Consider Money as a Formal Language
Mark P Xu Neyer
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I like the allegory. Viewing “money” as votes, or as ability to speak is apt.

But I disagree with some of your fundamentals. It may be that a basic income would work better as a transfer system. But I would still object to it since I am fundamentally against coerced appropriation and redistribution of wealth. I am totally for charity though. In your own terms, “I speak often about the value of charity.”

A basic income would still require a wasteful bureaucracy, vested interests would still find their way around and find their water holes in any centrally managed system. That having been said, if all other transfer systems were to be dropped in favor of a basic income, I would prefer it to the current system. But I would never prefer it to complete laissez-faire.

I can’t let you off the hook on inflation :). It seems you equate it with rising prices. But that is but a symptom that may be negated by other effects, such as increased productivity. Inflation is expansion in the monetary or credit base. I.e lending money that does not “exist”, or printing money. The effects of inflation of the monetary base is that some people, those who get the “new” money first — get LOUDER VOICES compared to other voices on the market who still only have the old money. They can overwhelm other market segments and raise prices in the segments where the new money turns up. Simply put: they have more “money stuff” and before the market can react they can buy at yesterdays prices. Over time, those who receive the new money secondly, also get louder voices, but not as loud as the principal benefactors of inflation, and so on and so forth until you get a “general elevation of prices”. But today you can see the effects of credit expansion most clearly in the housing and asset markets.

Finally, it isn’t really about the money at all. Though I like your allegory. It is about the subjective valuations of the actual time and the actual resources that change hands in transactions. There is always enough money in existence for any transaction to take place. Money cannot be said to be generally scarce in itself. There is always enough money around for money to function as money. And so the problem isn’t that of allocating enough money stuff to enough people. The problem is that of which incentives to stifle and which to nurture, in a world where scarcity is a fact. Stipulating a basic income would out of necessity stifle incentives to create value “under a certain level”, and it would require that some people, most people even, still produce enough value. If they do not, their “money stuff” isn’t worth anything.

It is production that moves an economy forward, not consumption.

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