee Debt campaign 137 junk bonds 1, 142–3 just-in-time 123–4, 155 Keynes, John Maynard 2, 13–14, 15, 17, 21, 37, 55 on interdependence 19, 109, 110, 115, 143 international currency 61, 120 on local production 19, 109, 110 on ‘practical men’ as ‘slaves of some defunct economist’ 10, 35, 67, 87, 159 Keynesian economics 8, 18, 22, 27, 28 Kinney, Jill 130 Knowsley (Merseyside) 104 Kropotkin, Peter 18 Krugman, Paul 52 land 19, 82, 96 land tax 43 landfill 97, 98, 100, 107 Layard, Richard 41 Lehigh Hospital (Pennsylvania) 129 Letchworth Garden City (Hertfordshire) 105 lets (local exchange and trading systems) 57 liberalism 18, 19, 27 Lietaer, Bernard 56, 61, 120 life 19, 29, 55, 69, 86, 91 need for meaning 42, 75 life expectancy 31, 32–3, 82 life poverty 82–3 life satisfaction 31, 33, 41, 42 Lima (Peru) 130–1 Linton, Michael 57, 58 Living Economy, The (Ekins, 1986) 24–5 LM3 (Local Money 3) 60, 104–5 loans see debt Local Alchemy programme 152–3 local circulation of money 103–5, 107, 124, 151–2 local currencies 26, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 151–2, 153 local economies 26, 81, 85, 86, 105–7, 118, 124, 133 local exchange and trading systems (lets) 57 local food 2, 118, 119–20, 151 local governments 6, 44, 60 local life 4, 81, 158 Local Money 3 see LM3 local production 109, 116, 118 local savings schemes 61 local shops 75, 82–3, 104, 124, 124–5, 126, 151 supermarkets and 80, 105, 125 local wealth 14, 53–4 localization 155–6, 159 London 52, 53, 61, 97, 102, 103 house prices 53, 54, 91 traffic speed 65–6 INDEX London Underground 147 Lutzenberger, Jose 26 Macmillan Cancer Care 88–9 McRobie, George 22, 24 mainstream 4–5, 26, 154, 159–60 see also economics Malawi 135–6, 137 Malaysia 51 Manchester United 155 manipulated debt 139–41 markets 10, 12, 51, 70, 158 financial 1–2, 52, 53, 55, 138, 154–5 free 22, 85, 112–13 new economics and 67, 72–5, 85 Marsh Farm estate (Luton) 104–5, 152–3 Maslow, Abraham 67 materialism 12, 46–7 Max-Neef, Manfred 24 Maxwell, Robert 143 MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) 39, 136 Mead, Margaret 129 meaning, need for 42, 75 measurement problem 36–40 measuring 12, 42, 55, 85 success 2, 8, 10, 43, 44, 55, 154, 156, 158 value 10, 15, 29, 53, 59, 115 wealth 32, 37–40, 53–4 well-being 4, 18, 32–3, 34, 43 mechanics, Cuban 95–6, 97 medieval economics 78–80, 80–1 mega-rich 120, 141, 142 mental health 4, 35, 36, 46, 68, 83 Merck 99 micro-credit 26, 143–4, 145, 146, 151, 153 Milkin, Michael 142 Millennium Development Goals see MDGs minimum wage 92 misery, of UK young people 35–6 Mishan, E.J. 40 Mogridge, Martin 65–6, 74 Mondragon (Spain), cooperatives 153 money 8, 11, 13, 18, 27, 29, 36, 95 187 as a bad measure 10, 15, 18, 53, 59, 90, 143, 154 creating 7, 56–7, 58–9, 84, 90, 120, 138, 147 designed for money markets 53 economics and 25, 127 externalities 35 and life 55, 86, 154, 159 local circulation 103–5, 107, 124, 151–2 means to an end 15 new economics view 15, 59–60, 89 new ways of organizing 56–60 re-using 103–5 replacing with well-being 42 slowing down 51–2, 60 too little 57 types of 14–15, 57, 59, 120 and value 10, 15, 53, 59 and wealth 15, 19, 32, 38, 78 and well-being 18, 21, 81 see also GDP; growth; price; trickle down money flows 26, 50–2, 60, 103–5, 107, 124, 136–8 money markets 1–2, 52, 53, 55, 138, 154–5 money poverty 81–2 money system 7–8, 50–6, 60 