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Keynes & Copernicus: Debasement Of Money Overthrows The Social Order And Governments

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Ralph Benko via The Cobden Centre blog,

The United States Senate moves toward the confirmation of Janet Yellen, now posited for next January 6th, as chair of the Federal Reserve System. Let us in this moment of recess reflect on eerily similar observations by two of history’s most transformational figures:  John Maynard Keynes and Nicolas Copernicus.

One of Keynes’s most often-cited observations, from his 1919 The Economic Consequences of the Peace, chapter VI, contains an indictment of policies very like those which the Federal Reserve System has been implementing for the past dozen, and more, years.  These policies in slow motion are, in the opinion of this columnist, at the root of  the very political, social, and cultural dysphoria — uneasiness or generalized dissatisfaction — predicted by Keynes:

Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth. Those to whom the system brings windfalls, beyond their deserts and even beyond their expectations or desires, become ‘profiteers,’ who are the object of the hatred of the bourgeoisie, whom the inflationism has impoverished, not less than of the proletariat. As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery.


Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.

An almost identical point was made almost four centuries before Keynes by iconic savant and polymath Nicolas Copernicus.

Copernicus commenced a study composed for the Prussian and Polish governments around 1525, On the Minting of Money, with these words:

ALTHOUGH THERE ARE COUNTLESS MALADIES that are forever causing the decline of kingdoms, princedoms, and republics, the following four (in my judgment) are the most serious: civil discord, a high death rate, sterility of the soil, and the debasement of coinage.


The first three are so obvious that everybody recognizes the damage they cause; but the fourth one, which has to do with money, is noticed by only a few very thoughtful people, since it does not operate all at once and at a single blow, but gradually overthrows governments, and in a hidden, insidious way.

This does not imply plagiarism by Keynes.  The coincidence between Keynes’s “[To debauch the currency] engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose” and Copernicus’s “[The debasement of coinage] … is noticed by only a few very thoughtful people, since it does not operate all at once and at a single blow, but gradually overthrows governments, and in a hidden, insidious way” is, however, striking.

Keynes, like Copernicus a paradigm-shifter, was himself extraordinarily erudite.  It is not impossible the young Keynes came across Copernicus’s work (which reportedly was first actually published in 1826).   The question as to whether Copernicus’s Essay may have inspired Keynes’s observation must be left to authentic scholars such as Lord Skidelsky.

The similarity may be merely that of “great minds working alike.”  This columnist has found but one direct reference by Keynes to Copernicus.

Keynes (whose thinking was mostly, although not exclusively, opposed to the gold standard) was fascinated by one of Copernicus’s most accomplished scientific successors, Sir Isaac Newton.  Newton, also, achieved iconic status, both for his contributions to physics and, as Master of the Mint of Great Britain, as the architect of the modern classical gold standard. Newton’s gold standard was designed along Copernican principles of close correlation toward nominal and intrinsic value.  It served the world very well for almost 200 years.

Keynes was to have addressed the Royal Society of London’s gathering to celebrate the tercentenary of Newton’s birth, an event delayed by the war.  Keynes died a few months before he could present his remarks.  Maynard’s remarks, Newton, the Man, were presented by his brother Geoffrey (and thus might even be characterized as Keynes’s last words).  A brief excerpt:

Why do I call [Newton] a magician? Because he looked on the whole universe and all that is in it as a riddle, as a secret which could be read by applying pure thought to certain evidence, certain mystic clues which God had laid about the world to allow a sort of philosopher’s treasure hunt to the esoteric brotherhood.



[H]e became one of the greatest and most efficient of our civil servants. He was a very successful investor of funds, surmounting the crisis of the South Sea Bubble, and died a rich man. He possessed in exceptional degree almost every kind of intellectual aptitude – lawyer, historian, theologian, not less than mathematician, physicist, astronomer.



As one broods over these queer collections [of Newton's alchemical writings, which Keynes collected], it seems easier to understand – with an understanding which is not, I hope, distorted in the other direction – this strange spirit, who was tempted by the Devil to believe at the time when within these walls he was solving so much, that he could reach all the secrets of God and Nature by the pure power of mind Copernicus and Faustus in one.

As for Copernicus, On the Minting of Money has been translated into English several times yet those translations remained difficult to obtain for students of the monetary arts and sciences.  It has remained mostly the property of elite historians.  Scant and intriguing references were limited to all-too-brief articles such as “Treatise On the Minting of Coin and Copernicus views on economics” by Leszek Zygner of  Nicolaus Copernicus University.

