Axes of investigation

we propose some axes of investigation into the nature of money

Greek bonds are drachmas
Isn't a bond a short sale of money?
Money dysfunctionings
Government borrowings
Investments and schedule of refunding
Banks mutualize private debts
Printing euros is more radical than issueing eurobonds
Are Treasury bonds risk-free?
A grocer's slate is a bank
A money paradox



Greek bonds are drachmas under another name
Greek bonds, Italian bonds, or Spanish bonds, denominated in euros, are of the same nature, under another name and value, as drachmas, liras or pesetas. According to the conventional view, when an investor gives out euros and receives in exchange drachmas, both pieces of paper represent streams of cash flows with only one cash flow now, whereas Greek bonds represent a stream of cash flows promised in the future. Yet both drachmas and Greek bonds are pieces of paper produced at will by Greece. In our opinion, replacing with euros the bonds as they are produced by each country (that is, the ECB buying them with euros created in its books for the occasion) is tinkering with the nature of money.

Short sales are forbidden, but isn't a bond a short sale of money?
In order to fight speculation on French banks and insurance companies (highly exposed to bonds from various countries of the eurozone), on August 11, 2011, the French finance minister announced that short sales of their shares from now on are forbidden. The government forbids what it does constantly. Selling a bond can be viewed as a short sale of money: you receive euros today in exchange for a promise to give them back in the future. And in the meantime you print so much official money (because the only client you eventually find is your central bank, which despite offended denials is not independent) that its value is bound to plunge, enabling you to pay back with devalued euros.

Money dysfunctionings, and exotic types of money
As long as public authorities control money, it will lead to dysfunctionings. Be this money officially "melting" (also called "stamped money") like Gesell's, like the Toulouse sol is, or officially growing, to make it attractive, like Treasury bonds are, it won't change anything. Usually its manipulation is for the sake of clientelism, aka pork barrel politics, the main defect of elective democracy with weak constitution.

Government borrowings
When governments borrow without specifying what for, they finance deficits via money corruption instead of taxes. If they need to launch a project for which financing is needed, the best, in our opinion, is to set it up as a firm (public or private), with accounting records, a clear schedule of refunding, like a toll bridge, and keep the public informed. The ECB in August 2011 is purchasing Spanish and Italian bonds but without letting the public know how much and at what price. This is opposite to good management of the common money.

Investments make sense only when they are used to build a device which will produce identifiable future streams of cash
In standard accounting and finance, these future streams of cash will be used to pay the interests and amortize the capital of the borrowed sum. Over the past 30 to 40 years, governments all over the developed world discovered how easy and pleasant it is to borrow, without realizing what borrowings are used for in standard accounting and finance.

A secondary bank is a device to mutualize private debts
Provided it fulfills the reserve requirements of the banking system to which it belongs, a secondary bank is allowed to receive in debit in its assets an IOU from a private borrower, and to open in credit in its liabilities an account from which the borrower can get money (draw checks on the account) which has legal tender status and will be accepted by everyone in the monetary zone.

Printing euros is even more radical than issueing eurobonds
Eurobonds would be guaranteed by all the countries of the eurozone. Euros are by definition legally accepted by all the eurozone.

In conventional finance, Treasury bonds of powerful countries are "risk-free securities". But are they?
Since at least James Tobin's 1958 paper, it is considered that a portfolio can contain a mix of "risk-free" securities (namely, TB of big countries) and a basket of securities having the market risk. And, in this way, an investor can achieve any risk he chooses. But is it a reasonable model, even at a theoretical level?

A grocer's slate is a bank

Construct a formal criterion of when a community ought to have its own money and when it doesn't?

A money paradox
In a single currency community of some size, when the distribution of wealth and money becomes very uneven, many people end up without money. Then the poor can no longer exchange within their class. They must work for the rich in order to gain some monetary means. And unless the community accepts the introduction of other currencies (within the poor class) they are prevented from creating value among themselves.