Fed Up With The Shape The Economy Is In? Why Not Create Your Own?

[ Comments Off ]Posted on February 8, 2013 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Part one of a three part series on why we should probably buck the banks and start printing our own money.

The Epson R2000 is probably quite
adequate for the task at hand.

Have you ever wished you could just print your own money when you need some? I mean the US government does it, why can’t you? Well, the simple fact that you can may surprise you. Most of the laws that make printing your own money illegal have to do with printing someone else’s money. If you print off a bunch of US hundred dollar bills, there’s a really good chance you’ll end up in jail. Even if you’re just a brilliant aging artist who’s really just obsessed with doing a good job. But the fact is that as much as the people (and by “people” we mean banksters and politicians) who make it their entire life’s purpose to reap personal benefit from screwing you over a fictitious commodity would prefer that you think otherwise, in most of the states in America, there is nothing stopping you from creating your own fictitious commodity and using it for every day commerce. In fact it’s already happening with varying degrees of success all over the country; there are about 150 currencies on this Wikipedia list of local currencies, from the Berkshire BerkShares to the Detroit Cheers, to the Fairfax Fairbuck. And aside from these physical currencies, there are huge economies evolving right now that are entirely digital, like BitCoin or Ripple, and recently, even Amazon is getting in on the “let’s make our own money” game with Amazon Coins. I personally find it ironic that the people who claim to be the only ones who know how to manage currency and the economy are the ones who have made such a mess of both. All the while somehow managing to maintain their own hordes of cash and liquidity. Okay, actually it’s not ironic at all, we’re just a bunch of ignorant suckers who are taking part in the biggest con in the history of the world. Aren’t you getting tired of it? So let’s take things into our own hands. We couldn’t do any worse than the goons at the Fed, could we? And the time is ripe for a paradigm shift. One of the core problems with global economics right now is that speculative wealth is entirely untethered from the real-world resources that create it. There is a literal monopoly on the production and control of currency and wealth simply because we make it easy for the centralized power of banks to exist, simply by sheepishly playing along with the big Ponzi scheme. So there’s an interesting angle – maybe we could file a class action suit against the federal government and banks for colluding to monopolize the money supply! We jest of course. This is part one of a three part series; we’re just having some fun here, but in parts two and three we’ll look at the history of money, and the realistic obstacles to decentralizing the control of it. For now, I’m going to go make millions of dollars. On my fancy Epson inkjet.

Context here if you don’t get this joke

Just How Big Would a Trillion Dollar Coin BE, Anyway?

[ Comments Off ]Posted on January 6, 2013 by admin in Politics

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

The web is buzzing with silly talk of fixing the economy by minting a trillion dollar coin. So just how big would that coin be, if it were made of gold?

Yup. That’s a football field. Details below.

You’ve probably heard about the “Trillion Dollar Coin” by now, and maybe even taken the time to take in the experts’ predictably confident and just as polarized positions on the topic. The fact that the idea is even being discussed seriously is rather telling. Can you imagine the same conversation occurring before the bailouts of 2008? It seems unlikely. And that’s ONE angle on this whole thing that especially intrigues me. As much anger as some of us may have experienced as a result of the bailouts and their aftermath, I for one am thankful for them. Partly because it was probably the only way to avoid a replay of the great depression, but more importantly, because it was probably the first crack in a centuries-old paradigm that has far outlived its usefulness. Talk to someone who has studied economics, and the conversation will rapidly fill up with elaborate terminology that tries to express the incredible complexity of global markets and speculative investment. But as much pride as economists or financial experts may take as they display their head-spinning depth of knowledge on the topic, they are usually overlooking one stark, annoyingly simple fact. At the foundation of it all, their elaborate constructs are all based on a rather simple social contract, i.e.: the tacit agreement on the part of large numbers of people that a piece of paper is worth what someone says it is. It’s tragic that millions of people suffered through a decade of poverty and that perfectly functional factories sat idle after the crash of 1929. And the tragedy was compounded by the fact that it was primarily because pieces of paper had lost their perceived value. That was the magical thing that occurred in 2008; Paulson & Bernanke’s Bailout Bankster Brigade basically “broke capitalism”. That has only peripherally sunk in for people, but every passing day, more people get hip to concepts like fictitious capital, and we live in an era of some of the most innovative thought in human history. About the only thing the archaic entity called a “bank” is good for these days is laundering drug  or war money, and centralizing power. That paradigm is not long for this world, in my opinion.

That’s why I don’t find the blogsplosion about the Trillion Dollar Coin  particularly interesting. As Matt Taibbi, the pop media journalist the Goldman Bankster Gang loves to hate most points out in his most recent piece: “The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme”. A paper version of the Trillion Dollar Coin was created in 2008, and we’ve been gleefully spending imaginary money since long before that, it’s just that the average person doesn’t understand why THEY don’t have any. They’ll eventually figure this out, and that’s when the feces will really hit the fan. So what really intrigued me was this silly question:

What if we still had to back currency with a real-world asset, and we were only allowed to mint this trillion dollar coin out of GOLD?

Here’s the rough result. I explain my admittedly sketchy methods below.

