1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/16469/why-monetary-expansion-must-stop/

Why Monetary Expansion Must Stop

April 13, 2011 by

With unlimited quantities of fiat money, the day seems to have arrived when anything is possible. But this is an illusion. FULL ARTICLE by Patrick Barron

{ 51 comments }

Charles Gilliam April 13, 2011 at 10:01 am

This is an excellent article! Very well written and spot-on.

Tony Fernandez April 13, 2011 at 11:27 am

In the end, scarcity wins out. You can pretend that you have infinite resources, but we live in the real world. There is no way to avoid the fact, and it will catch up with you.

vern April 13, 2011 at 12:24 pm

It seems our friends in power hope to avoid the hangover simply by not ever putting the bottle down. Intervention time.

Mike Sproul April 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I plan to issue my own “fiat” money. I’m a landlord and I sometimes buy groceries by paying “rent dollars” to the grocer. I accept these rent dollars in payment of rents on my properties, and the grocer has employees who rent from me, so he’s willing to accept my rent dollars. My property is worth $500,000, so I’ll start small and issue 100 rent dollars.

Next, I’ll expand my issuance of rent dollars by 1000 times, even though I’m sure Patrick Barron would object. I will point out in my defense that the $100,000 I issued is adequately backed by my $500,000 in property.

I might then borrow $300,000 against my property and use it to buy another $300,000 rental property. Then I’ll issue another $100,000 rent dollars and use them to buy back $100,000 of my own bonds, just like the Fed does when it buys government bonds. This would again double the quantity of my so-called fiat money. Patrick would probably be shocked to see that my rent dollars will still hold their value, since they are more than adequately backed by my property.

Now, if anyone can tell me any important difference between these rent dollars of mine and the green paper dollars that we all use, I’d be interested to hear it.

Jonathan M. F. Catalán April 13, 2011 at 1:34 pm

And then Mike Sproul realizes that the price of the groceries he buys in “rent dollars” spikes as the supply of rent dollars increases, and that the ‘value’ of his property (which he denominates in dollars) has no relevance to the money prices of the other goods which his ‘fiat money’ is chasing.

Anthony April 13, 2011 at 1:47 pm

And then the housing market crashes and your $500 000 property is worth $100,000… what happens to your rent bucks then?

Mike Sproul April 13, 2011 at 3:22 pm

If the assets backing the rent dollars fall in value, then the rent dollars fall in value. That’s the backing theory of money, and it says that money is valued just like any liability (see, for example, John Cochrane, “Money as Stock”). The quantity theory, which Patrick favors, says that the issuer’s assets are irrelevant to money’s value. So on that theory, a loss of assets causes no inflation, and an increase in the money supply causes inflation, even if the issuer’s assets rose right in step with the money supply.

The claim that grocery prices will spike is the very point in dispute, and you have to do more than just assert it. As long as my rent dollars are backed by assets of adequate value, they cannot fall relative to federal reserve dollars. And since my activities have no effect on the fed’s assets or its liabilities, there can be no effect on the value of fed dollars either.

Suppose that I minted some silver bullion into 100,000 one oz. coins. I doubt that you would claim that this would cause a spike in prices. Either the excess coins get melted and reflux to bullion, or other existing moneys become superfluous and reflux to their issuers. (See, for example “The Law of Reflux”) It’s the same with rent dollars. If money becomes excessive, either it or some other money will reflux to its issuer and there is no effect on prices.

Jonathan Finegold Catalan April 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm

I’m pretty sure John Law was disproved two hundred years ago.

Mike Sproul April 13, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Three hundred. And he proved that if a bank’s issuance of money outruns its assets, then the money loses value, just like the backing theory says.

Beefcake the Mighty April 14, 2011 at 5:52 am

Hey Mike, still waiting for you to explain what you mean when you say your house is worth $500,000.

RS April 13, 2011 at 3:28 pm

The difference is that the people who accepted your fiat money did so voluntarily whereas we cannot. Presumably they did so based on their positive estimation of your ability and skill in coordinating future demands (maturity/liquidity risk) against your notes as well as your hard capital assets backing up those claims in case you are wrong.

No such estimation is possible with dollars nor are they backed by any hard capital assets. They are backed by nothing. A dollar is nothing more than a promissory note issued to you in exchange for your goods which will be repaid BY YOU through taxation out of YOUR OWN future production. That is a dollar. This is fundamentally different than your rent dollars as those do represent a claim against an actual good, just one that will be delivered sometime in the future.

