Category Archives: Gold Standard

The Gold Standard: Protector of Individual Liberty and Economic Prosperity

goldstandard vs.    the-bill-of-rights

 

 

The idea of a constitution and/or written legislation to secure individual rights so beloved by conservatives and among many libertarians has proven to be a myth. The US Constitution and all those that have been written and ratified in its wake throughout the world have done little to protect individual liberties or keep a check on State largesse.  Instead, in the American case, the Constitution created a powerful central government which eliminated much of the sovereignty and independence that the individual states possessed under the Articles of Confederation.

While the US Constitution contains a “Bill of Rights,” the interpreter of those rights and protections thereof is the very entity which has enumerated them.  It is only natural that decisions on whether, or if such rights have been violated will be in favor of the state.  Moreover, nearly every amendment which has come in the wake of the Bill of Rights, has augmented federal power at the expense of the individual states and that of property owners.

History has shown the steady erosion of individual rights and the creation of “new rights” and entitlements (education, health care, employment, etc.) which have occurred under constitutional rule.  Instead of limitation on government power, constitutions have given cover for the vast expansion of taxation, regulation, debt, and money creation.

While taxation has always been a facet of constitutional governments, it has been the advent of central banking and with it the elimination of the gold standard which has provided the means for the state to become such an omnipresent force in everyday life.  Irredeemable fiat paper money issued by central banks has also led to the entrenchment of political parties which has allowed these elites to create and subsidize dependency groups which, in turn, repeatedly vote to keep the political class in office.

Without the ability to create money and credit, the many bureaucracies, regulations, and laws could neither be created or enforced.  This would mean that the vast and powerful security and surveillance agencies could not exist or would be far less intrusive than they currently are.  With commodity money, debt creation would have to be repaid in gold, not monetized as it is currently done through the issuance of paper currency.

Just as important, it would have been next to impossible for the two world wars to have been fought and carried to their unimaginable destructive ends.  None of the populations involved would have put up with the level of taxation necessary to wage such costly undertakings.  Few of the wars which followed (most of which have been instigated by the US) could have taken place without central banking.  Nor could the level of “defense” spending – currently at a whopping $717 billion for fiscal year 2018 – be financed if the US was on a commodity standard.*

Under a gold standard, governments would have to rely on taxation alone.  Since citizens directly feel the effects of taxation, there is a “natural level” that it can be raised.  Punitive tax rates usually lead to a backlash and potential social insurrection which strike fear in the hearts of political elites.

Recent projections by the Congressional Budget Office again demonstrate that constitutional government provides little restraint on spending.

If present trends continue, the federal government will spend more on its interest serving its debt than it spends on the military, Medicare, or children’s programs.  It is also expected that next year’s interest on the debt will be some $390 billion, up an astonishing 50 percent from 2017.** And, for the entire fiscal year of 2018, the gross national debt surged by $1.271 trillion, to a mind-boggling $21.52 trillion.***

At one time, economists used to speak of the pernicious effects that “crowding out” had on an economy.  Since the onset of the “bubble era,” talk about deficits has almost dropped out of financial discussions.  Yet, the reality remains the same: public spending and borrowing divert scarce resources away from private capital markets to unproductive wasteful government projects and endeavors.

For those who seek a reduction in State power, defense of individual rights, and economic prosperity, the re-establishment of a monetary order based on the precious metals is the most efficacious path to take.  Such a social system would not require elaborate legislation or fancy proclamations of man’s inalienable rights, but simply a return to honest money – gold!

