You Can’t Eat Gold


goose1The following is a question and answer that I responded to on a Linkedin economics forum.  This question still occurs in so many forms when it is also abundantly obvious that Social Media is driving so much value in so many directions.  The irony is that the question is asked within the currency that it fails to recognize.

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Question:

Fiat money is the cause or always the main cause of financial crisis. Reverting back to gold standard can give stability. How can this be implemented?

Answer:

It cannot.  Everyone agrees that money needs to be backed by something tangible. However, gold has a host of problems as well that are discussed extensively on-line and cannot be ignored.

A successful and stable currency must be backed by the productivity of the [citizens of a country] users.  So these two words should be interchangeable; i.e., a country spends productivity to fight a war.  A country spends productivity to fund universal health care, etc.

The cause of financial crisis is when the money becomes divorced from the productivity.  Debt is a transaction that exchanges current productivity for future productivity – assuming that productivity will increase at least by the so-called ‘risk’.  CDOs and other exotic financial instruments further obscure true productivity until money becomes driven irrationality and emotions completely separated from productivity.

If people lose trust in the currency, they will no longer trade it – they will find something else. Your hope is that they will find Gold.

Note clearly that innovation is also a transaction that exchanges current productivity with future productivity (due to the innovation).  As such, a currency backed by innovation is of the same species as a currency backed by debt.  Therefore, the entire financial system does not need to be torn down and rebuilt to serve a new non-debt backed currency.

The answer to your question is to look toward the places where extraordinary innovation is occurring today, right now.  It is clear that social media is developing this new currency.   The problem now is fairly simple; making human knowledge tangible.  This is where the innovation is. Here are some resources of people working on this problem:

http://ingenesist.com

http://relationship-economy.com

http://conversationalcurrency.com

Our deepest concern should be to feed the Goose what’s been so good to the Gander all these years. Of course one argument in favor of gold is it’s scarcity.  However, it is difficult to imagine that in an era of scarcity of so many resources, the basis of a currency ought to be more scarcity.  Knowledge, conversation, and innovation are scarce relative to the problems that they must be deployed to solve.  We’re in this together.

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