The exchange is both voluntary and temporal in nature as it represents the promise of actual goods to be delivered/repaid at some future time, a fact the 100% reserve advocates like to blank out and evade when they rationalize FRB as fraud due to an alleged conflict in claims of ownership.

Mike Sproul April 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm

The only time I’m forced to use Fed dollars is when I pay taxes, and even then, the IRS will generously accept my house or car in lieu of Fed dollars. But the same is true of tenants who use my rent dollars. When I buy things, I can use checking account dollars, credit card dollars, Walmart dollars, etc. If I live in a border town, I can use foreign currencies.

Fed dollars are backed by taxes in the same sense that rent dollars are backed by rents. And I expect that some of my tenants would apply your “promissory note” description to my rent dollars, just as you apply it to Fed dollars.

Other than that, I agree with your assessment of 100% reserve systems.

RS April 13, 2011 at 5:02 pm

You would be arrested for “undermining the legitimate currency” if you started issuing your own promissory notes.

http://mises.org/daily/5184/The-Crime-of-Private-Money

Your rent dollars were exchanged for groceries from the grocer, goods that you did not “produce” and the grocer only accepted them because he expects to exchange them again for a time use of your land capital, something he did not “produce” but which you did.

Moreover, try going to your local Fed bank and “exchange” your dollar for…what? four qarters? The fed did not produce anything, nor does it plan to in the future. It plans on taking your production today and using it to buy your production tomorrow.

Production is not consumption; consumption is a consequence of production. You cannot get around cause and effect simply by applying arbitrary descriptions to various monetary concepts all the while ignoring the metaphysical referents and physical actions that make their use possible.

Mike Sproul April 13, 2011 at 10:43 pm

I can take my dollars to the IRS and use them to discharge my tax obligation. Taxes might be theft, but I must pay them just the same, so I value the dollars that can discharge them. I suppose some of my tenants might feel that their rent is theft, since I might have acquired the property by immoral means.

RS April 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm

this is myopia. where did all of these goods come from? how did you get your dollars? how did you acquire your property? if it is presumed that you EARNED those things by trading the products of your efforts and are now issuing promissory notes against those assets e.g. “rent dollars” against Real Property in order to consume the goods produced by others e.g. the grocer then what assets did the FED produce to issue thier fiat dollars against? If a fiat dollar is the same as your rent dollar, as you claim, then how come you have to make it redemable against your rent in order for the grocer to accept it? If it is the same as a fiat dollar then all you would have to do is simply offer to pay the grocer back in groceries that you will demand of him tomorrow. Better yet, lets make this a true analogy and say that I will go to the grocer and issue your rent dollars in your name redemable to you for more than your property is worth and when they are all called in you can come to me and I will pay you back with more of your own rent dollars. That is what the FED is doing.

Mike Sproul April 14, 2011 at 11:17 am

The fed is just a branch of the government, and the government has a big asset: taxes receivable. That’s what backs their bonds and their dollars. My assets is rents receivable, and that’s what backs my bonds and my rent dollars. Just as I have to make my rent dollars redeemable in rent, the government has to make their dollars redeemable in taxes (or anything else of value).

If I have the ability to take things from the grocer (I’m a street thug, for example) then the grocer would accept my dollar as long as I accept it in lieu of the groceries I was going to steal from him tomorrow.

The fed does issue dollars that are a claim to the government’s assets, but since the Fed is controlled by the government, it’s not the same as you going to the grocer and issuing my rent dollars without my permission.

RS April 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Mike,

You keep missing the point. Taxes receivable are a claims against the goods that are available in the economy. They are an asset insofar as people are willing and able to produce things. a dollar is the medium used to facility the exchange of those goods, it is not, by itself, outside of that context, worth anything. The same holds true for gold or any other currency. It has value solely for the purpose of moving goods from one person to another.

That being said, the government does not collect tax dollars for the sake of tax dollars, they do so so that they can appropriate command of those goods, goods that they did not produce themselves.

You on the other hand already have command of an asset (your land) which you are selling its “time use” (rent) as rent dollars in exchange for goods produced by others (food). those rent dollars will be presented back to you in the future in exchange for use of your property, at which time you can destroy them or reissue them. the whole system is “backed” by goods that are produced by each individual and offered for exchange.

the fed and/or government does not produce anything, they appropriate. Moreover, they spend more than they appropriate. in doing so they create claims against more goods than anyone has yet produced in order to consume the goods that have already been produced (savings) and when they borrow via deficit financing they are putting up as their collateral (their “asset” as you call it) future tax revenues they have yet to collect, from goods that have yet to be produced, BY the very people whose capital stock seed they are consuming.

