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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Reader Mail #17

According to Google Analytics, November was a very good month. I had around 700 Absolute Unique Visitors. More than 300 people have visited my blog at least 9 times since I've started; 150 of them visited my blog in November.

My readership trend is moving in the right direction. "Organic growth" is working out well so far.

I'm hosting the market anarchist blog Carnival for December 2007. You can use the submission form or E-Mail me or leave a comment to make a submission.

If I read your blog and find a suitable article, you might be submitted by me!

On the Ron Paul Forum, an interesting social dynamic has started to develop. I started calling out trolls who post defending the Federal Reserve and denouncing the gold standard. IMHO, I was the first person who started loudly denouncing trolls.

Now, *OTHER* people on the forum are responding "TROLL!!" when people like that post. It appears that I started a favorable trend. I don't even need to individually respond to each troll post anymore.

Sometimes, the trolls make a false counter-argument that I haven't seen before, and then I compose a response and repost it here.

I saw an article in the local newspaper about the Washington Redskins player who got shot. The article said "A player for the Washington Redskins was shot. Therefore, the government should regulate gun ownership more." That is not valid reasoning. One isolated incident like that is harmless, but when you realize that newspapers do that stuff ALL THE TIME, it gets very annoying.

I liked this article, mentioned on the Ron Paul Forum. It says that the Presidential debates are scripted PR sessions more than an actual "debate". The debates used to be run by the League of Women Voters. Unfortunately, they were taking their responsibilities seriously. Now, the debates are run by a "(im)partial" committee, where the members of the committee are selected by the two candidates. The candidates are barred from debating outside these scripted PR sessions.

On the Ron Paul Forum, someone was asking for help responding to a troll:

i'm just wondering how exactly a free market system will not be exploited by the already rich to further their own endeavors of wealth and control, and will support small business in a way that teh current system prevents...

I address this in How the State Destroys Small Businesses. The current system discriminates AGAINST small businesses. The reason there are any small businesses at all is that large corporations are SO INCREDIBLY INEFFICIENT.

In the present, a lot of people make money by extracting favors from the government, instead of actually performing productive work. For example, would all those private military contractors exist in a free market? They received a massive amount of no-bid contracts.

The Federal Reserve is a huge subsidy to large corporations, paid by the average person as inflation.

Government regulations make it hard for the average person to start a business. Taxes make it hard for individuals to accumulate capital. Inflation erodes the savings of the average worker.

Wealthy people receive more in government perks than they pay in income taxes.

The problem is that the current market isn't a free market. It's actually a communist dictatorship! In the current economic system, wealthy people exploit the government to funnel wealth and power to themselves. If the current system was an ABSOLUTE communist dictatorship, people would notice. By making the current system 90%-95% of a communist dictatorship, people don't complain as much. The "communism %" of the USA is increasing, not decreasing.

The government doesn't PREVENT economic inequality. The government is the CAUSE of economic inequality.

On the Ron Paul Forum, another discussion about the gold standard got out of hand. There was an interest point buried in the noise.

Most of the advances in society in the past 400 years were due to government!

I didn't bother posting a response in that out-of-control thread, but this is a very interesting discussion point.

Most of the advances in society have been due to the right of individual property ownership and the right of individual contract enforcement.

The wealthy elite have allowed everyone to learn "individual property rights should be respected". That is a good lesson. Unfortunately, when the wealthy elite say "Property rights should be respected.", they really mean "We should be allowed to keep what we already stole." You can't have property rights just for the elite, so everyone is allowed to believe they have property rights.

The wealthy elite have allowed everyone to learn "Individuals should be able to make and enforce contracts.". That is a good lesson. Unfortunately, when the wealthy elite say "Contracts are enforced.", they really mean, "The Compound Interest Paradox has put you in eternal debt to us. You should respect this debt contract, even though our banks did no real work when they lent you the money." The wealthy elite also mean "You should obey all the stupid laws we pass, because those are a type of contract."

