Tag Archives: Banksters

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

https://antoniusaquinas.com

A Constitutional Anniversary to Forget

constitutionstupid

While not a jubilee year, last week marked the 230th anniversary of the US Constitution.  Naturally, most of its devotees enthusiastically praised the document which by now is seen on a par with Holy Writ itself.  An editorial from Investor’s Business Daily provides an example of such hagiography:

The Constitution’s beauty is that it not only delineates our rights

as Americans, but expressly limits and defines government’s ability

to interfere in our private lives.   This equipoise between citizens’

duties, responsibilities and rights makes it the defining document

or our nation’s glorious freedom.

 

But America is wonderful largely because of the Constitution and

those who framed it . . . .

 

What we have is too precious to squander . . . .*

Most of the piece laments about the widespread ignorance of its sacred contents among the denizens in which it rules over and encourages the unlearned “to bone up a bit on your constitutional heritage . . . .”  The editorial fails, as do most others on the Right, to understand that it is not a lack of knowledge of the Constitution’s contents among the populace which lies at the heart of America’s social, economic, and political problems, but the very document itself.

One of the main reasons why the Constitution continues to be so widely venerated is due to the deliberate distortion of history that its “founders” promoted and that generations of its sycophants have continued to perpetuate to this very day.  The official narrative runs that the Constitution was enacted because of widespread popular support for a change to the supposed inadequacies and deficiencies of the Articles of Confederation.

This is a myth.  Instead, the Constitution was a coup deliberately schemed by the leading political and mercantile classes to set up a powerful central government where ultimate authority rested in the national state.  The use of the term “federal” to describe what was created in Philadelphia in those fateful days was a ruse much like the banksters and politicos used “Federal Reserve” to describe the central bank created in 1913.  It was neither “federal” – a decentralized monetary order – nor a “reserve” of gold, but a monetary institution which could create money out of thin air and eventually eliminate the gold standard.

It was a similar political maneuver 230 years ago as a new American national state was established and touted as a decentralized form of government where power was evenly divided between state and national levels and between the different branches of the government itself  – “separation of powers.”  In actuality, however, the “federal system” was the elevation of central power at the expense of local authority which had previously existed.  Section VI of the Constitution says it all:

The Constitution and the laws of the United States  . . .

shall be the supreme law of the land; and the

judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the

Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

Elementary political science has shown and plain common sense knows that any person or institution given “supreme authority” will misuse and abuse such power.  Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely is an undeniable dictum of human nature.  A truly decentralized system of governance would not contain a plank as “supreme law of the land” as part of its foundation.  Instead, real federalism would be dispersed, as it existed in the past in such political arrangements as confederacies, leagues, and, certainly, under the much maligned feudal social order.

Even the Constitution’s celebrated Bill of Rights is flawed and has proven to be ineffective in protecting basic human freedoms.  It is the federal government which enumerates and interprets what freedom individuals should possess.  Thus, the meaning and extent of individual liberties will be in the hands of federal jurists and courts who will invariably rule on cases in favor of the state.  The ensnaring of individual rights within the central government’s authority did away with the venerable common law which was a far greater defender of liberty than federal courts.

Just as important, the enactment of the Constitution, which brought all the individual states under it suzerainty, did away with one of the most significant checks on state power – “voting with one’s feet.”  When there are multiple governing authorities, if one jurisdiction becomes too oppressive, its subjects can move to freer domains.  This still happens on a local level as high tax and regulatory states such as California and New York have lost demographically to freer places like Nevada and Texas.  Yet, from the Federal Leviathan there is no escape, except expatriation.

Unless and until Americans and all the other peoples of the Western world who live under constitutional rule recognize that it is the type of government which is the cause of most of the political turmoil, social unrest, and economic malaise  which they face, there is no hope of turning things around.

*”Sturdy Constitution, ” Investor’s Business Daily, Week of September 18, 2017, A20.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

The Ultimate Regulatory Reform: Abolish Fractional Reserve Banking!

fractional reserve banking II

The Trump Administration has presented the first part of its plan to overhaul a number of Wall Street financial regulations, many of which were enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.  The report is in response to Executive Order 13772 in which the US Treasury Department is to provide findings “examining the United States’ financial regulatory system and detailing executive actions and regulatory changes that can be immediately undertaken to provide much-needed relief.”*

In release of the first phase of the report, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin stated: “Properly structuring regulation of the U.S. financial system is critical to achieve the administration’s goal of sustained economic growth and to create opportunities for all Americans to benefit from a stronger economy.  We are focused on encouraging a market environment where consumers have more choices, access to capital and safe loan products – while ensuring taxpayer-funded bailouts are truly a thing of the past.”**

Some of its highlights include:

  • Community financial institutions – banks and credit unions – are critically important to serve many Americans
  • Capital, liquidity and leverage rules can be simplified to increase the flow of credit
  • We must ensure our banks are globally competitive
  • Improving market liquidity is critical for the U.S. economy
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau must be reformed
  • Regulations need to be better tailored, more efficient and effective
  • Congress should review the organization and mandates of the independent banking regulators to improve accountability***

 

Not surprisingly, most of the banking industry expressed support for the report, critics (mostly Democrats) pointed out that it would lead to the type of practices that produced the 2008 panic in the first place.  Both opponents and those in favor as well as the clueless financial press fail to grasp the underlying cause of not only the recent crisis, but the majority of those which have occurred for the past century.

