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”

The Future of Money

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

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Future of Money

May 18, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Just like the Internet gave information back to the people, Bitcoin will give financial freedom back to the people. But that’s only the first step… Bitcoin will allow us to shape the world without having to ask for permission. We declare Bitcoin’s independence. Bitcoin is sovereignty. Bitcoin is renaissance. Bitcoin is ours. Bitcoin is.” – Julia Tourianski

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,047. Gold closed at $1,280 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $48.54 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.759%. Bitcoin is trading around $457 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Wife Rachel: Honey, look! Madison has a pet caterpillar in this jar! She put leaves and twigs in there so it can eat and turn into a butterfly…

Philosopher Joe: Oh… why does it look like all of the oxygen has been sucked out of the jar?

Wife Rachel: What do you mean…?

Philosopher Joe: Did you punch holes in the top to let air in?

Wife Rachel: Wha… oh crap.

Spring is in full swing here in the mountains of Virginia. The caterpillars are crawling, the butterflies are flying, the wildflowers are blooming, and the all-encompassing green foliage is a bright celebration of new life! Continue reading “The Future of Money”

A Look at the Modern Credit System

submitted by system

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
A Look at the Modern Credit System

June 22, 2015
Emerald Isle, NC

The S&P closed out Friday at $2,110. Gold closed at $1,202 per ounce. Oil checked out at $60 per barrel. The 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.27%, and bitcoin is trading around $247 per BTC.

Dear Journal,

I am writing this entry from North Carolina’s glorious Crystal Coast. My family has been making a week-long trip to Emerald Isle every summer since the 1970’s. Back then the island consisted of a small convenience store, Clyde’s Shrimp Shack, and a few dinky cottages by the beach.

The Withrow clan still rents a couple beach-front cottages each summer but the cottages have magically transformed. In the early days, the luxury cottages had a spiral staircase leading up to a second floor with an extra bedroom. The average cottages offered a few bedrooms on the ground level with no spiral staircase. You now find three story luxury homes towering over the beach where the dinky cottages or empty lots once stood.

To most eyes this looks like progress. Maybe it is. However, my eyes only see evidence of the exponential credit expansion that has been taking place for more than forty years now. I feel slightly hypocritical as I enjoy a cold beverage from the the third story balcony watching the waves crash down upon the beach below. You see, I know how this all got here. I know how this went from a dinky little cottage to a three-story luxury home with a balcony overlooking the sea. Continue reading “A Look at the Modern Credit System”

The Fallacy of Keynesian Stimulus

by Peter St. Ongestimulus
Article originally published in the March issue of BankNotes.

One of the great debates today between left and right is whether government stimulus is worth it. The left says “yes, early and often.” And the right says “only in the right circumstances.” Unsurprisingly, both left and right are completely off — stimulus is the quickest way to impoverish an economy.

To see why, we’ll start with America’s most famous burglar, Richard Nixon. Nixon is said to have remarked that “We are all Keynesians.” This is probably true; everybody Richard Nixon listened to was “all Keynesians.” And even today nearly every talking head on TV or in major newspapers is “all Keynesians.” Right-wing, left-wing, it’s just a big pile of Keynesians.

This is important when we see “balanced” debates among prestigious economists — “prestige” in mainstream economics is short-hand for “Keynesian.” Future generations may well find this funny, but today this is where we are.

Why does this matter? Because if the Keynesian orthodoxy is ridiculous, say, then all we get is “balanced” flavors of ridiculous.

Why ridiculous? Keynesians’ original sin is that it proposes that spending makes us richer. The other fallacies flow out of that core error. This rich-by-spending doctrine obviously doesn’t work in real life — if you’re poor, the solution is not to borrow money and have a party about it. The solution is to work hard and save up. It’s not rocket science.

Why the appeal? Why are nearly all economists, left and right, Keynesians? The idea that spending makes us richer is a very old one. It’s not original to Keynes, who wasn’t much of an economic or original thinker anyway. Keynes was just regurgitating the age-old fallacy known as “underconsumption.”


