Neal Stephenson on Money
Over on slashdot Neal Stephenson was interviewed on a range of slashdotters' questions. His relationship to FC is cemented in his classic novel on digital issuance, Crytonomicon (reviewed), which appeared around the same time as the first example was hitting critical mass.
7) Money - by querencia
One of the major themes in Cryptonomicon that carried over (in a big way) to The Baroque Cycle is money. You introduced some "futuristic" views of currency and of where money might be going in Cryptonomicon, and you skillfully managed to do the same thing, while explaining some of the history of modern monetary systems, in the most recent books.
You've obviously spent a lot of time thinking about money lately. Is there anything going on in the modern world with monetary systems (barter networks, for example) that you find particularly interesting?
What do you see on the horizon with respect to money?
Actually, what's interesting about money is that it doesn't seem to change that much at all. It became fantastically sophisticated hundreds of years ago. Back before people knew about germs, evolution, the Table of Elements, and other stuff that we now take for granted, people were engaging in financial manipulations that seem quite modern in their sophistication. So if I had to take a wild guess---and believe me, it is a wild guess---I'd say that money and the way it works is going to be a constant, not a variable.
Posted by iang at October 21, 2004 07:44 AM
Money is the retreat from an agreed form of value and the means of transfer of what is questionable to what is agreed upon. Money is the herd humanities means of allowing singular people to agree with the group. The social lubricant that allows for harmonious intercourse. If the agreement is abused money fails and it is a warning sign of doom. A good example would be the use of money to purchase peace from an agressor or potential agressor. The United States policy since its first war time efforts has been one of monetary abuse expanding the envelope of what is exceptable thereby expanding the agreement of money. At the beginning of WWII the US landed in North Africa and its first enemy was the French now allies of the Germans. BY offering the French various positions of power and money the US bought an ally in Europe where there was none before. Since the value of an ally cannot be purchased on a long term basis the value of the dollar has been called into question as well as the military victories long term goals. The UK on the other hand has a long standing agreement with the US on values and morality and no money need change hands for the risking of one groups lives to save the others. As a result the use of money won a short term rental of the French and main land Euros which should indicate the nature of their value system (Harlots). So money at its core is the agreement to exchange one value for another and since the oldest profession is based upon its creation it should be no surprise to see the French (Harlots) renegotiating the agreed upon price now and then. World politics is what is being offered for how much and can we get ala carte or must we take whats on the menu. This is why the terrorist are not as easily understood they will spend everything including their lives to achieve God's will which they see as priceless. I suggest a monetary response to terrorism since they seem to come from one particular nation that has a great deal of money and require money to achieve their goals against our society a price should be placed upon their heads and determined by free market forces. Now this can be achieved privately without upsetting any of the truth and justice idiots that form the majority of the body politic. Digital currencies real use might be the removal of certain groups on a pay per killing basis. We have removed that legally from our public forum but now is the time to expand money for our own protection. If all the money cannot be had a debt issuance might work. One might wish to publish the offering in French and solicit their help for money menu. 30 pieces of silver for the French, maybe more for the rest of the Harlots that buy and sell basic concepts of what it means to be free and fight those that would end the dream of freedom. Non-violence is not the answer and the answer will not be found in Europe excluding the UK. The currency of freedom is the blood shed in its defense and those not willing to struggle against the forces of evil will be ruled with less than a free society and ultimately blood is what backs the money. If you would spend one second of your greatest asset selling it to obtain a moment of peace then the gold in your pocket is really owned by those that seek to victimize you. I suggest the Embargo of oil usage retrain the economic expansion and remove oil as an asset. Allow the Chinese their access to oil with 300 million unemployed people they will fall quickly regardless of their ability to expand economically. By removing oil from the industrial sector and implementing a diesel based fuel derived from corn oil or other nonpetroleum sources we can isolate the usage of its leverage upon us. This removal from the world oil demand will allow the Chinese to expand based on a flawed premise an oil economy. By withdrawal from the flawed economics of oil and removal from military ventures the US could remain strong enough to satisfy our own needs. Money must be framed to statisfy a long term goals of a society not merely the short term needs of harlots although its invention might be closely linked. This failed effort to expand the use of money has created a systemic collaspe in which currency that has been issued and excepted beyond the acceptable usage tolerance will snap. For example what if all physical dollar based currency where declared void by the issuer and all electronic balances had to be verified by the owners. The dollar would be voided as a means of commerce beyond the borders of the US. The world economy my feel upset and several other issuers that mark or base their issuance on the dollar might experience discomfort. Perhaps selectively culling terrorist for money might seem acceptable. I feel that if the US where to remove the dollar by voiding the hard currency and calling for a strict means of account identification military agression could be stopped. An attack against the dollar might be the only means of achieving peace. The time it would take to rewire the accounting systems alone would halt economic progress in a direction of military expansion. Money is our first line of defense and since this kitten has crawled out on a limb and cannot get back we should saw the limb from the tree taking all its fellow creatures with it.