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Fiat Money and the Natural Scale of Government

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Abstract

The competitive market structure of a decentralized economy is converted into a self-policing system treating the bureaucracy and enforcement of the legal system endogenously. In particular we consider money systems as constructs to make agents' economic strategies predictable from knowledge of their preferences and endowments, and thus to support coordinated resource production and distribution from independent decision making. Diverse rule systems can accomplish this, and we construct minimal strategic market games representing government-issued fiat money and ideal commodity money as two cases. We endogenize the provision of money and rules for its use as productive activities within the society, and consider the problem of transition from generalist to specialist production of subsistence goods as one requiring economic coordination under the support of a money system to be solved. The scarce resource in a society is labor limited by its ability to coordinate (specifically, calling for the expenditure of time and effort on communication, computation, and control), which must be diverted from primary production either to maintain coordinated group activity, or to provide the institutional services supporting decentralized trade. Social optima are solutions in which the reduced costs of individual decision making against rules (relative to maintenance of coalitions) are larger than the costs of the institutions providing the rules, and in which the costs of the institutions are less than the gains from the trade they enable to take place.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Shubik & Eric Smith, 2005. "Fiat Money and the Natural Scale of Government," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1509, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1509
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    File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d15/d1509.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin Shubik, 2000. "The Theory of Money," Working Papers 00-03-021, Santa Fe Institute.
    2. P. Bak & S. F. Nrrelykke & M. Shubik, 2001. "Money and Goldstone modes," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 186-190.
    3. Thomas Quint & Martin Shubik, 2004. "Gold, Fiat and Credit. An Elementary Discussion of Commodity Money, Fiat Money and Credit, Part II," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1460, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Shubik, Martin & Smith, Eric, 2004. "The physics of time and dimension in the economics of financial control," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 340(4), pages 656-667.
    5. Eric Smith & Martin Shubik, 2005. "Strategic freedom, constraint, and symmetry in one-period markets with cash and credit payment," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 25(3), pages 513-551, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ioannis Karatzas & Martin Shubik & William D. Sudderth, 2008. "Financial Control of a Competitive Economy without Randomness," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1681, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    2. Juergen Huber & Martin Shubik & Shyam Sunder, 2011. "Financing of Public Goods through Taxation in a General Equilibrium Economy: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1830, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bureaucracy; Contract enforcement; Taxes; Money;

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • D5 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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