Bitcoin and the Crypto Revolution

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Bitcoin and the Crypto Revolution

June 22, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Bitcoin is the beginning of something great: a currency without a government, something necessary and imperative. ” – Nassim Taleb, Author of Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

The S&P closed out Monday at $2,088. Gold closed at $1,271 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $48.95 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.70%. Bitcoin is trading around $670 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Bitcoin flirted with $800 last week before dropping all the way down to $630. Today it is hovering around $670. Such volatility is usually feared by the general public, and it is often cited as one of Bitcoin’s weaknesses. To me, this volatility is a beautiful example of price discovery in one of the freest markets on Earth. Continue reading “Bitcoin and the Crypto Revolution”

The Path to the Great Reset

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Path to the Great Reset

April 6, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

But if government manages to establish paper tickets or bank credit as money, as equivalent to gold grams or ounces, then the government, as dominant money-supplier, becomes free to create money costlessly and at will. As a result, this ‘inflation’ of the money supply destroys the value of the dollar or pound, drives up prices, cripples economic calculation, and hobbles and seriously damages the workings of the market economy.
Murray Rothbard

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,045. Gold closed at $1,229 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $35.89 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.78%. Bitcoin is trading around $423 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

I began writing a book titled The Individual is Rising back in 2013. The first edition was published in the summer of 2014, and then the updated, expanded, and revised second edition was published in August of 2015.

The central thesis of the book was that a financial “Great Reset” was on the horizon specifically due to the gross abuse and mismanagement of the monetary system that grew progressively more blatant over the course of the past century. Continue reading “The Path to the Great Reset”

Becoming Antifragile

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Becoming Antifragile

September 16, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $1,970. Gold closed at $1,102 per ounce. Oil closed at $44.59 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.18%. Bitcoin is trading around $227 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Wife Rachel cornered me the other day: “I saw what you did in your newest post!”, she said in an accusatory tone.

“Whatever do you mean, honey?”, I asked innocently.

“You talked about Madison buying me a walker when I am old!”

I couldn’t contain my laughter. It’s the little things that I find most amusing.

Last week I delved into global finance and speculated that a currency crisis in the U.S. was on the horizon. It is just unreasonable to create trillions of dollars from thin air on a regular basis and expect the world to accept those dollars ad infinitum. I observed that government has no intention of ceasing its monetary escapades, thus currency ruin is inevitable. Continue reading “Becoming Antifragile”

Why the U.S. Faces a Currency Crisis

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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”

Risk Update: Belief in Central Bank Proclamations

by Jeff Clark – Hard Assets Alliance :central bank proclamations

Did you know that just two days before the SNB announced they would no longer peg their currency to the euro, SNB VP Jean-Pierre Danthine stated the following to Swiss broadcaster RTS?

“We’re convinced that the cap on the franc must remain the pillar of our monetary policy.”

They changed their mind in 48 hours? Far more likely is that they didn’t want to telegraph the move in advance.

What about the massive QE effort undertaken by the ECB—should we be confident this will solve their problems? No, because according to French bank Société Générale, it isn’t big enough!

The potential amount of QE needed is €2-€3 trillion. Hence, for inflation to reach close to a 2.0% threshold medium term, the potential amount of asset purchases needed is €2-€3 trillion, not a mere €1 trillion.

That is ludicrous and what we should expect from those that view the world through an economic model. The fact that many investors also see this insanity for what it is partially accounts for gold’s positive response…

• “The belief in central banks as the providers of market stability suffered a serious blow last week.” (Chief commodity strategist Ole Hansen at Danish bank Saxo)

• “But to think the ECB has a magic wand and will change all the situation in Europe by its magic wand, in my opinion is not the appropriate reasoning.” (Jean-Claude Trichet, Mario Draghi’s predecessor
at the ECB, who can now speak freely about central bank actions)

What about the US Fed balance sheet?

“The Fed’s balance sheet is a pile of tinder, but it hasn’t been lit… inflation will eventually have to rise.” (Former US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who can now also speak freely)

By the way, he added this in the same interview:

Question: “Where will the price of gold be in five years?”
Greenspan: “Higher.”
Question: “How much?”
Greenspan: “Measurably.”

