Fun economic reading

Three interesting (but not short) economic documents came across my desk over the last couple of months. Sort of natural, I guess, given that I work for Square, but I think they are all worth reading. That said, I’m about halfway through each. 😉

  1. A simple explanation of how money moves around the banking system — Ever Move money electronically?  How does that work?
  2. How the Bitcoin protocol actually works — pretty applicable to Dogecoin, too, a far more impressive currency.
  3. The Economics of Star Trek — I often give some thought to this.  This is a fun exploration of really doing it.
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3 Responses to Fun economic reading

  1. Eric F says:

    DS9 has been what I’ve been watching while exercising. I’ve before wondered about the economy and why suddenly latinum is so crucial (I’d forgotten about Federation credits). I came up with a theory that latinum is valuable simply because it’s impossible to replicate. Same seems to go for power sources like dilithium and trilithium, which must be mined.

    I found the article interesting until I realized that — despite his earlier claim of finding a new economic model — the author was simply in love with European socialist capitalism. Once he declared that was the way of the future (and it could well-be), he lost me because it negated his earlier premise of something different.

    And for what it’s worth, the Federation didn’t just ease into this wondrous era of replicating nearly anything. As I recall, there was at least another vicious World War; not to mention the Eugenics War, of which Khan wrathed.

    The author utterly dismissed a barter society, but what if that’s the very thing that happened? All coin is barter anyway; it just makes the trade much easier. I want to say I remember a website in the ’90s doing this, but lets pretend there never were any: Set up website. Let people they can put something up for trade, say real wine, and charge whatever they like. Another person buys the real wine at the agreed cost and the winemaker’s account gets credited. Then those credits can be spent on anything else in the system. In a transitioning society, that would have to include real-world currencies for sale and trade. In the ST society, Federation credits are just physical manifestations of the digital.

    Let me put it this way: If everyone was wealthy-enough and magically bereft or shamed of all greed, Harry Mudd would have never said this:

    Well, girls, lithium miners. Don’t you understand? Lonely, isolated, overworked, rich lithium miners! Girls, do you still want husbands, hmm? Evie, you won’t be satisfied with a mere ship’s captain. I’ll get you a man who can buy you a whole planet. Maggie, you’re going to be a countess. Ruth, I’ll make you a duchess. And I, I’ll be running this starship. Captain James Kirk, the next orders you’re taking will be given by Harcourt Fenton Mudd!

    But then, we’re talking about fiction where anything can happen deus ex machina. And any society that looks to me for currency suggestions is doomed to fail anyway. 😉

    Thanks for the interesting read!

    • Eric F says:

      Great googlie-moogly that was a long reply!

    • Patrick says:

      Finally finished the ST article. Interesting that he moved towards Joules as a unit of work. That has been nicely explored in Paolo Bacigalupi’s works like Pump Six and Other Stories and The Windup Girl. Those short stories were incredible, very fun to read. I need to pick up some of his full-length novels.

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