Underconsumptionism holds that economies do well when the cash flows. It seems intuitive from the top-down: if people are spending money then times must be good. If they’re not spending money there must be a problem.

Unsurprisingly, this gets it exactly backward. Spending is what happens once you’re rich. It doesn’t actually make you rich. So if an economy is doing well then people do indeed buy more swimming pools. But it’s obviously not the swimming pools
that made them rich.

So what did make them rich? Investment. More specifically, market-led investment. Why the “market-led” part? Because zany bureaucrats define their bridges to nowhere and squirrel-menstruation research as “investment.

Now, it’s not that all government spending is useless — they do build gutters and sewage plants, after all. But we’ve really got no way to know whether some bureaucrat’s “investment” is growing the economy. Hence it’s tempting to say “private investment” is all that matters, but I’ll be open-minded and just
say “market-led.” Meaning that a government that actually did find out market demand (for a bridge from Manhattan to New Jersey, say) would qualify as “market-led” investment and make us wealthier. We can see the role of private investment in the

classic Robinson Crusoe picture. Poor Robinson wakes up hungry, wet, and cold. It rained all night, and he’s picked up a nasty cough. Robinson looks up at the sky, shaking his fist at the Gods of Poverty.

How does Robinson improve his lot? Why, he invests. He builds fishing hooks, fish-nets, berry-shaking sticks. He collects wood, first to build a shelter then to keep a fire going. Investments all.

And over there, in the corner, you can see the Keynesian tsk-tsking, “Why do all that hard work investing when you can just spend more, Robinson?” Remember, these are “prestigious” economists.

So how does this fatal error translate into policy today? The key thing to remember is that when the government increases “spending” it is simply making pieces of paper — known as “dollars.” Not fish hooks. Not firewood. Bidding tickets is what government makes. Why do they do this? Partly to buy votes, of course: if I could print up dollars, I guarantee I’d have a lot of Facebook friends. And partly to “boost” the economy with all that spending.

Fiat Money ≠ Wealth

The problem is, printing tickets isn’t a real resource. You don’t eat paper, as they say. Printing dollars merely bids away resources from other uses.

Let’s say Fed Chair Yellen made an error and printed me up a trillion dollars. Why, I’d use those dollars to buy all — and I do mean all — the beach-front property. I would have the most galactic beach-front party in history. Thing is, Yellen just gave me bidding tickets. She didn’t give me the booze, the DJ’s, the
concrete, or the wood.

So how do I put this party on? Why, I use Yellen’s dollars to bid it all away from you. Yep, you. Building a factory? Too bad: I’ve outbid you for the concrete. Building a back deck? Too bad: it’s my lumber. There’s a party on, didn’t you hear? A Keynesian party.

So is my resource-sucking mega-party making the economy grow? Nope. When it’s all over, when the hangovers along with the ear-ringing subsides are gone, we’ve used real resources. We’ve got no factories. No decks. We’re all poorer. But the politicians did get re-elected, right?

This, in a nutshell, is Keynesian “stimulus.” Whether it comes from government spending (“fiscal stimulus”) or from Federal Reserve money-printing (monetary stimulus). In either case, real resources were bid away from the rest of us and handed out to others.

Stimulus isn’t some magical leprechaun dropping ice cream and puppies from heaven — it’s merely redistribution of resources. Stimulus is taking from those who have and giving to the government’s pals.

So the question “does stimulus work?” is completely missing the point. Putting aside the injustice of redistributive theft, the productivity question is whether the guys who got the bidding tickets did more market-led investment than the guys whose tickets were devalued.

There is no economic reason to think mere redistribution would make us richer. In fact, there are excellent reasons that show redistribution hurts the economy. “Stimulus” itself is nothing more than widespread impoverishment so a clutch of politicians can buy friends.

Please see the March issue of BankNotes for the original article and others like it.

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.

The Current Financial System is Terminal

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

Despite the talk of rosy numbers, of deficits coming down and jobs being created, citizens of the West, especially in the US, face an uncertain outlook and a challenging future. Many Americans live from paycheck to paycheck — highly leveraged and bereft of any honest money. They are overwhelmingly exposed to whatever it is that those who are the most powerful believe appropriate or profitable to themselves in the sociopolitical or economic arena.