The full text of Copernicus’s fascinating and invaluable essay remained elusive, that is, until last month.

Laissez Faire Books published a meticulous and fresh English translation from the Latin, with prefatory remarks, bibliography, and invaluable critical apparatus by classicist Prof. Gerald Malsbary. (The volume was co-edited by this columnist and by his  fellow columnist Charles Kadlec, with a foreword by Reagan Gold Commissioner Lewis E. Lehrman, whose eponymous Institute this columnist professionally serves).

From Prof. Malsbary’s Prefatory Remarks to Copernicus’s Essay on Money:

NICOLAS COPERNICUS the astronomer embodies the modern scientific ideal: the revolutionary revealer of a new, verifiable scientific theory that shocks our conventional perceptions. However, it is not very widely known, outside of Eastern Europe at least, that Copernicus also spent about twenty years working on economic theory. His treatise On the Minting of Money (Monetae Cudendae Ratio), was first printed in 1826, three hundred years after its composition in 1525–1526. At the time, the semi-autonomous ecclesiastical region between Poland and Prussia where he lived (Varmia) was undergoing a political and economic metamorphosis, and his judgment and expertise (a fruit of the best late Scholastic and Humanist learning) was summoned by the Prussian and Polish governments to help stabilize an inflated currency. Was his insight into monetary matters as revolutionary as his astronomy?

Keynes: “The process [of debauching the currency] engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”  Copernicus: “[The debasement of coinage] … is noticed by only a few very thoughtful people, since it does not operate all at once and at a single blow, but gradually overthrows governments, and in a hidden, insidious way.”

Malsbary: “Was [Copernicus's] insight into monetary matters as revolutionary as his astronomy?” In a word, yes.

Madame Yellen?  Whether one follows Keynes or Copernicus … it is time to return to the principle of meticulous monetary integrity — as exemplified by the classical gold standard — to restore legitimacy both to to the social order and to government.


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Sat, 12/28/2013 - 19:51 | 4282417 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

Gee Keynes wasn't 100% full of shit... who would have thought.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 19:49 | 4282420 Jannn
Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:25 | 4282472 knukles
knukles's picture

But he remained silent upon tragedies of the penile type.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 15:51 | 4283579 Joe Sixpack
Joe Sixpack's picture

Copernican Principle overturned:


Keynes next?

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:02 | 4282437 dudeman
dudeman's picture

Keynes was actually against flexible exchange rates and it's not fair to take what Krugman thinks as Keynes' viewpoints. I don't agree with Keynes' view of government, but his ideas were grossly distorted by those who wanted to use them to push their own political points. Hayek actually pointed out how Keynes's ideas would be perverted by Socialists several times. Keynes wasn't quite as Socialist as people think he was; not even close. Keynes actually believed the budget should be balanced most of the time. If you take a look through Milton Friedman's books, Friedman uses a lot of Keynes' ideas on inflation. Friedman also talks about how Keynes's views have been perverted. There are lots of good reasons not to like Keynes, but I don't think it's fair to just attack the guy personally and put words in his mouth when he didn't belive 90% of what we call Keynesian economics.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:41 | 4282493 Arius
Arius's picture

taking it a step further if I may, I for one, do not think that one should take what Krugman says as Krugman's viewpoint ....

churchill has been quoted as saying that when talking to Keynes was like talking to 3 people, Yes, No, and Maybe ... go figure ...

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:42 | 4282499 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

First "Newton, the Man," then "Keynes, the Man":

John Maynard Keynes, the man—his character, his writings, and his actions throughout life—was composed of three guiding and interacting elements. The first was his overweening egotism, which assured him that he could handle all intellectual problems quickly and accurately and led him to scorn any general principles that might curb his unbridled ego. The second was his strong sense that he was born into, and destined to be a leader of, Great Britain’s ruling elite. Both of these traits led Keynes to deal with people as well as nations from a self- perceived position of power and dominance. The third element was his deep hatred and contempt for the values and virtues of the bourgeoisie, for conventional morality, for savings and thrift, and for the basic institutions of family life. ... 

