Posts Tagged ‘Keynes’

Money’s Swan Song

August 11, 2019

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Well a lot has happened since then.

Our Creator had done some amazing creating through that original sparkle, and has given us the wherewithal to jump in there and participate in the creative playing out of all things in our domain.

The power to create was not given to other species on our planet—only to us.

We humans have done some pretty amazing things with our God-given talents.

After hunting and gathering, we planted, harvested and ate the fruits of our labors.

in the course of history, we have moved far beyond just eating, drinking and homesteading.

It’s been ever onward and upward for us, since we got a hold of this divine spark thing that we call creativity.

We’ve built pyramids and great walls, temples, mosques, cathedrals, skyscrapers, great bridges and machines that move across those bridges.

We’ve built roads, rails, blazed trails, had great successes and fails. We’ve devised tools, schools, lots of rules; we’ve forged implements, arts, coins, currency, and we’ve maintained a steady errancy.

We’ve painted, sculpted, interpreted the real world as works of art. We’ve disrupted, interrupted, corrupted and upended nature itself.

Now our carbonized creation turns—in some ways—against us.

Back at the olden time, when we received the power to cultivate earth, we were instructed to subdue those elements of the natural world that seem to be active against us—like, say, lions and tigers and bears. Such critters we had to subdue, so they would not make mincemeat of us.

Earthquakes, volcanoes, storms, tsunamis, etc.— these adverse forces we could not subdue, so we took shelter. As the ages rolled by, our sheltering instincts developed into elaborate structures.

And we have done pretty well with that. We homo sapiens have taken control of the planet—or at least we think we have. The planet may yet rise up to bite us in the ass. We shall see what happens with that.

A major sea-change that happened along the long odyssey of our progress was: we devised ways to substitute real goods into artificial representations of wealth.

Better known as making money.

MoneySwan

Land, food, livestock, clothing, shelter and such commodities that are essential for survival—all these are now exchanged by monies, currencies, paper-backed assets. And the latest thing is: electrons seem to be our new currency.

Our ancestors carved trails out of the wilderness. They gathered grains, sowed seeds, domesticated animals, and sold to neighbors or merchants all the produce thereof.

As those primary goods coalesced over the ages as markets, their value was measured and traded as money. This we called trade. Then we called it commerce, then business, and now. . . economics. We humans invented the system a long time ago because . . . well, because . . . I don’t why.

lt’s just what we do I guess.

For one thing, it made the process of manipulating wealth easier.

In economics, wealth was and is evaluated in terms of dollars or yuan or yen, or marks, francs, drachmas, denarii, zlotys, rubles, pesos, pounds sterling, etc.

Euros are the new kid on the block. They seem to have trouble making that one work.

The difficulty with retaining true value in these currencies is related to the fact that they’re—in real survival life terms—not really worth anything.

They only represent wealth. But they are not really the real thing.

I say the EU is having trouble establishing the value of their Euro. This goes way back.

The Brits, for instance, were having trouble in the 1930’s retaining the value of their pound. It seemed that their constructed currency could not maintain its value compared to gold.

Who the hell can compete with gold?

Gold goes way back.

Way back.

The second chapter of Genesis, for instance, mentions gold.

“The name of the first (river) is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.”

I suppose there’s a reason why gold goes way back in our history. Even though you can’t eat it, drink it, or keep your household warm with it, it is . . .

quite shiny.

Beautiful stuff, that gold. Precious!

Back to the Brits. As the world economy was falling apart back in the ’30’s, many savvy persons decided they would trade their British currency—pounds—for gold.

So many savvies were wanting to get back to gold, that the British government quit selling it.

What would happen after such an arrangement?

I think it was that fellow Keynes who figured out that—guess what—the economy just kept on cranking—all the goods and stuff and commodities and products and financial instruments and whatnot—just kept swirling around in international commerce.

The world didn’t stop turning. Business just kept on doing their thing. Rich get richer and poor get poorer and hey what else is new.

What else is new? Nothing. Nothing new under the sun.

Guess what. We didn’t really need gold to back currency! It was just a phase we were going through—the golden age of gold.

Back in ’73, Nixon pulled the same trick as the Brits had done in the ’30’s. He and his Bretton Woods powers-that-be decided we could no longer afford to sell gold for dollars. Too many folks wanted the gold instead of the dollars.

So we see that man-made currencies are not foolproof, and the gold bugs are always trying to make a comeback.

