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The Zombie Ship of Theseus

The Zombie Ship of Theseus The Ship of Theseus is an old philosophical thought experiment. It asks a question about identity. Suppose you replace all of the boards of a ship with new ones—is it still the same ship? We are not going to try to resolve this millennia-old paradox. Instead, we are going to add one more element, and then tie it to the monetary system. The additional element is what if the replacement boards are adulterated in some way....

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Inflation and Gold: What Gives?

Inflation and Gold: What Gives? In the last Supply and Demand update, we discussed some different theories which attempt to explain what causes the gold and silver prices to move. We mentioned the: “…attempt to hold up a famous buyer of metal, while ignoring the thousands of not-famous sellers who sold the metal to said famous buyer.” Since then, Ireland has bought gold for the first time in over a decade. And predictably, most voices in the gold...

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What’s In Your Loan?

Opposing Monetary Directions “Real estate is the future of the monetary system,” declares a real estate bug. Does this make any sense? We would ask him this. “OK how will houses be borrowed and lent?” “Look at this housing bond,” he says, pointing to a bond denominated in dollars, with principal and interest paid in dollars. “What do you mean ‘housing’ bond’,” we ask, “it’s a bond denominated in dollars!” “Yes, but housing is the collateral.” OK, so...

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Perversity: Thy Name is Dollar

If you ask most people, “what is money?” they will answer that money is the generally accepted medium of exchange. If you ask Google Images, it will show you many pictures of green pieces of paper. Virtually everyone agrees that money means the dollar. Image credit: Cildo Meireles Breaking Down the Dollar Monetary System What does it mean to have a dollar? If you hold a piece of paper with green ink on it, which says “ONE DOLLAR”, you may...

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Rising Fundamentals for Gold and Silver

The Different Theories on What Moves Gold and Silver Prices For example, the Quantity Theory school attempts to relate the quantity (or change in quantity) of dollars, to each commodity. Generally, this theory predicts rising prices based on the reasoning of “more dollars chasing the same or fewer ounces of gold and silver.” The problem is that the new holders of these new dollars are not necessarily bidding up gold and silver (our thorough rebuttal...

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Obituary for the Acting Man

I write this with sadness, still, at the news of the death of my friend Heinz Blasnik. He is better known by his nom de plume, Pater Tenebrarum, who published the economics blog Acting Man and wrote for many other financial sites. I met Heinz twice, at his home in Vienna. He was a kind and gracious host, sending his driver to pick me up and serving Austrian delicacies for lunch. When I met him, he was struggling near the end of a long illness...

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A Look Back at Nixon’s Infamous Monetary Policy Decision

  Putting the World on a Paper Standard Half a century ago one of the most disastrous monetary policy decisions in US history was committed by Richard Nixon.  In a television address, the president declared that the nation would no longer redeem internationally dollars for gold.  Since the dollar was the world’s reserve currency, Nixon’s closing of the “Gold Window” put the world on an irredeemable paper monetary standard. Richard...

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Post-Covid China

    Lessons to be Learned from East Asia The world should take a lesson from how East Asia ran itself in 2020. Japan had no lockdown. None. With an aging population, its death rate has been creeping up for many years. In 2020, it fell by 0.7%, as if Covid-19 was a life-saver. Daily new cases in Singapore – Covid-19 seems to be pretty much under control there. [PT] The Prime Minister of Singapore repeatedly appeared on TV to advise...

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COVID in India

    Scavengers Out in Full Force I have just returned from a visit to my family in India. It was hard to escape. To get to the US from India, I needed a COVID test. The Indian government has seriously restricted who can provide COVID testing, treatment, and vaccination. Private doctors and hospitals that are not approved face brutal legal consequences if they provide COVID treatment. India’s experience with the COVID pandemic was...

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India’s Experiments with COVID-19

  Shooting from the Hip [ed. note: the tweets linked below mainly show videos from various lockdown phases] Reminiscent of his demonetization effort in 2016, on 24th March 2020, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, appeared on TV and declared an immediate nationwide curfew. No one was to be allowed to leave wherever he or she happened to be. All flights, trains (after 167 years of continual operation) and road transportation came to a...

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