Tuesday, January 25, 2011

brief report of ongoing madnesses

Classes start in two days, and my schedule for the semester is not finalized. Consequently, I have opted not to put my syllabi together for the classes that might still be canceled. So there could be a little confusion as the semester starts.

Lauren is in surgery even as I write this. It's nothing major, it's outpatient, but still, it's surgery. Thanks, I'll tell her you said so.

I've drafted a paper, have another one to get done in a week, and have the revision of the AAUP paper to get started on.

Now for a political note. You may have heard various neocons pitching a return to the gold standard as a way to ... um ... to do something or other. Partly, they think that if the US returned to the gold standard, the federal government would not be able to run deficits because the federal reserve bank would have to stop printing money. From what I know about economics, I believe the basic flaw in their plan is that it simply isn't conservative enough.

After all, money doesn't grow on trees, not even paper money, which isn't even paper in the first place! (And let's not get started on the tree-hugging envirofascist movement!) For money to have real worth, it has to be based on a real, tangible thing. Fiat money isn't based on anything at all, except a social and political convention and the exchange value of goods, services, and labor. Labor obviously isn't tangible, and services aren't physical objects either, so that leaves goods, and we all know that a currency based on the exchange value of goods wouldn't be viable because we wouldn't ever know how much any goods would be worth. Right? Right?

A gold standard would give us a straightforward way to know the real value of everything, as compared to a certain quantity of pure gold. A laptop computer is probably worth its weight in gold, say, but my year's labor is worth, I dunno, say an ingot. I don't know how much an ingot weighs, but I figure, something like that. I'd carry my ingot to the Safeway and exchange it for groceries, get some return weight of gold back, and thus our economy would continue to flow freely, and we could all rest in the comfort of knowing that we really knew what things were worth.

That's the theory, anyway. But as I said, it's not conservative enough. If you really want a solid standard for money, you have to go back further in history, before the gold socialists took over. What we really need is a return to the beads and carved bones standard. You're welcome.

No comments: