Tag Archives: free money

Beware of the Right-Wing Socialists

Here below is another insightful gem from E. C. Riegel. In this essay, Riegel (1) highlights the predominant fallacy which holds that money is based on political authority and should be controlled by the State, and (2) explains why true free enterprise can only exist when private enterprisers control not only the means of production, and the means of distribution, but also the means of exchange.

The present global system of money is far from that. It is the product of collusion between politicians and bankers that has established a dysfunctional, exploitative, and violent despotism. –t.h.g.

The Right-Wing Socialists

THERE ARE three classes of socialists: the left-wing, or Marxist, group, who believe that the government should own and control everything; the middle-of-the ­road socialists, who believe the government should own and operate public utilities; and the right-wing social­ists, who believe that the government should control only the monetary system.

The right-wing socialists are by far the most danger­ous, because they are not known as socialists and call themselves capitalists, individualists, private enterprisers, etc. They even believe themselves to be anti-socialist and profess full faith in private enterprise. They are not only numerically the largest group of socialists but are also individually the most influential. Among them are the leading industrialists and mercantilists and bankers and statesmen.

The right wing socialists believe that with produc­tion and distribution facilities in the ownership and operation of private interests, and with monetary facilities in the hands of government, we can have free enterprise. They might as well believe that if a man owns an auto­mobile, he need not worry about who or what controls the gas.

Private enterprise means the right among men to come to voluntary agreement on the exchange of their goods and services. These agreements, some written, some oral, some implicit, some explicit, run into the millions, and upon their fidelity rests the entire social structure. In a money economy, all these contracts are expressed in terms of the monetary unit, which is itself based upon a contract-the basic contract which is the foundation of the entire pyramid of contracts.

What is the money contract that makes possible or impossible the faithful performance of every other con­tract? Ask any businessman, banker, lawyer, economist or statesman, and you will find that his idea is not only vague, but that it involves legislation. In other words, he believes that money is a political product.

In contrast with this universal belief, the truth is that the state is incompetent to legislate money and power­less to issue it. The substance of money is supplied en­tirely by private enterprise. The state’s intervention in money is at best an impediment to private enterprise, and with the assertion of the issue power, it becomes the active agent of socialization. Thus those who believe in or accept political money power – and their number is legion – are the most dangerous, though innocent, socialists.

While the great mass of people have no ideology, those who think on the issue between private enterprise and socialism are virtually all socialists of the three classes named. This is a startling fact that we must recognize before the final battle lines are formed. The would-be friends of private enterprise must be made real friends, instead of innocent fellow travelers with those who would destroy our liberties.

Private enterprise, to survive, must control its three facilities, namely, the means of exchange, the means of production, and the means of distribution. To control the means of exchange, we must have separation of money and state.

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This essay is contained in the republished version of Riegel’s, New Approach to Freedom. That book, and Riegel’s other major works can be found at http://www.newapproachtofreedom.info/.–t.h.g.

Hurrah! Free Money once again a topic of debate in U.S. politics

Once more, Congressman and Presidential candidate, Ron Paul has championed the cause of honesty and freedom, this time by introducing a bill (H.R. 1098) that would promote free competition in currency and end the monopoly control of money and finance by the banking and political elite. Seth Lipsky’s article below tells the story.

I’ve not read the bill, so I don’t know the details, and I don’t expect it to get very far in a Congress that is, by and large, bought and paid for by the same interests that the bill seems to challenge, but its very existence and the fact that is getting some media coverage could go a long way toward educating the public about the vital issues and systemic flaws that are involved in the money system.

The survival of democracy and the future of civilization depend on, one way or another, on liberating the credit commons from monopoly control. Action from the bottom up (the organization of private, free exchange alternatives) combined with action from the top down (popular pressure for legislative action) might eventually be sufficient to crack the nut.—t.h.g.

Ron Paul, Upping the Ante in His Campaign for Liberty, Hoists the Flag of Hayek

Offers a Bill To Allow Free Competition in Currencies

By SETH LIPSKY, Special to the Sun | September 29, 2011


The first time I met Friedrich Hayek was in 1980 at California, where he was staying at the home of another economist. Then a young editor for the Wall Street Journal, I’d asked to call on the Nobel laureate for a book review I was writing. His host invited me for dinner. Before the meal, Hayek and I retreated, alone, to the far end of the host’s living room, for a chat.

We were but a few minutes into our conversation when, suddenly, Hayek clapped a hand over his nose and mouth and started coughing convulsively, before slumping onto the couch. I raced back to the host to exclaim that Professor Hayek seemed to be in trouble, only to be told that it was okay, he was just taking his snuff. A jolt of the divine herb, it seems, and the sage was back on his feet.

Hayek died 12 years later at the age of 93. I never came to know him well. But this week I found myself imagining that were his long-ago collapse-into-a-coughing fit to occur in front of me today, I’d whip out a copy of a new bill in Congress, H.R. 1098, called the Free Competition in Currency Act of 2011, and wave that under the great economist’s nose. It’s hard to think of anything, even a pinch of the strongest snuff, being a greater pick-me-up for his spirits.

For Hayek was an advocate of, among other things, private money — competing currencies — and HR 1098 would end a ban on them that has obtained here in America since the Civil War. The new bill in Congress, introduced in March by Rep. Ron Paul, would repeal the legal tender laws, prohibit taxation of certain coins and bullion, and clean up other sections of our coinage laws.

