Why Does Fiat Seemingly Work?

Fiat is a perversion of value, it may act as a medium of exchange but it is conceived in deceit, backed by violence and reliant on the apathy, ignorance and insouciance of the slave population. There are no surviving long term fiat currencies that hold or behave as a store of value, they all have a 100% mortality rate in the long term but gold and silver on the other hand…as Mark Twain said: ‘It is easier to fool someone than convince them that they have been fooled’.

To clarify Gresham’s Law below that ‘bad money’ drives ‘good money’ out. By looking to the work of Carl Menger on hoarding and marketability, one can achieve a greater understanding of the errors in Gresham’s Law and by definition, bad and good are dualisms and bad money is not money! Courtesy of Peter Tenebrarum @ Acting Man:

Introducing Money

Imagine three men living on a small island. Toni is mining the local salt mine, and apart from him there are Pete the fisherman and Tom the apple grower and their families. They have a barter trading system set up: Toni exchanges his salt for Pete’s fishes and Tom’s apples, who in turn exchange fishes and apples between each other.

One day Pete says: “I have an idea. Instead of fish, I will from now on give you pieces of papyrus with numbers marked on them”. Papyrus grows in great quantities nearby, but has so far not been of practical use to any of the islanders. Pete continues: “One papyrus mark will represent 1 fish or 5 apples or 2 bags of salt (equivalent to current barter exchange rates). This will make it easier for us to trade among ourselves. We won’t have to lug fishes, apples and salt around all the time. Instead, we can simply present the pieces of papyrus to each other for exchange on demand.”

image

John Law at a young age – the world’s first Keynesian economist

Painting by Casimir Balthazar

In short, Pete wants to modernize their little island economy by introducing money – and he already has one of those new papyrus notes with him, which he is eager to trade for salt. However, the others would immediately realize that there is a problem: the papyrus per se is not of any value, since none of them have found a use for it as yet. If they were all to agree on using the papyrus as a medium of exchange, its value would rest on a promise alone – Pete’s promise that any papyrus he issues will actually be “backed” by fish, which would make Toni and Tom willing to accept it in exchange for salt and apples. Continue reading

Why The “1%” Hates The Gold Standard

Courtesy of  Zerohedge: By now everybody knows that the primary consequence, one which we originally predicted back in 2009 – and many have since agreed – was completely intended, of the past 6 years of unprecedented monetary policy has been to push wealth inequality to record levels, not just in the US but across the world. What may not be so clear is precisely when this period of unprecedented wealth disparity started. The answer, as the following handy chart from NPR shows, is that long before QE, the wealth gap for the 1% really started in the early 1980s, courtesy of none other than Greenspan’s “great moderation.”

image

More importantly, and what is certainly not known, is that between 1930 and 1970, it was only the “bottom 90%” that saw their incomes rise, as can be seen on the next chart.

image

This is how the NPR qualified this dramatic variance in wealth gaps, the first of which benefited most Americans, especially the middle-class, and which ended with a thud in the early 1970s, and the second which was unleashed in the early 1980s:

In the first phase, known as the great compression, inequality fell. Incomes rose for people in the bottom 90 percent of the income distribution, as the postwar boom led to high demand for workers with low and moderate skills. Continue reading

Sarajevo Is The Fulcrum Of Modern History: The Great War And Its Terrible Aftermath

Courtesy of David Stockman @ Contra Corner Blog:

One hundred years ago today the world was shook loose of its moorings. Every school boy knows that the assassination of the archduke of Austria at Sarajevo was the trigger that incited the bloody, destructive conflagration of the world’s nations known as the Great War. But this senseless eruption of unprecedented industrial state violence did not end with the armistice four years later.

In fact, 1914 is the fulcrum of modern history. It is the year the Fed opened-up for business just as the carnage in northern France closed-down the prior magnificent half-century era of liberal internationalism and honest gold-backed money. So it was the Great War’s terrible aftermath—–a century of drift toward statism, militarism and fiat money—-that was actually triggered by the events at Sarajevo.

Unfortunately, modern historiography wants to keep the Great War sequestered in a four-year span of archival curiosities about battles, mustard gas and monuments to the fallen. But the opposite historiography is more nearly the truth. The assassins at Sarajevo triggered the very warp and woof of the hundred years which followed.

The Great War was self-evidently an epochal calamity, especially for the 20 million combatants and civilians who perished for no reason that is discernible in any fair reading of history, or even unfair one. Yet the far greater calamity is that Europe’s senseless fratricide of 1914-1918 gave birth to all the great evils of the 20th century— the Great Depression, totalitarian genocides, Keynesian economics, permanent warfare states, rampaging central banks and the exceptionalist-rooted follies of America’s global imperialism.

