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Reminiscing in Old Novelties

September 29, 2011

Our good friend Oliver decided to take a break from studying and toiling away at his upcoming macro exam to reminisce and write a quick entry.

While studying Say’s barter economy model versus the Keynesian view of a monetary production economy, I became deeply nostalgic for times of days past.

Unimportant to this story are the differences of the two models and which one is better and more realistic to frame current economic policy, or even my upcoming macro exam. What is important in this diatribe of mine is good ol’ Jean-Baptiste Say, who was born in 1767, and his romantic descriptions of an economy and a world from the past, when people were almost always their own boss, when your family taught you everything and when you had a variety of skills.

In this barter economy, the town fisherman goes to the market and trades his catch with the baker in exchange for some bread. The baker, who needs to fix his shoes, sends his youngest down to the cobbler with two loaves of bread and so forth. You probably catch my drift and only imagine a happy village where everyone knows each other’s name–similar to the television show Cheers–very well and treats everyone with great respect.

So what happens during a crisis such as a shortage of game or a flood destroying a family’s crop? Well in those days of memory’s past, closely knit communities of people assist one another. Consider it credit, payable the next year or the following year. Or consider it a mutually reciprocal gift economy.

Ahh, the dream of a good day’s work for a good day’s reward. Too bad the enclosure movement occured with its industrial entrepreneurs using their selfish profit motives to corrupt ruling classes into evicting people from their homes and forcing them into wage slavery that is dependent on state-controlled money and has been enforced through state-military violence.

There is no free land today. You cannot feed or shelter yourself, and no one will be there to trade with you at the market. Those days are over. You must conform to the monetary production economy without choice. In a society that preaches freedom, well, all I can say is “Good luck!”

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