Where Does Money Come From?

Where Does Money Come From? January 28, 2015

Dilbert where money comes from

I found this Dilbert cartoon amusing. It relates to questions of the relationship of God and mammon, but also serves as a comical parable of the supposed issues that people come up with in relation to biological evolution. It is often hard to recognize when a current state of affairs is not explained well by simply tracing a seemingly “irreducibly complex” system backwards ad infinitum. Often we have to explain the origin of the current system, and not just one component of it, in terms of something that preceded it and which was very different. The temptation to just say “God” as though that offers an explanation fails to seek the right kinds of answers on the appropriate level.

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  • Yes, first cause arguments can no more lead to an undefinable “God” explanation than to any other explanation.

    I love this economic take on the idea!

  • This is a funny strip, because money is, by definition, the most marketable goods and services. So one big question in economics is the origin of money, since people wonder how these goods became so marketable in the first place. And marketability breeds marketability. Also, most money is created by commercial banks and shadow banks, so PHB’s point stands (for all except central banks). Base money (the money backing all the bank and shadow bank money) is created by the Federal Reserve system in the U.S. I bet this strip will become a classic among monetary economists.