*Amanda Macias, “Trump Gives $717 Billion Defense Bill a Green Light. Here’s What the Pentagon is Poised to Get.”  CNBC.com 14 August 2018. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/13/trump-signs-717-billion-defense-bill.html

**Nelson D. Schwartz, “As Debt Rises, the Government Will Soon Spend More on Interest Than on the Military.”  The New York Times. 25 September 2018 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/25/business/economy/us-government-debt-interest.html

***Tyler Durden, “US Gross National Debt Soars $1.27 Trillion in Fiscal 2018, Hits $21.5 Trillion.” Zero Hedge.  2 October 2018.   https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-02/us-gross-national-debt-soars-127-trillion-fiscal-2018-hits-215-trillion

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

The Fed’s “Inflation Target” is Impoverishing American Workers

Powell   Fed Chair Jerome Powell apparently doesn’t see the pernicious effects of inflation

At one time, the Federal Reserve’s sole mandate was to maintain stable prices and to “fight inflation.”  To the Fed, the financial press, and most everyone else “inflation” means rising prices instead of its original and true definition as an increase in the money supply.  Rising prices are a consequence – a very painful consequence – of money printing.

Naturally, the Fed and all other central bankers prefer the definition of inflation as a rise in prices which insidiously hides the fact that they, being the issuers of currency, are the real culprit for increased prices.

Be that as it may, the common understanding of inflation as rising prices has always been seen as pernicious and destructive to an economy and living standards.  In the perverted world of modern economics, however, the idea of inflation as an intrinsic evil has been turned on its head and monetary authorities the world over now have “inflation targets” which they hope to attain.

America’s central bank is right in line with this lunacy, as it has been reported that at the Fed’s “May minutes” it wants “a temporary period of inflation modestly above 2 percent [which] would be consistent with the Committee’s symmetric inflation objective.”* Translated into understandable verbiage, the Fed wants everyone to pay at least 2% higher prices for the goods they buy.

Yes, by some crazed thinking US monetary officials believe that consumers paying higher prices is somehow good for economic activity and standards of living!  Of course, anyone with a modicum of sense can see that this is absurd and that those who espouse such policy should be laughed at and summarily locked up in an asylum!  Yet, this is now standard policy, not just with the Fed, but with the ECU and other central banks.

The baneful consequence of this economic quackery is being felt by American workers as admitted by the Labor Department.  Instead of spurring expansion, inflation is eating into and depressing wages:

For workers in ‘production and

nonsupervisory” positions, the value

of the average paycheck has actually

declined in the past year.  For those

workers, average ‘real wages’ – a

measure of pay that takes inflation

into account fell – from $22.62 in

May 2017 to $22.59 in May of 2018.*

While the decline in nominal wages is not significant, the manner in which the government now calculates inflation has been skewed to understate its impact.  Under the previous calculation, the current US inflation rate is probably closer to 5%.

Wage stagnation is not new.  Average real wages peaked more than 40 years ago and have fallen in real terms ever since.  Not surprisingly, the drop in wages in real terms began soon after the US went off the last vestiges of the gold standard in 1971.

As sound theory has long ago demonstrated, the idea of economic growth through money printing is absurd.  Increases in living standards and real wages can only come about through savings, investment, and capital accumulation.  Workers who have superior tools and equipment are obviously more productive than those that do not. Yet, capital goods have to be produced and production takes place over time.  Savings allow for the production process.

The level of wages are also closely linked to savings.  The greater savings an economy has enables entrepreneurs to bid for workers and increase wage rates.  This is how wages rise – competition for labor among businessmen pushes up wage rates.  The more savings entrepreneurs have, the higher they can bid for employees.

How and why wage rates rise and how employment is created had been understood by economists of yesteryear.  Today, however, the profession is dominated by “inflationists” and monetary cranks who believe that nearly every economic problem can be solved by the printing press.  Anyone who holds such ideas cannot be taken seriously.

While the Federal Reserve may think an inflation target will create prosperity, the reality for real wages is quite the opposite.  The laws of economic science have not been repealed.  An inflation target will lead to the impoverishment of not just workers, but lower living standards for all.

inflation target.jpg

*Jeff Stein and Andrew van Dam, “For the Biggest Group of American Workers, Wages Aren’t Just Flat.  They’re Falling.”  The Washington Post.  16 June 2018 A10.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

Is Political Decentralization the Only Hope for Western Civilization?

