Friday, December 31, 2010

Re: Ineffectiveness of Banking Accords, at The Daily Bell

The original article appears here:

"The whole exercise of regulating banks capital reserves is fairly ludicrous given that banks have no control over the economic environment that central banks create. So long as central banks continue to flood economies with excess paper money, the commercial banking sector shall struggle with overwhelming booms and subsequent busts."

If only those who believe a lack of regulation was the cause of our financial ills could wrap their minds around these statements, we would all be better off.

Imagine an industry where raw materials can be produced for free by the producer, cost almost nothing for the middleman to acquire, who can also get his hands on as much of the raw commodity as desired.

Further, there are no physical limitations on the throughput of said raw materials: one worker can process 1,000,000,000 units just as easily as 1,000,000. No physical, mechanical, computing, or energy differences regardless of throughput.

Finally, the members of this industry can exist solely by trading by and between each other. While they also go outside of the industry for revenue streams, this is not necessary. Swaps, derivatives, etc., all are created and can be traded, if not solely within the cartel, certainly primarily within the cartel.

So, raw material is free, production volume is not hindered by physical constraints, and profit can be generated solely by means of transactions within the cartel.

What do they gain by all this? After all, if they are just shuffling money between and amongst each other, where is the gain to the cartel?

The gain is, they get the money from the Fed. Money and credit is created. This funny money is not backed by new wealth - meaning real wealth. But it is a claim on the existing wealth. The pile of money in front of the cartel gets bigger, while the pile of money in front of the rest of us stays the same, or, as has been true over the last couple of years, shrinks. So the cartel can lay claim to more of the goods in the same proportion that their pile of money has grown relative to the total.

This is banking as we have come to know it. In any industry, faith in government regulation is idol worship. However, because of banking’s unique production cycle, banking regulation holds the highest seat in worship to this false god. To think such a system can be "regulated" is dreamland. The system is designed to pour gasoline on a fire. All the firemen in the world cannot stop the result.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What about so-called Public Goods? part 2

From the LA Times (and thanks to EPJ, where I first saw the story):

EPJ story:,0,7549295,full.story

"One more good reason to drive safely in California: If you cause an accident, you may be on the hook to pay the police and firefighters who show up to help."

Is this an effort toward privatization in California? California, of all states? What wonderful news!

"If insurers don't pay, cities can hire collection agents to seek payment from the motorists involved."

Yes, the ones responsible will be the ones to pay the bill. What a great libertarian solution. And in California, no less.

"Sacramento, with nearly half a million residents, soon could be the largest city in California to do so."

Wait a minute. It is the cities that will charge the fee? This isn't privatization. But, at least it is a user pays system! I guess we shouldn't complain about even the smallest victory.

"'To me, it's an outrage. We're already paying these people — the police department, the fire department, the emergency vehicle drivers — handsome salaries and benefits,' said Lew Uhler, president of the National Tax Limitation Committee. 'Either we stop this kind of nonsense or we should quit paying taxes for these kind of services.'"

Whoa! Paying taxes AND paying a user fee? This can't be right. This must be some kind of joke. Yes? No?

"Local taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for accidents they had no part in creating, said Costa Mesa Fire Battalion Chief Bill Kershaw."

Well, yes. So are the taxes going down to represent the amounts previously paid for such clean-up? It appears not.

It is something to see the cities themselves have discovered the private enterprise business model for such services. But the hapless taxpayer is now paying twice - once for the service, and again for...the service?

Why not a private solution - fee for service. The model is right here. The cost could be included in the insurance premium. Of course, taxes should be reduced as these services are no longer provided by the city.

But that isn't the objective. The only goal is to get more loot. There is no goal to shrink government. But, the cities themselves have shown a possible route to that end.

Monday, December 27, 2010

What about so-called Public Goods?

A question was posed by Leonardo in the comments section of the article linked here. Due to the length of my reply, I am posting it here.

First, Leonardo's question: "Bionic Mosquito:I value your views. However, I believe we do need a government for strictly infrastructural issues, such as providing a legal framework for honest trade, defence, roads and road maintenance, etc. These issues have value beyond the individual. If for instance street cleaning in a city isn't done, diseases, rodents, etc lurk. If I pay and you as my neighbor don't pay for this cleaning (for instance you want to do it yourself), how can this effectively organized? What if you don't do it? Am I supposed to pay then? I will suffer the negative consequences because you didn't do your part?It wld be interesting to hear your PoV on this."

Following are my thoughts on this:


Thank you for the comment. I will not claim to have an answer to every possible situation. But that is the beauty of the market - so many problems have been solved, so many gifts have been provided that are beyond my ability to produce on my own. This gives me faith (what other word should I use?) that most of not all of these situations can be resolved.

First and foremost, my purpose in being so adamant in the idea of state coercion as opposed to voluntary cooperation is that this is where the battle lies. Once state coercion is allowed a foothold, it cannot be tamed. A monopoly of legalized physical aggression will know no bounds, and will be led by people who find such power enjoyable.

So, the battle for ideas lies here. It is not left-right, liberal-conservative, etc. It is not limited government as opposed to fascism or communism. As I said in one of my replies to Mr. Herman, limited government is a useless term. How is it defined? Where is the line drawn? When is the line crossed? The only definition with meaning is that it is something short of unlimited government. But what does this mean? Anything short of state execution upon birth could be considered a limited use of government force. So, I work to drive home this point.

But to your practical questions. What about a legal framework for honest trade? Such mechanisms already exist. Contracts, mutually agreed upon, provide such a framework. Arbitration clauses in these contracts provide methods for private dispute resolution. Such private resolution can be brought to bear in cases of fraud, theft and other violations of private property.

What about enforcement? I imagine if the perpetrator never wanted to do business again, perhaps little can be done. Otherwise, negative publicity and the risk of being ostracized from future employ or other business opportunities can help work wonders. Not every wrong can be made right. It would be true in my world, just as it is true today. I will take my chances in a world where the same entity does not have the power to write the laws, interpret the laws, and adjudicate the laws. It seems to me competition in this area will lead to an overall better result.

What about street sweeping, fire departments, police, etc? Consider the world of insurance. I imagine anything that can be insured against could come under a private market. For those providing medical and life insurance, it is in the insurance company’s interest to ensure streets are adequately clean to prevent disease from spreading. For those providing fire insurance, it would make sense to provide fire services. For those providing insurance to property and life, it would make sense they provide police and investigative services. The costs of each of these types of insurance policies can be born by those who take out the policies. Several insurance companies could set up consortiums to minimize duplicative services.

What of the free rider? Perhaps the fire department doesn’t respond to his fire, or responds but then places a lien on the home for the full cost. The same could be said for police and investigative services.

The developer of a large housing development wanting to maximize the value of the property could include in the covenants certain requirements for property cleanliness. These could be enforced by the other members of the community. Insurance could even be taken out for this (such as is done for auto insurance against an uninsured motorist). He would include sidewalks in the property if he felt the value would be recognized by the market.

National defense starts to get a little tougher. I will start by saying this would be significantly less costly if foreign relations were handled in a friendlier manner, and a lack of worship to the beast that is the state would help ensure this was so. No foreign entanglements. And what of the arms race if the biggest producers of arms were not funded by government? Is not the circle a self-fulfilling one of un-virtue? A bigger club by you requires me to make an even bigger club? I also wonder what role insurance companies could play in this situation as well?

I will say I have not thought through this fully, but I will offer the following:

This is the introduction written by Hans-Herman Hoppe. The book is “The Myth of National Defense.” There is a link to the book in this introduction. The book is on my reading list, as I have not yet read it I can offer nothing more on this.

Now what if others don’t do their part? As you ask, are YOU then supposed to pay? Again, I will say in my world, outcomes will not be perfect, just as they are not today. There will never be perfect justice. To the extent you are a productive member of society (as I assume you are), I will suggest that in every way you already pay today. You are already paying for slovenly neighbors, you are already paying for those who choose not to work or choose an unhealthy lifestyle. You already pay for many of the things today that you are worried about paying for tomorrow. Less than half the people pay for any of these services anyway. I will assume you are already paying for someone else’s pleasure to not pay.

To compound this, due to the inherent corruption and waste in the monopoly system that is the state, you are probably paying many multiples of what you might pay in a more cooperative society.

So yes, there will likely be some free-riders. They will be far fewer than exist today, and the solutions will be dealt with competitively via the market. Therefore the cost to you will be much lower in my world, I believe.

To the extent you find my comments are helpful, I thank you for your consideration. To the extent they are not, I go back to my earlier statement. I do not have all the answers, and no one can say they do. This is the beauty of the markets and human action. Problems get solved, and new wonders are produced that are far beyond the imagining of any individual or central planner. The same would be true here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Rise of Brownianism, the final chapter...I hope!

@Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner)

"Then you are an anarchist and all forms of law are areas of slavery to you."

