DRIGGS, IDAHO – Greetings from our Rocky Mountains bolthole! We’ve got a mixed bag for this week’s Friday mailbag edition…
First, we talk cash and popular resistance… Then, a reader offers an alternative curriculum for our Little School for Libertarian Kids… And finally, the bitcoin debate continues – and my answer today may shock you…
Reader question: You wrote [on October 23], “Cash will become extinct soon. In the future, we’ll say, “Remember when we used paper bills to pay for things?” I have read an awful lot about the coming digital dollar, from you and also others. What I have NOT read is any commentary or speculation about how the mass population is going to stand for this. So I am wondering if you or someone might address these questions.
First, it’s unconstitutional, on at least two points: The first is dead, of course, since the Federal Reserve took over money creation over a century ago. The second is Amendment IV, with its clause about citizens’ right to be secure “in their papers and effects.” If my money isn’t “papers and effects,” I don’t know what is. This is the “privacy” clause.
Then, there is the “unbanked and/or unphoned.” I am not unbanked, but I am unphoned, and I have no intention or desire of ever getting a smartphone. (My PC and flip phone are enough for me at age 81.) If people cannot spend their own money without a smartphone, how do you see this going over with the whole populace?
Don’t you foresee serious popular resistance, maybe even to the point of riots? I wish someone would address this in depth. This is going to be a sea-change, so some sea-deep thinking is needed!
I fear that we’ve become numb and distracted and we now tolerate the reduction in our civil liberties with hardly a second thought. Look at how easily we accepted the TSA.
What next? Might we just lie down and accept negative interest rates and digital currencies? I fear we might.
Reader question: In the October 29 Postcard, you wrote: “We’re also trying to indoctrinate our kids in free market and libertarian principles.” I would recommend taking a different approach. Teach them to reject all ideologies and to adopt good ideas wherever they find them.
I think ideas are the most important thing that mankind has given to the world. New ideas appear as if from nowhere. Ideas can be developed. Ideas can be challenged. Ideas can be changed. Ideas can trigger yet more new ideas. Ideas represent freedom.
I think ideologies of all forms are the most evil thing mankind has given to the world. Ideologies are fixed. Ideologies must be followed. Ideologies cannot be challenged. Ideologies cannot be changed. Ideologies represent incarceration.
Free market capitalism and libertarianism started as ideas but have been turned into ideologies by political groups. I reject all ideologies. I am a pragmatist. If it works, use it – if it doesn’t, then stop using it. Teach your kids to take an interest in all ideas and adopt the ones that work, while rejecting the ones that don’t. Where they came from is irrelevant.
I agree. I read this message to the kids. Ultimately, we’d like the kids to be able to think for themselves. Free market economics seems to be a very useful tool for this because it teaches sound decision-making amid scarce resources. It almost encourages independent thinking…
Reader question: It’s great reading of your travels and seeking out adventure in life to show your kids how to love life at large. I have a question for you regarding the bitcoin debate. I also question its current value. As you said, you can’t really buy anything with it right now… and it is cumbersome to transfer money to an exchange to buy bitcoin itself since banks are opposing this, since they see it as an attempt to defraud people out of their money.
But right now, the most brilliant programmers and software engineers are designing an entire new ecosystem to function when the current system collapses due to the weight of the debt. Getting in on this new ecosystem now is like buying stocks at the start of the bull run in 1980 and holding until 2000.
Would it not be wise to allocate some risk capital to this area of investment, just in case it is a lifeboat to a new “Bretton Woods” system? Keep up the travels and have fun skiing this winter!
I can’t give personalized advice, but generally speaking, this sounds like a wise approach. Like buying a call option on the future…
Do you have a question I didn’t answer today? As always, please write us at [email protected], and I’ll do my best to address as many questions and comments as possible in future mailbags.
– Tom Dyson