“As I had grown accustomed to my expectations, I had insensibly begun to notice their effect upon myself and those around me. Their influence on my own character, I disguised from my recognition as much as possible, but I knew very well that it was not all good. I lived in a state of chronic uneasiness respecting my behaviour,” wrote Charles Dickens at the beginning of Chapter 34 of his novel, Great Expectations.
Phillip Pirrip, aka “Pip,” was brought up to be a blacksmith’s apprentice but in his teens became convinced that he was to be the recipient of a mysterious benefactor and therefore set his sights on becoming a gentleman in London.
Becoming a gentleman was expensive and “I began to contract a quantity of debt,” says Pip. “We spent as much as we could, and got as little for it as people could make up their minds to give us. We were always more or less miserable,” declared Pip, adding that “our case was in the last respect a common one.”
That pretty much describes the state of Europe...and the world...these days. Great expectations have shrunk as the Greek and Spanish crises have expanded.
Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman has written in The Guardian: “After several decades of rising expectations, the present-day newcomers to adult life confront expectations falling – and much too steeply and abruptly for any hope of a gentle and safe descent. If there was bright light at the end of the tunnels their predecessors passed through, there is now a long, dark tunnel stretching behind every one of the few flickering, fast fading lights trying in vain to pierce through the gloom. With prospects of long-term unemployment and long stretches of "rubbish jobs" well below their skills and expectations, this is the first postwar generation facing the prospect of downward mobility.
Even in the United States, there is diminished expectations for what can be expected from the available monetary tools. “The economy seems unable to wean itself from dependence on the Fed’s flow of aid,” wrote the New York Times Binyamin Applebaum several weeks ago. “What began as a one-time jolt in 2008, an unprecedented effort to revive economic activity, has become an uncomfortable status quo, an enduring reality in which savers are punished and borrowers rewarded by a permafrost of low interest rates.”
As expectations fall, the pressure to do more of the same (with better results) expands.
Albert Einstein famously described insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Our current monetary policies then certainly insanity.
In truth, expectations have been deteriorating for some time. Back in 1976, Lewis E. Lehrman wrote in Money in the Coming World Order: “Everywhere the value of money deteriorates. The burden of debt, public and private, mounts ever higher. Money it seems, serves less well as a reliable store of value and the means of payment. In a worldwide exchange economy, money no longer impartially mediates between limited resources and rising expectations. Instead, political power, either of governments or of private corporations and trade unions, more and more shapes and supplants the market economy.”
George Gilder, whose new book publishes today, is one of the original pillars of Supply Side economics. As stated by Discovery Institute, which he co-founded, “Mr. Gilder pioneered the formulation of supply-side economics when he served as Chairman of the Lehrman Institute’s Economic Roundtable, as Program Director for the Manhattan Institute….”
He was the living writer most quoted by President Reagan. And he is back with his most brilliant work yet — one of potentially explosive importance if taken to heart by our political and policy thought leaders. It is a radical guide, with surprising insights on almost every page, to the creation of a new era of vibrant prosperity.
As reviewer Paul Brodsky, a professional investor in New York City, perceptively notes,
"Lewis Lehrman is one of a very small group of contemporary gold advocates able to successfully bridge the gap separating practical conservative intellectualism from fleeting, half-baked idealism. His CV lists great success across many fields including education (degrees and teaching fellowships from Yale and Harvard); industry (past president of Rite Aid); politics (narrow loser to Mario Cuomo in the 1982 New York governor’s race); finance, (past Morgan Stanley managing director); private sector entrepreneur (founder, L. E. Lehrman & Company); public sector advocate (founder, Lehrman Institute); historian (author, Lincoln at Peoria: The Turning Point); and recognized philanthropist (awarded the National Humanities Medal by George W. Bush in an Oval Office ceremony). ... Only someone erudite and elegant in demeanor could hope to pull it off . In an irreconcilably over-leveraged world where irritated bond vigilantes question economic sustainability and angry Tea Partiers protest the immorality of it all, Lehrman’s views are considered and his convictions carry weight. He brings gravitas to his cause, and he does so from within as a member of the club."
Before the Fed: JP Morgan Summons the Bank Presidents
"Finally, on the night of Sunday, November 2, Morgan summoned the presidents of the major New York banks to his new library, at the corner of Madison Avenue and Thirty-sixth Street, an Italian Renaissance-style palace he had built next door to his house to showcase his collection of rare books, manuscripts, and other artwork. Its marble floors, frescoed ceilings, walls lined with tapestries and triple-tiered bookcases of Circasian walnut, crammed full of rare Bibles and illuminated medieval manuscripts, made it an incongruous setting for a meeting of the banking establishment. Once the moneymen had gathered, Morgan had the great ornamental bronze doors to the library locked and refused to let anyone leave until all had collectively agreed to commit a further $25 million to the rescue fund."
— Liaquat Ahamed, Lords of Finance (Penguin Books, 2009, p. 54)
Lately we have been engulfed by headlines reporting financial turmoil on every continent, in almost every nation, large and small. The commissars of central planning who so marred the history of the 20th century have been replaced by central banks in the 21st. In Cyprus, the new leadership now dares to confiscate citizens’ wealth with a one-time tax of up to 60 percent on bank deposits above 100,000 euros. Self-interested prime ministers blame continental monetary policies for instigating the currency wars that they themselves surreptitiously carry on.
Constitution.org provides an extensive and thoughtful Memorandum of Law by Larry Becraft, Esq., of Huntsville, Alabama, on Article I, Section 10, clause 1 of the US Constitution.
Sir William Blackstone courtesy of Wikipedia
One of many interesting matters the Memorandum treats is Blackstone's Commentaries, a book that was a fixture in the...
The value of the yuan has been slowly rising. The value of the Japanese yen has been sharply falling. Abenomics is attempting to reflate the Japanese economic – slowly, slowly. “Japan is back!” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tells the Japanese.
Coming back isn’t easy. The Financial Times’ Jonathan Soble has noted...