I will come to this shortly.

We are both living a pipe dream. Certainly anarchy (as properly defined) is a pipe dream. I believe this so primarily because of inadequate education. Your quote above is a perfect example of this. The fact is, in most of our day to day activities, we are all anarchists. Our happiest moments are during such times.

We are taught to believe anarchy equals chaos, lack of laws, and lack of order. It is one of many terms of freedom and liberty that have been so completely bastardize on purpose, such that we cannot even discuss the concept because we don’t have a vocabulary. Liberal, conservative, freedom, liberty, patriot, free-markets. All are gone, and countless others.

Anarchy does not mean all forms of law are slavery. This is to your discredit that you cannot see further. I do believe when laws are made, enforced, and interpreted by the same monopoly entity, there is no law and there is no justice. These types of laws are slavery.

However, there are many “laws” that I can fully support. First and foremost is non-aggression. In this case, initiation of physical violence would be a violation of the law. Fraud would be a violation of the law.

Second, are agreements we voluntarily make with each other. Think in terms of contracts, service agreements, etc.

Third would be norms that we choose to operate under because it makes life easier. These can be shaped by community, religious, or other influences. For example, which side of the road do I drive on? As everyone in a given region has a vested interest in agreeing on this, no one needs to pass a “law” in the sense that term is understood today. Or, what about children, or the poor? These have been in the past, and can be today, fully “governed” by a community in the various, voluntary meanings of the term.

Actually, I find your example of driving on a side of the road hilarious and ignorant. Do you think all of a sudden, one day, there were 300 million cars on the road, when the day before there were none? With no one having any idea of what to do? Certainly, thousands of years ago pedestrians learned to pass on one side or the other. They further developed this custom on horseback. The costs of failure existed, but were not deadly. This further developed with automobiles.

Yes, anarchy is a pipe dream, but primarily because it is not understood. The reality is, most people take pleasure in living the lives of anarchists the better part of every day and don’t know it, because they don’t really know the meaning of the word.

If anarchy is a pipe dream, limited government is also a pipe dream however of a much larger magnitude. I believe this is so for two reasons. 1) What I have discussed all along in this thread: once monopoly of violence is established over a jurisdiction, it cannot be contained. I will not reiterate the reasons again here. And 2) we all have different visions of what limited government means. There can be no such thing as limited government with no agreement of what this means.

You want every possible action to be debated and open to the possibility of government action. Somehow, you call this limited government. For example, your limited government includes universal health care. This is the first time I have heard a so-called advocate of limited government include universal health care in their vision. But I shouldn't be surprised. There is no agreement on the meaning of the term. I guess limited government could mean anything short of government required death at birth. In other words, anything short of unlimited government is limited government. No thanks, you can have it.

Now, you call for joining hands in debating and discussing “limited government.” I wish you well, however I am already skeptical because of what you have chosen to include in your definition of “limited,” and because of the force you admit you will use to get others to comply with the majority rule. As I said above, I will not join you in this.

I advocate anarchy; more precisely anarcho-capitalism (again, read carefully how I define this). Call it voluntary society if that is more palatable. I know almost no one today agrees with this position. Certainly, if you ask people on the street – heck, ask all the members of Congress – they will almost all agree they are for limited government. It is easy to agree to a term that isn’t defined. They will all look at you crazy if you ask them about anarchy. It is easy to disagree with a term that is falsely defined in the way that anarchy is.

So, you and I (and others) have this discussion and debate over the last two days. At best, you have kept hold on the majority of viewers of this thread who believe we must have “some” amount of government.

However, I (and others) argue for anarchy. If I didn’t change a single opinion, I lose nothing. I am already over-governed as it is, and the vast majority is against my view anyway. But what if I did get someone to consider this view? What if someone decided to go to, or to read Rothbard or Block? I can only win or tie in this battle, I cannot lose.

What is my objective? The current system has died. I think this became obvious in 2008, but the signs were there in 1971, 1913, 1865, 1789 or pick your year. But it is dead.

This dead system will be replaced by something. Advocating limited government replaces it with exactly what we have today. Remember, this is what we had 200 years ago, and given there is no definition of limited government, this is what we have today. Limited government can mean different things to different people. The only limit is that is must stop somewhere short of unlimited government – death at birth on somebody’s whim. Your own inclusion of universal health care is a fine example. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better one.

So I advocate anarchy. For the reasons I state. I condemn any who advocate the right to lord over me, to force me to be an unwilling party to an unwanted contract. You call this limited government, an undefined term. It is another form of slavery and theft. It is license to murder and steal. Pretty words and feigned charity attempt to hide that fact, but they don’t change it. So I will point this out whenever I can.

Thank you for being the foil.

The Rise of Brownianism, one more time...

@ Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner)

Thank you for the further response.

To your point 1: The paradox of government. I now understand quite clearly your view of what government is today. The bridge I cannot cross (and I believe it CANNOT be crossed) is that somehow such a power can be turned and used for good. You believe (it appears) that this bridge can be crossed. If so, you are quite naïve. Government is force. Government attracts those who believe force is a valid method to order society. Once allowed a foot in the door, government will always grow. History has quite clearly demonstrated that monopoly power of violence will respect no rules and knows no boundaries. I believe it must always be so. You believe this basic fact of human nature can be changed. It cannot.

Further to your comment: “Collective work, teamwork, businesses, families are all forms of "We the People." Want to get something big done? Ok; you'll need a team and governance.”

I agree fully, as long as the relationships are voluntary, and decisions by some are not forced on others not so inclined. You make clear in your writing that you do not agree with my view. But at least we are clear with each other.

Your point 2: “Money can, and we argue should, be a public rather than a private service.”

Absolutely no reason for this to be so, if by “public” you mean coerced. If by “public” you mean that a large group (I call it a “market”) must voluntarily agree on its usage, I agree. But this is true for any trade; money is not unique in this. Money is one of the simplest trades known to man, but its use in division of labor and store of wealth make it the most valuable for those who want to control us. There is nothing about money that says its form must be dictated from on high. To be clear, I want no state involvement in money. On this, I will suggest you read anything by Murray Rothbard on this subject.

CH: “Here's your future for considering public sidewalks, public fire departments, or a public monetary system; 1 of 2 choices:” and the two choices that follow.

I don’t spend time debating with Toyota about the cars they will build. I don’t spend time debating with Apple about the feature of the iPod. Entrepreneurs believe there is a void in the market, and they fill it. If the market agrees, they win. If not, they lose. Without any help from me, they have enriched my life far beyond anything I could have done on my own.

CH: “Mosquito: all I ask is for my voice to be respected. All I ask is my proposal to be considered by our community. All I ask is my freedom of speech. All I want is freedom of choice. “CH: ”If the community chooses to decline this proposal, fine. If it accepts, fine. We have examples of both choices and can continue to collect data for our community's ongoing consideration.”

So far, no problem.CH: ”Ok, mosquito: see any problem in this, or are we in agreement? Is this choice slavery for you? If so, how? Is this theft? If so, how? You don't like our community's choices, or I don't: fine; we always have the freedom to move.

This is where I have a problem. By definition, you have defined a system where majority rules. Therefore the minority will always be persecuted, with your solution being the poor sap is “allowed” to move. Consider that rights are only rights if they extend to the minority, and the smallest minority is the individual. You offer a system where 51% can enslave 49% on any subject at any time. Yes, it is slavery in the best case. This thinking results in genocide in the worst case.

CH: “Yeah, I propose we tax your ass as a community member to help pay for it…Where's the slavery or theft in this philosophy?”

Yes, what if I don’t want to pay? What will you do to me? How will you enforce this community decision? If you say that my payment is voluntary, we are in agreement. A simple statement to this effect will suffice.

CH: “So, mosquito: you have a problem with a market-driven freedom of choice?”

I have no problem with market driven freedom of choice. You confuse terms and concepts. What you are describing is not market driven, and it is not freedom of choice. Freedom of choice is not exercised by a majority on a minority. A majority, making a decision to be imposed upon me by force, is not freedom of choice. It is slavery. It is theft. If an individual is not free to make his own choice, there is no freedom of choice. There is slavery and theft.

Your comments so far make clear that you do not support my individual right to make my individual decision. Your own examples demonstrate that you will use the power of government in a coercive way, yet somehow you believe this power can be contained. I will again state, this power CANNOT be contained.

The battle in your head must be very painful, as these contradictory beliefs you hold are in deadly opposition to each other.

Follow-on post below:

@Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner)

"Let's see if we can stand together:" "...are you good with all proposals on our table for public consideration? Are we together on this?"

We cannot stand together. I am not good with your proposals.

You and Ms. Brown believe in the State. You believe this power can be harnessed for good. You believe the power can be limited. These beliefs require you to believe in slavery and/or theft as a means to organize society. You cannot get around this. If you have a way around this, present your philosophy. For a hundred years you will be held up by government as a champion, in the same way and for the same reasons they do Keynes.

