That was excellent. And I need to make time to read more of the comments beneath the article - there’s plenty more thought-provoking stuff below the line, too.
Very good article. Government being able to create money out of practically nothing is a relatively recent phenomenon in human history.
Or read Terry Pratchett’s book Making Money. All the fun of Pratchett’s magical Discworld with banker/thief ■■■■■ von Lipwig, and you come away knowing the answer to the question, “Where’s the gold?”
edited to add: what, I can’t use the word “■■■■■”? It’s his name!
I have to wonder if colonialism left a deeper economic scar here in having to pay taxes in money that the government of the day did not control. In that situation the colonial governments do have to rely on being able to tax foreign-controlled money back to their treasury in order to spend. After and (and others) broke the colonial yoke, it doesn’t seem we fully realized the economic realignment it entailed.
For those interested, there’s a really good book on this: The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy by Stephanie Kelton
This is a healthy way of framing money, and it’s a necessary antidote to the toxic nonsense about “national credit cards” and “socialism means giving your money to poor people” and so on.
I think it needs more work, though, to develop it into something that can be digested by people with a naïve picture of money, let alone those who’ve been taking Thatcher pills for 40+ years.
It’s a bit like explaining Newton’s laws to high school students. The concepts themselves are simple and make a lot of sense, but the sticking point is the seeming contradiction with people’s prior “common sense” understanding. If you’re going to tell people that taxes don’t pay for spending, it’s not enough to just explain what is the case; you also need to convince them of what’s unsatisfactory about their current understanding.
As with pretty much all progressive ideas, the bigger challenge is not developing the idea itself; it’s how to sell it to people who are already happy with a simpler, wrong idea (with active, bad-faith encouragement from conservatives).
It’s touched on in this quote and mentioned earlier.
Most people are familiar with spending and budget concerns for a bunch of things. Their own household, the company they work for, other organizations they belong to, their local government, their county government, their state government, and the federal government.
Only one of those has it’s own currency.
The desire to take a large complex problem and relate it to a simple thing they already understand is strong. Even if the reduction is completely wrong because that condition completely changes the problem.
It just occurred to me that I should create a household currency for my kids to earn and use to buy items within the house. I could tax it back when they’ve accumulated to much. There’s got to be a way to make this work and change their common understanding of how money and taxes work then. Bonus, I’ll get to have my own currency and bank.
I do not understand why the Hell the word “■■■■■” is censored on Boing Boing? I’ve had this word blacked out from some of my comments and really do not get it.
What is the problem with ■■■■■?
If you have to ask why moist is a problem, then you’re too moist to understand.
It’s sort of a running joke that that particular word gets caught up in this site’s moderation filters, due to many people disliking it.
It is possible to say moist on the BBS. There are workarounds. But there can be… consequences…
Hah! Have you ever seen a trout with elf ears! It would be ridiculous…oh, crap.
[scrambles for edit button]
Sigh, I am…
It can’t be better to be dry than moist?
■■■■■ ■■■■■ ■■■■■ ʇsᴉoꟽ ᴹᵒⁱˢᵗ 𝗠𝗼𝗶𝘀𝘁