Energy as a currency

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Energy as a global currency unit

Irving Fisher in his 1911 book The Purchasing Power of Money had advised that the purchasing power of money should be stable if it is to serve as a unit of account, a trusted medium of exchange, and a reliable store of value. Unfortunately, substances that exist by the bounty of nature, such as gold or silver, cannot have such property since their values fluctuate with changing supply and demand. This is the motivation behind all indexed units of account, of which Robert Shiller of Yale University is a principal proponent. (cited from World Currency Unit proposal)

Energy is a physical entity that is described using SI units. Be it Kilowatthours, Megawatthour, Joule, Wattsecond, Kilocalory - all these units are linked to the real physical world in a way that relates directly to what we need for living:

  • food
  • water
  • heating/cooling
  • transportation
  • communication
  • etc

How much better would we be off if our old age pension funds would guarantee a certain amount of all the above items instead of telling us that we'll get of some of todays currency per week?

I'd rather have 30 liters of water, 2500 kcal of food, a few MWh for heating and another few to visit my grandchildren regularly. Telecommunication hopefully is energy efficient enough by then that it's almost neglectable in this calculation.

What do you think? How would energy suit as a global currency unit? See also:



Franz Brix - Energieökonomie und Energiewährung - Reale Alternativen zum Turbo-Kapitalismus