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What is money, really? And why Bitcoin is not the answer (even if blockchain is brilliant & potentially helpful in democratising money)

, 02/08/2021

Recently, I argued that a central bank cryptocurrency can be a useful tool in the struggle to democratise money. Such a tool is, of course, not enough. The main task in democratising money is first to democratise the central bank – before deploying useful instruments like a central bank cryptocurrency. As many readers (correctly) pointed […]

A central bank cryptocurrency to democratise money – Project Syndicate & Jordan Times

, 02/08/2021

The history of money has been the history of the struggles to control the payment system and the money tree. Today, with control over both resting in the hands of bankers, central banks’ efforts to boost business end up amplifying inequality while failing to address either economic stagnation or the looming climate disaster. The time […]

A free Central Bank account for all would be a good start for a revamped monetary system – WIRED

, 27/11/2020

Imagine that the Bank of England were to create a free bank account for everyone. Overnight, it would be far better placed to regulate the money supply in the public interest. Moreover, to stay in business, commercial banks would have to seriously raise their game. In times of trouble, such as the current pandemic, the […]

Why Bitcoin is not a socialist’s ally – Reply to Ben Arc

, 27/07/2020

On 15th July, Ben Arc published in Bitcoin Magazine an open letter addressed to me in a bid to convince me that I should re-assess my rejection of Bitcoin as a force for good; as a bulwark for democratising capitalism and paving the ground for socialism. Here is my reply: Dear Ben Arc, Thank you […]

Bitcoin, Blockchain and the Future of Europe – Interviewed by Tom Upchurch for WIRED

, 25/12/2017

In an exclusive interview with WIRED, Yanis Varoufakis discusses Bitcoin’s bubble, the fantasy of apolitical money and the opportunities for the blockchain to reform Europe. By TOM UPCHURCH Saturday 23 December 2017 When I first met Yanis Varoufakis in the summer of 2014, he was a highly respected but relatively obscure economist. Back then, the price […]

Socialising androids – Two Project Syndicate op-eds & one Guardian commentary

, 14/03/2017

Click here for my Project Syndicate op-ed in which I reply to Bill Gates’ proposal for a tax on robots, counter-proposing the idea first canvassed here of a universal basic dividend from a public share trust fund. See also this commentary in The Guardian.  

The Politics of Negative Interest Rates – Project Syndicate op-ed

, 23/08/2016

  ATHENS – Objects of desire come at a cost. Only bad things, like toxic waste, have a negative price, the equivalent of a fee payable to anyone willing to make them disappear. Does this mean that negative interest rates embody a new perspective on money – that it has gone “bad”? [To read on, click […]

Addressing Google staff on digital money & politics

, 03/05/2016

On 22nd April I had the pleasure of addressing Google staff on money, money’s digital future but also on the dangerous fantasy of apolitical money.

In conversation with John Nash Jnr on Ideal Money

, 02/06/2015

A conversation I was privileged to have with John Nash in June 2000 is posted below as a small tribute to a great man. (The conversation was motivated by a talk John Nash Jr gave in Athens in 2000 entitled IDEAL MONEY. The text of the conversation below was published in 2001 as a chapter in […]

MODERN MONEY: AESTHETICS AFTER THE GOLD STANDARD, UC Berkeley, Friday 7th November 2014

, 04/11/2014

An Academic Conference, sponsored by the Department of History of Art, University of California, Berkeley, November 6–7, 2014 Featured Speaker: Yanis Varoufakis Featured Artist: Danae Stratou Contact sferguson at usf.edu and jordanrose at berkeley.edu for more information. (The image is Andy Warhol’s 200 One Dollar Bills, 1962)

Economic lessons from video game communities – Le Monde

, 15/06/2014

Le Monde featured this piece on my research of social economies that emerge in video game communities. Readers may profit from reading the Reason interview on which it was based – and this recent keynote I delivered at the 2014 CFA Institute’s Conference in Seattle. Ce que les jeux vidéo nous apprennent de l’économie

The Metaphysics of Money – Guest post by Paul Tyson

, 14/06/2014

Recently I was at a coffee shop, and to test a metaphysical hunch I asked a few of my fellow caffeinated confreres this question: “What is money?” They all gave answers along the following lines. Money is an arbitrary symbol of exchange value that we just make up in order to facilitate trade and investment. […]

DIGITAL ECONOMIES: Markets, Money and Democratic Politics Revisited

, 08/05/2014

Audio and transcript of the keynote I delivered on 5th May 2014 in Seattle in the context of the CFA Institute’s Annual Conference entitled The Future of Finance. 

Interviewed by REASON magazine on virtual worlds and the future of economics

, 07/05/2014

“A Multiplayer Game Environment Is a Dream Come True for an Economist” Interview by Peter Suderman from the June 2014 issue of REASON magazine – click here for Reason’s web version. Or read on…

On Bitcoin’s potential: Q&A on what Bitcoin can and cannot offer a troubled world

, 13/03/2014

Following my debate with Andreas Antonopoulos on ABC Late Night Live, graduate students of mine (at the University of Texas) were kind enough to piece together a related Q&A reflecting my views on BTC. Read on…

Debating Bitcoin on ABC Late Night Live, with Phillip Adams and Andreas Antonopoulos

, 13/03/2014

In this lively debate, on ABC Radio National’s excellent Late Night Live (with Phillip Adams in the chair), we discuss what makes Bitcoin a fascinating technology, whether it is a genuine currency, its parallels with the Gold Standard and what I have called previously the dangerous fantasy of apolitical money.

Can the Internet democratise capitalism?

, 21/02/2014

Technological fixes to time-honoured problems are all the rage these days. Bitcoin is meant to fix money, social media are seen as an antidote to Rupert Murdoch and assorted tyrants, networked robots are to help countries like Japan deal with demographic declines etc. Perhaps the largest claim is that the Internet has helped (or is […]

BITCOIN: A flawed currency blueprint with a potentially useful application for the Eurozone

, 15/02/2014

The responses of many to my post on Bitcoin reveal a powerful tendency to underestimate the ill-effects of deflation on a social economy. This tendency to underestimate deflation’s deleterious impact matters beyond debates on Bitcoin per se. For example, in Europe the incapacity of the European Central Bank (ECB) to act in the face of […]

War spikes in the Eve Online universe: A political economist’s account

, 30/01/2014

Vicious, intense war broke out the other day. Hundreds if not thousands of people, in New York, in Chicago, in the great capitals of Europe, in China, rushed home on the news that hard-earned assets they were keeping in an inhospitable far away place had been placed under sustained, brutal military attack. By the end […]

Bitcoin and the dangerous fantasy of ‘apolitical’ money

, 22/04/2013

The Crash of 2008 has infused our societies with enormous scepticism on the role of the authorities, both government and Central Banks. It is quite natural that many dream of a currency that politicians, bankers and central bankers cannot manipulate; a currency of the people by the people for the people. Bitcoin has emerged as […]

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