Consider the $20 bill.
It has no more value, as a simple slip of paper, than Monopoly money. Yet even children recognize that tearing one into small pieces is an act of inconceivable stupidity. What makes a $20 bill actually worth twenty dollars? In the third volume of his best-selling Naked series, Charles Wheelan uses this seemingly simple question to open the door to the surprisingly colorful world of money and banking.
The search for an answer triggers countless other questions along the way: Why does paper money (“fiat currency” if you want to be fancy) even exist? And why do some nations, like Zimbabwe in the 1990s, print so much of it that it becomes more valuable as toilet paper than as currency? How do central banks use the power of money creation to stop financial crises? Why does most of Europe share a common currency, and why has that arrangement caused so much trouble? And will payment apps, bitcoin, or other new technologies render all of this moot?
In Naked Money, Wheelan tackles all of the above and more, showing us how our banking and monetary systems should work in ideal situations and revealing the havoc and suffering caused in real situations by inflation, deflation, illiquidity, and other monetary effects. Throughout, Wheelan’s uniquely bright-eyed, whimsical style brings levity and clarity to a subject often devoid of both. With illuminating stories from Argentina, Zimbabwe, North Korea, America, China, and elsewhere around the globe, Wheelan demystifies the curious world behind the paper in our wallets and the digits in our bank accounts.
A person cannot mix indefinite bitcoins. The bitcoin protocol states that there will only be twenty-one million bitcoins to be produced by the miners. These bitcoins will then be subdivided into smaller bits. The smallest bit is called ‘satoshi’ named after the bitcoin founder and the divisible amount is one hundred millionth of a bitcoin.
Bitcoin currency is based on mathematical formulas unlike our conventional currency that is based on gold and silver. Mathematics is used to generate or ‘mine’ bitcoins. The software programs containing these mathematical formulas are made available to everyone. This means that anyone can access these formulas to ensure that it serves its purpose.
It covers the ancient world, the Roman Republic and Empire, Medieval Europe, the first centuries of the U.S. and Canada, the French Revolution, the 19th century, World Wars I and II, the Nazis, the Soviets, postwar rent control, and the 1970s. It also includes a very helpful conclusion spelling out the theory of wage and price controls.
This book is a treasure, and super entertaining!
Baumol presents his analysis with characteristic clarity, tracing the fast-rising prices of health care and education in the U.S. and other major industrial nations, then examining the underlying causes of the phenomenon, which have to do with the nature of providing labor-intensive services. The news is good, Baumol reassures, because the nature of the disease is such that society will be able to afford the rising costs.
Price Index Concepts and Measurements brings together leading experts to address the many questions involved in conceptualizing and measuring inflation. They evaluate the accuracy of COLI, a Cost-of-Goods Index, and a variety of other methodological frameworks as the bases for consumer price construction.
Section I discusses the consequences of inflation. These papers analyze inflation's impact on the tax system, labor market flexibility, equilibrium unemployment, and the public's sense of well-being. Section II considers the obstacles facing central bankers in achieving low inflation. These papers study the precision of estimates of equilibrium unemployment, the sources of the high inflation of the 1970s, and the use of non-traditional indicators in policy formation. The papers in section III consider how institutions can be designed to promote successful monetary policy, and the importance of institutions to the performance of policy in the United States, Germany, and other countries.
This timely volume should be read by anyone who studies or conducts monetary policy.
Granville details the advances in macroeconomic thinking that gave rise to the "Great Moderation"--a period of stable inflation and economic growth, which lasted from the mid-1980s through the most recent financial crisis. She makes the case that the central banks' management of monetary policy--hinging on expectations and credibility--brought about this period of stability, and traces the roots of this success back to the eighteenth-century foundations of modern monetary thought.
Tackling fundamental questions such as the causes of inflation and its relation to unemployment and growth, the natural rate of inflation hypothesis, the fiscal theory of the price level, and the proper goals of central banks, the book aims above all to demonstrate the dangers of forgetting the role of credibility in establishing sound monetary policy. With the lessons of the past firmly in mind, Granville presents stimulating ideas and proposals about inflation-targeting principles, which provide tools for present-day monetary authorities dealing with the forces of globalization, mercantilism, and reserve accumulation.