Money To Burn

There’s a lesson here, somewhere,
If only we’d learn it
Yes, people love money,
But working to earn it?
Much better to win some
Why, no one would spurn it—
With no guarantee, though…
You might as well burn it.

A radio station in Calgary has been (and, currently, still is) conducting an experiment of sorts. They are asking the citizens of Calgary to vote:

Over the next couple of weeks there’s $15,000 that could be yours…But the money could also be BURNT. Set on fire. Completely destroyed.
Should the money go into someone’s BANK or should we BURN it! YOU DECIDE!

This is entirely up to the people of Calgary to decide whether we give the money away or if we burn it…let’s make the right decision together. All you have to do is vote #BURN if you want to see it destroyed or #BANK & what you would do with the money.

If #BANK wins, then everyone who voted for that with all their info is in to win…but if #BURN wins, then we will live up to our promise and completely destroy the cash!

By all accounts, they did not expect people to vote to burn the money. After all, a small chance is better than no chance at all, isn’t it? Who would vote to deny themselves a chance, just to deny everybody else that chance?

54% of the voters, that’s who. So, true to their word, the DJs burned $5,000 (and posted the cremation on youtube). They’ve gotten a *lot* of flak for it, though they probably would have gotten shit for not following through, even if they had given the cash to a perfect charity.

And now, there is another $10,000 on the line. Voters, this time, know the station is not bluffing; will that change the vote? Or is the first result going to be replicated?

I could use that money. I know how I’d vote if I were in Calgary.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    If I found myself in Calgary right now, I would strongly favor the burning of anything and everything so long as I could just get close to the fire.

  2. dmcclean says

    People seem to struggle with the concept that if government printed money just to burn it that would be exactly the same (in terms of the money supply, not in terms of trees, CO2, and public safety) as if they did not do that. It’s only when they print money and hand it out that it affects the money supply.

    If someone were to burn an amount of money that was a significant fraction of the money supply (pretty difficult to do, considering the size of the relevant money supply is in the trillions), the obviously correct governmental response would be to print that much money.

  3. Cuttlefish says

    That appears to be a common reaction, and I find myself really wondering why. They are keeping their word; it is the people who voted who made this decision.

    Mind you, I think I’d have tried to make an invisible video edit and substitute a pile of fake cash to be burned, but my being 5 grand richer does not change the decision…

  4. doublereed says

    Yea, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were just calling their bluff.

    But let’s face it, the whole point of the stunt is that the citizens are supposed to want to burn it. Otherwise, it’s barely a story.

  5. Die Anyway says

    The radio station is spending $15,000 on a publicity stunt. If they burn the literal money they get huge publicity. If, instead, they had bought $15,000 worth of firewood and announced a big bonfire party, or $15,000 worth of fireworks and held a public display (i.e. “burning” $15,000) they would have gotten some publicity but probably not as much and certainly not as controversial… but the money would be just as wasted. Many people just don’t recognize it that way. Something visceral about seeing those bills going up in flames.

  6. says

    I don’t recognize it that way. If the radio station had paid $15,000 on a bonfire, or fireworks, or a cookout, the money would continue to circulate in the economy: creating jobs, feeding people. Putting the cash in a pile and burning it benefits no one — not even the government, who, while they can print more, can’t collect taxes from a pile of ashes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *