Scotland Decides: Currency Debate Is Sparse on Imagination

Through Jo Young of the Edinburgh Entrepreneurship Club I followed Twitter to an article from a publication called “The Conversation” on “Scotland Decides ’14: The Conversation Expert Panel”. There are a series of online debates to be posted. The first one, much to my chagrin, was on the currency issue. If these end up being interesting, I’ll follow them and comment on them a bit.

Here are a list of participants from the panel from the article:

Michael Keating, University of Aberdeen

A professor of politics at Aberdeen, Michael Keating is also a part-time professor at the University of Edinburgh. Keating has advised local governments in Scotland and Canada, the Scottish government, the Scottish parliament and the European Commission. He is also director of the Scottish Centre for Constitutional Change, a consortium of teams from five institutions to examine the issues arising from the Scottish constitutional debate.

Karly Kehoe, Glasgow Caledonian University

A senior lecturer in history at GCU, Karly Kehoe, completed her PhD in history at the University of Glasgow in 2005. Her special areas of interest include the Scottish and Irish diasporas, the history of Catholicism and identity and citizenship in the British world. Kehoe is the managing editor of Britain and the World and was a visiting fellow of Yale’s Beinecke Library in 2012.

Lesley Riddoch, University of Strathclyde

An award-winning broadcaster, writer and journalist, Lesley Riddoch writes weekly columns for The Scotsman and Sunday Post and is a regular contributor to The Guardian, Newsnight Scotland and Scotland Tonight. Riddoch is founder and director of Nordic Horizons, a policy group that brings Nordic experts into the Scottish Parliament. She is completing a PhD at Strathclyde and Oslo Universities comparing Norway and Scotland.

David McCausland, University of Aberdeen

Head of economics at Aberdeen, David McCausland’s principal research interests are the economics of health, labour and transport; and macroeconomic modelling. In August 2010 he was appointed director of learning and teaching in the the University of Aberdeen Business School. He is also the university’s director of IT.

Jo Armstrong, University of Glasgow

Jo Armstrong is an independent economist and researcher at Glasgow University’s Centre for Public Policy for Regions (CPPR) and an honorary professor of public policy at the university’s Adam Smith Business School. She was a senior civil servant with Scottish Executive in the early 2000s. Armstrong has worked in Scotland’s oil & gas sector and has been an energy economist with RBS.

Trevor Salmon, University of Aberdeen

Trevor Salmon set up the Department of International Relations at University of St Andrews before becoming professor of international relations at Aberdeen. He also spent six years teaching at the College of Europe in Belgium and Poland. His research interests include European Union policy making and European security.

John Curtice, University of Strathclyde

One of the UK’s leading psephologists, John Curtice is professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde. He is a longstanding consultant to social attitudes research institute ScotCen, through which he co-edits the British and Scottish Social Attitudes Surveys. A regular broadcaster and contributor to newspapers, Curtice is also president of the British Polling Council and vice-chair of the Economic and Social Data Service’s Advisory Committee.

Kirsty Gunn, University of Dundee

Professor of creative writing at the University of Dundee, Kirsty Gunn was educated at Victoria University, New Zealand, and is the author of five novels. The most recent, The Big Music, was shortlisted for the James Tait Black and Impac Awards and was a Guardian Book of the Year. She previously taught creative writing at the University of Oxford.

Arthur Midwinter, University of Edinburgh

Arthur Midwinter is a visiting professor at Edinburgh’s Institute of Public Sector Accounting Research and a former professor of politics at University of Strathclyde. Midwinter is chair of Scottish Labour’s Welfare Commission which is putting together a series of proposals for the future of Scotland.

Chris Whatley, University of Dundee

Professor Chris Whatley is one of Scotland’s most distinguished historians. He is the author of the award-winning book, The Scots and the Union, which has just published its second edition this year. His main interests are in Scotland’s relationship with England and the rest of the UK, and Scottish society from the 17th century.

Kate Smith, Edinburgh Napier University

The programme leader in journalism at Edinburgh Napier, Kate Smith’s specialisms include media and politics, human rights (including food security), literary journalism and conflict reporting. She was a short-term fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, Harvard University, 2013-2014.

Neil Blain, University of Stirling

Neil Blain is director of the University of Stirling’s Media Research Institute and a director of learning and teaching in the School of Arts and Humanities. Professor Blain makes regular radio, television and press contributions. He has given evidence to various media inquiries and commissions, including appearing as a witness at Westminster and Holyrood.

