Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Economics and English (prose meander)

Larry Niven says, there is no cause so worthy that you cannot find a fool following it. I've been working on a paper for English class about negative-interest currency. There's plenty of material out there about it, but... there are a lot of cranks out there who have problems with the monetary system.
And the cranks make the reasoned thinkers look like deluded fools. It's like speaking out about fluoridated water -- immediately, everyone thinks you're going to bomb Russia to preserve our Purity Of Essence.
There are a lot of thinkers out there who look at the current monetary system, see its flaws, and try to point them out and suggest real alternatives. And then there are those who see the flaw, and push their argument past all logic.
There's a legal case I reference in the first part of the paper, to illustrate that money is actually nothing more than bank-created debt. It's a case that occurred in MN back in '68, where one J. Daly sued to prevent a foreclosure. The original basis of his argument was that the debt was illegal, because the bank did not loan him someone else's money, but instead created the money out of thin air.
This part is absolutely true. The president of the bank testified in open court that it is true. The Federal Reserve used to publish a booklet saying the same thing. (And there are plenty of people out there saying they quit publishing it because it told money's dirty little secret. There are others who try to discredit the booklet by saying the Federal Reserve chose its wording poorly. I don't know about you, cobber, but I find an argument that the system is fine because the Federal Reserve is incompetent do be less than convincing. Anyway...)

But it's what happens next...
The court is a local Justice Court, with a Justice of the Peace presiding. The justice has very specific limits on what kinds of cases he can try, and this case is outside those limits. Not only does he ignore a higher court injunction, but he goes so far as to declare all bank debt null and void because it's unconstitutional on the grounds that private banks cannot create money. This penny-ante JotP claims to have a legal opinion worth more than the Supreme Court. When the higher courts come down on him, Daly is his attorney. Faster than you can say conflict of interest, Daly was disbarred. Justice Mahoney died within 6 months of the case, and didn't the conspiracy theorists have fun with that! And this is my point.

Because some loud people think that Mahoney was killed, and because a tax-dodging lawyer tried to find legal justification for his actions by indicting the Federal Reserve, any discussion of money that cites this case has to either ignore, defend, or deflect accusations that have nothing to do with the merits of the important part. And, because Daly has been painted as a crank (I just did it myself, and I never met they guy) it makes anything he says suspect.

The important part of this case, as far as I am concerned, is that the president of a bank stood up in court and, on the record, said that his bank created money out of thin air.

But that simple but important fact is tainted because a couple of the players pushed it too far, and a few nutjobs put their shoulders to the wheel of insanity. It's no secret that I am a conspiracy buff, to a certain extent. I disbelieve a lot of conventional wisdom about a lot of things. That doesn't mean I swallow every new conspiracy theory whole. I just feel there are important questions that have not been answered to my satisfaction (like where exactly is the plane? If you know what I'm talking about, you know what I'm talking about; if you don't, it wouldn't help either of us for me to explain).

We were doing peer-editing on a paper this week, a compare/contrast paper using 2 sources on the same subject as our final. At least one person refused to even try to edit my paper because they felt the subject material would be beyond them. They didn't understand that they didn't have to know anything or care about the subject -- they just needed to see if I did a good job comparing, contrasting, and most importantly, citing my sources. This person asked my why I wasn't studying to become an economist. "Because I'm fascinated by it, but I don't want to make it my career. And because the very first thing they would do, would be to drill all the heresies out of my head, or fail me if I clung to my belief that the system is profoundly dysfunctional in and of itself."

In and of itself. Hmmm. This has been a common thread in discussions lately, I think I've used this phrase 6 or 7 times -- 15 or 20 if you count rough drafts.

In my previous post I tried to put together a poem centered on a comment I made because I had been thinking about the old quote by James Branch Cabell (who is frequently referenced by Larry Niven, btw, thus lending a pleasant circularity to this entry) "An optimist believes we live in the best of all possible worlds, a pessimist knows this is true". I dont think it really captured the point I was hoping to make. So here's the line that started it all, the bit that was lost in translation from aphorism to acrostic:

What a terrible world this would be if there were no room for improvement.


  1. and, yes, I know exactly which plane. Isnt cool that such a simple reference point, totally innocuous, can be such a strong connect?

    My damn, but you write nice. There's just no other way to put it, it's a pleasure and a treat to read, and I understand almost all of it (with a bit of brisk skimming over the convolutions of non existent money...)

    Thank you for starting this; no matter where it goes, it will go somewhere interesting.

    Now get back to your studies, sir.

  2. Sunday, after sleeping in a bit late and reading the papers, will be devoted exclusively to Math and Science, with perhaps a quick skim of the Psych text. Tuesday I meet with my English teacher to discuss the final paper about money -- I'm hoping to be able to post it here, I'm thinking there's no reason I can't as it's not the kind of homework where posting it gives anything away.

    Thank you for the complement -- it means a lot when someone who's been reading my words for just short of ten years still finds them worthwhile!

  3. honey chile, if you were writing well ten years ago, no reason why you shouldnt be doing the same thing--and better--now. And Im not disappointed.

    It's funny how confusing money can get, and how precious we become over it. We had a neighbor here who, when she deposited money in her account, had the serial numbers written down first and stored in an envelope. All the ones, 5s, 10s, documented. Heaven help the bank if she needed "her" money and they handed her someone else's.