An alternative to popular faith
Why do we have recessions and depressions? Are they inevitable and unavoidable? Why do we have inflations? Are they preventable and curable?
This short post will give you a basis for answering these vexing (especially to the politicians, the Fed and the media) questions.
1. By definition: A larger economy has more money than does a smaller economy. California has more money than does Los Angeles, which in turn, has more money than does Anaheim.
2. Therefore: To grow larger, an economy requires a growing supply of money.
3. All forms of money are debt. Although there are many definitions of money, every form of modern money – bank accounts, money market accounts, traveler’s checks – is a form of debt. Even currency is a debt of the government. That is why a dollar “bill” has “federal reserve note” printed on it. “Bill” and “note” are words signifying debt (as in “T-bill” and “T-note.”)
4. Therefore: To grow larger, an economy requires a growing supply of debt/money.
5. The safest form of debt/money is federal debt/money. There are many types of debt – personal debt, corporate debt, state and local government debt, federal debt – but after 1971, the end of the gold standard, only the federal government has had the unlimited ability to create money to service its debt. All other debtors go bankrupt when they are unable to service their debts. The end of the gold standard marked the biggest change in economics during the 20th century. Most key economic hypotheses became obsolete in 1971; economists who did not change in 1971 are themselves obsolete.
6. All debt requires collateral. The collateral for federal debt is “full faith and credit.” This may sound nebulous to some, but it actually involves certain, specific and valuable guarantees, among which are:
A. –The government will accept only U.S. currency in payment of debts to the government
B. –It unfailingly will pay all its dollar debts with U.S. dollars and will not default
C. –It will force all your domestic creditors to accept U.S. dollars, if you offer them, to satisfy your debt.
D. –It will not require domestic creditors to accept any other money
E. –It will take action to protect the value of the dollar.
F. –It will maintain a market for U.S. currency
G. –It will continue to use U.S. currency and will not change to another currency.
H. –All forms of U.S. currency will be reciprocal, that is five $1 bills always will equal one $5 bill and vice versa.
7. The value of debt (money) is based on supply and demand. An increase in supply makes the value go down. An increase in demand makes the value go up.
8. The demand for debt (money) is based on risk and reward. The risk of owning debt (money) is the danger of inflation. The reward for owning debt (money) interest rates. High reward with low risk makes demand go up which makes value go up.
9. Inflation compares the value of debt (money) with the overall value of goods and services. Fighting inflation requires increasing the reward for owning debt (money) and/or reducing the supply of debt (money). However, because a growing economy requires a growing supply of debt (money), reducing the supply leads to recessions and depressions, making supply-reduction a poor choice for fighting inflation.
10. For every borrower there is a lender. To the degree lowering interest rates helps borrowers, it equally hurts lenders, both of whom are part of the economy. The Fed lowers interest rates, believing this helps businesses that are borrowers, neglecting the fact that it equally hurts businesses that are lenders. That is why the 20 rate reductions preceding and during the recession, neither prevented nor cured the recession.
You now know how to begin to answer the questions in the first paragraph.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell