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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Reader Mail #45 - What Time is it?

I liked this post on no third solution.

If you gamble in a casino, and win over a certain amount, it is reported to the IRS as taxable income. If you gamble with a "free market" (illegal) bookmaker, you don't pay taxes on your winnings (unless you're stupid enough to declare the income). Similarly, if you gamble with your friends, you don't owe taxes on your winnings (unless you're stupid and declare the income).

The "free market bookmaker" or "gambling with friends" is an example of agorism. Gambling does not provide tangible goods or services, except to the extent that people enjoy gambling. Most people agree that such activity is *NOT* a crime, although some policemen and prosecutors disagree.

Proper agorism is focused on creating tangible goods and services.

David Z mentions hiring a kid to mow your lawn. Technically, the transaction needs to be reported to the IRS. Again, most people would agree that small violation is not a crime.

David Z correctly points out that a true agorist would pay in real money (gold or silver) instead of Federal Reserve Points. You can trade agorist-style with Federal Reserve Points, *PROVIDED* you immediately spend them. If you immediately spend Federal Reserve Points on tangible goods, you aren't losing ground to inflation and subsidizing the Federal Reserve.

It isn't convenient to convert Federal Reserve Points to sound money (gold or silver). Some sort of free market gold/silver/FRN trading network is needed. This way, a dedicated agorist could sell his services to partial agorists, and then convert the Federal Reserve Points to real money. *REMEMBER*: depositing cash in your bank account triggers a "suspicious activity report" (SAR) to the bad guys. If you have cash from free market economic activity, you need to convert it to sound money instead of depositing it in a bank.

If people could easily trade gold/silver for Federal Reserve Points, then it would be more practical to keep your savings in gold or silver. Currently, there are *HUGE* transaction costs for people who want to buy or sell gold/silver.

David Z mentions buying on the Internet to avoid state sales taxes. On a large purchase, like a new computer, the savings are substantial. Most states have a "use tax" that you owe, but in practice it's uncollectable. Unfortunately, that loophole is being closed. I believe Congress or the states are making a sales tax arrangement/treaty/law. Pretty soon, state sales tax will be automatically deducted from all online purchases.

David Z mentions a concern with an agorist community. If your agorist trading partner defaults, you can't seek recourse in a government court. I don't think this is a big problem, if you choose your initial trading partners carefully. The agorist community, once it gets started, would be a *VALUABLE* resource for the participants. The penalty for breaking the rules would be ostracism. If you were cheated, you would tell all your trading partners. A frequent cheat would be unable to find trading partners.

For example, BitTorrent trackers ban people for "excessive leeching". That principle should work in a free market economy. In a free market, your personal reputation is very valuable! In a Communist economy, you can cheat people and be protected by State violence. That's not true in a free market! If you cheat people enough, you will be kicked out of the community!

There's another defense a potential agorist could use. Typically, "on the books" contracts are for a substantial amount of money, $10k or more. An agorist could make a bunch of small transactions, valued at only a few ounces of silver each. This way, you won't be stuck financially if a trading partner defaulted.

However, there's a huge risk an agorist would face. If your trading partner was sufficiently disgusted, he could rat you out to the IRS and the red market. If you choose your trading partners carefully, this risk is minimized. For example, I wouldn't consider someone as an agorist trading partner unless they could understand the Compound Interest Paradox and the evils of taxes.

David Z estimates his tax rate at 80%. I consider that estimate to be low. You can't just consider direct taxes. There's also indirect taxes. Due to government manipulation of the market, my employment opportunities are severely restricted. I'm an exceptionally talented software engineer. My productivity is 10x or 100x that of an "average" programmer. However, I don't get paid more than average. The US economy is not a free market, so superior talent doesn't get paid more. You could retort "start your own business", but there are *LOTS* of legal obstacles to starting an on-the-books business. I'm contemplating starting an agorist "free market" business, but that's tricky to get started. The agorist economy doesn't need software right now. I should focus on simple things, like cooking food or making clothes. I'd have to acquire those skills *AND* get trading partners.

David Z laments that he can't build a house agorist-style. Actually, 100 years ago, it was very common for people to build their own houses. Unfortunately, due to building code laws, building your own house is illegal or prohibitively expensive. Plus the "build your own house" knowledge is lost. I have no clue how to build a house, and it isn't worth my time to learn just to build one house.

Building code laws give a government-endorsed monopoly/oligopoly to people with building code licenses. Plus, you probably have to hire a lawyer to get a building permit.

Fortunately, once your house *IS* built, you could hire agorist plumbers, electricians, and repairmen. Agorists probably couldn't build your house for you, but they could do repairs on a house that's already built. Plumbers and electricians are licensed by the State, so their services could be profitably sold in a free market economy.

I probably should write this as a comment on David Z's blog. However, he's a regular reader here, so it's unnecessary.

For all the "pro-State trolls" out there, David Z is someone I formerly accused of "pro-State trolling". He seems to be getting better.

David Z was arguing "lawyers provide a service of tangible economic value". In the current corrupt system, that is not true. I'm not sure how free market dispute resolution services would be implemented. They would be much easier to use than the current system. In an honest court, you probably wouldn't need to hire a "professional advocate" to defend yourself.

