Sunday, May 04, 2014


It was at the very beginning of 2013 that I overheard a conversation at a neighbouring table in Café Schwabing about complementary currencies and was move to find out more about Schwundgeld, money which earned negative interest. It was this which set me off on the writing project which became my novel Intransitive State (which I wish somebody would actually buy!).

This started me off thinking about a money caught up in quantum entanglement and I thought myself very clever when I came up with the notion of Schrödinger's Cash.  Little did I know that the term was first coined in 2007, a very recent Googling has since informed me.

Never mind! The other premise of my storytelling was the idea that the Scottish independence movement could quite possibly call for a figure-head or mascot, and I postulate a flag-bearer with some of the iconic attributes of Marianne, who for the French personifies nationhood and independence to this day. My kilted lassie has the mission of convincing the Scots that a new complementary digital currency, the Cally, is the best ideas since Irn Bru and deep fried Mars bars.

Whimsy, of course, and the whole tale is set in the February of 2016 and assumes that the referendum resulted in a resounding 'Yes' vote. 

Hence imagine my astonishment when I learn that there are some very serious people claiming that an independent Scotland would be just the right nation to pioneer a digital alternative to the fiat currencies we have for so long known but which are increasingly bringing us to an economic precipice.

"Scotland had an enviable track record of innovation in the finance and banking sector right up until the time when the Bank of England’s outrageous monopoly was extended north of the border. When a previous wave of innovation (paper money) swept through the economy, Scotland was far more successful than England in exploiting technological change to make the economy more efficient and more stable. By 1850, in fact, when 90% of all commercial transactions in France were still being settled in gold or silver (as were a third of those in England), 90% of all commercial transactions in Scotland were being settled with paper. Surely it would be possible for Scotland to embrace the next wave of change in the technology of money... digital money... and generate yet more innovation."

The quotation is from  Dave Birch, a director of Consult Hyperion, a technical and strategic consultancy specializing in digital transactions. He bogs quite alarmingly here.Alarmingly? Yes, worrisome for any who prefer not to think about some very challenging issues.

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