Philosophy Picnic: Groundsheet for the Metaphysics of Money

According to the Oracle at Wikipedia: "Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given socio-economic context or country." But what does it mean to owe over a £[masked] (a trillion pounds) like the UK currently does?
There will be a short talk about the history of money and then we shall see if a group of philosophically minded people can solve all the worlds problems, or at least have a stimulating debate and a bit of grub.
As before, the venue is roughly 100m south of Green Park underground, next to a plate of cucumber sandwiches.
No money will change hands.

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  • Fergus Ray M.

    Probably a bit less philosophical than this was, but I thought most of you were likely to find this quite interesting: http://www.meetup.com/Positive-Money/events/117550972
    (it's possible we'd be expected to read some of the book beforehand, though... http://www.positivemoney.org/product/modernising-money/ )

    May 14, 2013

  • Fergus Ray M.

    The question I was left wanting to ask is:
    *Could* economics be scientific?

    May 11, 2013

    • Will B.

      When I was doing post-grad history and philosophy of science, none of us could agree on a satisfactory definition of science; we muddled along with: 'It's what scientists do'. If you have anything better, I for one would love to hear it. I think the academic respectability is deserved if only because economists are not obviously all charlatans

      1 · May 13, 2013

    • Fergus Ray M.

      Ha, yes, you may notice that I have not at any point made any attempt to define 'science'! It's certainly true that economists are not obviously all charlatans, but one thing that worries me is the difficulty of spotting the ones that are! I found this thought-provoking: http://www.cbc.ca/the...­

      May 13, 2013

  • Ammarul Zaki R.

    A great introduction to money which after the session I found it to be a matter of functions four, a medium, a measure, a standard, a store. However the discussion was lead into mechanism in economy which I found bit confusing. Overall, the pub was nice place.

    May 11, 2013

    • Fergus Ray M.

      I rather wished we'd spent more time picking apart those functions - in particular, what it means for something to be a medium of exchange... or should that be THE medium of exchange? My sense is that a replacement for money is possible, but only by introducing one or more alternate mediums of exchange, which are not all fully interchangeable.

      We could, for example, have one currency that is used for purchasing tangible material goods, and another that is used for rewarding the production of what we might call 'informational goods' - things such as music, films, software, writing and photography which, once created, can be reproduced at trivially little cost. The economics of these two classes of goods are fundamentally and radically different; having separate, non-interchangeable currencies for them might allow an economic system that can efficiently account for this.

      May 12, 2013

  • eeL J.

    Sound like a bizarre topic for discussion - a category which always appeals to the curious in me! Had I known in time, I would have given the world or 10p to be with you.

    May 12, 2013

  • Alison

    A friendly and enthusiastic discussion

    May 11, 2013

  • Will B.

    Hi Pren. As you come into the park from the tube station there is a statue directly in front of you. I will set up about 50 metres past that next to the foot path. I have an A4 red Philosophy Now flag that I will probably attach to a deckchair. Given the weather I suspect we should be easy to find as I don't imagine there will too many picnickers!
    If you have any trouble my number is[masked]
    See you later
    Will

    May 11, 2013

    • Pren

      Great, thanks.

      May 11, 2013

  • Pren

    Hi, this is my first time with the group and I'm not sure exactly where to meet you guys, is there an address perhaps or a landmark close by? Thansk

    May 11, 2013

  • Ammarul Zaki R.

    Hi everybody,
    I am Zack and a new member here.

    May 10, 2013

  • Alison

    Will, good news the risk of rain on Saturday according to the latest forecast is from 16:00 onwards; by then we may have retired to the pub anyway!

    May 9, 2013

  • Will B.

    As Alison has noted, the weather forecast for Saturday is less than glorious (I wish I'd chosen Sunday). In the event of a washout, I will have to postpone. Hopefully though, we will at least be able to meet in the park and if necessary retire to the The Clarence in Dover Street, which is very near by.
    If there is any confusion on the day, or anyone can't find us, my number is[masked]

    May 8, 2013

  • Alison

    Will, I notice the weather forecast for Saturday afternoon is sun/showers. Is there contingency for shelter in case there is more rain showers than sun? Looking forward to the event.

    May 8, 2013

  • Will B.

    Hello Fergus. At the risk of starting a discussion, I might argue that money simply is the value we put on things; after all, it isn't money that decides what it's worth. On the back of banknotes it says 'I promise to pay the bearer on demand...' It seems to me that the only asset the UK has that can service a debt such as it has is the goodwill and labour of its people. I suspect we have mortgaged our children, their children, their children...

    April 27, 2013

    • Fergus Ray M.

      Mm... my point is precisely that money *isn't* simply the value we put on things; in fact, prices correlate rather poorly with how much people value things in a wide range of circumstances.

      April 27, 2013

  • Fergus Ray M.

    At the risk of spoilering the discussion, I expect I'll be arguing that many of the problems we face as a species stem from the widespread pretence that money is capable of adequately reflecting value, and the ways in which it radically fails to do so.

    c.f. http://everything2.com/user/Oolong/writeups/value

    The big question now is surely how to replace the money economy with something more functional, or at least revolutionise its most broken bits.

    April 21, 2013

  • Fergus Ray M.

    Sounds like just the thing.

    April 21, 2013

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