Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bad money drives out good money

King Henry VIII invented a method to increase the government’s income without raising taxes. He ordered the English shilling to be minted with 40% of the silver replaced by base metals. This was discovered by the people and the good shilling was driven out of circulation becoming a collector’s item for its true value. The result is known as Gresham’s Law: Bad money drives out Good.

When Sir Thomas Gresham explained his findings to Queen Elizabeth I, Henry VIII’s daughter, she called in the bad shillings her father minted, melted them down, extracted the silver and minted pure silver shillings. The bad money was eliminated and soon the pure silver shilling became the most sought after coin internationally leading England to become the super power of the world for many centuries thereafter.

It appears today fake Feng Shui practices drive out true Feng Shui practices. It is not easy to find a Queen Elizabeth I to restore good Feng Shui practices as the desire of living in a good environment cannot compete with the wishful thinking of getting rich instantly. It is even more difficult as such promotional slogans like "Burying in Yin (year) will result in getting rich in Mao (year) 寅葬卯发" were used by so-called "Great Feng Shui Masters" and people never questioned the credibility. It becomes almost a religious slogan and those who doubt this claim are looked upon as "not knowing genuine Feng Shui secrets" outsiders.

JY

34 comments:

Monica said...

Reminds me of the folks in the mountains who handle poisonous snakes and claim those who are bitten simply did not have enough faith. Power hungry people will always find a way to control others.

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Joseph,


Gresham's law is interesting, but let's not forget it works because people prefer the good coins over the bad ones.
So if people have two currencies in their pocket, they will always try to spend the bad currency first. That way they can save the good coins.
Even nowadays, if you have both Zimbabwe Dollars and Swiss Francs in your account, which currency will you try to get rid of first?

It should also be noted that the British empire grew and reached its peak long after it introduced paper money in the late 1600s.
Paper notes have even less intrinsic value than debased coins.

***

Anyway.
If some queen Elizabeth appears to restore good feng shui practices.
How she will determine what are good and what are bad feng shui practices?
On what basis?


Danny

Mary Catherine Bax said...

Dear Joseph,

Your students in Chile are safe from a devastating earthquake.

I believe those wonderful souls gladly prefer living in a good environment than instant riches right now. Who can compete with that?

Mary
www.marybax.com

fengshuiarchitect said...

Hi Joseph,

The lesson I learned from your story is that bad fS drove out good FS because the public don't know what is good FS and what is bad FS.

The good FS practitioners failed to explain what is goof FS, how good FS works in practice and how to tell good FS from bad FS.

So how do you expect people to prefer good FS if they don't know what it is and how to tell the difference?

It is time to answer Danny's question, "On what basis?" That is one way we can establish a good FS standard.

fsa
htty://howardchoy.worpress.com

Joseph Yu said...

Hi Danny and Howard,

Let me quote the judge in the Nina Wang's Estate case, "Even though Fung Shui is not a science, Mr. Yu developed his Fung Shui theory by making use of mathematical methods and his own logical deductions. It is not my function to adjudicate whether such an approach is sound. But there is no evidence that his approach is shared by many practitioners in Hong Kong."

His last statement is actually a hasty conclusion just because the serious Fung Shui masters in Hong Kong are working quietly and not popular. However, it also verifies Gresham's law when applied to Fung Shui.

Fung Shui masters prefer good Fung Shui and pass it on to only few disciples whereas bad Fung Shui practices were invented to fool the public. As people can easily apply bad Fung Shui and money can be made, good Fung Shui is driven out of the market.

Paper money was pegged to a gold standard until World War II. Danny is not right to say that paper notes have even less intrinsic value than debased coins. After the war, the value of money becomes more complicated but there is a system governing the amount of money printed.

Copernicus and Galileo were condemned for their scientific work but do we know what is good science today? I am not that pessimistic as I can see how my teaching is welcomed in the west. Perhaps I should start teaching in the Chinese language too.

When more unethical and even illegal practices are found, what is good and what is bad will be clear.

JY

Howard said...

Hi Joseph,

Thanks for the feedback, but what is good FS and what is bad FS? How does good FS work in practice? How can the public tell good FS from bad FS?

You mentioned logic and mathematics, how do they fit in? What are the standards for good and serious FS?

