Monetary History in Ten Minutes

submitted by jwithrow.
Click here to get the Journal of a Wayward Philosopher by Email

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Monetary History in Ten Minutes

August 23, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Money, moreover is the economic area most encrusted and entangled with centuries of government meddling. Many people – many economists – usually devoted to the free market stop short at money. Money, they insist, is different; it must be supplied by government and regulated by government. They never think of state control of money as interference in the free market… If we favor the free market in other directions, if we wish to eliminate government invasion of person and property, we have no more important task than to explore the ways and means of a free market in money.”Murray Rothbard

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,183. Gold closed at $1,343 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $46.81 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.58%. Bitcoin is trading around $585 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Little Maddie is rapidly approaching her second birthday, and I swear she is going on twelve. Like her mother, Madison is quite adept at the art of talking, and she communicates with us very well. This makes life so much easier when she tells us exactly what she wants for dinner; it makes life just a touch more difficult when she wakes up in the wee hours of the morning and tells us she wants to watch Mickey Mouse.

While this seems terribly inconvenient to her parents now, I can only imagine how immaterial it will seem when Maddie is a teenager and we just hope she comes home before the wee hours of the morning. Nevertheless, it all makes perfect sense when she looks up at us with her blue eyes shining bright and says I love you sooo much!

Moving on to finance… Continue reading “Monetary History in Ten Minutes”

Markets and Economic Calculation

submitted by jwithrow.
Click here to get the Journal of a Wayward Philosopher by Email

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Markets and Economic Calculation

June 7, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Monetary calculation is not the calculation, and certainly not the measurement, of value. Its basis is the comparison of the more important and the less important. It is an ordering according to rank, an act of grading (Cuhel), and not an act of measuring.” – Ludwig von Mises

The S&P closed out Monday at $2,109. Gold closed at $1,247 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $49.71 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.72%. Bitcoin is trading around $585 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Wife Rachel and I will commemorate our third wedding anniversary tomorrow! When she asked me what I would like to do to celebrate, I naturally suggested that we could do anything in the world she wanted. Her response:

I would kind of like to do something fun, but I would settle for a major house cleaning day…

Does that mean we are officially marriage pro’s?

Moving on… I think this is a fascinating time to be alive. Based on what I know about recorded human history, I doubt there has ever been a more interesting point in time to be a keen observer of civilization. How lucky we are!

As I have reckoned on before, human civilization is currently transitioning from the Industrial Age and into the Information Age. Pre-Internet society was drastically different from post-Internet society, and indeed all of modern civilization has been made dependent upon a functioning Internet. This dynamic will only deepen as all of the Big Data and Internet-of-Things trends continue to play out. Continue reading “Markets and Economic Calculation”

Breaking the Authoritarian Cycle

submitted by jwithrow.
Click here to get the Journal of a Wayward Philosopher by Email

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Breaking the Authoritarian Cycle

May 27, 2016
Emerald Isle, NC

Are you for peace? The great test of your devotion to peace is not how many words you utter on its behalf. It’s not even how you propose to deal with people of other countries, though that certainly tells us something. To fully measure your “peacefulness” requires that we examine how you propose to treat people in your own backyard. Do you demand more of what doesn’t belong to you? Do you endorse the use of force to punish people for victimless “crimes”? Do you support politicians who promise to seize the earnings of others to pay for your bailout, your subsidy, your student loan, your child’s education or whatever pet cause or project you think is more important than what your fellow citizens might personally prefer to spend their own money on? Do you believe theft is OK if it’s for a good cause or endorsed by a majority? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then have the courage to admit that peace is not your priority. How can I trust your foreign policy if your domestic policy requires so much to be done at gunpoint?” – Lawrence W. Reed

The S&P closed out Thursday at $2,090. Gold closed at $1,222 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $49.48 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.82%. Bitcoin is trading around $474 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

We have spent this past week on North Carolina’s beautiful “Crystal Coast”. As I look around at the rows of beach houses lining the island, I can’t help but imagine what this place looked like back in the early 1700’s when the legendary Blackbeard roamed these islands on the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

What secrets have been covered up by mass-development? How many hidden coves have been forgotten as we marvel over heated swimming pools by the sea with pool tables and mini-bars nearby? What drove commerce on these islands before tourism, seafood restaurants, and ice cream parlors?