Quite simply: the fundamental cause of the 2008 financial crisis was fractional-reserve banking (FRB).  FRB is the practice whereby banks keep a “fraction” of the funds deposited by customers in their vaults lending out the rest at interest and “profit.”  Banks are thus inherently unstable since if all depositors came at once and demanded their money (a “bank run”), banks could not be able to redeem their deposits.  Moreover, FRB encourages banks to engage in exceedingly speculative and risky behavior which creates unsustainable bubbles throughout the economy.

The nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, was created by the banksters and politicos to enshrine this immoral and economically ruinous practice into the heart of the American financial landscape.  Any “reform” of Wall Street’s financial practices that does not address FRB by doing away with it and the institution (the Fed) which enables it to exist, is doomed.

The banks in collusion with the Fed are able to expand the money supply through this process while enriching the banksters’ balance sheet.  On the macro level, the creation of money through FRB is the genesis of the destructive boom-bust cycle.

This is why banks and the entire financial system are so prone to reoccurring crisis and no regulation, reform, or Treasury Department “findings,” can make such a system “stable.”  The only true reform is to abolish FRB and establish a monetary order that requires all financial institutions to keep 100% reserves of depositors’ assets.

The Treasury Department’s recommendations are mere window dressing by the very banksters whose opulent livelihoods are predicated on FRB.

The elimination of FRB would go beyond a beneficial financial revolution, but would affect the foreign policy of the USSA.  Without the ability to create money via FRB, the murderous American Empire could simply not exist, nor would the nation’s draconian domestic security state.

With his selection of crony capitalists and members of Goldman Sachs to his economic team, it is apparent that President Trump does not understand the true nature of the nation’s financial woes or what precipitated the last financial crisis and what will assuredly lead to a far bigger mess down the road.  If he did, his next Executive Order would be to implement steps and procedures to eliminate the scourge of fractional reserve banking forever.

*U.S. Department of the Treasury, “A Financial System That Creates Economic Opportunities.”  6 June 2017.  https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/sm0106.aspx

**Ibid.

***Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

Donald & the Dollar

donald-dollar

John Connally, President Nixon’s Secretary of the Treasury, once remarked to the consternation of Europe’s financial elites over America’s inflationary monetary policy, that the dollar “is our currency, but your problem.”  Times have certainly changed and it now appears that the dollar has become an American problem.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, the soon to be 45th President of the United States believes that the greenback’s strength – up some 25% against a broad basket of currencies since 2014 – is now “too strong,” “killing us,” and has hurt companies trying to compete overseas.* A top Trump economics advisor, Anthony Scaramucci, reinforced his boss’ sentiment adding that “we must be careful of a rising dollar.”

Apparently, making America great again does not include the nation’s monetary standard.  Trump’s belief that the dollar is too strong also shows a distinct lack of historical understanding.  Every great nation and empire (which Trump promises to restore America to) had a sound monetary system.  It is no coincidence that the pound sterling was the world’s “reserve currency” at the time when the British Empire was at its height.  Debasement of it to finance Britain’s insane decision to enter World War I led, in large part, to the eventual loss of its empire.  If Trump truly seeks to restore American greatness at home and its prestige throughout the world, devaluating the currency is not the way to go.

Nor does a weakened dollar benefit the middle class whom the president elect throughout the campaign has pledged to help.  In fact, it has been the fall in the purchasing power of the dollar due to the inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve which have decimated the living standard of the middle class.  And, while the proposed Trumpian middle class tax cuts will help, just as important is a sound monetary system if Middle America is to become a creditor class once again.

Pensioners and retirees, another group that Trump has promised to help, would continue to see their financial condition decline under a policy to weaken the dollar. A fall in the purchasing power of money would devastate the income stream of pensions and social security payments.

While a weaker dollar policy would hurt the middle class, retirees, and savers, it would benefit the most responsible for the continued economic doldrums of America – banksters and the government.  A weaker dollar would allow the government to continue to borrow and maintain its profligate spending.  Financial houses and the banksters would receive credit at nearly zero cost which would allow them to continue to blow bubbles in the asset markets.  Export firms, too, would benefit at least for a while, but would more than likely face retribution from foreign governments and central banks which would retaliate with their own devaluations sparking potential currency wars.

