We had a friend recommend that we edit the full series of Economics for Everybody into a two-hour version. It took us longer than we expected (such things always do), but here it is. You can watch it free on YouTube through the end of February. Hope you enjoy it!
For a very long time, the United States has pursued a policy of printing more dollars regardless of the long-term economic consequence. This inflation of the U.S. money supply gradually decreases the value of the dollar in comparison to a scarce commodity such as gold. In the late 1960′s, President of France Charles DeGaulle realized what was happening and demanded gold in return for France’s U.S. dollars; after all, the U.S. was then still honoring an international gold standard that said 1 ounce of gold was worth $35. DeGaulle explains why here:
Nixon realized the curtain had been pulled back revealing the real intent of America’s inflationary monetary policy. So, in 1971, he just untethered the balloon to the only thing that ultimately was holding it down – thereby giving the U.S. the ability to expand credit to infinity and beyond. This was the start of a fiat monetary system for the entire world, since the U.S. was the reserve currency of the world. (In other words, the dollar was the standard by which all other currencies were measured.)
This choice by Nixon (and his advisors) was the real turning point that eventually led to the current dollar crisis. This short article explains why. (Make sure you look at the chart that shows just how much the dollar has been devalued – as we explain in Lesson 9 of Economics for Everybody, that value was taken from one group and given to another silently, invisibly, and effectively.)
For decades before 1971, America had been pursuing a dishonest and immoral monetary policy. DeGaulle was simply calling them on it. As history has shown, DeGaulle was right – and Nixon was a crook.
I took a break from blogging over the holidays to read some new books, work on a new project, and write some new articles. But the nation has not changed direction since last year. Instead, it continues to slouch ever closer toward economic disaster. As a case in point, the fiscal cliff fiasco demonstrated that the leaders of both parties cannot solve even the most basic economic problems, much less recognize the enormous economic crisis which lies before us.
2013 appears to be a continuation of current policies, with the policy that holds the gravest long-term danger being the inflation and devaluation of our money supply. Our eyes should be on the Federal Reserve, for if the government is not committed to cutting spending, then it must rely on the Fed to create the money necessary to pay for its habits as well as to buy up the bad assets that are the by-product of interventionist fiscal corruption.
If left unchecked, the combination of inflation, fiat money, and fractional reserve banking will ultimately destroy our economic system. As a result, throughout 2013 we will regularly come back to this topic.
It is not simple. As a result, I began reading de Soto’s Money, Bank Credit and Economic Cycles (available free at the link) to try to understand it better. From a Christian perspective, he begins with Roman banking law as codified by the Christian emperor Justinian, then looks at how fractional reserve banking has been the cause of major economic problems throughout history. I will try to give updates and thoughts on it as I move through it.
We also have a series of articles on poverty planned from Shawn Riteour and Timothy Terrell.
Finally, the new project I spoke about is an abridgment of Economics for Everybody into a 2-hour study film. Watch for updates, since we’ll be putting out more information on it soon.
Since we’re all in the same boat, Happy New (Higher Taxes) Year…
We spend a lot of time in Economics for Everybody showing how interventionist economies like the United States end up persecuting Christians. Many Christians blithely think this is not possible today: yet here is a prime example that should be on the front page of every newspaper. (But isn’t – I wonder why?)
Christian business owner David Green and his family are being given an ultimatum by the U.S. government: use your own money to support abortion policies we dictate through health insurance or we’ll fine you out of existence (to the tune of $1.3 million a day). As we explain in Lesson 11, our government uses the enormous regulatory arm of the President’s administrative branch to try to control the economy for its own ends. What it cannot control, it has the power to smash – and often does.
Hobby Lobby owns the retail chain of the same name as well as Mardel Christian bookstores. The Greens have said it is a violation of conscience for them to be required to pay for insurance that will also pay for abortifacients like Plan B and Ella. For those who realize that abortion is a sanitized form of murder, it is easy to see how this requirement would be like German Christian companies during WWII being forced to pay a stipend for Zyklon B. Such is the roundabout goal of evil laws.
Notice whom the suit is against: Sebelius, U.S. Cabinet member and head of Health and Human Services; she reports to the President. And who is defending now (but eventually will prosecute once the law goes into effect)? Lawyers from the Department of Justice led by the Attorney General; he reports to the President. Our consolidation of power under the Executive branch (something Lowi explains clearly in The End of Liberalism - published 40 years ago and still just as relevant) continues to bear ugly fruit that appears more and more like 20th-century totalitarianism. [Read more...]
