Why the US Dollar WON’T Collapse | Rebuttal to Mike Maloney and Stefan Molyneux

A rebuttal to “Why the US Dollar Will Collapse” with Mike Maloney interviewed by Stefan Molyneux on Freedomain Radio. Mike and Stef cover various economic issues from a classical/Austrian viewpoint of economics which all draw the same conclusion: the US dollar is going to collapse SOON.

Watch their video here.

Dylan Moore of the Volitional Science Network and Nima Mahjour of economicsjunkie.com provide evidence to rebut many of the points brought up in the video:

1. Why the Federal Reserve is NOT a private bank
2. Why the Fed DOES NOT “print money”
3. Why interest rates are not a useful metric for predicting economic stability
4. Why the Fed can only “push” interest rates UP, not down
5. The myth of fractional reserve banking
6. The myth of the barter theory of money
7. Why the Fed is not causing inflation
8. Why the evidence points to US dollar NOT CRASHING

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The First US Money Was Fiat, Not Gold; The “Gold Standard” Is A Fiat Money System With A State Fixed Gold Price

We know from anthropological records that the first money in world history was credit money, in particular state credit money, aka fiat money, which is money introduced by a violent authority that imposes a tax in its currency and then proceeds to spend the currency into existence to move resources and labor into the public sector, as I’ve explained before, and as you can read in books like London School of Economics anthropology professor David Graeber’s Debt – The First 5000 Years.

Even the barter economy that supposedly preceded the advent of gold as money has never existed outside the minds of many “gold standard” theorists. This compounding effect of piling unproven falsehoods upon more unproven falsehoods has had absolutely disastrous consequences in the realm of economic thinking.

Recently I’ve encountered some arguments from people suggesting that while I may be correct as far as world history goes, surely at least in the United States money was initially gold & silver coins, before the advent of fiat money issued on top.

This is also a made up claim.

Here are some relevant, documented, referenced excerpts in the Wikipedia post on Early American currency:

One by one, colonies began to issue their own paper money to serve as a convenient medium of exchange. In 1690, the Province of Massachusetts Bay created “the first authorized paper money issued by any government in the Western World.”[3] This paper money was issued to pay for a military expedition during King William’s War. Other colonies followed the example of Massachusetts Bay by issuing their own paper currency in subsequent military conflicts.[3]

The paper bills issued by the colonies were known as “bills of credit.” Bills of credit were usually fiat money: they could not be exchanged for a fixed amount of gold or silver coins upon demand.[2][4] Bills of credit were usually issued by colonial governments to pay debts. The governments would then retire the currency by accepting the bills for payment of taxes. When colonial governments issued too many bills of credit or failed to tax them out of circulation, inflation resulted.

After the American Revolutionary War began in 1775, the Continental Congress began issuing paper money known as Continental currency, or Continentals. Continental currency was denominated in dollars from $​1⁄6 to $80, including many odd denominations in between. During the Revolution, Congress issued $241,552,780 in Continental currency.[46]

Continental currency depreciated badly during the war, giving rise to the famous phrase “not worth a continental”.[47] A primary problem was that monetary policy was not coordinated between Congress and the states, which continued to issue bills of credit.[48] “Some think that the rebel bills depreciated because people lost confidence in them or because they were not backed by tangible assets,” writes financial historian Robert E. Wright. “Not so. There were simply too many of them.”[49] Congress and the states lacked the will or the means to retire the bills from circulation through taxation or the sale of bonds.[50]

Another problem was that the British successfully waged economic warfare by counterfeiting Continentals on a large scale. Benjamin Franklin later wrote:

States have fixed prices of certain things throughout history, always to please certain special interest groups. The so called gold standard is nothing but a fiat money system with a gold price fixed by the state, a policy supported by special interest groups for various reasons, and suspended whenever expedient to the plans of other powerful groups.

