A Very Square Peg: A Podcast Series about Polymath Robert Eisler. Episode 6: Negative Interest

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Warning: Economics. In this episode, we begin with Eisler’s testimony before the skeptical Senators of the Committee on Banking and Currency in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 1934, in which he proposed that the nation adopt a dual currency system to control inflation and end the Great Depression. I (a non-economist) talk about what this means with noted economist Miles Kimball, who has recently brought renewed attention to Eisler’s plan in his own work. We also learn about Eisler’s theory of who actually wrote what we call the Gospel of John, talk with Steven Wasserstrom about Eisler’s brief involvement with Carl Jung and the Eranos Conference, and interpret a “dream poem” that Eisler recorded at his mother’s house in 1936.

Guests: Guests: Miles Kimball (The University of Colorado-Boulder), Steven Wasserstrom (Reed College).

Voice of Robert Eisler: Caleb Crawford

Additional voices: Brian Evans

Music: “Shibbolet Baseda,” recorded by Elyakum Shapirra and His Israeli Orchestra.

Funding provided by the Ohio University Humanities Research Fund and the Ohio University Honors Tutorial College Internship Program.

Special thanks to the Warburg Institute.

Bibliography and Further Reading

Buiter, Willem H. “Is Numérairology the Future of Monetary Economics? Unbundling Numéraire and Medium of Exchange Through a Virtual Currency and a Shadow Exchange Rate.” NBER Working Papers 12839. National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc., 2007. DOI:10.3386/w12839.

Buiter, Willem H. and Panigirtzoglou, Nikolaos. “Overcoming the Zero Bound: Gesell vs. Eisler. Discussion of Mitsuhiro Fukao’s “The Effects of ‘Gesell’ (Currency) Taxes in Promoting Japan’s Economic Recovery.International Economics and Economic Policy 2, no. 2/3 (2005): 189-200.

Eisler, Robert. The Enigma of the Fourth Gospel. London: Methuen & Co., 1938.

———. Stable Money: The Remedy for the Economic World Crisis: A Programme of Financial Reconstruction for the International Conference. London: The Search Publishing Co., Ltd., 1932.

———. This Money Maze: A Way Out of the Economic World Crisis. London: The Search Publishing Co., Ltd., 1931.

———. Das Geld: Seine geschichtliche Entstehung und gesellschaftliche Bedeutung. Munich: Diatypie, 1924.

Eisler, Robert and Alec Wilson. The Money Machine: A Simple Introduction to the Eisler Plan. London: The Search Publishing Co., Ltd., 1933.

Gold Reserve Act of 1934: Hearings Before the Committee on Banking and Currency, United States Senate, Seventy-Third Congress, Second Session on S. 2366: A Bill to Protect the Currency System of the United States, to Provide for the Better Use of the Monetary Gold Stock of the United States, and for Other Purposes, Revised January 19-23, 1934. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1934

Hakl, Hans Thomas. Eranos: An Alternative Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013.

Keynes, John Maynard, Paul R. Krugman, and Robert Jacob Alexander Skidelsky. The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Kimball, Miles. “Pro Gauti Eggertsson.” Confessions of a Supply Side Liberal. June 27, 2016. Last Accessed July 7, 2020.

Wasserstrom, Steven M. Religion after Religion: Gershom Scholem, Mircea Eliade, and Henry Corbin at Eranos. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.

Follow us on Twitter: @averysquarepeg

Associate Professor Brian Collins is the Drs. Ram and Sushila Gawande Chair in Indian Religion and Philosophy at Ohio University. He can be reached at collinb1@ohio.edu.

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