All “cryptocurrencies” based on artificial limits are inherently pump-and-dump schemes. If they were true free market currencies, the money supply would grow with demand. Instead, they are artificially restricted. Why? To create the illusion of limited supply and therefore expectation of future scarcity and speculative profit.
They are fiat currencies, based on nothing but this speculation. The Bitcoin price chart shows this. Bitcoin fanboys point to the skyrocketing price as a badge of honor, but all it shows is that it is a speculation, not a store of value. It has no price stability, and cannot be considered a “currency”.
In the short term, the price will keep going up for various reasons. Mining is getting more expensive and less profitable, driving out miners and restricting supply. Use as a pseudo-anonymous money transfer scheme is increasing on the dark web. A method of circumventing Chinese capital controls. An investment vehicle for Chinese with not enough local investment options.
But eventually, people will realize NOTHING holds up the value of Bitcoin. No petrodollar, no USG taxation. And it will collapse, as will the rest of the currencies that will inevitably fork off this one. This is even ignoring the major security and regulatory issues that plague Bitcoin.
Currency is a form of social credit. It’s an implied debt, that someone will pay off with goods & services in the future. This should be the basis of any cryptocurrency, not arbitrary and artificial limits on supply, and fancy math for its issuance.
- You don’t drain the swamp — the swamp drains you. The system swallows everyone whole, even someone as audacious as Trump.
- To get elected, you need support. To get support you need to make promises, which often will include statist actions.
- You need funding. People only donate big money if they will see a financial benefit, which usually involves a government privilege.
- Even small money makes you more susceptible to pressure, because it’s harder to say “no” to someone who has given you money, even if they want a statist policy.
- You have to get along with people: candidates, bureaucrats, civil organizations, unions, the media, voters, etc. That means not rocking the boat. Avoiding hard truths. Not being unpleasant. It’s hard to get the truth out this way. It’s like trying to put out a burning building with your hands tied behind your back.
- Every small compromise leads to a bigger compromise, and so on, until you are fully coopted into the system. If you accept the premise that a little bit of statist action is okay as long as your end goal is the removal of a bigger statist action, you will never be able to see that you are being coopted. In your mind, you are fighting the good fight, but in reality you are merely doing the work of the state, with a fun, but hypocritical, marketing plan.
- Look at the opportunity cost of doing politics. How effective is electoral politics, versus media or business? Lots of energy spent for meager results.
- If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. Politics is dirty and savage. The people in it are assholes. If you get into the game, you have to play hard to win. That means eventually you have to become as nasty and back-stabbing as your competitors. How can you avoid it? By buttering everyone’s bread and going along to get along, i.e. statism.
- Winning is losing. If you win office, you take a salary funded by taxpayers. That is inherently unethical. If you forego the salary, you have to make it up otherwise. If someone funds you, then you are beholden to them, which usually means statism. If you are independently wealthy, then politics is an awful waste of your time. You’d be better off buying professional politicians, than being one yourself. Focus on making more money and funding media and tech ventures to benefit the liberty movement.
- Why hasn’t electoral politics tended to increased liberty, but only increased statism? What fundamental change will happen to reverse this trend? Politics is structured to produce an increase in state power. The simple act of being “in power” demands that one exercise power. If one’s only agenda is to refrain from using power, one will not have it for very long, as someone else will take it. Seeking power to restrain power is a performative contradiction.
Patents not necessary for innovation
Most patents are not litigated. That would be insanely expensive. What ends up is a policy of mutually-assured destruction, where big companies build up patent portfolios as a defensive measure. But this could be accomplished with a voluntarist patent system, where you lose protection of your patents, if you violate anyone else’s.
Most intellectual property is not patented. It is squirrelled away as trade secrets. It lies in the particular operations and tradecraft of millions of businesses. That means most of the innovative power of the economy is not dependent on the government-run patent system. Then we have to question whether the patent system itself is necessary.
Huge costs of patents
The supposed benefits of patents to innovators are the justification for the system. But the costs to innovators and startup businesses are overlooked.
Patent trolls build up massive patent portfolios and litigate against any startup in a particular field, even without merit, as the cost of defending is extremely high. This creates huge uncertainty in entrepreneurship and requires a lot of capital to start up. It is another example of government-mandated capital concentration.
Innovators are more likely to get hammered by a lawsuit, than to benefit from a patent that takes millions to grant and to defend. This means patents are not necessary for innovation and they actively discourage it. This obviates the very reason patents were created in the first place.
The costs greatly outweigh the benefits of the current patent system. And it certainly is not any better than a voluntarist system, that does not rely on violence for enforcement, but only mutal respect of participants’ intellectual property.
Something is different in politics recently. No, not Trump. I mean the global nature of previously domestic politics. In the past, there was a superficial awareness of geopolitics and foreign leaders. But now we have the same emotional, visceral response to other countries’ politicians, that used to be reserved for one’s own. Brexit, Trump, Le Pen, Merkel, Wilders, Orban, Erdogan — have supporters and detractors across the world. There even seem to be the rough outlines of political alignment across boundaries, such as Nigel Farage stumping for Trump.
Social media has certainly contributed to this globalization of discourse. But there is a narrative structure to recent events. A disaffected, right-wing, populist, global “revolution” against the “establishment” is a unifying thread. Both sides of the political spectrum are engaging in cross-border alignments. Is there a deliberate unite-and-rule tactic happening, to drive us into yet another false, left-right paradigm? This time, it is pushing our consciousness to operate on the global level, rather than the national.
We are to believe that there is suddenly a groundswell of opposition to global governance, simultaneously, worldwide. This opposition is momentarily winning, but it is painted in the darkest terms, as something that must be defeated. Perhaps it is just one phase of the dialectic, to get us psychologically prepared for global governance.
Just as with national politics, there is a danger in engaging this new global politics. It is putting our faith, hope, time and energy into these pantheonic figures, completely removed from our lives, which might as well be cartoon characters on a screen. We ignore the local, the immediate, the personal. We should not buy into these false alignments and alliances, as if they are our saviors — a grand revolution around the world.
The real revolution is at home.
Money is a dirty word in the liberty movement. Ironic, for a pro-free-market and free trade ideology. But when theory becomes reality, many recoil at the idea of bloggers doing sales or advertising. Why?
Spending time to make content or technology means taking time away from other activities, whether business or leisure. That time has to be compensated. Yet some act like entitled socialists, expecting this work to be provided for free!
To be fair, some monetization strategies are obnoxious or spammy. But all that means is we need better monetization options. Better technologies. Better feedback and suggestion from audiences of what works and what doesn’t.
For the liberty movement to survive, much less thrive and change the world, it must be economically self-sufficient. If you can’t feed yourself, you can’t change the world. If our activities in pursuit of liberty are not profitable, but only financial drains, we will never grow and advance.
We need more business models around advancing liberty. We need more content, more media platforms, more technologies. With the fake news media collapsing before our eyes, there has never been a better opportunity than now. There is so much pent up demand and very little supply.
We need more liberty entrepreneurs.
Not just from an economic perspective, but from a psychological one as well. It can get depressing focusing only on what the poweful are doing to us. Who wants to be on a constantly losing team, with a victim mentality? It’s time we recognize our own power, take responsibility, and become agents of change.
I am working on several media technology projects with a group of liberty-minded developers and creators. Want to join the effort? Email me at apollo at apolloslater dot com and let’s get to work!