Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Ziggy Stardust Bucks

Josiah Warren Time Store note for Three Hours Labor

When times get tough, the tough . . . switch currencies.

A fascinating report in The Atlantic tells of the upswing in “local currencies.” In the United Kingdom, the Brixton Pound is being floated, engraved on its paper notes the likes of “David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust era.” Pegged to the British pound, it serves mainly as a scheme to promote local business and trade, though maybe it’s a tad more than mere boosterism.

Bavarians are also “enthusiastically using the local currency as a protest” — the local currency being the Chiemgauer. And “similar currencies have popped up around the world,” including in Canada and the United States.

The Atlantic story also mentions the idea of a “time bank,” a one-step-up-from-barter method based on labor hours and (in some cases) accounting for a variety of skill levels. Such “systems are in use all over the world . . . though the organizers are careful to make sure that the time is never given a specific value in a hard currency, which would open the door to taxation from governments.”

That caveat shows how barter and labor time exchanges might seem the more “revolutionary,” from, say, an establishment point of view. It’s worth noting that the idea’s greatest early proponent was Josiah Warren, America’s genius utopian experimenter and theoretician of “individual sovereignty.”

Less of a radical, Rep. Ron Paul echoes eminent monetary economist and Nobel Laureate F.A. Hayek by promoting the “denationalization of money,” arguing that government policy should allow all currencies to float, getting rid of all taxation on trade amongst currencies as well as repealing all legal tender laws.

For my part, I would greatly enjoy spending a Ziggy Stardust banknote.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. drik says:

    A Starbucks Bucks coupon would at least hold its value.

  2. JFB says:

    As always, the market reacts, and reacts rationally.
    Governments commonly fail and entire empires have declined and disappeared as political entities believe, because they make laws, they can ignore and/or negate those made by human nature, or great engineer in the sky.
    They will have equivalent success in ignoring the laws of human interaction, economics. as they will ignoring law of gravity. In both cases the end result is a very hard landing.

  3. …. For my part, I would greatly enjoy spending a Ziggy Stardust banknote ….


    Any Good Money will beat any Fiat!

    Only a government can take something as intrinsically valuable as paper, slap ink on both sides and, in so doing, render it valueless.

  4. Paul Jacob says:

    Three great comments!

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  7. mike from tucson says:

    Money can be handy for those times when trades don’t work out evenly. But only if it is accepted. Better are real intrinsic-value things like tobacco and long-shelf-life spices or jewelers silver-solder which can be easily uncoiled to needed amounts. Common- caliber ammo is good also. (.22LR/9MM?) Tin, brass and lead will inflate to double and triple their usual value while gold and platinum will not be generally trusted. An error with astronomically priced precious metals could be disastrous for both sides in some looming “Afterworld” where only ‘Blood’ apologies would be accepted.
    US Silver or gold coins are easy to value. Unstamped gold or silver bling, not so much. Remember, if you street-trade the latter, you will generally forfeit at least half of it’s worth.
    A good trader never looks desperate. Perceived weakness is a killer.

    When the government shrinks debt by inflating money, it destroys the lives of retirees and others whose cost of living raises come too late or not at all. Monetizing the debt only works in the short term. Eventually all suffer when the government goes rogue. You can only prepare and keep it off for a while by keeping a variety of real trade goods, emergency supplies (Medical?) and if needful, small amounts of (legal?) precious metals and of course maintaining your family’s self-defense skills by constant and well thought out drills as well as weekly trips to the range and the dojo.
    For those who pray…do so, often and fervently!

  8. […] Thursday I mentioned monetary experimentation, including Ron Paul’s support for F.A. Hayek’s idea of […]

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