The Austrian Business Cycle

A lecture on the inner workings on the details of the Austrian Business Cycle

This is an excellent video that breaks down the key components of the Austrian Business Cycle(ABC). What is fascinating is the fact as Dr. Johnathan Newman explains this, it is quite evident that events that have occurred over the last 18-24 months(e.g. The Fed injecting egregious amounts of currency into the system due to COVID-19) can be explained using the framework of the ABC.

$300 Silver is Coming?

This is a prediction by Peter Krauth, the author of “The Great Silver Bull”

In an interview with Kitco News, Peter Krauth discusses his book, and his prediction of $300 silver and a $5,000 Gold price. It is an excellent interview, as David Lin provides excellent counter points to challenge Mr. Krauth’s thesis.

The Dollar Milkshake Theory

The United States Federal Reserve will make the dollar stronger against other Western Nations’ Currencies.

Brent Johnson argues that, prior to 2018, global central banks injected liquidity into the “milkshake” of the global market, and now the combination of higher relative interest rates, the deepest capital markets, tax policy, regulatory policy, the US dollar payment system, and the US military has effectively “swapped out a syringe for a straw.”

Johnson argues that the deck of the global monetary system is stacked in the favor of the U.S. dollar, and that it doesn’t matter which central bank starts quantitative easing (QE) – but rather which central bank captures that QE. Watch the interview to explore his thinking in full depth. It’s a masterclass in macro and is perfect for investors of all levels.

Watch the video here, as Real Vision conducts the interview with Mr. Brent Johnson.

It is a macro economic hypothesis that has enough merit to strongly consider. Many of the items are occurring now. For example, the USD, as of the date of this blog entry, is gaining strength after raising interest rates. Other western nations are seeing their currencies have historical lows, as compared to the USD. Other nations are suffering from price inflation that is worse than the United States(at this date). The point: To truly analyze what is going on in the “investment world”, a global macro view is extremely necessary.

Many Economists and Financial professionals are looking at the macro picture with only the United States in mind. “The Dollar Milkshake Theory” reminds us that there is a global marketplace, and the analysis must include emerging markets as well as established nations that are outside of the United States.

Inflation: What is it?

Inflation IS Money Supply Growth, Not Prices Denominated in Money

In this article by Dr. Frank Shostak, he makes the distinction between Inflation, as a monetary phenomenon, versus price inflation. Sometimes the former causes the latter…sometimes it does not.

“Inflation IS Money Supply Growth, Not Prices Denominated in Money” by Frank Shostak

In the recent Wall Street Journal article “Inflation Surge Earns Monetarism Another Look,” Greg Ip writes that a recent surge in inflation is not likely to bring authorities to reembrace monetarism. According to Ip, money supply had a poor record of predicting US inflation because of conceptual and definitional problems that haven’t gone away.

The head of the monetarist school, the late Milton Friedman, held that inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon. Friedman and other monetarists believed that the key driving factor for general increases in prices is increases in money supply.

This viewpoint has come under scrutiny since the early 1980s because the correlation between inflation and money supply disappeared. According to Ip in 2020, Alan Detmeister, an economist at UBS Group AG and formerly of the Fed, found inflation’s correlation to M2 since the early 1980s was weak and its correlation to both the monetary base and M1 was negative. Most economists have stopped using money supply as an indicator for inflation since the early 1980s.

Many mainstream economists have attributed the breakdown in the correlation between the money supply and inflation on the unstable velocity of money. What is it? According to the famous equation of exchange, MVPT, where:

M stands for money,

V stands for the velocity of money,

P stands for the price level, and

T for the volume of transactions.

This equation states that money multiplied by velocity equals the value of transactions. Many economists employ GDP (gross domestic product) instead of PT, thereby concluding that

MV = GDP = P (real GDP).

The equation of exchange appears to offer a wealth of information regarding the state of an economy. For instance, if one were to assume stable velocity, then for a given stock of money one can establish the value of GDP. Furthermore, a given real output and a given stock of money enables us to establish the price level.