Indeed, in Old Testament fashion, one begat the next and the next and still the next. This chain of calamity originated in the Great War’s destruction of sound money, that is, in the post-war demise of the pound sterling which previously had not experienced a peacetime change in its gold content for nearly two hundred years.

Not unreasonably, the world’s financial system had become anchored on the London money markets where the other currencies traded at fixed exchange rates to the rock steady pound sterling—which, in turn, meant that prices and wages throughout Europe were expressed in common money and tended toward transparency and equilibrium.

Continue reading

The Deflation Nobody Understands

Courtesy of Peter van Coppenolle @ NASOE:

image

(But they will experience it first hand)

Professor Fekete has been studying and teaching the gold standard for over 40 years now. Unlike most ‘pundits’ Fekete has held a seat at the Winnipeg Commodities Exchange in order to study the gold market from every angle possible. And studying he has done so relentlessly since immigrating to Canada in 1957. He has used all his powers to educate people about gold. Part of that effort was to groom a ‘hard core’ which now, 2013, constitutes the faculty at the New Austrian School of Economics. Over the years we at the faculty have experienced the rewards that only educators can testify to: the joy when other people finally see some light. And sometimes we encounter detractors too. They are an amusing lot, put there for our entertainment, no doubt.

Professor Fekete, dissatisfied with the body of knowledge on economics, has been a writer and above all a supreme philosopher of economics. Ever since 1957, he has amassed so much old and new knowledge, that we at the faculty of NASoE have quipped that ‘if you want to understand nothing at all about the gold standard, you will have to read B. Goldwater.’ We know that is one offensive statement. But we also stand by our own insights, research and above all methodology, which is a Mengerian disequilibrium approach. Using a good compass does make a difference. The world collectively knows that traditional ‘economics science’ is (expletive) dismal, which is stronger than just ‘dismal’. It has reached the stage were this economic discipline’s own academics are mudslinging each other or hubristically refer to themselves as invincible. (E.g. Krugtron the Invincible, a neoplasm born from a bad ’80 movie.) Or in the Austrian camp, the same old boom and bust line is repeated, yet zero research has taken place, until now, either to correct for some untenable assumptions in the Austrian Business Cycle or to advance knowledge on some other aspect of credit collapse. Nor do they bother to dismiss the Quantity Theory of Money, according to which the more money is brought into circulation, the higher prices will go. “More money chasing fewer goods”, etc..

The question described in the title is the one people least understand. Perhaps I am too harsh. People who never attended or never listened to standard economics, have no problems assimilating my message. It becomes harder to grasp for those afflicted with the idea that inflation and deflation are mutually exclusive. They are not, puzzled looks and hurled insults notwithstanding. The term “hyper-deflation” was never coined nor did such a state ever occur in history and it full scope is unknown as yet. But using Mengerian disequilibrium and Aristotelian logic, I can paint the general idea.

Professor Fekete never subscribed to what he called the Quantity Theory of Money. It suffices to point to the very fact that it is possible to have a shortage of money simultaneously with the overworking of the printing presses. The reason why the QTM fails is that money is not one-dimensional. It is in fact two-dimensional. Quantity is one, and the velocity of circulation is the other dimension. Central banks control the quantity of production and the market firmly controls the circulation speed. Continue reading

We Have Seen This Play Before

Courtesy of Hugo Salinas Price @ Fekete Research:

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in “The Telegraph” (The Telegraph, April 2, 2014†) is quite worried about deflation in the Eurozone; he says it may become entrenched, which would lead to economic disaster for Europe.

What we are seeing is a repeat performance, on the world stage, of a previous failed experiment with fiat money, as documented by Andrew Dickson White, in his classic book: “Fiat Money Inflation in France 1790 – 1797”, reprinted in 1933, when a great believer in monetary tinkering was just getting started.

In Revolutionary France, the French National Assembly gathered together the best and brightest men in France. They were the leading lights of the time. As worshippers of the goddess Reason, they could not for the life of them understand why human reason should not be able to devise an artificial money which would make the French economy function to perfection.

image

At the time, there were opponents to the idea of floating a new, artificial currency, to be named the “Assignat”. They pointed out the disastrous consequences of the prior French experiment with artificial money, launched in 1720 by the highly intelligent Scottish adventurer, John Law. But like those of us today, who are convinced that the present monetary dispensation will end in a huge world disaster, they were out-debated by those who represented the dominant spirit of the time. Continue reading