It cannot be defended, so it is just not discussed. At least not in polite society. This is why there is angst when Dr. North compares Brownian economics to the economics of Hitler. It is impolite. However it is true, and too often, in the end, the result is the same. State power cannot be contained. It cannot be controlled. It will go wherever it wants. This often leads to deaths in the tens of millions. There is too much history to demonstrate this to allow you the possibility that you may have missed it.

Each of you, in your own way, is acting to further lead sheep to slaughter.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

More on The Rise of Brownianism at The Daily Bell

@Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner)

Where do I begin...?

Let’s count the strikes, shall we? A quick check of all of my questions that you have thus far ignored:

1) How do you believe this proposal would accomplish accountability and full transparency in government?
2) You seem quite skeptical about government power. Why are you such a proponent of it in this case?
3) Could you please provide examples of political integrity in government that would give you confidence in this occasion?
4) Please identify instances where government regulation has worked. Explain this in the context of the last decade in finance and real estate – two of the most regulated industries in the country.
5) If we just change the owner of the printing press, all economic woes will disappear. We can eliminate need from the vocabulary of man. Really, you believe this?
6) I know the reason government actors, and those above them pulling the strings of government actors, have for monopolizing money. What are your reasons?
7) Only competition, proven via profit and loss in a free marketplace has demonstrated the ability to consistently raise man's standard of living. It does so for every other good, why not for money?
8) Then let those 3/5 to 2/3 pay for it. By what right do they have claim on me in order to fulfill their fantasies?

There are at least 8 strikes. So now, I can count higher than you can. Does this qualify me for the position of Federal Reserve Chairman?

Now to your latest post:

Streets and sidewalks? Try this by Walter Block, also an economics professor. I would put him in the 2% camp. Don’t let the length scare you. Also, I don’t believe this will change your opinion one bit, but then again, I am not writing this for your sake.

CH: “You make an a priori argument against "central planning" and refuse to provide resources you say make your case?”

This is two strikes? The easiest softball of the day and your challenge rides on this? Are you really an economics professor? Given all the examples in the history of the 20th century, this burden does not sit on me. Ok, I’m game. Maybe the Soviet Union would be a good start? What about North Korea? East Germany? If you haven't heard of these, or cannot use Google, I can get some links for you.

CH: “…do I understand you correctly that you'll let the poor die on the streets rather than provide them with health care?”

I never said what I would personally do, so I don’t know how you could understand me correctly or incorrectly. But I know I wouldn’t use force to steal from someone else and then call it charity. Your attitude is typical of those who confuse theft with generosity and compassion. It is easy to be generous with someone else’s money. It is fallacious to say that one defending his property from a thief is somehow not being charitable.

Yes, you do ignore my questions, again listed above for your ease and comfort. Below is my entire comment on the subject of slavery:

BM: “Underlying your view is a philosophy that believes slavery is a legitimate way to order society. Try to defend your statements without relying on this fact. It cannot be done. Once you admit that you advocate slavery, try to define with some philosophical consistency those parts of your private life that should be protected from the slaveholder. There is no line other than zero that can be legitimately defended. Now compare the evil that is slavery (your ideal society) with my lack of concern about where I might find a public sidewalk. I will risk the possible lack of a sidewalk.”

What I gave you was a problem in logic and deductive reasoning. I made one error in my conclusion. There is another logical conclusion I could have reached about your underlying philosophy besides slavery. It could also be theft. Now, use logic and reason to refute this. You cannot. This was the problem I presented to you in the first place. This should be obvious for an economics professor. You failed gloriously.

CH: “I count two questions to this point: addressing the "slippery slope" fallacy was one and the other is the paradox of having a structure of government that's transparent when we don't have that today and most cannot imagine it. I addressed both.”

No not two questions, and you have addressed neither. I have listed eight above. And this wasn’t all of them, and it does not include questions asked by others on this thread.

CH: “And answer #2 above, please. This is a reality check of your economic philosphy.”

Have I even described in any sufficient detail my economic philosophy? Certainly, my economic philosophy does not justify slavery or theft. Does yours?

Your grade is F for this course. Merry Christmas.

re Further comments to The Rise of Brownianism at The Daily Bell

Further comments posted at The Daily Bell (slightly modified here).

Statements in quotes belong to Mr. Herman:

@Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner)

"Here's your future for considering public sidewalks, public fire departments, or a public monetary system."

I want none of these, yet you state this is in my future.

"You want a competing monetary system of gold and silver? Fine. Propose it and subject it to scrutiny."

It has been scrutinized. Only competition, proven via profit and loss in a free marketplace has demonstrated the ability to consistently raise man's standard of living. It does so for every other good, why not for money?

"I want a national monetary system..."

Yes, clearly you are for central planning. This is like saying I want a national standard for blue jeans.

"Be afraid of "government.""

I am. Your website seems to indicate you are at least skeptical. How you can hold such different views in one head is beyond my understanding.

"Give up on universal health care..."

Certainly, when dictated by government.

"...painting our criminal government past upon what can be created in a newly-created future."

Yes, the new Soviet man. Just like Lenin.

"No public sidewalks for you, or public roads, street lights, traffic signals, street drains, street cleaning? What's your alternative system under a free market system without "central planning"?"

Alternatives to each of these have been written about quite extensively. These examples are, frankly, some of the easiest to resolve in a free market and without government. Go to for a start, if you are serious about gaining an understanding.

"And universal healthcare has about 3/5 to 2/3 preference among We the People when polled..."

So what? Then let those 3/5 to 2/3 pay for it. By what right do they have claim on me in order to fulfill their fantasies?

Underlying your view is a philosophy that believes slavery is a legitimate way to order society. Try to defend your statements without relying on this fact. It cannot be done. Once you admit that you advocate slavery, try to define with some philosophical consistency those parts of your private life that should be protected from the slaveholder. There is no line other than zero that can be legitimately defended.

Now compare the evil that is slavery (your ideal society) with my lack of concern about where I might find a public sidewalk. I will risk the possible lack of a sidewalk.

re The Rise of Brownianism at The Daily Bell

This is in response to comments to the article at The Daily Bell:

@Carl Herman (LA County Nonpartisan Examiner), a college-level econ teacher

I find when someone must advertise his credentials as part of his argument (and you have done so twice so far), that I should prepare myself for ignorant and naïve commentary to follow. In this, you have not disappointed.

What a sad commentary. Not only from you, but the other supporters of this so-called improvement to the monetary system.

Before I go further, to be clear: I am for a free banking, fully competitive monetary environment. As in other markets that are free, or relatively so, goods are delivered that meet customers’ needs and wants, with ever increasing quality and (absent inflation in the money supply) ever shrinking cost. I believe the current system of a Fed controlled money supply is a sham and a fraud.

I do not support change for change sake. Even if I thought this Brownian idea was a marginal improvement, I would not support it, because at its core it is still corrupt, and delivers the control of money to the same corrupt group that has it today, only with a different plaque on the building.

However, it is not even an improvement. It is a further degradation of the current system. To give such power to the Congress and the Treasury, and believe that there will be somehow discipline involved, speaks wonders of the belief system of the proponents. At least in the current setup, we have different bureaucracies potentially fighting with each other.

Now to some of your commentary:


Correct. How do you believe this proposal would accomplish this? The Federal government will give us transparency and accountability? Please describe where and how this could be reasonably expected. Hundreds of examples tell us the opposite. I cannot think of one example that would suggest government is transparent. But you believe it will somehow be so this time. This is ignorant at best, or the characteristics of someone purposely wanting to further destroy the economy.

I took a quick look at your web site. You seem quite skeptical about government power. Why are you such a proponent of it in this case?

In the market I can exercise my judgment and ensure accountability every day. I can stop interacting with any business I choose. I can stop using certain products in favor of an alternative. I can withhold my vote whenever I like. Nice characteristics to have when it comes to money.

Tell me how I can do this with government?

"It must have political integrity, yes, so that is the paradox that trips-up many apparent critics."

Well, it is one issue that trips up this critic. Could you please provide examples of political integrity in government that would give you confidence in this occasion?

The other issue is that it is money controlled by dictate. To believe that the power over money, the most BASIC building block over the economy and therefore over the control of man, will be exercised benignly is THE single most ignorant belief I can imagine anyone holding. Control money and you control everything. Please grasp this most basic of economic ideas…oh wait, that is your line.

"Not to be too impish, but, again with all respect: duh. Please grasp this most basic of economics ideas of who creates money and how. Please."

Money is properly created by the market, as are all goods worthy of being created. This is the most basic concept. It has been so in the past, it will one day again be so. Passage of this Kucinich bill will bring that day that much sooner because it will destroy the dollar that much sooner.

"...And no, the arrogance is to think we can't regulate money supply. Really, what an insult!"