That Keynes was a Keynesian ... is the only explanation that makes any sense of Keynesian economics. Yet Keynes was much more than a Keynesian. Above all, he was the extraordinarily pernicious and malignant figure that we have examined in this chapter: a charming but power-driven statist Machiavelli, who embodied some of the most malevolent trends and institutions of the twentieth century.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 21:14 | 4282536 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

Economist 1: Work, Save, use capital to invest in productive enterprises.

Economist 2: WHEEEEEEE! Unicorns! Skittles! Buy voted! POWER! Asset bubbles to ride and profit on! War! More lands, More profits!

Hard to believe the Austrian Skool never caught on...

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 22:58 | 4282640 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

Yes, we Austrians are so behind the times.

No wait . . .

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 00:01 | 4282731 Clowns on Acid
Clowns on Acid's picture

Yeh...he definitely liked getting ducked up his ass.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 10:15 | 4283023 drstrangelove73
drstrangelove73's picture

No.Only a plagiarist

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 19:51 | 4282422 putaipan
putaipan's picture

revealing the secrets of monetary debasement more blasphemous than a solar-centric universe? history is being reclaimed by the insurgents.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 19:54 | 4282429 Deacon Frost
Deacon Frost's picture

Refer to the ‘The Collapse of Complex Societies’ by Joseph Tainter;

which makes the case that monetary debasement was one of the main reasons for the fall of the Roman empire.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:28 | 4282475 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Are you looking for this?

Joseph Tainter: The Collapse of Complex Civilisations

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:44 | 4282501 Deacon Frost
Deacon Frost's picture

Exactly the one for sure

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:31 | 4282476 AUD
AUD's picture

Monetary debasement is the main reason for the fall of all empires.

There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 22:51 | 4282637 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

The cause is the debasement of the population.

The debasement of the currency is just a symptom.

America is the modern example.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 06:39 | 4282937 Al Gorerhythm
Al Gorerhythm's picture

Chicken/Egg, Egg/Chicken.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 10:40 | 4283042 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

I would say cart before the horse, given that debt-driven consumption, as government policy, is destructive of society, turning its members into spending zombies for no other reason than to perpetuate the crony-capitalist status quo.

The result is a public consciousness in which the reptile brain holds sway, both by those doing "God's work" — — and those upon whom this "work" is done.

Whether it ends in extinction, or "merely" in mass die-off, is something we will soon find out, my hope being that enough survive the holocaust to begin anew, the remnants of civilization being sufficient for them/us to do so.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 19:55 | 4282426 AUD
AUD's picture

Keynes quote is perceptive. What he leaves out is that "not one in a million is able to diagnose", because money has powerful effects on human behaviour. It is the one, & only, thing you cannot have too much of. It's called constant marginal utility.

Christina McDowell might have got scammed by her dad, but she'll still do anything for money.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:14 | 4282456 max2205
max2205's picture

Yellen:  in a minute, I am douching the beaver

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:17 | 4282461 Yes We Can. But...
Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture


Sat, 12/28/2013 - 19:54 | 4282428 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

I'll never forget my first and only lecture given to me by a Professor from India in which he said "the Sun is very hot, the Sun is very big, the Sun is very luminous." If were to go strictly by the power of observation alone this of course would be "seen" as categorically false. The sun might "warm us"...but it does burn us to cinders as fire wood. The sun is very bright...but it does not blind us upon its rising and setting. And clearly "the sun is not bigger" as we can see our land and see that our land is much bigger than the sun...which we can clearly measure. that's why Copernicus matters so much to Planet Peon...he got a lot of things wrong...but he got one VERY important thing right. The Sun is FRIGGIN' HUGE. And we are...a thousand years later...and we still don't "get it." All the energy we need is literally being given to us free everyday. But some hopeless corrupt convoluted dipshit "really is gonna succeed at putting the genie back in the bottle." Good luck...'s_Canon

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 06:47 | 4282940 Al Gorerhythm
Al Gorerhythm's picture

Either you're stoned, I'm stoned, or you stopped one with your head. WTF are you on about? Seriously, I'd like to know.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 19:57 | 4282431 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Just proves that times haven't changed.  Copernicus had to stay one step ahead of the banking establishment if he wanted to keep receiving a steady paycheck!

Which is probably why scientists and engineers that don't commit fraud in there occupations like some we know in the 21st Century, are always the most sincere and have the best ideas most important among them on stable money so that they can continue to do the pioneering work they do for a living in the interest of humanity -rather than on behalf of religious leaders, sovereign king or military zealots.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:19 | 4282463 AUD
AUD's picture

Scientists don't - generally - commit fraud because they don't deal in 'money' & so don't have the ability to influence the behaviour of others. You don't get a blowjob for elucidating the genome of a bacteria.