Talk of “currency manipulation,” “weakening the dollar,” “trade deals,” and the like do not address what lies at the heart of not only America, but the Western world’s economic problem – too much debt.  The reason why the West has been able to incur its current gargantuan level of debt is not because of a “weak” or a “strong” dollar, but because the dollar is a fiat currency not backed by any commodity.  A true gold standard, where each currency unit represents either gold or silver, provides monetary discipline which prevents politicians and banksters from incurring ruinous levels of debt.

Since money is the lifeblood of an economy, any hope that one can be turned around without a stable monetary order is, to say the least, delusional.  If president-elect Trump and his policy makers do not realize this, they will be severely disappointed in the years to come.  Sound money allows for the accumulation of savings and capital formation, the essential elements of the market economy and the only basis upon which real economic growth can occur.  More savings and capital are needed to boost production and create employment, not supposedly wiser and more competent international trade negotiators.

Talk of currency devaluation is what is typically heard from banana republics, it should not be advocated by those who have aspirations of making their country great again.

*Tyler Durden, “Dollar Tumbles After Trump Calls Currency ‘Too Strong,’ Slams Border-Adjustment Tax.”  Zero Hedge.  17 January 2017.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

Don’t Expect a Return to a Gold Standard Any Time Soon

goldstandard

Despite trillions of paper currency units poured into the world economies since the start of the financial crisis, there has been no recovery, in fact, all legitimate indicators have shown worsening conditions except, of course, for the pocketbooks of the politically -connected financial elites.  Yet, despite the utter failure of the current money and banking paradigm to resolve the situation, the chance of a return to a commodity based monetary order is highly unlikely especially when one looks at the anti-gold bias found in typical college economics textbooks.

Macroeconomics: Principles, Problems and Policies by McConnell, Brue and Flynn is a leading introductory level college text which has been through, to date, some 20 editions.  Until the financial crisis of 2008, the subject of a commodity- backed money was not discussed, however, after the crisis and the popularity of gold standard enthusiasts like former Congressman and Presidential candidate Ron Paul, the authors of Macroeconomics obviously felt the need to address the resurgence in the interest of metallic money.

McConnell and company’s critique of the gold standard is full of fallacious reasoning that monetary cranks have employed for generations, all of which have been easily refuted by eminent economists.  Yet, the lies and distortions about commodity money continues in academia.

The authors admit that:

To many people, the fact that the government does

not back the currency with anything tangible seems

implausible and insecure.

This logical sentiment and realization of the fraudulent nature of unbacked currency by those outside the economics profession is brushed aside by the esteemed trio:

But the decision not to back the currency with anything tangible was made for a very good reason.

Yes, and we know what that reason was: so that the state and central banksters could have a ready and unlimited access to the creation of money to solidify and expand their power.  The gold standard was always an impediment to this cherished dream of the political elites – the establishment of an irredeemable, paper monetary order.

The authors, not surprisingly, see things differently:

If the government backed the currency with something

tangible like gold, then the supply of money would

vary with how much gold was available.  By not backing

the currency, the government avoids this constraint and

indeed receives a key freedom – the ability to provide

as much or as little money as needed to maintain the

value of money and to best suit the economic needs of

the country.

By all means, the state and central banksters should be given as much “freedom” as possible for we all know that governments would never abuse such license and would always act in the best interests of their citizens.  Certainly, the authors are not aware of any cases in history where such “freedom” was ever abused.

    Nearly all today’s economists agree that managing the

money supply is more sensible than linking it to gold or

to some other commodity whose supply might change

arbitrary and capriciously. . . .  if we used gold to back the

money supply so that gold was redeemable for money . . .

then a large increase in the nation’s gold stock as the

result of a new gold discovery might increase the money

supply too rapidly and thereby trigger rapid inflation.  Or

a long-lasting decline in gold production might reduce the

money supply to the point where recession and

unemployment resulted.

Volumes have been written debunking such stupidity.  The point, however, is that millions of minds have been exposed to such thinking and while most will not become economists (thank goodness!), what is taught in college and university classrooms about the gold standard is negative, to say the least.  Moreover, those who continue in a career in finance or economics will unlikely ever be presented with an accurate assessment of the gold standard.

A return to a sound and just monetary order will only take place after the ideological groundwork has been first laid, just as fiat money and central banking came about after years of proselytizing by inflationists.  It is also not enough to show the economic efficacy and moral soundness of commodity money, the ideas of crackpots like McConnell, Brue and Flynn need to be exposed for what they are.

Under the current academic environment, as generations have been misinformed, deceived, and lied to, it is unlikely that a return to a gold standard will take place.  Until the intellectual battle is won, paper money and the central banksters that manage it will continue their reign of financial terror.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/