Archive for August 21st, 2017

Comparing central banking to symphonies..

August 21, 2017

Nice speech by  Mr Nestor A Espenilla, Jr, Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

He cites several awards given to the Philippines central bank recently and says it is all due to team work:

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How women started but got crowded out of the computing revolution…

August 21, 2017

One just blogged about women stockbrokers in NYSE.

Then was reading this article by Tamal Bandypadhyaya on how with each subsequent data, men are being seperated from boys in Indian banking. To this Bindu Ananth  of IFMR Trust tweeted and rightly so : “Given that a majority of banking assets are managed by women CEOs, the title needs editing”. Indeed!

As one finished Tamal’s piece, popped another piece from Stephen Mihm in Bloomberg View.

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Christanity: How an obscure oriental cult in a corner of Roman Palestine grew to become the dominant religion of the Western world?

August 21, 2017

Michael Kulikowsky (Professor of history and classics at Pennsylvania State University) has a piece on the topic:

Apart from the small and ethnically circumscribed exception of the Jews, the ancient world had never known an exclusivist faith, so the rapid success of early Christianity is a historical anomaly. Moreover, because some form of Christianity is a foundational part of so many peoples’ lives and identities, the Christianisation of the Roman empire feels perennially relevant – something that is ‘about us’ in a way a lot of ancient history simply is not. Of course, this apparent relevance also obscures as much as it reveals, especially just how strange Rome’s Christianisation really was.

That a world religion should have emerged from an oriental cult in a tiny and peculiar corner of Roman Palestine is nothing short of extraordinary. Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew, though an eccentric one, and here the concern is not what the historical Jesus did or did not believe. We know that he was executed for disturbing the Roman peace during the reign of the emperor Tiberius, and that some of his followers then decided that Jesus was not merely another regular prophet, common in the region. Rather, he was the son of the one true god, and he had died to bring salvation to those who would follow him.

 

How Haiti Dollar is just imaginary money…

August 21, 2017

Federico Neiburg of Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro has a superb research piece (HT: JP Koning who else).

Haiti Dollar is just imaginary money. The currency is neither traded or exchanged but used as a unit of account. So you buy/sell anything in Haiti, you will be quoted prices in Haiti Dollars but paid in some other currency!

I examine here a singular feature of the Haitian monetary universe: the generalized use of a currency without any material existence, past or present, as a coin or banknote: the Haitian dollar. In most transactions in Haiti (price negotiations in markets, working out wages and contracts), calculations are made in the Haitian dollar, while payments are made in other currencies, principally in gourdes (HTG, the national currency), but also in US dollars, Dominican pesos, telephone cards, and other forms, such as the pieces of plastic or metal that smooth the flow of various commercial circuits of basic goods, like water and coal, among the poorest people.

The rate of conversion between the Haitian dollar and the gourde is one Haitian dollar to five gourdes. After haggling over a bag of mangoes in a street market, for example, the buyer and seller may agree on a price of three Haitian dollars: the [76]buyer pays with a fifty gourde note (ten Haitian dollars), the seller keeps three dollars for the mangoes (fifteen gourdes), and gives seven Haitian dollars in change (thirty-five gourdes, in three notes of ten and one coin of five). Or another example: a supermarket bill comes to 234 HD (Haitian dollars). The buyer pays with 1500 gourdes (300 Haitian dollars), the cashier says, “Here’s your change: sixty-six dollars” and gives the buyer 330 gourdes, keeping the 234 Haitian dollars for the purchase.

All travel tips for foreigners (in tourist guidebooks or websites aimed at ex-pats) warn about this “bizarre” way of undertaking transactions. The Haitian government, with the support of public intellectuals, has tried many times to ban use of the Haitian dollar, condemning it as just another sign of the country’s barbarity or backwardness.1Nevertheless, people continue to calculate in Haitian dollars while they exchange other currencies.

Many dollars circulate in the monetary space of the contemporary Caribbean, including the US dollar, the Jamaican dollar, the Belize dollar, and the East Caribbean dollar—issued by the islands forming a Common Market, like Bermuda, Dominica, and Grenada. From the viewpoint of standard monetary theories, all of these are “normal” currencies: they serve as a unit of account, means of payment, medium of exchange and store of wealth. They are identified by a symbol (USD, JMD, XCD, etc.) and exist in a physical form, minted and available to be handled. The Haitian dollar also has a symbol (HD), but unlike the other Caribbean dollars, it is an imaginary money, a pure unit of account. Although basically an oral and conceptual phenomenon, the Haitian dollar is also written and objectified in supermarket receipts, restaurant menus, gas station price signs, contracts for international cooperation projects, notebooks recording debts and credits for bets or lotteries, and at banks, where we can find conversion tables like this: 1 USD:8 HD:40 HTG.2

One of my main aims, then, is to examine the entanglements (rather than oppositions) between materiality and immateriality, the reality and the conceptualization of the Haitian dollar. As we know, this tension traverses the social history of money.

Superb stuff…


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