We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Paper money? I dinar about that! say ISIL.

My mathematics teachers were far keener on us pupils showing our working than the final result of a calculation, to see if any error had intruded into our processes, and presumably because it was harder to cheat the working than a whispered or glanced answer. We now have, it seems, a rejection of paper money by ISIL or whatever it calls itself, the adoption of a gold dinar and silver, and a whole hour-long video explaining in English with arabic subtitles the thinking behind it, which is where the working starts to fall down, although I haven’t gone through the whole of it.

The problem of paper money is, of course, cited (wrongly) as the fault of capitalism and the Jews, but they do take a dig at the Federal Reserve, and what they term ‘America’s capitalist system of enslavement‘.

What a terrible prospect would be a fatwa on Keynes and his followers.

16 comments to Paper money? I dinar about that! say ISIL.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes ISIS use gold – but they are indeed not “Austrian economists” as some cretins have suggested.

    ISIS hate “capitalism” – the cause that Ludwig Von Mises (a Jew by birth) devoted his life to.

    And they hate the idea that lending for interest should be from REAL SAVINGS – the corner stone of the “Austrian” view of banking.

    Because ISIS does not believe in lending for interest at all.

  • bob sykes

    They also don’t know the history of metal coinage, which underwent periods of debasement just as paper currency now does.

    The huge flush of New World silver and gold into Europe also produced price inflation.

  • Paul Marks

    Debasement was a serious problem – but an obvious one, coins could be tested to see if they were debased.

    As for the influx of new gold or silver from new mines – a minor problem.

    The economic decline of Spain was caused by statist economic practices – “Spanish Practices”. Now imitated in the English speaking world – which has adopted occupational licencing, “business licenses” and all the rest of it.

    “Just as paper money now does” implies there is no fundamental difference between the two systems.

    There is.

    Gold and silver coinage can be abused.

    Fiat money IS AN ABUSE.

    No one really wants bits of paper with crude designs on them.

    People want gold and/or silver.

    There is no reason that the gold and silver had to be physically moved about.

    It could remain in secure locations – and the transfer of ownership be electronic.

    However the state (and the pet banks) can not be trusted to be involved in this process.

    The technology of “Bitcoin” might be useful – if it was adapted to be about the transfer of ownership of real physical commodities that people wanted.

    Such as gold and silver.

    The key is to make sure there is no fraud.

    The present “gold market” is a mass of fraud.

    The paper claims of gold ownership do not represent actual physical gold.

    It is a lie – a fraud.

    So if someone says “I own gold” and can not physically put his hand upon it, that person is in error.

  • CayleyGraph

    The other reason for having math students “show their work” is because it serves the same purpose as other subject’s insistence on “supporting” or “justifying” their answers.
    Indeed, if you list out all the steps in a calculation, there’s not too much more you would need to add to change it to a proof that the answer is correct.
    It would be an excellent way to teach students persuasion & skepticism, although I’m unaware of any educational systems that follow this approach.

  • Surellin

    If one is known by the company he keeps, I will immediately forswear any further support of a gold standard. 🙂 I suspect that, if they were to try to go back to precious metals, they would find that they have nowhere near enough gold and silver to make it work. In the long run, I suppose, gold and silver would be imported from the rest of the world (where they would be a lot cheaper), but I suspect they would simply end up in a barter economy. Or female slaves become units of currency. They seem to have plenty of those.

  • Tedd


    My high school calculus teacher — an excellent man I knew only as Mr. Tom — required us to write down the theorem(s) being employed at each step, in a column next to the calculation. He had notation for this; I have never seen it anywhere else, so it may have been his own, but I had the impression it was standard notation of some kind. It was excellent discipline. Students who passed his course never had trouble with first-year calculus in university.

    My year with him was his last year of teaching high school math, as he was prevented from teaching it after that by a lobby group of parents concerned that their child would not get a high enough mark to get into the university of their choice.

  • Why just gold and silver? I am typing this on a laptop with a Mg-AL chassis. Why not those metals. Or Ti, or Cu or whatever?

  • Incunabulum

    “What a terrible prospect would be a fatwa on Keynes and his followers.”

    Might get me interested in religion.

  • Incunabulum

    September 4, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Why just gold and silver? I am typing this on a laptop with a Mg-AL chassis. Why not those metals. Or Ti, or Cu or whatever?”

    Too common – all of them.

    You’d have to either carry around huge amounts or turn your coins into defacto paper money by having their face value be different from their material value.

  • Surellin, I can’t prove it, but I wouldn’t be surprise if there are substantial numbers of gold and silver coins buried under many a tree/a floor tile throughout the parts of the Middle East controlled by ISIS, and beyond.

  • Paul Marks

    I agree Nick – people should be allowed to use any commodity as money if buyers and sellers agree.

    That is what the “Block Chain” (and so on) in “Bitcoin” might be used for – tracking the ownership of an actual commodity (be it gold or anything else), then the wonderful bag (and the mathematics is indeed impressive) that is “Bitcoin” would not be an empty bag.

    However, historically people have chosen gold and/or silver – they have not required “legal tender laws” or tax demands to make them money.

    “There is not enough gold or silver to make it work”

    Basic economic fallacy.

    “Gold Standard”

    Paul would now pull out his hair – if he had any.

    Not a STANDARD – either the gold is the money or it is not.

    A “standard” is an open door to fraud.

    For example the “legal” antics of Benjamin Strong of the New York Federal Reserve in the late 1920s.

    No “standard” please.

    If you have one pound (weight – and purity) of gold you have one pound of gold.

    You do not have one hundred pounds (weight) of it.

    “But that would mean prices of goods in the shops would collapse”.

    So what?

    The problem is the expansion of the credit money supply in the first place.

    If that “legal” fraud had not done then prices would not “collapse” – they would just decline gradually over time.

  • Rob Fisher

    “what the “Block Chain” (and so on) in “Bitcoin” might be used for – tracking the ownership of an actual commodity”

    Sounds lovely, and I’ve heard similar suggestions about using it for a land registry or somesuch, too. The only problem is I don’t see how you incentivise the miners — whom you need to compete with each other to keep it decentralised. It would also appear, unless I’m missing something, that you would need some sort of central authority to make sure the ledger matched the actual ownership of the commodity. At which point the whole thing starts to look a bit pointless.

  • An ISIS member wouldn’t know a slaver if saw one in the mirror.

  • bloke in spain

    “The economic decline of Spain was caused by statist economic practices …”

    Not really Paul.

    The influx of all that gelt from the New World meant the Spanish dons didn’t have to worry much about wealth creation. A lot of really beautiful cathedrals & churches got built. But not much in the way of much else. Ended up with a society of the very rich & the very poor with not much in between.
    There’s a legacy of that today. The average Spaniard’s about two generations away from being a peon. His rational is to do as little as he can get away with, steal what he can. If he manages to steal enough, he reckons he’s a don. And pursues exactly the same strategy.

  • Nicholas (Rule Yourselves!) Gray

    Paul, sorry, you are wrong. People love bits of paper with crude designs on them. What else is Modern Art?