Charlie Jeffery, University of Edinburgh

Professor of politics at the University of Edinburgh, Charlie Jeffrey he has advised numerous parliamentary select committees. He is research coordinator for the Economic and Social Research Council’s Future of the UK and Scotland programme. He is also chair of the UK Political Studies Association and edits the website Future of the UK and Scotland.

John McKendrick, Glasgow Caledonian University

John McKendrick is a senior lecturer at GCU. His main research interests are poverty, Scottish anti-poverty policy and children’s play. He is on the advisory group for the review of the Scottish Government’s Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation and has published Poverty in Scotland 2014: The Independence Referendum and Beyond



As you can see, the Academic Entrepreneur was not invited to the party. This has left him a tad grumpy. Not that it was the first party that he wasn’t invited to, mind you. Nor will it be the last.

But one thing is for certain: He always gets invited to the parties he throws


The Academic Entrepreneur at at Party he threw and in a bad tie he wore. He is with Anslem Fraser,  the Founder of the Chippendale International School of Furniture Design in Edinburgh, Scotland, who is quite the academic entrepreneur himself during the Accel Stanford Roundtable on Entrepreneurship Education in September of 2010.

The Academic Entrepreneur at at Party he threw and in a bad tie he wore. He is with Anslem Fraser, the Founder of the Chippendale International School of Furniture Design in Edinburgh, Scotland, who is quite the academic entrepreneur himself during the Accel Stanford Roundtable on Entrepreneurship Education in September of 2010.





The first “Debate” was on currency. You can find the article here for Scotland Decides ’14: Its all about the money as the currency debate rages on.  As the Academic Entrepreneur was not invited to this debate or series, he thought it only appropriate to crash the party and chime in, but not before providing a bit of feedback to the participants, who were as follows:


*Professor Michael Keating, University of Aberdeen

Basically he thinks the “Nationalists” have lost the argument on the currency union (being the Pound).  The Academic Entrepreneur agrees with this. He does bring up the issue of alternatives.

*Professor Jo Armstrong, University of Glasgow

A more economics-based argument, and one around monetary policy which is good. It, too, lends doubt to the GBP as the best option.

*Professor Chris Whatley, University of Dundee

He argues for the union itself in historical context. The English are justified in disallowing the use of the GBP post-independence. He doesn’t address the possibility of just keeping the Scottish Pound though.

*Professor Trevor Salmon, University of Aberdeen

An interesting political argument about how much the English actually “have high antagonism towards the Scots and Alex Salmond” and how it would be political suicide on behalf of the Prime Minister to state that he allowed the GBP to be used. The English perceive that the Scots get GBP 1200 more per head than they do, and this really angers them.


*The Academic Entrepreneur

Now its his turn.

He found the currency debate quite sparse in terms of imagination and possibility.

Of those above, only Professor Keating really addressed the possibility of a 3rd alternative, and none of them addressed the Euro.  The Academic Entrepreneur’s perspective is that hands-down, a 3rd alternative should be taken up. The GBP is not worth pursuing, and will not lead to wealth creation like a cryptocurrency could and would.

Now is the opportune time to reverse the course of action and get off of the GBP bandwagon which everyone knows is hurting the campaign of the YES side. First of all, we see the IRS in the USA and other tax authorities are trying to stop the rise of cryptocurrencies. They are claiming that they are note really currency, and thus taxed on a capital gains basis, like commodities. The Canadian cryptocurrency, the MapleCoin, tied to the Canadian Dollar, has not fared so well either. (Hint: too much control exerted).   In addition, we have the GBP / Euro argument in Scotland vs. rUK. This was cleared up today:

The government minister who said there would have to be a currency union with an independent Scotland is “totally, plainly, utterly and flatly wrong”, Nick Clegg has said.

We even have Paul Krugman out there telling people how evil cryptocurrency is and how it can’t dare replace government-issued fiat currency.  Together these comprise the perfect storm for a contrarian strategy.

Maybe is what Scotland should pursue? And right away if so.


Trying to stop the cryptocurrency movement is akin to politicians trying to stop the rise of information politics, or the rise of the internet and its influence itself. There is no stopping the growth of cryptocurrencies — sure, there may be hiccups along the way and some bumps and setbacks. But they are here to stay and will grow. So the question becomes one of “Do you want to play ball or get off the bus?  If the former, why not be an innovator? If the latter, you will be left in the dust”


So its not about the GBP or the Euro. Its about creative destruction in the Schumpeterian spirit.


Joseph Schumpeter who coined the "Creative Destruction" Theory. Speaking of which, should his face be on the new Crypto of Scotland? Maybe it should be called the "Schumpeter"?