For most economists the equation of exchange is regarded as a very useful analytical tool. The debates that economists have are predominantly with respect to the stability of velocity. If velocity is stable, then money is seen as a very powerful tool in tracking the economy. The importance of money as an economic indicator however diminishes once velocity becomes less stable and hence less predictable.

However, an unstable velocity could occur because of an unstable demand for money. Most experts believe that since the early 1980s, innovations in financial markets made money velocity unstable. This in turn made money an unreliable indicator of inflation.

We believe the alleged failure of money as an indicator of inflation emanates from an erroneous definition of inflation and money supply. This failure has nothing to do with an unstable demand for money, and just because people change their demand for money does not imply instability. Because an individual’s goals may change, he might decide that it benefits him to hold less money. Sometime in the future, he might increase his demand for money. What could possibly be wrong with this? The same goes for any other goods and services—demand for them changes all the time.

Defining Inflation

According to Murray Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises, inflation is defined as the increase of the money supply out of “thin air.” Following this definition, one can ascertain that increases in money supply set economic impoverishment in motion by creating an exchange of nothing for something, the so-called counterfeit effect.

General increases in prices are likely to be symptoms of inflation—but not always, however. Note that prices are determined by both real and monetary factors. Consequently, it can occur that if the real factors are “pulling things” in an opposite direction to monetary factors, no visible change in prices is going to take place. If the growth rate of money is 5 percent and the growth rate of goods supply is 1 percent then prices are likely to increase by 4 percent. If, however, the growth rate in goods supply is also 5 percent then no general increase in prices is likely to take place. 

If one were to hold that inflation is about increases in prices, then one would conclude that, despite the increase in money supply by 5 percent, inflation is 0 percent. However, if we were to follow the definition that inflation is about increases in the money supply, then we would conclude that inflation is 5 percent, regardless of any movement in prices.

Defining Money Supply

Prior to 1980, it was popular to employ various money supply definitions in the assessment of the changes in the prices of goods and services. The criterion for the selection of a particular definition was its correlation with national income. However, since the early 1980s, correlations between various definitions of money and national income have broken down. Some analysts believe that this breakdown is because of changes in financial markets, making past definitions of money irrelevant.

A definition presents the essence of a particular entity, something no statistical correlation could ever provide. To establish the definition of money we have to explain the origins of the money economy. Money has emerged because barter cannot support the market economy. Money is the general medium of exchange and has evolved from the most marketable commodity. Mises wrote:

There would be an inevitable tendency for the less marketable of the series of goods used as media of exchange to be one by one rejected until at last only a single commodity remained, which was universally employed as a medium of exchange; in a word, money.

Since the general medium of exchange was selected out of a wide range of commodities, the emerged money must be a commodity. Rothbard wrote:

In contrast to directly used consumers’ or producers’ goods, money must have pre-existing prices on which to ground a demand. But the only way this can happen is by beginning with a useful commodity under barter, and then adding demand for a medium to the previous demand for direct use (e.g., for ornaments, in the case of gold).

Through an ongoing selection process, individuals settled on gold as standard money. In today’s monetary system, the core of the money supply is no longer gold, but rather coins and notes issued by the government and central bank that are employed in transactions as goods and services are exchanged for cash. Hence, one trades all other goods and services for money.

Part of the stock of cash is stored through bank deposits. Once someone places money in a bank’s warehouse, he is engaging in a claim transaction, never relinquishing his ownership of the money. Consequently, these deposits, which are labelled demand deposits, are part of money.

This is contrasted with a credit transaction, where the lender relinquishes his claim over the money for the duration of the loan. In a credit transaction, money is transferred from a lender to a borrower, but the overall amount of money in the economy does not change because of the credit transaction.

The introduction of electronic money seems to cast doubt on the definition of money. It would appear that deregulated financial markets generate various forms of new money. Notwithstanding, various forms of electronic money or e-money, like digital currency, do not have a “life of their own.”

