I released The Currency Paradox in May of 2014 to little fanfare and even less interest. It is so short that I prefer to call it an “essay” versus a book. It is roughly 14,500 words long and a few people have claimed that it could have easily been just a long blog post.
I made it available for scrutiny and attempted to engage many economists of some renown regarding it. I didn’t expect any of them to be overwhelmed by what I presented or even think it was particularly original, however, I did expect more significant feedback. Was the currency innovation presented within it at least sensical? What were the downsides of such a system? What significant problems would be encountered and were corrections possible?
Two years later, the ideas presented within The Currency Paradox have gone mainstream, largely due to the election of megalomaniacal billionaire and budding fascist, Donald Trump. Concepts that were completely dismissed before his election, such as the devastation of globalisation on the working classes of the developed world and the turn to intoxicants in broken communities are now frequently written about. Even more importantly, the concept of dignity is starting to make a welcome appearance in the articles of a few economists, people who tend to know the value of everything and the costs of nothing.
I am heartened that at least one economist has chosen his bully pulpit to start to address the real value of work. However, I’m a bit discouraged that he continues to think Capitalism is the system with which to address the disparities of the current Labor situation as Capitalism is the reason they exist at all while the incentives to correct them, at least monetarily, do not.
Noah Smith wrote an article titled The Connection Between Work and Dignity; I immediately connected with the piece as the concept of dignity through work was the main premise of The Currency Paradox. I had come to understand that the continuing war between Capital and Labor was producing a pathology that was infecting every part of our world. I figured that the only way to change that was to find a way to reconcile both sides. The conclusion that I drew was that Labor and work itself had been viciously deprecated by the free market system and that it was important to establish the basic premise that any and all work has the potential for great value. To end the war between Capital and Labor, I determined that our money should be “printed” through each person’s effort and, thus, each person should and would own their own money. By putting money creation into the hands of the people, Capital would be motivated to create inclusive enterprises that valued work first. Greater efficiencies would be gained as the result of the needs of billions of people suddenly having the financial ability to sate their demands. The needs of the many would spur the innovation necessary to provide a dignified standard of living for everyone on the planet. More importantly, creating the baseline of a dignified existence for those who worked productively would eventually eliminate the pathology created by the current economic system. The innovation in The Currency Paradox has the potential to truly create a peaceful world.
Noah Smith is one of a handful of economists who is beginning to understand that complex mathematical formulas are no substitute for real world experience. If he hasn’t, I hope he and any of his colleagues will read The Currency Paradox and pass along any feedback.
As time passes, the concepts presented in The Currency Paradox grow stronger. I wonder how long it will take for the econ community to accept that fundamental changes are needed if we are going to address the problems of today’s world. Marginal changes will not be enough. It’s time that we consider finding ways to involve everyone in the process of creating a better world.
That starts with valuing the potential and efforts of everyone.