What all this means to us is that it’s dangerous to your wealth to believe central banker proclamations (at least while they’re in office). Gold, in spite of its volatility, is more trustworthy—it answers to no one, can’t be created with the click of a button, and has never required the credit guarantee of a third party.

Article originally posted in the February issue of Smart Metals Investor at

Central Banks Perpetuate Boom-Bust Cycles

excerpt from High Alert: How the Internet Reformation is causing a financial hurricane – and how to profit from it:boom-bust cycles

Central Banks Protect Private Banks from the Market

To prevent such a breakdown, the supply of the paper money must be managed. The main purpose of managing the supply is to prevent various competing banks from overissuing paper certificates and from bankrupting each other. This can be achieved by establishing a monopoly bank, i.e., a central bank-that manages the expansion of paper money.

To assert its authority, the central bank introduces its paper certificates, which replace the certificates of various banks. (The central bank’s money purchasing power is established on account of the fact that various paper certificates, which carry purchasing power, are exchanged for the central bank money at a fixed rate. In short, the central bank paper certificates are fully backed by banks’ certificates, which have a historical link to gold.)

The central bank paper money, which is declared as the legal tender, also serves as a reserve asset for banks. This enables the central bank to set a limit on the credit expansion by the banking system. Note that through ongoing monetary management, i.e., monetary pumping, the central bank makes sure that all the banks can engage jointly in the expansion of credit out of “thin air” via the practice of fractional reserve banking. The joint expansion in turn guarantees that checks presented for redemption by banks to each other are netted out, because the redemption of each will cancel the other redemption out. In short, by means of monetary injections, the central bank makes sure that the banking system is “liquid enough” so that banks will not bankrupt each other.

Central Banks Take Over Where Inflationist Private Banks Left Off

It would appear that the central bank can manage and stabilize the monetary system. The truth, however, is the exact opposite. To manage the system, the central bank must constantly create money “out of thin air” to prevent banks from bankrupting each other. This leads to persistent declines in money’s purchasing power, which destabilizes the entire monetary system.

Observe that while, in the free market, people will not accept a commodity as money if its purchasing power is subject to a persistent decline. In the present environment, however, central authorities make it impractical to use any currency other than dollars even if suffering from a steady decline in its purchasing power.

In this environment, the central bank can keep the present paper standard going as long as the pool of real wealth is still expanding. Once the pool begins to stagnate — or, worse, shrinks — then no monetary pumping will be able to prevent the plunge of the system. A better solution is of course to have a true free market and allow commodity money to assert its monetary role.

The Boom-Bust Connection

As opposed to the present monetary system in the framework of a commodity-money standard, money cannot disappear and set in motion the menace of the boom-bust cycles. In fractional reserve banking, when money is repaid and the bank doesn’t renew the loan, money evaporates (leading to a bust). Because the loan has originated out of nothing, it obviously couldn’t have had an owner. In a free market, in contrast, when true commodity money is repaid, it is passed back to the original lender; the money stock stays intact.

Individual Solutions: Building Financial Resiliency

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Individual Solutions: Building Financial Resiliency

February 12, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P opened at $2,071 today. Gold is down to $1,226 per ounce. Oil is floating around $49 per barrel. Bitcoin is hanging around $221 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate opened at 2.03% today.

Ten central banks have cut interest rates so far in 2015. The list includes: Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, India, Egypt, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, and Turkey. Additionally, both the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank are actively buying sovereign debt… with counterfeited currency created from thin air. The Federal Reserve is taking a break from this exercise after nearly six years of creating currency to shop at the U.S. Treasury and go yard-saling on Wall Street. Of course the $4.5 trillion worth of sovereign debt and mortgage-backed securities still sits on the Fed’s balance sheet in the interim.

All of this economic intervention is a concerted effort to stave off a major credit contraction. The central bankers talk about hitting certain GDP and unemployment rate metrics but that is all part of their dog and pony show. If creating currency out of thin air could actually grow an economy and create jobs then we would already live in a utopian paradise. But that’s just not how the world works.

