Nettime mailing list archives

Re: <nettime> Bitcoin, the end of the Taboo on Money
Keith Hart on Mon, 8 Apr 2013 15:27:52 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: <nettime> Bitcoin, the end of the Taboo on Money

BitCoin is a bubble like any other. The question is whether it will be the
death knell of techno-utopianism (which I doubt) or rather another
egregious example of cognitive dissonance (Festinger et al When Prophecy
Fails). I wrote the next paragraph last week before the "market correction"

One of BitCoin's boosters in the Guardian video said that it is as big as
the internet, maybe bigger. I have had old friends contacting me via
Facebook for advice on whether they should jump in. What we have here is a
cross betwen a stock market bubble and a Ponzi scheme. BitCoin is a
commodity currency, like gold, but with none of the customary or
institutional supports that keep the gold price up or the euro (RIP) for
that matter. As such it fits the folk model of what money really is. (But
it isn't). Its value is solely a function of animal spirits. These have
been fed by a Spring campaign in the universal media. The history of
bubbles is well-known. Some people get in early and make quick money,
others borrow beyond thei rmeans to get a slice of the action, then there
is selling to cash to take profits, the price falls, panic selling follows,
the bubble bursts.

Actually the analogy between BTC and tulips is strong. At least the flowers
were beautiful. Sure, some people will make money. They always do, but not
as many as lose their shirt just for being drawn in by an exponential curve
going irresitibly upwards. Jaromil's vision reproduces the neoliberal
fantasy that markets can flourish without a political framework. See the
saga of Europe's single currency passim. The existing states can't do the
job either which means we are in for a lot of trouble. You haven't even
seen what a seriosi US/China currency war will look like. There is more to
all this than pinning labels like libertarian and social democratic on
people. This piece is politically and economically naive. But since when
did artists and designers have the time to master historical political


On Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 8:23 AM, Felix Stalder <felix {AT} openflows.com> wrote:

> I guess it all depends if you see "the state" as being capable of
> expressing something like the common interest. If so, then capture
> by financial and other economic interests is a corruption of that
> principle and one needs to fight politically against that corruption.
> This is, basically, a liberal/social-democratic position.

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} kein.org