Various financial innovations do not generate new forms of money but rather new ways of employing existing money in transactions. Irrespective of these financial innovations, the nature of money does not change. Money is the thing that all other goods and services are traded for. Once the essence of money is established by excluding various credit transactions, one can identify the status of inflation. Changes in prices are not going to be relevant here.

Conclusion

Contrary to popular thinking, inflation is not about increases in the prices of goods and services but about increases in money supply. Following this definition, we can establish that the key damage caused by inflation is economic impoverishment through the exchange of nothing for something. What matters as far as inflation is concerned is not the correlation between money supply and the prices of goods and service but increases in money supply.

Contrary to popular thinking, the essence of money did not change because of various financial innovations. Money is a thing that is employed as a medium of exchange. Furthermore, according to Mises’s regression theorem, the historical link between paper currency and gold is what holds the present monetary system together.

What is Bitcoin?

Learn the basics of Bitcoin

In this video, it covers some of the basics of the Bitcoin protocol. If you are new to Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin, this video provides an excellent start in your research.

Enjoy!

Flash Loans

What is a Flash Loan?

Flash loans are a feature designed for developers, due to the technical knowledge required to execute one. Flash Loans allow you to borrow any available amount of assets without putting up any collateral, as long as the liquidity is returned to the protocol within one block transaction. To do a Flash Loan, you will need to build a contract that requests a Flash Loan. The contract will then need to execute the instructed steps and pay back the loan + interest and fees all within the same transaction.

The interesting thing about this type of loan: It is done without a need of a third party institution. It is a de-centralized transaction. This is a primary appeal of the world of cryptocurrency.

Here is a video describing the concept:

The Difference between a Cryptocurrency and a Token

In the cryptocurrency universe, the terms–cryptocurrency coin and token–are used interchangeably. While on the surface, they appear the same, they are different. Yes, both are digital assets, using the blockchain technology, however, the differences are detailed in this video below.

A hint: Cryptocurrency coin is the native to the actual blockchain protocol(e.g. Bitcoin, and Ethereum, and the like). Whereas a token is built from smart contracts from the original blockchain protocol.

An article to read more about the differences…link here:

Positive and Negative Liberty

Negative liberty is the absence of obstacles, barriers or constraints. One has negative liberty to the extent that actions are available to one in this negative sense. Positive liberty is the possibility of acting — or the fact of acting — in such a way as to take control of one’s life and realize one’s fundamental purposes. While negative liberty is usually attributed to individual agents, positive liberty is sometimes attributed to collectivities, or to individuals considered primarily as members of given collectivities.

The idea of distinguishing between a negative and a positive sense of the term ‘liberty’ goes back at least to Kant, and was examined and defended in depth by Isaiah Berlin in the 1950s and ’60s. Discussions about positive and negative liberty normally take place within the context of political and social philosophy. They are distinct from, though sometimes related to, philosophical discussions about free will. Work on the nature of positive liberty often overlaps, however, with work on the nature of autonomy.

As Berlin showed, negative and positive liberty are not merely two distinct kinds of liberty; they can be seen as rival, incompatible interpretations of a single political ideal. Since few people claim to be against liberty, the way this term is interpreted and defined can have important political implications. Political liberalism tends to presuppose a negative definition of liberty: liberals generally claim that if one favors individual liberty one should place strong limitations on the activities of the state. Critics of liberalism often contest this implication by contesting the negative definition of liberty: they argue that the pursuit of liberty understood as self-realization or as self-determination (whether of the individual or of the collectivity) can require state intervention of a kind not normally allowed by liberals.

Many authors prefer to talk of positive and negative freedom. This is only a difference of style, and the terms ‘liberty’ and ‘freedom’ are normally used interchangeably by political and social philosophers. Although some attempts have been made to distinguish between liberty and freedom (Pitkin 1988; Williams 2001; Dworkin 2011), generally speaking these have not caught on. Neither can they be translated into other European languages, which contain only the one term, of either Latin or Germanic origin (e.g. liberté, Freiheit), where English contains both.

The rest of the analysis can be read here.

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