Il Financial Times parla della moneta a scadenza

In un articolo del 15 agosto 2011 sul blog Alphaville nel Financial Times viene data questa notizia:

Neal Soss of Credit Suisse has a note out Monday that speculates about the potency of a few ideas not mentioned by the Fed — but which he thinks could become necessary if fears of a double-dip prove valid and the US economy falls through a trap door into a Japanese deflationary period.


Issuing money that depreciates in value over time to spur consumption

Willem H. Buiter, formerly of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, coauthored a  paper with the Bank of England’s Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou on liquidity trap solutions. They argued,  “Once in a liquidity trap, there are two means of escape. The first is to use expansionary fiscal policy. The second is to lower the zero nominal interest rate floor. This second option involves paying negative interest on…coin and currency, that is ‘taxing money’, as advocated by Gesell.”

An admittedly simplified way to described the latter scheme is that the monetary authority issues money that, by design, loses its value over time, thereby encouraging spending. The basic idea was advocated in the late nineteenth century by economist (and anarchist) Silvio Gessel, who believed economic downturns were aggravated by wealthy individuals hoarding cash.

Interestingly, this strategy already has been tried on a small scale in parts of the Eurozone. For example, a community currency called the  chiemgauer was introduced in Bavaria, Germany, in 2003, with the intention of promoting local commerce. The chiemgauer is designed to lose 2% of its value every quarter. It has to be “topped up” every three months by purchasing a coupon.

According to a  July 13, 2010 program on National Public Radio (NPR), this “microcurrency” is now accepted by “more than 600 regional businesses — from drugstores to architects…The chiemgauer is not backed by federal or local governments, though some banks are offering loans and checking accounts in the currency.” It is estimated that the chiemgauer circulates three times more rapidly than the euro. Retail chains in the US have experimented along these lines, too. Several drugstore chains reward customers’ purchases of selected items with “money” coupons good for the next purchase at the same store and, critically, good only for a specified period of time. Anyone who has gotten one of these will appreciate the temptation to go back to the store promptly, and buy something!


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