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Madder Props(?) for Kurt Schuler

As I noted in a recent post, the prolific Ralph Benko gave mad props (which was what I understood kids were saying when praising someone or something last time I was even attempting to keep up on pop culture) to blogger Kurt Schuler.  Well, he's at it again, so thanks again to Ralph for acknowledging Kurt's work.

On site, Ralph has a post up "Lenin's Plan for the Annihilation of the Power of Money" that starts:

Two eminent monetary scholars, Michael V. White and Kurt Schuler — as noted in an earlier posting — published in a 2009 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives as Retrospectives: Who Said “Debauch the Currency”: Keynes or Lenin? 

before going on to explain the Bolshevik's plans for printing lots of money not to fill their coffers but to destroy the value of money for payment.  Lenin thought work, and work alone, should be used–because, you know, evils of capitalism, etc.  (This makes me wonder if some of the work-based hourly valued local currencies such as the Ithaca hours were inspired by this idea.  Before digressing too much, note to self, write blog post on Marx and Hayek.)

Ralph's post concludes:

Lenin's savage statements toward money may have been a blend of ignorance and rationalization.  White and Schuler: "the underlying rationale for the argument was subsequently explained by the historian E. H. Carr in a brief memorandum for Fetter (1977, p. 78): 'None of the Bolsheviks wanted, or planned, inflation. But, when that happened (since the printing press was their main source of revenue) they rationalized it ex post facto by describing it as (a) death to the capitalists and (b) a foretaste of the moneyless Communist Society.'"

On a slightly related note, Ralph Benko and I are among the cast of characters scheduled to speak at the upcoming and soon-to-be-announced Committee for Monetary Research & Education dinner in New York in May.

  • MichaelM

    It's my understanding that currencies like the 'Ithaca Hours' you mentioned are rooted in older ideas about currency that were widespread in the Anglo-American world in the 19th century, including movements like the 'social credit' people. Modern adherents are actually not incredibly obviously at odds with the work done by the contributors here at is the website that I have been pursuing casually over the last couple weeks that seems to be in line with the idea.

  • Ithaca Hours and similar currencies, based on the idea that money should be a record of work, are inspired by Locke, Smith, Ricardo and, you know, the classically liberal, labor theory of value.

  • Bradley Jansen

    Thanks, guys. The labor theory of value history makes a lot of sense. Well, not for the 21st Century, I would think, but to each his own.