Unfortunately for the elite, property rights and contracts allowed people in the USA to become TOO prosperous. Fortunately, since the overthrow of the US government in 1913, the wealthy elite managed to stop most progress in 1913.

Most progress was made due to individual property rights and individual contract enforcement. The wealthy elite had to allow the average person to have these freedoms so that they could justify their own position. The state guarantees that the power relationship between the average person and elite is maintained.

Besides, if someone is your complete slave, you have the responsibility to feed and clothe them. If someone is "free", then it's perfectly acceptable for you to steal their houses due to structural defects in the monetary system. It's perfectly acceptable for the Federal Reserve to adopt a "5% unemployment" policy, guaranteeing that there will always be workers desperate for a job.

To a certain extent, the state has some responsibility for progress. Most progress in the 19th century occurred in the USA, where there was a relatively limited government. After a certain point, the state begins stifling progress. The current situation has gotten completely out of hand.

Overall, the average person of living would have a MUCH higher standard of living without the government. I pay nearly 50% of my income directly in taxes. Further, the state restricts my employment opportunities. The state restricts my investment opportunities. I would be *MUCH* better off if I were truly free.

You can look at government as a sort of "training wheels" for developing civilization. Now that humans have progressed to a certain level, it's time to get rid of the training wheels.

On the Ron Paul Forum, a troll says:

If there is unregulated free banking, then won't banks accumulate all the wealth of society?

Banks can only charge interest in excess of expenses when there is government regulation of banking.

Suppose, in your fantasy scenario, that banks get to charge 10% on loans but only have to pay depositors 2%. Under such a scenario, yes, they will accumulate all the wealth of society pretty rapidly. This is, in fact, what happened in the past.

In a free market, other competitors will rush to enter the banking industry.

In that case, the spread between interest credited to depositors and interest paid on loans will converge to the bank's actual reasonable operating expenses and profits.

The above "nightmare scenario" only occurs when there is government regulation of banking, which allows banks to charge more than "fair free-market interest".

There is no Compound Interest Paradox in a TRUE free market.

Is it *REGULATION OF BANKING* that allowed banks to accumulate most of the wealth of society. You cannot solve this problem with MORE REGULATION OF BANKING. All you accomplish by regulating banking more is that you provide large banks with a bigger competitive advantage over small banks.

That same troll said:

A bimetallic standard is a proven failure.

The bimetallic standard only failed due to government regulation, fixing the exchange rate from one metal to the other. If the exchange rate from one metal to the other is allowed to float, then there is no problem with a bimetallic standard.

On Ron Paul Full-Page USA Today Advertisement, an anonymous reader says:

A collapse would be very painful for everyone would it not?

It depends. Would it be painful for people who currently do no real work and leech off the rest of society? Yes. Would it be painful for the average working person? It depends.

Most police services are provided by local police. If you ask "Why doesn't someone break into my house and steal my stuff?" or "Why doesn't someone just rob me while walking down the street?" Local police, not the Federal government, take care of such things right now.

The idea of agorism is "building a new society within the shell of the old". The government will not collapse instantly. It's not like it'll be there one day and gone the next. People will gradually start doing more and more off-the-books transactions. Either they will hire off-the-books policemen, or directly bribe government policemen to behave honestly.

For example, in an emergency, would you rather call 911, or would you rather call a policeman who was your friend? As the government collapses, people will start choosing to "dial direct" a specific policeman instead of calling 911. These arrangements will remain in place after the government collapses.

This is one of the common fallacies. You are so used to having a government that you can't imagine life without one.

The nice thing about the agorism solution is that the replacement economic and political system is simultaneously built as the old system falls apart. If agorists do their job well, the transition to the post-government society will be smooth.

The wealthy people who abuse state power for their own benefit will resist. They will try to fight even after the point where it is obvious they have lost.

