Money is Speech

Posted by $ MikeMarotta 1 year ago to Culture
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The election cycle and its news have been disrupted. When they come back, there will be arguments against Big Money influencing elections. There's a lot to that, including the fact that the Democrat Party actually has more big donors and fewer individual donors than does the Republican Party. But money is everywhere for everyone.

I met a legislator here last year who explained it as "fuck you money." A political action committee (PAC) will pick their candidate and that's all well fine and good. But they also give some money to the other candidate. In case of an upset, they can still point to having been supporters. And they were, just noticeably much less so... That, too, is their right because Money is Speech.


For over 2000 years, money has been a medium – sometimes the medium – of communication, especially political speech. The German Democratic Republic honored Karl Marx on its 100 DM notes from 1971 until 1990. On the other hand, the privately-owned Clydesdale Bank of Scotland issued a ₤50 note celebrating Adam Smith.

The coins and paper of the American colonies, states, and central governments carried a host of political messages, from “Mind Your Business” to “We Are One.”

According to University of Texas scholar, Denise Schmandt-Besserat, writing evolved from the use of clay tokens to keep track of livestock, beer, and other farm goods. The tokens go back to 7500 BCE. Eventually, the tokens were impressed on clay containers into which the tokens themselves were stored. Cuneiform writing evolved about 3500 BCE from these symbols. The oldest known writing on clay tablets are inventory lists and promises to pay. The oldest known epic, the Gilgamesh, is dated to 1000 years later.

The notes of the American colonies in revolt announced “American Congress / We are One” and “Mind Your Business” and “When it is over, then we will rest” (Cessante Vento Conquiescemus) and “Issued in Defence of American Liberty”. The North Carolina $40 note of 1778 honored “Freedom of Speech and Liberty of the Press.”

In fact, money did not begin with trade, trade did not begin economic calculation, and the true power of money is not what you can get for it – though that is, indeed, powerful – but what it says to you and for you. ... Historically, in human and perhaps proto-human development, friendship came from the exchange of gifts. When strangers met, giving and receiving almost anything at all avoided conflict.

Fundamentally, the value in money is that it allows us to make peace.

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  • Posted by Lucky 1 year ago
    Money what it says to you and for you
    There is also what you want it to say-

    ". . rich people believe in one tax dollar one vote,
    more humanistic ones in one man one vote,
    Monsanto in one lobbyist one vote,
    the IYI believes in one Ivy League degree one-vote"

    IYI = Intellectual Yet Idiot
    Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan

    What is Francisco saying in that speech, no vote, only trade?
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    • Posted by $ 1 year ago
      I found out about Nassim Nicholas Taleb from the TV show NUMB3RS. I read The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. It is insightful. Again, like much else, I wrote it up for my blog back in 2011 under "The Problem of Induction: Karl Popper and His Enemies." Obviously, it has been several years since I read it. Allow me to suggest another book on the same problem. The Logical Leap: Induction in Physics by David Harriman with Leonard Peikoff.

      I gave that book several reviews, some very long. It is not the be-all and end-all on the problem of induction, but, as an Objectivist, Harriman does address and outline the problem and its solution. Basically, one example is enough if you have the right theory to explain it.

      As I point out - which Harriman does not - when Europeans found the black swans of Australia, they recogized them for what they were: swans. Whiteness was no longer implicit in swanness. But no one's worldview was exploded by the discovery of a black swan, nor should it have been. You just integrate the new discovery into what is known to be true.

      That much is all to the good.

      Where you and I diverge is on your endorsement of Taleb's condemnaiton of "intellectual idiots." Not that they do not exist. They do, indeed. What you are doing is tossing up Taleb as an authority on a subject you already made up your mind on. It is why evidence is not enough.

      As I wrote elsewhere about an experiment: "Generally, people rated authors as experts when the views coincided with their own. Kahan and his team created three authors and their books. All three had the same high level of academic standing. (Doctorates from major schools.) In every case, two different, opposing views were written for each author and randomly shown to subjects. The topics were gun control, nuclear power plants, and global warming.

      Originally published by the Yale Law School as "Research Paper #205: Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus by Dan M. Kahan, Hank Jenkins-Smith and Donald Braman." Downloadable here:

      Kahan is a favorite of our comrades at Mother Jones. They identify the "smart idiot" as the educated conservative who denies climate change. ("Ugly Delusions of the Educated Conservative" here ) I don't expect you to read it, but I cite as a case in point on why evidence is not enough. Mother Jones readers have made up their minds and find scientists who agree with them. You did the same thing. Calling someone an educated idiot or an intellectual idiot does not address any issues at point.
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    • Posted by $ 1 year ago
      I posted these comments earlier (about 2014) on the question of voting. I then put them into context for my blog in a post titled "The Market for Voting."

      The 1909 novel The Secret of the League: The Story of a Social War by Ernest Bramah has been suggested as a forerunner of Atlas Shrugged. In the final resolution, voting in national elections is given the form of voting in a joint-stock company: one share, one vote. Shares in that story cost ₤500 (like $250,000 now, perhaps). In a capitalist future, buying a voting share would be proof of citizenship; and it would nullify the status of "illegal alien."

      The same theory applies here: you buy in, you buy citizenship. And it applies to children. When Herbert Spencer was really a liberal in the 1830s, he advocated for voting rights for children: they work; they pay taxes; they should vote. QED.

      Moreover, shares (citizenship) could be bought and sold repeatedly. The price of a vote would rise close to elections and fall in the off season. People could change "citizenship" i.e., voting rights often, repeatedly, and for a profit (buy low, sell high). In point of fact voting for President of the USA is not cost-effective but voting in the Mayoral Primary is highly important. So, the shrewd citizen should sell their vote before the one and buy it back before the other.

      Allow me to suggest here and now that it could begin with US Savings Bonds. When you get enough of them, you trade them in for a Treasury Bond and your right to one vote. More bonds equals more votes.

      Allow me to suggest, also, the tangent you hinted at: no votes; everything by the free market; no government. As hotly as that is debated, it has not been thought through by its advocates. I have read The Market for Liberty and back in the day knew the Tannehills well. Another book in the same vein with more concrete examples from real life in the 1960s was Unlce Sam the Monopoly Man by William C. Woolbridge (Arlington House 1970). We might not need government roads or fire departments or even government security guards (obviously), but if you want to do without government laws you better think that through more completely than anyone else has so far.

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      • Posted by Lucky 1 year ago
        Do I really have an image as a hairy chested hard libertarian? Yeah!
        Unfortunately, tho' I did mention, possibly mis-interpret, Francisco's speech,
        that picture is not quite correct.

        I agree, that err. tangent as you say has not been properly thought thru.
        But, there is a little web site I like worth mentioning
        Ben Marks who runs it says in response to that point-
        You say libertarianism will not work, well how well is your current system working?

        Taleb, IYI, as he suggests read as satire.
        Perhaps Ben Marks, also, meant to break the constraints on thought like a Zen Koan.
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