Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Starting to Catch Up

Back at home this evening, and starting to catch up with everything that's been neglected, including this space.  So odds and ends...

First, although this is rather late, I want to point out that Episode 92 of the Gun Blog Variety Podcast has been up since Sunday.  The reason I want to point this out is that it will be my last guest slot as the Tech Tips host.  In it, I talk about how to get started in electronics as a hobby, which is dabbling in a very deep subject.  We can talk about that here, too, if you want.  Doing a stint as a podcaster was an interesting way to spend a few weeks, but I'm not overwhelmed with desire to do podcasting as a steady thing.

Finally, I've mentioned George Gilder's treatise on the information theory of money, "The Scandal of Money" several times.  I finished reading it on the way up north last Thursday, and then have gone through and re-read several sections.  It's one of those books we read only a few times in our life that strikes us as incredibly important.  This idea isn't only his; there are other people talking about an information theory of money (although they differ on details).  This is often a sign that a powerful new paradigm has appeared and is making inroads at supplanting the "current wisdom".  It's no secret the current approaches to getting the economies moving again are simply not working.  This is why we get stories about Alan Greenspan talking almost wistfully about a return to a gold standard and guys like Thomas Pikkety and Paul Krugman (the guy who thought an alien invasion would be a good economic stimulus) declaring we'll never have good economic growth again because (in so many words) everything good has already been invented. 

I was painfully naive about Bitcoin and am somewhat less so now.  Gilder sees Bitcoin and other free-market-introduced monies as potentially a way to end the political control over money that's responsible for the wholesale transfer of wealth from the masses to the politically connected.  He puts forth a persuasive argument that Bitcoin and gold have much in common and much to offer as a replacement for pure fiat money.

Can't recommend it highly enough.  I find it opaque in places, but they usually become more clear if I look at them harder for a while.  I'll leave you with a quote that I find particularly effective at getting into my brain like a pebble in a shoe.  You know... the kind that you just can't stop paying attention to because it's just so irritating?
Gold: The monetary element, tested over centuries. Usually thought to be money because it is a useful commodity— pretty, shiny, divisible, portable, scarce, and convertible into jewelry— gold is in fact the monetary element because it is useless. Money is not valuable because it is really jewelry; jewelry is valuable because it is really money. Gold is a metric of valuation based on the time to extract an incremental ounce, which has changed little over the centuries while gold has become more difficult to extract from deeper and more-attenuated lodes.

Gilder, George (2016-03-28). The Scandal of Money: Why Wall Street Recovers but the Economy Never Does (Kindle Locations 2409-2413). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

1 comment:

  1. "Why Wall Street Recovers but the Economy Never Does "

    It isn't a failure, it is a feature.

    What I have observed and learned:

    PM's have been recognized throughout history (all of history) as valuable. Does this mean one can eat PM's when hungry, drink same when thirsty, shelter with when needed - of course not. Just as with fiat, but there any similarity ends.

    Throughout history (again, all of it) EVERY SINGLE FIAT CURRENCY HAS FAILED. And what is the salient feature of EVERY SINGLE FIAT CURRENCY, including digital currencies?

    You guessed it, they are backed by absolutely nothing. EXCEPT the ability to STEAL VALUE FROM THE HOLDERS of same.

    Yet, for some inexplicable reason (greed, maybe?) fiat is accepted as real value by most, accepted as just as valuable as The Real Thing. And, even more perverse, credit purchases based on fiat have greater spending value than The Real Thing, perhaps because to the buyer there is less reluctance to write a check than to hand over The Real Thing, and to the seller there is potential to easily increase the selling price.

    Isn't it interesting that PM's(or other real commodities) are ALWAYS the reset when fiat inevitably fails?

    If you haven't read them already, may I suggest:

    Wealth of Nations
    Creature from Jekyll Island

    Banks issuing fiat are evil, central banks of the same are a greater evil; for they are both lovers of money.

    What is the Bible verse regarding money?