22A022 Yesterday's Money by Jim Davies, 5/31/2022


It would buy more that today's money does, and much more than tomorrow's will. That is not the way money is supposed to work; but it's a fact, and has been so for all of living memory.

As everyone knows, wet sidewalks cause rain and by raising prices, greedy merchants cause inflation; except that rain fell long before sidewalks were invented, and forty years ago Murray Rothbard and Milton Friedman proved conclusively that inflation is caused by excess creation of a currency.

It's really simple: if a society produces a fixed amount of goodies but someone circulates twice as much money, a year or so later their prices will double. What else can they possibly do?

Since the end of 2019 the total amount of money in the US (M-3) was increased by 42%. Production (GDP) increased during the same period by 10.6%, so the excess 'money" created was 31.4% or 14.6% a year, so around about now we can expect average prices to rise by that same percentage. Naturally, the creators of that money will strive to persuade us that inflation is much lower, by selecting a "basket of goods" whose prices tend to rise by less than the average.

"Only" 14% is of course brutal; a strong disincentive to save, and savings are the source of investment for the future. Further, unless wage increases keep pace it will have the direct effect of slashing living standards by 14 percent. Oldsters living on a fixed income will suffer the full effect so the first result of the FedGov's scattering of such "helicopter money" is further to impoverish the elderly.

For "money" to be expandable like this is ridiculous, and results from the ugly fact that it is controlled by government. The coming zero government society will use only money chosen by market participants, and the criteria for choice will be that first and foremost, the currency will have a value as near to constant as is feasible. Bitcoin will be a strong candidate, and so will gold; gold has the virtue of having been chosen for that purpose for several thousand years.

Extra gold can be mined, so its supply is not absolutely fixed; but mining is a slow business and during the unprecedented wealth growth of the 19th Century it served very well as the standard for money. Its quantity grew by about 2.5% a year but general production grew by about 3% a year, so prices actually fell by 0.5% a year, meaning that a US Dollar would buy in 1900 about 67% more goodies than it would in 1800. This was known as a mild "deflation" and provided a handy incentive to postpone consumption in favor of saving and investing; for money was correctly seen as being worth more tomorrow than it is today - the opposite of the first paragraph above. That investment level turbo-charged the whole process, adding to the accelerating prosperity.

The foregoing all refers to general, average prices; individual ones vary, often as a result of fluctuating supply and demand. Today there is a sudden and absurd spike in the price of gasoline, but inflation (too much money) causes only a small proportion of that increase. On the Left Coast, prices of $6.66 a gallon are common and that has prompted some to suppose that ("666" being the "mark of the beast") a demonic, supernatural force is at work.

It may be devilish but no, it's not supernatural. The direct cause is that Russian oil has been taken off the world market, and since that is highly price-sensitive the supply shortage has triggered a big price hike, as John Stossel made clear in this excellent short video. Why did the Russian supply stop? - because governments, in Europe and the US, banned its import. Why so? - because Russia had spoiled those (NATO) governments' plans to encircle the country by bringing Ukraine into membership. That irrational prohibition on freedom of trade is being orchestrated in Washington, by the government of 8% Joe. For blame, we need look no further. One good definition of "government" is "that which prevents the operation of a free market" and this provides an excellent example.

Trace the steps that have pumped bogus money into the economy since 2019: first a terrible disease was announced and governments ordered that for a period, everyone stay home. No work was done, and that has savaged the "supply chain" which normally keeps shelves well stocked. In the ZGB archive, editions spelling out the story of that bogus plague are flagged with this:

Having ruined tens of thousands of small firms and deprived employees of wages, the FedGov then created new "money" and scattered it like a helicopter, and those fresh "dollars" are what is causing the general inflation now. At the time we may have thought the "stimulus payments" were welcome; but now, we are paying the price. There ain't no free lunch.

For good measure and to keep the misery flowing, in May the FedGov announced a "gift" to Ukraine of $40 billion as weapons - and since it doesn't have that money, it will print it. Russians will be aggravated and our prices will rise yet more. Such is the wonderful world of government money.

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