Try as they may to avoid it, the coming credit contraction is inevitable. You see, the global monetary system has been fraudulent for a little more than four decades now. Gold officially anchored the global monetary system for two centuries prior to 1971. Then, in 1971, President Nixon’s administration acted to break away from two hundred years of tradition and the U.S. ended direct convertibility of the dollar to gold. Of course the “Great Society” welfare programs and the Vietnam War had a lot to do with this decision.

“Your dollar will be worth just as much tomorrow as it is today,” Nixon proclaimed on television with a straight face. “The effect of this action, in other words, will be to stabilize the dollar.”

Of course the exact opposite happened: the U.S. dollar fell off a cliff. Anyone living during the 70’s can attest to this. What was the price of a new home back then? A new car? A hamburger? The difference between what those items cost in 1971 and what they cost today represents how far the U.S. dollar has fallen in purchasing power.

How did this happen?

Well, with all ties to gold removed governments and central banks discovered they could conjure currency into existence to pay for anything they wanted. Tanks, fighter jets, food stamps, Medicare part D, $800 trash cans… no problem! So they embarked upon this historic credit expansion armed with a magical monetary system that provided them with money for nothing.

But governments weren’t the only beneficiaries. The companies making the tanks and the bombs made out like bandits. So did all of the bureaucrats who were hired as government expanded. And the people receiving welfare benefits found the system quite palatable as well. Pretty soon smart people learned that the best business in the world was to sell something to the U.S. government because it had unlimited money to spend. So they descended upon K Street like buzzards on road-kill and pretty soon the suburbs surrounding D.C. claimed home to six of the wealthiest ten counties in the U.S.

The champagne has been flowing up on the Hill and in the lobbyist offices on K Street for four decades now thanks mostly to the fraudulent fiat monetary system in place since 1971. The establishment hails their elastic currency system as a major success but theirs is a self-serving and short term view. Credit has been constantly expanding since 1971 but do we really think this can go on forever? Can we continue to run up debt, print money to pay interest on that debt, and then buy all of the fighter jets, disability checks, politicians, and cheap junk from China without ever having to think twice about it? If not, what happens when the credit contracts and we can no longer afford all of these expenditures?

The Austrian School of Economics tells us what the result of this madness will be: a “crack-up boom” followed by a monstrous bust as all of the bad debt and malinvestments are finally liquidated.

The crack-up boom occurs as the prices of assets and real goods are driven up to the moon by enormous amounts of excess currency conjured into existence in an attempt to perpetuate the credit expansion. After all, that new currency has to go somewhere. This scheme will work to stave off the credit contraction… until it doesn’t. Then cometh the bust.

While Austrian Economics can make the diagnosis, the timing of the bust cannot be predicted. There are too many interconnected factors at play. What’s important is that there is still time to build financial resiliency in advance. The cornerstone of financial resiliency is knowledge and understanding. Understand fiat money is an illusion. Understand the difference between money and wealth. Study Austrian Economics to get a feel for what’s really going on in the economy.

Once you understand how the monetary system actually works you can formulate a customized asset allocation model based upon your personal circumstances.

A resilient asset allocation model will consist of cash (20-30%), precious metals (10-30%), real estate (30-60%), and strategic equities (10-15%).

At minimum you should carry enough cash to cover at least 6-12 months of expenses. Distressed assets will go on sale when then bust hits so any cash in excess of your reserve fund can be used to acquire these distressed assets (real estate, stocks, businesses, etc.) when they are cheap.

Your precious metals allocation should consist of physical gold and silver bullion stored at home or in a legal segregated account overseas. Never store precious metals in a domestic bank vault – Americans learned this the hard way back in the 30’s when the banks closed and FDR raided the vaults to confiscate gold. Remember, precious metals are insurance not speculation. The price of gold (and silver) will skyrocket in terms of fiat currency, but its purchasing power will remain relatively constant just as it has for thousands of years. Those who save in fiat currency will see their wealth evaporate as the credit contraction unfolds while those who hold precious metals will weather the storm. J.P Morgan testified before Congress in 1912: “Gold is money. Everything else is credit.” Don’t be fooled.

