The Trillion Dollar Coin

There has been much buzz in the past few days about a truly horrible idea.  Instead of having to negotiate with Congress to raise the debt ceiling so the Treasury Department can sell more bonds to pay for more spending, why not just mint a trillion-dollar platinum coin?  This coin would contain one ounce of [...]


God’s Retribution

C. Barsotti, New Yorker.


The End Of The Long Con

Around 2002, a developing country defaulted on its debt. Following protracted negotiations, agreement was reached that the bad debt would be replaced with a smaller amount of new good debt, with all investors losing around half their original investment. The country’s finance minister, accompanied by a vast retinue of assistants and bankers, embarked on [...]


Money: A Semi Fictional Fable

We have forgotten what money is.

Money is really easy to understand, but most people have no idea what it is. We all understand that barter is an inefficient way to foster economic growth and money is a good thing for the economy. But money isn’t a piece of paper.

Let me create a [...]


What Is Money ? Part I

By Jeff Harding

I am holding in my ink-stained hands a Zimbabwean $100 trillion banknote (100,000,000,000,000, or 1014), the largest ever denomination banknote with the zeros printed out. The largest denomination ever was the 1946 100 quadrillion pengo from Hungary (100,000,000,000,000,000,000, or 1020). My Zimbabwean note cost me US$7.50 on eBay.