A stimulus we can all enjoy

The big problem with printing a whole lot of money, as Washington is about to do, is that any immediate stimulus it provides to the economy will be offset by long-term inflation. To minimize this effect, you need some way of getting those extra dollars out of the economy as quickly as they got in — but how in the world do you do that?

Possibly like this:

The answer is simple: chocolate gelt. Edible currency. Fiat finger food! It’ll circulate for a while, then gradually disappear as people consume it. For those of you who still believe in economics, I think the technical rationale is that the currency will be consumed once its marginal deliciousness (or whatever) exceeds its face value. Personally, I think it’ll probably just be consumed by the drunk, hungry or drunk & hungry. Either way, there’s a built-in safety check against long-term inflationary effects.

There are, of course, some technical problems to be overcome:

The foil would have to be significantly upgraded to make regular handling of the currency viable — perhaps some sort of carefully engineered tin design would be necessary. Also, it may be that chocolate is too cheap (or melting-prone) a commodity to turn into a useful form of currency. Or perhaps forgers would refill empties with Hershey’s chocolate — presumably inferior to delicious federal chocolate. But there are solutions to these problems. Maybe we could use ampules of liquor. Or, simpler still, the government could storm Hidden Valley, seize its ranch-producing operations and make the Treasury Department the only source of our precious national condiment.

I have no reason to think government chocolate would necessarily be of any higher quality than government cheese, but otherwise, this plan is just full of win — and, of course, saturated fats.

(Via Megan McArdle.)


  1. McGehee »

    2 February 2009 · 2:37 pm

    Okay, first I find out about the lucrative new industry of vacant-lot warehousing, and now I learn Hidden Valley has a ranch factory. Where do they store all the ranches they produce before they’re shipped to Texas and Montana for retail sale?

    I could make a fortune getting in on this.

  2. CGHill »

    2 February 2009 · 2:40 pm

    Where do they store all the ranches they produce before they’re shipped to Texas and Montana for retail sale?

    Why, in a ranch house, of course.

  3. fillyjonk »

    2 February 2009 · 2:45 pm

    The problem with food-as-currency is that there’s going to be SOMEONE out there who will tell everyone within earshot how UNHEALTHY whatever the chosen food is. (And any healthy foods would probably not make it as a currency; I do not see a Broccoli Economy developing any time soon).

    Were this an ACTUAL plan, I would take the issuance of food-currency as evidence that it was, perhaps, time to get a passport, look up my distant Scots or German relatives, and see if they’ve got a spare bed. Because it seems to me nothing good can come of going on a chocolate (or cheese, or cigarette, or whatever) standard. Weren’t cigarettes used as a sort of informal emergency currency in post WWII Germany?

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