Bedraggled, bewildered and broke as can be, four members of Canada’s fabled Rhino Party stood in a courtroom on the winter solstice of 1979.
The judge wanted to know why the political nose-thumbers couldn’t be bothered to file campaign expense reports following the May election, as required by law.
Rhino lawyers explain to hizzonour that the four accepted no contributions and incurred no expenses. “Zero plus zero, minus zero, times zero, divided by zero, or even by the square root of zero, is still gonna be zero,” the bare-ass-stirs reason to the judge and ask that he forget the whole dumb thing.
The prosecuting attorney says that’s all coolio with him, so long as the Rhinos do the paperwork and pay court costs. The lead Rhino lawyer scratches his head, looks at the opposing attorney, a man who had graduated law school, and says, “Ummm. You don’t seem to understand something, my learned friend. Look at them. They’re Rhinos. They don’t have any money. I’m not sure they even use money, or for that matter, even understand the concept of money.”
Being the once and forever leader-schmeader of the Rhino Party,
I am as ignorant as my horned brothers and sisters when it comes ot understanding damn near anything about money. But for a few glorious years, when I was making fistfuls of filthy lucre, I have lived without a great deal of cash, preferring the freedom of poverty to the freedom of wage slavery.
I learned two things of great import from the glory years. The first, I already knew – the first thing us poor, white trash folks do when we get out hands on money is DESTROY ourselves.
The second lesson learned was what not to do the next time I have sufficient cause to run around screaming, “I’m rich! I’m rich! I’m faaabuously wealthy!”
I assure you, I am not devoid of the desire to get my Daffy Duck on. You would, in fact, be hard pressed to find anyone, anywhere, who comes up with more insanely imaginative moolah-making schemes than I do. I have been a millionaire a million times… in my head.
Despite my obsession with becoming rich beyond my wildest dreams (and I have some very wild dreams) I’ve never bothered much to learn what money is. But that’s changed since I embraced my latest intellectual infatuation, bitcoin. My, my, my what a marvelous thing this new money is!
I have always prided myself on being a world-class fuck-shit-upper. In fact, one of my multitudinous million dollar ideas is to open a Fuck-shit-up Hall of Fame / Museum. Alas, no bank has ever been willing to buy into the idea. In fact, no bank has ever been willing to buy into any of my sure things. And that is why I am laughing maniacally as I watch the banksters squirm and tremble at the rise of bitcoin.
“You can’t just invent your own money, you scummy peasants,” the banksters slobber, as their minds contemplate the horrors of their demise and fall, wondering if it’s finally time to kill their spouses and offspring in a long-plotted, go-for-the gusto, go-for-the-glory insurance scam before the END DAYS are upon them.
“We create money,” the banksters clamor. ” We are money. We own money. And we own you.”
And when the revolting, disruptive-digital-currency enthusiasts laugh and wave the beloved bitcoin blockchain in their faces, the banksters scoff, “That is not money.”
I am not endowed with the economic acumen of Adam Smith, or even Karl Marx, for that matter.
But I do understand and appreciate the gravitas of John Kenneth Galbraith’s declaration:
“There is nothing about money that cannot be understood by the person of reasonable curiosity, diligence and intelligence…. The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is the one in which complexity is used to disguise the truth, not to reveal it. Most things in life — automobiles, mistresses, cancer — are important principally to those who have them. Money, in contrast, is equally important to those who have it and to those who don’t. Both, accordingly, have a concern for understanding it. Both should proceed in the full confidence that they can.”
I am starting to understand what money is, and how it works. So far as I know, this is not an example of a ‘What came first – the chicken or the tree falling in the forest?’ dilemma. I am told that economists define money as something that serves as a medium of exchange, a unit of accounting, and a store of value.
Okay, that seems simple enough. So, is bitcoin money? The answer to that question seems to be as vexing as the age old dilemmas “Is a bear Catholic, and does the Pope shit in the woods?’ Some say bitcoin is, without a doubt, money. A currency. Some insist that bitcoin is a commodity.
Being a simple writer, I am going to refrain from offering an obviously uneducated opinion as to whether bitcoin is a currency, or a commodity. I am not so foolhardy as to stand before you and pretend that I know exactly what bitcoin is.
But I am going to say this much: I offered my writing services to someone who is involved in the rapidly growing bitcoin economy. My offer was accepted. Words were strung together in a manner that brought tears of joy to the eyes of my client, who rewarded me with my first bit of bitcoin. Marina, my wife, instantly went to Silkroad and purchased a tech toy for her wonderful self with my well-gotten digital booty.
So, being a not-so-humble writer, who is painfully lacking the chutzpah of those who profess to be savvy of the wide world of economics, or even the small world of currency, I am going to apply a simple test to give you my tentative, meaningless opinion as to whether bitcoin is a currency or a commodity
If it looks like a duck
and it swims like a duck
and it quacks like a duck
it’s probably a duck