Since 9/11 my curiosity about global politics has been reawakened. Having pretty much ignored politics since my teen years in the late 70’s, a time when I did take a stand by participating in No-Nukes protest rallies and concerts, I find myself once again questioning America’s role in the world and how much we are working for global peace and humanitarian concerns or have instead become the neighborhood bully.
I think all answers to political situations and global relationships are complicated. One concern that I keep returning to is how America’s increased power and presence on the world stage is related to our financial system allowing the US to manipulate their currency and to expand military presence in the post World War II era.
As the years have passed it seems the US has amassed huge global assets and control over the international political field. Since 1913 the Federal Reserve, a quasi public/private entity that works with the US government, enjoys the unique privilege of loaning money to banks and buying and selling bonds. At one time the Feds lending capacity was limited by the requirement that loans were backed in part, at least, by gold reserves. Since the Nixon era these lending standards have been dissolved and the result has been a flood of money into the market that has resulted in the continual build up of private corporate interests including those which supply the government with weaponry for its expanding war machine.
Having the ability to control the interest rates that banks pay to borrow money has allowed a lot of money to flow into corporate interests including industries that make equipment for military use. With all of this money flowing into the hands of corporations, the US, through both private interests and government agencies that supposedly regulate financial dealings, have expanded their influence across the globe.
I have come to view the whole mess as one giant Behemoth that is so out of control that the situation will probably have to run its course until such a time when better minds may prevail to clean up the wreckage that is most likely in our future.
There are some better minds out there who can both accurately describe the monster’s creation, its feeding which allows it to grow and what our world might look like when rid of its strangle hold. Some of these better minds can be found in the Austrian school of economics.
Recently I was asked to review a newly published book by Hunter Lewis, who writes from the Austrian perspective. Free market libertarians, I think, have been wrongly accused of wanting to maintain what today is referred to as Capitalism, but which is more accurately called Crony Capitalism, in which those at the top have garnered privilege through legislation that rewards powerful corporations by eliminating the competition of smaller, locally owned businesses.
The most attractive idea of the Austrian School to me is that they see that limited governments, especially those who can be kept in check from manipulating market forces, will not be able to fund wars, waste natural resources and poison the planet by promoting the cancerous notion of never-ending growth.
Hunter Lewis is one of my favorite economic writers. In his new book, Free Prices Now, he clearly explains how price controls caused by too much government intervention, distort markets resulting in poor allocation of limited resources. So, there’s plenty of unnecessary plastic things in the world, all for the sake of unsustainable growth, and of the course the war machine.
From Against Crony Capitalism:
“Free Prices Now! begins by asking why the human race is still so poor. How can it be that billions still lack even enough to eat? It then provides the answer. A prosperous society is a cooperative society. Cooperation in turn depends on trust. And trust requires honesty.”
Hunter believes the honesty we need today lies in allowing prices to be free to reflect the truth of economic, environmental and global realities. This book is perfect for anyone who is curious about free-market economics and looking to read one book that gives the reader enough of an overview along with the clarity of a detailed description of what a healthy economy would look like.
“The most reliable barometer of economic honesty is to be found in prices. Honest prices, neither manipulated nor controlled, provide both investors and consumers with reliable economic signals. They are the foundation for a successful economy.
A corrupt economic system does not want honest prices, honest information, or honest results. The truth may be unprofitable for powerful government leaders, private interests allied with them, or economic “experts” whose careers have been devoted to price manipulations and controls.
The US Federal Reserve and other central banks have created a system of “liar loans” and false prices. Other parts of government have contributed as well. In effect, the regulators on whom we depend have become dis-regulators.”
This is not solely a political book, but one that focuses on a vision for an economic policy that has not been seen in this country since the Federal Reserve was created to loan cheap money to fund wars and Wall Street. If you’re interested in understanding why no President or Congress has been able to put an end to wars or Wall Street corruption, this book will help you understand why.