I liked this article on the Agitator. The "interior design" industry is headed for intense government regulation. Pretty soon, you will need a license from the government to sell on-the-books interior design services.

"Government regulation" usually discriminates against individuals and in favor of large businesses. Regulation encourages consolidation of industry.

Some people are lobbying against this stupid regulation. They will likely lose.

Someone told me that the "child daycare industry" is now heavily regulated. That drives small daycare centers out of business. The burden of regulation always falls heavier on small businesses than on large businesses.

That's the entire point of the current economic and political system! The various aspects of the economy are carved out into a bunch of monopolies/oligopolies/cartels.

I'm all for increased stupid regulations! The sooner the current economic system collapses the better!

I disagree with one point the author makes. He says that government licensing of interior decorators is a lot stupider than government licensing of lawyers or doctors. Government licensing of *ALL* occupations is immoral. All forms of taxation and regulation are theft. Government licensing of lawyers or doctors is anti-competitive.

For example, suppose a fellow agorist was busted for tax evasion. He could *NOT* hire me to represent him in court, presenting a "jury nullification" defense. If I offer legal advice to anyone, I am committing a crime. I probably would present a better defense than a State-endorsed lawyer. A lawyer would be unwilling to risk his law license by presenting a controversial defense. A "jury nullification" defense is considered controversial! A lawyer could be disbarred for making a jury nullification argument in front of a jury!

Government licensing of lawyers means that lawyers have a monopoly/oligopoly. If you want to defend yourself against an illegitimate government, your only option is to hire a State-sanctioned lawyer!

Government licensing of doctors drives up the cost of medical care. Why can't insurance associations or HMOs license their own doctors? The AMA has entered a conspiracy with the government to restrict the supply of doctors. By restricting the supply of doctors, this guarantees that doctors' salaries will be high.

I liked this post on the Agitator. Someone made a "dogs in danger" website, encouraging people to adopt dogs. The SPCA is sharply critical of the website. The superficial reason is that people should only adopt dogs for reasons the SPCA approves; guilting someone into adopting a dog is immoral. The SPCA doesn't want to lose control of the animal adoption process. They don't like the competition a website could bring.

Having a pet dog or cat is immoral. A house or apartment is not the natural environment for a dog or cat. Scraping out their sex organs is incredibly inhumane. If my choices were sterilizing a dog or outright killing them, I prefer the former; dogs don't get to state their preference.

I liked this post on the Agitator. Some people say that "Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms" (ATF) should be the name of a convenience store, not a government agency. The ATF now acts as if its initials mean "Always Think Forfeiture". When in doubt, seize someone's property and ask questions later.

A bunch of guns were seized from a legal gun dealer. Nobody was charged with a crime. The businessman now has to sue the government to recover his stolen property.

What happened to "protection from illegal searches and seizures"? If the government takes your property, they should be forced to justify it with a trial.

Nowadays, illegitimate government police seize property very frequently. It doesn't pay for individuals to be outraged. Why should I care if someone else's property is stolen? As long as the theft only occurs to a few people at a time, there isn't outrage.

Even if you successfully sue to recover your stolen property, you don't recover your legal expenses and the time and effort spent on a trial.

This is the biggest argument against holding gold or silver in your residence. If illegitimate State police seize your property, you may be unable to recover it.

I liked this article on George Washington's blog, suggesting that some people in the FBI knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance and allowed them to happen.

I liked this article on Overcoming Bias. If you aren't a "superstar researcher" and write a paper that challenges "conventional wisdom", referees will summarily reject it.

For example, I doubt a major economics journal would ever publish an article on the Compound Interest Paradox or the USA is a Communist country. If I were an economics graduate student, and tried to write a PhD thesis based on my blog's content, my advisor would probably reject it.

I was reading "The Economist" in the supermarket. I realized that "The Economist" exists to distract public opinion as much as a tabloid on Britney Spears. It's targeted at a different audience. Like all mainstream news sources, "The Economist" never mentions the Compound Interest Paradox.

If you don't understand the Compound Interest Paradox and write about economics, you're a pro-State troll. It is impossible to write a sensible paper on economics without understanding the fundamental defect in the US monetary system. When "The Economist" writes about the merits of the Federal Reserve bailing out the financial industry, they're entirely missing the key point.

It's very frustrating. Except for a few blogs on agorism, there are no people who write sensible articles on economics.

It's hard to believe that all these mainstream news sources could be so clueless. Is it evidence of a massive conspiracy? Or, has the current corrupt system evolved through a series of bad decisions and coincidences. The Compound Interest Paradox is the smoking gun that points to a massive conspiracy. There isn't absolute proof of a conspiracy, but there's a ton of circumstantial evidence.

I liked this post on Overcoming Bias. Scientists are focused on creating new results. There is no market for scientists who give good explanations of old results. Even worse, there's no market for scientists who verify "conventional wisdom" by recreating old experiments.

A good explanation of old science actually is very valuable.