Trillion Dollar Coin

I’m no genius when it comes to volumetric geometry and 3D imaging, so this graphic may be a little off. Feel free to correct me in the comments! I used yesterday’s price of gold, which was $1661 an ounce. Dividing a trillion with that figure, I determined it would take about 181.23 tons of gold, and according to Wolfram Alpha, that would require a cube that’s 65 meters on each side. I tried to approximate the dimensions of a quarter (24.26mm x 1.75mm) to create the cylinder/disc dimensions. That ended up being a disc about 418 meters in diameter and 2 meters thick. The football field isn’t perfectly to scale, but you could obviously fit four football fields end-to-end on a 420 meter disc, so I roughed it in.

Dubai-ous Dealings: It’s Never Too Late For An Econopocalypse

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on November 27, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Friday, November 27th, 2009

The US military may decide to Sheik Djibouti if this keeps up.

Images like this used to inspire awe.
Now they more likely inspire awwww…

I like to think that in a decade or so, we’ll scan the impoverished Sultan-peppered wasteland of the once deleriously luxurious Dubai, and wonder how it all ever happened. Call me a Gloomy Gus, but waking up to parallel headlines today about how it’s Black Friday and everybody’s going shopping while Dubai’s late payments on their $80 billion debt caused global market panic got me thinking again about the impending econopocalypse. I mean, we’ve all heard of a “jobless recovery”, but is there such a thing as a “recoveryless recovery”? One look at this frightening animated map showing job losses in America between 2007 and 2009 makes me wonder how we can possibly think we’re on the way back to economic stability. Very few people I know have either the liquid assets or the confidence to suggest to me that things are getting better, but at the same time, I don’t see us heading for global catastrophe. In my starry-eyed vision I see more reality sinking in as unexpected debtors like Dubai spring up, and more fictitious capital being generated until the average person snaps out of it and it sinks in that all this money being thrown around is merely a social contract, and one that we never signed. And maybe, somewhere in this morass that is the global economy, we’ll get a little smarter, and remember that what’s good of all is good for the individual. Of course, it’s ultimately moronic of me to think this way; if major UAE-backed debtors like Dubai start defaulting, war is more likely, especially as we ramp back up in Afghanistan. I have this weird hunch we’ll be hearing the name Djibouti a bit more in the coming year. But what the hell do I know? The graphic below sums up my understanding of banking and finance… Read the rest of this entry »

Bowling For Bailouts

[ Comments Off ]Posted on August 24, 2009 by admin in Popular Media

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Michael Moore’s new film Capitalism: A Love Story in theaters October 2, 2009

I’ve been a little hard on Michael Moore in the past, but in my heart of hearts I believe that, much like President Obama (who I think is a good man swimming in a shark tank), his heart is probably in the right place, regardless of where his ego is. My only real criticism of his films – that they seem more geared toward entertainment and profit than action – is pointless. It’s not his fault that Americans won’t watch a serious film about a serious topic, or that no approach seems to motivate them to act on the things that make them angry or unhappy. So I’m pretty excited to see what Moore has put together this time for Capitalism: A Love Story , due for an October 2, 2009 release. I’ve written plenty on topics like corporate vs individual rights, bailout apathy, fictitious capital, and revolution; so I have some hope that although no-one seems to mind that grotesquely wealthy Americans are getting wealthier while other Americans are going hungry and enjoying a 16.5% nationwide unemployment rate, maybe they’ll still want to learn a bit about it while munching on some popcorn. Read the rest of this entry »

Brother, Could You Spare Some Fictitious Capital?

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on April 5, 2009 by admin in Politics

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Money really DOES grow on trees. Just be sure to get there before the worms show up.

I think it would be a great investment in the fictitious life I lead. My imaginary friends and I promise to spend it well. Lately, because of the fact that it seems the average working person’s grandchildren are going to be paying to support the offensively luxurious lifestyles of today’s investment bankers as their fortunes plummet, there’s been some buzz about the term Fictitious Capital. Marx is typically credited with defining the term, so the idea that a banker can arbitrarily say “See this simple sheet of paper? It’s worth A MILLION DOLLARS!” is generally accepted as a healthy anti-Communist activity. But wait! What’s this? Apparently Thomas Jefferson described the problem when Marx was less than a year old! It seems to me any child would understand that there’s something intrinsically wrong with creating value out of nothing, but the fact is, children don’t build cities, nations, and their infrastructure. This piece on econ professor Michael Perelman’s blog rounds up a few nice anecdotes from the 19th century which point out the virtues of imaginary money. For example, a hotel owner in Chicago explains to a visiting businessman why he should accept the “wildcat notes” in circulation: “…On this kind of worthless currency, based on Mr. Smith’s [the issuer's] supposed wealth and our wants, we are creating a great city, building up all kind of industrial establishments, and covering the lake with vessels — so that suffer who may when the inevitable hour of reckoning arrives, the country will be the gainer…” Apparently, there’s a built-in assumption about free markets that they didn’t tell most of us about, which is that capitalism is really just a big game of musical chairs; you just don’t want to be the one standing when the music suddenly stops!