If you could have defined them clearly in court, may be then the public and the judge can tell the difference and be able to make a choice.

fsa
http://howardchoy.wordpress.com

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Joseph, Howard,


Whenever the paper money was on a gold standard, then the debased coins where on gold standard too, because it always took fixed number of shillings to buy one pound.
The intrinsic value of paper notes is the value of the paper, the intrinsic value of the coins is the value of the metals in it.
Needless to argue which has higher intrinsic value.
You can read the history of the Pound here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pound_Sterling

Basically their entire expansion into British Empire has come with a steady and gradual debasement of the currency, not thanks to the 100% silver shilling coins.

***

As for "standards" in feng shui, better have a look at the dictionary meaning of standard.
Here are the two that are relevant for us:
---
1) A basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated.
2) The ideal in terms of which something can be judged.
---

The bottom line is simple: without any agreed upon standards in feng shui it is not possible to evaluate or judge something as good or bad fengshui principle.
Then any such judgment is only the subjective opinion of one person.
Other people may disagree with it.

***

Gresham's law only applies to currencies.
For products and services other economic principles apply:
If a better product (or service) is sold at the same price as a worse product, then the worse product will be driven out of the market.

What sells better, the taperecorder or the iPod?
A few people may still buy taperecorders, but it is not because of Gresham's law.

Whenever a better product does not take most of the market, then it is usually for one of three reasons:
1) the better product is more expensive, and the extra price is not worth it in the eye of most customers.
2) the public has not been convinced that the product is "better"
3) people knowingly keep buying the worse product because there is a good reason to do so. (E.g. old software may not work on an Apple computer so people stick to Windows PC, the worse product)

***

If the "good" practices in fengshui do not take most of the market, then one has to wonder why.
It is not because of Gresham's law.
The customer is always right.
He tries to save the best coins, and when spending money he tries to get the best product for his money.


Danny

Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny,

The invention of paper money pegged to gold is to use good money to replace bad money. Gresham's law refers to the money used before the introduction of gold standard paper money. The concept of paper money was the result of restoring the value of the silver coin. Your statement "Basically their entire expansion into British Empire has come with a steady and gradual debasement of the currency, not thanks to the 100% silver shilling coins." is basically wrong.

Bad paper money also appeared in history plenty of times like the "Golden Yuan Note 金圓帣" pushed by the Republic of China in 1948 leading to the "liberation" of China mainland. Good money was driven out of the market by political force. It has nothing to do with the value of the paper used to print the banknotes. This is not by definition the intrinsic value of the money.

JY

Joseph Yu said...

Hi Danny and Howard,

I don't think there is a need for a standard as Feng Shui knowedge is forever growing. Like in economics, we have the Chicago school and many other schools. Theories from different can be criticized and discussed.

What is important today is not to set a standard but to set up schools to teach according to the theories provided by ancient masters with improvement. Different schools should communicate and exchange ideas. Different schools should also respect their differences.

Obviously there will be a lot more good ideas to work towards eliminating dishonest and unethical practices.

JY

Howard said...

Hi Joseph and Danny,

Nowadays, money by itself is not worth anything, it is just a piece of paper, it is the agreed value and the standard we give it and adhere to our agreements in an ethical way that makes it workable.

Feng Shui is the same, if we don't give it a definition, a standard and a value and adhere to our agreements ethically, then it is just hot air and could be anything we like.

No wonder the judge and the public cannot tell what is good Feng Shui from what is bad Feng Shui because it is never been defined and explained properly.

fsa

Howard said...

Hi Joseph,

To minimize further confusions, when you said bad Feng Shui pushed out good Feng Shui, I interpreted it as bad Feng Shui practices pushed out good Feng Shui practcies, and when I said we need a standard for good Feng Shui, I mean we need a standard for good Feng Shui practices, because good Feng Shui and bad Feng Shui as an environmental response is always partially subjective and difficult to define and set a standard, but not the practice of Feng Shui.

fsa

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Joseph,


Originally a British pound was really one pound weight (~450 grams) of silver.
Today it takes no less than 164 GBP to buy the same 450 grams of silver.
And you want to argue that the pound has not been gradually debased throughout the centuries?

And that gradual debasement has not come just in the last century, it has been ongoing as anyone who reads the history of the pound can verify.