I noticed that problem when I was studying Mathematics in graduate school. The first-year courses were very polished. The explanations of real analysis, complex analysis, abstract algebra, and logic were very understandable. Once you got to 2nd or 3rd year courses, they were incomprehensible.

In Mathematics, all the "easy" results have been already discovered. In order to discover something new, you need to cover very esoteric ground. I asked my advisor about writing simple explanations of old results. That seemed like a decent project. My advisor told me that was a waste of time. I would never be taken seriously if I wasted time on such things.

Even in Mathematics, a university professor needs a government grant to achieve tenure and status. Government funding of research distorts research. There is no true "free market" in academic research.

For example, no economist would dare write a paper challenging orthodox economics. He would never receive a government grant.

This post on the Picket Line is sort of missing the point. There are several approaches to "tax resistance".

First, there's "report all your income to the IRS, but don't pay all the tax owed". This is stupid. It's very easy for the IRS to seize your assets. If you have any savings, this resistance approach is stupid. This is what the author of the Picket Line is doing. He is a fool.

Second, there's "Live in poverty and keep your income below the IRS reporting threshold." This is also stupid. I'm not sacrificing my personal lifestyle to fight the State.

Finally, there's the proper agorist solution. This is "Focus on generating wealth that isn't reported to the IRS as taxable income."

The author complains that agorists don't have any victories yet. "Yet" is the important word. The Internet is allowing people to share information. First, you need a critical mass of "people outraged at the current economic/political system and aware of agorism". Then, you can make the transition from "theoretical agorism" to "practical agorism".

Once people start "practical agorism", the quality of the "theoretical agorism" will improve. Agorism is the only resistance strategy I've read that has a nonzero chance of success.

I noticed an interesting loophole in "prosecuting tax resisters". In order to convict someone of tax evasion, the bad guys have to PROVE that you knew the income was taxable. If your defense is "I thought I didn't need permission from the government to work.", then it's very hard to PROVE that you knew your economic activity was taxable. If you sincerely believed that you aren't a slave, then how could you be convicted of a crime for practicing agorism?

There's another important point. Even if you're acquitted of criminal charges, the IRS can still pursue civil charges to seize your property.

I'm paid a pretty respectable salary in my corporate/slave job. As a financial systems programmer, I help the financial industry loot the wealth of the rest of society. It might be hard for the anarchist/agorist community to offer me a higher after-tax salary.

The author of The Picket Line keeps thanking me for linking to his blog. How much traffic do I send someone by linking to them? I'm starting to get 100+ visitors/day. I'm slowly "climbing the long tail".

It's surprising how many people don't use bookmarks. A lot of people keep googling "FSK reality guide" to find my blog.

Even though my traffic is increasing, it's very dispersed. It's a handful of visits from each source. My blog's readership growth is very "long tail"-ish.

The best way to grow traffic is a personal referral. If you like my blog, tell other people about it!

I liked this post on the Liberty Papers. Ethanol is only profitable due to massive government intervention in the market.

I liked this article on no third solution about the Peak Oil Myth. There isn't going to be oil one day and no oil the next. That isn't the way a market works.

What will happen is that the price of oil will gradually rise. This makes other forms of energy more profitable. Currently, ethanol isn't economically profitable without State intervention. As the price of oil rises, eventually ethanol will become economically profitable. At some point, fuel cell cars or electric cars would become economically profitable.

The Peak Oil Myth, like most fake media crises, are an excuse for increased government power. Increased regulations are an excuse for funneling money to politically connected insiders.

However, the USA isn't a free market! In a communist country like the USA, it really is possible for there to be sudden shortages! Shortages don't happen in a *TRULY* free market, but the USA isn't a free market!

I liked this post on the Bell Tower about the Bear Stearns bailout.

He makes one interesting point I hadn't mentioned before. Some insiders probably knew that JP Morgan Chase would increase its Bear Stearns offer from $2/share to $10/share. Anyone who knew about this in advance could have profited immensely.

It is no longer (I’m not sure when it really was, but that’s another question entirely) the case that the U.S. financial system can be described as a market. It is now akin to Soviet committee meetings, where profits and losses are determined by political power and personal relationships to it.

I agree. The USA is not a free market. The Federal Reserve, the income tax, and extensive government regulations convert the USA from a free market to a communist dictatorship. Corporate control of the economy is the functional equivalent of State control of the economy.

He has one severe typographical error. He says the bailout size is "$30 million". It's "$30 billion". (Actually, is he in Great Britain? I read that, in the UK, "billion" means "trillion"?)

I liked this post on the Liberty Papers. Several former Congressmen are joining the Libertarian party. Are they switching parties because their opinions have changed? Or, are they trying to hijack/frustrate the Ron Paul movement?

For example, Ross Perot's party was hijacked by mainstream politicians. It fizzled and you never heard from it again.

Seeking political reform by voting is a waste of time.

Mike Gravel is joining the Libertarian Party.

the fact that the LP is even welcoming this crypto-socialist into the party is strong evidence that it no longer deserves to be taken seriously

I liked this post on The Agitator. Clear Channel radio stations are barred from discussing the XM/Sirius merger.