monopolies 8, 20, 83, 84–6, 89–90, 125–6, 133, 146 Monsanto 85, 140 moral philosophy 12, 19, 72–3 morality 8, 18, 28, 74, 115 economics and 12, 19, 22 Morris, William 18, 78, 151 mortgages 1, 4, 5–6, 6, 7, 46, 91 working to pay 46, 68, 73, 77–8, 79, 81, 83, 84, 89, 126–7, 140 see also house prices motivations 4–5, 11, 67–9, 70, 71, 72, 73, 75 multinationals 14, 61, 84–5, 90, 137–8, 139, 143 multiple currencies 58, 59–60, 60, 90 multiplier effect 103–5 Murdoch, Rupert 52 188 THE NEW ECONOMICS Myers, Norman 117 Nanumaea (Tuvalu) 34 national accounting 37–8, 38–9 national debt 49–50, 83, 84, 139, 141 national grid 102, 106 National Health Service see NHS natural capital 3, 99 natural resources 22, 40, 43, 84, 97–8 needs 20, 24, 25, 67, 75, 86 basic 25, 89, 91–2, 115 nef (the new economics foundation) 24, 26, 45, 71, 104, 131–2, 145 Local Alchemy programme 152–3 see also Happy Planet Index; LM3 ‘neo-liberal’ policies 8, 27–8 Nether Wallop (Hampshire) 80, 81 The Netherlands 58, 106, 138 New Century 5 New Deal for Communities 152 New Deal (US) 157 new economics 2–3, 9–10, 18–19, 28–9, 59, 153–4, 159–60 Cuba as object lesson 96–7 history of 9–10, 18–19, 21–7 and the mainstream 26 as new definition of wealth 15 principles 35, 157–8 new economics foundation see nef New York City 52, 128 News Corporation 52 NHS (National Health Service) 87, 114, 131 Northern Rock 6 Nottingham 35 Nu-Spaarpas experiment 106 Obama, Barack 154, 157 obsolescence, built-in 98, 100, 101 odious debt 146 offshore assets 136–7 offshore financial centres 52–3, 61 oil 3, 96, 115, 117, 155 Oil Legacy Fund 157 orchards 111, 112, 115, 124 organic food 26 Ostrom, Elinor 127 out-of-town retailing 75, 80, 123, 132 overconsumption 32, 40, 44, 113 Owen, Robert 57 ownership 11, 46, 60, 91, 118, 156 paid work 87–9, 92 palm oil 112 Partners in Health 130–1 peak oil 3, 96, 117, 155 Pearce, David 25–6, 98, 115 Peasants’ Revolt (1381) 18 pensions 7, 44, 61, 73, 155 people, as assets 15, 57–8, 128–9, 130, 131 permit trading 45, 117–18, 148 personal carbon allowances 45, 117–18 personal debt 7, 36, 83–4, 91, 140, 141 Petrini, Carlo 119–20 Pettifor, Ann 135, 137 philanthropy 130, 133 policy makers 28, 35, 73, 87, 90 assumptions of 67, 68, 73, 128 Keynes on 10, 35, 67, 87, 159 political agenda 42–7 politicians 11, 54, 159 politics, new 159 pollution 10, 35, 37, 40, 98, 112, 114 by GM genes 91, 117, 119 poor 29, 145–6 Porritt, Jonathon 23 post-autistic economics 9–10, 71–2 poverty 4, 23, 35, 79–80, 81–2, 127 economic system and 13–14, 18, 29, 81–2, 154 interdependence leading to 111–15 reduction 39–40, 51–2, 61, 116, 124–5 poverty gap 4, 52–3, 78, 82 power 10, 12, 25, 28, 53, 141–2 corporate 20, 28, 85 monopoly power 83, 89–90, 125–6, 146 power relationships 29, 114 price 10, 67, 72, 73, 115, 153 Price, Andrew 132 INDEX prices 80, 156, 158 Pritchard, Alison 23 product life cycle 97–8, 101 professionals 130, 132, 133, 159 profits 12, 13, 99 progress 36, 37–8, 39, 43, 44, 77–8, 81–2, 84 Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph 120 psychology, economics and 67–8, 71, 72–3 public goods 148 public sector commissioning 131–2, 133 public services 45, 74, 127–32, 158 public transport 66, 74 ‘purchasing power parity’ 81 Putnam, Robert 126–7, 127–8 189 retirement 46, 73 see also pensions rewarded work 88 rewards 7, 8, 11, 25, 92, 141, 142 roads 66, 115 Robertson, James 