Saturday, February 26, 2011

Supply and Demand, an Application

It occurs to me that my method and Gesell's are two different approaches to the same problem.

Gesell's "stamped" money was a way to create a cost for saved money. Making savings somewhat more costly, Gesell attempted to reduce the supply of saved funds.

My "accelerated repayment" of debt is a way to reduce the demand for saved funds.

Where we are today, there is no reason to stamp money. Before we worry about reducing the natural supply of savings, we ought to undo the many many artificial incentives both to save and to rely on the savings of others.


The Arthurian said...

Your likely reaction is to raise an eyebrow at this, for everyone wants more savings. And yet over a long period -- say, since the previous Depression -- savings accumulate, the accumulation creates an imbalance in the money, and the imbalance creates problems. Thus Gesell's solution. And mine.

Not convinced? Then let me point out that your resolute insistence that savings must grow is an example of the economic force that creates the imbalance. It also causes policies to be created that reinforce and enhance the imbalance.

I want to save more, too.

The Arthurian said...

Upon further reflection, I recall that Gesell's purpose was to hinder hoarding, not saving.

On the other hand, saving turns into hoarding when things go bad. And things go bad because of the excess of savings.

Greg said...

Gesells solution would encourage, to quote the Classicists and the Austrians, "real" savings. You would store your savings into real things like jewelry or art maybe. Demurrage currency would essentially bring us closer to a barter economy. I dont KNOW that this would be an improvement but I'd be willing to give it a try. The current money system is so screwed up it couldnt be worse.

Check out "Ascent of Humanity" by Charles Eisenstein. He talks about alternative money systems, in addition to other things.

The Arthurian said...

"Real" savings... Nice! Your description reminded me of Keynes:

But there is a great defect in Gesell's theory.... In particular, he was unaware that money was not unique in having a liquidity-premium attached to it, but differed only in degree from many other articles... Thus if currency notes were to be deprived of their liquidity-premium by the stamping system, a long series of substitutes would step into their shoes -- bank-money, debts at call, foreign money, jewellery and the precious metals generally, and so forth.

Actually I like your description better.

The increase of hoarding is a long, slow process that takes us through the dark age and into the early middle ages, where we find dragons -- gang-leaders of very large gangs, essentially, sleeping on their piles of gold, or the counting-house, counting out their money.

In ancient times, when money was precious-metal, these dragon-hoards created a shortage of money-in-circulation that dragged the economy down just as a similar shortage does today.

In our time, when money is paper, Gesell's stamp might drive hoarders out of money and into precious-metal. That might put the currency back into circulation, and solve the shortage problem.

But I still don't think we have to take that route. Rather than punishing saving, we can discourage borrowing. (Or better, just encourage the repayment of debt.)

Found the full text of "Ascent of humanity." Will check it out.

Greg said...

One thing about a system where jewelry and art are forms of savings, it encourages people to maintain a society where frivolous things like jewelry and art are valued. In a society where food, water and basic necessities are scarce, I dont think too many people are going to be "paying" for art and jewelry.

Thats been one of my "things" with gold bugs all along. If the world gets as bad as gold bugs thinks it might then who the hell is really gonna care about a piece of shiny metal. There must be a degree of civilization and order for gold to truly have some value....... it seems to me, and if that is present why would you want to limit yourself to only having as much money available as there is gold around? Maybe I'm missing something.