53 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Zero Cost Money

    In Canberra there is an ongoing discussion on whether we should build a Light Rail System. The opponents of Light Rail say it costs too much for the value it brings. The proponents say it brings more value but through more efficient connectivity of people. Both use Cost Benefit Analysis which in turn is based on the idea of a market in money and the market in money will provide the most cost effective way of connecting people. This is because Money is a store of value and hence the market will find the best allocation according to Efficient Market Hypothesis.

    Below is a letter to the editor that I sent this morning as part of an effort to convince people in the ACT to use Zero Cost Money for investment. With Zero Cost Money there is no market in Money as it is free hence we have to use some other method to allocate funds.

    Another part of the strategy is to convince our housing authority to use Zero Cost Money to supply affordable housing. Here is a Crowd Funding Project to help fund the lobbying effort to make it happen. https://pozible.com/project/rent-and-buy-1.

    Letter to Editor

    The debate over Light Rail in the Letters to the Editor is tedious. Both sides are correct. Both sides are wrong. They are wrong because there is an extra unnecessary cost.

    The cost comes because we have made money a store of value. When we put money in the bank we expect to get interest on the money. When we put money in our electronic wallets it earns interest and increases in value. This is the same as saying we put money in our real wallet and it increases in value. It doesn’t. Yet that is what we do with bank account wallets.

    We go to great lengths to make money in a bank retain value and increase in value. This cost is at least 50% of the value of the money we put in the bank. Perhaps even more.

    We can remove most of these costs if we use Zero Cost Money. We do this by creating money that has no intrinsic value. Instead we make money refer to something of intrinsic value.

    The debate we should be having is about the best ways to build infrastructure with Zero Cost Money. If we do this then any infrastructure we build is half the cost. It is half the cost because it costs half as much to administer the money.

    Using Zero Cost Money makes Light Rail an attractive investment. It makes buses an attractive investment – but not as attractive as Light Rail.

  2. @Kevin Cox

    This is just tricky capitalism. Manipulating those desperate to own a home so that:

    In the example we have specified the return as the same as a 7% fixed interest annuity.

    with the security of bricks and mortar.

    The code-word “saver” is camouflage for “capitalist”.

  3. ‘When we put money in the bank we expect to get interest on the money. When we put money in our electronic wallets it earns interest and increases in value. This is the same as saying we put money in our real wallet and it increases in value.’

    No, it isn’t. When we put money in our real wallets, we leave it there until we take it out again. When we put money in the bank, the bank does not leave it there until we take it out again. It may help to see the difference if you think about bank safe deposit boxes. When we put money in bank safe deposit boxes, the bank does leave it there until we take it out again, but in that case the bank does not pay us interest and we don’t expect it; on the contrary, the bank imposes charges on us and we pay them. Putting money in a bank safe deposit box is like putting it in our own wallets; depositing it in a bank account is not like putting it in our own wallets.

  4. Clinton seems to be on a roll – which is good. At least I get a good return on SportsBet.

    While there is no evidence, it would be good if she united the Democrat masses by having Sanders as running mate. UNfortunately internal Democratic factionalism may be more important to her than the unity of America.

  5. @Ivor
    Rumour has it that Elizabeth Warren is being lined up as the running mate. Potentially as much of a drawcard for the left of the Democratic Party as Sanders.

  6. @Kevin Cox


    Savers are Capitalists and proud of it.

    Yes – your use of “savers” is camouflage for “Capitalists”. This is nothing to be proud of.

    Pride goes before a fall.

    In normal circumstances savers are not necessarily capitalists. Savings need to be invested in a certain way to get capitalism.

    You should read the history of slavery, feudalism, mercantilism, and capitalism to get any idea.

  7. Capitalism, as an economic system, does not necessarily require an ideology, or there is scope for a broad field of ideas sufficient to serve most political partialities.

  8. BilB :
    Ivor, that is what political ideology, not capitalism, delivers.

    Unfortunately changing ideology does not stop the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

    In fact the same ideology can also drive worse economies than capitalism – feudalism, slavery and fascism.