The current financial system is not salvageable. It is entropic, prone to decay. Central banks have to print more and more money to keep up with the spending of the politicians who, in turn, spend more and more to buy the favor of increasingly disaffected voters. Fiat money devalues more and more quickly, and the printing presses run day and night. Prosperity is just around the corner but never arrives and, in fact, recedes despite official pronouncements to the contrary.

The productivity isn’t there any longer, yet in the USA, certainly more than Europe as of this writing, the average household is loaded to the eyeballs in debt and is still urged to take on more. Why? Because foreign buyers continue to purchase American debt, allowing US citizens, even if they don’t know it, to fund their lifestyles at least in part with overseas loans. Who could blame the Chinese for trying to unload some of its dollar reserves by buying resource companies that help to ensure they have enough control over their own productive destiny?

As the currency devalues, the US middle class will be squeezed even harder. The public sector will continue to swell, just as it has overseas. The money and credit in the system continue to expand until the volume simply can’t be contained by economic activity. It becomes overwhelming — triggering hyperinflation and sweeping revaluations. Today, this very scenario is taking place — and tomorrow, as the financial hurricane bears down, it will be even worse.

Again, these results are predictable. Anyone who studies money knows how government fiat-money systems end up. History tells us they always collapse. And we are facing a collapse now.

How to Insulate Your Portfolio from the Fed’s Financial Destruction

submitted by jwithrow.zen garden portfolio

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
How to Insulate Your Portfolio from the Fed’s Financial Destruction

January 16, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P opened at $1,992 today. Gold is up to $1,267 per ounce. Oil is back down under $47 per barrel. Bitcoin is checking in at $210 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate opened at 1.72% today. Famed Swiss economist Marc Faber went on record at a global strategy session this week saying he expected gold to go up significantly in 2015 – possibly even 30%.

Yesterday we examined the Fed’s activity since 2007 and we noticed $3.61 trillion dollars sloshing around in the financial system that didn’t exist previously. Then we put two and two together and realized the answer was four… not five as the mainstream media claims. We came to the conclusion that the entire financial system is now dependent upon exponential credit creation out of thin air and that financial destruction cometh once the credit expansion stops.

Today let’s discuss some ideas for insulating our balance sheet from the ongoing financial crisis and the inevitable crack-up on the horizon.

The first and most important thing to understand is the difference between real money and fiat money. The Fed (and other central banks) issue fiat money at will – created from nothing. Dollars, euros, yen… none of them are real money; they are all fiat. These currencies do not represent real work, savings, or wealth and they certainly are not backed by anything of substance.

Most of these currencies exist as digital units out in cyberspace but if you read one of the paper notes in circulation it is completely honest with you:

”This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.”

That means central bank notes are really good for paying debts but that’s about the extent of it.

All of these currencies depreciate over time in terms of purchasing power because they have no intrinsic value and their supply is unlimited. Even when a currency is “strong” as the U.S. dollar is currently, it is only strong measured against other currencies. Measure the dollar against your cost of living and you will see the real picture.

The point is we can’t trust central bank money.

Which leads us to the first way to insulate your portfolio from the Fed’s carnage: convert fiat money into real money – gold and silver. Gold and silver were demonetized in the late 60’s and early 70’s and the establishment has been downplaying their significance ever since. But there is a reason every central bank in the world still stockpiles gold. Gold and silver have been money for centuries and that is not going to change in a brief fifty year time span. Maybe one day cryptocurrencies will take the torch from gold and silver but that day is not today.

It is wise to maintain an asset allocation of 10-30% in physical gold and silver bullion. Precious metals will skyrocket in price measured against fiat currency as the Fed’s financial destruction plays out but in reality they are just a store of value. Precious metals will skyrocket in price only in terms of the fiat currency that is depreciating so dramatically.

Energy and commodity stocks, especially well managed resource companies, stand to boom as the monetary madness plays out as well. This is not a long-term strategy, however, so any gains captured during the commodity boom should be converted into hard assets or blue-chip equities after they have finished falling in price. There is enormous risk in the stock market so equities should make up a smaller portion of your asset allocation: 10-15% perhaps.