I find it very hard to see how anyone can compare these two systems and call them equivalent.

Beefcake the Mighty April 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Hey Mike, why won’t you answer a simple question? Let me repeat it, in case you’ve missed it:

What do you mean when you say property (or anything else) is worth $500,000?

Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Mike Sproul April 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm

RS:

Just as I have a claim to my land that enables me to collect rent, the government has a claim to land that enables it to collect tax. Just as my rent dollars are worth something because they are backed by rents receivable, the Fed’s dollars are backed by taxes receivable. If my issuance of rent dollars outruns my assets, then the rent dollars will lose value, and if the government’s issuance of Fed dollars outruns the government’s assets, then Fed dollars will lose value.

Beefcake the Mighty April 14, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Hey bitch, I’m talking to you!

Beefcake the Mighty April 14, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Perhaps all capital letters will get Mike’s attention:

MIKE, WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHEN YOU SAY PROPERTY IS WORTH $500,000?

RS April 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Mike,

I see we are just going to circle around this issue. You wrote:

“Just as my rent dollars are worth something because they are backed by rents receivable, the Fed’s dollars are backed by taxes receivable.”

Your “rents receivable” are, in turn, backed by the land capital you own/control. The land exists and it has improvement value that represents work ***already*** done (e.g. buildings).

“Taxes receivalbe” are, in turn, backed by goods whose improvement value has yet to be, value that represents work ***not yet done***.

When you say that your rent dollars have outrun your assets you are stating that the value of the ***existing*** assets you CURRENTLY own is less than the outstanding claims you have made against it, hence each dollar value is less. simple math yes, but the point is that those dollars, even being less in value, are stil backed by an asset that EXISTS (your land).

When you say that a Fed dollar has outrun the governments assets you are stating that the value the government’s assets, which it has not yet appropriated, is less than the outstanding claims they have made against……who?….what? the government itself? its “assets”? but its “assets” are future receipts. the “outstanding claims” are against its own citizens future production, which DOES NOT yet EXIST. so it is not backed by ANYTHING.

perhaps you can make a case that it owns land (not nearly enough to cover) but I would like to see you try asking for federal land in “exchange” of your dollar, see how far that goes and be sure to let us know ;-)

Mike Sproul April 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm

RS:

Suppose my land is all vacant, and I got it by swindling an old lady. The net present value of all future rents is $500,000. The government, on the other hand, built roads, waterworks, etc., and the present value of the taxes that it will be able to collect from my land is $500,000.

I can safely issue up to about $300,000 of rent dollars against my rents, and the government can safely issue about the same against its taxes. If either of us exceeds that amount, people will start to worry about our reckless behavior, and the value of both of our dollars will fall. If our issuance exceeds 500,000, then inflation is certain.

Just for fun, I might try issuing about $10,000 and use it to buy 10,000 oz. of silver (assuming 1 oz. sells for $1) and then announce to people that I stand ready to convert my rent dollars to 1 oz. of silver. That might actually work for a long time, as long as nobody demands more than 10,000 oz. at one time. But eventually, I’ll suspend convertibility into silver and return to my old system of just accepting them for rent. The fun will come when the folks at Mises.org, observing that my rent dollars are no longer CONVERTIBLE, wrongly conclude that they are UNBACKED. Obviously, inconvertible does not equal unbacked, but that wouldn’t stop them from yelling “Fraud!”, “Thin air!”, “Counterfeiter!”, “Crude inflationist!”, etc.

RS April 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Mike,

Well, we are in agreement that inconvertable does not mean unbacked. I would say its more like a loan default than outright fraud. But, that still does not erase the distinction between government assets vs private assets.

In your example, no matter how you came by the land, via right or by fraud, the person you got it from must have done something to establish claim of title, either by homestead or by purchase, or by fraud of someone else who did. At the end of the line someone had it by right for it to be appropriated.

Moreover, if the government improved your land, where did it get the funds to pay the workers and buy the materials to build it? Those things must have come from somewhere, so who produced them for the government to take and to use to make your improvements. No matter how you approach it, there is simply no such thing as a free lunch. The goods that paid the taxes must have come from somewhere by some means, NOT from the government fiat issue of paper.