They had all kind of clever ways to do so.
The story you brought is one of them. The people refused the coins with only 33% silver, but then new penny coins were issued that were again in sterling silver but much smaller than the previous ones (only 8 "grains" instead of 12 grains previously, and 22.5 grains originally).
The result was that during this Tudor era one pound of silver could be used to mint 60 shillings worth of coins.
(and originally one pound = 20 shillings)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_pound#Tudor
No ongoing debasement you say?

***

As for paper money, this page offers some great pictures of people realizing the intrinsic value of currency notes:
http://moneytipcentral.com/inflation-in-america-what-will-hyperinflation-look-like

***

It is good to bring historic examples to make a case, but it never looks good to bring a very twisted version of the known facts.
Also there a minimum of accuracy is needed.


Danny

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Joseph, Howard,


Standards in a field is possible only if there is a "core" of principles and theories that have been proven or have become accepted by everyone in the field.

That's what sets e.g. economics apart from fengshui. Economics does have core principles and methods that are not contested. And that's why they are a discipline taught in universities.
The presence of ever more new theories and "economic schools" that are not agreed or proven yet is not a problem, even physics has many such theories.

***

It is easy to talk about "Different schools should also respect their differences..."
But I don't see that respect when other approaches are quickly branded "bad feng shui practice" without giving any proof or evidence why.

It is equally easy to talk about "eliminating dishonest and unethical practices"
But whose standards of honesty and ethics are going to be used to judge?

Some people consider it dishonest and unethical to charge sizable fees for "cures" which have never been proven to be effective.
There is something to say for that.
By their criteria we should then eliminate our own fengshui practices as well? Or bring the proofs?

Any ideas about what is "good" or "bad" feng shui practice, about what is honest or what is unethical... , all these are going to be very arbitrary questions if the field has no standards (and is not even willing to do what it takes to try to create them).
Then it is no any different from e.g. a catholic complaining that the protestants are praying in a "bad" way, and their priests getting married is "unethical".

In such subjective fields the only reasonable principle is that everyone is free to practice his 'art' in any way he wants, as long as he doesn't break any laws of the country.

And if my "art paintings" do not sell well, then it is not reasonable to blame Gresham's law for the fact that my colleague's "inferior" paintings are selling like pancakes.
That's only a blame game.
Then I better ponder the quality of my marketing, or the quality of my product.


Danny

Howard said...

Hi Danny,

I am glad you can see finally that there is a need for core principles and standards if Feng Shui is going to be something worthwhile. Lets work towards that.

fsa

Mary Catherine Bax said...

Dear Howard, Joseph and Danny,

The core principles and standards for Feng Shui can be found in the introduction of Sun Tzu's Art of War:

The Moral Law - complete accord with their ruler
Heaven - time
Earth - space
The Commander - the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence,courage and strictness
Methods and Discipline

As to Danny's comment

"And if my "art paintings" do not sell well, then it is not reasonable to blame Gresham's law for the fact that my colleague's "inferior" paintings are selling like pancakes.
That's only a blame game.
Then I better ponder the quality of my marketing, or the quality of my product."

If this is reference to Joseph, I believe you have underestimated him. Joseph may have well mastered the Art of War in his knowledge of Qi Men Dun Jia.

Mary
www.marybax.com

Antje said...

Hi Mary,

Here you can find Danny´s "art paintings":
http://www.imagekind.com/MemberProfile.aspx?MID=215cf9fd-2566-4fbe-b724-483d50293454

My "inferior pics" are also linked with him. Though unfortunately not selling like pancakes...
BTW as I painted some "weapons of women" pics I labeled them as "adult content". but my pics are not meant as an attack... :-)

Hope this helps.

Antje
www.schwaericke.de

Antje said...

Dear Joseph,

"What is important today is not to set a standard but to set up schools to teach according to the theories provided by ancient masters with improvement. Different schools should communicate and exchange ideas. Different schools should also respect their differences."

Some questions:

1.) Which schools do you mean?
2.) How should it look like practically to exchange ideas?

So far teachers in the West normally use to sell their knowledge mainly and it´s officially not freely available for public discussions. So how to discuss the content of different schools when the structure of the Feng Shui school system is against that?