Despite everything said about fiat currency above, cash should still make up a large percentage of your portfolio; probably 20-30%. Cash loses purchasing power over time but it is still the primary medium of exchange so it is necessary to remain liquid. Ideally you should keep 6-12 months worth of reserve funds in cash and any cash above that threshold can be used to acquire assets as they go on sale. And plenty of assets will go on sale when the credit expansion stops.

The remainder of your asset allocation should be in real estate, provisions, other hard assets, and anything else that improves your quality of life. With all of the unjust systems and institutions to contend with it is easy to forget most of us are far richer than the wealthiest individuals living at the beginning of the 20th century. We have central heating and air in our homes, reliable auto travel over long distances, affordable air travel to anywhere in the world, way too much entertainment, cheap access to the internet which opens the door to all manner of information/commerce/entertainment, pocket-sized computers that double as telephones, and many other modern comforts that would be considered futuristic luxuries by the wealthiest of the wealthy one hundred years ago.

After properly aligning your portfolio to weather the Fed’s financial storm, focus on aligning your life to maximize fulfillment, purpose, and peace of mind. After all, your most valuable asset is time and time cannot be measured in financial terms.

More to come,







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.

How the Fed Destroys the Middle Class

submitted by jwithrow.the Fed

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
How the Fed Destroys the Middle Class

January 15, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P opened at $2,013 today. Gold is up to $1,262 per ounce. Oil rallied back up to $48 per barrel. Bitcoin has dived to $216 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate opened at 1.81% today.

The big news in the markets today comes from the Swiss National Bank which announced that they will abandon the Franc’s peg to the Euro. This move suggests the SNB is expecting Europe to ramp up its very own quantitative easing program in a big way. If that happens we can expect the U.S. dollar to strengthen, Treasury rates to continue their decline, and gold to rise in price. Such a move could also spark another bull cycle for gold miners in the equity markets. We shall see.

If you ask the media, they will tell you the economy is recovering quite nicely. They will tell you they are a little disappointed the recovery has taken this long, but a recovery it is nonetheless. And sure enough, the economic landscape does look better now than it did in 2009. If you live in a metropolitan area you may even be tempted to think the media is absolutely correct – happy days are here again! The stock market has boomed, mortgage rates are on the floor, and the banks are lending once again… what more could anyone ask for?

Regretfully, I must point out that whatever recovery has taken place is due exclusively to a credit expansion of historic measures. Take a look at this chart from the Fed’s Board of Governors.

The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet expanded from $890 billion ($890,000,000,000) to $4.5 trillion ($4,500,000,000,000) in just six years. This balance sheet expansion represents the acquisition of assets by the Federal Reserve – U.S. Treasury Bonds and mortgage-backed securities specifically. What this means is the Fed purchased bonds from the federal government to finance government deficits and the Fed purchased mortgage-backed securities from Wall Street to bail out the banks.

The Fed saved the day!

But we must ask – where did the Fed get the dollars to save the financial system? Well if you are familiar with our work on fiat money then you know the Fed created those dollars out of thin air. That’s 3.61 trillion ($3,610,000,000,000) extra dollars floating around in the financial system conjured into existence. Is it any wonder interest rates hit the floor and stocks boomed?

Go back and ask the media and they will tell you this is normal. The Fed did what it was supposed to do, they will say, it exists to manage the financial system. The media has had six and half years to feel confident in this assessment. But the Fed itself shows us what the problem is – the recovery is unsustainable!

Let’s go back and look at the chart. The Fed has classified the period from the end of 2007 to the middle of 2009 as a recession. The Fed shows how it printed $1.41 trillion during that time period and brought an end to the recession. But then the Fed kept on printing – in even greater quantities! If the recession ended in 2009, why did the Fed need to create another $2.2 trillion over the next five years?

The answer is clear as day and the Fed shows us why – the recovery is solely dependent upon exponential credit expansion. It’s game over as soon as the credit stops expanding.

