Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Return of the Barter System

Ladies and Gentlemen, I've been absent for a few days. I've been insanely busy keeping an eye on those vampires. They haven't really been up to much lately. All I really learned is that any museum owned by a vampire will be attacked and/or damaged about once a month. No, the real research I've done lately is into the economy, holidays, and a possible solution to our financial woes. Let me begin.

Today is Fat Tuesday, or as we celebrate it here in the South, Mardi Gras. Down here, schools let out, banks close, parades fill the streets causing traffic to come to a grinding, screaming, dancing halt, and people party like it's the day before forty consecutive days of anti-fun. Because it is.

The most important thing to take from Mardi Gras in these times, however, is the notion of beads. They're cheap. They're plastic. They're given away for free. Even so, for a few days a year, they're practically legal tender. With beads, you can obtain beer, moon pies, nudity, and so many other things. It's a debauched barter system. But for a few days a year, it works.

My question is, if it's good enough for an entire region of the country, why can't the rest of the nation use it? It could jumpstart the economy. There may be a dollar deficit, true, but surely there must be a bead surplus. Why else would they be thrown out freely at Mardi Gras parades? Further, even though they are free to come by, you can still purchase valuable goods and services with them. It's an ideal new currency: abundantly available without risk of value deflation (at least, not until Ash Wednesday, when everything you can buy with beads becomes something to avoid for the next month and a half).

Can you imagine the financial peace of mind you'll feel when your mortgage payment comes due, and though you have no money in the bank, you know you can simply pay for your land with a bunch of beads? There's even a historical precedent for in the U.S. for buying land with beads, so it shouldn't be too difficult a system to reinstate. What could possibly go wrong?

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a parade to go to, and they're throwing out free plastic money on a string.

You have been informed.

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