Guest post by Jesse’s Cafe
I think the Big Pharma/Health and Big Finance sectors have similar cartel like structures where a few large companies dominate the field, exercising considering political power and the ability to obtain subsidies and protections from the system while fending off regulation and price restraints.
There are others of course, like the energy field from exploration to distribution, often known as Big Oil, but which now includes natural gas and electric energy production and distribution.
The recurring myths of the efficient market and ‘free trade’ are exacting a heavy toll on the general public and the real economy. They provide ideological cover to a favored elite that is acting in the manner of a privileged and extractive aristocracy while beguiling many with the allure of easy money.
The concentration of ownership in the media has become an inhibiting and directing influence in public discourse that is hard to miss.
The current recovery fueled corporate perks and ZIRP for the financial sector, a fine example of ‘trickle down’ economics, will be remembered as one of the great policy errors of modern economic history. They pretend ignorance, they feign helplessness, and they know. But they are getting paid not to act effectively, and even not to see, but to spin some fantasy.
They ‘feel your pain.’ They just do not do anything substantial about it. Even a second term president can still talk as though he is a recently arrived outsider, critiquing the actions of some predecessor and a corrupt system in which is he barely involved.
These are not leaders. They are like modern CEO’s, professional organizers and managers, who talk a great game about their accomplishments but, when the truth comes out, posture that they stand outside the very system for which they have long held the ultimate responsibility.
But even worse are those who make little pretense to justice and goodness and moral principle, preferring to appeal to the darkest impulses, the fears and hatreds of a society. Their actions betray their words.
The lack of serious reform, in large part because of the partnership between Big Money and Washington’s new political class, and the dormancy of the progressive impulse, will eventually stress the fabric of society to the limit. And then change will come.
Read the entire story here.
- Fed will continue to print, no exit strategy
- Effectiveness of QE diminishing, but Fed won’t/can’t stop monetizing debt
- China is at risk from real estate bubble, but still growing, relatively strong
- Global economy isn’t growing much
- Remains positive on gold (since ’99)
- Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand stock valuations “in the sky” at 20-25x
Back in 2010, when the mysterious founder(s) of bitcoin, known as Satoshi was still active in forums, he/she/they had some interesting things to say about gold/PMs as currency, and how the metals compare to their new digital creation:
It’s the same situation as gold and gold mining. The marginal cost of gold mining tends to stay near the price of gold. Gold mining is a waste, but that waste is far less than the utility of having gold available as a medium of exchange.
I think the case will be the same for Bitcoin. The utility of the exchanges made possible by Bitcoin will far exceed the cost of electricity used. Therefore, not having Bitcoin would be the net waste.
In another thread from August 2010, Satoshi posted the following:
As a thought experiment, imagine there was a base metal as scarce as gold but with the following properties:
boring grey in colour
- not a good conductor of electricity
- not particularly strong, but not ductile or easily malleable either
- – not useful for any practical or ornamental purpose
and one special, magical property:
- can be transported over a communications channel
If it somehow acquired any value at all for whatever reason, then anyone wanting to transfer wealth over a long distance could buy some, transmit it, and have the recipient sell it.
Maybe it could get an initial value circularly as you’ve suggested, by people foreseeing its potential usefulness for exchange. (I would definitely want some) Maybe collectors, any random reason could spark it.
I think the traditional qualifications for money were written with the assumption that there are so many competing objects in the world that are scarce, an object with the automatic bootstrap of intrinsic value will surely win out over those without intrinsic value. But if there were nothing in the world with intrinsic value that could be used as money, only scarce but no intrinsic value, I think people would still take up something.
(I’m using the word scarce here to only mean limited potential supply)
More on the founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, in the poorly-titled 2011 piece “The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin“.