You must be joking. Government hasn’t regulated the deficit. Government hasn’t regulated balancing the budget. Government hasn’t regulated anything that requires hard decisions or choices. Name one. Please identify instances where government regulation has worked. For any one you come up with, I am sure I have a dozen failures. Just look at the last decade in finance and real estate – two of the most regulated industries in the country. Really, what an insult!

"No debt and interest cost ever….This means full employment and state-of-the-art infrastructure."

Manna from heaven. Do you have a statue to this false god in your office? If we just change the owner of the printing press, all economic woes will disappear. We can eliminate need from the vocabulary of man. Really, you believe this?

"Really now; is that your faith in "Hand , the invisible," our Lord and Market God?"

What you refer to despicably as the market, I refer to as people’s individual choices, freely arrived at. The market delivers wonderful things every day. The market delivers items far more complex than “money,” a relatively simple commodity that you, like others who want to enslave man, have turned into something complex for purposes other than enabling division of labor and a store of value. I know the reason government actors, and those above them pulling the strings of government actors, have for monopolizing money. What are your reasons?

You despise markets, because you despise people. That is obvious from your posts.

If you want to impress somebody with your credentials, don’t start by saying you are an economics professor. In this world, that would place you in a group where 98% are basically idiots.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Re: New Elite Gambit Features 'Transparency?' at The Daily Bell

This is in reply to the article at The Daily Bell:

"Perhaps some fairly well known names might eventually face jail..."

This has been my view for some time (assuming we refer to the same thing). The politicians will perp walk many of the bankers, etc., in order to deflect attention and culpability from themselves as the economy continues to crumble. This would also serve the interests of the puppet masters (both to deflect attention, and perhaps as an aide to consolidating further the centralization). The idea of transparency fits right in with this strategy.

In this way, I see Ron Paul's Chairmanship as fitting in with the plan (regular readers should know a) I DO NOT believe Ron Paul is an insider or playing a role, and b) I am quite happy he is in the chair he is in). While his new found position may be playing into this transparency meme, I still feel it is valuable to the efforts of freedom because it offers the chance to educate. This is where the battle lies, and battles are not riskless. His seat in this chair can cut both ways (just as many fear the internet has positive and negative ramifications to freedom). But I digress.

There is apparently a bill that Kucinich will offer. The link is from a commentary by Shedlock, calling the bill (rightly) crazy, and wondering why Denninger is supporting such a crazy bill:

I have earlier commented on this bill myself:

In short, the bill would take the money function away from the Fed and give it to Treasury and Congress. Ellen Brown on steroids.

Why do I introduce this here? Some background:

1) I think TPTB understand full well the risks of central banking and FRB.
2) Knowing the risks, they know how to exploit the system to their advantage.
3) Knowing the risks, they knew that the end would come sooner or later.
4) They may or may not have known the magnitude of the drastic calamity that in fact now seems to have arrived. In other words, they knew it would be bad. They may or may not have wanted it to be this bad.
5) Now that it is this bad (whether by design or not), they must make lemonade out of lemons. Use this as an opportunity to further centralize. One world currency being one of the key, if not THE key, objectives.
6) But the world isn't ready yet. Delay and stall, keep the economy crutched, not allowing markets to clear therefore not allowing the economy to recover and grow.
7) This helps drive home the point to the masses that times are desperate.

What does this have to do with the Kucinich Bill? The one system more certain to ruin a currency than a central bank system is one where money is controlled by publicly elected politicians. If the intent is to ruin the currency in order to motivate the public to accept a one world currency, this bill will gain traction. As the rest of the world uses USD as the reserve currency, ruin the dollar and you drastically diminish the worth of any other currency (what is the value of a currency that has as its reserves the worthless USD?). Also, for the bill to gain traction, we need a few big economic shocks as we had at the end of 2008.

This bill may be the replacement for the failure of the global warming sales pitch, itself a scam to bring to fruition world-wide money in the form of carbon credits. An audible hastily called on the line of scrimmage to try to replace that which was lost after decades of preparation. Again, another reason for the extend and pretend we are seeing today.

To Dr. North’s point in his critique of Brown: A false flag infiltrator, meant to gain the conservative’s support. “Yes, end the Fed. I heard that somewhere. This bill will do just that. It must be good. Certainly Ron Paul should support it, that's what Denninger said.” As witnessed by Denninger, this bill should gain a relatively large base of supporters from the ignorant.

This will be interesting. If we see some big economic shocks in the coming year (certainly quite likely) this will make it almost certain that a) we will see perp walks for some of the bankers (Congress will do whatever necessary to deflect blame), and b) this Kucinich bill will gain traction (“we must take this power away from this cartel and return it to the control of government where it – falsely - Constitutionally belongs”).

My one hesitation is that it is still all too fast. Can the public’s mindset be brought around so quickly? Even with the decades of indoctrination this seems like a big step. This suggests one of three possibilities: 1) TPTB are quite desperate (as TDB has often suggested), 2) the crash that is in store for us will be massive (got your beans and bullets?).

The third possibility…my tin foil hat is much too tight today!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fractional Reserve Banking in a Free Banking Environment

This comment is in reply to an article at:

All quotes below are from the subject article.

Imagine a jurisdiction with fully competing currencies, where every type of idea is afforded the opportunity to be tested and ultimately accepted or rejected by market participants. There are no laws making one scheme preferable to another. Multiple currencies can trade side by side in a given jurisdiction, with disclosure as to the nature of the currency clearly available and identified.

The author of the article certainly makes a statement that would lead one to this possibility:

“Austrian economists (in particular those in the Misesian-Rothbardian tradition) uncompromisingly call for replacing fiat money with free-market money — money that is produced by the free interplay of the supply of and demand for money.

“Such a recommendation has a firm economical-ethical footing: free-market money is the only monetary order that is compatible with private-property rights, the governing principle of the free-market society.”

From these statements, it seems safe to conclude that “Austrian economists” would allow the market to decide on “money.” For a market to do so, market participants must be free both to experiment, and to compete – without the necessity of finally settling on any one form being utilized in a market.

With this in mind, I wonder about some of the statements and assertions in the article:

“What, however, if the bank and the depositor both agree voluntarily that money deposits should be used for credit transactions via the issuance of fiduciary media?”

Such a voluntary transaction might only legitimately be discouraged if there were significant externalities caused by such an arrangement. The author attempts to present such a problem with the following comments:

“While bank and depositor benefit from such a trade (or expect to), what about those who receive fiduciary media? They would be falsely lured into exchanging goods and service against an item (fiduciary media) that is already claimed as property by others — something the seller presumably wouldn't agree to if he had only known the very nature of the trade.”

Why is it assumed the third party is unaware of, or “falsely lured” by, the nature of what he is receiving? Certainly, if he was falsely lured, a charge of fraud would be justified. However, what if he is aware? Would you propose stopping this transaction? How, and on what grounds?

“What if all market agents voluntarily agreed to engage in fractional-reserve banking? The conclusion above wouldn't change: voluntarily accepted fractional-reserve banking would represent a monetary system that is, by its very nature, in violation of the nature of the law of private-property rights. It would produce economic chaos on the grandest scale.”

Why is it in violation of property rights? Every actor has knowingly and willingly agreed to accept the fiduciary media. With what basis would you propose to stop them? If it, in fact, results in economic chaos, participants will suffer the consequences. But these are consequences willingly brought on by voluntary actions. Perhaps some laws prohibiting voluntary behavior would be considered? Really?

Back to my vision of multiple currencies competing on equal terms in a free market: With the opportunity to use a more stable currency (100% gold-backed, if you will), what do I care if someone else’s wealth and purchasing power is eroded and/or destroyed because they made a less-than optimal choice of a fractionally-backed currency? My wealth is secure, my purchasing power is maintained. In this scenario of freely competing currencies, why would I stop them? More so, how would I stop them?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Denninger & Dennis Kucinich: Delete The Fed

This is in response to commentary by Karl Denninger. Quoted sentences are taken from the commentary:

"His bill would end the process of money issuance by The US Federal Government as a debt instrument. It would thus restore actual "lawful money" as Ron Paul claims to want, but in a form he has never, ever elucidated. It does, however, exactly match up with the base position I have propounded upon, along with Bill Still and a few others."

Instead of money issued by the Fed, Kucinich apparently wants money issued by the Treasury. Ellen Brown in all her glory. Denninger quite vociferously endorses this idea.

Now, if one has a concern about money controlled by the Fed as being inflationary, wait and see what you get when money is controlled by a politically motivated Treasury and Congress. Of course, Denninger is comfortable with the solution, as follows:

"The existing "FOMC" would be replicated in Treasury with a mandate identical to The Fed's, with one important addition - a requirement that their operations be neither inflationary or deflationary.

That is, the precise mandate that is required - that United States Money maintain its purchasing power."

