[ExI] Banking, corporations, and rights (Re: Serfdom and libertarian critiques)

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Mar 2 11:45:54 UTC 2011

On Wed, Mar 02, 2011 at 11:24:35AM +0000, Anders Sandberg wrote:
> Eugen Leitl wrote:
>> What I meant is that that purchasing ability of the monetary unit
>> is periodically measured and renormalized to the resource basket,
>> using a method which is resistant to gaming the metric (latter is
>> a hard problem, as people are devious, given enough incentive).   
> I am not even convinced it is possible, given the enormous arbitrages  
> you can get by gaming.

Dead tree (bits, actually) is trivial to game, and even single-basket
(Au) is possible to game, but a large diverse basket with narrow guards
on each coefficient, and ways on how basket is restocked (using voting,
probably, why not adjust coefficients that way, too) definitely beats 
the casino run by crooks we're having now.

> But isn't the problem assuming that a *resource* basket is the place to  

No, because it deliberately limits itself to basic essentials which are
easy to measure, and hence, difficult to game. 

> start? Most value in our societies reside in the form of human and  
> institutional capital, and even among our material goods value is  

Now you know why GDP is a joke.

> concentrated in complex and highly processed systems where most of the  
> added value comes from services. The elements making up an ipad are not  
> too expensive, but the process of making and enabling it is where the  

Oh, you need a lot of expensive trace elements and energy to make
an iPad. Fortunately, in future these things will be a lot cheaper
and ecologically less damaging due to printable electronics. 

> value is added. Shouldn't there be ipads in the basket too? And linux 

Now you know why the current goods basket is a joke. Speaking about
gaming the coefficients.

> code?

Open source is a digital commons. I don't see any reason why
it should figure as a component of a currency. You use currency
to pay for useful things, which can be compensation of people
contributing to a digital, or information commons.

>>> for its continued validity, ending up in repaying the entire capital.
>>> This would appear to make usury impossible.
>> It would be easy to fix usury, just outlaw compound interest. IIRC
>> the islamic banking system operates that way.
> Given the  economic problems  of the islamic world, there might be  
> evidence against  avoiding compound interest.

I don't think the islamic banking is their problem, it's one of the
better things the came up actually. 

> The same was true for the medieval banking system where interest was  
> also banned - people solved it by a tricky form of tripartite contracts  

And good Christians who were forbidden touching filthy lucre outsourced
the handling of it to convenient scapegoats.

> instead, a kind of forerunner of mortgages and corporate stock, if I  
> rememeber right. Some kingdoms threw out for-profit-bankers and found  
> themselves strangely poor, while others like Florence and the  
> Netherlands turned a blind eye to it and became trade centers.

I think the real problem of interest is not interest itself, but that
compound interest is an exponential. A linear growth model would be
a better fit, or in any case something distinctly subexponential.

The problem is that there's very good reason the compound interest
is computed that way, and unfortunately it's not in most people's
interest. See casino run by crooks.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820 http://www.ativel.com http://postbiota.org
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