Comment: How it really works

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How it really works

Imagine Tony Soprano needs some operating capital. He goes around selling IOU's at a discount to face value. Call them "T-bonds" (T for Tony). He does not force anyone to buy them. He sells to anyone. If someone asks how Tony intends to pay them back, he mumbles, "Full faith and credit," which means he is going to get it from protection-racket payments - shakedowns. Tony could sell the T-bonds for dollars, Italian suits, or gold, but he prefers to invent his own money. Here's how that works.

Tony knows a guy named Benny ("The Ink") Burnano who owns a printing press. Tony works a deal with Benny. Benny prints "protection credits" with numbers and pictures of famous dead gangsters on them. Tony lets his protection-racket "customers" know he accepts the protection-credits as payment. Benny trades the newly printed protection-credits to Tony for some T-bonds. Tony can then use the protection-credits to buy real goods and services, and not only from those he is shaking down. The protection-credits have value because if a customer gives enough of them to Tony, said customer avoids a beating. The credits become valuable to everybody, because some people can use them to avoid getting beaten.

Every now and then, Tony and Benny burn up some of the IOU's and credits. It is a kind of ritual. Tony returns some credits to Benny; Benny gives some T-bonds back to Tony, and they both set fire to the paper. No matter. They can always print more IOU's and credits.

Tony also dutifully pays off the T-bonds to other people who bought them. He pays in protection-credits of course. Sweet deal.

The number of IOU's and credits in circulation grows in proportion to Tony's greed.

The racket can go on and on, as long as long as there are enough working people who are afraid of the beatings.

Ĵīɣȩ Ɖåđşŏń

"Fully half the quotations found on the internet are either mis-attributed, or outright fabrications." - Abraham Lincoln