Well, of course Karl. Why didn't I think of that. Just require the Treasury to not get carried away. Yes, it is that simple.

I don't even know where to begin. I do not believe Denninger is really this naive, although it is consistent with his many recommendations. If only the government would do it better (meaning, of course, his way) everything would be fine.

Now, if he has a way to take politics out of politicians I am all ears. This is too stunning....

But it gets worse (or better?): "It would absolutely bar the use of depositor reserves for any lending purpose whatsoever - that is, if you deposited funds into a transaction account (any sort of "demand" account) the bank would have to hold the funds as an actual custodian with fiduciary requirements for performance. Other than by direct and punishable fraud, depositor losses would instantly become impossible."

Who would enforce this? The same people that failed to enforce the last set of regulations? Who would ensure fraud was punished? The same people who have not punished the fraud already committed? Is this man asleep?

"We're about to find out if people like Ron and Rand Paul really stand for what they claim, or if they're empty suits. If they do, then I expect to see them on the Tee Vee within hours demanding passage of this bill, and joining with Mr. Kucinich in making sure that it is immediately reintroduced in the new Congress - and passed.

"If that does not happen then these two claimants of a demand for "sound money" have been immediately and permanently exposed as FRAUDS, as will any so-called "Tea Party" members of Congress."

Yes, if Ron Paul doesn't support a bill handing over money creation to the government, he is a fraud. A bill 180 degrees opposite of everything Ron Paul has said about money, and he would be a fraud if he doesn't support this contrary bill.

It would help, before making such accusations of people of character, if Denninger actually understood something about money, monetary policy, government, politics, Ron Paul, economics, and many other subjects. This post, along with many others of his, seem to indicate he understands nothing of any of these.

Denninger is not this stupid by mistake.

re: Failure of Economic Happy Talk

This is in reply to an article at today's Daily Bell. The original article can be found here:

"...but the change in the global social structure has created a psychological crisis in the US."

I don't believe Americans are having a psychological crisis because the Chinese or Indians are catching up. Few Americans have ever even seen anything of these countries, and for those who haven't, most likely continue to be blinded by the arrogance of the now certainly false American exceptionalism. No, most Americans are either a) not aware enough of the world around them, or b) believe the US is so far ahead of the unwashed third world to say the psychological crisis is caused by this reality of the world catching up.

Certainly, for the source of any psychological crisis one need look no further than home, both in today’s stories and those passed down by parents and grandparents. Such a national psychosis is not born in one’s own head, but is consciously and subconsciously passed along and increased from one generation to the next. For many, the dots are not consciously connected, yet certainly they must somehow be related…to the extent one is even aware of the history.

The Constitution. A wonderful document. Yet in it was enshrined the idea of slavery. Well, it was the best we could do, many said. But was it? Why did anything need to be "done"? And to enshrine this sickness so quickly after "We hold these truths to be self evident..."

The war of 1861. Lincoln saved the republic. Or did he? There are certainly many from that generation who believed otherwise: both in the north and in the south. These were the children of the founding generation. They understood freedom. They understood checks and balances. Many were not so easily fooled. Of course, in the aftermath, all that was left was to go along and get along. But this knowledge – a very conscious knowledge – did not leave them. One way or another, they passed this on to their children.

The terrible year of 1913: the income tax, direct election of senators, and the Federal Reserve all hoisted on the people in one fell swoop and all in a less than transparent manner. What harm, under the surface, might these have caused to a people who still understood “real” money and the freedom from paying homage to the national government? What about the nagging feeling that the control was now more permanently moved from the local state to the national government, especially to those somehow aware of the true implications of Lincoln’s war? These events were immediately followed by the Great War. For some reason perhaps not quite understood by the masses, the US got involved, despite a population at that time quite firmly against such foreign entanglements. Was this somehow connected to the events of 1913? Somewhere, if only in the subconscious, many must have struggled with this question. These people were the same people who only a short time before lived in a reasonably uncontrolled society. To them, perhaps the full picture was not clear, but certainly something inside was beginning to nag them.

Within a generation, the suffering of the Great Depression. But the ‘20s were roaring. How could this happen? A decade of financial calamity. Still not resolved, they find themselves maneuvered into fighting a war that, prior to the day that will live in infamy, few wanted to fight. This war, always called “the good war,” resulted in the deaths of millions and contributed to the subjugation of hundreds of millions behind an iron curtain. Somewhere, in the minds of anyone with a pulse, nagged the question: Is Hitler really worse than Stalin? Especially when, almost immediately after the war it was “decided” that Stalin’s empire was the new enemy. This could not be conciously resolved.

After the war, seeming calm for a time. However, in order to mask the underlying decay brought on by events earlier in the century, a new enemy was created. A Cold enemy. Wars, some larger, some smaller were fought indirectly in places few heard of. The Great Society was born, a race to the moon for further diversion. The gold standard, no longer maintainable, was ushered off in a summer day in 1971 – the second major default since the advent of the Fed. But, this only unleashed the economic calamity, culminating in a decade of high inflation and high unemployment, only resolved (on the surface at least) by high double digit interest rates and two additional significant recessions. Again, the dots were not connected consciously by most, but the mind is a wonderful instrument, able to subconsciously understand and integrate what the conscious does not.

The ‘80s. Reagan. Happy, upbeat, defeat the commies. Stock markets only go up. Bond markets only go up. Real estate only goes up…well except for a nasty little downturn in the early ‘90s. But look at how quickly that was “fixed.” Debt crisis in Mexico. Debt crisis in Asia. Wait, why is the US Fed involved in these? Well, never mind: we have dotcoms, we will all retire as millionaires. But perhaps questions lingered deep down inside. Then, another blowup in 2000. The market crashed.

September 11. Somehow the story doesn’t quite make sense. Some are quite aware and make a point to say so. Qualified engineers, for example, state that buildings cannot collapse like this. Other point out a collapsed third building that was not hit by anything. Where are the airplane remains? But for most, the policy is: Don’t ask, don’t tell. This may pacify the conscious mind, but the subconscious is not so easily fooled. The diversion comes: here comes a real estate boom to save the day. And we can all buy new cars and flat screens every year. There is no calamity too large for this wonderful machine. Happy days, but is the mind fully content? How can it be? Too many unresolved traumas passed along from one generation to the next.

2008, the economic charade is fully exposed. No happy retirement, no social security, no Medicare, no 401K. Heck, no jobs. But they do see theft. From the Fed to Wall Street. From the government to the cronies. They conclude there is little to be done about it and how hopeless they truly are, or they don’t want to admit the true ramifications behind the facts of the cronyism…at least not consciously. Somewhere deep down inside, they know the system does not work for them; it is designed to use them for the benefit of others. They know that what they have been taught over a lifetime is false, but who can easily admit that the lessons of a lifetime were, in fact, some sort of brainwashing? But subconsciously they know it is over, the lessons past along subconciously from one generation to the next tell them this is so. The only question is when, and exactly how.

They know, deep down inside, that they are staring a kind of death in the face, without knowing anything of the means or the timing. Only knowing, somewhere deep down inside, that the one they trusted to be their friend and to take care of them, is the one who lied to them all along and has brought on all this pain.

They have known this through several generations, going back to their grandparents in the time before 1913, perhaps even before 1861 or 1789. Such psychological trauma does not spring forth in one generation: it takes several generations of abuse. Whether or not parents know it, they pass this on to their children, and on it goes generation after generation.

The US does not have to look outside for the source of its psychological crisis. It was homegrown, over generations, with the lessons subconsciously passed from one generation to the next.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Interview of Dr. Mark Skousen at The Daily Bell

These comments are in reply to the interview found at:

@DB, I can understand why your afterthoughts went the direction they did, in order to deflect from the less than compelling comments by your interview subject. This was one horrific set of comments by your interviewee.

First of all, his five questions: talk about dancing on the periphery. These are questions of the type one would ask if one believed tinkering on the edges of a corrupt system would actually change things.


“Europe is cutting back on government spending…”

Where, exactly is this happening? As far as I can tell, there may be reductions on what was planned for growth…at best. But when a EUR 10 billion "cut" is accompanied by a EUR 100 billion bank bailout, tell me, where exactly is the reduction in government spending?

“…while engaged in monetary expansion…Of course, libertarians do not believe in managing the economy through central banking, but we are stuck with the system we have.”

What libertarian speaks like this? We are also “stuck” with the system of politicians spending more money than they take from the governed, but Skousen has no trouble speaking against this.

“Within the parameters of this system, monetary expansion is likely to be more effective than government spending…”

Who says? Austrians would take honest money over balanced budgets, knowing the former is a much greater provider of discipline on the latter than the other way around. Creating play money sends the worst of all signals to the market, as “money” is the most basic building block in any free-market, capitalistic system. Government deficits, honestly financed, are far less distortive to the economy than printing funny money.

