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Economics Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller Examines Bitcoin in Historical Context

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Professor Robert Shiller, who received the 2013 Nobel prize in economics and is famous for the Case-Shiller Index, published an article on Monday talking about the way the allure of bitcoin fits previous attempts to reinvent money.

Historical Precedents

Economics Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller Examines Bitcoin in Historical Context

The main question Shiller was trying to answer is how cryptocurrency users can maintain a high level of enthusiasm in the face of constant warnings that it's all just a big scam. Instead of comparing bitcoin to past technological solutions, as has been done many times before, he puts it in the context of time-based and electricity-backed experimental forms of alternative money.

Putting the technology of Bitcoin on the same level as primarily political movements, he also compared it to attempts to reshape how governments and economies operate. And while novel ideas by communist and technocratic thinkers have failed, the Euro – which was devised to help unite former warring nations – is still around.

Revolutionary Zeal Is Not Enough

Economics Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller Examines Bitcoin in Historical Context

Nobel Prize Laureate Robert J. Shiller

After reviewing these past examples, Shiller explains that: "Each of these monetary innovations has been coupled with a unique technological story. But, more fundamentally, all are connected with a deep yearning for some kind of revolution in society. The cryptocurrencies are a statement of faith in a new community of entrepreneurial cosmopolitans who hold themselves above national governments, which are viewed as the drivers of a long train of inequality and war."

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