Saturday, 31 August 2013

Adventures in Alternative Currency


I published an epic 4200 word article on alternative currency in Aeon magazine. Take a read if you're having a lazy weekend afternoon and wish to casually reflect on the nature of economic reality. I believe that coming to basic grips with money itself is a good foundation for making further explorations into the financial system, and economic systems more generally. As I say in the article:
"The financial system exists, above all, to mediate flows of money, not to question what money is. Investment banks create financial instruments that steer money from one place to another, with built-in sub-conduits to siphon it back... To draw an analogy with computer coding, we might say that financial instruments are analogous to ‘high-level’ programming languages such as Java or Ruby: they let you string commands together in order to perform certain actions. You want to get resources from A to B over time? Well, we can program a financial instrument to do that for you... By contrast, money itself is more like a low-level programming language, very hard to see or to understand but closer to gritty reality. It’s like your computer’s machine code, interfacing with the hardware: even the experts take it for granted.
The piece has been pretty well received. I'll leave you with some Twitter recommendations, to convince you to read it. The first comes from Izabella Kaminska of FT Alphaville

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