Mike Sproul April 14, 2011 at 11:00 pm

RS:

It doesn’t matter how I got the ability to collect rent on the land, and it doesn’t matter how the government got the ability to collect taxes. I can take my promise of future rents to a bank and the bank will lend me money on it. The government can do the same with its promise of future taxes. Nobody will ask us how we came into possession of our assets, or whether we have been, or will be, ‘productive’.

And when the government and I each start issuing dollars (backed by rent or taxes), the only thing anyone will care about is how much our assets are worth. The value of those dollars will be determined only by the value of the assets that we back them with, and not on our productivity.

RS April 15, 2011 at 8:43 am

Mike,

I disagree. Productivity is all that matters. An asset is, by definition, valuable only because of its productivity. If your building was not able to produce rents because of condemnation then it would cease to be an asset. Likewise, if the US taxpayer was no longer able to produce goods to tax then they would cease to be an “asset” of the Federal Government, as repugnant as that sounds it is no less true.

Take Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid for example, obligations the government has made which are presumably backed by its assets right? What are those assets backed by? US Treasuries. What are US Treasuries Backed by? Taxes. Where do taxes come from and who will pay them? The people who will produce the good and services that the government has spent on their behalf, NOT some government printing press. If the obligations exceed the productive capacity of those who are producing then the difference must come from somewhere or the obligations would not be met. There would be no “cakes” for anyone to “eat”. The difference comes from our investment capital, the stock seed that generates future returns. If the obligations consume all of the investment capital faster than it can be produced you have bankruptcy, the physical inability to satisfy the obligation.

If productivity does not matter, as you seem to be asserting, then our nation’s fiscal problems should be solvable via a government printing press, the fact that it cannot be solved that way is proof that your position is false, that there is a very real physical difference between the value of a rent dollar backed by a real physical asset you call your land vs. the value of a Fed dollar backed by a promise to deliver an asset that has not yet been brought into existence AND which the government has not yet appropriated.

Mike Sproul April 15, 2011 at 10:58 am

RS:

I expect that you understand that I myself might be a worthless, unproductive slob, but that if I own vacant, unimproved land worth $500,000 (swindled from an old lady), then I can walk into any bank and easily get a loan for $300,000 or so, based only on that land. I could also issue about $300,000 of my rent dollars against that land without much trouble.

Of course productivity matters, but not necessarily MY productivity. My land has value because other people are productive, and their productivity creates a demand for my land.

It’s the same for the government. They might be thugs, and taxes might be nothing but protection money. But a government with a secure stream of future tax revenue with a net present value of $500,000 can easily get a $300,000 loan, and just as easily issue $300,000 in Fed dollars. Naturally, that tax stream only exists because there are productive people in the world.

RS April 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Mike,

Well, there are only so many ways to explain that a duck is a duck so its getting redundant to say the same thing over and over. Either you are going to see the duck as a duck or as something that it is not, either way the duck will still quack no matter how much you claim it should bark.

The Duck:

Your $300K dollar loan from a bank OR your issue of $300K in rent dollars are both backed by the use/utility that land brings to those other productive people, therefore both the $300K loan or the $300K rent dollars are backed by the land.

The value of the rent dollars are backed by the land.

If the land is rendered useless (via flood, fire, pollution, infestation, condemnation etc.) so too would be the rent dollars you issued and the mortgage note the bank held against the loan (assuming you spend the money on the land).

The value of the mortgage loan is backed by the land.

The land backs both the value of the mortgage loan and any rent dollars you issued.

Land, and the things people use it for, is what backs any derivation or proxy one can think of concerning its use in any way shape or form.

The NOT-a-Duck:

A “secure stream of future tax revenue” that “only exists because there are productive people in the world” conflates the potential with the actual.

A potential is not an actual. Land is actual. “Future tax revenue” is a potential.

Therefore, Fed dollars are only backed by a potential i.e. by nothing

Mike Sproul April 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm

RS:
For that matter, my future rental stream is only a potential, as are the future profit streams of every firm. So that leaves every share of stock, every rent dollar, and every fed dollar, backed by nothing.

Or you could take the correct view, as explained in every finance text, which is that a potential stream of future payments has value today. Thus stocks are backed by potential future profit streams, my rent dollars are backed by potential future rent streams, and fed dollars are backed by potential future tax streams.

RS April 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm

No, you did not listen to what I wrote.

Stock and rent dollars are backed by the actual real assets held by those owners PLUS the future potential income.

Fed Dollars are not back by any actual real assets, ONLY the future potential income.

