Gresham’s law

I AM sure many fellow readers are familiar with Gresham’s law which is an observation in economics that ‘bad money drives out good’.

An intriguing possibility popped into my mind. Is it possible to apply this principle to other fields like politics or the media?

It may come as a surprise to readers that over 2,400 years ago, in 405 BC, Aristophanes in his comedy ‘The Frogs’ refers to bad politicians whose prevalence is attributed to factors similar to those favouring good money over bad.

He laments that gold and silver coins are hoarded for their intrinsic value, while brass coins circulate freely.

Similarly, “with men we know for upright, blameless lives and noble names. These we spurn for men of brass...”

A former American vice-president Spiro Agnew used Gresham’s law in describing the American news media, stating: “Bad news drives out good news.”

By bad news, he meant news of a lurid nature. It appears that our electronic media, in particular, seems to be following this precept.

The present-day Pakistan makes an ideal case study for Gresham’s law, particularly our political scene and its prevalent ‘lota culture’ and politics of expediency. I wonder what your readers think of this?


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Comments (3) Closed

Jan 28, 2013 05:12pm
There is no such thing as "bad" religion. It all depends on how you interpret it and much you are willing to listen to the other person's point of view.
Adnan Ejaz
Jan 29, 2013 04:26am
I think, Mr. Hilal, you've been mistaken by the words 'good' and 'bad': they haven't been used in their moral sense in Gresham's Law, but rather in a technical way. To leverage this economic principle, therefore, to prove an ethical one, could provide some amusement, but would be wrong in principle. Moreover, Gresham's Law only works under some form of 'compulsion' such as a governmental decree forcing to under or over value - in the absence of which the reverse is true! But nice to see that at least someone in our media has some penchant for 'knowledge' rather than 'information'....
Jan 28, 2013 07:21am
Interesting proposition. Does that also mean that bad religion drives out good religion?