US Secssion Map II

A couple of recent articles have once more made the case, at least implicitly, for political decentralization as the only viable path which will begin to solve the seemingly insurmountable political, economic, and social crises which the Western world now faces.

In the last few months, over 3,000 millionaires have fled the hopelessly corrupt and bankrupt state of Illinois.  When asked, 47% of Illinoisans would like to leave the state which, over the last decade, has seen over a half million of its residents flee.  Naturally, this exodus has exacerbated the Land of Lincoln’s financial straits to catastrophic levels.*

A report published by the American Legislative Exchange Council predicted that the tax flight which is occurring in Illinois will similarly take place in the coming years in high-tax blue states such as California and New York.  The 2017 Trump tax reform will accelerate this process since under the new legislation the amount of state income tax that can be deducted on federal tax returns has been capped at $10,000 per family.  The authors of the report wrote: “. . .  high [income] earners in places with hefty income taxes – not just California and New York, but also Minnesota and New Jersey – will bear more of the true cost of their state government.”**

The not too subtle consequences of the new tax code will mean an even greater exodus of taxpayers out of blue states which will shrink state revenues even further and create job losses across the board.

While those who want to escape the crushing burden of individual state taxation and regulation, if they have the means and desire to do so, can move to more favorable climes, no such option exists (except the drastic step of expatriation) to escape federal tyranny.  Yet, the same benefits which occur from a multiple of individual states and jurisdictions would be present if the various nation states which dominate the globe were broken up into smaller political units.

While the authors of the cited articles see the advantage that multiple states have where one can “vote with his feet,” the same logic can be applied to central governments across the planet who are, on the whole, more tyrannical than local jurisdictions.  More political bodies would not only provide sanctuary for the oppressed, but it would tend to keep a check on tyranny among existing states.

Political decentralization is a far greater deterrent to government largesse than constitutions, elections, or finding the “right person” to “fix things.”  The events of the last few weeks in the realm of US foreign policy once again demonstrate that trusting candidates to fulfill campaign promises is naive, to say the least.

To get to this goal, all and every secession movement, even of a Leftist bent, should be supported, whether they are nations that want to “exit” from larger political units, such as Great Britain from the EU, or within nation states themselves such as California in the US.  All should be encouraged.

Of course, the case for decentralization has to be made on ideological grounds.  The Left, most likely, will not be a natural ally for secession, nor are conservatives, most of whom are under the spell of “nationalism” and “restoring the Republic.”  Yet, the Right offers the best opportunity to build a secession movement and needs to be convinced that the preservation of the nation state will only lead to the complete triumph of liberalism.

Secession would also necessitate the breakup of the nation-state’s monopoly of money and banking.  Numerous political divisions would be more likely to adopt a single monetary unit – gold – which would guarantee financial stability rather than the debt ridden paper-money system now in place.

Next to the outbreak of World War III, immigration is the greatest threat to what remains of Western Civilization.  Smaller political units would be far better to control their borders than reliance on a central authority which can be easily manipulated from outside agents.

The solution to the myriad of social and economic problems that confront Western societies will not come about from a “reform” of the nation state, but through its dissolution.  Only through a world made up of hundreds, if not thousands, of Lichtensteins, Hong Kongs, Monacos, confederacies, free cities, etc., will these crises be hoped to be resolved.

*Tyler Durden, “This $5 Trillion Time Bomb Will Devastate Americans.” Zero Hedge.  9 August 2017.  https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-09/5-trillion-time-bomb-will-devastate-americans

**Robert Frank.  “800,000 People Are About to Flee New York and California Because of Taxes, Say Economists.”  CNBC.com. 26 April 2018.    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/26/800000-people-are-about-to-flee-new-york-california-because-of-taxes.html?__source=sharebar|twitter&par=sharebar

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

“Strong Dollar,” “Weak Dollar,” What About a Gold-Backed Dollar?

gold backed dollar

The recent hullabaloo among President Trump’s top monetary officials about the Administration’s “dollar policy” is just the start of what will likely be the first of many contradictory pronoucements and reversals which will take place in the coming months/years as the world’s reserve currency continues to be compromised.  So far, the Greenback has had its worst start since 1987, the year of a major stock market reset.

