D.I.Y. Dollars

Time has published a bizarre story headlined "Alternative Currencies Grow in Popularity." The bizarre part isn't the currencies themselves -- here at reason we've been covering non-governmental money for years. It's the fact that the article makes so little effort to demonstrate that these alternatives are, in fact, growing in popularity. It would make sense to find more people turning to private and local currencies right now, given the dollar's shaky outlook, but Time's reporter doesn't seem to have looked for anecdotes (let alone statistics) that suggest this is happening.

A fun fact I learned in Argentina earlier this month: At the depth of the country's last economic crisis, about half the nation's provinces issued their own money rather than rely on the central bank. I knew about the barter-based currency that emerged in Buenos Aires at the time, but I didn't realize the search for homegrown monetary alternatives had been so widespread.

[Via Sam Smith.]

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  • Nigel Watt||

    Since when is Time expected to prove its assertions? It's Time, damnit.

  • Naga Sadow||

    "In these times there is only one form of real wealth . . . food! And in these times there are only two ways to live: farming and living off farmers. I don't feel like pushing a plow!
    Gentlemen! Power no longer grows out of the muzzle of a gun. (Raises sword above head) It grows from this!!!"

  • ||

    There are Greens from the Lettuce Patch Bank at the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in rural northeastern Missouri.

    What the-- Greens from-- Dancing Rabb-- Ecogoddamvillage--?!?

    I am now a proponent of secession.

  • ||

    Alternative currencies are also a fabulous way to dodge taxes. If I get paid in Vulcan Dollars, it is a lot harder for the IRS to track it. "Alerternative currencies" are really just a more sophisticated barter system. People have been using barter systems for years to dodge income taxes.

  • BakedPenguin||

    When I was a kid, comic books used to have ads by numismatic companies for "German Emergency Money" - the private banknotes issued during the 1920's hyperinflation. I bought some, and I think I might still have some.

    You can get the modern equivalent here, although the prices are - ironically - a tad steep.

  • ||

    I've been noticing this kind of intellectual laziness a lot lately in the culture.

    Try watching Bill Maher's 'Reliculous'. He manages to make the argument against religion look bad, by basicaly making fun of religion instead of actually making an argument.

    Now, I'm an atheist, so that pissed me off, cause it's so damn easy to argue against religion, and Maher doesn't even really bother to lay out any of the major arguments. He avoids addressing the more serious intellectual arguments, and instead of relies on facile mockery of a few extreme elements and ignorant rednecks.

  • .||

    The bizarre part [is] the fact that the article makes so little effort to demonstrate that these alternatives are, in fact, growing in popularity.

    "Bizarre"? This assertion assumes that journalists are still being taught how to think and, ultimately, to prove their points. Their utter failure in explaining the causes and inevitable effects of the current Economic Disaster™ is a case in point. Dragging out the twin bogeymen of "capitalism" and "greed" are sufficient in their minds. To delve deeper than that would require a freshman's understanding of economics, not to mention epistemology. The justly maligned (and increasingly disspirited) profession of journalism is, sadly and dangerously, unequal to the task.

  • ||

    As things like WOW and Second Life get more sophisticated, how long before their currencies start to compete with the real stuff? All a currency has to be is convertable to other currency and it is valid. Once you can take Second Life dollars and translate them to real dollars or vice versa, I don't see how you tell one from the other.

  • ||

    He avoids addressing the more serious intellectual arguments, and instead of relies on facile mockery

    This is exactly why I just can't get on board with the Stewart/Colbert thing even though they can occasionally be very funny.

    [prepares for abusive onslaught of hackey-sacks and last month's Maxims]

  • Ska||

    John - you can.

    http://secondlife.com/whatis/economy-market.php

    There are people who make and sell products on 2nd Life as their primary market.

  • ||

    "This is exactly why I just can't get on board with the Stewart/Colbert thing even though they can occasionally be very funny."

    It is not so much Stewart/Colbert as their more dimwitted fans who think they are anything deeper than entertainers that I can't get on board with.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Hazel - I felt the same way after seeing Fahrenheit 9/11. Here was someone with a big pulpit, a large audience, and a subject that had plenty of red meat to tear into. Instead, that f*cking shit Moore went off on a dozen pointless tangents, and totally deflected the case against the Iraq War.

    He could have brought a loaded shotgun to bear, and shredded a dozen holes in the administration's case for War in Iraq. Instead, he went off about some dipshit plan about piplines in Afghanistan that probably never made it past the 'napkin drawing' stage, and sundry other bullshit, while the chance for a national referendum on the rightness of the war passed with the 2004 election.

    What a worthless, worthless, piece of shit.

  • ed||

    I've been noticing this kind of intellectual laziness a lot lately in the culture.

    Good points, Hazel. An intelligent and entertaining skewing of religion is so easy, as the subject is so rich, yet Maher and others go for the cheap wisecrack. It's always disappointing. Would that for every Maher there was a Penn Gillette. Alas, it is not so, and will probably never be.