The fact is no structural reforms have taken place within the financial system since the crash of 2008. All of the underlying problems are still present; they have simply been papered over by credit creation of historic proportions. As much as the media would have you believe otherwise, you just can’t cure a debt problem with more debt.

”Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.” said Robert Louis Stevenson.

For those living outside of the major U.S. metropolitan areas, that banquet of consequences is here. Middle America has been hollowed out and small town U.S.A. has been destroyed by the fiat monetary system that has been employed since 1971. Income inequality has risen rapidly, not because of greedy capitalists, but because politically-connected institutions have been the recipients of enormous quantities of money and credit created from nothing. What is occurring is a wealth transfer of epic proportions.

It is the middle class that bears the brunt of this massive wealth transfer. As we mentioned in our first journal entry of 2015, the Cantillon Effect is in full swing. The individuals and businesses farthest away from the printing press have their wealth systematically transferred away from them to the institutions with their cup under the money spigot. Don’t believe me? Take a trip to K-Street and observe what goes on there.

Of course there’s nothing new under the sun. This dynamic has played out numerous times in various places throughout modern history. It always leads to the destruction of the middle class and then the destruction of the monetary system itself.

Fortunately, individuals can insulate themselves from some of the financial destruction if they understand what is happening. It is understanding that is the most difficult part.

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.

How the Fed Grows Government

by Hunter Hastings – Mises Daily
Article originally published in the January 2015 issue of BankNotesEccles Building

We are told that elections are important, but the most powerful state institution, the central bank, is totally out of reach of the voter.

Ludwig von Mises viewed democracy as a utilitarian concept. It was the form of political organization that allowed the majority to change the government without violent revolution. In Socialism, Mises writes “This it achieves by making the organs of the state legally dependent on the will of the majority of the moment.” He identified this form of political process as an essential enabler of capitalism and market exchange.

Mises extended this concept of utilitarian democracy to citizens’ control of the budget of the state, which they achieve by voting for the level of taxation that they deem to be appropriate. Otherwise, “if it is unnecessary to adjust the amount of expenditure to the means available, there is no limit to the spending of the great god State.” (Planning for Freedom, p. 90).

Today, this utilitarian function of democracy, and the concept of citizens’ limitations on government mission and government spending, has been taken away by the state via the creation and subsequent actions of central banks. The state carefully created a central bank that is independent of the voters and unaffected by the choices citizens express via the institutions of democracy. In the case of the US Federal Reserve, for example, the Board of Governors state that the Federal Reserve System “is considered an independent central bank because its monetary policy decisions do not have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches of government, it does not receive funding appropriated by the Congress, and the terms of the members of the Board of Governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms.”

Independent from Voters, But Not from Politicians

Importantly, the central bank is independent of the citizens in this way, but, in practice, not independent of politicians. Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, is quoted as asserting, “I never said the central bank is independent,” alluding to similar statements in two books he has written, and pointing to one-sided political pressure significantly limiting the FOMC’s range of discretion.

This institutionally independent, but politically directed central bank spearheads a process that enables largely unlimited government spending. It expands credit and enables fiat money, which is produced without practical limitation. Fiat money enables government to issue debt, which, at least so far, also has been pursued without restraint. The unlimited government debt enables unrestrained growth in government spending. The citizenry has no power to change this through any voting mechanism.

Thus, the state is set free from having to collect tax revenue before it can spend, and as Mises explained, in such a case, there is no limitation on government at all:

The government has but one source of revenue — taxes. No taxation is legal without parliamentary consent. But if the government has other sources of income it can free itself from this control.

In other words, when faced with the possibility of voter reprisals, members of Congress are reluctant to raise taxes. But if government spending no longer necessitates taxes, government becomes much more free to spend.

Without restraints on government spending, there are no restraints on government’s mission, or on the growth in the bureaucracy that administers the spending. The result is a continuous increase in regulations, and a continuous expansion of state power.

Has The Central Bank Limited Itself?

