What We Forgot About Free Market Capitalism Part Two

submitted by jwithrow.Mises Capitalism

Failure is just as much a facet of free market capitalism as success is.

In a free market economy, well managed businesses with desired products and services will succeed and poorly managed business with undesired products and services will fail.

Consumers, when well informed, will make decisions based on their individual preferences; they will either buy the highest quality product at the lowest price for which that product is available or they will buy a lower quality product for a price lower than the higher quality product. Consumers are typically not very interested in paying high quality prices for low quality products.

So, in the free market, businesses must constantly strive to either offer the best product at the lowest price or a suitable product at a very low price. This requires businesses to focus on improving efficiency and decreasing costs without sacrificing product quality. If a business cannot offer competitive products at competitive prices then it will not be in business for very long.

This model aligns the interests of both businesses and consumers and creates a self-regulating incentive structure.

In the free market system, businesses have an incentive to offer quality products to customers at the best price and they have a disincentive to offer poor products at poor prices. While this is a simple representation, the incentive structure is one of the core principals underlying the free market system.

But what happens if businesses are not allowed to fail due to government intervention?

We have seen numerous cases of this scenario in recent years. The “too big to fail” banks were propped up by the federal government when they came to the point of failure. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken under receivership by the federal government when they came to the point of failure. General Motors was temporarily taken over and propped up by the federal government when it came to the point of failure.

This is moral hazard.

Oh, and we should probably mention that the federal government cannot actually bail anything out with its own capital. To fund the bail-outs, the government has to appropriate capital from the private sector in the form of tax dollars and it has to borrow money from the Federal Reserve that was created out of thin air.

So the business losses were socialized but the profits remained privatized – this is fascism in action.

By creating moral hazard in this way, the disincentive piece has been removed from the system and the incentive model has shifted away from a consumer focus and to a focus on generating high profits with no regard for risk. Such a model is a win-win for the favored businesses and the government cronies that they support. The losers are everyone else as the economy turns to mush.

Coming full circle, failure is a welcome facet of free market capitalism. Maybe not for the companies’ doing the failing, but failure is a force for creative destruction that serves to weed out the businesses that cannot offer quality products at reasonable prices.

This is why it is ridiculous to claim that any company is “too big to fail” as justification for bail-outs. Sure there would be temporary hardship were the major banks to fail, but this would eventually free up capital and clear the way for sustainable banking practices to be implemented.

Feel free to read more on the matter here and here.

Seven Reasons to Abolish the Federal Reserve System

submitted by jwithrow.

The following are seven reasons to abolish the Federal Reserve System.

This list is taken directly from G. Edward Griffin’s “The Creature from Jekyll Island”. If you are up to the task, read this tome for a thorough understanding of how the monetary system actually works.

1. It is incapable of accomplishing its stated objectives.
2. It is a cartel operating against the public interest.Creature from Jekyll Island
3. It is the supreme instrument of usury.
4. It generates our most unfair tax.
5. It encourages war.
6. It destabilizes the economy.
7. It is an instrument of totalitarianism.

MyRA-QE Taper Connection

submitted by jwithrow.Government Help

We have a question for you:

Is it a coincidence that the government has introduced the “myRA” plans just as the Federal Reserve has begun to taper its quantitative easing programs?

Let’s think this thing through for a minute.

We know:

  • China is now a net-seller of U.S. Treasuries so the Federal Reserve has had to step in and purchase U.S. Treasury Bonds in increasing quantities to support government spending.
  • The average American saves for retirement in a qualified retirement plan focusing primarily on mutual funds, exchange traded funds, and stocks with bonds comprising a small portion of the allocation.
  • The proposed myRA plans are designed to focus on U.S. Treasury Bonds.
  • The Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing programs have pumped massive amounts of liquidity into the system which has resulted in a broad increase of stock prices across the board.
  • Tapering QE will withdraw liquidity from the system which will almost certainly result in a broad decrease of stock prices across the board and quite possibly a severe stock market crash.
  • A falling stock market would likely cause many Americans to seek investment options that they deem “safer”.
  • The government is already hard-selling their myRA plans stating that there is “no risk to lose what you put in”.


Maybe our benevolent bureaucrats really do think that myRA plans will help the common man.

But we hold dearly to a personal mantra:

Maximize Capital,
Minimize Crap,
Never Trust the Government.

With that mantra echoing in our mind, we can’t help but be a little suspicious – something funny seems to be afoot.

What do you think?

The Case for Gold and Silver Bullion

submitted by jwithrow.Gold Bullion

While gold and silver prices have declined in 2013, the fundamental case for owning gold and silver bullion is still growing.

The mainstream media has been quick to pronounce the death of the precious metals as an asset class with their evidence being the recent price depreciation of both gold and silver. Theirs is a very short term and self-serving view; the long term fundamentals have not changed.

The Federal Reserve did taper its money printing, but guess what? The creature from Jekyll Island is still creating $75 billion new dollars every single month to purchase U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage backed securities. Meanwhile, Congress has quietly done away with the sequester spending ‘cuts’ and will continue to spend gargantuan amounts of money in 2014 – money they do not have.

What’s so humorous about this is the fact that the sequester did not cut any real spending in the first place – it simply curtailed proposed future spending increases. We suppose the thought of curtailed spending increases kept the Congress critters up too late at night.

And it’s not just the U.S.

Japan has promised to continue to keep their central bank money printer on turbo gear. Estimates suggest that the U.S. and Japan together will create nearly $2 trillion over the next 12 month period. Meanwhile, the Eurozone experiment is still on the verge of blowing up and not one single G-20 country operates with a balanced budget.

Simply put, the economies of the developed world have run up massive amounts of debt that cannot possibly be paid back in full. The massive debt has been serviced primarily by central bank funny money up to this point, but we are quite sure that the funny money policies cannot possibly last forever. And the longer the printing presses continue to run, the less valuable our paper currencies will be.

That’s why we adamantly believe that gold and silver bullion will be a vital part of a diversified portfolio in the coming years as the economic endgame of central bank funny money policy plays out.

Now, we don’t think it would be prudent to hold 100% of one’s assets in gold and silver. We look at the precious metals more as insurance against destructive monetary policies. Oh, and we should probably clarify that we mean physical gold and silver bullion in your possession, not an ETF.

So if you expect the value of your paper currency to increase then you may not be interested in holding gold or silver bullion. But if you expect the value of your paper currency to decrease then purchasing gold and silver bullion may be very wise.  Given the long term fundamentals, we would suggest that the value of our paper currency is ultimately only going to go in one direction.

And that direction is back to paper currency’s inherent value…

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