2/4/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
“Then once more he raised his head, his face alive, his eyes far-focused, burning. He began to talk slowly, as though his lips were metal, stiffening. “The whole damn sandhills is deserted. The cattlemen are broke, the settlers about gone. I got to start all over-ship in a lot of good farmers in the spring, build up–build–build–“
Old Jules’ dying words from the biography entitled “Old Jules” by Mari Sandoz
Today at The Mint, we continue our journey, and we are glad that you are along with us. With the inflationary fruits of five, nay, 100 years of loose monetary policy beginning to destroy the very currencies which gave birth to them, the world will all too soon be left to pick up the pieces and boldly move forward when all hope is lost.
When there is no hope, one must fight to become hope. This is our charge to you, fellow taxpayer. Fortunately, this is far from the first time that mankind has found itself in this situation. For inspiration, we look back roughly 100 years to a man who had a vision for a place that was then, as now, a place that is difficult to inhabit, the sandhills region of Northwestern Nebraska. (The sandhills have appeared in the news as a possible route for the long delayed Keystone pipeline.)
That man is Old Jules.
Old Jules was a Swiss immigrant who settled in the sandhills and, as our title implies, devoted much of his interesting life to “building up the land.” What does it mean to build up the land? Your idea of building up the land probably means something quite different than my idea of building up the land, and we would both probably have visions quite different for building up the land than someone living 100 years ago, like Old Jules.
Yet all of our visions have merit, for the idea of building up the land, while it may manifest itself in any number of different ways, implies working with the land to help it produce.
The whole idea of man being able to help the land to increase its production and that production helping mankind, in turn, to increase their own production (or reproduction, to be precise), is a miracle. For those who inhabit urban settings, it may seem a mystery from a far off place.
Yet it is the command received by Adam and Eve at the dawn of creation.
Man was never meant to sit back and simply eat the fruits passively produced by the land, rather, the creation and mankind were created to have an intercourse, if you will, with the fruit of one producing fruit in the other, and vice versa. Mankind’s activities were meant to be intimately connected to the land. Mankind is to build up the land, and, in return, the land will build up mankind.
While the Victorian Yeoman farmer ideal may immediately spring to mind when one thinks of building up the land, it should be clear to any thinking person that the division of labor is a far more productive and resilient system by which to build up the land and to reap the benefits of such building.
Even in the Yeoman model, the division of labor existed. One fetched wood, another dug and plowed, another prepared food, still another shelter, and another fetched water, and so on.
The division of labor could flourish beyond close knit communal groups, such as families or tribes, only via a system of trade. The concept of trade, which further enables the division of labor to operate, is important not only for the concept of building up the land, but also for the maintenance of peaceful relations amongst communal groups.
The link between mutual trade and maintaining peace between groups is inseparable. In the words of Frederic Bastait:
“If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will.”
If all of these things, building up the land, the division of labor, and the necessity of trade, are to operate, the concept of money, or what is better described as the emergence of a good of the highest order which carries a monetary premium, must be tacitly agreed upon by all groups that engage in trade.
Today, circa 2013, there is something desperately wrong with where the monetary premium is placed today: Central bank credits, or what most of us know as currency, or money. The problem is that they are debt, and not part of the natural world.
Because the monetary premium has been tied to debt, the operation of money, which should serve to build up the land, instead operates to tear it down. The obvious effects of this purely monetary problem have led man, a la Al Gore, to react to effects the environment by treating a limitless myriad of symptoms. The most extreme of which is the cry for conservation. At its extreme, conservation seeks to cut off the intercourse of man and the land, ensuring the ultimate death of both.
What the land needs, however, is neither the over zealous building up which takes place in the debt based monetary system, nor the sterile, hands off idleness called for by extreme conservation agendas.
What both the land and mankind desperately need, is balance. The only way to achieve this balance, is to return the monetary premium to things in the natural realm.
One of our many “inquietudes” (a Spanish word for which a rough English translation would be agitation) here at The Mint is that the concept of money has been removed from the natural realm of coin, currency, or anything physical and naturally occurring (at least at a base level), and has been elevated and attached to the enigma of a debt, which exists purely in the imagination, if not aspirations, of men and women.
The disconnection, while giving rise to advances beyond our imagination, has thrown the earth’s resources wildly out of balance, via the unnatural transfer of control into few hands.
What many Keynesian trained economists praise as a triumph over the shackles of specie money, we lament as perhaps the ultimate delusion of our time. Such is the delusion that nary one in a million men will understand these words.
Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.
Key Indicators for February 4, 2013
Copper Price per Lb: $3.74
Oil Price per Barrel: $96.17
Corn Price per Bushel: $7.34
10 Yr US Treasury Bond: 1.97%
FED Target Rate: 0.15% ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce: $1,667 THE GOLD RUSH IS ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*: 0.25%
Unemployment Rate: 7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI): 0.0%
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 13,880
M1 Monetary Base: $2,455,100,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base: $10,412,500,000,000