Real estate presents a unique opportunity currently as we are living during a period of historically low interest rates and lenders are willing to offer long term mortgages at these low rates. This provides a tremendous opportunity to lock in these low rates on real estate for thirty years during which time interest rates will inevitably rise significantly.

We firmly believe stocks should make up the smallest percentage of a resilient portfolio under current economic conditions. Stockholders have been the primary beneficiaries of the massive credit expansion and all of the easy-money chicanery over the past several years. Financial institutions have poured new money into the equities markets and publicly-traded companies have used a ton of excess cash to buy back shares of their own stock. As a result current stock valuations do not reflect the underlying health of the economy. Though stocks will run for a bit longer, we are closer to the end than the beginning of the bull cycle. We think the exception is in the resource and commodity sector, however. The stocks of well-managed companies in this sector could do extremely well over the next few years as the global financial system continues to falter.

Nobody can control macroeconomic conditions but we can each control our individual response to them. Building financial resiliency by constructing a diversified portfolio across several asset classes is an individual solution to a collective problem. Financial resiliency is just half of the picture, however. Tomorrow we will look at what we call home resiliency.

Until the morrow,







Joe Withrow

Wayward Philosopher

For more of Joe’s thoughts on the “Great Reset” and the paradigm shift underway please read “The Individual is Rising” which is available at The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

The Folly of the Fed’s Central Planning

by Ron Paul – Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity:Ron Paul

Over the last 100 years the Fed has had many mandates and policy changes in its pursuit of becoming the chief central economic planner for the United States. Not only has it pursued this utopian dream of planning the US economy and financing every boondoggle conceivable in the welfare/warfare state, it has become the manipulator of the premier world reserve currency.

As Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke explained to me, the once profoundly successful world currency – gold – was no longer money. This meant that he believed, and the world has accepted, the fiat dollar as the most important currency of the world, and the US has the privilege and responsibility for managing it. He might even believe, along with his Fed colleagues, both past and present, that the fiat dollar will replace gold for millennia to come. I remain unconvinced.

At its inception the Fed got its marching orders: to become the ultimate lender of last resort to banks and business interests. And to do that it needed an “elastic” currency. The supporters of the new central bank in 1913 were well aware that commodity money did not “stretch” enough to satisfy the politician’s appetite for welfare and war spending. A printing press and computer, along with the removal of the gold standard, would eventually provide the tools for a worldwide fiat currency. We’ve been there since 1971 and the results are not good.

Many modifications of policy mandates occurred between 1913 and 1971, and the Fed continues today in a desperate effort to prevent the total unwinding and collapse of a monetary system built on sand. A storm is brewing and when it hits, it will reveal the fragility of the entire world financial system.

The Fed and its friends in the financial industry are frantically hoping their next mandate or strategy for managing the system will continue to bail them out of each new crisis.

The seeds were sown with the passage of the Federal Reserve Act in December 1913. The lender of last resort would target special beneficiaries with its ability to create unlimited credit. It was granted power to channel credit in a special way. Average citizens, struggling with a mortgage or a small business about to go under, were not the Fed’s concern. Commercial, agricultural, and industrial paper was to be bought when the Fed’s friends were in trouble and the economy needed to be propped up. At its inception the Fed was given no permission to buy speculative financial debt or U.S. Treasury debt.

It didn’t take long for Congress to amend the Federal Reserve Act to allow the purchase of US debt to finance World War I and subsequently all the many wars to follow. These changes eventually led to trillions of dollars being used in the current crisis to bail out banks and mortgage companies in over their heads with derivative speculations and worthless mortgage-backed securities.

It took a while to go from a gold standard in 1913 to the unbelievable paper bailouts that occurred during the crash of 2008 and 2009.

In 1979 the dual mandate was proposed by Congress to solve the problem of high inflation and high unemployment, which defied the conventional wisdom of the Phillips curve that supported the idea that inflation could be a trade-off for decreasing unemployment. The stagflation of the 1970s was an eye-opener for all the establishment and government economists. None of them had anticipated the serious financial and banking problems in the 1970s that concluded with very high interest rates.

