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Why Bitcoin is Money-in-waiting

Is Bitcoin money? No. Could it become money? Yes

Bitcoin shows that a would-be form of money can still arise through private initiative (as argued more fully in my book, The Power of Money).   Before the 2008 financial crisis, few economists would have believed this was possible. True,  numerous local currencies, community currencies and so forth existed. But these used the prevailing national money as…
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The New Power of Money

The Power of Money; How Ideas about Money Shaped the Modern World   Forrest Capie, Professor Emeritus of Economic History, Cass Business School and author of the modern History of the Bank of England writes: “Robert Pringle has written a book on money that is different from any other.” He “draws on a long life…
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Review of Hostile Money

Currencies in Conflict

A review by Robert Pringle “The purposes of money are constant, the way it operates varies hugely” says Paul Wilson at the outset  – and few authors have illustrated this as interestingly as he does. Impressively erudite, he never lets his command of detail hold up the story, so that the reader is swept up…
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My Volcker anecdotes

The risk and reality of hubris

Of all my memories of Paul Volcker – I first met him in the early  1970s when we was UnderSecretary for Monetary Affairs at the US Treasury and I was editing The Banker – four are particularly persistent:   1. A remarkable passage in the introduction to a book I co-authored with the late Marjorie Deane….
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How Ideas about Money Shaped the Modern World

The Power of Money

Hi there everybody Sorry to have been absent for so long. Actually I haven’t been bone idle. At least, not all the time, though I did manage to stow away on a couple of long cruises.  But even then, surfing the ocean waves in my 40,000 ton dinghy, I’ve been thinking about that funny old…
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The necessary illusionists

How money keeps its magic

Funny thing about money. It is supposed to be a bedrock of stability but it feeds on illusions. So much monetary policy relies on trickery.  The elite know things that the unwashed masses do not. Such as money illusion. The success of devaluation rests on tricking the masses. But tell a central banker he or…
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No to Vollgeld, Yes to Ikon!

How to reform the production of money

There was a basic flaw in the Vollgeld “sovereign money” proposal rejected by the Swiss in a referendum last Sunday. An arrangement that gives the state or its agencies exclusive power to create money,  oversee bank accounts and direct lending to the economy  is hostile to capitalism. It cannot produce the assurance needed to allow the…
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The capture of money

Why people do not trust it

Money is a near-universal social institution. It  evolved to support human cooperation and to control and coordinate the life of humankind. Like other core institutions, such as marriage and language, the forms that money takes may differ widely. The values and norms governing money’s use, and the practices associated with it, also vary widely. For…
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10-year retrospective: Lessons 7, 8, 9

Three more lessons! That's the lot

7. Neglect of international causes This is the most fatal flaw, as it is the one least understood  by economists, governments or bankers. My interpretation of the crisis emphasises its international dimensions – not only in the rapid spread of the crisis but also in its root causes (see Lesson 3). Yet this perspective is…
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10-Year retrospective: Lesson 6

The State has rewarded bad behaviour and bad banks

6. Expect more bad bankers and bad banks How has the state punished the financial industry for its crimes,  corruption and anti-social behaviour? By showering it with subsidies, privileges,  perks and by offering it protection from an angry public. And by reducing its profitability and capacity to change by piling new regulatory layers and requirements….
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