Thanks for another fun show!
I’m looking forward to hearing more from you about money, and what we can do to build resiliency and redundancy on the individual and local community levels.
Here are some of my pointers and thoughts for you:
I think the monopoly of money is the most egregious distortion of justice caused by the State with its catering to the special interests of bankers. The root cause is legal tender laws which in the US predate the Federal Reserve System (1862 vs 1913). Already in 1886 Lysander Spooner remarked in A Letter to Grover Cleveland upon the injustice of the monopoly of money (that document is also an excellent, if rather long, apology for anarchism and criticism of constitutional “democracy”).
So if we aren’t allowed to issue our own money, what can we do? An idea could be to participate in complementary and local currencies, such as for example BerkShares in Massachusetts. If you run a business, maybe you can look into something like IRTA or the Swiss WIR system. Also check out the ebook Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender by Thomas H. Greco, Jr.
On a personal, financial safety level, the advice from Harry Browne’s 1974 You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis is still remarkably relevant. We might see either deflation or (hyper)inflation, and it’s important to be prepared for either.
For an explanation of the current system, I’d recommend the Money as Debt movie. The works of E.C. Riegel are also helpful.
Finally, if I may give one more recommendation for anarchist writing, from an American perspective I really like Benjamin Tucker’s Instead of a Book, especially the first article, the 1888 State Socialism and Anarchism: How Far They Agree and Wherein They Differ.
I’m loving your podcasts, guys! Something I think about is what famine looks like. If you could address the fragility of our food supply, that would be of great interest to me. A natural disaster, sky rocketing gas prices, drought followed by flood (Ahem!), closing our borders to imports for some unknown reason. Anything is possible. I don’t think people truly appreciate that they could show up at Wal-mart and have the shelves be empty. My husband and I have been producing as much food as we can on our city lot (garden, fruit trees & laying hens). We have encouraged friends, family, neighbors, etc to do the same. They think “tin hats.” Aside from preparedness, it is fun, healthy, satisfying, & I’m pretty sure raises your kids’ IQs. Any thoughts?
Dave, wouldn’t the most likely first shoe be a declaration of a “bank holiday”? It’d be nice the have an alternate currency available if that happens. I’m opting to get some pre-1965 silver coins just in case.
Did you catch Rob Gray’s testimony before congress? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14fl2hVHI7Q
The Federal Reserve is a private bank with the power to issue infinite debt in dollars. The debt can never be paid back because the interest is above and beyond all the money that exists. QE will work less effectively each time we get one and the added money will cause prices everywhere to rise.
The term “core inflation” is BS – it excludes food and energy, your two highest bills after shelter. Check out shadowstats.com for good data in this space.
If you don’t like the game then do not play it:
– Minimize sending your money toward people that you are not SURE of. Know your farmer or visit the factory**
– Minimize your tax liability
– Grow your own veggies. You’re better off outside population centers, but city dwellers can still do container gardens, vertical gardens, window gardens.
– Raise some food-producing animals if you can (chicken, rabbits, ducks, bees, pigs)
– Figure out ways to use your car less
– Get a generator, preferably one that uses natural gas
Compressed natural gas will likely be the next fuel for our vehicles. Large trucking companies are already converting. There’s a lot more oil left, though, thanks to new fracking technologies (evil?).
Great show guys.
I’d definitely be interested in a book club. A chapter a week is probably a pretty good pace too…. for me anyways. Busy.
Book club is a great idea, except that I’m not sure it would be practical for people to buy a new book every week to read one chapter of it… Maybe you could use some other type of content (blog posts, videos, articles) that people could access online immediately.
Also, one podcast back you asked for other examples of where governments have done stuff right. Here in Canada (Quebec) the government has done a lot to limit exposure to second-hand smoke and to encourage people to stop smoking (no smoking in public places/office buildings, restos; graphic warnings on cig packs; no advertising; no visible cig displays in stores; taking tobacco companies to court to recover health care costs). I am assuming that this is similar in the States, am I right? To me there is no downside to this. People still have the “freedom” to smoke if they want to, but without putting the health of others at risk from second-hand smoke. This would not have happened without government intervention.
One question for you: one of the arguments we hear in Canada against private, market-based participation in delivering healthcare is that private investors in this sector benefit from people being sick rather than healthy (thus creating a disincentive for preventive measures). I am not sophisticated about economics/the market at all. Is this argument just rhetoric?