There are a *LOT* of topics that are unacceptable for discussion on mainstream news sources.

I liked this post on Techdirt. Bell Canada unilaterally implemented "traffic shaping" for its customers.

I don't understand why media companies are able to successfully lobby telecom corporations to implement "traffic shaping". In a free market, such interactions are silly. The market isn't really a free market!

I liked this post on Techdirt.

indecency complaints are usually sent in by those who didn't even see the show in question, but were alerted to it by lobbying groups that are pushing for more regulation of TV content

I liked this post on The Freedom Symposium about the anarchy bogeyman.

I liked this post on no third solution. Is it immoral for a borrower to default on their mortgage?

The key point isn't emphasized enough. A mortgage is a no-interest contract. A bank does no real work when it loans money. When a bank writes a loan, it literally prints new money and loans it to you.

This does not make it morally acceptable to borrow money and then default. The correct way to boycott a corrupt monetary system is agorism.

A corrupt monetary system *IS* unfair. It is statistically guaranteed that a certain number of people will be forced into bankruptcy during each economic bust. As a sovereign individual, you should be strategic in your use of debt. Some debt is favorable, because real interest rates are negative. If you have too much debt, you will be forced into bankruptcy during the next economic bust.

I liked this post on the Agitator. A doctor was a vocal critic of the controlled substances laws. He was over-prescribing painkillers to his patients. He was indicted and lost his license to practice medicine.

Now, his former patients are unable to find another doctor! If you treat a former patient of an indicted doctor, you become an investigation target yourself!

This shows another flaw in government licensing of doctors. A doctor invests $200k+ and several years in order to get a license. A doctor can't afford to challenge "conventional medical wisdom", even if it's flawed. A doctor can't afford to risk the investment he made in his career.

I wonder how long it will take for agorist "free market" doctors to develop? That is risky, because the red market will aggressively crack down on violators. However, with increased risk comes increased profit! If you don't lie to your patients and pretend to have a government license, an agorist doctor isn't committing a crime from my point of view. Illegitimate government enforcers have a different attitude.

I didn't like this post on the Liberty Papers about Tax Freedom Day. Suppose your average Federal income tax rate is 40%. This means that, sometime in April, you've paid your full tax burden for the year.

That's an incorrect attitude. If you ceased working in the middle of April, you would owe a different ratio of taxes.

The correct approach when analyzing taxes is to consider your *MARGINAL* tax rate. Suppose your marginal tax rate is 40% (25% Federal income, 15% Social Security+Medicare). This means that if you earn an extra $10k, you only receive an extra $6k after taxes.

A better approach is to say, each day, at 11am (or whenever), "Tax freedom time! The rest of today's work belongs to me instead of the bad guys!"

Suppose I have a choice of working 10 hours/week of paid overtime *OR* conducting 10 hours/week of agorist free market economic activity. To compare after-tax income, I should consider my MARGINAL tax rate, not my AVERAGE tax rate.

I liked this post on the Liberty Papers. No matter who is elected President (McCain, Obama, or Clinton), the size of the Federal government will increase.

This is great! The bigger and more efficient the State gets, the sooner it collapses under its own incompetence!

I can't wait for Medicare and Social Security taxes to be raised! That's more incentive for working in the free market!

I liked this post on Unqualified Offering. You can't be a libertarian *AND* be hawkish on the Iraq war. That makes no sense at all.

Instead of talking about "decriminalizing marijuana", people should start talking about "criminalizing government".

A lot of political activists are focused on a single issue (Iraq war, drugs, Social Security, health care, job outsourcing, etc.) People's efforts are fractured pursuing pointless activism for these individual issues.

Activists should start saying "The current economic and political system is completely broken. It's time to try something else. Monopolistic government was a bad invention."

I didn't like this post on the Bell Tower.

Capital requires labor to be productive - labor does not require capital to be productive.

Suppose you had an army of robots that could perform all the work currently performed by humans. Would that be good or bad?

That is not the problem. The problem is that the rules of the economic system are biased against labor and in favor of capital. The problem is not that automating a factory improves efficiency. The problem is that the workers who lose their jobs are restricted from finding alternate work, due to a corrupt economic system.

Suppose all workers could be replaced by robots, and the benefits this productivity gain were shared by only 100 people. That would be bad.

In a free market, the benefit of productivity gains are shared by everyone.

In a truly free market, productivity gains are NEVER harmful!

Unions frequently mean that workers are paid more than the fair free market rate. When unionized workers lose their jobs, they are forced to accept lower salaries elsewhere.

The rules of the economic system discriminate against small businesses. The problem is that laid off workers aren't able to easily start new businesses. In a free market, displaced workers can easily start a new business.

In a free market, capital MUST be productive. If a business owner gets lazy, he will lose to competition. In the current corrupt economic system, inefficient businesses are shielded from competition by the State.

I liked this post on the Freedom Symposium. In some states, "creationism" is being taught in schools, presented as having equal credibility as "evolution".

Public schools are funded via taxes. Public schools are funded via violence. The fundamental problem is forcing people to pay for public schools against their will. The "creationism vs. evolution" debate is relatively minor in comparison.