    You only get an ideology that gives everyone their rights once you have escaped capitalism.

  9. Any system can be abused. Tell me about communism North Korean style, they have (a kind of) feudalism, slavery and fascism in the extreme, so “You only get an ideology that gives everyone their rights once you have escaped capitalism” is a false conclusion.

    There is nothing about the economic system that is capitalism the requires there to be excessive profits to enable some to have run away wealth. By far the greatest number of those who live in a capitalist way simply make a living, comparable to the people they serve, but they generally work far harder than their patrons.

  10. @BilB

    Anyone who supposedly is living in a capitalist way but simply makes a living are, in fact, not living in a capitalist way.

    Capitalism is the continuous accumulation of capital which is precisely the “thing” that requires there to be excessive profits to enable some to have run away wealth. This then causes the tendencies I posted earlier.

    Nothing in North Korea means what you purport it to mean and it is a deliberate diversion.

  11. Ivor you misunderstand Marx. The political economy is not essentially linked to capitalism. That would be saying something like E=MC^2 therefore A^2=B^2+C^2 . There us an apparent link, gravity tends to create round shapes , but the two calculations are quite different areas of evaluation. You are carrying on Marx’s mistake of merging the two. This is precisely why Marx could not see the flaws in socialism.

  12. @BilB

    This makes no sense.

    Capitalism is a form of political economy.

    It is not a merging – no one has said anything is merged.

    The only point of interest is that political economy came first – capitalism emerged later.

    Marx made no mistake in merging anything.

  13. Ivor capital is a mechanism, an economy activity is a result of the operation of capital based mechanisms. Neither capital nor an economic activity require politics. So a political economy is a separate entity to capital.

    Capital in itself is not evil as Marxists seem to routinely claim. It is the outcome of the use of capital when exploitative power politics is applied that can deliver an unfair outcome. Power politics does not need capital to deliver exploitation and evil. Removing all forms of capital will not necessarily deliver peace and harmony. It is people with power over others that delivers evil outcomes. Marx seems to have given “capital” the property of being and instrument of oppression. The real instruments of oppression were brutality, poverty, lack of education and illiteracy, all of which deprived the “worker” from being able to obtain use capital themselves.

    Even in Marx’s time there were serial capitalist operators cooperating to build complex objects. The clock making industry was one such. In this industry many crafts people used their own capital (machinery) to produce components or perform specialised processes, in order to cooperatively produce a complex product. Each trade person performed their part of the process for individual profit. This industry in Marx’s time demonstrated the viability of the individual capitalist entrepreneur we today call the “sole trader”, and this was possible where people were literate, had skills training, had the ability to produce their own machinery, and were not operating from a position of abject poverty.

  14. @BilB

    Capitalism is the result of the political economy of capital.

    So obviously political economy cannot be separated from capital.

    Marxists do not routinely claim that capital is a evil. Capital is evil under private ownership. If you do not have the private ownership of capital you do not have capitalism. So capital is evil under capitalism.

    Capitalism is exploitative power based on the private ownership of capital.

    No one wants to remove all forms of capital.

    Under capitalism capital is an instrument of oppression. Under cooperative arrangements capital disappears and you only have investment.

    Using machinery making clocks is not necessarily capitalism and does not need the evil that is the private ownership of capital.

  15. Ivor,

    First statement is over reach and third statement self contradictory. I think we have covered all of the angles now, and can conclude that you as a Marxist think that capital is evil. I don’t. I think people can be evil in their use of capital and poor politics is the vehicle that allows that evil to flourish. Capital is innocent.

  16. @BilB

    Most people do not use words such as evil.

    Capital without people using it is not capital.

    The desires of those with capital to use their capital creates poor politics.

    Read Marx.

  17. When capitalism goes into crisis and all attempts to restore growth have failed, there is only one option to maintain capitalist profits – cut workers share.

    But how do you do this if workers vote and enjoy democracy?

    There is only one way – introduce fascism …

    This is the reality of Trump according to some wise truthseekers.

