Hey all, this might be a bit outside of the "Bitcoin" realm, but I wanted to create a sounding board to help me grasp what money is, how it relates to economies, and where Bitcoin can come in. I'm just writing out my thoughts, and I'm open to comments and opinions or corrections :). Hopefully this can be helpful to others too.
Note, that I live in the UK and I feel like a lot of information talks about the dollar, and I never know if it applies the same to my currency. I will give examples in dollars, but they should apply to any world currency (eg. GBP) to the best of my understanding.
I saw a link recently on this subreddit to this site: https://modernmoneybasics.com/
. If I were to summarise what I learnt, it is a mental model that frames fiat currency in an interesting way, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did contain some misinformation. -- It claims that the model applies to any fiat currency.
OK. Pretend that all of a countries money = 1. If you own $100, you own a fraction of the countries money, so if there is $10,000 in the world you own 0.001 of all dollars. So naturally, if more money is printed, you start to own a smaller fraction of that money.
The Modern Money Theory (MMT) gives me the impression that money is basically a tool owned by the countries government (owned by someone who isn't the general public). Money is not an asset, it is a liability (hence why it loses value over time). People pay taxes and the Government will try to redistribute the wealth by investing in projects like The Army, Green Energy, etc.
This is supposed to be distributed in ways that help the country's economy, ensuring that the country is productive and is exporting things to other countries. When deemed necessary, more money can be printed to help redistribute wealth to the areas that the Government wants to invest in. I think that the more successful your economy, the more your money is worth.
This means one thing to me; PEOPLE DO NOT OWN/HAVE MONEY. Don't save fiat; it is a tool to help the economy, not a thing of value that you should store. I feel like saving actually keeps money from circulating in the economy and probably works towards needing to print money. Instead, buy assets; you put money back into the economy, and you get to hold onto your wealth. What can you invest in? Ok, that's not such an easy question to answer. Maybe buy gold (or *ahem* Bitcoin), or invest in yourself to make something valuable and ultimately start your own business.
MMT says that fiat has value because people pay taxes in fiat. Ultimately, we work, and earn in order to pay taxes (income, VAT, road tax, etc.). We spend in fiat, because the person accepting fiat will need to pay taxes and the next person will do the same, so now the whole country values your fiat currency.
Because of this, you need liquidity, you need to have some money to spend on groceries and living, and you need some money for a rainy day lest you end up in an emergency situation with not enough time to handle it with money. -- I think the more something costs, the more time you typically will have to pay it, so there might even be a formula you could create or use that helps you decide what to keep as cash, and what to spend.
So long story short, money is a token that represents a tiny fraction of your countries economy. It is also something that the government can manipulate and move around as it pleases in the same way a business invests in departments for its company. We are all just a cog in the machine that is our country's economy.
One thing I have not talked about, is the role of banks and credit and interest. I haven't expanded my thoughts in that area yet, but I feel like that they serve a different purpose.
Where does Bitcoin fit in? Well, just like gold, it is a potential asset. It has an interesting property though; it has liquidity. This give it the potential to be used for local trades, meaning that people can save their wealth and use it for local transactions too. It is global, so it also has the ability to be used for global transactions too. For now, it is an asset for saving your wealth; I think that as more people use it and favour it as a storage mechanism, more people will start to accept it for small trades too. Hey, maybe if there's a tool to easily calculate taxes from Bitcoin trades, that could help with adoption.
What would happen to fiat currency if everyone collected fiat for the sake of paying taxes, but used conversion tools to allow them to keep the majority of their wealth in Bitcoin while knowing the appropriate taxes to pay? Honestly, I fall short here, because at that point, you can no longer measure a country's economy by its currency. This is where I need to maybe learn how countries that do not have their own currency measure their economy.
I suppose governments, or ourselves, will have to invent new ways to measure and manage our economies, and I imagine i will be a much more transparent. I think it is an important question to answer as Bitcoin would shift wealth from being country wealth, to individual wealth (for everyone, not just those with enough income and education to invest in assets).
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