I liked this post on Techdirt. Someone owns "". A lot of businesses actually put "" as the return address for their E-Mails. The sensible thing is to make the return address be some junk address on your own domain.

Some government agencies involved in national security use "" E-Mail addresses.

The guy tried bouncing back the E-Mails, but then he got blacklisted as a spammer. He looks though the E-Mails and posts the interesting ones on his blog.

This post on Bill Rempel was kind of silly. He uses all sorts of charts to analyze long-term market trends.

I've concluded that all such "charting" is nonsense. The fundamental problem is that the USA is not a free market.

Statistical analysis techniques are only valid if the people at the Federal Reserve use the same model.

Any purely statistical analysis of historic market behavior is guaranteed to be wrong. The "fat tails problem" means that statistical outlier events happen way too often. The State manipulates the market.

As an individual investor, you can be wiped out by statistical outlier events if you use leverage. A large bank doesn't have to worry about these outliers, because they'll always be bailed out by the Federal Reserve.

I liked this post on Techdirt.

juries almost always side with patent holders, in part due to the great American myth that a patent is a wonderful thing not to be questioned

Most patents are owned by large corporations. Applying for a patent and getting it is expensive and cumbersome. "Patents benefit individual inventors" is false.

Patents are used as anticompetitive tactics. Patents subsidize large corporations. Patent's don't encourage innovation; patents stifle innovation.

In the area of "software patents", most of the patents are things that would be obvious to any expert programmer. That probably also applies to patents in other areas.

I liked this post on Techdirt. Car insurers are thinking of installing GPS devices into your car. If you travel to a bad neighborhood, your car insurance premiums will go up!

The real problem is state intervention in the market. There are only a handful of insurers. Government violence mandates that you *MUST* have insurance in order to drive a car. If those handful of insurers collude to cheat customers, customers have no recourse. Due to regulation of the insurance industry, it's impossible to form a competing insurance company that treats customers fairly.

This post on Distributed Republic was interesting. He writes about the "moral hazard" of the Bear Stearns bailout. He misses the key point. The US monetary system has a fundamental structural flaw. Writing about a specific bailout is missing the big picture.

He links to this article. Almost all mainstream economists are pro-State trolls.

No amount of capital or loans will enable a borrower with a $400,000 mortgage on a $350,000 home to have positive home equity.

Suppose a homeowner had a $400k mortgage on a $350k home. His net worth is -$50k, *BUT* he does have a home and a mortgage. Suppose now you give that homeowner a 10 year loan for $400k at the discount rate (currently 2.5%). After 10 years, the home's price should rise by 6%-15%/year (the true inflation rate). Now, the formerly insolvent homeowner has a positive net worth. If real inflation rates are 13%, then the 2.5% loan gives the homeowner a subsidy of $40k/year.

JP Morgan Chase received a $29 billion loan. When your net worth is -$50k, it's your problem. When your net worth is -$30b, it's the Federal Reserve's problem.

Individual homeowners could be "bailed out" by a subsidized negative real interest rate in the same way JP Morgan Chase received a massive bailout. The rules of the financial system are biased against individuals. When individuals use too much leverage, they lose their assets. When large banks use too much leverage, they receive a Federal Reserve bailout.

Are large banks insolvent? If they were forced to sell all their assets at the current market price, they would problably be insolvent. Large banks receive subsidized negative interest rates. Waiting for inflation, this allows large banks to profit. If real interest rates are negative, you maximize your profit by maximizing your leverage.

The "moral hazard" is the rules of the monetary system itself. It's pointless to argue the merits of specific bailouts, without discussing the fundamental flaw in the US monetary system.

This post on was sort of missing the point. He talks about "Is it moral to vote?" A better argument is "Is it moral to pay taxes?"

I'm don't care if you vote or not! You're only supporting the State if you pay taxes! Paying taxes is *WAY MORE IMMORAL* than voting.

When you pay taxes, the wealth stolen directly contributes to my oppression. The more productive you are as a on-the-books worker, the more you contribute to my oppression. Voting does not increase or decrease the total resources the State has at its disposal.

Of course, when resisting taxes, you should do a calculated risk/reward evaluation. Resisting property taxes isn't feasible, because you'll violently lose your property. The most evil tax is the income tax. If a substantial number of people successfully avoid income taxes, the State should collapse rapidly.

[BTW, has an "automated comment spam filter" that ate my comment. A surprisingly large number of blogs that have "automatic spam filters" automatically filter out my comments.]

Lately, I've been having more fun playing Titan Quest than blogging. I'm starting to get bored with Titan Quest.

That's another one of my personal business ideas: independent game developer. Is it hard to be an independent game developer *AND* an agorist? I'd probably have to open-source the game and then ask for anonymous in-person cash/silver donations.

As an unknown independent game developer, you're giving up zero by open-sourcing a game. As an unknown independent game developer, your biggest risk is that nobody knows who you are. That's a bigger problem than any "intellectual property" related issue.

