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Electricity is time-critical infrastructure, like railways: It has to work and it has to work all the time.

Air travel is not, for the most part, time-critical infrastructure: You do not have cascading failure or other highly non-linear, highly inelastic costs of brief interruptions in service. So a system that imitates air miles will not necessarily work for electricity.

Furthermore, air miles are not a currency in the sense that you seem to imply. For one, they are not really convertible. For another, their primary function is neither as a store of value or as a means of transaction.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jan 1st, 2010 at 02:59:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
Electricity is time-critical infrastructure, like railways: It has to work and it has to work all the time.

Air travel is not, for the most part, time-critical infrastructure: You do not have cascading failure or other highly non-linear, highly inelastic costs of brief interruptions in service. So a system that imitates air miles will not necessarily work for electricity.

I did not say anything about imitation of Air Miles.

The point about unitisation is that it makes payment, and the securing of price, entirely discrete from the securing of supply.

An Air Mile is redeemable in payment for air travel provided by a supplier who is a member of the system, in accordance with system rules.

An electricity Unit is redeemable in payment for electricity supplied by a producer who is a member of the system, in accordance with system rules.

Electricity Units already exist - and work - in the US as a prototype in paper form, and were recently launched in Holland as an electronic currency.

JakeS:

Furthermore, air miles are not a currency in the sense that you seem to imply. For one, they are not really convertible. For another, their primary function is neither as a store of value or as a means of transaction.

I didn't say either Air Miles or Club Card points were convertible/fungible: both are proprietary currencies.

I only say that anyone capable of understanding Air Miles or possessing (say) a Tesco Club Card is capable of understanding the concept of a Unit redeemable in exchange for value. The problem is that people are looking for complexities that are not there.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Jan 3rd, 2010 at 07:28:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
air miles don't give you a plane ticket when you need it, but when it's available, and subject to variously painful conditions.

Unless you"re suggesting that we go to a world where electricity is only available erratically and unpredictably, and that we use it only when it's actually there, the comparison makes no sense.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jan 3rd, 2010 at 08:58:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Securing supply is distinct from securing price.

What part of 'redeemable in payment for value supplied' is so difficult to understand?

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Jan 3rd, 2010 at 11:29:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't say either Air Miles or Club Card points were convertible/fungible: both are proprietary currencies.

Air miles is fundamentally not a currency. It's a kickback. The institutional support structure that maintains it is kept in working order because it's backed by the marketing department of a major corporation.

It's not a way to build a monetary system - it's a tool to introduce principal/agent problems in other organisations.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jan 3rd, 2010 at 09:31:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
Air Miles is fundamentally not a currency

Air Miles - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Air Miles UK

In the UK, Air Miles has eight million customers.[1] Airmiles can be collected through Lloyds TSB Airmiles Duo Credit Card accounts, Shell petrol stations, Tesco supermarkets, Southern Electric, travel products, package holidays bought in cash from Air Miles and over 100 online retailers.

The Air Miles UK website also provides an online shopping portal to a number of UK retailer partners also eBay.co.uk and Currys. Registered collectors can access retailers' websites via Air Miles Online Shopping and can collect points on purchases.

Airmiles can be redeemed for free flights with British Airways and other airlines, Eurostar and ferry crossings, cruises, hotel accommodation, car hire, travel insurance, package holidays, spa & golf breaks and UK leisure activities.

While Air Miles may not be exchangeable between customers - although as far as I know they can be used to provide tickets or benefits for other people - I would suggest that they are a very long way down the road to being a currency.

Although of course I never said thet are a currency. All of this nit-picking serves to distract from the main point.

What part of....

"Unit redeemable in payment for value supplied"

....is actually so difficult to understand for the average punter, do you think?

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Jan 3rd, 2010 at 11:44:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ChrisCook:
Although of course I never said thet are a currency

...other than a 'proprietary currency' which you may argue is an oxymoron, and I would not disagree.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Jan 3rd, 2010 at 11:52:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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