The economics of babysitting
Debunking Economics - the podcastMarch 20, 2024x
31:3043.38 MB

The economics of babysitting

One analogy that economists like to use is that of the Capitol Hill Babysitting cooperative in Washington DC in the 1970s. Government workers set-up a babysitting group, where they to it in turns to babysit each other’s children, so they could enjoy nights out without paying for childcare. There were quite a few on the group, so payment was formalised through the issuance of scrip. Economists like it because it mirrors a monetary system and suffers some of the pitfalls and problems faced in the economy at large. For example, the system quickly stopped functioning because some members would horde scrips, leaving others with none, and unable to go out for the night. The short-term fix was to issue more scrip, to get over this liquidity problem. Steve is concerned about drawing too many conclusions from such a microcosm, but it does seem curious how government workers are okay with issuing more Scrip for babysitters, but don’t see the need to expand the money supply in the broader economy.

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