    NY Times

  18. Ivor,

    People are the problem, specifically low empathy people, not capital. Aggresive people will use any means available to elevate their interests above those of others, they do not need capital to achieve this. You need to study the works of Robert Sapolsky particularly about the Alpha male phenomenon. If you understand what his work you will then know why Marx is largely obsolete.

    Politics guilty, Capital innocent. PGCI.

  19. @BilB

    You cannot stop aggressive people elevating their interests above those of others if they use the power of capital.

    Abolishing capital is a precondition.

    Once you understand this you will then know why Robert Sapolsky is largely obsolete.

  20. Robert Sapolsky was able to witness and measure the destructive power of unfetterred ego in a capital free society, then witness and measure the change to that society when the Alpha element is completely removed.

    In our reality democracy and politics are the means to maintain fairness in society. From my reading of Marx his focus, however detailed and laudable at the time of writing, is shallow in understanding of human nature, and many conclusions are flawed. Marx’s world had a very rigid social structure, a world in which one group owned all productive assets and the bulk of the population owned none, so his conclusion to remove all assets from all people to the ownership of the state was a curious choice devoid of human understanding, and unsurprisingly has failed virtually everywhere (except indigenous communities).

  21. By the way, Ivor, Robert Sapolsky is a neuroendocrinologist, amoungst many other things, and will never be “obsolete”.

  22. @BilB

    By the way BilB, Karl Marx was a political economist, a historian, a philosopher, a politician, and a revolutionary and will never be “obsolete”.

    If Sapolsky wants to make much progress in his theories he should encompass modern so-called cultural Marxism.

    There is nothing shallow of Marx’s understanding of human nature and you have not specified what is shallow about his theory of species being, alienation and the metabolic rift.

    Marx’s theory of capitalism and the impact of Capital applies to rigid modes of production and to non-rigid modes of production.

    Marx did not conclude to remove all assets from all people to the ownership of the state.

    capitalism has produced slavery, colonial famine and impoverishment, juntas, massacres, world wars, climate catastrophe and exponential growth in debt.

    It is the mother of all failures.

    Unfortunately you will soon be living in it.

  23. Sapolsky is not advancing a theory in the context of this discussion, he is a scientist who made observations, measurements, and then reported them. It is up to others to evaluate the relevance of this to various fields of study.

    Alienation, “metabolic rift”…really?

    “The theoretic basis of alienation, within the capitalist mode of production, is that the worker invariably loses the ability to determine life and destiny, when deprived of the right to think (conceive) of themselves as the director of their own actions; to determine the character of said actions; to define relationships with other people; and to own those items of value from goods and services, produced by their own labour”

    Ford put an end to that notion.

    Metabolic rift aka resources depletion? “God” invented that one with plagues of capital free locusts.

    This is all a bit basic and hardly worthy of the reverence you guys are applying to it. It is like revering the coil spring because it was once very useful and clever, but are now just small parts of a very big structure. The notion of eliminating all capital is just plain nonsense, and the suggestion that doing this would somehow magically make the world work better is even more ludicrous.

    The primary catastrophes facing the world are overpopulation and subsequent Global Warming.

    I repeat, Politics guilty, Capital innocent.

  24. By the way, Ivor, Robert Sapolsky is a neuroendocrinologist, amoungst many other things, and will never be “obsolete”.

    I just want to point out that this is, in context, a really weird thing to say.
    Player 1: “X is Y”
    Player 2: “X is Z and can never be Y”
    … this means, normally, that player 2 believes that X’s can-never-be-Y-ness is a result of their being Z, that X’s Zness is an explanation for their never-be-Y-ness. The “and” is really “and so”.

    But that’s just nonsense on stilts here; a person’s being an neuroendocrinologist has — can I go out on a limb here? — no plausible causitive relationship to any impossibility that might exist of their becoming obsolete; an obsolete [==obsolete-thought-producing] neuroendocrinologist is an easily-imaginable thing, I would have thought.

    This is not normal language use. It is odd, remarkable, can I go so far as to say “indicative”?

  25. @BilB

    So your mentioning Sapolsky was not even relevant.

    Ford did not put and end to alienation.

    Metabolic rift is not aka resource depletion.

