[FoRK] $30B a bargain for what it looks set to achieve?

Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> on Wed Mar 19 16:15:05 PDT 2008

On Mar 19, 2008, at 1:57 PM, Jeffrey Winter wrote:

> http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/MIHNAT.html

Thanks for the link, hadn't come across that before...

> The U.S. more or less had such a system in the 1830s: no central
> bank; hundreds of banks printing money; hunreds of counterfieters
> printing money; and hundreds of services offered to help tell
> the good from the bad.

I wouldn't want to return to that.  Just as the carrying capacity of  
the planet or of individual geographic regions is closely tied to the  
ambient level of technology, so is the tech level closely tied to the  
essential complexity of the supporting financial system.  There are  
some economies of scale (no pun intended) afforded when you have some  
centralization of certain things.  (Note I'm arguing more for the  
tightly-coupled cluster approach of our banking oligopoly rather than  
an entirely centralized approach consisting only of a central bank.   
Indeed, I often think that the importance of the central bank in  
today's system is overemphasized.)

In particular, two things come to mind.  First, the vast amount of  
information available --- and needed --- to price financial  
instruments (including cash) today is of a scale that it's unlikely  
that a vast number of small specialists could do the work that is in  
essence performed by a few bigger and richer entities today.  Second,  
and related, it takes a concentration of wealth merely to *publish*  
the results of that analysis;  that publication process is done  
through setting prices in open market trading, and it takes cash to  
wrangle those markets.


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