Not that I am opposed to development. The market system has created wealth unimaginable by the pirates and fishermen who inhabited these islands three centuries ago. Continue reading “Breaking the Authoritarian Cycle”

The Moral Value of Money

submitted by jwithrow.
Click here to get the Journal of a Wayward Philosopher by Email

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Moral Value of Money

March 17, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P closed out Wednesday at $2,027. Gold closed at $1,264 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $38.50 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.94%. Bitcoin is trading around $415 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Last week we examined the majesty of mindfulness, and we suggested that politics was the bane of human civilization. There are many reasons for this, but at the core is this: politics is based on coercion. Politics rests upon the notion that those who gain political power have the right to force people to do things against their will using the police power of government. This is always a zero-sum game: one side wins and the other loses.

The U.S. federal government collects roughly $3 trillion in taxes annually. The civics textbooks tell us that taxes are the price we pay for civilization, but I have to ask: where does all of this money go? Continue reading “The Moral Value of Money”

Trees Don’t Grow to the Sky: the Fallacy of Keynesian Economics

submitted by jwithrow.
Click here to get the Journal of a Wayward Philosopher by Email

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Trees Don’t Grow to the Sky: The Fallacy of Keynesian Economics

February 16, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

“There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.”
-Ludwig von Mises

The S&P closed out Friday at $1,858. Gold closed at $1,239 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $29.44 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.64%. Bitcoin is trading around $405 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

The snow has returned to the mountains of Virginia with another eight inches gracefully covering the ground. As winter continues to play out here on the home front, I can’t help but notice winter settling in over the financial markets as well. I expect the last three quarters of 2016 to be especially volatile.

Simply tracking the brief market updates in this journal series tells the basic story and highlights the budding trends. My last entry of 2015 observed the S&P comfortably perched at $2,056 while gold was safely out-of-sight at $1,068 per ounce. Crude oil was trading at $36.81 and the 10-year Treasury rate was 2.23%. A week later the S&P was slightly down while gold, oil, and the 10-year rate were slightly up. The following week the S&P had continued to fall to $1,938 while gold continued to rise to $1,085. Oil plummeted again to $30.44 and the 10-year rate fell to 2.10%.

These trends have continued week-after-week for the first two months of 2016. Today, the S&P is down 10% from its December high. Gold is up 15%, oil is down 24%, and the 10-year Treasury rate is down 28% over this same time period. This crude analysis very clearly demonstrates that capital is fleeing the U.S. equity markets and flowing into gold and U.S. Treasuries which are considered safe-haven assets. Meanwhile, we are seeing 12-year lows in crude oil and all-time lows in U.S. shale oil and gas companies.

Expanding our gaze a bit: we are seeing new 52-week lows in the major stock markets of Europe and Japan as well. European banks are particularly troubling as those stocks have fallen more to start 2016 than they did to start 2008. Further, we are seeing six-year lows in junk bonds as well as emerging markets.

All of this is occurring while the Federal Reserve proclaims the economy healthy and ready for “normalization” policies. But what is normal? Continue reading “Trees Don’t Grow to the Sky: the Fallacy of Keynesian Economics”

Decentralization and Spontaneous Order

submitted by jwithrow.decentralization

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Decentralization and Spontaneous Order

November 25, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,084. Gold closed at $1,074 per ounce. Oil closed at $42.87 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.25%. Bitcoin is trading around $324 per BTC today.

Not much action in the markets this week as Wall Street humanoids are gearing up for the big holiday on Thursday. Only the high-frequency trading machines remain to trade back-and-forth with one another for a few days. Despite this calm, I get the sense that a big move is brewing…

Also worth mentioning, I appeared on the SovereignBTC podcast with host John Bush last week. We had a blast talking about many of the topics I often muse on here in the Journal. If you would like to listen to the interview, you can find it at the LTB Network here.

Dear Journal,

“That was really sweet what you wrote about Madison…” wife Rachel said after reading my previous journal entry. “But the only thing you said about me was that I wouldn’t read past a certain point!”

“Well did you read past that paragraph?”, I asked with a wry grin on my face.

“No, that’s as far as I got…”

My last entry discussed the potential for the family unit to act as a sovereign institution in light of the burgeoning Great Reset, much to the benefit of both the sovereign family and the local community. The underlying theme of that entry, and of many recent journal entries, has been decentralization.

I seek to offer my unfiltered perspective when I sit down to write these journal entries, and I only write them when motivated to do so for that reason. That’s why the Journal follows no set schedule whatsoever, though I try my best to post a weekly entry. Sometimes when I re-read my unfiltered entries, however, I get the feeling that readers may come away with a more negative sentiment then I intend to convey. Continue reading “Decentralization and Spontaneous Order”

Awareness Rising

submitted by jwithrow.awareness

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Awareness Rising

September 25, 2015
Emerald Isle, NC

The S&P closed out Thursday at $1,932. Gold closed at $1,153 per ounce. Oil closed at $44.91 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.14%. Bitcoin is trading around $236 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Little Maddie took her first unassisted steps this week. Your editor was quietly observing from the glider as she crawled around the back deck, carefully inspecting each nook and cranny in the wood. Suddenly, without warning, her little head popped up and she looked directly at me. There was a strange twinkle in her eyes that I had not seen before. It was almost as though she had just experienced a moment of infinite intelligence, but before I could reckon on it she stood up completely unassisted for the first time and took two steps before easing to her knees. She popped right back up and took three more steps before easing back down to her knees again. Then she looked up at me and laughed hysterically.