Antje
www.schwaericke.de

Howard said...

Hi Antje,

We can only try our best to communicate, both Joseph and I are teachers and we do talk to each other in a civilized manner, trying our best to exchange ideas.

Make sure you are free from 9-12 November this year, the Berlin symposium on Kanyu Feng Shui and the Built Environment will take place in Humbolt University and many of the world's top Feng Shui academics will be there, hosted by Prof Florian Reiter of the university's Chinese Department.

Hope to see you there.

Howard

Antje said...

Hi Howard,

Thank you very much for the invitation. I try my best to be able to attend the symposium. Guess a university is a great place for discussing Feng Shui. Funny, just two days ago I had a short talk with my formerly prof about Feng Shui. During a university project initiated by him was also my very first time when I stumbled on Feng Shui during a project about office design concepts.

I personally don´t consider the internet as a good place for discussions as the personal appearance is always missing. It´s quite interesting i.e. as I know you all 3 - Joseph, Danny and you in person and then I read you communication. Smileys definitely do not replace real smiles... :-)

Antje

Howard said...

Hi Antje,

What you said is very true, the human "sheng qi" is missing in written words. I have met you and Joseph, so when I write to you both, there is something "elastic" in the words I can hold onto. I have never met Danny, so the same words used seem like "wires", very hard and dead.

For this reason, I always try to teach and do Feng Shui face to face. If a picture is worth a thousand words then a face to face encounter must be worth millions!

Howard

Antje said...

Hi Howard,

I´m actually pretty sure that Danny and you would get along pretty well when meeting in person. :-)
It often happens that when people don´t know anything (background, tone of voice etc.) about the person behind some letters on a screen words are even more easily totally misinterpreted.

Meeting a teacher in person is surely much better to get an impression than reading a book from the teacher only. But better to read a book than not learning anything at all... Money plays a role too of course.
But I think the advantage of teaching in person is a lot more for the teacher also - to be in interaction with the students. When the teacher explains something face to face he usually immediately gets some feedback - at least via the face/eyes of the students if they understand or not. When giving out books only there is mostly not much interaction with the reader/student. That might be more boring for the teacher.

Antje

Howard said...

Hi Antje,

I use to do a little bit of acting, and theatre work is much more demanding but also more rewarding than acting in front of the camera. You really have to know your lines and your character, there is no second chance and you will know straight away if you are doing well or not by the audience's reaction.

For the same reason, I find face-face teaching much more enjoyable and challenging, but like theatre, it makes less money. I am not very goodat making money, because when you think about it, e-learning is like selling a book at a higher price and you only have to do the work once.

As for Danny, I am not sure, something has been spoiled already, I have no desire to meet him, but that is only my emotion speaking, I am sure my intellect will get the better of me.

Nice chatting to you, may be we should have another cup of coffee soon now that Spring is coming (sort of!)

Howard.

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi all,


What my comment about "art paintings" meant is quite simple.

If fengshui is purely an "art", in which nothing can be proven or dis-proven by science, a completely subjective field..
Then we have to accept the implications of being an "art".
That means that any "style" or "form" of the given art has to be accepted and everyone is free to practice an art in any way he wants, as long as he doesn't violate the laws of his country.
People can also invent new styles as much as they want.
That's the reality in any "art" or subjective field.

And then there is no objective standard to judge "good" and "bad" practice, because in "art" it's a matter of taste, and it is not possible to argue about different taste.
Complaining that "bad" services are driving "good" services out of the market is then nothing but a case of sour grapes.

***

The other alternative is to attain to objective standards, by which different practices in the field can be judged. That's what Howard has been talking about, and what the judge in the NW case hinted at.

But, as soon as we start looking in what it will take to create such standard, Howard balks at it.
But where will the standards come from, if not from an objective study into what are the valid principles and what is the superstitious rubbish.?
Maybe Howard hopes to climb mount Sinai and come down with ten clay tablets that have the standards of fengshui on them.
And all of us will then fall to our knees and accept them without further question..?
I don't think that will cook in the 21st century.