You asked for someone to tell you:

“any important difference between these rent dollars of mine and the green paper dollars that we all use”

and I am telling you that the important difference is one of actual vs potential.

Use it as you will.

Mike Sproul April 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm

RS:

I could point out that the present value of a future income stream is equal to the current selling price of the asset, so that counting both the stream and the asset is double-counting, but you were already talking about quacking ducks and barking dogs two posts ago, so I’ve obviously exhausted your patience.

RS April 15, 2011 at 8:25 pm

yes, and an NPV necessarily includes an assumption of a discount rate, which is only a potential. the fact that you lumpted together two seperate values (the actual current market value of land plus the npv of potential future cashflows from the land) and attempted to pass them off as one in order to make your case that there was no difference between that number and the NPV of cashflows from taxes absent any real asset indicates that you already knew the answer to your question. so why bother with this long post?

RS April 15, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Mike,

Tell me, do you think that the value of a secured line of credit has the same value as an unsecured line of credit? why would the two be different? does the equity in a secured line only represent a potential asset or does it represent an actual asset and how, do you think, does that add to the value of the total line? please do tell.

Everyday Anarchist April 13, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Taxation is theft. Federal Reserve notes are backed by the theft of private assets by the government.

Beefcake the Mighty April 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Hey Mike, what do you mean when you say your property is worth $500,000?

coturnix April 13, 2011 at 7:38 pm

I think he means, that IF he wanted to get rid of the property, THEN he would exchange it for $500000, whatever that may be. Or more =)

coturnix April 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm

However, IF he does NOT WANT to get rid of it, its ‘worth’ is undefined

RS April 13, 2011 at 3:33 pm

“End all regulation of banking, including deposit guarantees, which only cause moral hazard. But enforce 100 percent reserves against money certificates and demand deposits.”

These two statements contradict each other.

Zach Bush April 14, 2011 at 11:29 am

No, they do not. Enforcing 100% reserves on money certificates in demand deposits is in harmony with the free-market in that it punishes fraud.

RS April 14, 2011 at 1:06 pm

By fraud you mean how a bank can make loans of the money that you loaned to it? That is not fraud it is finance. If you did not want to loan your money then dont put it in a bank, or if want a safe place to keep it put it in a safety deposit box. Putting it in a demand deposit is a loan, the bank is free to use it as it sees fit (presuming of course that that is what was agreed to before you opened the account). The fact that such a loan may not be paid back is the risk that is voluntarily accepted by putting your money into the hands of another with a primse to repay, on demand or on schedule, makes no difference.

Patrick Barron April 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Murray Rothbard explains the distinction in The Mystery of Banking. It is really rather simple. The bank is divided into two sections–the deposit bank, for which the banker must maintain 100% reserves (enforced by the courts as part of the commercial code), and the loan bank, by which one “loans” the banker his money for a set period of time and, thereby, gives up his ownership in the money for that period of time. So, the banker cannot loan out money from his deposit bank side, but he can loan out money from the loan side. As I said, Rothbard explains this very well.

RS April 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm

I have no doubt that he does however, there really is no valid reason why a bank “should” be structured that way and therefore no valid reason why it should be enforced through regulation. Perhaps a bank would choose to do business that way and perhaps people would choose to deposit their money with those banks, and then again, perhaps not.

The beauty of a free market is its freedom to choose which system is more preferable. There is certainly no valid principle that would prohibit an FRB bank just as there is no valid principle that would prohibit one with 100% reserves.

Calls to enforce one over the other is contrary to freedom, and to capitalism.

Patrick Barron April 15, 2011 at 9:23 am

The importance of 100% reserves is not really a matter of choice but a matter of common law. Lending something that does not belong to you, after you have been entrusted to safekeep it, is fraud. Fractional reserve banking should be prosecuted as fraud, just as would happen in other businesses such as grain storage. The same resource can be owned only by one entity at a time. Fractional reserve bankers create additional owners of deposited money without compensation, a violation of Say’s Law and the common law.