This thread on is discussing my post on Real GDP Has Been Negligible Since 1990. I have an updated version of that post now, using M2 and gold as my inflation index. Surprisingly, the updated version is getting very little traffic, according to Google Analytics?! I thought the updated version was nicely done with tables illustrating my calculation?

Reading the discussion reminds me why I stopped contributing to online forums. It's too easy for pro-State trolls to dominate a single sensible person.

The CPI is a biased measure of inflation. Social Security and other payments are indexed to the CPI. There is a political incentive for the CPI to understate the true inflation rate.

I consider M2 or the price of gold to be a better inflation index than the CPI. Using M2 as your inflation index is very simple. If you print more money, prices go up! It isn't complicated. I would use M3, but the Federal Reserve no longer publishes M3. There has been substantial manipulation of the gold price. Central banks have nearly exhausted their gold reserves and they are losing their ability to suppress the gold price. For the past few years, the price of gold is a reasonable substitute for M3.

The CPI is a biased measure of inflation. When the government reports inflation-adjusted GDP, they use CPI as their inflation index. Money supply inflation is misreported as economic growth. Suppose real inflation is 10%, the CPI increases by 3%, and raw GDP increases by 7%. The government will report 4% GDP growth, when GDP really shrunk by 3%.

One confused poster says:

Isn’t it possible that since the GDP increased by 140% over 10 years, that some of that money would go into saving accounts, money market accounts and CDs?

Money and wealth are *NOT THE SAME*! Printing more money does NOT create new wealth. Printing new money transfers wealth to the people who print the new money. Inflation benefits the financial industry, because they get to print the new money.

The average person thinks "I make money when I work." This is *FALSE*. Only banks can create new money. When you work, you're creating wealth. You are paid in Federal Reserve Points. As the money supply is inflated, your savings are eroded.

One persistent pro-State troll was insisting that M2 is not a valid inflation measure. M2 is a much less biased measure of inflation than the CPI. Using M2 as your inflation index makes a lot more sense than using the CPI.

There was one valid point the pro-State troll made. An analysis of M2 doesn't include the velocity of money. If money changes hands more quickly, this increases price inflation, even if more money isn't printed. When people lose faith in Federal Reserve Points, they will try to immediately trade them for tangible goods or services, instead of saving them. This causes the rate of price inflation to increase.

There is no evidence that the velocity of money has changed. If the velocity of money were substantially increasing, this would case price inflation to rise faster than money supply inflation. If the velocity of money were slowing, then price inflation would be slower than money supply inflation.

One pro-State troll said (paraphrasing)

The initial poster said that FSK's analysis is valid. Two people have responded saying that FSK's analysis is wrong and misleading. Two is greater than one. Therefore, FSK is wrong.

That's the whole problem with democracy, summarized.

Mainstream/university economists are ultimately paid by the State (directly or indirectly). There's no unbiased economic analysis in mainstream information sources.

The original poster made an interesting analogy. My economic analysis is like saying the earth is round when everyone else knows it is flat.

It's hard to tell if the people criticizing my analysis are merely clueless, or paid propaganda artists.

Someone else said that I have a "political agenda". Most economic analysis has a pro-State troll bias. I try to be unbiased. If everything you've ever read is biased, and you read one source that is unbiased, you may falsely conclude that the unbiased source is biased!

"Government was a bad invention and should be eliminated" is my fair, unbiased conclusion! I don't have a "secret agenda". That's my openly declared goal!

There is value to society as a whole being the "first dissenter". (I don't consider myself to be the first dissenter; I'm building on other blogs I read.) Unfortunately, if you're the "first dissenter", most of the brainwashed people who read your analysis will be unable to understand. They will falsely think "This is different. Therefore, this is wrong." The alternative is seeing the massive conspiracy to manipulate and enslave everyone. Most people can't handle that, so they intentionally block out information.

The original poster made another interesting point. The US is able to export its inflation. For example, a factory in China exports goods to the USA in exchange for dollars. The factory's owners give their dollars to the Chinese government in exchange for newly printed yuan. Instead of purchasing something with those dollars, the Chinese government is merely sitting on those dollars. US dollars flowing to China is causing inflation in China's own currency, because China's government is printing new yuan to redeem dollars.

The only way that China can keep a stable exchange rate with the dollar is by inflating its own currency! Some people decry China's refusal to float its currency. This inflation policy actually BENEFITS the US financial industry! The US financial industry is reaping the benefit of China's inflation!

TZ has left a new comment on your post "Napoleon's Discovery":

Oh yes!
And still - our leaders refuse to learn from history's great lessons.

Or, on second thoughts perhaps they HAVE learned; to keep their opinions to themselves and keep their heads low.

I'm never quite sure whether those in power are witless, or gutless.

JFK's assassination set a fine example to political leaders who would attempt serious reform.

Most/all politicians are the Supreme Leader of Humanity's puppets.

Any mainstream media source could, at any time, start the reform process. All they would have to do is start reporting honestly!

Who wields more political power? The elected politicians or the handful of people who control the mainstream media outlets? The latter are unelected and wield *FAR* more political power than any politician. As was the case in the Ron Paul campaign, any non-preferred candidate can be silenced merely by denying them any coverage at all.

