10/26/12 Wendy McElroy

Wendy McElroy, a feminist, anarchist and author, discusses the media’s focus on 14-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by Pakistani Taliban gunmen; why the mainstream press ignores the children regularly killed in US drone strikes; the government’s success in hiding the consequences of war from Americans; arguments against the US’s global policeman role; how “Paper Money = Despotism;” and the alternative currencies competing with the dollar (and how to spend them).

5 thoughts on “10/26/12 Wendy McElroy

  1. Martin Brock

    I love Wendy McElroy, but libertarians are a disagreeable lot by nature.

    If people mostly buy bitcoins to speculate on a rising dollar/bitcoin (or other currency) exchange rate, then bitcoins are not money. Money, by definition, is a medium of exchange. One accepts money for a good only expecting to exchange it for a different good thereafter. The money mediates an exchange of the first good for the second good.

    If one exchanges dollars for bitcoins, only expecting to exchange the bitcoins for more dollars later, then to exchange the dollars for something else, then one is still using dollars for money and only speculating on bitcoins.

    A good used as money can be a store of value, but money need not be a store of value. Libertarians cannot advocate forcing people to use the same good as money and as a store of value.

    A depreciating good can function as money without any state issuing fiat money in an inflationary program of state spending.

    Outside of the fiat money context, “bad money drives out good money” seems oxymoronic to me. “Good money” is the money that people freely choose to use. If people prefer to hold a appreciating good while using a depreciating (or less rapidly appreciating) good as money, expecting to hold the depreciating good only for a short time, I see nothing “bad” about this choice. It’s a completely reasonable choice for free people to make.

    A fiat currency is any currency that a state declares a legal tender, compelling payment of taxes and other statutory rents in the currency while simultaneously spending the currency and/or selling entitlement to the tax revenue. Gold or Bitcoin can be a fiat currency as easily as any other, and gold has been a fiat currency historically.

    Forcing people to use an appreciating good as money, by making gold exclusively a fiat currency for example, is not progress, and it certainly isn’t libertarian.

    1. Mike

      “….but libertarians are a disagreeable lot by nature.”

      Seems to me that statists are a disagreeable lot by nature. After all, they managed to exterminate over 170 million human beings during the 20th century. Don’t see “disagreeable” libertarians doing that and neither will you.

      1. Martin Brock

        Libertarians disagree peacefully a lot. Statists don’t bother much with disagreement, because they expect their state to save them the trouble by shooting the disagreeable.

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