Ron Paul was probably the most economically-educated Congressman during his tenure on the Hill. He helped to found the Ludwig von Mises Institute and wrote numerous books on economic and political issues. A few days ago he gave his farewell speech.
If you want to understand the situation in our nation’s capital, and why we are where we are economically, this is well worth listening to.
A week ago, a lot of Americans received a jolt. After the election dust settled, they realized a majority of voters don’t want to lessen the role of government in their lives. If anything, they want to see government expand.
It was (and continues to be) the talk of the airwaves and Internet. As one radio host put it, in light of the election results, what we need is significant economic education. He is right – we do.
It is a pretty grave problem. The truth is that a majority of Americans in both political parties are radically ignorant of basic economics. In numerous ways, most people in the United States have been committed to some form of economic suicide for generations. They just don’t realize the extent of it.
This is one of the main reasons we created Economics for Everybody. The long-term implications of government intervention in the economy are extremely dangerous to all of us, especially to our religious freedoms. More and more people have a sinking feeling about this. But unless they take time to learn the basics of economics, nothing will change.
What is really at stake here? [Read more...]
I voted last week to avoid the rush. Standing in the booth, I looked at the two electable choices and was reminded of something I was told Doug Wilson once said: it’s as if Republicans and Democrats are in a car driving our nation toward a massive cliff. When Republicans are in the driver’s seat, they push on the brakes; when Democrats are in the driver’s seat, they push on the accelerator.
But neither turns away from the cliff.
Which means it’s just a matter of time until we go over. We can already feel the rocks sliding beneath us as we get closer – but no one seems to be able to turn away. And whomever the next President is likely won’t turn us away, either. If it’s Romney, we may get a little more time. If it’s Obama, then we’ll certainly get less.
How do I know this? Because there are 5 things the President should do to fix our economic problems, but just will not. Here they are: [Read more...]
Just the other day, I was out scouting locations for a new film project and drove past one of Nashville’s abortion clinics. It’s a drab, nondescript building. Across the street, four people were sitting in lawn chairs, praying. It was quiet and strangely ordinary as I drove away.
Abortion had already been on my mind in light of three articles I recently read. The first explains how Democrats in 2012 have “firmly and unyieldingly” embraced abortion rights in a new and absolute way. The next was about Roman Catholic bishops and priests speaking out from the pulpit against Obama on the issue of abortion, contraception and Obamacare. The final article asked the question ‘Is it a sin to vote for Obama and the Democrats?‘ and hinged its answer on the question of abortion.
So, what does this have to do with economics? Pretty much everything.
As I hope to explain, when you see the economic consequences of abortion over the long run, you realize that 40 years of abortion in America is one of the primary causes of our economic problems. It is a demographic issue, pure and simple.
Furthermore – and if you read this post, you’ll realize I’m not overstating this – any vote for a Democrat is a vote for the ultimate economic downfall of our nation. As you will see, this has nothing to do with economic policies per se and everything to do with policies on abortion.
The late Larry Burkett penned an exceptionally prescient article in 1998 entitled The George Bailey Effect: Abortion on Demand and the Implications for America’s Future. His argument is quite simple: the death of tens of millions of producers and consumers alongside the loss of tens of millions of their potential children creates an economic black hole that slowly and inevitably sucks a society into it. [Read more...]
A series of four short films were made in 1950 entitled “In Our Hands.” We used clips from this, the second one, in Economics for Everybody since it explains the way the free market system helps coordinate the land, labor and capital to provide us what we need. It’s a fun, quick look at how economics works at a practical level.
Our friends at The Institute for Faith, Work and Economics recently posted an insightful series of articles under the somewhat colorless title ‘Thoughts on Economics.’
They are anything but that. These articles are like turning on a light in a dark room and watching the bugs scurry away. Primarily penned by the insightful Elise Amyx, her first post on The Problem with Modern Economics shows that the reigning emperor of economic thought has been without clothes for over a century:
The number one problem with modern economics is that it fails to see the whole human picture. It has created an abstract, perfectly rational species of man: homo economicus.
She goes on to show that almost all that gets passed off today as economics is based on a fallacy. It reminds me of the great scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indy realizes with his Egyptian buddy “They’re digging in the wrong place!” [Read more...]