How to invest one dollar


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Well, this one resonated with me:

Mike Merrill, “Worlds First Publicly Traded Person,” Portland Ore.

Having played a lot of role-playing games, I think of money as mana,
the resource a wizard uses to cast spells. The more mana you have, the
more powerful magic spells you can cast. Spending money releases energy
and the skill of spending money is not just about the amount but how you
best focus that energy.
The greatest reaction you’ll get from a dollar is burning it front of
your friends. Penny for penny, there is no bigger statement a dollar can
make than its own destruction. This is a chance to have a conversation
about money, a subject which is traditionally taboo. (Don’t worry about
the legality.)
As in any investment there is risk. You’ll find yourself repeating this
act at BBQs, camp-outs, and bars with candles. As the thrill of burning
a dollar wanes you’ll move on to a five, maybe even try a twenty.
Extracting a crisp new $100 bill will cause someone to say, “No!” but
your own heart will beat a little faster. This is no longer a symbolic
gesture. Will you burn a hundred? I hope so.


All these people presumably have a dollar to spare from time to time. So why are many of them not actually doing what they say they would do with a spare dollar?


I thought exactly the same thing. Go buy the damn boarded up theatre and galvanise the damn community then, dude, what’s stopping you?

Had a good laugh at the living statue’s idea, “if you have a dollar, give it to me!” Awesome idea, living statue.

Don’t Blink.


I thought it was kind of funny that half of them suggested things that cost more than a dollar. Like that theater - there might be one for sale for one dollar somewhere, but probably not many. Also - a one dollar newspaper? I haven’t seen one of those in years.

I’m not sure what that proves. Maybe it just proves this is a difficult thing to do.

Is destroying currency illegal? (Perhaps with a fine equal to the face value of the bill. Conviction and enforcement are both instantaneous.) Or is he just worried about getting in trouble for setting things on fire in a public place?

Go buy a packet of seeds – flowers, vegetables, whatever. And then plant them somewhere that people will notice and benefit. Far more value that the cynical jerk who says to burn it.


Here in MA, I’d say a scratch ticket.

Small chance to have more dollars, and the profits (per legislation) go to the schools.


The hedge fund manager and the financial advisor kind of pissed me off. It seemed like they completely missed the point, and view money only as existing to make more money. In terms of big picture problems, these guys are not working towards the solutions.

The one I loved was the person who said they’d use it to buy a cup of coffee for someone, and use the time to pick their brain about stuff. Talk about a great return on investment.

The bit that really stuck with me, though: “I do know that the more frequently you visit/tip a barista…the more often you are treated like family and you get free coffee…the more you invest in a stripper, the less you get free things from that stripper.”


It was interesting just how many different interpretations of the question itself there were, let alone the answers.

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Apparently he’s referencing to the Cohoes Music Hall in Cohoes, NY, which was deteriorating and headed for demolition when the city bought it for $1 in 1969. (And then spent considerably more renovating it.) I’m not clear if community action was involved; there’s not much online about the thing.

I’m not sure there was a point, beyond “let’s see what happens if we ask a bunch of people the same question.”

I appreciate that the financial advisor actually took a few minutes to run down some common investment priorities to humor some random writer.

Yes, in the United States, destroying currency is illegal, along with any other modification that would make it unfit for use as currency. Well, at least paper currency. I don’t know if coins are regulated the same way. (See ) IANAL, but that piece of code is cited in multiple articles on this topic, so if I’m wrong it is a widespread piece of wrongness.)

Even thought it is illegal, however, I have not personally encountered anyone who cares. Burning flags or other national or religious symbols will get you some attention. Burn your own money and the response is probably more, “you’re crazy dude, but whatever you want”. Again, this is anecdotal, but when I last saw someone burn money it didn’t start a discussion on the meaning of money. Instead it triggered that ‘urban living’ response where everyone in the vicinity pretended they didn’t see the weirdo and avoided eye contact for fear of required social interaction.

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I was under the impression that it’s legal to deface or destroy currency, but it’s illegal to use defaced or damaged currency as currency.

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I wonder if this could be used to prosecute those who collude and create financial bubbles? The dollar is increasingly unfit, after all.


I would think some of them actually are. Mike Merrill probably has burned money, I assume those who are saying to invest in this or donate to that probably actually have done so with quite a few of their dollars. Those who say to give it to a homeless person or street performer likely do so as well.

I’ll admit there are a couple that do make you think, “Well, if you would do that, how come you haven’t done that?”

I know a man who, when the price of silver went through the roof and they stopped putting silver in quarters, would buy quarters for 50 cents each from laundromats and drive to the US border where he would exchange the silver Canadian quarters for silver US quarters. He and his American partner would then sell the silver coins for their weight in the other country to avoid illegally destroying currency. It’s illegal to melt down a US quarter in the US, but not in Canada, and vice versa.

Fund managers and investment advisers only ever have one answer to the question of what to do with money: “Give it to me.”

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I hate you.

The KLF would call you an amateur. Burnination starts at 4:00

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