About The Blog

Debate at the intersection of business, technology and culture in the world of digital money, both commercial and government, a blog born from the Digital Money Forum in London and sponsored by Consult Hyperion



  • Add to
Technorati Favorites


  • Creative Commons

    Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

    Please note that by replying in this Forum you agree to license your comments in the same way. Your comments may be edited and used but will always be attributed.

« Unexpected reaction | Main | A steak in the ground »

Carthago delenda est

By Dave Birch posted Jun 28 2010 at 12:50 PM

[Dave Birch] Fascinating evening debating the future of money with the members of the Real Time Club. I had a great time, was kept on my toes and forced to think hard and fast by Malcolm Cooper and the assembled throng. I certainly learned that in future I have to think things through a little better, but it is enjoyable being challenged in this kind of informed forum.

My general point was that in the great scheme of things, we are due a change. Once the industrial revolution got under way, the old monetary order of bimetallism was swept away and was replaced by fiat currency, paper and bank credit. As this happened, the unit of account, means of exchange and store of value began to separate. Now that the post-industrial revolution is underway, we will surely see a transition of a similar nature.

Malcolm suggested, taking an even longer sweep of history, that it may actually be currency that is the aberration and that in the future we may return to a form of barter, albeit a turbocharged, computer-mediated barter. This is a subject I've touched on before.

What might the far future really look like? It's hard to say, except that it won't be like the past. There won't, probably, be widespread barter for example despite the ability of networks to reduce the associated transaction costs.

[From Digital Money: A single currency? Illogical, Captain!]

Nevertheless, his point that we mustn't assume that the current monetary arrangement is a law of nature and will continue indefinitely was well-made and thought-provoking.

For some added punch, I added classical beef to my comments. Malcolm used the example of Carthage in his opening remarks, so when it was my turn to respond, I ended with a sweeping gesture and the exclamation "and Carthage must be destroyed", a learned allusion to the motto of the noted Roman orator Cato the Elder. Unfortunately, being the product of a bog standard comprehensive I did this in English and was therefore immediately upstaged by Michael Mainelli who was able to deliver it in the original Latin "Carthago delenda est". That'll teach me!

Incidentally, this was easily the most artistic digital money debate I have attended for some time, with absolutely first class piano accompaniment to drinks from David King and a poem composed on the night and read out by Andy Low of FBN. I thought it was rather good, so here is reproduced the first official Digital Money Blog poem:

The lake of commerce gives life its pace
For on its smooth and shiny face
Ripples form, surge forth and race.

What do I want, what can I get?
They cross, connect and intersect
The lives of people who've never met.

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Carthago delenda est:


The comments to this entry are closed.