"We think we know what money is. We use it every day and our lives are unimaginable without it. But look more closely and you find that coins and dollar bills aren't "real". They're promises, symbols, ideas. And exactly what money is has evolved enormously over the ages. IDEAS contributor Anik See explores how we're rethinking one of the most basic features of human society."
Befitting the title, the series does well to question our understanding of money and assumptions about the construct it provides with many good contributors with insightful remarks for example Joris Luyendijk comments that "Money is something we no longer understand. Because it describes a claim on future goods and services, but it's also a store of value, it's used as a productive resource. It's all sorts of different things. And I think it's terrifying because if our economy is the body, then money is the blood and the financial sector is the heart. And if we no longer understand the blood that's keeping our body alive, we're in deep trouble."
Part 1 is a broad and thought provoking discussion while Part 2 concerns the evolution of currency, developments in crypto currency like Bitcoin and examples of local currency movements. Local currencies have done well to shine a light on the multiplying effect of circulating money within a local economy and the benefits there in. Similarly, Bitcoins potential for increased efficiency and lower transaction costs are significant benefits. For those concerned with breaking the traditional banking sectors stranglehold on processing transactions both provide genuine solutions.
However, they suffer from the major limitation as not being state money and as such not serviceable as payment for taxes or other public obligations nationally. That's ok and we should resist or at the least be skeptical of efforts to extend this right outside of the state sanctioned debt and private banking,
In the centuries since the Bank of England was founded in 1694, money and private banking has evolved and while still clearly not perfect adding potentially more complications to the system does not necessary benefit society. Our advocacy in the first instance is for a broader, better understanding of the current system which this series provides in part. Only once citizens recognize the reality of modern fiat money creation, circulation and destruction will we be able to progress effectively away from what is best described as capitalism based on the centrality of private bank management of money in the economy.
Following from that we will no longer be obligated to private institutions for management of the money supply and begin to utilize the benefits of modern money for the public interest.