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The Zombie Ship of Theseus

The Ship of Theseus is an old philosophical thought experiment. It asks a question about identity. Suppose you replace all of the boards of a ship with new ones—is it still the same ship?

We are not going to try to resolve this millennia-old paradox. Instead, we are going to add one more element, and then tie it to the monetary system. The additional element is what if the replacement boards are adulterated in some way. That is, each new board is warped, or weakened, or otherwise not fit for purpose.

It should be clear that replacing boards with unsound wood does not alter reality, only the ship. It does not remove any constraints such as the need to be watertight. It does not make anything better, only adds new flaws.

Let’s call this new ship, with each original board replaced with these adulterated boards, the Zombie Ship of Theseus. It looks like the Ship of Theseus. However, it does not work like it. It has been corrupted to work in a different way, i.e. to lull sailors into going out to sea, where a storm will drown them.

 

The History of our Warped Monetary System and Currency

So how does this relate to the monetary system and the currency? There has been a centuries-long process of replacing important boards. Let’s highlight the key changes.

The Original System

At the Founding of America, there was the original Ship of Theseus. One had the right to deposit one’s gold (we will leave out silver, as this complicates the story somewhat) and get a paper bank note in exchange. Or one could keep one’s gold, if one did not like the terms. One had the right to redeem the note, and get one’s gold back…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ruling the World of Money

Ruling the World of Money

Ten times a year— once a mouth except in August and October— a small elite of well dressed men arrives in Basel, Switzerland. Carrying overnight bags and attache cases, they discreetly check into the Euler Hotel, across from the railroad station. They have come to this sleepy city from places as disparate as Tokyo, London, and Washington, D.C., for the regular meeting of the most exclusive, secretive, and powerful supranational club in the world. Each of the dozen or so visiting members has his own office at the club, with secure telephone lines to his home country. The members are fully serviced by a permanent staff of about 300, including chauffeurs, chefs, guards, messengers, translators, stenographers, secretaries, and researchers. Also at their disposal are a brilliant research unit and an ultramodern computer, as well as a secluded country club with tennis courts and a swimming pool, a few kilometers outside Basel.

The membership of this club is restricted to a handful of powerful men who determine daily the interest rate, the availability of credit, and the money supply of the banks in their own countries. They include the governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the Swiss National Bank, and the German Bundesbank. The club controls a bank with a $40 billion kitty in cash, government securities, and gold that constitutes about one tenth of the world’s available foreign exchange. The profits earned just from renting out its hoard of gold (second only to that of Fort Knox in value) are more than sufficient to pay for the expenses of the entire organization. And the unabashed purpose of its elite monthly meetings is to coordinate and, if possible, to control all monetary activities in the industrialized world…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Futility of Central Bank Policy

It is only now becoming clear to the investing public that the purchasing power of their currencies is declining at an accelerating rate. There is no doubt that yesterday’s announcement that the US CPI rose by 6.2%, compared with the longstanding 2% target, came as a wake-up call to markets.

Along with the other major central banks, the Fed’s reaction is likely to be to double down on interest rate suppression to keep bond yields low and stock valuations intact. The alternative will lead to a major financial, economic and currency shock sooner rather than later.

This article introduces the reader to some of the basic fallacies behind state currencies. It explains the misconceptions policy planners have over interest rates, and how central banks have become contracyclical lenders, replacing commercial banking’s credit creation for non-financial activities.

In effect, narrow money is being used by the major central banks in a vain attempt to shore up government finances and economic activity. The consequences for currency debasement are likely to be more immediate and profound than cyclical bank credit expansion.

Introduction

It is becoming clear that there has been an unofficial agreement between the US Fed, Bank of England, the ECB and probably the Bank of Japan not to raise interest rates. It is confirmed by remarkably similar statements from the former three in recent days. When, as the cliché has it, they are all singing off the same hymn sheet, those of us not party to agreements between our monetary policy planners are right to suspect they are doubling down on a market rigging exercise encompassing all financial markets.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

When they say money, think energy

When they say money, think energy

The Indian government ruffled a few feathers at the COP this morning, by raising the thorny question of the £722bn they were supposed to receive to aid their transition away from fossil fuels.  Because, when all is said and done, the proposed transition is all about money.  Decommissioning the old fossil fuel infrastructure will not happen unless states and private investors stump up sufficient cash to pay for the materials, equipment and workforce required to do the job.  And at the same time, an entirely different group of workers, materials and equipment will have to be funded to build out the new, bright green infrastructure.

To aid things along, states will also use legislation to force the hands of businesses and households.  The current UK government’s decision to legislate a ban on new internal combustion engine cars from 2030, for example, has forced the car industry to switch investment toward EVs.  The ban on coal power plants from 2025 may provide the more realistic example, however, because of its unforeseen consequences – such as companies closing power stations early to save on maintenance, and the threat to energy security which has now emerged.  Nevertheless, it is some combination of legislation and money which will drive the process.