“Since then, I have argued that once you have gone off the gold standard it is very difficult to go back on it because it would cause a major redistribution of wealth to the gold holders who tend to be speculators and wealthier individuals.”

THIS is the big concern? As opposed to the major distributions of wealth caused by fiat money? So the scam artists who siphoned trillions from the bubbles created over the last 100 years can continue their game, but those who happened to rightly see the end of the scam approaching should not be allowed to be kept whole? The and real estate thefts can continue, but not a return to honest money?

And, it isn’t so difficult to return to a gold standard. Just allow competition in money, without legal tender laws or other tax consequences that penalize one choice over another. The market will resolve this false difficulty, and reasonably smoothly.

Where to begin regarding his discussion of the EU? He could have done a much better job separating the issue of the EU from the Euro, and his answer was fully supportive of the benefits of aggregation of government power in ever higher and less accountable forms.

“Have you ever seen the picture of how much water is surrounding the China sea and how much they consider is theirs? It's not 200 miles – it just keeps going and going.”

He is worried about China? Take out “China sea” from his quote and insert “United States.” This will make the perspective of his viewpoint much more clear.

“The majority of time Americans are problem solvers; the sun eventually comes out again. Traditional bond and stock markets perform better. It would be sad commentary if we didn't have that kind of situation. It would be like being a millionaire on a sinking ship. Who wants to be a millionaire on the Titanic?”

This quote could have come from any number of drug peddlers at the NY Times. It does nothing to properly address the current situation of the United States or the rest of the world.

“So, I am optimistic that we will get new leadership, reasonable policies and sound economics.”

The answer will be found in politics? Seriously?

“They paid me $100,000 in advance for Econopower.”

Who cares?

DB – I would appreciate seeing the list of the other speakers you have coming to your event in April. It is sad commentary if Skousen is representative of the conference. Your writing and philosophy are a world away from his comments. I do not understand why there would be such a connection….

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ron Paul and Focus

This post is in reply to points made by Lila Rajiva and the subsequent discussion at The Daily Bell regarding Ron Paul and his focus.

The subject article is entitled "End of the Fed?" and can be found at


Re Ron Paul, I don't have any answers for you; I will only put a few thoughts out there. If they add value, so be it; if not, it won’t be the first time for me.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP). In order to be truly successful, one must have one and stay focused on it. I don’t speak only of businesses, but certainly also of those who want to effect change, change opinion, educate, etc.

What is Ron Paul's USP? He seems quite focused on increasing individual freedom and reducing the power of the state. He seems to have chosen two critical areas to focus on in this regard: 1) Centralized money power, manifest in the FED, and 2) Military and foreign policy intervention by the US in the rest of the world.

I cannot disagree that these are two of the biggest items to knock down if we are to have some chance to move toward liberty and peace. I keep reflecting on the four planks of the Daily Bell/Tea Party platform, of which these are two (the others being separation of education and state, and ending the drug wars/prohibitions). If one stays focused on any one of these items, and affects change in the dialogue of the same, they have really done good work, and can be said to have had some real fulfillment in life. Other encroachments are enabled from these four (actually, end either central banking or government funding of education and the other three would likely start to crumble on their own).

Ron Paul certainly has changed the dialogue as it relates to the FED. I believe I stand on safe ground stating that the national dialogue on the FED would be quite different today had he not run for President three years ago – yes, he was assisted by the internet and the financial crisis, but I look to him as the messenger.

So why not go after Goldman Sachs, etc? When I have heard this come up to him (if my memory serves), Dr. Paul always goes back to the root – the FED. Strike at the root and the tree cannot stand. In any case, the prosecutions will come as sure as I am typing right now. As the economic world continues to implode, the anger will be deflected by going after the bankers and other such participants who are also actually just pawns. The politicians will do this to try to save their own skin. The bankers will be sacrificed if it means saving the system or postponing the killing of central banking.

As to September 11, I also do not recall him making strong statements about getting at the facts – certainly a new investigation is in order. But to press this might seem to take away from his USP. Yes, what might it cost him to take a few minutes or days to work on this? The issue is, no organization or individual can thrive if they go after every battle worth fighting. (Yes, the battles one chooses, or chooses to avoid, say something.) I go back to USP, and cannot disagree with the battles he has chosen, and see each one as a full time job.

Rosa Parks: the most I recall is he had to comment about why he voted “no” on some commemoration. Ron Paul never raised the issue; he was reacting to an item brought up for vote. He volunteered to put up the money out of his own pocket if the other congressman would do the same. They obviously preferred to spend OPM. To the extent he has had to defend his position, he has spoken on this. But I have not seen him proactively raise this issue. I might be wrong.

So, I see Ron Paul as one who is trying to stay on message. I believe he rightly sees that if he goes after all targets in all corners that he would lose his effectiveness in going after the items he feels most crucial – you might feel other items are more crucial, but as I said before, I cannot disagree with the battles he has chosen. He would certainly add to the list of people going after him. This would absolutely diminish his effectiveness in his key topics, his USP.

In any case, my two cents. If it is worth even less, apologies to DB for stressing the server.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More Antal Fekete Fallacies

This is in response to Dr. Fekete's editorial at The Daily Bell, and a further response to some of his positions regarding Real Bills.

The editorial at the Daily Bell can be found here:

Dr Fekete: “I made the central point that the source of commercial credit is not saving but consumption.”

Fekete’s most fundamental flaw is that he confuses money with savings. It is the same flaw behind every Keynesian and Monetarist. It is the flaw behind Bernanke and Greenspan. However, he does not limit himself to this one flaw.

He goes on to use an example of disappearing banks. Paper is wealth. However, his example is flawed. If banks disappear, the wealth does not. There are still farms. There are stores of grain. The previously built factories still exist. My home still provides shelter.

The problem is he cannot be more precise in his example – because it would expose the fraud of his claim, quoted above. In his example, we all starve if the banks disappear, except for the miracle of RBD. However, as is clear, starvation may (or may not) come only to the extent that real wealth disappears. If the real wealth disappears, his Real Bills will not save him, as SOMETHING must fund production. The worker must eat while he is engaged in producing something else for later consumption.

It is unequivocally true, that if all the WEALTH disappeared, there absolutely must be savings to support production. I can’t fund a fishing net unless I have caught and saved enough fish to last the ten days it will take me to fabricate the net. But Fekete cannot make this more accurate observation, because it would expose him.

Fekete confuses financing with funding. He makes the case that real bills can finance the production of goods, but there is no funding to support this financing. Funding can ONLY come from savings. Paper cannot fund production. Only goods ready to be consumed can fund production.

Consider: while a good is in production, those employed in producing that good must eat. By definition, they cannot eat what they are producing, as it is in production. They cannot trade it for food; after all it is in production. Without someone previously having saved food, where would they get their food?

Will they eat real bills? Of course not. But perhaps they could trade the bills for food. In that case, someone had to SAVE food for there to be a trade. Financing is not funding. This is the exact same false belief system of Ben Bernanke. By creating money, we will increase the economy. But the money doesn’t satisfy the need for food. Only food does.

More importantly, now inflation is absolutely introduced into the system. The bills, drawn on unfinished goods that are not ready for consumption, are an increase to the money supply – competing to purchase the food someone else has saved. The paper Real Bills are now competing with the previous stock of money. By definition prices will be higher than they otherwise would be SOLELY due to the introduction of this fiduciary media. This conclusion is unavoidable.

The entire motivation for RBD is to fund something that (supposedly) otherwise could not be funded. Fekete is clear: absent RBD, there would be many not able to compete in the market to purchase previously finished goods available for consumption. How does this not raise prices higher than they otherwise would have been absent RBD? Every economics discipline recognizes that the moving of the demand line higher raises prices for a given supply. The supply of finished goods has not changed, yet the demand curve has shifted. This is the consistent and unavoidable result of relying on paper printing for “money.”

Fekete goes further to argue that there isn’t enough gold coin to satisfy the funding needs of production. But gold doesn’t fund anything in the basic sense – one cannot eat gold. Gold historically has been used as a store of wealth and medium of exchange, with the benefit of Mother Nature providing the discipline to minimize the manipulations of man. Gold does not fund production – actual goods fund production. Fekete ignores this most basic fact of survival.

There is no distinction between the funding of working capital and fixed capital. In both cases, savings of previously completed goods MUST be consumed while the production is performed. Whether for a week or five years, the worker must eat while he is in the process of manufacturing a good not yet ready for final consumption. From where will he get the food, unless someone has previously saved it?

Further, it is claimed that Real Bills serve as a clearing mechanism. But this is a solution looking for a problem. Gold can clear, as can any other object society chooses to use as money can clear.

I will clarify. There are these things called computers. These computers can hold records of gold (or other specie) balances for individual account holders. The gold holdings of each individual account holder can be divided and subdivided almost infinitely, as the computers can handle an infinite number of digits to the right of the decimal, thus dividing the gold into infinite fractions of ounces or grams. Gold is, both physically and virtually, quite divisible.

