Category Archives: Money

What Bitcoin is and isn’t

After the last post on Bitcoin, I’ve been having some interesting discussion with a reader, Jonathon Duerig, about Bitcoin and money. This is the first of a two parter on money and digital technology Bitcoin resembles the traditional gold standard, in that it’s a form of money imagined as outside government interference that can’t be […]

Schizophrenic Bitcoin

Bitcoin has been back in the news in a big way. In February the Mt. Gox trading site, which handled 80% of the trade in Bitcoins, collapsed, taking 850,000 Bitcoins with it, worth an estimated 450 million dollars. Though CEO Mark Karpeles bowed in shame, it remains unclear if these were stolen, or lost, or […]

The Female Dollar

President Obama is considering appointing, among others, Janet Yellen as chairman of the Federal reserve. Predictably, opponents and proponents both take her gender into consideration: she’d be the first female head of the central bank. Yellen’s supporters think having a woman as chair would amount to a breakthrough for gender equality, but opponents have worried […]

More on gay economics

Yesterday I posted on Niall Ferguson’s claim that Keynes was a bad economist because he was gay and a Bloomsbury aesthete. I argued that Ferguson’s claim was consistent with his desire to “naturalize” economics, to make it bear a relation to biological law, and quoted the Ascent of Money to make the argument. And now […]

Gay economists

Recently economic historian Niall Ferguson claimed that J. M. Keynes was a bad economist because he was gay. Lacking children, Ferguson claimed, Keynes didn’t care about the long term. Further, Keynes was “effete,” married to a ballerina, fond of poetry and thus, for unclear reasons, a bad economist. You can find a good account here. […]

The Bitcoin Bubble

Bitcoins are a kind of money, but with no physical substance. They were invented by an unknown group of computer programmers early in the last decade. The designers imagined them as an alternative money, free from control by government. They’re “made” by software which is highly protected, so you can’t simply just make more yourself. […]

Slavery and the profits of abolition

Historians can’t quite make up their mind about abolition. Nobody wants slavery to return, and historians initially tended to praise abolitionists as moral visionaries. In England William Wilberforce is a hero for helping convince England to end slavery in 1833. In the US, Wilberforce was more recently  the inspiration for political-thug-turned-moral-crusader Chuck Colson’s crusade agains […]

Gay Money and Virginia Gold Coins

VA delegate Robert “Bob” Marshall, representing the crazy parts of Loudon and Prince William Counties, is trying to compel taxpayers to spend up to $22,560 dollars to study an alternative currency for Virginia. Marshall believes the dollar is on the verge of collapse, and that Virginia must stand ready to issue its own gold coins. […]

the Platinum Coin

You’ve probably read about the platinum coin idea. I posted about it before, but it’s probably worth revisiting. If it seems like it doesn’t make sense that’s because it kind of doesn’t make sense. Here’s the problem. Congress makes the budget. The budget mandates a certain amount of spending. The spending congress mandates is in […]

Time is Money

So recently the GAO addressed the question of replacing the dollar bill with a dollar coin to save money. The idea is that a bill wears out in, say, ten months while a coin lasts ten years. The government would save the cost of printing dollar bills. Also recently some economists have proposed that the […]