The same can be said, of course, for any campaigning/political issue.  You can count on one hand the number of campaigns which have called for less state spending and the revoking of laws.  Most often, new law and additional spending underpins demand for reform, while failing to spend and/or legislate is among the biggest sins a government can make.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

We’re Starting to Feel Like There’s Nothing Left to Lose

Everyone’s had enough.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What is Surplus Energy?

What is Surplus Energy?

I’ve been meaning to write an article featuring Dr. Tim Morgan’s blog for quite some time due to the fact that he has quite an awesome site. You can find his blog here, Surplus Energy Economics. Many people may find the word economics in the name somewhat off-putting, but these economics are more about energy rather than money and relate to the energy cost of energy rather than financial price of energy. This is a primary distinction that many people simply DO NOT UNDERSTAND, which amounts to precisely WHY there is so much misinformation constantly being spread around about all the predicaments my blog focuses on. Energy stocks are a resource that require energy in order to be extracted, shipped, refined, stored, and transported to end users all over the world. The energy stocks remaining (after the energy required to acquire said energy) are available to do actual work and this is the “surplus energy” in the title. Money is nothing more than a claim on future energy. The predicament of energy and resource decline is that due to these facts, money which has value today will continue to become increasingly worth less as time moves forward because the surplus energy it represents is in constant decline.This particular entry, A Moment of truth, is what promulgated this post. It goes into detail about the false narratives which have been attempted to “fix” the issues with energy decline (the constant borrowing from the future to pay for the issues of today) and the fact that degrowth is the only possibility from here on out…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Here’s Why Modern Unbacked Money Derives Value from Gold

Here Is Why Modern Unbacked Money Derives Value from Gold

Photo by Giorgio Trovato

This week, Your News to Know rounds up the latest top stories involving gold and the overall economy. Stories include: The value behind money, why gold’s price has grudgingly responded to recent market turmoil and what higher energy prices mean for gold and silver.

Money has value, but not because the government says so

In an analysis on Eurasia Review, Frank Shostak goes in-depth in an attempt to answer the question: why does money have value? Opposing the views that the value of money is there because of government reassurances or social conventions, Shostak instead takes a look at history in order to avoid circular pitfalls.

Doing so tells us that money is a byproduct of a bid for convenience, a result of people wanting greater prosperity and better market exchange. In their quest to obtain both, they would put every commodity through a form of trial, and the one that ended up being the most commonly and widely accepted became money.

We now know that that commodity is gold. Even silver or bronze coins served primarily as a form of IOU for gold, although this IOU was far more grounded and sensible than any fiat today. Shostak likewise asserts that central banks were established to prevent market manipulation and monopolization by private banks, which wouldn’t hesitate to print out more gold IOUs than they could cover. (As we’ve seen all too often.)

Yet now, long after these early makings of modern finance, we find that little has changed. Private banks are making monopolies all the same, and despite a gold standard being nowhere in sight, much of their profits come from trading gold IOUs that can’t and won’t be covered by physical gold. That is why the Basel agreement was passed, and why most agree it will only be partially implemented so as to not collapse the global economy.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Programmable Digital Currency”: The next stage of the new normal?The war on cash’s endgame is here: money replaced by vouchers subject to complete state control.

“Programmable Digital Currency”: The next stage of the new normal?The war on cash’s endgame is here: money replaced by vouchers subject to complete state control.

Building on the bitcoin model, central banks are planning to produce their own “digital currencies”. Removing any and all remaining privacy, granting total control over every transaction, even limiting what ordinary people are allowed to spend their money on.

From the moment bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies first emerged, sold as an independent and alternative medium of exchange outside the financial status quo, it was only a matter of time before the new alternative would be absorbed, modified and redeployed in service of the state.

Enter “Central Bank Digital Currencies”: the mainstream answer to bitcoin.

For those who have never heard of them, “Central Bank Digital Currencies” (CBDCs) are exactly what they sound like, digitized versions of the pound/dollar/euro etc. issued by central banks.

Like bitcoin (and other crypto), the CBDC would be entirely digital, thus furthering the ongoing war on cash. However, unlike crypto, it would not have any encryption preserving anonymity. In fact, it would be totally the reverse, potentially ending the very idea of financial privacy.

Now, you may not have heard much about the CBDC plans, lost as they are in the tangle of the ongoing “pandemic”, but the campaign is there, chugging along on the back pages for months now. There are stories about it from both Reuters and the Financial Times just today. It’s a long, slow con, but a con nonetheless.