On Ron Paul Full-Page USA Today Advertisement, an anonymous reader says:

A collapse would be terrible and America would never rebound because there are many countries poised to take our place as the economic power of the world. What we really need is a businessman of Mitt Romney's caliber in the White House. He has many plans that will actually put money in your pocket. Make a wise investment in your future and sign the pledge at

I already answered that it is possible for the government collapse without it being a disaster.

Is Mitt Romney advocating the elimination of the Federal Reserve? Is he advocating the elimination of the income tax? You really should know better than that.

The only reason I like Ron Paul is that he's the only candidate that wants to put REAL money in my pocket. Ron Paul wants to make it legal for people to use gold and silver as money. Currently, taxes and regulations make it impractical for people to use gold and silver as money.

I should have just deleted this comment as spam, but I don't get that many comments.

On Ron Paul Full-Page USA Today Advertisement, an anonymous reader says:

you might want to link this:

That was not worth watching. It didn't have any information that I didn't know about already.

This almost sounds like spam as well. At least it's well-targeted spam.

I consider American: Freedom to Fascism and this series of YouTube videos to be superior. The scene where people are running against a conveyor belt and getting sucked up is a *PERFECT* illustration of the Compound Interest Paradox.

A lot of people say "The Money Masters" is great, but I haven't watched it yet.

If you want a critical analysis of the above YouTube video:

- I liked the way he looked at "stock market index" divided by "gold price", and showed that's been decreasing lately. However, the index prices don't include dividends, which should be added to the index returns. I haven't done this calculation myself yet. However, central banks are manipulating the gold price downward, which kind of invalidates such a calculation anyway.

Can that possibly be true? A gold investment is a BETTER investment than the stock market? But with gold, you're getting an inflation-adjusted return of 0%! Does that mean that an inflation-adjusted return of 0% is the best investment out there? That's possible and incredible at the same time.

I would expect stocks to outperform gold by around 2%/year, at least until the US government gets close to collapsing. After the US government collapses, all stock market investments are of course worth nothing.

I once did a calculation going back to 1980. *INCLUDING REINVESTED DIVIDENDS*, the S&P 500 outperformed gold by about 2%/year. The calculation in that video, just looking at the index price, fails to include reinvested dividends. However, there have been massive central bank gold sales during that time. The gold price may have been manipulated more in the past than it will be manipulated in the future. Eventually, central banks will run out of gold and they won't be able to manipulate the gold price anymore.

- The speaker in that video did not mention the Compound Interest Paradox.

- He did not mention repealing the Federal Reserve Act as a potential solution to the US monetary problems.

- If foreign central banks sell their US Bonds, that has NO EFFECT on interest rates. Interest rates are set by the Federal Reserve. If foreign central banks ditch their US Bonds, the Federal Reserve can, via its open market operations, create enough reserves to allow US banks to purchase those bonds that were sold. Treasury Bond prices would remain the same unless the Federal Reserve decided it wants Treasury Bond prices to change.

Real interest rates are negative. Foreign central banks are FOOLS for holding dollar-denominated debt.

- Switching from the dollar to the Euro accomplishes *NOTHING*. It's switching from one unbacked fiat paper to another unbacked fiat paper. Euro prices are going up right now because everyone is buying them. The intrinsic value of Euros is the same as the intrinsic value of dollars: ZERO!

- He didn't mention that central banks manipulate the gold price downward.

- He seemed to be advocating for the listeners to buy gold, which is sound advice.

I've been thinking of getting a camera and making my own webcasts. Would that attract more people than a written blog?

On Beware of Libertarian Red Market Agents, an anonymous reader says:

how popular is Kevin Carson? How may people read his site and book?

I think he is no danger to anyone, if he was he would be removed...sometimes removing a dangerous person would draw more attention.

The only was to stop our enslavement by these institutions and their policies, is by refusing to live by their rules, making our own rules which also enhance our humanity, not our lower animal natures as is done currently.