The people who claim the “natural” gold money came first, and then was replaced by fiat money issued on top of it, have it precisely backwards. Fiat money came first, and was at times off and on accompanied by a government policy of fixing the gold price at a certain level.

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Bits and Bigotry

After several embarrassments, Krugman makes another rather sad attempt to cover Bitcoin which according to him “is a digital currency that has value because … well, it’s hard to say exactly why”.

Indeed, he wouldn’t be amongst my favorite economic idiots if his ignorance on the “why” and in fact on the entire protocol, process, and purpose behind mining, were to keep him from boldly declaring that with Bitcoin “we are for some reason digging our way back to the 17th century”.

And just by the by: If someone tries to lecture me on the supposed “barbarism of gold” without showing me that he has had the capacity, rigor, or curiosity to do even the most basic research into the unspeakable and unprecedented genocides, world wars, civil wars, and destruction brought about by fiat money central banking systems, then I cannot possibly take that person serious for even just a second.

What an embarrassment for mankind to still have mental garbage of this kind roaming the web and how beautiful to see Bitcoin slowly but surely push it into complete and total irrelevance.

Just keep diggin’ that pit, Paul.

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Fiat Money, Governments, Banks, and Corporations

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Utah’s Gold & Legal Tender Laws

Fiat currency is demanded by individuals in exchange transactions because its acceptance in payments of debts is enforced by the state, because it is required in tax payments, and because reproducing the same currency without state approval is prevented via the threat or use of aggression. This ensures that there will always be some kind of demand for it.

(You can find some more information on the specific history of fiat money in the US in my post Government Power, Gold, Fiat Money, and the U.S. Constitution.)

The government also discourages the use of alternate media of exchange, e.g. in the case of gold in the US, through the imposition of capital gains taxes, but even without such additional hurdles there would be little to no threat to the enforceability of the fiat money system.

In fact, the US Treasury itself still mints gold and silver coins that it officially recognizes as legal tender for all debts public and private. For example, a 1 Oz American Eagle gold coin, is recognized as a $50 legal tender.

Mind you, the current value of 1Oz of gold on the open market is priced at around $1,500. So in other words you’d have to be a complete idiot were you to use that coin to buy, say, a concert ticket worth $50 or pay your taxes by supplying a commensurate number of such coins to the IRS, when you could just as well use paper money that you ascribe a much lower value to.

Recently there have been some developments in Utah toward recognizing gold and silver as legal tender for the metal value and NOT the amount minted on the coins:

The Utah Legislature on Thursday passed a bill allowing gold and silver coins to be used as legal tender in the state — and for the value of their precious metal, not just the face value of the coins.

State backers said they hope the move will help insulate Utah from a potential monetary slide as countries question the value of the dollar. Others, casting their eye nationwide, said it could spur a broader move by Congress or states to readopt a gold standard.

“Utah, if the governor signs this particularly, they’re going to change the national debate on monetary policy and get us back to basics,” said Jeffrey Bell, policy director for Washington-based American Principles in Action. Mr. Bell has been in Utah to help shepherd the legislation through.

Utah’s bill allows stores to accept gold and silver coins as legal tender. It also exempts gold and silver transactions from the state’s capital gains tax, though that does not shield exchanges from federal taxes.

It is true that merchants in Utah can now also accept a smaller amount of gold in payments, reflecting the open market price of gold, rather than its legal tender amount. But they would still be required by federal law to accept fiat currency. Individuals would also still be required to pay federal capital gains taxes on their realized gold gains.

I would say that, by and large, Gresham’s Law applies here as much as anywhere else. So long as the government aggressively enforces the use of its fiat currency and in fact requires its use in the settlement of tax debts, people will be inclined to push those paper dollars back into circulation, while hoarding the “better” money: gold and silver coins.

Thus I view the recent laws passed in the US state of Utah as a mere recognition of what already is. The exemption of gold from capital gains taxation on the state level may make it lucrative to sell gold in Utah, but that’s about the extent of the impact of this law as far as I can tell.

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