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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 15 January

by Nomad
Mon Jan 14th, 2013 at 06:42:47 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europea on this date in history:

1919 - torture and murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, socialist leaders in the Spartacist uprising in Germany

More here and here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!

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Monday Open Thread

by Nomad
Mon Jan 14th, 2013 at 11:11:55 AM EST

Change is in the air...

Comments >> (46 comments)

European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 14 January

by afew
Sun Jan 13th, 2013 at 04:08:21 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1814Treaty of Kiel: Frederick VI of Denmark cedes Norway to Sweden in return for Pomerania.

More here and here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!

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Weekend Open Thread

by afew
Sat Jan 12th, 2013 at 11:33:07 AM EST

On into the grey month

Comments >> (81 comments)

The Trillion $ Coin

by Frank Schnittger
Sat Jan 12th, 2013 at 05:54:29 AM EST

I've been reading about and advocating the Trillion $ Coin option as a means of avoiding the US Debt Ceiling impasse on US Blogs for some time now, but have always sought to leave the lead role in writing diaries on the topic to legal or economic experts. And just when I finally decide to weigh in in a more substantial way Krugman decides to write more or less exactly what I wanted to write:
Barbarous Relics - NYTimes.com
There will, of course, be howls from the usual suspects if that's how it goes [and the President decides to mint a Trillion $ coin]. Some of these will be howls of frustration because their hostage-taking plan was frustrated. But some will reflect sincere horror over a policy turn that their cosmology says must be utterly disastrous.

Ed Kilgore says, in a somewhat different way, much the same thing I and people like Joe Weisenthal have been saying: what we're looking at here is a collision of worldviews, one might even say of epistemology.

For many people on the right, value is something handed down from on high. It should be measured in terms of eternal standards, mainly gold; I have, for example, often seen people claiming that stocks are actually down, not up, over the past couple of generations because the Dow hasn't kept up with the gold price, never mind what it buys in terms of the goods and services people actually consume.

And given that the laws of value are basically divine, not human, any human meddling in the process is not just foolish but immoral. Printing money that isn't tied to gold is a kind of theft, not to mention blasphemy.

For people like me, on the other hand, the economy is a social system, created by and for people. Money is a social contrivance and convenience that makes this social system work better -- and should be adjusted, both in quantity and in characteristics, whenever there is compelling evidence that this would lead to better outcomes. It often makes sense to put constraints on our actions, e.g. by pegging to another currency or granting the central bank a high degree of independence, but these are things done for operational convenience or to improve policy credibility, not moral commitments -- and they are always up for reconsideration when circumstances change.

Now, the money morality types try to have it both ways; they want us to believe that monetary blasphemy will produce disastrous results in practical terms too. But events have proved them wrong.

And I do find myself thinking a lot about Keynes's description of the gold standard as a "barbarous relic"; it applies perfectly to this discussion. The money morality people are basically adopting a pre-Enlightenment attitude toward monetary and fiscal policy -- and why not? After all, they hate the Enlightenment on all fronts.

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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 12-13 January

by DoDo
Fri Jan 11th, 2013 at 03:50:47 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on these dates in history:

1903 - birth of Igor Kurchatov, Soviet nuclear physicist (d. 1960)

More here

1793 - the ambassador of revolutionary France, Nicolas Jean Hugon de Bassville (b. 1743), is lynched by a mob over his confrontation with the Vatican

More here and here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute.  Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments.  Come in and join us!

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Friday Open Thread

by Nomad
Fri Jan 11th, 2013 at 11:40:37 AM EST

Go ahead

Comments >> (17 comments)

European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 11 January

by In Wales
Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 06:09:16 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europe on this date in history:

1787 - Sir Frederick William Herschel, discovers Titania and Oberon, two moons of Uranus.

More here and here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!

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Thursday Open Thread

by ceebs
Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 11:12:22 AM EST

Is it snowing yet?

Comments >> (59 comments)

The 70s redux...

by Metatone
Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 05:35:07 AM EST

Benjamin Studebaker has published an interesting blog on this topic:

Stagflation: What Really Happened in the 70′s « Benjamin Studebaker

If you argue long enough about economics, you are bound to run into the stagflation argument. The stagflation argument claims that the big state and stimulus caused high inflation, high unemployment, and poor growth during the seventies. Usually this argument is not fully argued by those who believe in it-it is merely asserted, and the rest of us are expected to accept that it is simply the case that the seventies happened that way. Today I'd like to endeavour to illustrate what actually happened in the seventies, what the real causes of stagflation were, and what sort of lessons might be pulled from it.

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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 10 January

by dvx
Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 01:55:09 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Cinema on this date in history:

1927 - Fritz Lang's futuristic film Metropolis is released in Germany.

More here and here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!

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Wednesday Open Thread

by Nomad
Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 12:39:14 PM EST

Go ahead

Comments >> (51 comments)

What is the Point of a Bitcoin?

by ChrisCook
Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 06:01:23 AM EST

I've never been able to understand why anyone would regard a Bitcoin as having any value, since it is evidence of past (useless) work and energy expenditure with no value other than the creation of a Bitcoin.

Mind you, it is generally accepted that a Bitcoin is made valuable purely by its acceptability to Bitcoin participants as currency. ie it is completely 'faith-based'.

Do Not Throw Stones At This Notice comes to mind in terms of pointless circularity.

In respect of faith-based value - rather than value which derives from use value over time - a Bitcoin as a value token is not dissimilar to gold, of course, but at least gold has amenity value, being nice to look at for a few million years, and possessing some specialised uses.

There's an interesting fork of Bitcoin as well - Freicoin - which introduces Gesell's concept of 'money that rusts' (demurrage) in order to discourage hoarding and encourage spending.

Bitcoin's P2P architecture on the other hand? Now that is valuable: and I haven't even mentioned anonymity and Big Government.

For me, the challenge is to create a unit of account, platform, framework/protocol and generally acceptable instruments (currency) which combine credit, utility and trust.

I think that to do so is both completely necessary and achievable, and moreover represents what is now an implementable Adjacent Possible.

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Comments >> (26 comments)

European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 9 January

by ceebs
Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 05:04:30 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


On this date in history:

1768 - Philip Astley, Founds first modern circus

More here and here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!

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Tuesday Open Thread

by Nomad
Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 12:04:05 PM EST

Snappy oneliners welcome

Comments >> (32 comments)

European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 8 January

by Nomad
Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 05:56:58 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1823 - birth of Alfred Wallace, British naturalist and biologist, who independently thought of the theory of evolution and was co-author with Charles Darwin on the subject's first scientific paper (d. 1913 )

More here and here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!

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Monday Open Thread

by Nomad
Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 11:04:43 AM EST

More space for you

Comments >> (42 comments)

European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 7 January

by afew
Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 04:01:16 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europe on this date in history:

1785 – Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries travel from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in a hydrogen balloon.

More here and here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!

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Weekend Open Thread

by afew
Sat Jan 5th, 2013 at 10:39:02 AM EST

Had we but space enough, and time

Comments >> (40 comments)

European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 5-6 January

by DoDo
Fri Jan 4th, 2013 at 04:10:02 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on these dates in history:

1813 - monetary reform in Denmark commonly considered the first modern sovereign default

More here and here

1993 - death of Rudolf Nureyev (b. 1938), celebrated ballet dancer, one of the most prominent victims of AIDS

More here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute.  Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments.  Come in and join us!

Read more... (66 comments, 597 words in story)

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