Ep. 80: George Selgin on monetary economics and cryptocurrency.

April 1, 2022
Trent Fowler

Watch our interview with George Selgin on Youtube.

George Selgin is a senior fellow and director emeritus of the the Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives at the Cato Institute and professor emeritus of economics at the University of Georgia. His research covers a broad range of topics within the field of monetary economics, including monetary history, macroeconomic theory, and the history of monetary thought.


Questions Covered

How does the economy work, and what do most people get wrong in thinking through economic issues? 

  • The single biggest thing people get wrong about economics is a failure to appreciate the notion of spontaneous order. Many things which we believe must be provided by the state could be adequately handled by a market. 

Where does money come from? Can money come from a market, or must it be created and administered by the state?

  • There is plenty of historical and theoretical evidence that the market can select the best money in a given society. 

What is a central bank digital currency?

  • Central bank digital currencies are tokens just like bitcoin or Ethereum, but administered by a central bank such as the Federal Reserve. 

Are central bank digital currencies a good idea? 

  • Dr. Selgin thinks CBDCs are a bad idea, and that the Federal Reserve isn't particularly interested in pursuing them. Though he favors competition in currencies, the fact the the Fed is handicapping private stablecoins by making it difficult to access the dollar settlement system it runs and the fact that it has a great deal of regulatory clout means that it isn't competing in anything like a level playing field. 
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