The brief firestorm was set off by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who said in response to the dollar’s recent slide, “Obviously, a weaker dollar is good for us, it’s good because it has to do with trade and opportunities.”*  Mnuchin backtracked a bit as international financial leaders criticized the apparent shift in policy while Administration officials sought to clarify the Secretary’s remarks.  President Trump weighted in on the matter saying, “Ultimately, I want to see a strong dollar” and added that Mnuchin’s comments were “taken out of context.”

While President Trump sought to allay jittery currency markets that monetary policy had not changed, candidate Trump supported the Federal Reserve’s suppression of interest rates and did not want to see a rising dollar:

I must be honest, I’m a low interest rate

person.  If we raise rates and if the

dollar starts getting too strong, we’re going

to have some very major problems.**

Of course, the entire uproar about a strong dollar versus weak dollar is a sham. When the dollar (and for that matter all other national currencies) cannot be redeemed for either gold or silver, it is inherently “weak” and ultimately worthless.  That this obvious fact is not recognized by the Trump Administration, international monetary authorities, and the financial press demonstrates just how unstable the dollar and world currencies actually are.

If President Trump truly wants to see a strong dollar that will become a linchpin in “making America great again,” he should enact policies that will return the dollar to its original function – a warehouse receipt that can be redeemed for precious metals.  Just as important, an authentic strong dollar policy would mean that no dollar can be created that did not have “an equal amount” of gold/silver in bank vaults – in essence a 100% gold dollar.  These two acts would guarantee a strong dollar and insure that the dollar would remain the world’s reserve currency.    Moreover, a fully redeemable dollar would likely lead to other nations adopting similar measures.

A gold-backed dollar would also head off China’s not too subtle attempt at replacement of the Greenback with the Yuan as the world’s reserve currency.  Its “Belt & Road Initiative,” its massive accumulation of gold, and other actions are all aimed at making the Yuan the dominant world currency which, if successful, will have catastrophic financial repercussions for the US and Western Europe.

Gold-backed money will not only have positive international effects, but domestic benefits as well.  Crippling price inflation that has been intentionally under reported by government statistics will be a thing of the past.  Prices in a gold-backed currency will actually fall, raising living standards for everyone.

Without the ability of the Federal Reserve to create money out of thin air, the massive federal budget deficits would have to be dealt with.  And, without the Fed’s purchasing of US debt, the government would be forced to make cuts in spending.  Spending cuts would have to be deep and across the board.

Happily, under such a scenario, reduction in spending would mean a pull back in the American Empire.  The US would simply not have the resources to maintain bases abroad or involve itself in the countless conflicts and wars it is now engaged in.  It is more likely that when the American Empire comes to an end, it will not be because of a military defeat, but because it can no longer be sustained financially.

Sadly, under current ideological conditions, a return to gold money is not on the financial horizon.  It will most likely take a collapse of the irredeemable paper monetary system before commodity-backed money is re-established as a general medium of exchange.

It is clear from the recent exchange among Trump Administration financial officers that the same dollar policy will continue, which will lead to an inevitable dollar crisis and certain political disaster for the President.

* “Trump Wades Into the Currency Uproar, Favours ‘Strong Dollar,’ Government & Economy.”  Brit Asian News  26 January 2018.  http://britasiannews.com/en/2018/01/25/trump-wades-into-currency-uproar-favours-strong-dollar-government-economy/

**Inflation Alert: Trump Also favors Low Interest Rates, Weak Dollar.”  Weekly Market Wrap. 6 May 2016.  https://www.moneymetals.com/podcasts/2016/05/06/trump-supports-weak-dollar-000864

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

 

 

What President Trump and the West Can Learn from China

Trump Trip China

Instead of a demonstration of its overwhelming military might intended to intimidate tiny North Korea and pressure China to lean on its defiant communist neighbor, President Trump and the West should try to learn a few things from China.

