Thursday, November 12, 2009

'Money' requires no government

Twice in the past two days I have run across people who claim we "need" government to create "money" for our use. This is not correct.

"Money" is anything that is used as a placeholder for things you want. A few people actually want the money itself, which is fine, but most of us want what we can trade the money to get.

"Money" can be gold, silver, chocolate, seashells, or anything you can convince others to take in trade. It doesn't need to be rare or "valuable", though it helps if it can't be found covering the ground or growing on trees all around the person you are trying to convince to take it in trade. If it is that common, then it will probably take a lot more of it to balance the trade, and that makes it more difficult to carry and deliver. It is also nice if your money doesn't rot quickly. Being "rich" in crated bananas would be a very transitory wealth.

Government "money" satisfies some of the criteria to be good money, but it fails miserably on others. Those failures are more than sufficient to invalidate government money and to show the superiority of free-market money.

Money should never be forced on someone. No one should dictate what you "should" use as your money, nor should they limit you to one type of money. Let the market choose the money that people trust and want. Even if that means some would choose to accept printed paper IOUs backed but nothing but a promise from a group of thieves that the money is "good", that is their choice. In this case, "seller beware!"

This is why it is a bad idea to have one person or one organization in control of all the money for a particular region. It is too easy for them to manipulate the money supply to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else. When you allow them to have the power of government monopolistic coercion backing them up you are begging for disaster. Even if the people in charge of the money were "good people", infinitely more honest than the average person on Earth, the temptation is too great. That kind of power always attracts power-hungry bad people. Of all the people or groups to give the power to create "money", government is the absolute worst.

Personally, I prefer trading for silver or gold for most exchanges. Sometimes, if I am in need of something that another person has an excess of, we can work out a satisfactory deal based on that alternative currency. That is as it should be and how money should be allowed to work.