“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mint the Platinum Coin

President Obama may authorize the minting of a trillion dollar coin to pay for policies that are already in place. Paying for what Congress has already done is, of course, a rather good idea.

Good idea, this coin suggestion, and not only because it would do an end run around the Republicans, who are caught in primitive defiance (in a way that endangers the world economy). It would also be an object lesson in what a sovereign power can do:

A state is not like a household in a state, contra the right wing Friedmanesque rhetoric of thirty years' vintage. Not a family. Not a person with credit card debt and a mortgage etc.

National debt and the debt ceiling are not like credit card debt and a personal credit limit.

Money is an arbitrary sign. (Just look at the way Brazil eased itself into the real, wiping its debt in a moment.) Cartoons of a gigantic coin crushing America remind me of the paper money panic in the Romantic period.

Do it, Obama.


amanda vox said...

I´m brazilian.
from when I was born till when the real turned up in 1994 I saw 5 different currencies in Brazil. and twice - if I remember well - we just kept the currency but cut 3 zeros off it (!).
now that it´s clear the real came to last for a while I feel relieved in some odd way.
But one thing is certain, having to deal with all these changes in money while growing up has made me acutely aware of money as an arbitrary sign, as you put it.

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