Money is a habit; that’s all. A very old habit.

Folks are born and bred into this modern economic world.  We are commercialized, or socialized (depending on your politics) to just keep spending those pounds and dollars and cents and euros and yuan and yen and SDRs and thusandsuch.

Nowadays we don’t really even use the money any more. Now it’s just electrons flowing around that represent debits and credits.

And that’s why—I suppose— the central banks of the world can keep cranking out their reserves, because the right to assign value is now reserved to them. It has nothing to do with gold or fiscal guarantee.

The central banks, in the fatal footsteps of every financial crisis, have reserved the right to “create money out of thin air.”

I told you we were creative!

The greatest discovery of the modern world:  we don’t even need anything to take the place of gold.

Money is just an old habit we have; we’ll never put it to rest. So somebody has to be “printing” it somewhere.  We spend so much money that all the .govs of the world are running deep debts trying to keep all the citizens fat ‘n happy.

There’s so much liquidity in the world today that the dark swan of excess has smooth sailing. Someday, some Leninish strongman will come along and dissolve all that debt into even more liquidity.

It will be a meal ticket for everybody. Yes, Virginia, there is a free lunch, doesn’t matter who’s paying for it.

It’s only money.

Glass half-Full

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From earth Mining to bitcoin Mining

November 20, 2013

There was this earth and it had rock underneath, stratified thick n thin,  and air above, stratified thick n thin, thick down low and thin up high.

Folkses lived on the earth, and they were distributed throughout, thick here and thin there, here and yon, to and fro. Folkses hunted some animals and raised others, and they tilled the earth to gather food and they mined it to get gold and iron and whatnot and what have you.

Now as the earth itself is stratified, so the folkses themselves got stratified, not that they tried to do it that way but it just happened and so they classified themselves into castes and classes and income brackets and so on and so forth, some with thick wallets and some with thin, thick n thin, and then. . .

By n by long about hunderd fifty year ago this old boy Marx figured out a thing or two bout the stratifications of them folkses, and he determinated that them that owns the means of production to make all the goods gets all the gold and all the assets and all das kapital and so forth and so on and dem proletariat and dem bourgeoisie jez get what dey can while dey can get it.

By n by just up the street from where Marx used to sit in the round room of the british library and figure out all that bout the means of production and who owns it and how all that power accumulates to them 1%ers and how maybe the proletariat could get stirred up and take the means of production unto themselves and then foment a dictatorship of the proletariat. . .

Well, jez few blocks up from where ole Marx used to sit in the round room of the british library, somewhere like bloomsbury or doonesbury or what not, this ole boy Keynes figured out that money was circulatin all around between the thick and the thin and it was just kinda going by itself and if you took the gold or whatever basis for value out from under it the whole dam thing would jez. . .

keep goin round and round, like it didn’t need no backin.

By n by the Fed got cranked up and started crankin out money from thick assets outa thin air, thick n thin, you know,

and dips come and peaks go and capital gets invested dontcha know and after bout a hunderd years of that up n down high n low thick n thin hi and  hi de ho,

By n by, long after jethrotull played thick as a brick and twiggy got thin as air, the blame got thick and the money got thin and global warming or climate change as their calling it now became the new sin,

the Global Warming degenerators got together in Warsaw to implicate the Global Warming developators for high crimes of casting carbon spells on mankind, and to milk their guilt for damages and to blame them developators for all the shit thick thats goin down and the thin hot air carbon that be goin up,

and so jez like Marx back in the day rappin bout the means of Capital production and dictatorship of proletariat and so on and so forth, now be the time for the 1%ers to ante up for their culpability in the means of Carbon production

jez like wall street and them 1%ers together with dem hot air politicians blowin up balloons inflatin the stratosphere with derivatives and CDOs CreditDefaultSwaps and MBSs and generally BS,

jez as the 1%ers was pullin some serious thick money out o thin air, inflatin all the value of fiat currencies and so on and so forth. . .

Jez about dat time, along come Satoshi Nakimodo and he come up wid idea, like Keynes wid de money thang, dat folkses can mine bitcoins out of thin air, or from their algorithms and online electrons, all charged up like their bankcards, and so on and so forth,  jez like back in the day when dey usa mine gold and iron and whatnot and what have you and so forth, but no matta what happen dey still be stratified and de rich get rich and de po get po, and so forth an so on.

