The Shift Towards Non-Monetary Currency and the Rise of Crypto-Currencies: Incorporating Non-Monetary Measurements to Allow a Nation to Take Stock of Its Well-Being
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CitationMcBride, Adam D. 2015. The Shift Towards Non-Monetary Currency and the Rise of Crypto-Currencies: Incorporating Non-Monetary Measurements to Allow a Nation to Take Stock of Its Well-Being. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThis thesis posits that governments around the world have failed to account for a vast percentage of the economic output of their citizens in their recordkeeping and policy-making. Through ineffective measures such as the GDP, governments have long attached their nation’s value to arbitrary measures of “growth,” which reflect average wealth, or unsustainable industrial output, or other shortsighted and unreflective measures. The rise and popularity of Bitcoin and other digital age “crypto-currencies” reflect both the convenience and ease of use of these new systems, but also an impulse toward moving past government as an economic gatekeeper. The last decades, which have been tracked with the rise of GDP as a measurement of economic wellbeing, have seen the general failure of government to take into account measures aside from economic output – such as happiness, childcare, and housework – when it tallies up the nation’s values and sets its economic policies and priorities.
In addition to Bitcoin and other “crypto-currencies,” this work will examine the history and current ramifications of policies that are reflective extensions of the growth- at-all-costs model of governance seen in GDP, particularly through fiat currency, economic deregulation, as well as the social ramifications of heedless growth on often- spurious grounds, which has characterized the last decades. Through an unwise and irrational adherence to growth-oriented policies (reflected in GDP), the U.S. government has – perhaps unwittingly – ignored the true needs and welfare of the American people. Yet Bitcoin, which is unregulated and stateless, may represent by its now years-long popularity a testament to millions of economic actors who feel that government has failed to focus its attentions and energies on proper measures of economic output and wellbeing. Bitcoin – by its true value, as opposed to the “fiat” nature of conventional currencies – may yet prove a means by which economics again reflects reality.
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