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Every month, I receive my Patreon income and my commission payments in US dollars, which I then convert into Canadian money as I transfer it to my bank. If the exchange rate shifts from one month to another, and I therefore get more Canadian dollars in February than I did in January, where did that extra money come from? What extra value was generated, what additional labour was performed, what did I do to deserve it?

As I understand it, all fiat currency is effectively buying shares in a nation. If the Canadian dollar drops in comparison to the American greenback, that may be good news for me, but does that mean Canada, as a whole, is less valuable? Is that a reflection merely of the Canadian market, or of our government, our resources, or even our people?

I've toyed with the idea of releasing my own currency, purely as a social experiment. I like the idea of giving someone a coin - digital or physical - that is redeemable with me at any time for 0.1% of my net worth, a currency that is backed by an individual.

(Of course, the first out of many reasons that this is an impractical idea is that, like many people, my net worth is currently in the red. Most people wouldn't like receiving a coin that is worth a negative amount of money, even if the possibility exists that it will improve later on.)

Imagine, though, a situation in which you and ten of your close friends each agree to make ten coins - each representing 0.1% of your up-to-the-minute net worth - and distribute them amongst each other. If you get a paycheck of $800, you really only have $792 of it, and your ten friends are each 80 cents richer... assuming they each held onto their coins and haven't traded them amongst each other.

It would function as a way of padding life's ups and downs, I think, but it would work only as long as you can convince your buddies not to cash in their stake in you. Obviously, if you won the lottery, they'd all turn in their tokens while you're at your peak... or if it looks like you're about to file bankruptcy, they'd ditch you while the coins are still worth anything at all.

...I think I might just be describing society.

Anyway, to answer Ellen and Max's queries, yes, I do think money is a resource, and yes, I do think that - regardless of your economic system - having exchangeable money available is a prerequisite for a Utopia. We've seen that the lack of a useable currency can result in a breakdown of society, just as surely as running out of gasoline. Whether that money needs to be backed by precious metals or a nation or a stock market or an individual is another question.

(Tues afternoon, INT: EB and JH's place, EB, JH and MH are all at the table)

EB: Seriously, though, these tokens are clearly meant to be, like... actual resource resources, right? Like "ore" and "wool" and "smartphones"? I mean, one of them is a lightning bolt, that's obviously "energy".
MH: Are the dollar signs money? Is currency a resource?
JH: I'd say so. Its value fluctuates, you can trade it for things.
MH: So if I'm turning "ore" and "energy" into "smartphones", am I a blacksmith? Or a circuitry person? Am I Steve Jobs?
EB: Well, clearly, we're not individual humans. I think we might be nations, and these tokens are our imports and exports.
JH: I really did not have a specific metaphor in mind, but I guess that's as good as any.
MH: So what exactly is the endgame scenario, then? If we each reach our goal, we have a perfect planetary utopia, and if we don't and the world runs out of resources, we just go all Mad Max?
JH: Well, there's no need for you to get that upset about it, no.