17, 22, 23, 55, 145 Rockefeller, John D. 28 Roman Catholic church 19, 21, 117 Roosevelt, Eleanor 96 Roosevelt, Franklin Delano 157 Rotterdam (The Netherlands) 106 rubbish 97–105 Rupasingha, Anil 124 Rushey Green surgery (London) 131 Ruskin, John 17–18, 18, 29, 35, 78, 81 Russia 110 qoin system 58 rainforests 4, 10, 111, 112 ‘rational man’ assumption 10, 71 RBS 142 re-use 97, 99, 100–5 Reagan, Ronald 22, 27 real money, generating 120 ‘real’ wealth 2, 32, 36–40 reciprocity 44, 128, 128–30, 133 see also co-production recycling 97, 98, 100–1, 105–6, 106–7 redistribution 19, 27, 52, 96 regeneration 27, 104, 105, 107, 116, 124, 128 regional currencies 58, 59, 60 regulation 129, 156 competition 85, 113, 125, 126, 133 financial sector 53, 85, 157 relationships 4, 69, 83, 128–30 remittances 137 Rendell, Matt 33 renewable energy 26, 97, 102, 102–3, 114, 156, 157 repair 97, 98, 101, 105, 107 resources 32, 43, 97–8, 99, 100–1, 114, 158 local 25, 115 natural 22, 40, 43, 84, 97–8 St Louis (Missouri) 131 Samoa 34 Sane (South African New Economics) 58 saving seeds 91, 117, 119, 141 savings 7, 46, 73, 90, 157 schools 131 Schor, Juliet 83 Schumacher, E.F. (Ernst Friedrich, ‘Fritz’) 1, 18, 21–2, 27, 114, 117 SDRs (special drawing rights) 147–8 Seattle (Washington) 41 seeds 91, 117, 119, 140, 141 seigniorage 58–9 Sen, Amartya 12 SERs (special emission rights) 148 set prices 80 sharing 34, 44, 91, 119, 140 shopping 26, 80, 82–3, 104, 105, 125, 133 shops 20 local 75, 80, 82–3, 104, 105, 124, 124–5, 126, 151 see also out-of-town retailing; supermarkets short-termism 11, 13, 14–15 SIVs (structured investment vehicles) 1, 5–6, 6 skills 13, 60, 98, 100, 101, 105, 132 190 THE NEW ECONOMICS Slow Food 118, 119–20 Small is Beautiful (Schumacher, 1977) 1, 21 small islands 31–2, 33–4 small-scale banks 146 Smith, Adam 89 social auditing 26, 45, 153–4 social banks 144, 146 social capital 19, 33, 54–5, 86–7, 89, 126–7, 132 Wal-mart and 124–5 social credit 19, 58, 59, 90 social networks 36, 127, 132 social norms 67–8, 71 social relationships 34, 45 social return on investment (SROI) 45 Soros, George 51, 148 South Africa 136 South African New Economics (Sane) 58 South Shore Bank (Chicago) 144 sovereignty 55, 113 special drawing rights (SDRs) 147–8 special emission rights (SERs) 148 speculation 22, 53, 81, 82, 84, 146, 158 deterring 51–2, 60, 61 financial 7, 15, 50–1, 51–2, 61 spirituality 4–5, 18, 21–2, 75, 79, 81 SROI (social return on investment) 45 Stamp Out Poverty 61 Starkey, Richard 118 state 12–13, 28, 155 see also governments steady-state economy 43, 44 Stern Report (Stern, 2006) 155 Stiglitz, Joseph 61 stress 4, 35, 37, 83 structured investment vehicles see SIVs sub-prime loans 1, 5–7, 144 sub-Saharan Africa 82 ‘subsidiarity’ 117 subsidies 11, 82, 112, 113, 117, 119, 123–4 success 79–80, 89 measuring 2, 8, 10, 43, 44, 55, 154, 156, 158 suicides 83, 91, 140 super rich 120, 141, 142 supermarkets 80, 85, 90, 104, 105, 123–6, 129 sustainability 24, 73, 89, 113, 114, 116, 117 sustainable development 51–2, 61 Swann, Bob 120, 151 Sweden 102 Swift, Jonathan 18 Switzerland 52, 62 T-bills (Treasury bills) 49–50, 58 takeovers 84, 142, 143 talent system 58 targets 9, 41, 129 tariffs 113 tax havens 15, 52–3, 53, 61, 136, 157 Tax Justice Network 136–7 taxation 73, 92, 116 taxes 10, 15, 27, 32, 43, 62, 136–7 paid by corporations 52, 61, 137, 157 TB (tuberculosis) 130, 148 TEQs (tradeable energy quotas) 117–18 terra (currency) 56, 61, 120 Tesco 85, 116, 125 Thatcher, Margaret 21, 22, 23, 27 The Other Economic Summit see TOES Thoreau, Henry David 69 time 44, 45–6, 60, 103, 132 time banks 58, 59, 60, 89, 92, 123, 131, 132 Titmuss, Richard 65, 70 Tobin, James 51–2 Tobin Levy 51–2, 61 TOES (The Other Economic Summit) 23–5 Toffler, Alvin 88 trade 25, 81, 109–10, 111–15, 116, 148, 158 fair trade 26, 119, 145, 153 Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property see TRIPS tradeable energy quotas (TEQs) 117–18 traffic speed 65–6, 74 transport 67, 74, 112, 115 see also public transport Treasury bills (T-bills) 49–50, 58 INDEX trickle down 27–8, 39–40, 138 ‘doesn’t work’ 27, 52, 104 TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property) agreement (1995) 113, 117 tuberculosis (TB) 130, 148 Turning Point network 23 UK (United Kingdom) 4, 39, 55, 61, 70, 85, 119, 145 aid from 136 corporation tax gap 137 cultural enrichment 111 debt 83, 141 Ecological Debt Day 114 energy 102, 114 food production 96, 114 Happy Planet Index 32 ‘illth’ 4, 35 interest rates 144–5 local savings schemes 61 money deposits 136 orchard loss 111, 112, 115, 124 poverty 82 real costs of road transport 115 super-casinos 14 trade 112, 113 well-being 4, 35–6, 41, 68 working hours 68 young people in 35–6 see also house prices Ukraine 110 UN (United Nations) 39, 51–2, 60, 91, 110–11, 157 unemployment 44, 46, 55–6, 91–2, 157 unpaid work 87–9 Unto This Last (Ruskin, 1860) 18, 29 USA (United States) 39, 57, 61, 82, 113, 119, 127, 157 and Cuba 95 debt 49–50, 84, 141 Happy Planet Index 32 invasion of Iraq (2003) 49, 60 subsidies 11, 113 trade deficit 50 191 unemployment 55 well-being deteriorating 41, 68 usury 80, 81, 144–5 value 44, 98, 99 measuring 10, 15, 29, 53, 59, 115 values 11, 71, 115, 127 Vanuatu 31–2, 35, 42 Vaxjo (Sweden) 102 vegetable box schemes 104 ‘victory gardening movement’ 96 Virgil, Eclogues 110 voluntary sector 13, 87, 132, 145 voting 124–5, 127 Wal-mart 104, 123, 124–5 Wall Street Crash (1929) 1, 51, 90 Waring, Marilyn 38–9 Washington Consensus 27–8 waste 97, 100–1, 158 Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive see WEEE directive wealth 18, 28, 38, 41–2, 52, 89, 141–2, 152 defining 18–19, 32, 34, 35, 38 and ‘illth’ 29, 35–6 local 14, 53–4 measuring 32, 36–40, 53–4, 143 money and 19, 32, 38, 78, 143 new economics and 3, 15, 35, 37 real 2, 32, 37–40 see also Happy Planet Index WEDGE project 23 WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive 98, 100, 101 welfare 25, 28, 44, 127, 129, 153 Welfare State 19, 129 well-being 4–5, 25, 45–6, 99, 158 demand for 4–5, 11, 68–9 falls in 4, 37, 41, 68, 78 GDP and 4, 36, 37 measuring 4, 18, 32–3, 34, 43 money and 18, 21, 81 as motivation 4–5, 11, 68–9, 72 new economics and 41–7, 68–9 192 THE NEW ECONOMICS origins of 43 willingness to pay 99 Willington, Sally 23 Wir currency 62 Witt, Susan 151 Woking (Surrey) 102–3 women 38–9, 77–8, 79, 83, 144 work 24, 45, 81, 84–5, 86–7, 92 concept of 25, 83, 86, 87–9 to pay mortgages 46, 68, 73, 77–8, 79, 81, 83, 84, 89, 126–7, 140 of women 38–9, 77–8, 83 working hours 45–6, 78, 79, 83, 92 World Bank 27, 81, 82, 91, 137, 139, 143, 147 Yank Tanks (film, Schendel, 2002) 95 young people, UK 35–6 youth courts 129, 132 Yunus, Mohammed 143–4 Zimbabwe 32 Zurich (Switzerland) 66


