The Family As a Sovereign Institution

submitted by estate

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Family As a Sovereign Institution

November 4, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,103. Gold closed at $1,114 per ounce. Oil closed at $47.90 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.19%. Bitcoin is trading around $480 per BTC today.

Take a look at the Bitcoin exchange rate – it’s up nearly $250 this month! It’s up $171 this week alone! We have seen this story before, but it is hard not to get excited about that kind of explosive gain in purchasing power. I can’t emphasize this enough: if you aren’t familiar with Bitcoin, look into it. It has the potential to revolutionize money, banking, finance, and accounting. Whether or not it will, who knows, but the potential is there. There will only ever be 21 million bitcoins in existence, and more than half of those have already been mined. That means the potential for continued purchasing power gains is huge if Bitcoin continues to gain acceptance. Why not have at least a little skin in the game?

Dear Journal,

Peak Foliage has come and gone, and only the most resilient leaves remain clinging to the trees here in the mountains of Virginia. The naked trees reveal a clear view of the bare cliffs that majestically overlook the southern side of our property. I look upon these cliffs with awe and respect as the morning fog slowly passes by their jagged ridgeline. These are the cliffs that looked down upon my daughter’s birth a little over one year ago. I hope these same cliffs will stand watch as a joyous, energetic little girl laughs, runs, and plays in the yard below. Maybe they chuckle as she stumbles chasing mini-lab Boomer who frolics with a tennis ball in his mouth. Maybe they nod in approval as she learns to kick a soccer ball into the net. Maybe they smile as she prunes apple trees in the orchard. This philosopher-dad can only speculate and wonder.

I can’t help but look inward as my mind’s gaze slowly recedes from Madison’s future and comes back into focus. My own path has been a strange one. After being 100% conventional, uncritical, and unquestioning for the better part of a quarter-century, a simple spark of curiosity led me down a road of intellectual growth and spiritual awakening from which I surely will never recover. From that spark the wayward philosopher was born. Continue reading “The Family As a Sovereign Institution”

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”

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.

Debt as Far as the Eye Can See

submitted by jwithrow.debt

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Debt as Far as the Eye Can See

December 9, 2014
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P opened at $2,056 today. Gold is up around $1,218. Oil is still floating around $64 per barrel. Bitcoin is down to $347 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate is 2.21% today.

In other news, U.S. national debt has now eclipsed $18 trillion. That’s: $18,000,000,000,000.00. Debt to GDP is now around 99%. To put this in perspective, U.S. national debt stood at $398 billion back in 1971 – 34% of GDP – when Tricky Dick put the “Out to Lunch” sign up in front of the international gold window.

Even more startling, total credit market debt now checks in at 330% of GDP. Mr. Market has been trying to wind down the credit market bubble for some time now, but the Federal Reserve has been fighting tooth and nail against him. The Fed’s weapon of choice: funny money! The Fed has purchased more than $4.3 trillion worth of bonds since 2008 in an effort to prop up asset prices and strangle interest rates.

Where did the Fed get this $4.3 trillion? As we pointed out in last week’s journal entry, the Fed got this $4.3 trillion from the same place it always gets money… it conjured every dime of it from thin air!

Still, the economists pretend like this is all normal. Some of them say that the Fed should have bought fewer bonds; $4.3 trillion worth was too much. Other economists say the Fed didn’t buy enough! So they write their articles and conduct their interviews and everyone sleeps sound at night. I can’t help but wonder – do they think this can go on forever? Do they think the Fed can reverse course whenever they darn well please? Do they think at all?

I don’t know if mainstream U.S. finance really is arrogant enough to think there are no consequences to all of this financial chicanery or if they are just playing a big sleight-of-hand game, but the world seems to slowly be waking up to the fiat monetary system that has allowed debt to pile up faster than 5:00 Beltway traffic.

Though the Swiss Gold Referendum didn’t pass last month, it does suggest a change in the financial wind. The initiative would have prevented the Swiss National Bank from selling any of Switzerland’s gold reserves and it would have required a 20% gold backing to the Swiss Franc. The fact that this initiative made it to a vote indicates a growing apprehensiveness towards the international monetary system.

This apprehensiveness is not limited to Switzerland. Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands have each expressed interest in repatriating their gold reserves held in foreign central banks. Additionally, both China and Russia have been buying gold hand over fist. The Russian Central Bank bought nearly 20 tons of gold in October alone. We don’t know exactly how much gold China has been buying – they haven’t reported their full reserve numbers in several years. China and Russia aren’t alone; global gold demand now eats up more supply than miners can produce at current prices.

2013 was a record setting year for precious metals purchases from the U.S. Mint and 2014 sales are on pace to surpass that record. The U.S. Mint sold 3,426,000 ounces of silver in November alone. Perth Mint sold 851,836 ounces of silver in November. India imported 169 million ounces of silver through the first ten months of 2014. The precious metals are clearly being viewed as a life-boat in a sea of rising debt.

In addition to the precious metal rush, several major U.S. financial firms have been using depressed interest rates to gobble up real assets recently as well. The Blackstone Group has been buying domestic real estate like it was last call and Berkshire Hathaway acquired Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp (BNSF) – a railroad company. Shrewd analysts suggest Berkshire’s purchase of BNSF was a hard asset play to mitigate expected inflation; railroads are nothing but hard assets hauling other hard assets around the country.