The countries where the idea progressed the furthest are China and the UK. The Chinese Digital Yuan has been in development since 2014, and is subject to ongoing and widespread testing. The UK is nowhere near that stage yet, but Chancellor Rishi Sunak is keenly pushing forward a digital pound that the press are calling “Britcoin”.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

One Ring to Rule Us All: A Global Digital Fiat Currency

One Ring to Rule Us All: A Global Digital Fiat Currency

We’ve written extensively about the “war on cash.” In a nutshell, governments would love to do away with cash in order to better track and control their citizens. There have been numerous moves closer to a cashless society in recent years, from capping ATM withdrawals to doing away with large-denomination bills. Last year, China launched a digital yuan pilot program and the US has floated moving toward a digital dollar.

We got a first-hand look at what happens when governments restrict access to cash when India plunged into a cash crisis after the country’s government enacted a policy of demonetization in November 2016.

It’s bad enough that various countries are exploring ways to move toward cashlessness, but there’s an even worse scenario — a global digital currency.

Economist Thorsten Polleit compares it to the “master ring” in J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic Lord of the Rings.

The following article was originally published by the Mises Wire. The opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of Peter Schiff or SchiffGold.

1.

Human history can be viewed from many angles. One of them is to see it as a struggle for power and domination, as a struggle for freedom and against oppression, as a struggle of good against evil.

That is how Karl Marx (1818–83) saw it, and Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) judged similarly. Mises wrote:

The history of the West, from the age of the Greek Polis down to the present-day resistance to socialism, is essentially the history of the fight for liberty against the encroachments of the officeholders. (1}

But unlike Marx, Mises recognized that human history does not follow predetermined laws of societal development but ultimately depends on ideas that drive human action.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Money, Bad Policies, Inflation & You

The global financial system and economy are a house or cards.  Built on an unsustainable underpinning to ever-increasing debt the financial system is, as far as I am concerned, irretrievably insolvent.

To truly grasp this you need to understand the basics of banking and currency (what we call money, but really isn’t because it doesn’t satisfy all three necessary preconditions to be called such).  This is briefly covered in this episode.

With that basic grounding we can appreciate the vast gap between the claims on true wealth and the amount of true wealth (lots of currency, not as much ‘stuff’) and now can discuss the immense pain coming to those with fewer resources to combat rapidly rising inflation.

Even worse, a true energy emergency in Europe is going to really create a lot of headaches and financial heartaches for a lot of people.  With this essential context you can begin to build up a personal resilience plan to weather it all as best you can.  But it all begins by having the right frame of view and sufficient information and context.

 

The Corporations Are The Government: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

The Corporations Are The Government: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Listen to a reading of this article:

You’d think the revelation that the CIA planned to assassinate an award-winning journalist for journalistic activity would have been a bigger deal.

Capitalism hinders progress because it ensures that all mass-scale human behavior will be driven by the pursuit of profit. For example, a huge global issue we have right now is cleaning up the pollution in our oceans. That is an easily solved issue if you take out the profit motive; you don’t wait for market forces to find some way to make it profitable, you just get in there and clean it up. But with the profit motive it’s almost impossible to conceive of it ever being solved.

How often have you been excited by a great idea only to feel that familiar disappointment wash over you as you realize that it will never happen because it won’t make anyone any money? That’s how the profit motive stunts innovation.

The profit motive will never find a way to leave a forest alone or minerals in the ground. There’s no business plan that makes money out of moms being paid to bring up healthy, happy, secure children. You can’t find a way to make money out of people driving less or buying less. There is no money in curing an illness, only treating it. There is no money in solving poverty, only in setting up a multi-million dollar “charity” that never actually intends to solve poverty because it’s a business and a business requires endless expansion.

People who proffer the market as a solution to our massive problems have either never really thought about the restrictions of the profit motive, or they are heavily invested in pretending those restrictions don’t exist. I don’t respect either of those positions.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why the economy must grow

There are three main reasons why our economy grows:

• because it is easier to make money in an economy that is growing
• because we all, individuals, companies and governments, borrow money
• because we pay interest on the money we borrow.

Because it is easier to make money in a growing economy

Many people, particularly business people and people in governments, want the economy to grow continually because it’s easier for people to make money in an economy that is growing in size, because a growing economy means an ever-increasing supply of money and an ever-increasing opportunity to get some of that money and the products and resources that it represents.

Those products and resources may provide mere survival, acceptable comfort and security, or the maximum possible excess of luxury.  The individual’s drive towards survival, material gain, comfort and security, or luxury, drives the economic system.  Of itself, that drive doesn’t mean that the economy has to grow, or even that it will grow, but it is a strong supporting force for economic growth: it supports a positive attitude towards economic growth and a resistance to anything that limits economic growth.