The are a handful of people who control the media outlets. However, they are also puppets of the Supreme Leader of Humanity. If any of them realized the coming collapse of their gravy train, they would attempt serious reform. Instead, they appear determined to manage the current economic and political system into complete destruction.

Suppose someone controlled a mainstream media outlet and suddenly had a flash of honesty. Most likely, they would meet an untimely demise.

Once you start seeing the conspiracy, you can see how masterfully it was constructed. It's too cleverly designed to be an accident! There must be a handful of people who know what's going on. What is their purpose? The people controlling the conspiracy *CAN'T* be fools, or they wouldn't have been so spectacularly successful.

The Supreme Leader of Humanity's agents have been plotting for decades/centuries. What are their ultimate goals? They've already enslaved everyone else?

Suppose you really did completely and utterly enslave the entire world? What would you do next, AFTER you've enslaved everyone? It's too late to say "How do we stop someone from taking over the world?" It's too late. That's already happened.

Is it possible that the Supreme Leader of Humanity isn't evil? Maybe he's also concluded that government was a bad invention and needs to be eliminated.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Leader of Humanity is dependent on a vast network of slave/puppets to enforce his control. There are a lot of people who have the illusion that they have political power, when they're just implementing someone else's agenda. They won't give up their power voluntarily. What do you expect the Supreme Leader of Humanity to do? Do you expect him to call the President and order him to shut down the government? The dismantling of the current corrupt system must occur from the bottom-up instead of top-down.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Is Gold/Money a Better Investment than Stocks?":

It might over the next few years, but look at the overall percentage gain for say $10K invested in 1989 and left alone.

In stocks you would be sitting on a 257.16% increase

in gold you would be sitting on a 88.91% increase

257% gain and the sky is falling?

Which would you rather earn on your money?

Your point would be valid if the USA had a free market.

When investing, *FUTURE* returns are all that matters. The past is irrelevant.

There has been substantial manipulation of the gold price. For most of the 20th century, it was illegal to own gold. That makes a comparison before the 1970s invalid.

After the default of the gold standard, most of the world's gold supply was owned by central banks. In the 1980s and 1990s, they were selling off their gold supply to keep down the price of gold. This makes a comparison of gold vs. stocks to be invalid until the late 1990s.

Central banks have nearly exhausted their gold reserves. They are losing their ability to manipulate the gold price.

When comparing gold to other investments, it's invalid to make a comparison going back further than 5 or 10 years. There have been fundamental changes in the gold market that make longer comparisons invalid.

Suppose I offered you the following trade. I'll pay you the return of the S&P 500 index and you pay me the return of a gold investment, assuming a hypothetical $1k invested in each. Would you accept that trade? I expect that gold will continue to outperform the S&P 500.

There also have been substantial structural changes in the way corporations are managed. In the past, corporations were serious about treating their shareholders, employees, and customers fairly. Now, corporate management is blatantly lining their pockets at the expense of shareholders. When a CEO gives himself a lot of options or share grants, that isn't free. The cost is collectively paid by the shareholders. When the Federal Reserve prints new money, everyone else pays the cost as inflation. When a CEO prints new shares for himself, all the other shareholders pay the cost as inflation/dilution.

Corporations receive massive government subsidies, but there also is a massive amount of fraud and waste. Inflation is misreported by the government. When stock prices go up, is it money supply inflation or genuine productivity gains? It's very hard to tell the difference.

I am unsure if gold or the S&P 500 is a better investment. I'm starting to be seriously concerned that gold is the superior investment.

When watching the Communism Channel (CNBC), the touts denigrate gold investors at every opportunity. They say "The price of gold went down 10% recently! Gold investors are stupid!" Seeing them downplay gold convinces me that gold is a great investment.

If you assume a collapse of the US economic system is inevitable, then the people who buy gold first will profit the most. There's no need to rush to gold, because the collapse is still 20+ years away.

If people are still manipulating the gold price downward, that means that gold still is an attractive investment.

Ineffabelle has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #44":

You said: "The *ONLY* form of political resistance that matters is creating a pool of wealth outside the control of the bad guys."

I think that is a wonderfully concise way of putting it. (Given an expansive enough definition of "wealth")

"Wealth" covers a lot of things.
  1. Wealth is tangible goods, such as food, clothes, a computer, a television, etc.
  2. A car is wealth. Unfortunately, under the current political system, you need permission from the State in order to drive a car. The State owns your car and not the individual.
  3. Land and houses are wealth. Unfortunately, you need continuing permission from the State to keep your land. If you don't pay property taxes (rent), you lose your land. You don't have full allodial title to your land; instead, you have a perpetual transferable lease. Eminent domain means the State can terminate your lease at any time. Zoning laws and environmental laws restrict what you can do with your land.
  4. Sound money is wealth. Metal money can be melted and used to build other things. Silver has many industrial uses. The primary demand for gold is monetary demand. This is both an argument for and against gold as money. I'd accept any metal coin as money, provided it was an appropriate exchange rate.
  5. A network of trustworthy trading partners is a form of wealth. I can't practice agorism, because I don't have a network of trustworthy trading partners.
  6. A knowledge of small-scale production techniques is a form of wealth.
  7. A list of friendly red market enforcers is a form of wealth. If you know people who will ignore your free market activity, that's a form of wealth.
"Small-scale production techniques" is particularly interesting. A car sells for $20k, and a very tiny fraction of that is raw materials. If you could manufacture a car in your garage, you'd only have to sell a few cars per year for it to be profitable.

