The payments system is merely a technical and bookkeeping question, mundane in the end. The idea of operating it with only reserves puts in stark relief a far more important question: What is the point of banks at all?
"Having read your book, I would include it in that short list of books. If your book is read by a lot of people, it will do a great service."
the very purpose of the "barter story" is precisely to explain why barter cannot lead to the kinds of population and social changes we know happened in ancient societies. That something else necessarily had to happen.
Let's look into the actual ethnography.
Humphrey's primary ethnographic research for the paper Graeber cites as definitive was based on her research of the Lhomi of the Arun Valley in northern Nepal near the Tibetan border.
Of the Lohmi, Humphrey writes (1985, pp.54-55): "Before the virtual closure of the Tibetan border by the early 1970's which followed the Chinese invasion, the Lhomi engaged in three kinds of barter." These are:
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Crusoe is getting excellent advice from Friday, I plan on integrating it all, thank you. "Friday 4 hours ago User Info 1000 Castaways, Chapter 5: The Real World, System Two This is all very good. I can’t really find anything in these last four chapters worth quibbling with. I did spot one typo here: eveident … Continue reading Crusoe gets excellent advice from Friday 🙂
(←Chapter 4 Additional Material→) System Two The other main reason our real-world economies do not function as well as the Island is that we simply do not understand System Two, which organizes public projects and creates the vertical component of modern currency systems. The reasons for this stem from the long, complex process by … Continue reading 1000 Castaways, Chapter 5: The Real World, System Two
(←Chapter 3 Chapter 5→) Chapter 4 The Real World, System One We have seen how our Island of 1000 Castaways developed an economy that, within the potential of their technology and resources, maximizes their wellbeing. Our real-world economies are not organized so efficiently, and create countries where wellbeing is, given some set […]
(←Chapter 2 Chapter 4→) Balancing The Two Systems IN THE INTRODUCTION WE discussed how, in order to maximize their material wellbeing, a small group of people would want both to organize their private activities and their group activities efficiently. This is relatively easy with ten people but becomes exponentially harder as a group scales up … Continue reading 1000 Castaways, Chapter 3: Balancing the Two Systems
(←Chapter 1 Chapter 3→) Chapter 2 System Two SO FAR WE HAVE SEEN how a system can emerge naturally that functions to help individuals better coordinate the use of real resources and thus increase the private production of society overall (Chapter 1). This increases the production of real goods and services for everyone. … Continue reading 1000 Castaways, Chapter 2: System Two