The Age Of Cryptocurrency

The sovereign-money system, and especially the fiat money that gives the state unchecked power to print currency as it sees fit, has arguably been the most powerful weapon in the nation-state’s arsenal. More than just generating seigniorage— the seductive idea that every dollar printed is an interest-free loan flowing from the people to the state— controlling the nation’s money has allowed governments to control the apparatus of power. With paper money they can purchase arms, launch wars, raise debt to finance those conflicts, and then demand tax payments in that same currency to repay those debts. A functioning democracy should, in theory, put limits on all that. But in reality this monetary system permits the extension of power. It funds bureaucracies and agencies whose employees put their own survival above all else.

Fascinating, no-nonsense read on how Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are impacting the world of finance, banking and global commerce. Highly recommended!

The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order [Amazon]

Peter Thiel On Higher Education

But what if higher education is really just the final stage of a competitive tournament? From grades and test results through the U.S. News & World Report rankings of the colleges themselves, higher education sorts us all into a hierarchy. Kids at the top enjoy prestige because they’ve defeated everybody else in a competition to reach the schools that proudly exclude the most people. All the hard work at Harvard is done by the admissions officers who anoint an already-proven hypercompetitive elite. If that weren’t true — if superior instruction could explain the value of college — then why not franchise the Ivy League? Why not let more students benefit? It will never happen because the top U.S. colleges draw their mystique from zero-sum competition.

This tournament is obviously bad for the losers, who end up shut out of a self-satisfied “meritocratic” elite. But it’s bad for the winners, too, because it trains them to compete on old career tracks such as management consulting and investment banking instead of doing something new. And it’s worst of all for society at large because our economy stagnates when its leaders jockey to collect rents from old industries instead of working to create new ones that could raise the standard of living for everyone.

From Wikipedia:

Thiel studied 20th-century philosophy as an undergraduate at Stanford University. He received his B.A. in Philosophy from Stanford in 1989 and acquired a J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1992.

So.. yeah, there’s that.

Thinking too highly of higher ed [WaPo]