## Friday, May 26, 2017

### S = I + (G-T) and National Gift Certificates

Brian Romanchuk was discussing general equilibrium and the discussion wandered into the creation of money.  Joe Leote offered a comment that tied savings to the system of general accounts. His comment included the equation I support in the following comments. (The following quote is my return comment to Joe Leote.)

"@Joe Leote
"S = I + (G - T)"

I completely agree with your equation.

One method for supporting the logic behind the equation is to apply it to the accounting for a locally issued gift certificate. Ownership of a gift certificate is identical to owning money so long as we are shopping in the issuing store. We can call the gift certificate "mercantile money".

What happens if a merchant issues a gift certificate in exchange for electrical repair labor? New mercantile money has entered the economy.

The merchant had better account for the claim he just issued on the goods in his store. (A gift certificate (or mercantile money) is a claim on goods, limited to the amount of value on the certificate.) The merchant should record "investment = value of the electrical repair" and, in a second entry for double accounting, "savings = value of the gift certificate issued".

The savings value was created right out of the blue. Labor was performed and, at least for a while, was paid for by newly issued savings.

Now who owns the savings? I think the merchant owns the savings until the gift certificate is finally satisfied. However, one could also make the argument that the electrical worker owns the savings. The worker is richer because he has the ability to claim goods at any time. The worker also has savings.

So we see that both merchant and worker can claim to be richer because mercantile money was issued and electrical repairs were made.

"S = I + (G - T)" allows us to see that savings are created by people working for government and receiving National Gift Certificates in payment."

The final quoted paragraph is a little cryptic. The link between money and mercantile money prompts us to compare gift certificates (merchant issued) and National Gift Certificates (money issued by the national government).

I think the parallels are very complelling.

## Tuesday, May 16, 2017

### A Crisp Definition of Money

The blog "The Epoch Times" had a post by Valentin Schmid "The Economic School You've Never Heard Of". I wrote the following comment:
I have not yet seen where "Austrian economics" recognizes how government spending violates the "trade-for-trade" (Note one) rule. To understand this concept, we must recognize that government never produces a product--government can only produce money to pay for a product.
Where does government get money to pay for a product? Taxation is one method but tax (in the form of money) is only collected if someone first produces products that can be traded for money. Government spending financed by taxation is following the "trade-for-trade" rule.
The second source for government spending may not follow the "trade-for-trade" rule. Government can borrow money for future spending.
Government has two sources of lenders; one follows the "trade-for-trade" rule, one does not. Government can borrow from private lenders who do follow the "trade-for-trade" rule. Government can also borrow from itself by borrowing from the central bank. THIS SECOND SOURCE OF BORROWED MONEY VIOLATES THE "TRADE-FOR-TRADE" RULE (because no-one ever worked to first earn the money marked for future government spending.
*Note one: "People come together to voluntarily engage in commerce with one another for their mutual benefit." I sum this phrase with the term "trade-for-trade". As an entity (not a productive individual) government has no ability to be creative. Government can only work in terms of monetary exchange. Hence, the source of money for government exchange becomes crucial.
In reply to my comment, Richard wrote:
In order for your comment to have greater validity, wouldn't it help to define the concept "money", to include its purpose and source of creation? Of course everyone uses the term 'money' without giving it a moment of thought as to what it is and how it springs into existence.
I suggest a thorough reading of E.C.Riegel

In reply to Richard's comment, I wrote:
Yes, it would help to have a crisp definition of money.
I used a birthday gift certificate a few days ago. As I wandered the store (which issued the certificate), I realized that, so long as I was in the store, the certificate had equal value to the "money" i had in wallet or national credit card.
"Is money just a National Gift Certificate?" I wondered. That thought led me to think deeper into the idea of "merchant money", which is money issued by merchants and commonly known as "gift certificates". How does the merchant issuing certificates account for the certificates, print them, and redeem them? Can "merchant money" be traded or issued as payment for services rendered?
The answers to these questions (and more) seems to be parallel with our expectations from our everyday money. Our everyday money seems to be "merchant money" traded on an international scale.
To integrate this idea with my previous comment, think of the Central Bank acting as an arm of Government, issuing "National Merchant Money" or "National Gift Certificates". It all seems to fit together quite well.

These comments tie with my blog post  " The recent comments contain an new idea, which is to identify "gift certificates" as "merchant money". The term "merchant money" translates easily to the money we handle on a daily basis and seems to convey an accurate impression.

Maybe "mercantile money" would be a better term, more general than "merchant money"?

Richard is right. We (as economist) need a crisp conception of money, and how it is created and destroyed. A crisp analog seems to be available in "mercantile money" commonly known as "gift certificates". This "mercantile money" must be created by the merchant, be properly accounted for, be used in trade, and have the possibility of direct dissemination by the merchant in exchange for goods and services.

Our crisp definition for "money" is "Money is a National Gift Certificate". An analog of "money" is "mercantile money", commonly known as a "gift certificate".

I think the crisp definition  and analog work.