RS April 15, 2011 at 9:42 am

A demand deposit is not the same as grain storage. A safety deposit box would be the equivilant of grain storage and there I would agree with you on the standard of title, Say’s Law and fraud however, a demand deposit is an unrestricted loan to the bank, a loan that can be recalled “on demand”. If you make a loan of your goods to another then they can use it as they see fit while it is in their possession (other contractual positions notwithstanding), if they fail to repay the loan when it is demanded that is not a fraud it is a default. Title is transferred on a condition of repayment, that is not a violation of Say’s Law, it is a Loan and loans are not violations nor are they fraud. Insisting that demand deposits are not loans of property is a refusal to accept the idea of loans as such. Anytime one transfers possession of a property on a condition of getting it back in the future is a loan. Depand deposits are loans. If they were not then people would just put their money in safety deposit boxes or keep them under thier mattresses. The fact that they bring them to a bank and expect to get it back the next day makes it a loan and not a violation of Say’s Law.

Patrick Barron April 15, 2011 at 11:06 am

A demand deposit in a bank IS the same as a deposit in a grain warehouse, because both commodities are fungible, meaning that your dollars are mixed with the dollars of other depositors because they are indistinquishable from one another, just like grain of a certain quality in a grain warehouse. But the key point–and I know you do not agree with this–is that the deposit is NOT a loan. Unfortunately our banking system is saddled with two bad court rulings from 19th century Britain which say otherwise. These rulings are discussed by Rothbard. He (and I and most Austrian economists) believe that these were bad rulings. So the de jure law says, as you do, that a deposit is a loan to the banker, but this is just an unfortunate man-made rule, and we are saddled with many such bad laws.

RS April 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I dont see how fungibility of a thing has anything to do with whether or not it was borrowed or loaned. The two are completely different concepts and are causally unrelated, the former is a shared attribute of utility a good while the latter involves the actual transfer of the good itself. I can see how the fungibility of a thing would increase its usefullness in trade (e.g. loans or payments) but its status AS a payment or AS a loan or AS a thing “held in trust” (not a loan) is entirely determined by the agreements made between the parties involved in the transfer and THAT is a function of voluntary contract NOT of Rothbardian or Austrian economic dogma.

greg April 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Good article. The same rules could apply to the futures markets were prices are set. There is a ton of fiat contracts issued every day that has nothing to do with the underlying supply of commodities. The GLD requires a fractional reserve, oil contracts are traded that exceed the current and future supply, same applies to every commodity on the market.

Ohhh Henry April 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Those in positions of power, such as all of you here, must be guided by reason and not emotion. Adopt as your motto Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative. Pass only laws that are universally applicable — that benefit all men at all times and in all places. Treat men as ends in themselves rather than as means to other ends, such as national or regional pride.

This is a ridiculous request. Those who hold power are being reasonable when they exploit the public through the issuing of unbacked currency. That is what human beings are programmed to do. They look after their own personal needs and wants first, then they look after their family and friends, and finally they may have some residual, weak and theoretical concern for the welfare of the billions of anonymous, unknown people whom they will never meet. It is absurd to think that any creature could exist in nature which is psychologically programmed in any other way than this.

Barron is saying, “Be rational, use the power you possess for the benefit of others and not for the benefit of yourself.” But it is the other way around – he is really appealing to their emotions and asking them to diminish their own wellbeing in the name of helping completely anonymous people.

The people holding tremendous power over the wealth and happiness of billions of subjects are not acting irrationally – they are entirely rational, sane and pragmatic. The problem is that the power exists. The reason why the power exists is that the billions of people who are exploited by this power structure continue to believe that it exists for the public benefit and not for the benefit of the elite.

The situation will not improve for the vast majority of people until they finally comprehend that being exploited by people holding power over them is not due to character defects or the lack of knowledge or pragmatism among their leaders. The exploitation is an entirely natural and reasonable outcome for any society in which such power is allowed to exist.

If you can’t bring yourself to denounce the Brussels government to their faces for being the gang of murderous thieves that they are (and always will be), then it would be better to shun them entirely and denounce them by direct appeals to the public, as you would shun and denounce any ordinary gang of brigands.

Bala April 14, 2011 at 3:22 am

Amen. I was about to share this article on my facebook page when I came to this paragraph. That’s when I realised I couldn’t.

Patrick Barron April 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm

You are right, of course, but you have to remember my audience. I was invited to speak to them, so I felt it necessary to appeal to their reason. Who knows?…maybe a few will take it to heart.

Pamella Siravo April 14, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I liked this so I bookmarked http://blog.mises.org/16469/why-monetary-expansion-must-stop/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MisesBlog+(Mises+Economics+Blog) at reddit.com so my co-workers can view it too. I used Why Monetary Expansion Must Stop as the entry title in my post,I figured it would be a good way to promote this cool post. Please email me back at Zaruba1435@gmail.com if there is anything more I can do to help.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: