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Moneyness by FOFOA

Posted: 24 Nov 2011, 05:39
by Malcolm
Around November 10, 2011, I read FOFOA's 'Moneyness'. It struck me as saying something profound, but the experience was fleeting. For a moment, I thought I was close to understanding something timeless and concrete about the economic mysteries that have troubled me for so many years.

I've now reread 'Moneyness' 3 or 4 times and it continues to be both suggestive and elusive.

Below is a little exercise I performed on the terms 'money' and 'wealth'. FOFOA argues that 'concepts' are stable, but words are not. Thus, he suggests seeking the original concepts via archeology and contemporary usage.

Distrusting dictionaries, I decided to let Google show me the most popular phrases using FOFOA's key terms: 'wealth' and 'money'. First, I typed the term 'Wealth is' into my web browser's 'search' window and then recorded the 'search phrases' Google suggested for me. I did the same with 'money is'. Once I had those two lists, I had a number of new terms to experiment with. Then I tried '... is like' and '... is created'. After trying to make sense of what Google suggested, I was left with the following list.

I'm hoping this will spark some conversation on these terms.


Wealth is
Wealth is good
Wealth is a state of mind
Wealth is finite

Wealth is created
Wealth is created by labor
Wealth is created in the private sector
Wealth is neither created or destroyed
Wealth is not created

Wealth is like water, we float like boats on it
Wealth is like water, it must circulate or become brackish
Wealth is like sea-water, the more you drink the thirsty-er you become
Wealth is like an orchard, you have to reinvest to make it grow

Money is
Money is the root of all evil
Money is debt
Money is coined by order of
Money isn't everything
Money is power
Money is like manure

Money is created
Money is created out of debt
Money is created by banks
Money is created by governments
Money is created by loans

Money is like
Money is like blood
Money is like water
Money is like oxygen
Money is like a sixth sense (the other 5 don't work without it)
Money is like manure
Cash is
Cash is king
Cash is a temporary account
Cash is fungible
Cash is an asset
Cash is a debit
Cash is like oxygen
Profit is like food, but cash is like oxygen.  You can survive for quite awhile without food, but without oxygen you’re dead almost immediately

Credit is
Credit is like fire, but more dangerous

Debt is
Debt is slavery
Debt is normal
Debt is a bottomless sea
Debt is money
Debt is good

Debt is like
Debt is like a cancer
Debt is like cholesterol
Debt is like an addiction

Gold is
Gold is money
Gold isn't money
Gold is money, everything else is credit
Gold is an element

Re: Moneyness by FOFOA

Posted: 24 Nov 2011, 17:56
by Indiana Jones
that makes fofoa/s freegold like this :?:
(beautiful, but ......there's nothing you can make that can't be made, no one you can save that can't be saved, nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time - It's easy )

Re: Moneyness by FOFOA

Posted: 24 Nov 2011, 19:54
by Boefke
:lol: Nice research you did there Malcolm!

Was this your first encounter with FOFOA's posts? If so, I agree with you that it is really hard to understand what's it all about. It's like reading a book with 25 chapters, and starting with the last one. Me as fervent reader of his posts....for almost 2 years now, found his last post at some points very difficult to understand.
But this last one is focused IMO on the core of what money is. This is the fundamental of everything after that. Perhaps it's better to start with chapter 1, and continue the book from there.

I can only speak for myself here. Mine first encounter with gold discussions was short-lived. Followed it for a couple of day's and decided I couldn't understand one single thing of it....and threw it away as conspiracy's and weird people.

Couple of months later, joined again (probably of the voice inside calling me) and really made an effort to join. Now, 2 years's the best lesson learned ever. Grateful for the efforts of other people to lead me through the intro of our evaluating system. Once triggered, never lost interest.

Re: Moneyness by FOFOA

Posted: 25 Nov 2011, 02:36
by Malcolm
Indiana Jones wrote:that makes fofoa/s freegold like this :?:
(beautiful, but ......there's nothing you can make that can't be made, no one you can save that can't be saved, nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time - It's easy )
OK, I pulled the "Love is like gold, hard to get, hard to keep" bit.

Re: Moneyness by FOFOA

Posted: 25 Nov 2011, 02:45
by Malcolm
Boefke wrote:Was this your first encounter with FOFOA's posts?
No. I have been reading them periodically since 2008, probably about once or twice a year. I didn't follow FOFOA directly. I just wandered upon his essays from time to time. Moneyness is the first essay to have generated an emotional reaction.

FOFOA wrote in Moneyness:
"Etymology is important, because with money or "the moneyness of things" we are talking about a vital concept that predates the word by thousands of years. .... The meaning we commonly assign to words may change over time, but that never changes the original concept underlying the emergence of the word in the first place."

Elsewhere in Moneyness, FOFOA wrote:
"Some of those gold coins from the 1500s and 1600s still exist today. Today they are not money, but they are still gold coins. Can you see the difference yet?

