Duped and Distorted
DUBLIN – When you start thinking about what money is and how it works, you face isolation, shunning, and possible incarceration. The subject is so slippery – like a bead of mercury on a granite counter top – you become frustrated… and then… maniacal.
You begin talking to yourself, because no one else will listen to you. If you are not careful, you may be locked up among the criminally insane.
We’ve been thinking about money for the last couple of months. It has become our favorite subject. That is why people edge away from us at parties. Our family finds novel ways to change the subject.
“Whoa… sorry to interrupt, Dad… but isn’t that a flying saucer?”
Undaunted, we press on. We think we’re onto something important. We have come so far; we might as well go the whole way.
Economist George Gilder’s new book, The Scandal of Money, came as an unexpected reinforcement. He has been thinking about money, too. But he seemed fairly normal in Las Vegas last week. No facial tics. No babbling or paranoid delusions.
Gilder has come to much the same conclusions from a different direction. It is not real money. It only pretends to be. It has duped the entire world – and distorted the entire global economy.
Neither Cash nor Gold
We’ve already connected most of the dots. Today, we draw a new line from this new dollar to the impoverishment of the middle class. It explains why even Donald J. Trump – a man with none of the qualities you would normally look for in a chief executive – is the Republican presidential nominee.
The phenomenon is teased up for us by one of our own dear readers, who writes:
Yes, exactly. Money is not wealth. It only measures the stuff that you can buy with it. No stuff? Then money is worthless. Imagine a man at the North Pole. He is starving and freezing to death.
You give him a Ben Franklin. What is it worth? Zero. Give him a gold coin? Same thing. Good money honestly measures output. It is the output that is the real wealth. And if you want wealth, you have to produce.
That is the meaning of Say’s Law: You buy stuff with stuff, not money. Bad money, however, tricks up the whole system.
How badly the system has been tricked up was the unintended subject of a recent article in the Financial Times.
“Populist rage puts global elites on notice,” writes the ever-elite, Parasitocracy mouthpiece Mr. Martin Wolf.
Poor Mr. Wolf. He conveniently misses the real cause of the “rage” – the phony money system put in place by the elite. He shows no interest in our perverse money system, but has begun foaming at the mouth anyway.
The gist of Mr. Wolf’s warning is that the elites had better take notice. “Real income stagnation over a longer period than any since 1945 is a fundamental fact,” he continues.
During the most recent end of that period – from 2005 to 2014 – for example, almost 100% of Italian households have seen their real incomes fall or remain flat. In the U.S., 80% of households have experienced the same fate. Britain, France, and the Netherlands are only slightly better.
|Since 1980, employment in manufacturing – the source of good wages for the middle and lower classes – has fallen in all the major developed economies, including Germany and Japan. In most of them, it has been roughly cut in half.
We’re not sure if it were these facts themselves, or the dreaded populist rage… but after reciting them, poor Mr. Wolf begins eating the rug:
More to come…
Image captions by PT
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Tags: central banks,George Gilder,Helicopter Money,John Toland,Jonathon Green,Martin Wolf,newslettersent,On Economy,Richard Cantillon,Thomas Pikkety