One final comment: your podcast has helped me refine my political views. I will be supporting a Quebec sovereigntist party in our upcoming election. Why should we pay for an extra, redundant level of government? Vive le Quebec libre! 😉
Thank you for this podcast series, which I’ve enjoyed. Sadly, the initial audio problems have persisted, even after half a dozen episodes.
Robb frequently “pops”, especially when pronouncing P sounds. A foam microphone cover, or simply moving the mic out of the airstream, should solve that problem (see http://onlinevoicecoaching.com/?p=1344, for instance).
Just as annoying is that David’s volume level often spikes. I’m not sure what’s causing that problem — perhaps a cheap mic that is overwhelmed when he emphasizes a syllable.
Resolving these issues would be much appreciated by listeners. Thanks!
Love the podcasts guys. I bought The Ascent of Money this weekend and am through chapter 1.
You’ve mentioned HSA’s several times and I just wanted to share my experience. A few years ago the company I work for started offering to pay the full amount of our health care if we agreed to sign a no tobaco use waiver and enroll in a high deductible health plan. After doing some simple math camparing the annual amount I paid in my current plan vs. the max liability I would have if something catastrophic happened with the high-deductible plan, it was a no brainer. I switched and put in the max amount to the HSA. So instead of paying a premium with every paycheck for health insurance I didn’t use, I started to see my HSA build. Once the balance of the account was above $2K I was able to open an investment account and transfer the excess HSA money in to invest with. Brilliant!
It took a few years but I eventually talked my wife into switching to my plan so we could quit paying her healthcare premium. This allowed us to double the amount going into the HSA. She was a chronic abuser of her previous healthcare plan. She would go to the doctor, chiro, pt, etc. and only have to pay $20, so she didn’t really care how often she went. What she didn’t think about was that her company was taking money out of every paycheck to pay for her plan. Again, we did some simple math to see what the true cost of her healthcare was (cost to us). This first year for her on the high deductible plan with an HSA has been a learning experience. Since the $ for the HSA came from my paycheck (pre-tax), all she saw was a HSA card that allowed her to spend at will. After the birth of our second son she racked up a couple grand with a physical therapist. I started to doubt the idea of having her on this plan! Once more we sat down and did the math looking through the bills together, seeing what they were actually charging per hour, talking about the results she got for the money she spent, I still wasn’t sure she was convinced. Then a week later out of nowhere she decided that she would be better off spending money on a gym membership or a personal trainer (getting stronger and more fit to stay healthy), rather than going into the medical system to get treatment. YES!!!
I think this is the type of awakening that needs to happen more often. The simple act of sitting down with a $2 calculator and a peice of paper for an hour a week to figure out a bill or some other expense you have can really open your eyes.
Sorry this was so long winded. Keep up the great work guys!
Great show guys. Not to be annoying but dave, you mic is horrible. :-). Apart from that , I thought the show flowed really well and you seem t be settling in. I think Dave’s point on trying to change basic economics is great. As soon as you try and force markets, ie corn subsidies, or tariffs on imports, they seem to run full circle and bit you on the ass. I think things need to be rationalised down. As Robb mentioned more market driven, less governing but also less layers between the actual assets and the invested money. Ie you can take this lump of gold and hold it as security. Bonds and shares are a confidence game.
Great work guys
Yeah, book club would be awesome!
@Mary: I don’t think they would do 1 chapter and then move on; rather they’d do the whole book, just one chapter at a time. I think it’s great idea, ’cause then we’d have a great breakdown of the book on a fundamental level, which would help people like me who have a hard time of it 🙂
Book Club sounds great. I just ordered the book.
I think austerity and higher taxes will be in the worlds future. Central banks around the world know that they have to print a lot more money to deal with the out to control debt. They don’t want hyperinflation since a worldwide hyperinflation scenario could lead worldwide anarchy. They have too much to lose in that scenario. They need controlled undetected inflation to devalue currencies. They will under report inflation as they have been doing for years. Higher taxes and lower government spending will decrease the buying power of most of the population which will counteract the inflationary effect of printing more money. Even if they print alot more money if 99% of the population has less money to spend there will not be much inflation. Printing money alone does not cause inflation, Increased discretionary income in a large amount of the population causes inflation.
