“Cash” is Only a Physical Manifestation of a Number

I was asked a couple of days ago what I mean when I say that cash is only a physical manifestation of a number. It’s a good question. First, we need to ask “what is a monetary instrument?” I just ran a poll on Twitter about gold to see how many people actually think that[…]

You Need to Know Your Tobin – Ex Post Nonsense

If you are from Champaign Illinois or study economics at the University of Illinois, then you know who James Tobin is. Fig. 1: Tobin! Tobin was from Champaign Illinois. I, too, was born in Champaign-Urbana. Now, some of you might be wondering what all this “Tobin business” is that I’m up to. Well, frankly, it’s[…]

A Portrait of Failure: Gold, the Gold Standard and Bretton-Woods

Gold can be pretty to look at, but it can also be quite depressing. Economics joke. Oftentimes we hear people of a particular political and ideological persuasion insist that gold is “money”. Afterwards, they declare that we should all remain silent whilst they lecture us, drawing upon their vast storehouse of anti-knowledge, asserting that currency[…]

Australia – A Continent That’s Adrift but Salvageable

There’s a whole lot of stupid coming from the Australian government these days. This particular type of stupid isn’t your average stupid. It’s a maximum strength stupid that is produced when your average, run-of-the-mill stupid is no longer stupid enough to meet the needs of the Australian Treasurer. It is a sort of supernatural stupid.[…]

Don’t Listen to Milton Friedman. There is a Free Lunch If There is a Lunch to be Found

I apologise for the rather brief post as I am quite busy, but I wish to address some persistent nonsense and to clarify concepts. I will use the US government as today’s example, but what I am about to say equally applies to the UK, Canada and Australia. Is lunch what you used as payment[…]

And Another Thing – This “The US Dollar Must Have Intrinsic Value, Or Else” Argument is Absolute Nonsense

At least once per day I hear the ridiculous argument that we need to get back on the gold standard, because gold has “value” and that would give the US dollar “value”. In other words, the US dollar is worthless and needs intrinsic value before it can be valid “money”. No, it does not. That[…]

A Few Words Concerning the Ubiquitous Term, “Printing Money”

For one reason or another, which to this day baffles me, some of my colleagues have allowed the term “printing money” to go unchallenged. Because so many abuse and misuse the term when referring to how the federal government spends, it’s as if some are quite content to just let orthodoxy have its way and[…]