Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rise & Fall of the US Dollar: 1800-2009

Jeffery Tucker was kind enough to post this at the Mises blog today, for all to see.

To see the full-sized chart at the Ludwig von Mises Institute website, click the link HERE.

As I said in my distribution email to friends and family:
"I just had this info-graphic published over at the Ludwig von Mises Institute blog - please check it out. Look at the value of the dollar over the last 200 years. Most importantly, look at the way our government (and others throughout history) have used inflationary monetary policy as a tool for expanding and financing the activities of the state. I have no doubt that without "taxation without legislation", as Milton Friedman called inflation, the number of harmful wars and disastrous domestic policies of the United States in the 20th Century could have never happened. Likewise, the various bubble economies and subsequent recessions are not possible without expansionist monetary policy.

We would all be far richer (around 20 times richer on a dollar baseline) had we never adopted such a disastrous monetary system or allowed politicians to print money whenever the government has been unable to pay its sizable tab. We have been robbed of untold levels of productivity, and most people aren't even aware of how it happens. I'm just doing what I can to help change that.

If anyone would like to republish, please let me know! Thanks."

Hopefully, more and more people will start waking up to the problems going on. But just knowing isn't enough. As my roommate asked, when I showed her the chart; "What can we do about this?"

Step one is to end the Federal Reserve system once and for all. Andrew Jackson was right in 1832, and Ron Paul is right today. As I pointed out the other day, of course - when Andrew Jackson stopped the 2nd Bank of the United States from renewing its charter, dozens of miniature versions of fiat-currencies came into play instead. That was a bit of a hazard, clearly - and can be avoided by having a transition directly into commodity based representative money. This could, and probably would be a return to a gold standard, for obvious reasons... But unfortunately the lost ground we've made in the last century is - for now anyway - just gone. Any return to a gold standard would require that virtually all of the current M1 or M2 money supplies in the United States be apportioned against gold by weight. This would probably significantly bump up the price of gold in the short term, but eventually - as we return to a solid currency and get our balance sheets back in order, I have every confidence that we can get back up to 1800 levels, and ultimately 1900 monetary value and beyond.

There is no good reason why prices shouldn't be coming down year after year.

Under an inflationary system, wages lag behind the rise in prices. As a result, you don't earn anymore money - but your dollar is worth less, in kind of a perpetual feedback loop until things come to a serious head.

The remaining competitive/Capitalist elements in the US economy has fortunately been enough to keep people from starving to death, but with the same level of production - and no inflation, or even deflation... It's not hard to imagine the massive standard of living increases we could have seen as a result. More stuff being chased after by the same amount of money is an incredibly good thing.

And sure - over time, wages will come down too (meaning that it's a bit hyperbole to say that everyone gets 20x the purchasing power, since people's salaries would be lower) but the beauty of an essentially deflationary monetary system is that wages will still lag behind the shift in currency value, so instead of constantly chasing after higher and higher prices with stagnant wages, you'll be enjoying the benefits of lower and lower prices for goods as your wages change more slowly. This is a great thing... Think about a world where instead of whining about needing a raise to cope with the increase in the cost of living - your cost of living keeps going down, and your boss has to be the one to ask you to lower your salary instead!

The current system is beyond insanity... It's time to stop destroying wealth and start creating some.

1 comment:

PeteWalker274 said...

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