Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Importance of Allowing Citizens Choice in Currency

Richard Ebeling emails:
Earlier this week I participated in the Utah Monetary Summit in Salt Lake City, devoted to discussing the significance of the Utah Legal Tender Act of March 2011, which gave citizens of that state legal right to transact and contract in U.S. gold and silver coins instead of Federal Reserve Notes, as a stepping stone to full choice in currency for the American citizenry.

I have posted on Northwood University's blog, "In Defense of Capitalism & Human Progress," the talk that I gave as the closing after dinner speaker at the event, on "Government Controlled Money or Choice in Currency?"

I discuss the disastrous history with government monopoly paper money, especially during the last century, and the importance of people having the right to choose the money they wish to accept, hold and use, both to protect themselves from the government's abuse of the monetary printing press and as a way to take power away from government to plunder society.
Here's a takeaway from Richard's speech:

The fact is, the modern welfare state is bankrupt. It is bankrupt ideologically; no one really any longer believes that the Interventionist- Redistributive State will bring mankind material happiness or social harmony. Everyone knows that it is nothing more than a vast and corrupt political machine through which, as Frederic Bastiat said long ago, everyone tries to live at everyone else’s expense.

In the process, the productive capacity of the society slowly grinds to a halt, as more and more people turn from productive self-responsibility to redistributive dependency. It also generates a mental attitude and a political presumption of legitimacy to that redistributive dependence that pervades each and every income group and social category throughout the nation.

Most opinion polls show that a fairly sizable majority of the American people think that government is too big, spends too much, and taxes far too excessively. But once the questions turn to “specifics” of cutting particular government programs, it is soon seen how the tentacles of the welfare state reach into virtually everyone’s pocket.

It is not only that government taxes people in varying amounts to feed the redistributive process. It is also the case that there are few people in the land who do not have some type of money, program, or benefit put into their pockets by government. Most people cannot imagine living without their government redistributive “fix.” And, admittedly, breaking people’s addiction to their government benefits, subsidies, protections, and special favors would and will involve serious withdrawal pains.

This also means that the welfare state is rapidly reaching financial bankruptcy, as well. Neither taxation nor borrowing of private savings can or will be able to cover all the costs of current and future government spending under existing interventionist and redistributive legislation and regulation.

The government may very well, therefore, use its most important financial resource to keep moving the wheels of political spending. Those in political power may more and more turn the handle of the monetary printing press, and they may turn it faster and faster...

Taking away from the government its power of compelling the citizenry to accept money that it monopolistically controls and abuses may serve as an important legal and economic change to force the government and those who live at its spending trough to face the reality of the welfare state’s ideological and fiscal bankruptcy before it is too late to avert a complete collapse of the society.

Choice in currency may be a valuable avenue for helping to restore the American tradition and practice of individual rights, free markets, and limited government under the rule of law. And it can be an important legacy for us to leave to our children and grandchildren, so they may, hopefully, live out their lives in liberty for the remainder of the twenty-first century.
The entire speech is here.

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