The Ideal Republic: Bitcoin and Keynes in Parallel
“God has arrived. I met him on the 5.15 train.” John Maynard Keynes, on Wittgenstein (1929).
Wittgenstein traced the limits of language [used with meaning] in context of certainty — ‘the rest’, said Wittgenstein, ‘is passed over in silence’.
The affinity with Keynes is obvious — it’s Keynes who sought to rescue the ordinary language use of probability from statistical (Treatise on Probability, 1921); producing a vision where ‘love of money’ ceased to be a driving force in human affairs.
It is said Keynes converted heretical intuitions into a logic which could satisfy — for a time — formal requirements of economics. Reality was not conclusive; but within this, was a paramount importance to secure well-being — and where notions of ideal and equilibrium reoccurred to such ends.
Toward the Ideal
In National Self Sufficiency (1933) Keynes considered national self sufficiency as not an ideal in itself, but the creation of an environment in which other ideals (ideas, knowledge, art, hospitality and travel) could be safely and conveniently pursued ‘towards the ideal social republic of the future’.
In A Treatise on Money (1930), Keynes sets up a model of an ideal equilibrium — the Fundamental Equations — and then explains why such conditions are rarely attainable because of disequilibrium between savings and investment.
Currencies in Competition
Keynes observes in A Treatise on Money the dilemma of an international monetary system preserving stability [in relation of the international standard] while [also] preserving local autonomy.
In The Economic Consequence of the Peace (1919), Keynes writes of the inter-relational nature of currencies and a preference for debt restructuring and forgiveness over debt collection of war reparations that a ‘general bonfire is so great a necessity…in which no serious injustice is done to anyone..’
This would appear to culminate in the Bancor proposal made to the Bretton Woods conference (1944) to achieve inter-relational stability between sovereign monies, through the creation of an international unit of account.
The Nash Ideal
John Nash makes a Keynes like observation in his Ideal Money:
“In the near future there may be a smaller number of major currencies used in the world and these may stand in competitive relations among themselves…And if “inﬂation targeting” were used as a “line” by the managers handling all of these various internationally prominent currencies then there would arise interesting possibilities for comparisons between these major currencies.” John Nash, Ideal Money (circa 2008).
There becomes apparent parallel between the Keynes and Nash ideal and Bitcoin:
The subject matter becomes relevant:
As evidenced here:
This tweet places the parallel into a contemporary setting:
As does this:
The Geometry of Doughnuts
It is observed nobody desires unhappy revolutions:
Indeed in this light, Keynes was careful not to deviate too far from the current protocol, preferring gradual evolution instead:
“Our power of prediction is so slight, our knowledge of remote consequences so uncertain, that it is seldom wise to sacrifice a present benefit for a doubtful advantage in the future”. John Maynard Keynes, The Political Doctrines of Edmund Burke (1904).
It can be seen Nash’s Ideal Money was designed for take up in the existing system of Central Bank influenced money [whose] objective is the broad principle of stability, currently pursued through an inflation targeting mandate.
It’s observed Nash didn’t apply or introduce an inflation postulate, but brought awareness to the already accepted axiom [of stability], and conjecture exists [of] creating an inter-relational ideal in the way a flat surface becomes topologically equivalent to a holed-doughnut.
It’s uncertain whether geometric and monetary boundaries can be conflated in this way — formally trained economists find it difficult to accept Central Banks voluntarily taking up Bitcoin, while probably accepting international relations can be indicative of a differend [even] when acting in good faith.
Keynes’s Bancor proposal was rejected at Bretton Woods because it relied on largesse of nations for acceptance [and] so perhaps it can be presented with some irony — given Keynes acceptance of the arts — a performative sense of Dadaism may introduce us to the unknowable other.
The implicit counter-rotation in figurative ideal, to explicit sovereign maintenance and representation of unity.