The rabbit in the Keynesian hat

Readers of this publication will know that for some time, I’ve forecast the creation of a new monetary system by which governments and banks gain total control over all monetary transactions.

On the surface of it, this may seem an impossible goal, as it would be so all-encompassing and would eliminate economic freedom entirely. Surely, it would not be tolerated. However, I believe that it’s not only relatively easy to create, but it will be sold in such a way that the public will see it as an absolute panacea to their economic woes. Only those who are far-sighted will understand its level of destruction in advance of its implementation.

It might transpire like this:

Part 1: The Currency

Any one of a number of triggers (decline of the petrodollar, dumping of US debt back into the US market, Europe defaults on its debt, sanctions backfire, etc.) causes a crash in markets.
Deflation kicks in.

The Fed creates massive QE to reverse deflation, ending in dramatic inflation and possibly hyperinflation.

Government declares a state of economic emergency, states that cash is (and has been) the problem and must be done away with for recovery to occur.

A new electronic currency is created, to be issued by banks.
All economic transactions of any kind—both debits and credits—are to be done through a currency card (purchases as small as a candy bar or as large as a home; all credits, including wages, dividends, sales of goods, etc.).

Entire economic system becomes greatly simplified, as only the currency card (or smart phone) is now needed by anyone.

Part 2: Taxation

At this point, every transaction, no matter how small, is on record, so government can assess the cardholder’s income to the penny, without the need to file for income tax each year.
Government announces that the tax system is a mess and that it must be simplified to relieve the people of the burden. In future, tax will be taken by direct debit from the currency card account.
Government later announces that, as the annual filing is such a hardship on the average person, tax debits will in future be done monthly.

It would be easy to present the above as a boon to all citizens. Indeed, it might well be peddled as “the only possibility for a return to prosperity.” It will take a while for the fact to sink in that citizens have entered into a state of complete economic bondage to their bank and government, and that to operate outside the system is difficult in the extreme.

There can be no doubt that barter would become more common (whether legal or not), but virtually all other transactions would be centrally controlled and audited.

David Stockman, in a recent edition of Zero Hedge, stated,

Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff even argues in the daily paper FAZ that cash currency should be banned altogether. Central banks could impose negative interest rates more easily that way, he explained. Tax evaders and criminals would also find life more difficult. From this perspective, banknotes and coins appear superfluous, he said at a presentation at the IFO institute in Munich. Measures to spur the economy could be implemented more easily that way.

This, of course, is the concept detailed above, although he adds two nice touches. First, he suggests that negative interest rates are desirable; that cashless currency is the answer. He also adds that a new system will help to eliminate criminal behaviour.

Socialism Foothold

In 1936, John Maynard Keynes published his signature book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. It was an instant success with both socialists and governments around the world—the latter, because his new “economic principles” stated that governments should control the monetary system—full stop. It was music to their ears, and most governments have been devotees ever since.

Mister Keynes was, first and foremost, a socialist. Although he received his education in economics, right from the start, he treated economics as a philosophy, not a science. By his own admission, he sought to redraft the laws of economics to serve an unrelated end: the advancement of socialism. Like the best socialists, he believed that truth was irrelevant; all that mattered was the objective.

However, in recent years, we’ve seen a small rebirth in the popularity of Classical Economics. More and more people, observing the repeated failures of Keynesian Economics, have been crediting Adam Smith and like minded economists as having had the right idea all along. After all, economics is the science of how money works, not an art form that may be altered at the whim of the theorist to fit some political preference.

And so, there are many (myself included) who are eager to see what we believe would be the well-deserved downfall of Keynesianism, as the debt-ridden, entitlement-driven economies of the world collapse under their own ponderous weight.

But this hope may well be premature. In my belief, there is a final rabbit in the Keynesian hat, and that rabbit is the electronic currency described above. And if such a currency could be sold to a gullible public in one country, it could be sold just as easily in other jurisdictions.

This being the case, it would not be much of a leap if the concept were to be discussed universally and many governments were to announce that an international electronic currency, issued by the IMF, would solve all the currency problems, including those of currency exchange and international trade.

For at least one hundred years, there have been those who have hoped for and worked toward a one-world currency. There can be no doubt that the push for such a creation would receive support at the highest levels, internationally. If so, daydreams of a return to Adam Smith or a realisation of the dreams of Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek may, for the foreseeable future, be just that: daydreams.

As to what the overall effect might be, we might consider the words of uber-financier Mayer Rothschild:

“Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.”

Herr Rothschild knew whereof he spoke. This principle led him and his descendants to become immensely wealthy and powerful on an international scale.

An electronic currency leads directly toward the bondage of the people—directly away from freedom. As a hedge against such controls, diversification into hard assets such as precious metals and real estate might be considered. Just as important, assets held outside any country that is increasing its controls might be a positive move.

The ultimate way to diversify your savings internationally is to transfer it out of the immediate reach of your home government and into something tangible. Something that cannot be easily confiscated, nationalized, frozen, or devalued at the drop of a hat or with a couple of taps on the keyboard—while retaining as much privacy as legally possible. Physical gold and silver stored abroad in a non-bank vault fits the bill.

Gold and silver have served as money for centuries and across many different civilizations. They have always been inherently international assets. There is nothing at all particularly American, Chinese, Russian, or European about gold or silver. Buying gold and silver is perhaps the easiest step you can take toward internationalizing your savings. The next step is to store your precious metals in a safe foreign jurisdiction.

Jeff Thomas | April 20, 2015 for Doug Casey