I'm not sure how popular Kevin Carson is. His "Technorati 'Authority' " is 107, which is a lot higher than my 'Authority' of 6. My guess is that Kevin Carson has 10,000-50,000 regular readers. As I said before, it's very easy to kill someone and make it look like an accident.

He can't be too unpopular. A mainstream economics professor/propaganda artist spent time writing an article denouncing his work.

I'm pretty sure there are filters looking over the Internet searching for "subversive" and original content.

"Live by our own rules" is the main principle of agorism. You ignore the government and set up your own private economic and political system. If you trade in private, it becomes very hard for the bad guys to catch you. The goal is that an underground agorist economy can become widespread enough before the bad guys notice and try to stop it.

On The National Debt - Who is the Creditor, Ineffabelle writes:

I wonder if you've seen this.

The basic idea is that the fed opened a window of ZERO reserve ratio in 1995, and since then, things have gone haywire.

I try to avoid reading articles written by people who have no clue what they're talking about. Since you asked nicely, I'll explain all the mistakes that poster made.

A bank's ability to issue loans has NOTHING to do with the amount of deposits it has. You should think of a bank's deposit portfolio and loan portfolio as two independent businesses operating in the same location. A bank with surplus reserves can lend its surplus reserves to other banks. A bank with a shortage of reserves can borrow reserves from other banks.

The rate that large banks charge each other for surplus reserves is called the Fed Funds Rate. Banks have the ability to loan reserves to one another, but only the Federal Reserve can create new reserves. On most days, more money is destroyed than created, due to the Compound Interest Paradox. Almost every day, the Federal Reserve repurchases some Treasury bonds so that the Fed Funds Rate is at the desired target level. That is the whole point of the Federal Reserve's open market operations. When they say "The Federal Reserve injected $50 billion of liquidity today", they really mean "The Federal Reserve had to create $50 billion of new reserves, just to keep the Fed Funds Rate at the desired target level."

Let's work out an example.

Assume the Fed Funds Rate is 5%. (It's currently 4.5%, but I want to use round numbers.)
Assume that the reserve ratio requirement is 5x. (It's currently 10x.)

A bank borrows $1M, either at the Fed Funds Rate or from depositors, at a 5% interest rate, paying $50,000 interest in a year. It makes NO DIFFERENCE whether the bank borrows at the Fed Funds Rate or from depositors. Depositors get paid 5% minus the bank's operating expenses.

The bank can issue $800,000 in loans. The bank needs to collect at least $50,000 in interest to break even. $50,000/$800,000 is 6.25%.

In other words, if the reserve ratio requirement is 5x, then banks to charge 1.25% more for loans in order to break even, assuming the banks have zero operating expenses.

Suppose the reserve ratio requirement is changed to 10x. Now, borrowing the same $1M, the bank can issue $900,000 in loans. $50,000/$900,000 is 5.56%. Now, banks only need to charge .56% more for loans to break even.

All the Federal Reserve accomplishes by changing the reserve ratio is that it changes the difference between the Fed Funds Rate and the rate at which banks can charge for loans.

Suppose that time deposits have their reserve ratio requirement reduced to zero. The total supply of money is STILL ultimately determined by the Federal Reserve. The time deposits are still only a fraction of the total money supply. Banks still need to sometimes borrow from the Federal Reserve at the Fed Funds Rate.

However, suppose a bank has a choice of borrowing from the Federal Reserve, where it has to use 10x reserves, or borrow from time deposits, where it has to use zero reserves. This means that depositors who make time deposits can earn a greater interest rate. The bank can afford to credit time deposit accounts with 5.56% and break even, even though the Fed Funds rate is only 5%!

The only thing that happened in 1995 that would affect the money supply is that the Federal Reserve was lowering real interest rates. When real interest rates decrease, inflation increases.

Under the Federal Reserve, real interest rates are negative.

