Friday, March 13, 2020

Just Money: Design and Change over Time

We’ve learned of an impressive new website, Just Money, which aims to “provide a platform for discussion and debate over money’s design and its change over time.”  More particularly:
On this website, we approach money as a legal project.  Created to meet demands both public and private, money depends on law for its definition, issue, and operation.    That legal structure of money – its design – matters deeply.  In the words attributed to an early  banker, “those who create and issue money . . . direct the policies of government and hold in the hollow of their hands the destiny of the people.”   Our aim is to encourage discussion, debate, and scholarship on money’s design and its reform towards a world that is as just as it is (economically) productive.

Money, governance, and the public welfare are intimately connected in modern society.    Most obviously, the way political communities make money and allocate credit is an essential vector of material life.  It critically shapes economic processes – channeling liquidity, fueling productivity, and influencing distribution.  At the same time, those decisions about money and credit define key political structures, locating in particular hands the authority to mobilize public resources, determining opportunities for individuals and industries, and delegating power and privileges to create credit and accumulate profit.  Finally, modes of making money shape categories and strategies at the collective level, including the incentives we institutionalize, the assumptions we grow to share, and the possibilities we learn to recognize.
Christine Dean, Harvard Law School, writes that discussions will address both historical and contemporary topics.  “For example, I just posted an argument about the way new forms of money fueled the industrial revolution, here.  Ongoing and future roundtables include those on ‘Virtual Currency and the State’ and ‘Race and Money.’

–Dan Ernst