I had never before experienced the feeling of unbridled joy that overcame me in that moment.

Later, with Madison calmly napping, I had time to internalize the moment and bask in the joy. As I watched my little angel sleeping peacefully, a strange thought came to me.

If you are going to have highs, know you will also have lows. There are no ordinary moments.

I decided then to cherish every single moment with my little girl. Even when she wants me to read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See to her for the thirteenth time. Even when she is screaming at me from the car seat because she is tired of being couped up. I will cherish it all.

Though I vow to cherish each moment of little Madison’s childhood, I am filled with hope and optimism for her future. I marvel at the opportunities that lay in front of her, and the rest of her generation. Generation Next is the first generation in centuries to arrive on this planet precisely as technological advancement is coalescing with a rising Awareness of human potential. Continue reading “Awareness Rising”

Why the U.S. Faces a Currency Crisis

submitted by jwithrow.currency crisis

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Why the U.S. Faces a Currency Crisis

September 11, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P closed out Thursday at $1,952. Gold closed at $1,109 per ounce. Oil closed at $45.92 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.22%. Bitcoin is trading around $239 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Little Maddie is now on the verge of becoming a toddler. She has mastered the art of the crawl and the leveraged stand-up. Walking is the next frontier, and she knows it. To aid Madison in her quest, wife Rachel bought her a plastic toy that doubles as an obnoxious farm animal noise making machine and a child’s walker. Somewhat to my surprise, Madison instantly knew what to do – she pulled herself up on the handles and walked six steps using the contraption to achieve balance.

It was an exciting moment for a first-time dad, but the philosopher’s mind has a tendency to wander and I couldn’t help but envision the future. What happens when, in fifty years perhaps, little Madison buys her mother a walker? Will Rachel instantly understand the intricacies of its function as her daughter once did fifty years prior? Time shall tell.

Moving on to the wonderful world of finance and economics… all of the focus is currently on the Federal Reserve. Having beaten interest rates down to zero and left them for dead for six years in an effort to prevent the market economy from liquidating the cronies, the Fed has recently been talking tough about raising rates. Some say the Fed will follow-through and raise rates next week. Others say by the end of the year. Still others say they can’t raise rates without torpedoing the debt markets. My suspicion is that the economy has become so dependent upon low interest rates that any interest rate hike would be minuscule and nothing but an effort to save face. Continue reading “Why the U.S. Faces a Currency Crisis”

The Great Opportunity for Free Markets

submitted by jwithrow.Free Market

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Great Opportunity

August 26, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $1,873. Gold closed at $1,138 per ounce. Oil closed out at $39.31 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.00%. Bitcoin is trading around $229 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

My last entry suggested that the centralized nation-state model looks to have peaked in the 20th century. I speculated that troubling macroeconomic trends related to government interventions will lead to a “Great Reset” sooner or later – probably sooner – as these massive nation-states are forced to ramp up the printing presses in attempts to service all of their debt and unfunded liabilities.

Today I would like to point out that we are approaching a crossroads and there is a tremendous opportunity for the growth of free markets and prosperity if we can shed the 20th century paradigm of centralization. A great golden age for civilization is staring us right in the face, but few have noticed. Why? Because we have placed too much emphasis on politicians, presidents, elections, and democracy and too little emphasis on individual self-empowerment.

For starters, consider the following advancements: indoor plumbing and electricity, refrigeration, cooking appliances, heating & air systems, local and long-distance transportation, local and long-distance communication, and access to information. Each of these items were non-existent, scarce, or unreliable just one hundred short years ago. Additionally, roughly 40% of the U.S. population was involved in agriculture in the year 1900 in order to produce enough food to meet demand. Today that number is around 2% and food is more available than ever. Fresh fruits and vegetables are available at the grocery store year-round. Also, thanks to technological development, oil and gas are now more abundant and cheaper than ever. This has reduced the costs of production and distribution significantly, and it has created competition for the oil cartels and monopolies that have had a strangle-hold on the industry for decades. Continue reading “The Great Opportunity for Free Markets”