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I reckon that if people believed that Mayan Calendar stuff, the US economy would have escaped the liquidity trap by now. Reminds me of that scam in Mordecai Richler's Solomon Gursky, where he gets the farmers to think the world is ending, so they sell off their land cheaply.

I don't really understand why gold would be of any value if civilization would collapse. You need some kind of centralized government or social system for money to have any use. If civilization has collapsed and you have a bunch of food and some other random survivor has gold are you really stupid enough to trade your food for a bunch of worthless yellow rocks?

Ha! Boundary condition for inter-temporally optimizing models.

There's an interesting disconnect between believing in the imminence of the rapture and stockpiling baked beans.

Peter T: as John Pettigrue, Chief Justice of the SOuth CArolina Supreme Court said in early 1861: "South Carolina is too small to be a republick and too large to be an insane asylum."
It also applies to a lot of other places...

@CBBB: "You need some kind of centralized government or social system for money to have any use."

Not at all. Money will arise in any society engaged in trade. Cigarettes became money in WWII prison camps. And note: gold was valued before it was money, and was not given this value by governments.

I tend to side with Gene on that question. But if we define "social system" broadly enough, CBBB is I think correct. Without some sort of property rights and exchange, there wouldn't be money. I can't see money in a Hobbesian State of Nature, where you just grab stuff rather than buying it.

Cigarettes are no longer widely smoked, but I could see AA batteries becoming the currency of choice in the zombie apocalypse.

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