These are my notes for the K5M Book Club on the book Money, by Jacob Goldstein.
the conclusion of Money, The True Story of a Made-Up Thing
“Money is a choice, or a set of choices.” says Jacob Goldstein. That’s a pretty great answer to the question of “What is money?”
And it’s defended by another quote, “there’s nothing natural or inevitable about the way money works now.” It’s just the result of the best choices made by the people who happened to murder their way into power using the information they had at the time that suited their interests.
Here is an hour long video of Jacob Goldstein talking to the Commonwealth Club of California:
People Who Hate Cash
Ken Rogoff, American economist and chess Grandmaster!
The idea of making large cash transactions very inconvenient is pretty smart. I like the idea that instead of banning something you can regulate it by making it less efficient. This is the opposite of what tech startups try to do, and if laws were actually enforced Uber never should have been allowed to disrupt the taxi system.
Negative Interest Rates
Is there anything more terrifying than negative interest rates? Imagine your bank CHARGING you money… that’s insane. I can’t find it now but I remember reading about an idea for money that intentionally loses value over time as an incentive to use it…
One aspect of money and the choices we make about it seems very much based on convenience. The majority of people don’t really care about how money works as long as it actually works!
The simple statement that “Banking is inherently prone to crisis” is both obvious and also terrifying. How long until the next banking crisis? It seems like it could be soon…
My brain is set on the gold standard in that I have a hard time wrapping my mind around Modern Monetary Theory. I like the idea, but I just have a hard time “getting it.” But if we give politicians the ability to make money and raise taxes, well, they will just never raise taxes, because they are politicians and they need votes. So that doesn’t seem like a good idea.
And finally, I love the last sentence of the book:
“The way we do money will look as strange to our great-great-grandchildren s a world where banks print their own paper money with pictures of Santa Claus.”
I mean, there is a Santa Token already…