Are all of the precious metal purchases and hard asset acquisitions just a coincidence?

Maybe deficits really aren’t that big of a deal. Maybe the Fed really can navigate through the uncharted waters of debt and derivatives. Maybe the fiat monetary system really has supplanted Mr. Market’s choice for good. Maybe financial asset prices really can go to the moon and never come back down.

But I wouldn’t bet on it.

More to come,






Joe Withrow
Wayward Philosopher

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

Image Source: WilliamBanzai7 – Zero Hedge

Asset Allocation

submitted by jwithrow.asset-allocation

Asset allocation is a necessary tool for saving money and building capital within a fiat monetary system. Within a fiat system, the purchasing power of your currency is gradually inflated away and the value of various asset classes can fluctuate rapidly based on central bank monetary policy. Thus, it is important to have a principled yet flexible asset allocation model in place.

The concept of asset allocation is to allot a percentage of your capital to various asset classes and to maintain each allocation ratio until you deem it necessary to adjust your model. For example, a basic asset allocation model could consist of 25% cash, 25% precious metals, 25% real estate, and 25% stocks. You would then allocate your income to each asset class accordingly.

The beauty of this strategy is that you cannot be wiped out by any wild swings in the market and you will always have cash on hand with which to purchase assets when they go on sale (when the market tanks). Of course you can always add additional asset classes into your model such as bonds or bitcoin or cattle depending upon your outlook and you may need to adjust your percentages based on new analysis from time to time as well.

The Infinite Banking insurance strategy that we talk so much about here at Zenconomics and in our book works perfectly to house much of your cash allocation. An IBC policy serves to compound returns on your cash while it sits idle waiting to be put to use without sacrificing any liquidity whatsoever.

As for your precious metals allocation, you can purchase gold and silver bullion from any local coin shop or from reputable dealers online or you can purchase through companies like Hard Assets Alliance which will facilitate fully allocated domestic or international storage for you.

Of course to follow an asset allocation model you will need to save a large percentage of your income. I think 50% is a good benchmark. 75% savings is preferred. Very few people have the discipline to pull this off but those who do never have to worry about financial problems again.

If maintaining such an asset allocation model for your household sounds extremely tedious and time-consuming that’s because it is. This is the price we must pay for living under a fiat monetary regime. In a sound monetary system we would be able to build capital simply by saving money in a bank account because our money would maintain its purchasing power over time. Instead, saving money in a bank account is a losing strategy so we are all forced to become financial analysts or have our wealth systematically transferred away from us.

Sound Money

submitted by jwithrow.CurrenciesinGold100years

The most important facet of free market capitalism is sound money. If you don’t have sound money then you don’t have free market capitalism – you have something else.

Sound money is simply money that serves as a reliable store of value. Put another way, sound money is money that does not constantly lose its purchasing power. Sound money affords one a reasonable expectation that one unit of money today will buy the same amount of goods and services as one unit of money tomorrow. And next month. And ten years from now.

What a novel concept!

Anyone who has taken a finance course is familiar with the time value of money principle. In finance class, we learn to discount our money over time based on the inflation rate. We are taught, correctly, that present dollars are worth more than future dollars.

What we are not taught is that this is a deformation of free market capitalism!

The general market has chosen gold and silver to serve as money throughout most of history because the precious metals are particularly well suited for this purpose: they are limited in supply, they have functional utility outside of the monetary system, and, unlike our money today, they cannot be created from nothing.

Make no mistake about it, that’s where our money comes from today: nothing. It is created from nothing and then loaned into existence at interest. See the Hidden Secrets of Money video series for a more thorough examination of our money.

You see, money should not be a function of government nor should it be a function of a central bank behind closed doors. And it certainly shouldn’t be created from nothing. This is why the U.S. Constitution only authorizes gold and silver as legal tender; the Founders knew well the virtues of sound money and the dangers of fiat currency.

Did you know that the U.S. dollar was defined by the Coinage Act of 1792 to be 371.25 grains of fine silver? This act set the standard weight and measure of the dollar in terms of silver and individuals in the market were still free to accept or reject coins of differing weights and measures as they saw fit.

But we digress.

Here is why sound money is important to you:Thomas Jefferson Money Quote

Every dollar to your name is constantly losing value and there is no way for you to predict how much value your savings will lose over time.

This is a direct result of the monetary system that is in place whereby central banks create money from nothing and then lend that money to governments and to commercial banks at interest. That money then enters the economy when governments spend it and when commercial banks lend it out to customers. This is done constantly and it is why your money constantly loses value. Such a system has a profound impact on people from every walk of life.

How can we accurately plan for anything long-term if our money is constantly losing value? We can only guess.

What we do know from history is that sound money leads to a stable economy while fiat money leads to booms and busts.

The general market prefers the former while big government prefers the latter.

For more information on the sound money principle see the article links below. For a lot more information on sound money and monetary history see the book links below.

The Principle of Sound Money

The Simplicity of Sound Money

An Introduction to Sound Money