    Capital is not like a coil spring. It captures the entire structure.

    As long as you have any mode of production that is based on private competitive growth you will have overpopulation and global warming and a politics to suit.

  26. The missing piece, Collin, is the content. What did Sapolsky find, and how did hd find it? What did Marx find and how did he find it? Hence XYZ. In short, is Economics equally a Science? Sapolsky’s findings are empirically evident, Marx’s findings are interpretive.

    My argument is that the outcomes of human community are not dependent on capital as Marx claims. The driving force behind social and economic disparity is the empathy level of of the various participants, just as Sopalsky observed in his study community.

    To fully know what that means you will need to view some documentaries of his work. If your approach to life is even slightly scientific, then that will be a pleasure.

  27. I think, Ivor, on overpopulation Hans Rosling proves the opposite, just as the Chinese population explosion demonstrated.

  28. @BilB


    Throwing up different hardly relevant internet spruikers does not help you.

    Exactly where do the sources you have inserted analyse Capital?

  29. Hans Rosling. Hans Rosling (born 27 July 1948) is a Swedish medical doctor, academic, statistician, and public speaker. He is the Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institutet and co-founder and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation, which developed the Trendalyzer software system.


    Rosling is famous for making posible to see subtle trends in massive amounts of data. My reference in this case was to his demonstration that poverty produces over population as demonstrated in Mao’s communist China where rural poverty triggered population growth.

    Capital? Sources? they don’t analyse capital. That is the point. I am showing you that dramatic social change occurs independent of capital, population growth occurs despite a severe lack of capital.

    Marx misunderstood the driving influences even in his time. He thought it was the money when it was in fact the psychology of the people.

  30. @BilB

    Looking at trends without deeper understanding is a placebo activity.

    If they do not understand Capital they can only shed tears and wail in anguish.

    The “psychology of the people” is a middle class vanity. Workers have different psychology to mercant bankers and thet create different political parties to represent their different relationship to….

    wait for it …


  31. Your slowly getting there, Ivor. You’ve brought psychology into the equation. The next understanding you need is that it is Empathies that determine why

    “Merchant Bankers have different psychology to Workers and they create different political parties to maximise their…..” hold on money.

    It is called greed, and a key property of greed is a disregard for the interests of others, ie low empathy. It does not matter what the commodity is, the greedy person wants more of it than anyone else. Bananas, land, water, sunshine, clean air…..capital.

    How do greedy people protect their inflated needs and expectations? In a feudal system with brute force and hierarchical bribery, in an enlightened democracy with politics, intrigue and corruption. Politics is the primary mechanism of greed. Money (capital) is one expression of that success…there are many others.

    So while Marxists are chasing their tails believing Capital is the evil enemy, the real enemy is getting away Scott free steadily building the machinery of mass manipulation and wealth extraction.


    Politics guilty, Capital innocent.

  32. @BilB

    Unfortunately those who make an accusation are usually those most implicated.

    It is the capitalist ideologues who chase their tails.

    Greed generates no problems under cooperative arrangements.

    Blaming greed is chbildish.

    You have already been told that Marxists do not believe capital is an evil enemy. Most people do not use the word evil – this was your creations.

    Capital becomes “evil” only within certain relationships.

    Capitalism is one such set of relationships.

    You are not even trying.

    If there was no class society, there would be no economic problem through greed.

    If there was no greed, today’s economy would still collapse because of capitalism.

    A crisis ridden capitalist society without greed does more harm than a stable socialist economy with greed.

  33. @BilB
    Thanks for the interesting article to the crown lease system in the ACT. When i worked in the UK for the Crown Estate they were in the process of selling some of their 99 year residential leases in London to leaseholders as they were judged to be too onerous to manage for the small rents accrued. I never realised that Henry George was behind the idea in Canberra, i wonder if there is any other example of land value tax system that actually got up and running properly?

    By the way i disagree with the article’s characterisation of the idea as “an abandoned radical social experiment”. LVT still has plenty of proponents.

  34. Thanks, Alex. That link was put forward by Caroline Pidcock, architect, in comment to a discussion on affordable accommodation.

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