There is modern communication technology. This technology allows instant communication anywhere around the globe. It is capable of handling countless billions of transactions per day – or per hour or minute, if you like.

The physical gold does not have to move a billion times per day. Balances can be netted daily or otherwise as the market determines. Private clearing houses can be established to net the balances. See what James Turk is doing. Is this not a living example of how gold can be directly used as money?

Antal Fekete, like Ellen Brown, is (to take one from Dr. North) a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and should be recognized as such. Like Ellen Brown, he starts by speaking the language of sound money, the disasters of the current banking system, etc. This draws people in. “He doesn’t like Ben Bernanke. He doesn’t like the banking cartel.” However, he takes Ellen Brown one step further – to draw in the seemingly hard-money crowd. “He believes gold is the ultimate extinguisher of debt” This sounds good to people, he is talking about the problems of the current system correctly. He mentions gold.

Once he has them in the tent, he sells them a bill of goods (a Real Bill of goods?). He promises wealth simply by the creation of paper. He says this paper will create wealth without inflation. He says we don’t have to rely on savings for credit. Once he has them in the tent, he talks like a central banker. Any apologist of a central bank uses the exact same words, and these words have the exact same meaning and will produce the exact same results.

Monday, October 25, 2010

China and the West: The Transition

I posted at The Daily Bell regarding their article entitled "What's Behind the US Currency Promotion?" The original article can be found here:

I felt it necessary to expand on the comments I made at The Daily Bell. Following are my exact comments (in quotation marks), with further explanation and clarification added. Additionally, while this is inherently a political analysis, I feel I should state clearly that my desired preference for social order is quite anarcho-libertarian. However, the reality is that a power and political transition is ahead of us. Following is my speculation on this transition:

"The US wants to maintain control, while trying to pretend that the emperor has clothes. The Chinese want a seat at the table, while pretending (as best they can, because it is so obviously laughable) that the emperor's clothes are still stylish (let alone...exist) in order that the transitions occur as smoothly as possible."

It is obvious on its face that the world order is undergoing a major transition, driven by the drastic economic dislocations which inherently will drive politics, alliances, and control. For much of the last century the US has established and maintained the dominant position on the world stage. For even longer, this can be said about the West in general.

However, while it is obvious to all, both the US and China are trying to go through the transition without admitting the emperor (the US) has no clothes. The US, of course, wants to maintain the appearance of power. China wants a more enhanced seat at the table, with a clear path that corresponds to China's likely continued growth. China, of course, wants the dollar to remain reasonably strong - however recognizes that the US has no political will to make it so (and in fact it may be too late, anyway). Dollar weakness comes sooner if the US is sooner exposed as naked.

"The Chinese will go along with the act as long as they feel power is appropriately being allocated toward them. I believe the Chinese can accept a power-sharing arrangement with the West, as long as they view it is "fair" in their eyes."

It doesn't strike me that China wants to dominate the globe the way the West has attempted to do so. They just want the respect of their position on the world stage.

"The US will move as slowly as China allows. In the long run, this can only be a delaying tactic ‒ absent the US taking China on directly, militarily, which is...NFW."

Certainly, the US doesn't want to race off the stage, they will move as slowly as possible. China, understanding respect - and that an orderly transition is better than a violent one - can go along with this pace, as long as progress is evident.

However, it is only a delaying tactic; the transition will happen...unless the US wants to make military hash of the world to avoid the de-throning. I view this as highly unlikely. The costs and risks are too high, and the US and USSR showed that some sort of sanity can prevail when the alternative is global Armageddon.

"China, and a few others will play their parts in G20 and other global organizations, while at the same time having other conferences without the Western powers in order to focus on alternatives."

To think China and other countries are not working independently to try and find the best path forward is naive. Yes, they will work in established structures, but these structures are dominated by the West - G20, UN, BIS, IMF, World Bank, etc. There is likely some lack of trust by China and others of these institutions, wouldn't you think? For China, pursuing parallel paths is prudent, and I think that it is happening is virtually certain.

"Nothing says China only has the gold they say they have, just as nothing says the West has all the gold they say they have. Both have reasons to share the common lie."

It would cost the dollar if China said they had far more gold than they admit already, and if the US says they have far less. Yet both are possible, and plausible. First, the actual gold reserves are not audited anywhere. Second, it benefits both parties to share the same false information. Third, how much gold has the FED lent to bullion banks which have sold the gold to third parties? We don't know, other than it happens. And to my understanding, this gold is still shown on the FED's books. But if the banks sold the gold to a third party, is it not also on the third party's books as well? Yes, I think.

"China's reserves aren't worth much to the extent they are denominated in USD & EUR (among others). China knows this."

There may be reasons for the Yuan to be a strengthening currency. To the extent the reserves are in USD and EUR, the quality of reserves is not one of the reasons. It is well publicized that China is trying to diversify its reserves. Do we really know how much?

"It is in China's interest (and in the interest of the USG and EU) to lie - in the same direction - regarding China's holdings of these currencies."

Both parties have reasons to say that China's holdings of USD (and separately EUR) are higher than they actually might be. The US wants some semblance of credibility to the dollar, and China doesn't want to lose value in reserves...during its race against diversification.

"China is buying real assets, spending their fiat currency reserves - others still take dollars & Euros in exchange for real stuff."

This is the race - trade pictures of dead Presidents for real stuff. Is China already out in front of the crack up boom? Very likely.

"China, in combination with Russia could easily institute a gold backed currency. Both countries have a complimentary use for each other. While transitioning to a gold backed currency will cause short-term internal havoc in China, such havoc is coming anyway and the CCP needs some way out for the long term. The Chinese are nothing if not long-term thinkers."

Now, I am going way out there (in case you felt I wasn't out there already).

China has a problem. They have a problem no matter what they do. They must transition their economy because they know the US can no longer buy what they used to buy. And even if the US could, does China still want the paper in trade?

China is buying assets, locking up future supply, etc. These can easily be priced in dollars. A strong Yuan (relative to the dollar) would work wonders for controlling future price inflation in China (which is quite well baked in from the monetary side). What better way to strengthen the Yuan than tie it to gold? Maybe backed 20% or so. Then pay for the assets for pennies on the Yuan, so to speak.

Going to a gold backed currency will cause a large disruption to China's economy. But this disruption is here and now, and is only going to get worse no matter what. In this case, why wouldn't China try to gain some real long term benefit for this pain?

With Russia, there are plenty of gold reserves. With Russia, China secures long term access to commodities. With Russia, military equivalence with the West (if not superiority) is assured.

"This move will be the final dagger to the West's dominance ' a death blow to the self-inflicted wounds (both economically and militarily) begun in the early 1900s."

Inflation in the West skyrockets. With a destroyed currency (relative to the Yuan), what can the West buy?

Everyone looks at currency from the seller's perspective - product can be sold cheaper, therefore I can sell more (a false equation, but one parroted exclusively). However, in order to sell, one must buy. With a weakened currency, the West buys less, so it sells less. Let alone, the drastic impact to the standard of living brought on by mass inflation.

The West has been committing suicide since at least 1914 - so much happened then, but it is enough to say the FED, and WWI. WWII put the nail in the coffin, and having false gold-standards (and after 1971, no gold standard), removed all discipline from the system, allowing clear sailing for complete self-destruction. This end was certain, only a question of when.

"Germany (without EU baggage) and Japan would be natural fits for this China / Russia combination, they just need to figure out how to un-encumber themselves from a no-longer-welcomed tenant."

Germany and Japan bring technology that both China and Russia desire. Russia offers resources desired by both Germany and Japan. In fact, could Australia also be brought in to this new alliance? It makes more sense for Australia economically to be tied in here than with the West.

How does Germany, Japan, and maybe Australia break the current strings? I don't know, but it won't be the first time alliances change. Especially alliances brought on only because of conquest in war, as in the case of Germany and Japan.

"Unlike the West, China does not have a history of desiring global dominance - they just don't want to be dictated to about what they view as their own internal affairs. It is not likely that a new global elite will emerge from China."

If I understand correctly, China voluntarily stood down 500 years ago - destroying the fleet and all records, etc. They haven't explored far since. They just don't want to be told what to do. Given the way the world is turning, that isn't likely to be a problem for China in the coming years, especially under the scenario painted in this speculative piece.

What Would Friedman do, according to CATO?

Of course, we needed no further proof. It is well known that CATO represents the beltway libertarian view - the libertarian view that is acceptable in polite company. In other words, the view that excludes Lew Rockwell, the Mises Institute, and anyone associated with either.

However, we were handed further evidence in spades, courtesy of the following editorial:

"What Would Milton Friedman Say about Fed Policy Under Bernanke?"