It is not a measure the Congress is going to pass in a hurry. But it is being nursed by advocates of monetary reform, and it would be unwise to discount it entirely. Few, after all, gave Congressman Paul much of a chance to win passage of a measure to audit the Federal Reserve, but when it eventually passed it was with an overwhelming, bipartisan vote. It may yet be enforced by the courts.

The Free Competition in Currency Act is far more important. It comes amid a historic collapse in the value of the dollar to less than a 1,600th of an ounce of gold. The dollar has gained a bit of value in recent days, but it is still worth less than a sixth of what it was worth as recently as, say, the start of President George W. Bush’s first term.

One of the things the government has done in the face of that collapse is seek to enforce a prohibition against private “uttering” — that is, putting into use — of coins of gold, silver, or other metal as current money and making or even possessing likenesses of such coins. H.R. 1098 would end the ban on private uttering of coins and, presumably, stop any current prosecution of such uttering.

The drive for the bill is animated, if only in part, by the case of Bernard von NotHaus, who was convicted in March of issuing a private medallion called the Liberty Dollar. The government prosecuted von NotHaus even though the coins he issued were made of silver and are today worth much more, in terms of Federal Reserve Notes, than when they were issued.

What the government is doing in the Von NotHaus case is seeking to suppress sound money in order to protect the unsound, fiat money the government has been issuing via the Fed. A federal judge in North Carolina has agreed to consider post-conviction motions to throw out the von NotHaus verdict, partly on the argument that the Constitution does not enumerate a power of Congress to outlaw privately-minted coins, which were widely produced in America’s early decades.

H.R. 1098 would go way beyond the Von NotHaus case, by asserting the virtue of the idea of private money as a system. The idea was sprung by Hayek not long after he won his Nobel Prize, in the mid-1970s. He started with a lecture. He later wrote, in a slim volume called “Denationalization of Money,” that he’d been in “despair about the hopelessness of finding a politically feasible solution to what is technically the simplest possible problem, namely to stop inflation.”

“The further pursuit of the suggestion that government should be deprived of its monopoly of the issue of money opened the most fascinating theoretical vistas and showed the possibility of arrangements which have never been considered,” he wrote. He came to the view that a plethora of privately issued money would enable mankind’s millions to find their own mediums of exchange, and good money would end up driving out bad.

Hayek concluded “Denationalization of Money” by calling for what he termed “a Free Money Movement comparable to the Free Trade Movement of the 19th century.” He came to the view that the gold standard was not the solution, though it was “the only tolerably safe system” if the management of money were going to be the preserve of the government.

The Free Competition in Currency Act got an early hearing in Congress this month in the House Subcommittee on Monetary Policy. The hearing wasn’t widely attended, but there was testimony by the president of the Foundation for the Advancement of Monetary Education, Lawrence Parks, and by a professor at George Mason University, Lawrence White, who talked about how FedEx and UPS’s private competition with the Post Office has brought benefits to American consumers. He extended the analogy to money.

It’s too bad Hayek couldn’t have been at the hearings. He viewed the denationalization of money as the “cure” for “recurrent waves of depression and unemployment that have been represented as an inherent and deadly defect of capitalism.” In other words, as a cure for ills like the current crisis. How Hayek, who once called for a global debate on socialism versus capitalism, would have thrilled to the moment, pausing only for the occasional pinch of his favorite snuff.

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Ron Paul and the Federal Reserve

Ron Paul IS a national treasure. He is virtually the only member of Congress who has consistently and forcefully argued that the central banking system (the FED) needs to be eliminated. At the very least, the Fed must be accountable to the people. It is a private company that operates in secret.

Central banking from its very beginning (notably the founding of Bank of England) was designed to enrich the bankers and enable the political powers to circumvent popular control. The bankers are enriched by their monopoly control of our credit on which they require us to pay them interest when we “borrow” it back from them. The politicians get to spend virtually as much as they want to enrich themselves and their minions, to oppress the people, and to fight wars and undermine popular government and community self-determination.

The Fed enables all of this then tries to manage the effects of these crimes, giving us both depressions and inflation of the currency. That amounts simply to deciding who will be made to pay the price. On the one hand, small businesses are made to fail and workers become unemployed when banks restrict credit to the private productive sector, while at the same time lavishing credit on the government, bailing out financial behemoths, and financing mega-corporation that are deemed “too big to let fail.” On the other hand, the Fed will monetize government debt as needed to enable profligate government spending to continue. That monetary inflation naturally causes prices to increase, diminishing the purchasing power of everyone who lives on fixed incomes or has dollar denominated savings. In the extreme (hyper-inflation), the middle-class gets wiped out financially.

The one thing that NO ONE wants to talk about is LEGAL TENDER. It is legal tender laws that compel acceptance of debased political currencies. Without legal tender, those inferior currencies would quickly be displaced in the market by private and community exchange media that are properly issued on the basis of real value. This is happening anyway, as parallel exchange systems are being developed and used, but legal tender and general ignorance about money, banking, and credit put them at a disadvantage.

While the “Austrian School” of economics has managed to gain some attention, it’s too bad the “German School” has remained obscure. Names like Rittershausen, Beckerath, Zander, Meulen, and Milhaud, should become household words, along with E. C. Riegel. Their writings on free money and banking (i.e., free of monopoly control) are available at http://reinventingmoney.com.

These issues are largely covered in my various presentations that can be seen as movies or slide shows on my blog, http://beyondmoney.net.

— t.h.g.