That’s when the Congress instructed the Fed to follow a “dual mandate” to achieve, through monetary manipulation, a policy of “stable prices” and “maximum employment.” The goal was to have Congress wave a wand and presto the problem would be solved, without the Fed giving up power to create money out of thin air that allows it to guarantee a bailout for its Wall Street friends and the financial markets when needed.

The dual mandate was really a triple mandate. The Fed was also instructed to maintain “moderate long-term interest rates.” “Moderate” was not defined. I now have personally witnessed nominal interest rates as high as 21% and rates below 1%. Real interest rates today are actually below zero.

The dual, or the triple mandate, has only compounded the problems we face today. Temporary relief was achieved in the 1980s and confidence in the dollar was restored after Volcker raised interest rates up to 21%, but structural problems remained.

Nevertheless, the stock market crashed in 1987 and the Fed needed more help. President Reagan’s Executive Order 12631 created the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, also known as the Plunge Protection Team. This Executive Order gave more power to the Federal Reserve, Treasury, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission to come to the rescue of Wall Street if market declines got out of hand. Though their friends on Wall Street were bailed out in the 2000 and 2008 panics, this new power obviously did not create a sound economy. Secrecy was of the utmost importance to prevent the public from seeing just how this “mandate” operated and exactly who was benefiting.

Since 2008 real economic growth has not returned. From the viewpoint of the central economic planners, wages aren’t going up fast enough, which is like saying the currency is not being debased rapidly enough. That’s the same explanation they give for prices not rising fast enough as measured by the government-rigged Consumer Price Index. In essence it seems like they believe that making the cost of living go up for average people is a solution to the economic crisis. Rather bizarre!

The obsession now is to get price inflation up to at least a 2% level per year. The assumption is that if the Fed can get prices to rise, the economy will rebound. This too is monetary policy nonsense.

If the result of a congressional mandate placed on the Fed for moderate and stable interest rates results in interest rates ranging from 0% to 21%, then believing the Fed can achieve a healthy economy by getting consumer prices to increase by 2% per year is a pie-in-the-sky dream. Money managers CAN’T do it and if they could it would achieve nothing except compounding the errors that have been driving monetary policy for a hundred years.

A mandate for 2% price inflation is not only a goal for the central planners in the United States but for most central bankers worldwide.

It’s interesting to note that the idea of a 2% inflation rate was conceived 25 years ago in New Zealand to curtail double-digit price inflation. The claim was made that since conditions improved in New Zealand after they lowered their inflation rate to 2% that there was something magical about it. And from this they assumed that anything lower than 2% must be a detriment and the inflation rate must be raised. Of course, the only tool central bankers have to achieve this rate is to print money and hope it flows in the direction of raising the particular prices that the Fed wants to raise.

One problem is that although newly created money by central banks does inflate prices, the central planners can’t control which prices will increase or when it will happen. Instead of consumer prices rising, the price inflation may go into other areas, as determined by millions of individuals making their own choices. Today we can find very high prices for stocks, bonds, educational costs, medical care and food, yet the CPI stays under 2%.

The CPI, though the Fed currently wants it to be even higher, is misreported on the low side. The Fed’s real goal is to make sure there is no opposition to the money printing press they need to run at full speed to keep the financial markets afloat. This is for the purpose of propping up in particular stock prices, debt derivatives, and bonds in order to take care of their friends on Wall Street.

This “mandate” that the Fed follows, unlike others, is of their own creation. No questions are asked by the legislators, who are always in need of monetary inflation to paper over the debt run up by welfare/warfare spending. There will be a day when the obsession with the goal of zero interest rates and 2% price inflation will be laughed at by future economic historians. It will be seen as just as silly as John Law’s inflationary scheme in the 18th century for perpetual wealth for France by creating the Mississippi bubble – which ended in disaster. After a mere two years, 1719 to 1720, of runaway inflation Law was forced to leave France in disgrace. The current scenario will not be precisely the same as with this giant bubble but the consequences will very likely be much greater than that which occurred with the bursting of the Mississippi bubble.

