When the government pumps trillions of dollars into the economy, they’re not actually printing the money. It enters as digital entries in banks across the country. It’s made the system fast, responsive, and, unfortunately, vulnerable. Now our money is no longer something we hold in our hands, but something that exists on a very susceptible network.
The so-called recovery is only built on debt and printed cash declares our own Byron King. In the long term, the only option for the government to continue financing it's operations is to print too many dollars. Money printing has it's limits, however. It's Byron's opinion that at some point, perhaps very soon, the government will have to turn to more desperate measures. Namely, capital controls. In the following featured essay, Byron outlines 4 probably ways the government will take your cash and one play you can buy through your broker to prepare today. Read on...
Americans expatriate because they want to get out of the country. Corporations expatriate for similar reasons. Clem Chambers explains...
When’s the best time to invest in something? When everyone else is trying to get their money out of it. It might go against conventional thinking, but following the crowd usually makes you miss the real opportunities. At one monetary metal conference recently, the smartest guys in the industry sat down to discuss where these real hidden gems lay.
Say goodbye to your boring morning commute. New technologies are changing the way people drive their cars. It’s making them safer, more fuel efficient, and could reshape the way America builds its roads and cities. The only thing that could stand in the way...
I bet you use different kinds of money all the time, sometimes without even realizing it. In various online accounts, I currently have: some dollars, some pounds, and some euros. I have some air miles from two different credit card companies. I have some supermarket rewards points from three different companies. And I also have […]
In a 2009 article, the Huffington Post went into considerable detail about the number of people with PhD degrees in economics employed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. This is the government’s branch of the Federal Reserve. It is not one of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, all of which […]
Greetings from Maine! Right now, I’m writing from within foghorn distance of the sea. And this gives me an opportunity to tell you a down east tale that should serve as a warning to every investor: Maine’s Great Gold Swindle.I’m not talking about central banks, or manipulation of today’s markets. I’m talking about something from […]
The U.S. dollar is the dominant global reserve currency. All markets, including stocks, bonds, commodities, and foreign exchange are affected by the value of the dollar.The value of the dollar, in effect, its “price” is determined by interest rates. When the Federal Reserve manipulates interest rates, it is manipulating, and therefore distorting, every market in […]
When the NSA surveillance news broke last year it sent shockwaves through CERN, the particle physics laboratory in Switzerland. Andy Yen, a PhD student, took to the Young at CERN Facebook group with a simple message: “I am very concerned about the privacy issue, and I was wondering what I could do about it.”There was […]
Is Bitcoin, the popular “cryptocurrency” taking the globe by storm, currency? We get lots of Bitcoin questions here at Laissez Faire HQ in Baltimore. How do I buy them? Why do I need it? And is Bitcoin safe? Those questions are relatively easy to answer. And we’ve put them all in a report for Laissez […]
The game of speculation is the most uniformly fascinating game in the world. But it is not a game for the stupid, the mentally lazy, the person of inferior emotional balance or the get-rich-quick adventurer. They will die poor.– Jesse Livermore, How to Trade in StocksThe trouble with capitalism’s guardians is that they have no […]
Let’s head back in time…In 2004, a mere decade ago, the US national debt rang the register at $7.4 trillion. That represents “debt per citizen” of over $25,000. You, me, your neighbor, your 4-yr old grandson, you name it and they’re portion of the U.S. debt is $25k.But flash forward to today and you’ll see […]
John Foust, a Democrat running for the 10th congressional seat in Northern Virginia, is — like Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other state Democrats — gung-ho to expand Medicaid. His wife’s position is, shall we say, a bit more nuanced.Foust has slammed his opponent, Republican Del. Barbara Comstock, for her opposition to expansion. He has spoken […]
The midterm election season is upon us, and it’s a tossup whether the Republicans will win the Senate, or if President Obama, seemingly oblivious as conflict flares up around the world, will, through his continuous campaigning, keep Harry Reid in his majority leader seat.The only thing we know for sure is that sociopaths will be […]
The Failure of the “New Economics” by Henry Hazlitt Release Date: Aug. 7, 2014 The Austrian economist who was called “Mr. Libertarian,” Murray Rothbard correctly wrote that economic journalist Henry Hazlitt (1894–1993) “is a better economist than a whole host of sterile academicians.” Rothbard was right. Hazlitt is a very good and very accessible economist. […]
Alexander Hamilton was America’s first Secretary of Treasury under President George Washington. When he first entered office in 1789, America was an agricultural nation of just 4 million still broke from its financially costly victory over the British Empire in the Revolutionary War.The states had accumulated relatively massive debts to finance that war, which mostly […]
Remember that correction we’ve been quietly talking about over the past couple of months?Well, it might be right around the corner. Stocks waited until the last day of the month to nose-dive. The S&P 500 posted its first 2% down day since April — and the Dow wasn’t far behind. Early this morning, futures continue […]
I was talking with one of my colleagues the other day, and he raised a very interesting question, one that deserves consideration by anyone worried about their digital privacy. He read an article that championed the idea that the more steps one took to protect their privacy by using anonymous Web-browsing tools like Tor, the […]
A great technology solves a problem that we didn’t know we had. It makes us aware of deprivations we didn’t know existed until we discover the new thing. Once discovered, we can’t go back.People in the 1950s, for example, never missed the smart phone. They were pleased to have a phone at all. But today, […]
Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, EverBank is a small bank with a market capitalization of $2.4 billion. Like other banks, it offers traditional U.S. deposits and loans, including mortgages, but it does so primarily via its strong online presence and deep levels of customer service. At its core, the management knows that customers can go anywhere, […]
Fifty years after the 1929 crash, a group of money managers and investment thinkers put together a collection of essays looking back at that experience. The result was a distillation of some pretty fine investment wisdom. Timely, I think, to review now.One of the contributors was Arthur Zeikel, then with Merrill Lynch. The title of […]
Although the mainstream media have turned its attention away from the wreckage of Obamacare, don’t think for a second that all is well.As the politicos in D.C. focus their attention on the midterm elections in November, now is a great time to study, prepare, and seek out the most affordable, accessible, and highest quality options […]
Turn on the tube and economic ignorance seems to be everywhere. There is constant shilling for more government. Business is demonized. Man is said to be trashing the environment. “Workers and women are oppressed” is the constant mantra.And members of the clueless media nod their heads in unison.Only John Stossel has provided the fresh air […]
Health care costs in the U.S. have been rising so steadily for so long that containment barely seems possible. Even optimists don’t dream of cutting the price tag. As its official name — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — suggests, Obamacare aims for affordability, not radical reduction.But at a time when we’re all […]
“We kill people based on metadata.” — Former NSA and CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden “I think video games is [sic] a bigger problem than guns because video games affect people.” — Sen. Lamar Alexander “I know this is a long line. I feel real bad, but — I’m gonna cut.” — President Obama while […]
In early July 1944, delegates from 44 countries gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. A three-week summit took place, at which a new system was agreed to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the Second World War.The U.S. was already the world’s commercial powerhouse, having eclipsed the British […]
In the minds of many people around the world, including in the United States, the term “capitalism” carries the idea of unfairness, exploitation, undeserved privilege and power, and immoral profit making. What is often difficult to get people to understand is that this misplaced conception of “capitalism” has nothing to do with real free markets […]
When you type a website address into a browser, you might have noticed that the letters “http” appear at the front. “HTTP” stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. In typing a Web address, you are actually sending an HTTP command to transmit that website to you. Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the means by which information is […]
Some people are saying it is just what the doctor ordered. Others are saying that the cure is worse than the disease.The Affordable Care Act? Reengagement in Iraq? Tea Party bullying in the GOP?Not this time. Just as protracted in the corridors of Congress and the White House is the debate over the proposed reform […]
It may become increasingly difficult to see a real live doctor as the heavy hand of Obamacare weighs on health care providers. A physician shortage looms due to many opting for early retirement and others becoming overburdened with an influx of Medicaid and other government-subsidized patients. Lack of immediate access to a doctor doesn’t necessarily […]
In 2012, money mandarins running the European Union chose stagnation over restructuring. Here’s a consequence of that choice: expectations for a self-sustaining economic recovery keep getting crushed.Two years ago, European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi promised to do “whatever it takes” to hold the eurozone together. He bluffed nervous investors into believing in a […]
Picture the scene. It’s 2020. You’re at the checkout in a convenience store with a carton of milk. But you’ve got no cash and you’ve left your cards at home. No problem. You scan your right index finger; the green light flashes. Purchase approved and you leave. Easy.Is this a realistic vision of the future, […]
Mystification is the process by which the commonplace is elevated to the level of the divine by those who have a vested interest in its unassailability. Government is a perfect example of mystification at work. Government is a group of individuals organized for the purpose of extracting wealth and exerting power over people and resources in a given geographic area. Ordinarily people object to and resist thieves and robbers; but in the case of government, they do not because the government has created a mystique of legitimacy about its activities.
“Government is founded on opinion,” wrote William Godwin. “A nation must have learned to respect a king, before a king can exercise any authority over them.” Past governments used the divine right of kings, by which monarchs claimed the divinity of being appointed to rule by God, as a means of instilling this respect; rebellion against the king became rebellion against the will of God. Contemporary governments have replaced this with the legitimacy derived from such concepts as “democracy,” “equality,” the “motherland,” or the “American way of life.” Such patriotic concepts have the ability to rouse feelings of awe and reverence in the population. These reactions are ingeniously channeled to support the government, and in turn help create the mystique of legitimacy which governments need to survive.
In a libertarian context, the issue of state legitimacy reduces to one question: Does any individual or group have the right to initiate force? For the libertarian, it is always illegitimate to initiate force against nonaggressors. Libertarianism is the political philosophy based on the concept of self-ownership; that is, every human being, simply by being a human being, has moral justification over his or her own body. This jurisdiction, which is called individual rights, cannot properly be violated, for this would be tantamount to claiming that human beings are not self-owners.