In the one hundred years since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, US federal government spending has grown from $15.9 billion to a budgeted $3,778 billion in 2014 (a number we now refer to as $3.8 trillion to make the numerator seem less egregious). Spending as a percentage of GDP has advanced from 7.5 percent to 41.6 percent over the same period. A comparison of regulation growth is more difficult, but over 80,000 pages are published in the Federal Register annually today, versus less than 5,000 annually in 1936.

The evidence, therefore, is that voting makes no difference to this lava flow of spending and regulation. Whatever the will of the majority of the moment, government spending and government power will continue to expand, with consequent reduction in the economic growth that is the primary goal of the society that is being governed.

John Locke opined that, when governments “act contrary to the end for which they were constituted,” they are at a “state of war” with the citizens, and resistance is lawful. (Two Treatises of Government, p. 74). The theory and practice of unhampered markets and individual liberty are particularly relevant at election time.

Hunter Hastings is a member of the Mises Institute, a business consultant, and an adjunct faculty member at Hult International Business School

Please see the January 2015 issue of BankNotes for this article and others like it.

Of Gold, Energy Stocks, and Bitcoin – Opportunities for the New Year

submitted by jwithrow.bitcoin

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Of Gold, Energy Stocks, and Bitcoin – Opportunities for the New Year

January 2, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

Welcome to the first business day of 2015! The S&P opened at $2,055 today. Gold is down to $1,171 per ounce. Oil is down to $52 per barrel. Bitcoin remains rather flat at $315 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate opened at 2.20% today.

We spent our time yesterday going over how fiat money enslaves society and we agreed that this was critical to understand if we are going to have a chance at being financially independent. Wife Rachel said it was a rather dreary journal entry so today we will endeavor to be more positive.

Let’s take a look at some of the financial opportunities we have for 2015.

First, the precious metals are as cheap in dollar terms as they have been in several years. Gold and silver could still drift lower in 2015 but the fundamental case for owning them is as strong as ever. This is a great time to pick up some ounces if you are a little short on your precious metals asset allocation.

Over in the equity markets, energy stocks of all sorts have taken a beating with plummeting oil prices. Fund managers accentuated the crash in energy stocks as they sold at a loss for tax purposes and to show little exposure to the sector at year-end. This is a great opportunity for a contrarian to add some energy exposure to his or her portfolio. It is advisable to be very diligent in this endeavor, however, as marginable producers will be squeezed if oil prices remain this low for an extended period of time. Be sure to go with the companies that can survive at current prices, keep position sizes reasonable, and stick to your stop-losses.

Several notable analysts expect the Fed to launch QE4 the moment the S&P starts to tumble which would send stock prices soaring even further. Some of these analysts think this will occur in 2015. The Day of Reckoning will eventually come for the current fiat monetary system as the Great Reset continues to unfold, but that day is not here yet. 2015 may provide an opportunity to capture gains in the market and convert those gains into hard assets.

Even more speculative is Bitcoin which plummeted from a 2014 high of $939 in January all the way down to its current price of $315 over the course of the year. Maybe $315 is a good entry point, I don’t know. Of course Bitcoin opened 2013 at $13 so maybe it is still reverting back to the mean.

Personally, I am not sure what to make of Bitcoin. Free market advocates are die-hard in their belief that Bitcoin has the potential to rid the world of fiat money by eliminating the need for any middlemen and thus eliminating transactional friction. Free market detractors are pretty adamant in their belief that Bitcoin is a pump and dump scheme that will not be relevant for long because it does not meet all of the standard qualifications for hard money.

I am in the middle somewhere – Bitcoin’s functionality fascinates me but I don’t think it eliminates the need for precious metals within the monetary system. I think a small dollar-cost-average approach may be a reasonable method of testing the Bitcoin waters.

Of course there is no room for speculation until you have built a sensible level of resiliency and have a sturdy asset allocation model in place. Having debt cleared out, cash on hand, precious metals for insurance, a back-up energy source, and some food and wine stored in the cellar will insulate you from any storm that comes your way, regardless of how your speculation works out. Throw in good family and friends and you will be in great shape no matter what happens in 2015 and beyond.

What else could you ask for?

More to come,







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.