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5275.  Mon Jan 26, 2004 11:22 am Reply with quote

I've read that too Sean - can't think where though, but it must be one of those Well Known Things. Better check it though...

Mostly Harmless
42487.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:20 am Reply with quote


Last edited by Mostly Harmless on Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:11 pm; edited 1 time in total

42507.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:11 am Reply with quote

All monetary systems involve some sort of consensus or enforced view as to where 'value' ultimately resides. Even gold has no practical value to most people other than as a decoration; you can't eat it or burn it or build a house with it. But as long as we all agree to invest it with an arbitrary 'value', it works as a basis for trading things that do have real value. The same is true of a government promise (a banknote): intrinsically valueless, in practice worth whatever value you ascribe to the stability of the government that issues it.

61312.  Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:01 pm Reply with quote

i purchased a book many years ago(forget the title!) which had a one dollar bill sealed into the front cover. It stated that due to the swelling drug problem within the US, that all dollar bills in circulation contained traces of cocain. Tho i'm not to sure if that is still the case i did find that the purchase of such grade A drugs was not an issue during a recent visit to the good old USA. Tho i'd like to add i did not take up the offer!!

61313.  Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:08 pm Reply with quote

PS. did you know that switzerland are the only country to have a back up system of gold against cash. In other words for all the cash the banks have they have enough gold to cover it! Not sure if thats still the case and not 100% in the need for it but if it works...

61324.  Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:52 pm Reply with quote

Welcome, jg. The merits and demerits of the gold standard used to be a significant thread running through economic debate, but I don't think any currency is now backed by gold. The Swiss went on the gold standard in 1873, and there was a requirement that 40% of the currency in issue be backed by gold reserves until 1st May 2000, when the Constitution was amended. The Swiss Franc is now a fiat currency.

61331.  Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:19 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
The Swiss Franc is now a fiat currency.

You can, however, use it to buy other makes of car instead


QI Individual
74107.  Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:20 am Reply with quote

This looks like a rather interesting documentary. The things you hear in the first ten minutes are quite remarkable. It's called 'The Money Masters' and it (currently) can be seen from Google Video.

It tells for instance that the 'Fed', the Federal Reserve System, is not a Government institution but a private bank geared towards maximum profits and that the 'Federal Reserve Act' was passed by three(!!!) people in the Senate by a 'unanimous' vote????

I've only seen 15 minutes now but I thought it QI enough to let you know about it.

74113.  Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:20 am Reply with quote

It sounds interesting - I'll have to try and watch it at some point.

While the Federal Reserve banks are set up as companies, I don't think it's really fair to say that they are run purely for profit. You and I can't go buy Federal Reserve stock - the stockholders are the commercial banks who participate in the system, and the profits are paid to these banks in the form of dividends. (This is often viewed as compensating for the fact that funds which commercial banks hold at the Federal Reserve banks do not attract interest.)

That assertion made by the programme - that the Federal Reserve Act was passed 3-0 by Senate - sounded wrong, and is. If you go to

there's a reproduction of a newspaper cover from the time the Federal Reserve Act was passed, which shows Senate passing the measure 43-25.

QI Individual
74137.  Tue Jun 13, 2006 5:27 am Reply with quote

I'm not sure the 'Conference Report' it refers to is the same as the Federal Reserve Act.

74147.  Tue Jun 13, 2006 5:49 am Reply with quote

I'd agree that it's not clear, although I think it does.

Under Article 1 s. 5 of the US Constitution, a majority (i.e. half plus one) of members have to be present for either house to be quorate. This is often ignored in practice, but three just doesn't sound right.

But we may have an explanation. My husband suggests that 3-0 may be a convention for a vote not actually having taken place. If there is general agreement on a matter, it's not unknown for it to be passed nem dis (i.e. no-one is so opposed that they can actually be bothered to get up and vote against). In that case, those who have actually spoken for the measure - three seems quite reasonable - were deemed to have voted for it and no-one voted against.

No idea if this is correct or not, but it makes some sort of sense.


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