Because we borrow money

Most people in developed countries borrow money for the things they want to own.  This money usually comes to us through our home loans, car loans, credit card loans and other forms of credit.

We are able to borrow that money because of our promise to work in the future and to repay it; we spend it now, promising that we will earn and repay it later.  This money is available to us as a result of our assumed and promised economic activity (jobs, or other income) in the future.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Coming Climate Crisis Shakedown in Scotland

 

The Coming Climate Crisis Shakedown in Scotland

In 2016, an inconceivable event aborted the Paris climate scheme. The Americans elected Donald Trump. Calling the Paris deal a rip-off of his country, Trump swiftly pulled the U.S. out of the accords. Upon what grounds? Put simply, America First.

“Follow the money!”

The old maxim is always sound advice when assessing the motives of those advancing bold agendas for the benefit of mankind.

Invariably, the newest progressive idea entails a transfer of wealth from the taxpaying classes of Western nations to our transnational, global and Third World elites.

For the masters of the universe, establishing justice and equality for the world’s poor are rewarding exercises in every sense of the word.

Consider the 2015 Paris climate accords.

Its declared goal: Save the planet from the ravages of climate change, which is caused by carbon dioxide emissions, which are produced by industrial nations with too many of the world’s factories, farms, ships, planes and autos.

Under the Paris accords, wealthier nations of the West were to set and meet strict national targets for reducing their carbon emissions.

Together, these reductions were to prevent any rise in the planet’s temperature of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

This was presented as the world’s last best hope of preventing a climate catastrophe in this century.

Among the warnings the climate has been sending us:

The melting of polar ice caps, killer hurricanes, droughts, wildfires such as we had this year in California, river floods in Europe, rising sea levels, and the swamping of coastal towns, cities and islands like the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Why did the Taliban Win? Lessons From Ancient History

Why did the Taliban Win? Lessons From Ancient History

How did the Taliban manage to defeat the most powerful army in the world? One word: corruption. It is not new, it has already happened in many other cases in history. Here, I propose a comparison of the recent Taliban campaign with the case of the Numidian wars at the time of the Roman Republic.  (above: these fighters are probably Tajiki, not Taliban, but that does not affect the substance of my interpretation) 

During the 2nd century BC, the Roman Republic attempted to defeat the Numidians, a tribal population inhabiting a desertic area of North-Western Africa. Surely, the Numidian fighters were no match for the mighty Roman armies, yet the Numidian kings held on their own for decades. It was only in 105 BC that their last king, Jugurtha, was definitively defeated by the Romans.

The ups and downs of the Numidian wars left the Romans perplexed. How could it be that those unrefined Barbarians could keep at bay the Romans for so long? The opinion of the historian Sallustius was that the Numidians had used corruption to buy the Roman commanders. Sallustius reports that Jugurtha himself said about Rome, “Venal city! You would sell yourself if a buyer were to appear!”.

Sallustius’ interpretation is believable, even though it is not substantiated by historical data. Corruption is an unavoidable side effect of money and Rome was the most monetarized society of antiquity. The Romans had built their prosperity on the precious metal mines of Northern Spain and used their wealth to pay the large armies that they used to dominate the Mediterranean Region. But money is a double-edged weapon: it can be used to pay soldiers to fight, but also not to fight, or to fight someone they were not supposed to fight.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Wrong for a different reason

Wrong for a different reason

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – A well-meaning but not particularly bright left-leaning US politician – made a stir earlier this week by wearing a figure-hugging dress emblazoned with the slogan “Tax the Rich” to the prestigious 2021 Met Gala.  Since the slogan was clearly political, it wasn’t long before the various political tribes took to social media to pass judgement.

“Hypocrisy!” was the charge made by the libertarian right.  As Amanda L Gordon at Bloomberg explains:

“The message itself wasn’t surprising — Ocasio-Cortez has been one of the biggest supporters of raising taxes on the rich to help pay for more social services and narrowing the massive wealth gap between America’s rich and poor. But the latest setting in which AOC — as she is known — chose to express it drew attention.

“The annual event at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is the haunt of celebrities, designers, billionaires and various other members of the jet set that are willing to pay $35,000 a pop for the privilege to attend.”

But, the left ask, “where better to demand that the rich pay their fair share of taxes than in a gathering of the rich themselves?”  According to Hannah Selinger at the Independent, for example:

“The truth is, women have always used clothing — the most accessible medium — to express their politics. One might say that such choices in the everyday sphere have been more subtle. Ocasio-Cortez’s dress, of course, was anything but. And that was entirely appropriate for the space in which the statement was made.”

Ocasio-Cortez has also clarified that she did not pay $35,000 to attend and that the dress was borrowed for the evening:

“The time is now for childcare, healthcare, and climate action for all. Tax the Rich.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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