The President’s trip to the Far East came on the heels of the completion of China’s 19th National Congress where the current president, Xi Jinping, has cunningly positioned himself as China’s unchallenged leader.  In an address at the opening of the Congress, Xi cautioned that the country faced “challenges” that are “extremely grim” yet, despite these, the nation’s future is “extremely bright.”*

While Western politicos and pundits bemoan the lack of political pluralism that exists within China and President Trump complained about bad trade “deals,” they miss an important factor as to why China has transformed itself from a socialist basket case some three decades ago into an economic powerhouse which now boasts over a third of the world’s billionaires!

China’s economic ascendancy can be attributed not only to the implementation of market reforms in the 1990s, but also its lack of “political competition.”  As a one-party state, resources, time, energy, and capital are not allowed to be channeled into wasteful political processes, but instead are used and “invested” in wealth-creation activities – construction, factories, plants, equipment, research, technology – all of which leads to more and cheaper consumer goods.

The US and the West spend too much on elections, campaigns, polling, political consultation, etc., which diverts scarce resources away from the private wealth sectors of society.  For example, in her last failed presidential campaign run, the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua alone spent over a half of billion dollars.

Under Western democratic pluralism, public debt and state spending have increased to unsustainable levels.  In the US alone – history’s greatest debtor nation – the national debt is in excess of $20 trillion, while its total debt officially is $68 billion with a federal deficit (GAAP) running yearly at $5 ½ trillion.

Such staggering numbers are the result, in part, from political parties seeking public office and once elected exploiting their position to enrich themselves, their constituents, and create dependent classes among the ever shrinking productive segments of society.

China’s foreign policy – an extension of politics – has also been conducive for wealth creation.  Instead of wasteful spending on military hardware, the maintenance of a far-flung global empire, and involvement in incessant wars, China has a rather meek military compared to its national income and has conducted a pretty much non-interventionist foreign policy – witness its diplomacy with North Korea.

The US is almost the polar opposite.  It spends more on “defense” than the next eight countries combined.** Instead of the production of useful consumer goods, billions are siphoned off into the military/security industrial complex.  Not only does this impoverish Americans at home, but it leads to never ending involvement in wars, conflicts, and disputes, most of which are created or exacerbated by US spy organizations.

Def spending

After meeting with Chinese leadership, President Trump tweeted:

I don’t blame China, I blame the incompetence

of past Admins for allowing China to take advantage

of the U.S. on trade leading up to a point where the

U.S. is losing $100’s of billions.  How can you blame

China for taking advantage of people that had no clue?

I would’ve done the same!

Making better trade deals will not revitalize the moribund US economy.  Instead, there should be less politicization of society and adoption of market reforms as China has done.  The most important plank of such a policy would be the encouragement of real savings – not the creation of bank credit – through the normalization of interest rates.  This would begin the arduous process of capital accumulation, the basis upon which any economy can be built.

Another sign of the divergence between the two is China’s continued push to make the yuan the world’s reserve currency with apparently some sort of gold backing to it.  Contrarily, the Trump Administration has continued the same disastrous policies of its predecessors and has chosen a Janet Yellen clone to head the Federal Reserve with a continuation, no doubt, of the suppression of interest rates.  On the other hand, China continues to import massive quantities of gold and encourages its citizens to own the yellow metal while the West is in the midst of a crypto currency mania, another fraudulent monetary scheme.

China’s economic miracle, while certainly impressive, would not look as astounding if Western economies had not been in a state of stagnation and decline over the past half century.  It was not political liberalization that led to China’s phenomenal growth, but economic freedom which used to be a staple of Western life.  The lesson that should be taken from President Trump’s trip is less politics domestically and more free markets.