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The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive During the Collapse of the Welfare State by James Dale Davidson, Rees Mogg

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affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, borderless world, British Empire, California gold rush, clean water, colonial rule, Columbine, compound rate of return, Danny Hillis, debt deflation, ending welfare as we know it, epigenetics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Gilder, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, Kevin Kelly, market clearing, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, Parkinson's law, pattern recognition, phenotype, price mechanism, profit maximization, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, school vouchers, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, spice trade, statistical model, telepresence, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transaction costs, Turing machine, union organizing, very high income

Governments that tax too much will simply make residence anywhere within their power a bankrupting liability. "... as the king by his perogative may make money of what matter and form he pleaseth and establish the standard of it, so may he change his money in substance and impression, and enhance or debase the value of it, or entirely decry and annul it” FROM AN ENGLISH COURT DECISION, 1604 THE DEATH OF SEIGNIORAGE Governments will not only lose their power to tax many forms of income and capital; they are also destined to lose their power of compulsion over money. In the past, megapolitical transitions have been associated with changes in the character of money. (The introduction of coinage helped launch the five-hundred-year cycle of expansion in the ancient economy that culminated with the birth of Christ and the lowest interest rates before the modern period.

Debtors will be squeezed as longterm liabilities contracted under the old system are liquidated, and concessionary credits dry up. 165 Altered by Competition Governments facing serious competition to their currency monopolies will probably seek to underprice the for-fee cybercurrencies by tightening credits and offering savers higher real yields on cash balances in national currencies. Some governments may even seek to remonetize gold as another expedient to meet competition from private currencies. They may well reason that they could gain higher seigniorage profits from a loosely controlled nineteenth-century gold standard than would be the case if they allowed their national currency to be displaced entirely by commercial cybermoney. But not all governments will respond in the same way. Those in regions where computer 'usage and Net participation are low may opt for old-fashioned hyperinflation in the early stages of the cybereconomy. This will not enable these governments to capture the cash balances of the rich, but it will wring resources from those with little wealth or access to the cybereconomy.


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Broken Markets: A User's Guide to the Post-Finance Economy by Kevin Mellyn

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banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, disintermediation, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial repression, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Home mortgage interest deduction, index fund, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, lump of labour, market bubble, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, mobile money, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, Real Time Gross Settlement, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Coase, seigniorage, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Jobs, The Great Moderation, the payments system, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, underbanked, Works Progress Administration, yield curve, Yogi Berra

From a bank perspective, in check-writing countries such as the United States (which accounts for the vast majority of all checks), no product generates a higher liquidity premium or more fee revenue per account. Clearing checks is the most profitable activity of the Federal Reserve System and a big moneymaker for correspondent banks. As for cash, central banks basically print the stuff for pennies per note and sell it to banks at face value. This currency monopoly of the state is called seigniorage and is worth tens of billions to governments around the world. All these things leave banks and even central banks conflicted about how much effort they should invest in trying to force the remaining paper out of the system. In part, this lack of investment commitment reflects the fact many cash services like ATMs can defend their stand-alone profitability, but the main inhibitor is that branch networks, ATMs, and physical-paper-handling logistics cannot be eliminated substantially unless cash and checks fall out of use almost entirely.


