Friday, October 3, 2008

Holy Mackerel: An Economic Fish Story

For decades, economists have studied the spontaneous development in prisons of various commodities as money. The gold standard has always been cigarettes (Even in POW camps during World War II). Now that many prisons ban cigarettes, other commodities are being used as currency. Mackrrel seems to be emerging as the money/commodity of choice.

Justin Scheck at WSJ has this fascinating fish story, here. It even appears that the decline in the dollar has impacted the dollar/pouch of mackerel exchange rate. A pouch used to cost $1, now a pouch of mackerel sells for more than $1 in most commissaries.

-Robert Wenzel

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