Joseph Schumpeter who coined the “Creative Destruction” Theory. Speaking of which, should his face be on the new Crypto of Scotland? Maybe it should be called the “Schumpeter”?

In fact, in terms of deriving new policies, practices and programmes for a new Scotland, policymakers and politicians should be in the mindset of “creative destruction” and read up on Schumpeter as well as some other great philosophers, even those in their own backyard such as Adam Smith.




The Schumpeter

As discussed earlier in other blog posts of the Academic Entrepreneur’s in this Scottish Independence and Imagination Economy Series, the Scottish Nationalist Party and the YES campaign should forget the Pound and embrace the development of a new cryptocurrency that will set the standard for the world. A call should be placed to gather technologists, economists, cryptocurrency experts, traders and miners, and of course the cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, to create a new cryptocurrency for Scotland that will push the boundaries.  The universities and their research departments, such as Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, and the Hunter Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde, should be called upon for input as well. The option to embrace a current crypto, such as Dodgecoin, should also be on table. Also, there is already the Scotcoin,  a cryptocurrency based in Scotland modeled after that of another “Arc of Prosperity State”, Iceland.  Eylenda has her own game changing Auroara Coin that is, well, causing an uproar in that country.  Still anther Arc State, Ireland, has the unofficial GaelCoin. Scotland as a country can step out ahead of the game by legitimizing cryptocurrency as a national standard from a government level.


Scotcoin is an unofficial National currency of Scotland.

Scotcoin is an unofficial National currency of Scotland. Source: Scotcoin


ireland's first cryptocurrency.  the Gaelcoin, has arrived.

ireland’s first cryptocurrency. the Gaelcoin, has arrived.

Until we have a better name, let’s refer to the Scottish Cryptocurrency as The Schumpeter for now. However, it might up being the Scotcoin.  As I have mentioned before, cryptos can be printed as well and used like paper currency while driving more technology adoption amongst its users and visitors. Moreover, the Schumpeter could even be backed by some commodity in Scotland, such as land or water or even oil. Thus the Schumpeter would become the world’s first sound cryptocurrency.  Soon, Schumpeters would start being used the world over, as the facts of lower transaction costs and a commodity-backing made its way through the financial markets. Done right, this new Schumpeter currency could become the new standard of the world, and displace the US Dollar and the rising Euro, that might soon replace the dollar.  This would make the citizens of Scotland undeniably very wealthy; likely the wealthiest in the world. Hows that for the “money” issue the Academic Entrepreneur asks? Even before the currency got to that level, its dissemination and use throughout the world would create a lot of wealth people in Scotland.

An entire new banking system would arise from the Schumpeter cryptocurrency adoption and use. Virtual banks for starters would be started and grown by entrepreneurs. Forgot about the stodgy old banksters who threaten to leave if there is a currency change or an independence vote — they are almost bankrupt and will be left in the dust anyway. New ways of doing banking, including new securities laws and regulations, would arise.

Another benefit is community. Cryptocurrencies are about communities, that is what many politicians and economists, including armchair economists such as Krugman, don’t understand. Building a new cryptocurrency and market for it is also about building community in a new Scotland. Imagine a Schumpeterian community.


HURRY though. HURRY. . The public needs educated, and fast.  They don’t need to hear more wrangling over the GBP, which is a dying currency anyway. They need to hear about new possibilities and to be taught more on information technology and what a cryptocurrency is, how it could become a world leader, and what they would mean in terms of the pocketbooks. They need to understand that they will be issued X amount of Schumpeters upon independence, and how they will have an option to trade or convert their GBP holdings into this new currency, and just how that would work. They need to understand how low the transaction fees will be, and how quickly and easily they can transact online or at the physical shoppe. Tell them about virtual wallets, and how they can mine currency themselves, and how the Schumpeter is backed up by a valuable commodity such as land, water or oil. Also, they need to know the risks involved, and how the currency might go up and down in value over time, but that the more widely it is used by the their friends throughout the world (starting with the GlobalScots and the Kiltr network),  the more it will rise in value.


After all, its all about the money, isn’t it?


Thus the Academic Entrepreneur has provide you with a glimpse of what the real possibilities are for Scottish Independence – creative destruction, innovation, design, The Schumpeter, the building of an enlightened and informed community. This is the discourse lacking in the current debate.   Let’s have some imagination, shall we? More Anslem Fraser and less George Osborne.


Imagination is essential for an enlightened Scotland, as is the embracing of a Schumpeterian vision for a New Utopian State

Imagination is essential for an enlightened Scotland, as is the embracing of a Schumpeterian vision for a New Utopian State





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