The fiat dollar standard is worldwide and nothing similar to this has ever existed before. The Fed and all the world central banks now endorse the monetary principles that motivated John Law in his goal of a new paradigm for French prosperity. His thesis was simple: first increase paper notes in order to increase the money supply in circulation. This he claimed would revitalize the finances of the French government and the French economy. His theory was no more complicated than that.

This is exactly what the Federal Reserve has been attempting to do for the past six years. It has created $4 trillion of new money, and used it to buy government Treasury bills and $1.7 trillion of worthless home mortgages. Real growth and a high standard of living for a large majority of Americans have not occurred, whereas the Wall Street elite have done quite well. This has resulted in aggravating the persistent class warfare that has been going on for quite some time.

The Fed has failed at following its many mandates, whether legislatively directed or spontaneously decided upon by the Fed itself – like the 2% price inflation rate. But in addition, to compound the mischief caused by distorting the much-needed market rate of interest, the Fed is much more involved than just running the printing presses. It regulates and manages the inflation tax. The Fed was the chief architect of the bailouts in 2008. It facilitates the accumulation of government debt, whether it’s to finance wars or the welfare transfer programs directed at both rich and poor. The Fed provides a backstop for the speculative derivatives dealings of the banks considered too big to fail. Together with the FDIC’s insurance for bank accounts, these programs generate a huge moral hazard while the Fed obfuscates monetary and economic reality.

The Federal Reserve reports that it has over 300 PhD’s on its payroll. There are hundreds more in the Federal Reserve’s District Banks and many more associated scholars under contract at many universities. The exact cost to get all this wonderful advice is unknown. The Federal Reserve on its website assures the American public that these economists “represent an exceptional diverse range of interest in specific area of expertise.” Of course this is with the exception that gold is of no interest to them in their hundreds and thousands of papers written for the Fed.

This academic effort by subsidized learned professors ensures that our college graduates are well-indoctrinated in the ways of inflation and economic planning. As a consequence too, essentially all members of Congress have learned these same lessons.

Fed policy is a hodgepodge of monetary mismanagement and economic interference in the marketplace. Sadly, little effort is being made to seriously consider real monetary reform, which is what we need. That will only come after a major currency crisis.

I have quite frequently made the point about the error of central banks assuming that they know exactly what interest rates best serve the economy and at what rate price inflation should be. Currently the obsession with a 2% increase in the CPI per year and a zero rate of interest is rather silly.

In spite of all the mandates, flip-flopping on policy, and irrational regulatory exuberance, there’s an overwhelming fear that is shared by all central bankers, on which they dwell day and night. That is the dreaded possibility of DEFLATION.

A major problem is that of defining the terms commonly used. It’s hard to explain a policy dealing with deflation when Keynesians claim a falling average price level – something hard to measure – is deflation, when the Austrian free-market school describes deflation as a decrease in the money supply.

The hysterical fear of deflation is because deflation is equated with the 1930s Great Depression and all central banks now are doing everything conceivable to prevent that from happening again through massive monetary inflation. Though the money supply is rapidly rising and some prices like oil are falling, we are NOT experiencing deflation.

Under today’s conditions, fighting the deflation phantom only prevents the needed correction and liquidation from decades of an inflationary/mal-investment bubble economy.

It is true that even though there is lots of monetary inflation being generated, much of it is not going where the planners would like it to go. Economic growth is stagnant and lots of bubbles are being formed, like in stocks, student debt, oil drilling, and others. Our economic planners don’t realize it but they are having trouble with centrally controlling individual “human action.”

Real economic growth is being hindered by a rational and justified loss of confidence in planning business expansions. This is a consequence of the chaos caused by the Fed’s encouragement of over-taxation, excessive regulations, and diverting wealth away from domestic investments and instead using it in wealth-consuming and dangerous unnecessary wars overseas. Without the Fed monetizing debt, these excesses would not occur.