Dave, Robb –
Loving the podcast, guys. As a PoliSci/Paleo/exercise geek, this stuff is right up my alley. And I love the book club idea as a way to direct some aspect of future episodes. One other book you guys might want to consider is Rebecca Costa’s “The Watchman’s Rattle” (http://www.amazon.com/The-Watchmans-Rattle-Thinking-Extinction/dp/1593156057) which explores the reasons behind the downfall of previous great civilizations — all due to foreseen catastrophes that those civilizations simply chose to ignore. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s a soberingly good read.
And for yet another book suggestion, take a look at “The Lost Science of Money: The Mythology of Money, the Story of Power” by Stephen Zarlenga. My uncle talked to me about this book many times, although it remains on my “to read” shelf. I come from a family where paper money is something society has agreed upon to have a monetary value and was taught NOT to rely on it for the long run. Real wealth for me is 1: good health in both body & mind, 2: easily liquidated gold (and other precious metals) in coin or bullion form, 3: land on which one can farm/graze or otherwise sustain life. That’s about it. All else is fluff.
Great podcast again. Book club sounds nice. My recommendations: “The Big Short” and “Bailot”. They are both great recaps of how the recent financial crisis happened and how we (US government) utterly failed to punish anyone for these offenses and bailed out banks while “normal” American’s lose homes, jobs, and wealth etc… They’re both popular and well-written, but full of hard facts about what actually happened and the impacts on society.
BOTH books come back to one problem the world seems to have trouble handling in the past few decades, which is DEBT. Which happens to be Europe’s primary problem right now as well (aside from the single currency without a single fiscal union issue).
On a completely side note… I’m a Atlien myself, and I think Robb needs to whip up a Paleo-Menu for Nook. Not suggesting you go farm-to-table style, but it’d be nice if there was another restaurant in town (with an awesome view btw) that offered items that fit with the Paleo diet.
Thanks again guys, keep it up.
== Book Club ==
Hands down the best book to start with given the tenor of the podcast is “Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and surest Way to Understand Basic Economics”. It has very short bite-sized chapters.
“Economics in One Lesson” is famous and available both for purchase and for free.
FREE – HTML webpage of the entire book contents available here … http://www.fee.org/library/books/economics-in-one-lesson/ … with link to an entire PDF on the upper left of the page
PURCHASE – Numerous formats available via Amazon …
== Disrupt the Conventional Wisdom Narrative ==
Are y’all “Two middle-aged white guys” as a commenter/emailer tried guilting y’all with or are you “two dudes who clawed their way out from underneath economic & social poverty”?
Don’t let “them” guilt you into backing down and conforming to some status quo. “Punch back twice as hard” as a (in)famous community organizer once said; although it might become tiresome to have to keep repeating your respective life stories each episode. Retelling your respective life stories (could be a taped segment at the very start or could be a cut ‘n paste when appropriate) is not bragging, rather it is educating others that they too can do “Impossible Things” … http://joelrunyon.com/two3/
== China ==
China will be imploding shortly.
(1) “China is Running Out of Money” … http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonchang/2012/08/12/china-is-running-out-of-money/
(2) “Why China is not going to be a Superpower ” … http://cowenjohnson.blogspot.com/2011/01/thoughts-on-china.html
(3) “You’ll never be Chinese: Why I’m leaving the country I loved” …
== Social Security Ponsi Scheme ==
Is Social Security a Ponsi scheme? Here’s a video using the US Government’s Securities & Exchange Commission’s own definition of “Ponsi
Scheme” to figure it out. The video dude also calls the SEC to discuss the issue.
From Social Security Administration dotGOV website (http://www.ssa.gov/oact/NOTES/as120/LifeTables_Body.html)
Scroll down to two figures “Figure 2a—Life Expectancy at age 0” and “Figure 2b—Life Expectancy at age 65”
Core Message? The year Social Security came into being (1935) benefits were paid to a group of people who only had at most another
13-years of life left. In 2012, the situation benefits are paid to a larger group of people who have another 17-20 years of life left.
Tangential Topic – take a close look at the slope changes in those figures. Stroke the chin and ponder why: WW2 antibiotic development,
vaccine development, technology (ICUs, EKGs, pace makers, open-heart surgery, etc), recreational running explosion via “The Complete
Book of Running” by Jim Fixx? What kinda inflection point will Crossfit/Paleo/P90x inflict upon the Social Security death statistics?
My bad on the previous comment. I forgot to provide the link to the sting video where the guy calls the SEC about the FICA Ponsi scheme.
Video link … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ge5hB6JLfY