***

This is what I have been saying for about ten years.
So, I guess Howard is trying to be ironic with his comment that I finally see it.
I have been always been verifying and testing the things I do with astrology or i ching. And people on the lists know how often I have shared some of my research and experiments.
I set my own standards when it comes to my own work, and that's enough for me.
Nobody should be wasting his life trying to enforce his standards on everybody in the field. That's what politicians do, and they are always a failure.

If good standards are found and formulated somewhere, then they will be copied and used by others spontaneously. It's only a matter of time.

Over time good standards drive out the bad standards.
Just like in nature, the moon can block the light of the sun only temporarily.



Danny

Howard said...

Hi Danny,

LOL.

Howard

joey said...

everyone claims to test things, but then get different rsults from others.
If your way of testing things is like in "the shortest man in the world" in which being born in Wei month when wood is buried,therefore no growth, thn I should deduce people born in Wei month are short...like David Hasselhof??

Fourpillars.net said...

First you need to understand what a test is.

The "shortest man" is only a study case, it proves nothing.
But when you collect many study cases, then it can become research giving evidence for certain tendencies.
Test is still something different.
Test is when you apply it in practice, not after the facts, and see how it works out.

So there is study cases, there is research, and there is "test".
Through the years, I have been bringing more than my fair share in each of them.

Practitioners can complain that "bad" feng shui is driving "good" feng shui out of the market.
But that makes no sense if the practitioners of "good" feng shui are unwilling or unable to produce any evidence that their practice is the "good" one.
Then they have nobody to blame but themselves for the situation.

If the calabash works much better than the three legged toad, then a simple test with a sufficient control group of people will be able to establish that.
That doesn't need to be a big group. For example in intitial clinical trials for medicines the test group is often no more 20 to 50 people.
It can be done quite easily.

So one has to wonder why the feng shui practitioners are not doing it. They chose to continue to suffer from "bad practices" driving them out of the market, rather than doing what is needed to set the standards that would drive out those bad practices.
Weird.
It is like a farmer complaining about too much weeds in his garden, but the hoe is lying on his table, unused.

Maybe the Chinese are living too much by the "don't break anybody's rice bowl" principle.


Danny

Antje said...

Hi Howard,

I think using the so called "Social Media" like blogs etc. is like acting on a stage behind the curtain/screen. The audience is somehow there but one cannot watch into the faces and the reaction of the majority of people is unfortunately unknown. But therefore nobody can throw tomatoes :-) But also no applause... :-)

Some cup of coffee under the spring sun would be fine with me.

Concerning the standards for Feng Shui it might be worth to have a look at how they do it for design. If design is good or bad can also not be measured by a machine - so they are using other options for evaluation.
As I told already I recently met my formerly teacher Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, the initiator of the red dot design award. Few years ago he also has been the president of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid). The red dot award has become quite a standard evaluation within the design field. In de West design is considered as part of business strategy so is Feng Shui in the East. Maybe that´s something to have a closer look at.

BTW there exists now the Mind and Brain School in Berlin, an institute of Humboldt university since few years. They try to bring together philosophics and psychology, neurology etc. Not sure yet if it would be possible to get some parts of Chinese Metaphysics into that. Guess that´s the harder part...

Antje

PS. I do see that there is some ongoing prob between Danny and you. But can only make some guesses about the reasons...

Howard said...

Hi Antje,

I will contact you and as for Danny, no worries...

Howard

joey said...

Master Yu wborn on Ji Chou day, one of the condemned pillars. That means he will end up poor. I checked other people with the 10 pairs of condemned and it appears to be true

http://www.wofs.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=2&topic=21866.0

joey said...

thank god the people who said this were wrong. It is the ancient books which say so. Queen Elizabeth is Jia Chen and didnt end up poor from what ive seen, nor many others according to a study done by another member.How come the scriptures got it so wrong?

leegiat 理解 said...

How are you, Master Yu, I m concerned as you are not blogging lately?
Hope all is fine with you.

Cheers.

Joseph Yu said...

I have been traveling and am now in London airport (not supposed to be in the original plan). Will be blogging when I have time.

JY

joey said...

Joseph
You were caught in the Volcano Ash crisis and couldn`t predict it? This is an 8 year. Lots of earthquakes and eruptions on the way

leegiat 理解 said...

: )

Thanks for the reply. Pleased to hear that.

ENJOY. Howard is in States and You are in Europe. Ha-ha, thats interesting.