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Calling Bullshit on the US Dollar

I recently experienced another moment reminiscent of The Big Short, which I thought I might document for purposes of comic relief and added insight into the psychology domestically governing the world’s reserve currency, one still — after nearly half a century —  “temporarily” irredeemable in that precious commodity which originally rendered it worth holding in the first place. Living in a world of articulate illiterates, we often find ourselves conned into false senses of security or even those of conventional wisdom. 

Whether it's a seemingly-successful salesman in a shiny new Mercedes-Benz, an impassioned activist with a megaphone and a boatload of buzzwords, or an intergenerational tradition that's escaped scrutiny, the narratives around us form quite a compelling tale; but if we bother to endeavor just beneath the surface, between the lines and into the details, we just might find what they've all been avoiding: the truth. 

In the case of the salesman, his shiny new Mercedes is his way of suggesting he's better than you, and he knows you'll see it and think so, too. In this twisted psychological trick, in convincing you, he also convinces himself. And so it goes. 

In the case of the impassioned activist, her megaphone helps silence her doubt and make her feel more powerful than she feels inside; her endless chatter drowns out the doubt and keeps her safe from change, criticism and, above all, reality. In this sense, her megaphone serves herself just as much as her audience, as she silences her doubters and lulls herself into believing ever strongly in what she is saying; through this, she worships her own voice and builds herself up beyond reproach. 

But after it is all said and done, each of the great cons in our world will look in awe at the inimitable US dollar, the intergenerational fraud thrust upon the world's unsuspecting workers, who, in the face of tradition, couldn't possibly help themselves by picking up a book or thoughtfully considering why in the world they would ever toil for hours each day for these filthy pieces of paper or, in the modern context, mere digital abstractions on a ledger. 

Why, they couldn't possibly fathom having it any other way. Their mothers and fathers, and even their mothers and fathers, have long done it this way. 

Why would they ever need to change? What could possibly go wrong? Well, as it turns out, the average person needn't journey far to find another who feels the same way. 

Indeed, I recently shared this fact with somebody in the course of explaining an important feature, or rather an inherent flaw, in the modern economy: “Most people don’t realize that the United States, through the Federal Reserve, pursues an official policy of inflation of two percent per year.” 

This elicited the following response: “Even in my bank account?” The manner in which people view savings and money is wholly inconsistent with reality; whereas dollars serve merely as a medium of exchange, no longer backed by gold, they are neither a dependable store of value nor a form of sound money. And where they have been reliable, it is in the course of reliably losing value every year since the inception of the Federal Reserve.

What’s more, wherever any individual “has money” in a bank account, whether Chase Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, or wherever, that person doesn’t “have money in the bank”; he has an IOU, a promise of future repayment from that bank. 

Wherever anyone is said to “have money in the bank,” he is a creditor to that bank, nothing more. 

Moreover, while the creditor, otherwise known as a depositor, will seldom witness a quantitative loss in his account — indeed, he is likely to even accrue nominal interest — the qualitative value of that account is all but certain to decline in real terms. And this is where gains and losses truly matter; not in the quantity of digital or paper sums, but in the quality and quantity of goods and services they can actually afford.

Unfortunately, the modern worker is so thoroughly hypnotized by ersatz wealth after generations of successful hypnosis, he will hardly notice what has happened when his deposits have all but disappeared, leaving him with the quantitative value he expected, but without the purchasing power he had never considered. 

If only he understood the difference, he would have, like Mark Baum in The Big Short, taken the time to call bullshit

But just as the Leftist speaks incredulously about the risks of tyranny, so too will the average worker fall victim to his own incredulity in managing the risks of inflation

As Henry Ford observed, “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”


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