Lessons yet to be learned:

1. Increasing money and credit by the Fed is not the same as increasing wealth. It in fact does the opposite.

2. More government spending is not equivalent to increasing wealth.

3. Liquidation of debt and correction in wages, salaries, and consumer prices is not the monster that many fear.

4. Corrections, allowed to run their course, are beneficial and should not be prolonged by bailouts with massive monetary inflation.

5. The people spending their own money is far superior to the government spending it for them.

6. Propping up stock and bond prices, the current Fed goal, is not a road to economic recovery.

7. Though bailouts help the insiders and the elite 1%, they hinder the economic recovery.

8. Production and savings should be the source of capital needed for economic growth.

9. Monetary expansion can never substitute for savings but guarantees mal–investment.

10. Market rates of interest are required to provide for the economic calculation necessary for growth and reversing an economic downturn.

11. Wars provide no solution to a recession/depression. Wars only make a country poorer while war profiteers benefit.

12. Bits of paper with ink on them or computer entries are not money – gold is.

13. Higher consumer prices per se have nothing to do with a healthy economy.

14. Lower consumer prices should be expected in a healthy economy as we experienced with computers, TVs, and cell phones.

All this effort by thousands of planners in the Federal Reserve, Congress, and the bureaucracy to achieve a stable financial system and healthy economic growth has failed.

It must be the case that it has all been misdirected. And just maybe a free market and a limited government philosophy are the answers for sorting it all out without the economic planners setting interest and CPI rate increases.

A simpler solution to achieving a healthy economy would be to concentrate on providing a “SOUND DOLLAR” as the Founders of the country suggested. A gold dollar will always outperform a paper dollar in duration and economic performance while holding government growth in check. This is the only monetary system that protects liberty while enhancing the opportunity for peace and prosperity.

Article originally posted at The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

The Case for Gold

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“The process [of debauching the currency] engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.” – John Maynard Keynes

This chart illustrates the construct of the global financial system denominated in U.S. dollars.

There is an estimated 171,000 tons of physical gold bullion currently in existence which is $7 trillion if priced at $1,300 per ounce. Physical gold served the global financial system as an anchor in some capacity from the Industrial Revolution all the way up until 1971.

The U.S. dollar became the sole anchor of the international monetary system in 1971 and there is now approximately $25 trillion sitting in cash globally. Additionally, global equity markets are valued at roughly $57.5 trillion and global investable real estate valuations are roughly $70 trillion.

Global debt has reached $175 trillion with governments being the biggest debtors. This number does not include all of the unfunded liabilities accrued by the social welfare states of the world.

Dwarfing all other U.S. dollar denominated asset classes is the over-the-counter derivatives market. According to the BIS, OTC derivatives total $639 trillion with interest rate derivatives being the largest category by far.

So there is approximately $1,028 trillion worth of U.S. dollar denominated global assets in existence and physical gold, the market’s choice for money over several centuries, makes up less than 1% of total global assets.

Gold is the only asset on this chart that has no counterparty risk meaning there are no other contractual parties involved when you hold physical gold.

The U.S. dollar is issued and managed by the Federal Reserve and the Fed can (and does) reduce the value of the dollar simply by creating more dollars. Equity values obviously depend on the particular company’s financial performance. Real estate investments depend on a tenant to make payments in a timely fashion. The counterparty to debt is the debtor who must make timely payments and the debtor typically has counterparties as well. Derivatives, the largest global asset class, come with a complex web of counterparties that are virtually impossible to predict.

Global dollar denominated assets have been able to balloon up to $1,028 almost exclusively because of 40+ years of constant credit and credit-based money expansion. One day credit will have to contract and that $1,028 trillion figure will dissipate rather quickly. Where do you think capital will fly to when that day comes?

My bet is physical gold.

Image Source: Global Precious Metals

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How Fiat Money Enslaves Society

submitted by currencies

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
How Fiat Money Enslaves Society

January 1, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

Happy New Year!

The markets stayed in bed today nursing their hangovers so we have no updates for you. Check back with us tomorrow for market updates.