This is a gem. For those of you who thought that libertarians believed in...liberty, well CATO has another idea. Let's look at some of the highlights:

"However, Friedman's views may not be well understood even by those who would claim him as their intellectual fountainhead — which could be problematic for policy-making."

Right off the bat, CATO is supporting "policy making", not so subtle code for government intervention, meaning market intervention by force and coercion. Isn't this a little wide of the libertarian mark?

"...the Fed should aim to stabilize inflation expectations."

Now wait a minute. Even much of the mainstream is beginning to recognize that the FED IS the CAUSE of inflation and inflation expectations. CATO appears not to even advanced this far from the command and control policies that have brought the world economy to the brink. The FED as the cause of inflation should aim to stabilize expectations? It has been said enough: since the creation of the FED almost 100 years ago, the dollar has lost well over 95% of its value. In the 100 years prior to this, the value has been almost completely stable.

"...the Fed should try to minimize swings in nominal income."

A Soviet Commissar couldn't have said it better.

"Similarly, were Friedman alive today, he would balk at the notion that the Fed is out of ammunition. He would remind us that in the early-to-mid-1930s, when the economic environment was far worse and short-term interest rates were near the zero bound, monetary policy easily generated a recovery. Therefore, the Fed could do likewise today.

"Friedman would likely make the case today for more aggressive monetary action. It is time for "Helicopter Ben" to earn his nickname."

The acceptable libertarian think tank is advocating for an even more aggressive FED policy than the one seen over the last two years. On the one hand, stunning. On the other hand, expected. This is, after all, CATO.

If one thing the last two years has proven, anything espoused by Chicago School monetarists (including Friedman) as regarding centrally planning the money supply is a failure. Nowhere was it ever expected that in one month a central bank would more than double its 95 year old balance sheet. If someone wrote a dissertation on the reasons why such beneficial actions would need to be taken one day, please let me know. If these desperate actions haven't convinced you of the fallacy of centrally planned money, then nothing will.

But of course, such central planning has been discredited - both in the Soviet Union, and now in the halls of the Federal Reserve. However, we shouldn't expect to read the obituary in the mainstream press. And of course, we will not read about it from CATO.

Some professors associated with GMU have come out against the FED (this was discussed heatedly at The Daily Bell more than once over the last month or two), and advocate free-market money and banking. GMU and associated institutions are supported by the Koch brothers, the same people that support CATO. It would be refreshing to read a strongly worded rebuttal to this editorial from one of the scholars.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Copyright at The Daily Bell

This is in response to two article at The Daily Bell, listed here:

Until recently, I have purposely avoided internally addressing this subject of IP, in whatever form (copyright, patent, etc.). For some time, at Mises by Kinsella and others, it had been addressed, but I ignored the subject - I think for two reasons: 1) on my "change the world if I could" list, I had several items far more valuable than this to me (for example, the four planks of the Daily Bell Platform all carry much more import), and 2) I didn't want to have challenged my belief that such protections were necessary in the forms currently practiced.

Over the last week or two, I have begun to cross into this swamp of my own creation. Therefore I found TDB's article today and yesterday quite timely.

It was the feedback from yesterday’s article that helped to clarify the issue for me. Such condemnation of TDB – aggressive and angry. And often, complete support that the state’s enforcement was necessary in this instance. This was quite disheartening to me. Feedbackers coming out foursquare on the positive benefits of government force in this matter.

Eventually, I went from disheartened to some real peace on this issue. Indulge me while I share my journey....

The state is the monopoly of legalized violence over a given geographical jurisdiction. For the moment, I avoid addressing my view of the "right" answer for protection of IP (if any), but I know the wrong one. For me, there is no cause that justifies praying to the state for the answer. The monopoly of legalized violence. I let that sink in while I read the feedback advocating a desire for this (inherently uncontrollable) beast to provide salvation.

This worship is most dangerous on items such as IP (also climate change, financial regulation, etc.). Inherently, the solution must be global. To allow a "leak" in the state's protection services of IP in any jurisdiction inherently leaves the floodgates open (as pointed out in today’s article) - unlike localized, "physical" crimes that may or may not be illegal in other jurisdictions (e.g. drugs, prostitution). These "preferences" can be quite localized.

Not IP. It must be enforced globally or it doesn't do the trick. (Perhaps one reason, for those who wonder why the PE “allowed” the internet, that they “allowed” the internet). Therefore, those praying to the state for salvation of IP are praying for the continued path toward one world government. I don't see how this is avoided. But even if it can be "localized", it is still praying to the state - the monopoly of legalized violence.

What is the private solution? I have some thoughts, but the reality is - I don't know. Thank God, like almost everything around me, human action has brought forth solutions to many problems I knew I had, and human action has created conveniences I never dreamed of. I don't have to have "the" answer for how a market might protect IP, just like I didn't have to come up with the answer for almost everything I enjoy in modern life. However, I am certain the answer does not lie in the state.

Philosophy does matter. Not "whatever works" or "expediency of the moment." Granting some people a monopoly of legalized violence is agreeing to your own death wish. People who are drawn to such positions in government are never agreeable to limiting the applications of force. We see this around us every day, and even those who see it most clearly can become blind to it if the subject is too close to home.

So there it is. Thank you feedbackers - not so much the ones who supported the DB's view (although you were quite wonderful in your comments) - but to those who so aggressively attacked the DB's position while advocating state force as the only/best solution. It was this attitude that reminded me that even the most seemingly rational people with monopoly power cannot be trusted to lord over the rest of us.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ambrose, you are getting warmer!

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is getting warmer. In June, he wrote a commentary with the provocative title: "Time to shut down the US Federal Reserve?" I thought he finally got it, the FED is the problem and not the solution. It turns out he was only upset because some employee at the FED wrote that economics should only be discussed by those who have trained at an acceptable school. I wrote about it here:

Well, he is getting closer to the truth now. "Shut Down the Fed (Part II)" he calls it. His commentary is here:

"I apologise to readers around the world for having defended the emergency stimulus policies of the US Federal Reserve, and for arguing like an imbecile naif that the Fed would not succumb to drug addiction, political abuse, and mad intoxicated debauchery, once it began taking its first shots of quantitative easing."

He doesn't cut himself any slack after this opening paragraph, for example:

"So all those hillsmen in Idaho, with their Colt 45s and boxes of krugerrands, who sent furious emails to the Telegraph accusing me of defending a hyperinflating establishment cabal were right all along. The Fed is indeed out of control."

Ambrose is now getting much closer. He sees that the FED can only inflate, it can do nothing else. A simple look at the track record since 1913 makes this quite clear. In this time the dollar has lost over 95% of its value. For the 100 years prior to that, there was virtually no net change in the purchasing power of the dollar.

He is not yet all the way there however. Ambrose is still trying to makes sense of this madness within a worldview that believes the FED is there to keep inflation low and to maintain employment and economic growth. Yes, that is the stated mission. However it certainly is not the real mission.

The confusion clears up quite easily when one considers that the real purpose of the FED is to protect the big banks. Full stop. Keep them liquid. To the extent possible, keep them solvent. The FED does this by trading treasuries for junk, providing a backstop for every and any investment, keeping interest rates low, etc. Mostly it does it by inflating the currency. The FED is the backbone of a cartel.

With this understanding, the actions are quite consistent. The banks like inflation, they want inflation, they need inflation. Since 1913, they have received plenty of it. They need it in 2010 more than ever. Monetary control in a fiat environment is the greatest wealth transfer scheme ever invented, and the mothership of this scam is the FED.

The FED wants you to keep your eye on the CPI, while the scam is ongoing in the assets -- as assets are where the wealth is transferred. This is part of the game. As long as CPI is benign, the theft through asset inflation can go on uninhibited. Thus, all the productivity improvements over the last 100 years have been offset 20-fold by the devaluation of the dollar. This productivity has gone to the banks and those who collect interest on the fictitious money created by the FED and the fractional reserve banking the FED makes possible. What a tremendous transfer of wealth.

Ambrose, this is the next step you must take - the final step in the journey. The FED's purpose is not the one stated; the purpose is to protect the banks. It is a cartel. It inflates because this is good for the banks, it protects the banks, and it transfers wealth to the banks. It allows capital to be multiplied 10- 20- or 30-fold, with interest collected on multiples of the actual savings. All of this interest is taken from the masses, where real wealth is actually produced. Yet the masses get to enjoy only a fraction of the beneft, and over the last 40 years, maybe none of the benefit.

You are too smart not too see this and not to understand it. I suspect in a couple of months, you will write "Shut Down the FED (Part III), The Final Act". In this, you will state with no hesitation that the power over money cannot be trusted to a handful of men meeting in secret. The market can and must determine "money" as it is quite capable of doing - after all, the market resolves far more complex needs than a means to transfer and store wealth.

Historically the market has entrusted gold and silver to do this job. You will finally say it.

Then, I can finally say, welcome - you now get it.