Now remember, there's no right or wrong at this point. There's only the usefulness of a perspective in delivering the correct analysis of what's actually happening today and the best prescription for your personal action. But you can't use a perspective until you get it

By this, I take FOFOA to be suggesting we look behind the current meaning of words in search of a perspective. 'Getting it' probably involves some emotional connections. Logic won't give you the perspective without some emotion being there, too.


Re: Moneyness by FOFOA

Posted: 25 Nov 2011, 11:07
by Paul
emotional reactions will make you lose your shirt ...

Re: Moneyness by FOFOA

Posted: 25 Nov 2011, 15:45
by Malcolm
Paul wrote:emotional reactions will make you lose your shirt ...
Fear and anxiety can be counter productive emotions, but courage, hope and serenity will help from time to time.

Re: Moneyness by FOFOA

Posted: 25 Nov 2011, 16:14
by Paul
I prefer logic, common sense and (f)actual experience if you don't mind ;)

Re: Moneyness by FOFOA

Posted: 27 Dec 2011, 06:13
by Malcolm
As I've continued to work with FOFOA's idea of moneyness, several themes keep coming to mind:

1. Borrowers/savers
2. Austrian Economics/Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)
3. Wealth/money/cash/"credit/debt" is a continuum between possession and promises.

In a paper called the "The Austrian view", the author writes:

"Money and credit are just two sides of the same coin in today’s monetary order. Someone’s savings account (contained in the calculation of M1) is at the same time the credit financing someone else’s project (contained in credit outstanding). We therefore believe that one should denote currency (apart from cash in your pocket) in savings and other bank accounts as claim, not as growth emerges as the single best predictor of financial instability."

Maybe that two-sided coin is moneyness.

Another theme that FOFOA repeatedly raises is the notion of two currencies, one for savers and other for borrowers. Borrowers want their 'debt' in a currency that depreciates, so they get to repay with inflated currency units. Savers want the loans they fund in a currency that is stable (if not appreciating).

According to FOFOA, the relationship between these two currencies should be flexible. For this reason, FOFOA seems to scoff at the idea of a fixed gold standard. As best I can tell, Freegold is a contrasting idea to the notion 'gold standard'.

Re: Moneyness by FOFOA

Posted: 08 Jan 2012, 21:37
by Malcolm
There is an interesting new (Jan 7, 2012) essay by Martin Armstrong that seems to take an alternate view of 'moneyness' compared to FOFOA: "When Fiat was the Solution". http://armstrongeconomics.files.wordpre ... 010512.pdf

I say this simply because Armstrong spends page after page discussing various US and British governmental debasements of copper, silver and gold coins (with emphasis on the copper) from the 1600s to 1800s. The point of this can be found in Armstrong's conclusion: "Paper currency is NOT the problem. The problem has always been the fiscal mismanagement." To paraphrase this, Armstrong seems to be saying 'It isn't the 'things' anyone calls money which causes a problem, the problem is the people who 'issue' the things (coin or fiat).

Thinking this was an interesting commentary on 'moneyness', I went over to FOFOA's site and searched for comments on Martin Armstrong. Though FOFOA makes few references to Armstrong directly, in 2009, FOFOA post an exchange between Armstrong and FOA. ... -1999.html

FOFOA writes: "Here is an interesting "open reply" FOA wrote to Martin Armstrong in 1999. This was less than 5 months before Martin was jailed for contempt of court. Martin's original letter was to someone else on Kitco who then sent it by email to FOA who responded openly on USAGold..."

In this exchange, we don't have the entire 'original email' by Armstrong. Instead, FOA quotes portions of it. Regardless, Armstrong's point is almost the same as the recently published 'Fiat' essay. Martin writes: "Your argument for no regulation will not even be seriously considered by any government body I have ever testified before." In other words, Martin is worried about 'people' rather than 'things (regulation is all about the actions of people, both to create and administer the transactions sought to be administered by the codes/regulations).

FOA chides Armstrong: "The human factor always has and always will gravitate to using things as trading items. We were born a people of earth with senses that touch, see and feel for value. ... History, not modern computer research, has shown that we will return to gold.

Getting back to FOFOA's moneyness, in my current view FOFOA's moneyness theory is saying there are always two 'currencies', one for debtors and one for savers. Things such as coins or printed pieces of paper may be involved, but 'moneyness' is a concept involved in transactions, not the physical objects involved. Gold does not have 'moneyness'. Moneyness is something we (humans) feel about the tokens 'debtors' use. Freegold (as opposed to fixed exchange), allows the two currencies to float against each other.

To summarize, FOFOA and Armstrong seem to focus on the same historical data (historical uses and debasement of copper/silver/gold coins), but differ on 'solutions' or 'what will be important in the future'. Armstrong seeks better regulation (term limits and public funding of elections) while FOFOA points to a more tactile 'Freegold' (which seems to be an evolutionary process rather than legislative).