If individuals cannot properly violate rights, then it cannot be proper for any organization or group of individuals to do so. Certainly the number of people involved in initiating aggression has no bearing on whether or not the violation of rights is legitimate. This was clearly pointed out by a 17th-century libertarian who wrote:
What can be more absurd in nature and contrary to all common sense than to call him Thief and kill him that comes alone with a few to rob me; and to call him Lord Protector and obey him that robs me with regiments and troops? As if to rove with 2 or 3 ships were to be a Pirate, but with 50 an Admiral? But if it be the number of adherents only, not the cause, that makes the difference between a Robber and a Protector: I will that number were defined, that the Prince begins. And be able to distinguish between a Robbery and a Tax.
Without a doubt, the most effective method by which the state creates a mystique is through control of education. The evolution of compulsory state-controlled schooling reads like a history of political maneuvering, in which the goal of teaching children literacy skills plays a minor role. Public education is by no means inept or disordered as it is made out to be. It is an ice- cold, superb machine designed to perform one very important job. The problem is not that public schools do not work well, but rather that they do. The first goal and primary function of schools is not to educate good people, but good citizens. It is the function which we normally label state indoctrination.
The early supporters of state education understood this. Horace Mann, for example, a 19th-century supporter of public education, saw it as a means of assimilating foreign elements into an otherwise established Protestant, puritan culture. With regard to the Irish Catholics, Mann maintained:
With the old not much can be done; but with their children, the great remedy is education. The rising generation must be taught as our children are taught. We say must be, because in many cases this can only be accomplished by coercion. . . . Children must be gathered up and forced into schools and those who resist and impede this plan, whether parents or priests, must be held accountable and punished.
From their inception, public schools were a form of social control. One Irish newspaper, which represented those children being unwillingly assimilated, observed:
The general principle upon which these compulsory schooling laws are based is radically unsound, untrue, and A-theistical. . . . It is that the education of children is not the work of the Church, or of the Family, but that it is the work of the State.
Today, the ideal of social control through education has been realized. Like Pavlovian dogs, children enter and exit schools to the sound of bells. They begin each day by pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and by singing the national anthem. Through political science and history classes, which present severely slanted history, they are taught to revere democracy and the Constitution. School is “the twelve-year sentence” during which children are molded into good citizens. Indeed, as we have seen, the chief function of education is to train obedient citizens. “It is inevitable that compulsory, state-regulated schooling will reflect the philosophy of the status quo,” commented historian Joel Spring. “It is after all those who have political and social power who gain the most benefit from the existing political climate and depend on its continuation.” In practical terms, the public school system has assumed the role of an official church by imbuing its subjects with a genuflecting respect for the state.
The state projects an image of massive strength, the image of a self-perpetuating, self-contained institution upon whose goodwill the people depend. In fact, the reverse is true. Government rests upon the goodwill of the people. Without their support, it becomes fragile and will eventually disintegrate. A government is no more powerful than the human resources, the skills, the knowledge, and attitudes of obedience it commands. Every dollar the state spends has been taken from an individual. It has no resources of its own. Every law it maintains is enforced by an individual. As Etienne de la Boetie observed of the state: “He who abuses you so has only two eyes, has but two hands, one body, and has naught but what the least man . . . except for the advantage you give him to destroy.” That advantage is what we call the sanction of the victim or the consent which the oppressed must give to their oppressors.
Libertarianism is a direct attack upon the mystique of the state. It recognizes that the state is only an abstraction and reduces it to the actions of individuals. It applies the same standard of morality to the state as it would to a next-door neighbor. If it is not proper for a neighbor to tax or pass laws regulating your private life, then it cannot be proper for the state to do so. Only by elevating itself above the standards of personal morality can the state make these claims on your life. . . .
Conservatives and liberals demand different varieties of law and order without regard to the fact that the ultimate in order may be found in a concentration camp. On the surface, it might seem that conservatives and liberals are engaged in deadly combat, but they are actually in fundamental agreement on one crucial methodological point: namely, that the state is a proper means of achieving social change–that the use of force legitimized by the state is a proper way of controlling other people’s peaceful activities. This is their fundamental disagreement with libertarianism.
William Godwin formulated the libertarian rejection of force in epistemological terms:
Force is an expedient, the use of which must be deplored. It is contrary to the intellect, which cannot be improved but by conviction and persuasion. Violence corrupts the man who employs it and the man upon whom it is employed.
The battle against statism today is not a battle against any particular politician. The issue is deeper. It is a battle against a way of thinking, a way of viewing the state. The main victory of the state has been within the minds of the people who obey. In commenting on the British rule over India, Leo Tolstoy wrote:
A commercial company enslaves a nation comprising two hundred millions. Tell this to a man free from superstition and he will fail to grasp what those words mean. What does it mean that thirty thousand men . . . have subdued two hundred million? Do the figures make clear that it is not the English who have enslaved the Indians, but the Indians who have enslaved themselves?
People today enslave themselves when all that freedom requires is the word “No.
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