Rethinking Our Centralized Monetary System: The Case for a System of Local Currencies

Greenwood Publishing Group
Free sample

As we approach the 21st century, we must rethink our centralized monetary system as part of a larger reexamination of existing political economy, according to Solomon. In questioning the passive acceptance of a federal monopoly in producing money, the author challenges prevailing notions of progress and economic life. Advancing the idea of local currencies to promote a political economy based on empowerment, self-reliance, and ecological permanence, the book discusses three viable systems, all of which are possible under federal and state laws: barter, customer discounts, and local scrip not pegged to the U.S. dollar. The business and practical aspects of each of these systems is considered. This original work will be of interest to scholars, students, and policy-makers in political economy, money and banking, public finance, and public policy.
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About the author

LEWIS D. SOLOMON is Arthur Selwyn Miller Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School. He is the author of 23 books including, most recently, Taxation of Investments (1994) and Corporations: Law and Policy (1994).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Greenwood Publishing Group
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Published on
Dec 31, 1996
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Pages
167
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ISBN
9780275953768
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economics / General
Business & Economics / Money & Monetary Policy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Space was at the center of America’s imagination in the 1960s. President John F. Kennedy’s visionary statement captured the mood of the day: "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." The Apollo mission’s success in July 1969 made almost anything seem possible, but the Cold War made space flight the province of governmental agencies in the United States. When the Apollo program ended in 1972, space lost its hold on the public interest, as the great achievements wound down. Entrepreneurs are beginning to pick up the slack—looking for safer, more reliable, and more cost effective ways of exploring space. Entrepreneurial activity may make create a renaissance in human spaceflight. The private sector can energize the quest for space exploration and shape the race for the final frontier. Space entrepreneurs and private sector firms are making significant innovations in space travel. They have plans for future tourism in space and safer shuttles. Solomon details current US and international laws dealing with space use, settlement, and exploration, and offers policy recommendations to facilitate privatization. As private enterprise takes hold, it threatens to change the space landscape forever. Individuals are designing spacecraft, start-up companies are testing prototypes, and reservations are being taken for suborbital space flights. With for-profit enterprises carving out a new realm, it is entirely possible that space will one day be a sea of hotels and/or a repository of resources for big business. It is important that regulations are in place for this eventuality. These new developments have great importance, huge implications, and urgency for everyone.
In 1971, President Nixon imposed national price controls and took the United States off the gold standard, an extreme measure intended to end an ongoing currency war that had destroyed faith in the U.S. dollar. Today we are engaged in a new currency war, and this time the consequences will be far worse than those that confronted Nixon.

 

Currency wars are one of the most destructive and feared outcomes in international economics. At best, they offer the sorry spectacle of countries' stealing growth from their trading partners. At worst, they degenerate into sequential bouts of inflation, recession, retaliation, and sometimes actual violence. Left unchecked, the next currency war could lead to a crisis worse than the panic of 2008.

Currency wars have happened before-twice in the last century alone-and they always end badly. Time and again, paper currencies have collapsed, assets have been frozen, gold has been confiscated, and capital controls have been imposed. And the next crash is overdue. Recent headlines about the debasement of the dollar, bailouts in Greece and Ireland, and Chinese currency manipulation are all indicators of the growing conflict.

As James Rickards argues in Currency Wars, this is more than just a concern for economists and investors. The United States is facing serious threats to its national security, from clandestine gold purchases by China to the hidden agendas of sovereign wealth funds. Greater than any single threat is the very real danger of the collapse of the dollar itself.

Baffling to many observers is the rank failure of economists to foresee or prevent the economic catastrophes of recent years. Not only have their theories failed to prevent calamity, they are making the currency wars worse. The U. S. Federal Reserve has engaged in the greatest gamble in the history of finance, a sustained effort to stimulate the economy by printing money on a trillion-dollar scale. Its solutions present hidden new dangers while resolving none of the current dilemmas.

While the outcome of the new currency war is not yet certain, some version of the worst-case scenario is almost inevitable if U.S. and world economic leaders fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors. Rickards untangles the web of failed paradigms, wishful thinking, and arrogance driving current public policy and points the way toward a more informed and effective course of action.

For nearly forty years, using recombinant DNA tools, researchers, and then businesses, have genetically engineered organisms by transferring naturally occurring genes from one organism into another. Doing so modifies the genetic code of living cells, imparting new traits and achieving desired results; this is done in the production of proteins, pharmaceuticals, and seeds. Synthetic biology, argues Solomon, could free scientists from the need to find natural genes to make such desired modifications. Synthetic biology permits more complex and sophisticated bioengineering than what can be achieved through previous genetic modification techniques. Drawing on non-biological scientific and engineering disciplines, including information technology and nanotechnology, synthetic biology strives to rearrange an organism’s genes on a far wider scale by rewriting its genetic code, the chemical instructions need to design, assemble, and operate a species. By allowing the writing of artificial genetic codes, synthetic biology can transform existing industries and spawn new ones, creating new products as well as radically reshaping existing items. Arguing for self-regulation by the scientific and business communities, Lewis D. Solomon recommends a policy framework that would guard against governmental overregulation, which could create a barrier to innovation. Although synthetic biotechnology holds considerable social and economic potential, absent a nurturing regulatory climate, it may prove difficult to translate research discoveries into commercially viable applications.
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