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Debunking Economics - Revised, Expanded and Integrated Edition: The Naked Emperor Dethroned? by Steve Keen

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, Benoit Mandelbrot, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, cellular automata, central bank independence, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, collective bargaining, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, Financial Instability Hypothesis, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Henri Poincaré, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, invisible hand, iterative process, John von Neumann, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market microstructure, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, open economy, place-making, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, seigniorage, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, stochastic process, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, total factor productivity, tulip mania, wage slave

This then led to a simple but profound principle: ‘A true monetary economy must therefore be using a token money, which is nowadays a paper currency’ (ibid.: 3). The fact that a monetary economy uses a token – something that is intrinsically worthless – as a means of exchange implies two further key conditions ‘In order for money to exist’: b) money has to be accepted as a means of final settlement of the transaction (otherwise it would be credit and not money); c) money must not grant privileges of seigniorage to any agent making a payment. (Ibid.: 3) From this Graziani derived the insight that ‘any monetary payment must therefore be a triangular transaction, involving at least three agents, the payer, the payee, and the bank’: The only way to satisfy those three conditions is to have payments made by means of promises of a third agent, the typical third agent being nowadays a bank […] Once the payment is made, no debt and credit relationships are left between the two agents.

Chapter 14 1 Discussed in Chapter 10. 2 The nominated policy failing this time would probably be the alleged deviation from the Taylor Rule after 2001 – the case Taylor himself is already making (see Box 10.1). 3 Seppecher’s Java-based model is accessible at p.seppecher.free.fr/jamel/. 4 And they incur essentially no costs in doing so – the cost of ‘producing’ a dollar is much less than a dollar. This is the source of Graziani’s third stricture that the system can’t enable banks to exploit this opportunity for seigniorage. 5 Economists normally say ‘agents’ here rather than classes – given the microeconomic focus of neoclassical modeling, and the pejorative association that class was given by nineteenth-century politics. I use the term classes because social classes are an objective reality in capitalism, and because the SMD conditions, as Alan Kirman put it, suggest that ‘If we are to progress further we may well be forced to theorise in terms of groups who have collectively coherent behaviour […] Thus demand and expenditure functions if they are to be set against reality must be defined at some reasonably high level of aggregation.


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The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement by David Graeber

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Bretton Woods, British Empire, corporate personhood, David Graeber, deindustrialization, dumpster diving, East Village, feminist movement, financial innovation, George Gilder, Lao Tzu, late fees, Occupy movement, payday loans, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ralph Nader, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, unpaid internship, We are the 99%, working poor

But as economist Giovanni Arrighi, following the great French historian Fernand Braudel, has pointed out, that’s how empires have tended to work for the last five hundred years or so: they start as industrial powers, but gradually shift to “financial” powers, with the economic vitality in the banking sector.13 What this means in practice is that the empires come to be based more and more on sheer extortion—that is, unless one really wishes to believe (as so many mainstream economists seem to want us to) that the nations of the world are sending the United States their wealth, as they did to Great Britain in the 1890s, because they are dazzled by its ingenious financial instruments. Really, the United States manages to keep cheap consumer goods flowing into the country, despite the decline of its export sector, by dint of what economists like to call “seigniorage”—which is economic jargon for “the economic advantage that accrues from being the one who gets to decide what money is.” There is a reason, I think, why most economists like to ensure such matters are shrouded in jargon that most people don’t understand. The real workings of the system are almost the exact opposite of the way they are normally presented to the public. Most public discourse on the deficit treats money as if it were some kind of preexisting, finite substance: like, say, petroleum.


pages: 348 words: 98,757

The Trade of Queens by Charles Stross

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business intelligence, call centre, illegal immigration, index card, inflation targeting, land reform, profit motive, seigniorage

Miriam untied the knotted drawstring then thrust her hand inside. "Yep, it's the real thing." The gold brick glinted in the afternoon light; she returned it to the bag hastily. "About six kilos of twenty-three-carat. It was worth a hell of a lot a year ago—God only knows what it's worth right now." Stuck in a deflationary cycle and a liquidity crash with a revolution on top, gold—with or without seigniorage—was enormously more valuable than it had been when it was merely what the coin of the realm was made of. The national treasury had been stripped bare to pay for the war: That was what had started the crisis. She straighted up and dusted herself down. "Job number one for Alasdair is to get someone who knows what they're doing to hide this properly. We lucked out once, but sooner or later one of Erasmus's rival ministries will probably try and shake us down to see where the leverage is coming from.