Car manufacturing is heavily regulated. You need government approval to sell a new car. You could workaround the restriction buying old cars and overhauling them.

Small-scale car manufacturing seems like a viable business opportunity. You'd only need to make a few per year in order to profit.

Some people say that "assembly line" production techniques are a false economy. In an assembly line, all aspects of production occur in parallel. A worker performing the same tasks in serial would have the same productivity gains. In other words, make 10 copies of part #1, then 10 copies of part #2, etc., rather than making all of them simultaneously.

David_Z has left a new comment on your post "No-Interest Contracts":

i noticed this week that your posts are appearing several days prior to their timestamps. Are you living in the future now?

I've been doing that for awhile, but I managed to get several days ahead.

I noticed that some "blog aggregator" sites sort your posts by timestamp instead of by actual time posted. By making the timestamps ahead, I'm maximizing the time they present my post.

On my RSS feed, the timestamp is always the time of posting, not the timestamp I included.

I keep a queue of drafts in Blogger. I try to have 1 post per day. Sometimes, I do several posts and get ahead. If I know I'm not going to have much blogging time in the next few days, I try to get ahead.

That just makes it easier for me to keep track of my posting schedule. I don't blog on current events (usually), so the timestamp doesn't matter.

Other blogging software, like WordPress, has an "auto-post" feature. Blogger doesn't let you queue up posts, so I just post them ahead of time.

goldsilverangel has left a new comment on your post "Protect Your Giold and Silver Coins!":

Investing In Gold 2008 Learn About the Five Reasons You Should Own Gold in 2008 I did click here and get free
information and pricing like I did a few months ago when it was lower. They give free information so click this link and fill out your name and get a free catalog of all type of gold and silver coins catalog.

goldsilverangel has left a new comment on your post "Gold and Silver Price Manipulation":

Investing In Gold 2008 Learn About the Five Reasons You Should Own Gold in 2008 I did click here and get free
information and pricing like I did a few months ago when it was lower. They give free information so click this link and fill out your name and get a free catalog of all type of gold and silver coins catalog.

I should have rejected these comments as spam, but I was feeling charitable.

Amusingly, the guy forgot to include the link with his spam!

Diogo has left a new comment on your post "No-Interest Contracts":

Hi! I’m portuguese, so excuse me if my english isn’t great.

I’ve found your blog and I think it is very interesting. I am really interested in this subprime thing. But I think you miss a point: the really owners of the commercial banks are the owners of the FED and the ECB. So, this is all a very great scam.

There’s no liquidity problem. The two ways you have to reduce money are: the central bank absorb it, through selling bonds or whatever, or if people hide it in the mattress. None did happen.

So, what is happening is that the central banks are injecting trillions (with interest) and the commercial banks are multiplying that by ten. It’s the robbery of the XXI century.

I didn't mention it in that particular post much. I'm very aware of the corrupt nature of the monetary system. BTW, this "corrupt monetary system" isn't just the USA. Canada, the UK, the EU, Australia, etc. *ALL* have corrupt monetary systems. Every single country has a corrupt monetary system.

You should read around a bit more before saying "FSK is not aware that the monetary system is a scam."

There actually is a liquidity problem. That's the Compound Interest Paradox. There's a fundamental structural defect in the monetary system. A "liquidity crunch" is *GUARANTEED* to happen every few years; it's built into the rules of the monetary system. The Federal Reserve has *NO CHOICE* but to bail out banks with an interest rate cut. If the Federal Reserve didn't bail out the banks, the dollar would collapse in hyperdeflation. The entire economic system would unravel as large banks are forced into bankruptcy.

It's inaccurate to say "banking is the crime of the 21st century". Banking is also the crime of the 20th century, the 19th century, the 18th century, the 17th century, the 16th century, and probably even earlier.


Diogo said...

I know that you are aware that the monetary system is a scam. What I meant was: the same people that owns the commercial banks, owns the central banks. So, it’s a single body. That’s why they work so well. They are just two departments of the same company.

When I said that there’s no liquidity problem, I meant now, with this «subprime crisis». It’s just a scam to inject more trillions dollars and euros made out of thin air.

I read your «the Compound Interest Paradox». I agree with it. And, of course, banking is the crime of the past four centuries. At least.

Anonymous said...

1) You're certainly correct about my typos - as I've recently noted, it's something that occurred during the transcription from Word to blogger. I have no answers on the how or why of it.

2) As for the proposition post, I think you may have missed the point - I don't disagree with your "critique" to the extent that I understand it. Perhaps after you read the follow-up we can have a discussion on the point I'm trying to make.

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