There is a second factor that restricts banks' ability to write loans. This is the leverage ratio. Banks are pretty much allowed to ignore the reserve ratio requirement, due to the ability to borrow reserves from other banks. There also is a net capital requirement. For example, suppose banks are allowed to use a leverage ratio of 100x for AAA corporate debt. That means that if a bank has bought $1 billion in bonds, that bank has to have a net worth of $10 million.

That's the reason writing down subprime mortgages is a big deal for banks. If banks have to lower the book value of their mortgages, then they are no longer meeting their net capital requirement. The banks would be forced to sell off their mortgages, forcing even more writedowns in book value, forcing even more sales. That's the whole point of the Level 3 Assets Scam. Fortunately, the Federal Reserve will never allow large banks to go bankrupt. The Federal Reserve will always lower interest rates to bail out large banks during the bust phase of the business cycle.

That author did a very skilled job of confusing you. He probably believes his own nonsense, which is typical for economists.

On The International Banking Cartel Supports Communism and Agorism, Zhwazi says:

But why support agorism?

Perhaps the Supreme Leader of Humanity may simply observe small people with big ideas, and not meddle with them. If the big idea should become popular, then the SLoH can deal with it through misappropriation of the term, hijacking and misinterpreting until the movement is paralyzed in fracture and the idea behind it is lost in the "pragmatic" imitators. Agorism may be intellectually inundated with red-market pretenders, who then need only be loudest to either form a Libertarian Trap or a weak movement

You aren't thinking like the Supreme Leader of Humanity. Suppose, for a moment, that you ACTUALLY WERE the supreme dictator of the world, manipulating events through multiple layers of secret societies.

Suppose you actually had seized complete and absolute control over the entire world. You had to do it, out of self-defense. After all, if you didn't seize absolute control, someone else would have beaten you to it. Would you try to find a way to make your control absolute and forever perfect? Or, would you consider yourself to be responsible for your slaves? Would you try and free them if you were convinced that someone else would not seize absolute control again in the future?

If I were a malicious Supreme Leader of Humanity, I would ruthlessly hunt down and kill all the people who write about agorism intelligently. That has not happened. Actually, the quality of discussion of agorism seems to be increasing. (Or maybe I'm just become more aware of what's out there. If I'm finding more resources due to the Internet, others should be having the same benefit.)

If I were a benevolent Supreme Leader of Humanity, I would try to encourage the development of agorism. I would be looking for a way to free my slaves and dismantle my perfect enslavement engine. I allowed the Internet to be developed so that intelligent and honest people could share information effectively. The population density of intelligent and honest people is too low to allow them to aggregate effectively, without the Internet.

I really think that agorism is a philosophy that has the potential to defeat the bad guys. I'm also aware that the bad guys, if they really wanted, could trace my Internet postings back to the source.

If anyone, anywhere, has an idea that represents a threat to your goals, you will try to do everything you can to get rid of him. IMHO, such tactics have been used to suppress certain technologies, such as zero point energy. Nowadays, anyone who suggest that it is possible to build a zero point energy generator is dismissed as a fruitcake, which sets off my "this should be seriously investigated" alarm. For example, 100 years ago Tesla claimed he could build a zero point energy generator.

In an agorist economy, trust and reputation are important. If there already is an agorist community with a high degree of trust, it would be VERY HARD for mainstream media to infiltrate. Most members of the agorist community would be fully aware that mainstream media sources are full of lies.

An agorist trust network would only be really vulnerable when it is first being created. After that, its distributed nature would make it very easy to withstand attacks. Even if someone introduced an undercover policeman into the network, he probably could only do limited damage. Policemen are typically barred from committing crimes when investigating crimes. A typical policeman probably couldn't fake understanding the agorist philosophy. Productive agorist activity is in the grey area that the average person wouldn't consider to be a crime.

1 comment:

Kevin Carson said...

From the stats on my site meter, I can't imagine how I could possibly have 10,000 regular readers or more--unless the 200 or so visitors I have every day are people who visit very infrequently.

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