*Chris Buckley, “Xi Jinping Opens China’s Party Congress, His Hold Tighter Than Ever.”  The New York Times, 17 October 2017.   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/17/world/asia/xi-jinping-communist-party-china.html

**Peter G. Peterson Foundation.  “US Defense Spending Compared to Other Countries.”  1 June 2017.  https://www.pgpf.org/chart-archive/0053_defense-comparison

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

In Remembrance of the October Revolution

Oct Rev

The Communist monster, Vladimir Lenin

This October marks the centennial anniversary of the Bolshevik takeover of Russia and the establishment of Soviet-style Communism which tragically, for the Russian people, would last for some seventy interminable years.  Not only did the Soviet regime liquidate and imprison millions, but its idiotic system of central planning impoverished the country, turning it into an economic basket case, the effects of which continue to this day.

Just as bad, the Bolsheviks murdered the last Czar, Nicholas II and his family, brutally ending nearly five hundred years of monarchial rule of Russia.  Within a year of the demise of the Russian aristocracy, two other of Europe’s venerable royal houses – Germany and Austria – met the same fate, all three casualties of their insane decision to participate in World War I.  The end of the German Court and especially that of Austria came at the vengeful insistence of then President Woodrow Wilson, who brought the US into the conflict on the pledge to make the “world safe for democracy.”

The triumph of the Bolsheviks and the downfall of the German and Austrian monarchies ushered in the Age of Democracy as other Western constitutional republics at the time and in each passing year began to resemble and adopt features of their supposed Communist foe.  As the 20th century wore on, each Western nation state became more “democratic,” increasing their welfare/warfare state apparatus, imposing more and more radical egalitarian social and economic measures, and adopting greater amounts of economic planning mostly through central banking.  Not only did economic activity become increasingly effected by monetary policy, but the central banks were instrumental in the eradication of the gold standard throughout the Western world.

Not only did Communism prove to be a disaster economically in Russia and everywhere else tried, but socialism had other debilitating effects.  The quality of the population declined along with the numbers of ethnic Russians, a trend that ominously continues to this day.  While ingenuity was stifled by the Soviet command economy, its culture, although never as advanced as Western Europe, became sterile and overshadowed by the heavy hand of the commissar.  The only memorable literature produced during the period were accounts of the gulag and the repression of dissent.  Music and the arts were similar cultural wastelands.

The West, too, as its nation states became more socialistic and egalitarian, witnessed retrogression in every aspect of society.  The catastrophic drop off in the size of the native populations can largely be attributed to crazed feminism, where women were encouraged and given privileges to pursue careers and become “working moms,” which led to the phenomenon of the “dysfunctional family” and declines in the number of child births.  Hans-Hermann Hoppe explains this effect in the American context:

In the U.S., . . . less than a century of full-blown

democracy has resulted in steadily increasing

moral degeneration, family and social disintegration,

and cultural decay in the form of continually rising

rates of divorce, illegitimacy, abortion, and crime.

 

As a result of an ever-expanding list of non-

discrimination – ‘affirmative action’ – laws and

nondiscriminatory, multicultural, egalitarian

immigration policies, every nook and cranny of

American society is affected by government

management and forced integration.*

Hoppe Demo 3

Hoppe’s seminal demolition of Democracy

A primary reason why the quality of Western life has crumbled so markedly has been the replacement of its “natural elites” with “political elites” via the democratic process.  Every society is led by its leading individuals who through talent, hard work, brains, foresight, moral fortitude, fairness, and bravery come to the top and are looked to for guidance.  Under democratic conditions, however, the natural elites have, in a sense, been “voted out” by the political class who, instead of out competing their rivals, secure their status by politics mostly through demagogy.

In Soviet Russia, the natural elites were ruthlessly purged by Lenin’s forces and over time any sort of advancement or achievement had to come via the Communist Party.

Despite the overwhelming failure of socialism, Western nation states continue to practice many of its features, a most notorious recent example being that of the passage of Obamacare, the first step on the road to universal health care in the US.  America, itself, resembles more of a police state than ever before with the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security and the passage of draconian legislation such as the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The October Revolution should be remembered for what it was: the inauguration of mankind’s first total state.  It, and the social system which it spawned, should be condemned by all those who seek prosperity and an advanced civilization.

*Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Democracy: The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order. New Brunswick (U.S.A.): Transaction Publishers, 2001, p. xiii.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

 

Bitcoin: A Tower of Monetary Babel

Bitcoin Fiat Currency

The promoters of crypto currencies have gushingly touted them as the mechanism by which the present central banking cabal and the system of nation states which derive much of their power from will be brought down and replaced by digital money.  Despite their meteoric rise as speculative “assets,” there are fundamental economic reasons why they will never act as a general medium of exchange despite the wild enthusiasm for them by the crypto-currency cultists.

Money – a general medium of exchange – is the most marketable (exchangeable) commodity in an economy.  As a good, money is not sought after for its direct use – to satisfy individual wants – but to satisfy wants indirectly through exchange for other goods.  Over time, one good becomes money since it possesses qualities superior to all other goods as a money.  When gold became demanded not for its “use value,” but for its “exchange value,” it became a general medium of exchange – money.

As a consumer good, gold possessed a value or a “price” prior to it becoming a money, as the eminent monetary theorist Murray Rothbard explains:

. . . embedded in the demand for money is knowledge

of the money-prices of the immediate past; in contrast

to directly-used consumers’ or producers’ goods, money

must have pre-existing prices on which to ground a demand.

But the only way this can happen is by beginning with a useful

commodity under barter, and then adding demand for a

medium to the previous demand for direct use (e.g., for

ornaments in the case of gold.)*

Thus, Bitcoin’s “price” is not in terms of its original commodity price, but its price is in terms of dollars, Euros, yuan, etc.  In the dollar’s case, it was at one time linked to gold, but has since been severed from it while Bitcoin has had no such relationship.

Once money is established, then prices are expressed in terms of it and thus economic calculation can rationally take place and the division of labor and specialization can be expanded.  Rothbard continues:

       The establishment of money conveys another great

benefit.  Since all exchanges are made in money, all the

exchange-ratios are expressed in money, and so people

can now compare the market worth of each good to that

of every other good.**

Once gold became money, the price of goods became expressed in gold not in other elements – nickel, zinc, lead, etc.  With the proliferation of crypto currencies, there will be a myriad of different price ratios for each good.  There will be a Bitcoin price for a car, an Ethereum price for a car, a Dogecoin price of a car, and so on.  This is the antithesis of the purpose of money – one unit of account that reflect prices for all commodities as Rothbard shows:

 

Because gold is a general medium it is most marketable,

it can be stored to serve as a medium in the future as well

as the present, and all prices are expressed in its terms.

Because gold is a commodity medium for all exchanges,

it can serve as a unit of account for present, and expected

future, prices.  It is important to realize that money cannot

be an abstract unit of account or claim, except insofar as it

serves as a medium of exchange.***  [my emphasis]

Crypto currencies, therefore, directly violate one of the main principles of monetary theory.  The vast array of digital money, all with unique price ratios (to say the least of their volatility), would make economic calculation and rational planning next to impossible.  In this sense, the current world of fiat dollars would be preferable to a Tower of Monetary Babel that digital currencies would create.

Central banks and governments do not fear crypto currency challengers to their monetary hegemony.  They, of course, jealously monitor the crypto market worried that any gains accrued may not be subject to tax.  Central banksters do fear gold for it remains, despite being demonetized, the last check on profligate central bank monetary expansion.  And, because countries who wisely understand gold’s importance and seek to get out from under the yoke of King Dollar (most notably China and Russia), continue to voraciously accumulate the yellow metal.

The return of true prosperity will only come about when gold is once again at the center of the monetary order and fiat currencies such as the dollar, Euro, and now Bitcoin are forgettable memories of a misguided and corrupt age.

*Murray N. Rothard, What Has Government Done to Our Money?  Novato, CA.: Libertarian Publishers, 8th printing, January 1981.

**Ibid., 4-5.

***Ibid., 5.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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