Money, Printing of Currency Notes, Inflation (contd)

30/06/2010

Excerpt from the manuscript “What Ails Indian Economy?”

Coinage is said to have been invented by the Chinese only around 700 BC. Paper currency is believed to have been invented, again, by the Chinese only around the 11thcentury AD. For trade between countries, even as late as 16th century AD, barter system was used.

At present Indian currency notes are issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)/Ministry of Finance (central government). If more money is required more currency notes could be issued by the RBI and the government could borrow from them. Under the heading INTERNAL DEBT, it was seen that the per capita debt of the government is only Rs.8000 in India, while it is Rs.860, 000 in USA and Rs.1500 000 in Japan. To start with, Government could borrow an additional amount of Rs.100, 000 per head. The total per capita debt would go up to only Rs.108,000 which is just about 12% of per capita debt in USA and about 7% of per capita debt in Japan. By the additional borrowing, the government can mobilize capital of Rs. 1,00,00,000 crores. At an average wage rate of Rs.70 per head in rural areas,( the wage rate per day for a male worker is Rs.50- 70 and for female worker, it isRs.25-30 and for a supervisor around Rs.100 in states like Tamilnadu), this amount will be sufficient to pay wages for about 140000 crores man days. But under the heading EXCESS POPULATION/ LABOUR, for the massive works, the estimated man-days of labour required is only 5165 crores (51650 million). After meeting expenses on wages, there will be large amount of money which can be used for purchase of all the required materials, tools, etc, as also for undertaking other works.

If Japan and USA can manage with large internal debt, there is no reason why India cannot mange with much lower internal debt of Rs.108000 per head. All consequences of inflation etc. have to be tackled as and when they rise, but in anticipation and fear of inflation, internal borrowings need not be limited to the abysmally low figure, thereby depriving the people of work and means of livelihood. Fear of inflation should also not lead to the country’s GDP remaining at a very low level- among the lowest in the world.

From the above it is clear that there is no real shortage of capital and money in the country for undertaking huge projects and for providing buying power to the people

(written about 10 years ago)

(to be continued.)

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Money, Printing of Currency Notes, Inflation (continued)

30/06/2010

Excerpt from the manuscript “What Ails Indian Economy?”

“In fact, any product, commodity or service acquires value because of the demand. Today, a music system may cost about Rs.50,000. If tomorrow, people are no longer interested in music or there are other ways of listening to music, the music system loses its value. The value of any product or commodity is based on the importance people attach to it, particularly if it is not an essential item like food, clothing and shelter. …..

To understand better, what money is, it would be useful to have some background information. Direct barter system was used in the olden days. It was possible then, as the requirements of the people were limited to, may be food, clothing and shelter. It would not have been very difficult for a person, to locate….. For example in the olden days a person would have grown cereals on his land. The other person would have grown vegetables and a third person would have grown fruits etc. all in the same locality. People knew each other well and the person who wanted to exchange his cereals with vegetables would not have had any difficulty in locating the person who had vegetables to dispose of and at the same time needed cereals.

Sometimes, people had products to dispose of, but they did not need to buy anything at that time. They therefore needed to keep something in exchange for their products. This something has come to be called the money. People used to keep their money in the form of land, cattle, grains and later in gold, silver, copper etc.

In order that goods and services are disposed of and acquired without much discussions, there is need to express their values. Earlier people might have expressed the value in terms of land, grains or cattle or other domesticated animals. People would have talked of wages of a worker in terms of units (weight or volume) of grain. They would have talked of value of some area of land in terms of cattle-10 cows or 20 cows etc. But now the value of goods and services are talked of in terms of currency -rupees or pounds or dollars or euros etc.

People are willing to exchange valuable goods and services for printed small sheets of paper- currency notes, because they know that other people would accept these papers in exchange for their goods. The currency notes thus acquire value. The same is true of gold…….

 (to be continued)