  • ||

    BakedPenguin,

    Michael Moore was a net positive to the US war effort in Iraq. By so thoroughly and completely discrediting critics of the war, he allowed Bush to prosecute it and if things hold hopefully win it. If I didn't know better, I would wonder if he wasn't on Rove's payroll. But then I look at Moore and realize that no he really is that big of a jerk and that stupid. If I were anti-war, I would want to shoot that bastard.

  • ||

    It is not so much Stewart/Colbert as their more dimwitted fans who think they are anything deeper than entertainers that I can't get on board with.

    Well said. As a comedian, I enjoy Stewart quite a bit.

  • ||

    "Well said. As a comedian, I enjoy Stewart quite a bit."

    When he started he was very funny. I think it has kind of gone to his head lately. I get the feeling he is reading some of his press clippings and thinks he really is something beyond an entertainer. Hopefully with Bush gone, he go back to being funny again instead of just doing polemics.

  • ed||

    Stewart and Colbert succeed by default. Not that some of their schtick does not sometimes touch brilliance, as defined by the form. But boiled down, it's still a collection of disposable wisecracks for a studio-audience laugh track, as is Leno, Letterman et al.

  • hmph||

    Speaking of Stewart/Colbert, where's our mainstream libertarian funny man? Perhaps it's because I'm not thinking deep enough into the matter, but shouldn't it be easier to mock both the leftwing and the rightwing from a libertarian stand compared to a liberal one? Or is it that there are so many self identified liberals out there that a libertarian Stewart wouldn't gain enough traction in comedy?

  • ||

    hmph,

    I think Carlin before he became a grumpy old man in his last decade would have counted as the Libertarian stand up.

  • ||

    hmph,

    Does Penn & Teller's Bullshit not count, or is it off your radar? If you haven't seen it, you should check it out.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Time has published a bizarre story headlined "Alternative Currencies Grow in Popularity."

    The world has had an alternative currency for a very long time.

    It's called gold.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Doug Stanhope. Not exactly mainstream, but very libertarian and very funny.

  • ||

    BakedPenguin: You're referring to notgeld, which has a fascinating history and is often a visual treat.

  • ||

    Any mention of the Liberty Dollar in the article? Perhaps some communion with Bernard von Nuthouse at the church of marijuana?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I have a Zimbabwe one cent note, technically making it, perhaps, the least valuable thing in the universe.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "I have a Zimbabwe one cent note, technically making it, perhaps, the least valuable thing in the universe."

    Wow - you mean it's even more worthless than the confines of Nancy Pelosi's skull?

  • ed||

    where's our mainstream libertarian funny man?

    There are few available, hmph. As I mentioned above, Penn Gillette might fit the bill, but he's hardly "mainstream." You have to pay to see his work on TV. Not that that's a bad thing, but it's outside the realm of "mainstream," if by that you mean getting something for "free."

    Influential, mainstream libertarian comics? You can count them on one hand.
    I've named one. Who are the other four?
    Anyone?

  • ||

    Drew Carey

  • ||

    Bill Maher claims to be Libertarian, right? Does he count?

  • dam it all||

    I'm an artist, and I've beent rying to get a barter system set up in my neck of the woods.

    I have TONS of jewelery that I have made, can't get a penny for it, but I can get a bag of groceries fromt he farmers market.

    Yarr, Bring back real FREE trade!

    Yes I will give you three rubies for that tank of gas!

  • ||

    I do hope somebody covers the Liberty Dollar as part of an examination of alternative currency -- especially as an example of what happens when such a thing becomes too popular. Several millions of the silver form of Liberty Dollars are still in the hands of the federal government, which will not give the property back to its rightful owners -- the holders of Liberty Dollar certificates in paper or electronic form. It is so ironic that the federal government alleges "counterfeiting" and shady dealings on the part of the LD proponents, but it is the government itself that has actually robbed thousands of people of their property, apparently to hold it indefinitely, or at least until it can draw up papers to appropriate it outright under civil asset forfeiture laws.

    As long as people are merely toying with the idea of alternative currencies, they should be safe. But if any of them begins to take off, like the LD, expect the Feds to come down hard.

    Ron Paul introduced the "Competition in Currency" Act in the last session of Congress. People who care about this country and its future should demand that their congress reps co-sponsor and/or vote for the bill.

  • mark||

    I know it's juvenile to blame my past support for Bush's war on Michael Moore, but it's hard to point to a less significant factor. Both "Bowling for Columbine" and "F911" made me want to support whatever it was he was against. Who enjoys movies like that?

  • mark||

    may i also direct you to this page on "Bowling" and this one on "Fahrenheit" if you're so inclined to delve into all the Moore trickery and deception...

  • sathi2000||

    I miss the days when theaters made popcorn fresh, instead of putting already popped kernels under a heat lamp and charging an arm and a leg for it... Reply
    http://www.mirei.com

  • ||

    he believes police there instructed an informant to plant marijuana on a woman named Yolanda Madden. She's currently serving an eight-year sentence for possession with intent to distribute.
    Austin Roofing Contractors

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