Thursday, December 8, 2011

The most precious commodity is confidence

Some would say that gold is the most precious commodity.  Others would say it is oil.  Many would say that corn and rice are more important than either gold or oil.  And still others would say fresh water trumps all the others.  Strong arguments can be made for any of them.

But I disagree and say that confidence in currency is the most precious commodity.  If that is lost, then the economy and our entire civilization whithers and dies.  There are 7 billion people on Earth, far more than could possibly exist on this planet if humanity had not come up with and refined the concept of money. If there is an Armageddon event in mankind's future, it will coincide with the end of the currency era.   I'd throw a round number out there and say a billion people would die within a year if the world's financial markets failed and quit functioning.   And it wouldn't stop there.

Money is a means for people with varying talents, resources, effort, and luck to all take part and contribute to the same economy.  Some grow food, some design machines, some mine for resources,  some take care of the sick and research cures for diseases, some perform menial labor, some keep law and order, we all contribute in some small way to the beehive of activity that is our society.  Not because we are programmed from birth like drones in a hive to fulfill a task, but because we need to trade our time, talent and effort for money so that we can trade the money we earned for things we need to help our families survive and maybe even thrive.  How much money our efforts are worth may not seem fair, but in the aggregate the system works, given the rampant population explosion of humans around the globe these last few centuries.

That is why I don't understand the conservatives who aim to demolish our system of currency in order to start from scratch with something new that works better in theory.  It all sounds so simple to the simple mind but the plan to put the dollar on a diet and truncate spending won't work as intended because it will kill any remaining confidence in the economy which will set in motion of chain of events resulting in economic collapse and failure of the currency system.  When that happens, civilization ends and society goes backward a couple hundred years at least.  I hope you have some chickens in the yard and a well for fresh water if that dream comes true.  If you have a job now, you won't have it then.

Yeah I suppose you could say that it sucks how complicated and unfair and out of control our monetary system has become and you would be right.  But to do away with it now and start over would end our civilization, so be careful what you wish for.  We need to find a way to keep the system of money viable for the near and long term future and to do this we need to grow the economy, not shrink it, to pull us out of this great recession.

And the first ingredient for economic recovery is confidence.  And that is why I can not support any GOP nominee other than Jon Huntsman.  The rest of them don't want to restore American confidence.   They prefer to drag down consumer confidence and instill fear in order to increase their own chance of winning an election.



  1. JM,

    While I would concur with your assessment that Huntsman is the best man for the job, I do have issues with his view on regulation - which in my view requires a return to Glass-Steagall, (or something sufficiently like it). This would be Dodd-Frank, which requires renovation - but not repeal.

    Confidence is certainly a concern, in that people should have confidence in the economic strength of the economy. Where 'confidence' is misused it seems is in the markets - confidence or a lack thereof seems to be driven more by whim than wisdom. Both brokers and ratings agencies need to step back and try the de-caffeinated brands.

    Kind regards,

  2. Good points Sir and thanks,

    I think it is a problem how the markets have become a Casino for investors. Predicting and analyzing long term prospects for a business has become less important than successfully guessing the direction of the day to day fluctations in a stock's value.

    It seems like every day there is a stampede waiting to happen. All it takes to set it off is a nugget of information about revenue or profits or today's news from Washington. Every event gets magnified in significance as many traders use the same information to predict the up and down spikes and make plays on the market like placing chips at a roullete table.

    This environment leads corporations to focus on short term strategies, which are likely not the best strategies for long term prospects of the company and its long term investors. I think a large part of the blame for behavior commonly referred to as "corporate greed" is just the natural outcome of our spastic stock market.