## A thought experiment: Negative money

2006-05-18 01:16:00 UTC

Excerpt (with permission) from the Adium channel on IRC.

```00:51:25: <Mac-arena> Heh, I just had a wacky idea.
00:51:38: <Mac-arena> Replace the 1- and 5-cent coins with +2- and -3-cent coins.
00:51:55: <Mac-arena> So, for example, 7 cents would be a dime and a -3. 9 cents would be a dime, a +2, and a -3.
00:52:10: <Catfish_Man> people don't want to carry negative money dude
00:52:19: <Catfish_Man> it's like debt that weighs something
00:52:18: <Mac-arena> It would make robberies interesting.
00:52:33: <Mac-arena> Robbers would run up to people and shove rolls of -3s into their pockets. :D
00:52:39: <Catfish_Man> hahaha
00:53:05: <LostBurner> lol
00:53:45: <LostBurner> people couldn't even handle that kind of math though
00:53:59: <Mac-arena> I know. It'd have to be smart people's money.
00:54:09: <Mac-arena> Only usable by people with a certain level of brightness.
00:54:23: <LostBurner> smart people would throw away their negative money
00:54:52: <Mac-arena> The other way would be to cast it as a status symbol.
00:54:58: <Mac-arena> "Only the cool people use negative money."
00:56:51: <LostBurner> So you'd give someone a real dime, and a negative 3
00:56:59: <LostBurner> Presumably you've given them 7 cents
00:57:08: <Mac-arena> Right.
00:57:13: <LostBurner> but you're out a whole dime
00:57:16: <LostBurner> and they're up a whole dime
00:57:29: <Mac-arena> No. Because you're also out a negative three, and they've gained one.
00:58:15: <LostBurner> So would you say that it was a better transaction if you could give someone more negatives?
00:58:29: <Mac-arena> Yup.
00:58:34: <LostBurner> Dime and 3 neg3 coins, ooh you've only spent a cent
00:58:46: <Mac-arena> Yup.
00:58:55: <LostBurner> but then you could make money by throwing them away!
00:59:04: <Mac-arena> Yup. That's the only problem.
00:59:17: <LostBurner> Negative monies only count if you can force the person to keep them
00:59:24: <LostBurner> hey, negative monies... that reminds me
00:59:38: <LostBurner> did you get this inspiration from aarond?
00:59:38: <Mac-arena> That's actually where I got the idea.
00:59:39: <Mac-arena> 00:39:01:   <aarond> I have minus monies :)
00:59:50: <LostBurner> I beat you to that one by 1s
00:59:52: <LostBurner> I knew it!
01:00:32: <Mac-arena> Anyway. If you pay a retailer with -3s, and they throw them away, YOU haven't re-lost any money.
01:01:00: <Mac-arena> Unless you went around back and picked them up so that you could spend them again.
01:03:43: <LostBurner> besides, it takes more coins with your way to pay for something
01:04:03: <Mac-arena> Depends on the amount.
01:04:25: <LostBurner> Average of the number of coins needed for each of the first ten integers
01:04:50: <LostBurner> current way: 2.6
01:04:16: <Mac-arena> And actually, we're thinking about it wrong.
01:04:35: <Mac-arena> You wouldn't necessarily have to give the seller anything. If it cost 9 cents, say, they could give you three -3s.
01:04:52: <Mac-arena> Though if it cost two cents, you could give them a +2.
01:05:47: <LostBurner> Mac-arena: the idea is an interesting thought experiment, but it's entirely implossible.
01:06:51: <LostBurner> (impossible and implausible)
01:07:03: <LostBurner> hehe, I could see cops citing you for dumping your neg3s
01:08:23: <LostBurner> I just remembered the blank media tax for supposed intended piracy
01:08:24: <LostBurner> grr
01:09:40: <Mac-arena> Ooooh. Suppose you paid your taxes in negative money.
01:09:54: <Mac-arena> Send them a box full of -3s.
01:10:18: <Catfish_Man> they'd just send it back with more :P
01:10:25: <Mac-arena> Hahaha. True.
01:10:29: <Catfish_Man> hell, they'd charge taxes by shipping you -3s
```

### One Response to “A thought experiment: Negative money”

1. Simone Manganelli Says:

Hahahaha. Wow. *wipes tear* That’s brilliant, and just hilarious that you guys took it away for so long.

Man, I wish _I_ thought of that!

— Simone

Do not delete the second sentence.