Showing posts from September, 2013

The value of a dollar

After my North Korea trip, it was pretty easy to realise that there are some problems with the current form of capitalism, and it's worth trying to identify and borrow good parts of non-capitalist systems; unfortunately, I'm not really experienced in that area (by that I mean, I know effectively nothing), so trying to improve that by reading a few recommendations on the Marxist/Leninist side of things - Das Kapital and The State and Revolution (I know, Amazon links, oh the irony).

In any case, I'm only part way through the first and making slow progress, but all the talk of commodities and the gold standard made me think about how we define currencies today. You see, way back when, coins were used to represent actual metal value - i.e. the british pound used to be the Anglo Saxon pound which was one pound weight of silver in value. This was nice in that it fixes the price of silver (i.e. a pound buys you a pound) but means that the cost of everything else varies as the me…

RtW Cities: Beijing

A small post this time for a big city: Beijing, which I was lucky to get the chance to visit on the trip back from Pyongyang, although only for a few days hence the brevity of this summary. I almost didn't post it, except it'd be worth it just to say: If you ever visit, don't get scammed! Whether it be Karaoke, or Tea/Art rooms, or Taxis, or...unless you look like a local, you'll be treated as a tourist, and a target for one of the many scams that are waiting for you. Even after making the mistake of not researching travel costs and falling for an un-metered taxi scam when first arriving, the second time we went from the airport to the city we asked the uniformed airport official at the front of the queue for an unmetered taxi, yet he still led us to a driver with the special 'laminated price', at which point we bailed, took our luggage back out from the boot and tried again.
Sorry, rant over. Just after a week in Pyongyang, entering a country where you'll…