Love and money

By Emanuel Derman
February 3, 2012

Some interesting stuff I’m reading:

Schopenhauer, in The World as Will and Representation, has a chapter on The Metaphysics of Sexual Love, and remarks how strange it is that love ceaselessly occupies people’s thoughts, interests and readings, and yet has gone relatively unexamined from a philosophical point of view. He brands as naive Spinoza’s view that love is merely pleasure associated with an external object, and I’m inclined to agree. For Schopenhauer, it’s all about matter propagating itself, the temporary unity of lovers’ feeling reflecting the unity of the yet unborn child. Strong mutual attraction, he says, is related to the suitability of the characteristics of the future child from the point of view of the species, and has nothing to do with personal lifelong compatibility. Not a cheerful guy.

Money, the other topic of people’s relentless focus, is a mystery, too. Where does it come from and what is its real purpose and how much does an economy need? Forty economists were recently quoted as saying that a return to the gold standard is ridiculous, and that money ought to be controlled according to economic principles (though I don’t think the forty agree on what those are). Ben Bernanke has said gold is NOT a form of money, but was still at a loss to explain why central banks keep gold reserves, and could only invoke tradition.

So, I am just about to reread Fischer Black’s interesting paper Banking and Interest Rates in a World without Money.

 

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