The Future of Money by Bernard Lietaer

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agricultural Revolution, banks create money, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, clean water, complexity theory, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, diversification, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Gilder, German hyperinflation, global reserve currency, Golden Gate Park, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the telephone, invention of writing, Lao Tzu, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Norbert Wiener, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, post-industrial society, price stability, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, the market place, the payments system, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, working poor

The latter's intimidating label belies the simple process it represents of enabling the banking system to create more money than the deposits it holds. The secret of ‘modern’ money The secret of creating money is being able to persuade people to accept one's IOU (a promise to pay in the future) as a medium of exchange. Whoever manages that trick can derive an income flow from the process (e.g., the medieval goldsmiths' fees, or, today, the interest on the loan that creates the money). Such income is called 'seigniorage', a word derived from the right of the Lord of the Manor (Seignior in Old French) to impose the use of his currency on his vassals. As the nation-states became the powers-that-be, a deal was struck between the governments and the banking system. The banking system obtained the right to create money as 'legal tender' in exchange for a commitment always to provide whatever funds the government needed.


pages: 471 words: 124,585

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson

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Admiral Zheng, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, Atahualpa, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, Corn Laws, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deglobalization, diversification, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, German hyperinflation, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, iterative process, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour mobility, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Naomi Klein, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, pension reform, price anchoring, price stability, principal–agent problem, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, RAND corporation, random walk, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, seigniorage, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spice trade, structural adjustment programs, technology bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War

Much aid was disbursed to poor countries, but the greater part of it was either wasted or stolen. 58 In so far as Bretton Woods did succeed in generating new wealth by expediting the recovery of Western Europe, it could only frustrate those investors who saw the risk in excessive home bias. And, in so far as it allowed countries to subordinate monetary policy to the goal of full employment, it created potential conflicts even between options 2 and 3 of the trilemma. In the late 1960s, US public sector deficits were negligible by today’s standards, but large enough to prompt complaints from France that Washington was exploiting its reserve currency status in order to collect seigniorage from America’s foreign creditors by printing dollars, much as medieval monarchs had exploited their monopoly on minting to debase the currency. The decision of the Nixon administration to sever the final link with the gold standard (by ending gold convertibility of the dollar) sounded the death knell for Bretton Woods in 1971.59 When the Arab-Israeli War and the Arab oil embargo struck in 1973, most central banks tended to accommodate the price shock with easier credit, leading to precisely the inflationary crisis that General de Gaulle’s adviser Jacques Rueff had feared.60 With currencies floating again and offshore markets like the Eurobond market flourishing, the 1970s saw a revival of non-governmental capital export.


pages: 497 words: 153,755

The Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession by Peter L. Bernstein

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Albert Einstein, Atahualpa, Bretton Woods, British Empire, California gold rush, central bank independence, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, falling living standards, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, Francisco Pizarro, German hyperinflation, Hernando de Soto, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, large denomination, liquidity trap, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, price stability, profit motive, random walk, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route

"Le probleme de For au moyen age." Annales d'histoire economique et sociale, no. 19, January 31, pp. 1-33. Bloomfield, Arthur, 1959. Monetary Policy Under the Gold Standard, 1800-1914. Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Bonar, J., 1923. "Ricardo's Ingot Plan." Economic Journal, XXXIII, pp. 281-304. Boorstin, Daniel, ed., 1966. An American Primer. New York: Penguin Books. Bordo, Michael, 1986. "Money, Deflation and Seigniorage in the Fifteenth Century: A Review Essay." Journal of Monetary Economics, 18, no. 3, pp. 337-346. Bordo, Michael, and Tamim Bayoumi, 1999. "Getting Pegged: Comparing the 1879 and 1925 Gold Resumptions." Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 5497. Bordo, Michael, and Forrest Capie, eds., 1993. Monetary Regimes in Transition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


pages: 515 words: 126,820

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott

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Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social software, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar

And it supports entrepreneurship and participation in global trade. That was part of Satoshi’s vision. He understood that, for people in developing economies, the situation was worse. When corrupt or incompetent bureaucrats in failed states need funding to run the government, their central banks and treasuries simply print more currency and then profit from the difference between the cost of manufacturing and the face value of the currency. That’s seigniorage. The increase in the money supply debases the currency. If the local economy really tanked—as it did in Argentina and Uruguay, and more recently in Cyprus and Greece—these central bodies could freeze the bank assets of whoever couldn’t afford a bribe. Given such a possibility, the wealthy could store their assets in more trustworthy jurisdictions and more stable currencies. But not the poor.


pages: 725 words: 221,514

Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber

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Admiral Zheng, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, colonial rule, corporate governance, David Graeber, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, double entry bookkeeping, financial innovation, full employment, George Gilder, informal economy, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, oil shock, payday loans, place-making, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit motive, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, upwardly mobile, urban decay, working poor

These bonds are, like all bonds, supposed to be loans that will eventually mature and be repaid, but as economist Michael Hudson, who first began observing the phenomenon in the early ’70s, noted, they never really do: To the extent that these Treasury IOUs are being built into the world’s monetary base they will not have to be repaid, but are to be rolled over indefinitely. This feature is the essence of America’s free financial ride, a tax imposed at the entire globe’s expense.13 What’s more, over time, the combined effect of low interest payments and the inflation is that these bonds actually depreciate in value—adding to the tax effect, or as I preferred to put it in the first chapter, “tribute.” Economists prefer to call it “seigniorage.” The effect, though, is that American imperial power is based on a debt that will never—can never—be repaid. Its national debt has become a promise, not just to its own people, but to the nations of the entire world, that everyone knows will not be kept. At the same time, U.S. policy was to insist that those countries relying on U.S. treasury bonds as their reserve currency behaved in exactly the opposite way as they did: observing tight money policies and scrupulously repaying their debts.


pages: 823 words: 206,070

The Making of Global Capitalism by Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, airline deregulation, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collective bargaining, continuous integration, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, ending welfare as we know it, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, full employment, Gini coefficient, global value chain, guest worker program, Hyman Minsky, imperial preference, income inequality, inflation targeting, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, late capitalism, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, oil shock, precariat, price stability, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, special economic zone, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, union organizing, very high income, Washington Consensus, Works Progress Administration, zero-coupon bond

Gold never really served fully the purpose for which it was intended under the Bretton Woods System—regulator of liquidity, enforcer of discipline. It couldn’t because of its own rigidities, and its international monetary role has been dying from natural causes, as its domestic role did.44 The international adoption of the US dollar–Treasury bill standard gave the American state distinct ‘‘seigniorage’’ advantages, as the reward for being held responsible for securing and validating confidence in the dollar. This was all the more remarkable in that this expansion of responsibilities took place even amid Watergate—perhaps the greatest crisis of the presidency in US history.45 And the results were seen as the dollar continued rising from late 1973 to early 1975 through the most serious economic crisis since the 1930s.


pages: 710 words: 164,527

The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order by Benn Steil

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Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, deindustrialization, European colonialism, facts on the ground, fiat currency, financial independence, floating exchange rates, full employment, global reserve currency, imperial preference, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, margin call, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Monroe Doctrine, New Journalism, open economy, Potemkin village, price mechanism, price stability, psychological pricing, reserve currency, road to serfdom, seigniorage, South China Sea, special drawing rights, The Great Moderation, the market place, trade liberalization, Works Progress Administration

White simply changed the subject, choosing to bide his time until the conference, where he could isolate Keynes and resolve the matter on his own.121 On June 28 the two butted heads once again, this time over the meaning of the critical but inscrutable terms “gold-convertible currency” and “convertible exchange,” which appeared several times in the statement of principles. The issuer of a currency considered as good as gold would potentially reap enormous benefits. Other countries would naturally want to hold vast reserves of such a currency in order to settle international payments and to act as a buffer against unforeseen financial difficulties. The issuer would, in contrast, need minimal foreign exchange reserves. It would earn “seigniorage” profits from the interest on the assets it received in return for its non-interest-bearing currency. It could, within limits, persistently buy more from abroad than it sold by simply printing money. Its firms would not suffer foreign exchange risk on the vast bulk of its trade. And finally there would be the nonquantifiable prestige associated with minting global money. Keynes understood the economic and political risks to Britain of “gold-convertible currency” coming to mean U.S. dollars, and not sterling.