And that’s the way it was, November 20, 2013. Now, where it go from here who knows, but we do know this: the thick gets theirs and the thin gets theirs and all is still stratified, but who is satisfied? You gotta go out an get it honey cuz it aint gon jez come to ya. But hey, God bless the child that got his own, cuz in de long run God be de only one dat can give satisfaction, so pray bout it.

Glass Chimera

Time for the fiscal cliff plunge?

September 9, 2012

Back in the 1930s,  the United Kingdom was the declining economic power of that age, as the United States is today. During those turbulent early ’30s, the Brits were having some trouble balancing their accounts, and they didn’t have enough gold reserves to back up the money demands being made on their financial system. So they forsook the gold standard as a means of backing up their currency, the pound.

About that time, as this 21st-century yeoman internet-reader (me) hath been able to ascertain, the Brit economist John Maynard Keynes figured out that, even though the currency was no longer backed up with gold, folks were still passing money around and doing business as if nothing had changed. This discovery became, by and by, the basis for all monetary activity throughout the world for the last eighty years or so.

Money is money, whether there’s a vault full of gold.gov somewhere in England or in Fort Knox or anywhere else in the monetized world. That’s the point. We’re still passing the stuff around as if it had real value, even though there’s no gold backing it up. People love spending it, and the love getting it. Perhaps they always will, even when money becomes mere electrons.

Now we are running out of money again, so the financial markets and the stock markets are obsessing about whether the Fed will bail out our money system yet again, for the third time, since the big thrill roller coaster ride of 2008.

This morning, I encountered an article online by a fellow, Joseph Stuber, who seems to actually know what he’s talking about, and can explain the current ramifications of this money dynamic better than I can:

http://seekingalpha.com/article/852831-market-euphoria-continues-as-we-get-ready-to-jump-off-the-fiscal-cliff?

Mr. Stuber mentions, right off the bat, one morsel of truth that John Maynard Keynes left behind; it is this statement:

“The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.”

That’s basically what happened in ’29.

These days, the  whizzbangs who run the markets will work hard milking profits out of the system for as long as they can.

In fact, every stock trader will wheel and deal and play chicken with their suckerish counterparties right up until the time that the whole money machine runs out of fuel (imagined value), in hopes that he will be able to exit the game before the house falls and somebody else is left holding the bag of severely devalued assets.

Some of the perceived value of this market pertains to what Congress and the Fed will do, or not  do, to retain the integrity of our currency and, therefore, the value our entire economy.

Mr. Stuber offers two possible scenarios of what may happen when Congress attempts to (or pretends to) deal with the fiscal cliff that awaits us, come January. The so-called fiscal cliff is the deficit debacle that Congress shelved for a year so they wouldn’t have to contend with its difficult choices before the election.

My layman’s rendering of Mr Stuber’s two scenarios (extreme paraphrasing) goes something like this:

If Congress make a deal, like they did last year, to extend  the expiring “Bush” tax cuts, then we will muddle through the next year or two just as we have been doing. High unemployment will become the new paradigm, a semi-permanent steady state of dysfunction and financial misery for sizable segments of our population, and nothing much will change, or maybe, who knows? it will all get worse.

If Congress doesn’t make a deal, and the tax cuts expire, and the so-called “automatic” austere cuts of last year’s sequestration deal are put into effect, then the long-awaited economic correction that we’ve been forestalling since fall of ’08 will, at last, take its toll on our high-on-the-hog standards of living, and it will not be pretty, and recovery will probably not roll into effect until, say, 2017, or so, when our overvalued economy tumbles to a new (lower) foundation for true growth to get a foothold.

Someone should mention this to Mr. Romney before he makes as many vain promises as his predecessor did.

We shall what happens on Nov. 6.

And we shall  see what happens  when Congress re-convenes after the election.

In Charlotte on Labor Day, I heard Chris Matthews mention that the Dow, which was at around 8000 when President Obama took office, is now hovering around 13,000. Chris’ implication was that the President must be doing a good job, or the Wall Street crowd would have pulled their rug out.

Perhaps that is true. I think that Mr. Obama has done as well as can be expected of any Democrat, under the circumstances that were passed to him.

But the question arises: what has the level of bubblish value in our stock markets got to do with anything that is happening in the streets and factories and households of our country?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or the apartment, as the case may be,  what about you, Mr. America, Ms. America? What will you do this week to pitch in and help solve the problem?

Glass half-Full