Robbing Peter

/ Social Order / Abstractions /
@ K. 2006 10 09

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

I see robbing Peter to pay Paul as quintessential, fundamental to modern large-scale economics.

If I lend you my original Mad comic, issue #1, with the Coke stain on page 3, it will be very difficult for you to return to me a different Mad comic without my noticing. But if I lend you a dollar and you repay me a dollar, how do I know it’s the same dollar? I don’t, you don’t, no one does; and that’s the point of fungability. Money is digital. It has no fingerprints in most situations. You put your money in the bank, the bank lends 85% of your money without asking you. No one ever knows quite where the dollar has been. And if the state runs short it can always just print more. Even when paper currency was backed by gold, for most purposes undifferentiated gold bricks were preferred to bracelets with your grandmother’s name carved in your grandfather’s engraving-hand.

Whoops, distracted. I’ll find my track again. last damn time I started a fungability statment I also got distracted.

Why had I put this in / Stories / Themes / Business /?

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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