We have recently been discussing the difference between fiat money and real money so I thought it would be prudent to kick off 2015 by discussing how fiat money enslaves society.

I know, nobody is walking around in shackles and chains – the slavery is much more subtle than that. But I firmly believe this is the single most important issue of our time. You cannot understand finance and economics unless you understand how fiat money operates. And you cannot become financially independent unless you understand finance and economics.

So here’s how it works:

Government creates a currency and decrees it money. Being the narcissist institution that it is, Government usually prints faces of past government officials on the physical currency. Next Government creates a central bank and declares that the central bank will issue and manage the currency. Government then implements an income tax to supplement the other taxes in existence and decrees that all taxes must be paid with the government’s currency. Government then passes legal tender laws requiring citizens to accept its currency as payment for all private debts as well. The penalty for not paying taxes or for not accepting government currency as payment is jail.

In this way the government/central bank alliance has effectively created a situation where everyone under the government’s claimed jurisdiction is forced to use its fiat money. There is no way to completely opt out; at minimum everyone has to acquire enough fiat money to pay taxes or else they will be thrown in jail. And we’re not talking about one or two little taxes; we are talking about taxes on all income earned, taxes on all investment gains earned, taxes on all real estate owned, taxes on all vehicles owned, taxes on all gas purchased for those vehicles, taxes on all food and goods purchased, and taxes on any inheritance received. Virtually everything you do is taxed!

Add up all of the taxes across all levels of government and it is very likely you are paying out 50% of what you earn in taxes, especially if you live in a major metropolitan city. That means you are working six months of the year just to pay the government.

But wait, it gets even better!

The central bank is free to issue as much new fiat money as it pleases and the record clearly shows that all central banks very much enjoy creating lots of new currency. The law of supply and demand tells us that each unit of currency will be worth less as new currency enters the economy – this is intuitive. What’s less intuitive is something called the Cantillon Effect.

Classical economist Richard Cantillon noticed something very important about inflation back around 1730 in France. Cantillon observed that the original recipients of newly created money enjoyed much higher standards of living at the expense of later recipients. The reason for this, Cantillon noted in his economic treatise Essai, is because of the disproportionate rise in prices as a result of inflation; prices do not rise until after the first recipients of the new money spend it into the general economy.

What this means is the very act of creating new money from nothing effectively steals purchasing power from everyone except those who first receive the new money!

So who first receives the new money? Why, governments and their favored institutions of course! This is how governments and their favored institutions grew to be so fantastically large in the 1900’s – they steadily picked the public’s pocket for an entire century!

To tie it all together: Government creates currency from nothing and forces you to use it by levying all manner of taxes on you that can only be paid with the government’s fiat money. Then Government’s buddy, the central bank, inflates the money supply which depreciates the value of the currency you are forced to use and transfers that lost purchasing power from you to Government. This makes it very difficult for you to save money because the money constantly loses value over time. The result is you have to work harder and harder just to pay off Government lest it throw you in jail. And that is how fiat money enslaves society.

This process is why you could drive down Main Street in Small Town USA back in 1950 and see bustling storefronts and a vibrant economy. Drive down that same Main Street today and you will probably see empty buildings and boarded up windows. You just can’t earn an honest living as a small proprietor or shopkeep anymore because you are Cantillon’s last recipient of new money in those businesses. Decades of unrestricted inflation has destroyed the value of the money to the point where small proprietors cannot earn enough of it to keep up with rising prices. Fiat money has hollowed out Middle America to the point where there’s not much of it left. This is exactly what has happened throughout history where fiat money has been implemented – the middle class is destroyed.

Governments have experimented with fiat money all through history and the most recent monetary model is the most deceptive to date. Fortunately, a fiat monetary system always sows the seeds of its own destruction and cannot last forever. In the meantime you can employ some basic financial strategies to protect yourself once you understand how the fiat money system works. We’ll look at some of those strategies in a later entry.

Until the morrow,







Joe Withrow
Wayward Philosopher

For more of Joe’s thoughts on the “Great Reset” and the fiat monetary system please read “The Individual is Rising” which is available at The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.