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The Future of Money

by Dr. Steve Elwart


It seems as if our current world monetary system is on the verge of collapse. What is the next step for money?

We have written before on the concept of money and its history.[1] The last time this topic was addressed in Personal UPDATE was when the U.S. Stimulus Package was passed by Congress when they no longer feared the concept of trillions of dollars in the yearly deficit.

In January’s Davos, Switzerland World Economic Forum, the members were warned that inflation in the Eurozone is “way below target” and deflation is a potential risk for the bloc. This was from International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

In response, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the ECB stood ready to act if inflation went lower than forecast and reaffirmed that interest rates would remain low or go lower for an extended period of time.

The group also expressed their concern that the U.S. Federal Reserve, “The Fed,” may institute a “tapering” (or slowing down) on monetizing U.S. debt by not printing as much money.

“Managing” the Money Supply

All the moves taken by the world’s financial community is based on Keynesian economics, one of the tenets of which is that one can control an economy merely by manipulating the money supply.

Want an economy to grow? Print more money. The thinking is that the more money in circulation, the more robust the economy. The response to a slowdown in an economy is to put more money into circulation. This will artificially pump up an economy—for a time. Eventually, though, one has to pay the piper in the form of higher prices.

In a Keynesian economy, inflation is a good thing, because in that school of thought, inflation brings prosperity.

Inflation’s Effect

Inflation is an insidious thing and something politicos love to use to pacify their constituents. At first, everyone has the good feeling of “feeling prosperous,” knowing they have more money in their pockets.

After a time, though, the economic hangover sets in when prices start going up, adjusting themselves to the decreased value of the money. For countries that have a progressive tax structure,[2] inflation is also a constantly increasing tax on its citizens. One earns more of a devalued currency; they are pushed into a higher tax bracket and end up paying even more in taxes. As people feel the pinch, they spend a greater percentage of their money on taxes and debt. This leaves less to spend on new things and the economy slows. To spur the economy, the government prints even more money and the cycle continues. Eventually, an economy will go into a “death spiral” and collapse.

This is where the world is now. We are in the beginning of the death spiral and how hard we land is anybody’s guess.

Example from Ancient Rome

The earliest documented example of the death spiral comes from ancient Rome. For hundreds of years, the Romans were on a bimetallic standard, not unlike the currency system of the early United States. There was a gold coin, the aureus, which was popularized by Julius Caesar. There was also a silver coin known as the denarius, which was what most Romans used in their day-to-day transactions. Rome reached the height of its power on a solid gold and silver money standard.

Rome, flush with cash, started spending its gold and silver reserves on massive welfare spending, what now is called “bread and circuses.” Politicians quickly used the money in the treasury to buy influence, votes, and curry favor with neighboring states.

At first, Julius Caesar started to inflate the currency simply by making the coins smaller. The gold aureus originally was 8 grams of pure gold. By the second century it had declined to 6.5 grams and at the beginning of the fourth century it was replaced by the 4.5 gram gold solidus. The value of the currency was reduced by 44%.

All of this, however, pales in comparison with the devaluation of the denarius. The denarius was the backbone of the Roman economy. Citizens earning their income in gold were a rarity given that a day’s wage for an average laborer at the time is estimated at a single denarius (1 aureus = 25 denarii).

The denarius began as a 4.5 gram silver coin and stayed that way for centuries under the Roman Republic. During the same time the aureus was devalued, the denarius was as well, but at a faster rate. Base metals, such as copper, were blended in with the silver and so even though the coin itself weighed the same, the amount of silver in it became less and less over time. Throughout the first century the denarius contained over 90% silver, but by the end of the second century the silver content had fallen to less than 70%. By the third century, there was less than 5% silver in the coin and by 350 a.d. it was all but worthless, having an exchange rate of 4,600,000 denarius to a gold solidus (or nearly 9 million to the original aureus).

Modern Examples

This type of shenanigans with the money supply did not end with Rome. There are many examples of how governments have destroyed an economy by inflating it out of existence.

In Germany’s Weimar Republic, there was a three-year period of hyperinflation between June 1921 and January 1924 where the German mark went from 4.2 marks per U.S. dollar to 4.2 billion marks to the dollar. This rampant inflation was one of the reasons Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party came to power in that country.

Zimbabwe is a more recent example of inflation run wild. At its peak in November 2008, inflation was running at 6.5 sextillion2 percent. (Zimbabwe still has no national currency; currencies from other countries are used.)

With many people seeing the coming economic crash, they are looking for a new currency; one that cannot be manipulated by politicians and bankers as can today’s fiat currency.

The Bitcoin

There has been much talk about something called a Bitcoin. Bitcoin brings with it excitement, speculation, rumor, and also confusion. Bitcoin is not only a currency; it is the payment network for that currency.

Bitcoins are created by a process called mining in which participants verify and record payments in exchange for transaction fees and newly minted bitcoins. Users send and receive bitcoins using wallet software on a personal computer or mobile device. Bitcoins can be obtained by mining or in exchange for products, services, or other currencies.

Proponents of the Bitcoin believe it is superior to the current monetary system because it would not be subject to inflation. There will never be more than 21 million in existence, and they are being released slowly over time at a rate of about 25 bitcoins per minute. (The current exchange rate is 1 Bitcoin for $571.59 USD, primarily exchanged through MtGox.com.) Currently there are approximately twelve million bitcoins in circulation with about 1,000 businesses willing to accept them.

There are problems with Bitcoin, however; among them, the possibility of computer theft, their use for illegal transactions, and the low acceptance of the currency by merchants and individuals.

The Bitcoin phenomenon is only a manifestation of what is perceived as a growing cry for a stable currency that would not be subject to inflation. More and more, countries understand that the U.S. dollar cannot be the world’s modicum for exchange based on its ongoing devaluation. Countries such as China, Japan, Russia, and countries in the Middle East are experimenting with using “bushel baskets” of currencies to replace the dollar. These schemes will fail as well, since they all rely on fiat currency and have no intrinsic value of their own—they are only backed by the “full faith and credit” of the issuing country.

The Ultimate One-World Currency

What many are calling for is a true one-world currency. In April 2010 a paper was released by the Strategy, Policy and Review Department of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) titled “Reserve Accumulation and International Monetary Stability.” In the document the IMF recommends that the world adopt a global currency called the “Bancor.” A single global central bank is proposed to be created to administer the currency.

A one-world currency would certainly make the fulfillment of the prophecy in Revelation easier.

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Revelation 13:16–17 (KJV)

There is today a currency system being set in place. It looks like the mechanism is 1) Destruction of national currencies 2) A move toward regional “bushel basket” currencies 3) A single world-wide currency administered by a single world authority. It a system that is falling into place which the Antichrist will use in his rise to power. It is a system coming together before our very eyes.


Sources

Dorn, J. A. (1997). The Future of Money in the Information Age. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute.

Urban, R. (2012, December 26). 10 Fascinating Economic Collapses Through History. Retrieved from Listverse

Voorhees, E. (2012, April 11). Bitcoin – The Libertarian Introduction. Retrieved from On Life and Liberty

Notes

  1. Elwart, S. (2008, July). A Bushel of Wheat for a Penny. Retrieved from Koinonia House: http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/928  ↩

  2. A progressive tax is one where the more money a person makes, the greater the percentage of that income is taxed.  ↩


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