Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A new take on the gold standard?

Keynes, in his Treatise on Money, in a footnote at the beginning of Chapter 35, referring to the love of money, as a footnote pointing to the work of the Hungarian psychoanalyst, Sandor Ferenczi, who was famous for his work on that subject. Ferenczi argued that the love of money was a continuation of infants’ fascination with their own feces.
Ferenczi, Sandor. 1914. “The Ontogenesis of Interest in Money.” In Sex in Psycho-Analysis (Contributions to Psycho-Analysis) (NY: Basic Books, 1950): pp. 319-31.
I turns out that Keynes and Ferenczi were up to something.
Devlin, Hannah. 2015. “Gold in faeces is worth millions and could save the environment.” The Guardian (25 March).
“Sewage sludge contains traces of gold, silver and platinum at levels that would be seen as commercially viable by traditional prospectors. “The gold we found was at the level of a minimal mineral deposit,” said Kathleen Smith…

2 comments: said...

Wow, a revival of the old Freudian economics, but in a literal way! Cool, michael.

The height of this sort of stuff was back in the 1960s with works by people such as Norman O. Brown, although none of these people were economists, specifically. They were more like 60s hippies into free love and overcoming sexual repression, with being obsessed with fecal money one of those reprssions one needed to overcome, probably with the help of some psychedelic drugs along the way.

Of course, the older cultural take on the gold standard was from Engels (if not Marx), who observed that credit banking developed in Protestant nations like Calvinist Scotland where they believed in salvation by faith, whereas fascination with gold and resistance to paper and credit was stronger in Catholic countries, with their emphasis on salvation by works. Let me see the gold!

Thornton Hall said...

There should be a field called "evolutionary economics" that looks at how the human genome has changed in response to our changing social environment.

A rough estimate is that adult lactose tolerance took 2,500 years to evolve after the development of animal husbandry. This is considered extremely rapid, and it is hypothesized that famines heightened the pressure to adapt.

Meanwhile, there is the genetic variation that leads a very small percentage of the population to hoard money for its own sake. Is this an adaptive mutation in a money economy? Why do economists view this mutation as universal despite it's extreme rarity?

In hunter gather societies such behavior would have been extremely maladaptive for both the individual and the society and might have justly led to early societitally imposed death.

Perhaps we need to return to such a program of eugenics?