Scientists do sometimes commit fraud if there's money in it though, like a juicy government grant.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 21:29 | 4284197 Clowns on Acid
Clowns on Acid's picture

Oh ya mean like Global Warming..... with payments from Al Gore?

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:02 | 4282436 Vidar
Vidar's picture

Rothbard mentions Copernicus' work in his "Economic Thought Before Adam Smith", in chapter 5, page 165 of the 2006 edition:


"Copernicus turned his attention to monetary affairs when King Sigismund
I of Poland asked him to offer proposals for reform of the tangled currency of
the area. Since the 1460s, Prussian Poland, where Copernicus lived, was the
home of three different currencies: that of Royal Prussia, the Polish kingdom
itself, and that of Prussia of the Teutonic Order. None of the governments
maintained a single standard of weight. The Teutonic Order, in particular,
kept debasing and circulating cheaper money. Copernicus finished his paper
in 1517, and it was delivered to the Royal Prussian Assembly in 1522, and
published four years later.
Copernicus' proposals were not adopted, but the resulting booklet, Monetae
cudendae ratio (1526) made important contributions to monetary thought. In
the first place, Copernicus strengthened the exposition of 'Gresham's law'
first set forth by Nicole Oresme a century and a half earlier. Like Oresme he
began with the insight that money is a measure of common market value. He
then proceeded to show that, if its value is fixed by the state, money fixed
artificially cheaply will tend to drive out the dearer. Thus Copernicus declared
that it is impossible for good full-weighted coin and base and degraded
coin to circulate together; that all the good coin is hoarded, melted down or
exported; and the degraded coin alone remains in circulation. He also pointed
out that in theory the government could keep adjusting the legal values of
two moneys in accordance with fluctuating market values, but that in practice,
the government would find this too complex a task.
In the course of his discussion, Copernicus also became the first person to
set forth clearly the 'quantity theory of money', the theory that prices vary
directly with the supply of money in the society. He did so 30 years before
Azpilcueta Navarrus, and without the stimulus of an inflationary influx of
specie from the New World to stimulate his thinking on the subject. Copernicus
was still being a theorist par excellence. The causal chain began with debasement,
which raised the quantity of the money supply, which in turn raised
prices. The supply of money, he pointed out, is the major determinant of
prices. 'We in our sluggishness', he maintained, 'do not realize that the
dearness of everything is the result of the cheapness of money. For prices
increase and decrease according to the condition of the money.' 'An excessive
quantity of money', he opined, 'should be avoided.'"

So this was know to real scholars for some time.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:10 | 4282454 Motorhead
Motorhead's picture

Good find, Vidar.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 15:21 | 4283520 Gromit
Gromit's picture

@ Vidar  .....too complex a task"....  Yes, Christina Fernandez de Kirchner is finding this out in Argentina today. The official exchange rate is 6.48 to the dollar, the "blue" rate is 9.99.

Good for Argentinians and foreginers who can source dollars - great time to visit Argentina!


Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:04 | 4282441 proLiberty
proLiberty's picture

"In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves.

"This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists' antagonism toward the gold standard."

From the last two paragraphs of Gold and Economic Freedom by Alan Greenspan. 1966.


Sun, 12/29/2013 - 16:21 | 4283660 StormShadow
StormShadow's picture

Great post. Yes, Greenspan was a gold bug back when he was still Anakin Skywalker, before the Dark Side overtook him.

I wonder how much gold even someone like Bernanke and others of his ilk personally hold. Something tells me it s significant.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:05 | 4282443 dick cheneys ghost
dick cheneys ghost's picture

"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance."

President James Madison

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 03:26 | 4282868 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

dcg, last time you quoted that,

this was pointed out by a ZHer:


"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." was from Olive Cushing Dwinell (1946). The Story of Our Money. Boston, Massachusetts: Meador Publishing Company. p. 71. This is in an author's note following a quote by Alexander Hamilton. After the author's note there is the sentence "From Writings of Madison, previously quoted. Vol. 2, Page 14." This is apparently an editor's error since the note is clearly Dwinell's.

Of course, despite that misattribution, the statement is CORRECT!

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 03:39 | 4282875 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

and yet a lot of ZH'ers hate bitcoin which takes the control and issuance away from government...  fools..  their gold has been controlled and they pout and do nothng



Sun, 12/29/2013 - 12:26 | 4283168 Tinky
Tinky's picture

Ironically, you are the one who is being both petulant and dense. "A lot of ZH'ers" remain skeptical of Bitcoin's long-term viability, while fully appreciating the theoretical value of what it is (purportedly) attempting to accomplish.

In other words, very few if any ZH Bitcoin skeptics "hate" it; they simply aren't convinced that it is either trustworthy and/or a wise investment at this still relatively early stage of its development.

If you'd bother to take a step back and review the Bitcoin dialogues on ZH, what you'd find is that, predictably, shrill and/or hyperbolic BC proponents such as fonestar and yourself actually undermine the potential for thoughtful dialogue, and as a result degrade any promotional efforts. The contributor seek, in stark contrast, refrains from launching ignorant attacks on those who disagree with him, while patiently and articulately explaining why he believes BC to be promising, and how it works. That is effective promotion.


Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:05 | 4282448 Racer
Racer's picture

We have SatansEcho to follow the ChairSatan,

Ummm, I am a bit over-adrenalised right now, I need help, someone, anyone...

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 21:57 | 4282575 bobert
bobert's picture

Maybe she'll become enlightened and your worries will be over.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 00:24 | 4282755 el Gallinazo
el Gallinazo's picture

Not very likely.  It only happened once in the last century - JFK.  But the banksters have ways of dealing with a politician they select who goes "rogue" and takes his oath to the people seriously.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:35 | 4282462 J S Bach
J S Bach's picture

Is the writer of this article really that stupid that he puts forth at the end...


"Madame Yellen?  Whether one follows Keynes or Copernicus … it is time to return to the principle of meticulous monetary integrity — as exemplified by the classical gold standard — to restore legitimacy both to to the social order and to government."

C'mon, man.  Yellen, Bernanke, Greenspan, ad infinitum... are all part of that diabolical .01% who KNOW all of these truths.  They are put into their positions precisely BECAUSE they know.  They are in on the fix.  Soulless usurers who, for millenia, have been bilking the sheeple when and wherever possible.

And this part - " restore legitimacy both to to the social order and to government."

The only way they can do this is by abolishing the Fed and returning to non-debt-based currency.  Do you really think anyone nominated is going to actually suggest that?!

Wake up.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 21:07 | 4284160 Rafferty
Rafferty's picture

Don't talk to me like that.....I've woken up.  Only problem is that I was nearly forty years too late,

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:22 | 4282470 A Lunatic
A Lunatic's picture

Just say no MOAR.........

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:28 | 4282480 I Write Code
I Write Code's picture

People have been debasing currency about as long as there has been currency, it was no great insight by Copernicus (or Keynes) but a standard lesson of Roman history, among other things.

These days we like a little inflation, we'll take a little blue pill if we have to.  We like a little debasement, too, or at least The Bernank gotta have some whatever comes after.  Or take the Rose Parade, please:

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 21:16 | 4282542 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Currency debasement is as old as currency itself, the first users of any "new money" always make out like the bandits they are. They are the elite & the privileged (from politicians & bureacurats to their cronies). The losers are always the savers, the workers & the poor...the last to touch "new money".

There is a lesson in there...but I won't destroy an otherwise good thread to bing it up ;-)

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 20:36 | 4282492 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Out of respect for the position of Federal Reserve Chairperson you should always refer to them as Pedophile Ben Bernanke or Pedophile Janet Yellen--just to be clear.

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 21:07 | 4282529 DOGGONE
DOGGONE's picture

Look at the severe deceptions by omission done to the people!
This status quo is INDEFENSIBLE, by any/all of the following:
Financial sector
Holders of elected office

The public seeks leadership, but they beget leadershit.
Remember that line, something like "He is a good guy, except when it comes to money."

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 21:25 | 4282549 ozzzo
ozzzo's picture

I was on board until the last sentence. Restore legitimacy to government? You should have stopped at "In a word, yes.'

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 21:27 | 4282550 Dewey Cheatum Howe
Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

off topic but of interest.

Record High in U.S. Say Big Government Greatest Threat Now 72% say it is greater threat than big business or big labor


The prior high for big government was 65% in 1999 and 2000. Big government has always topped big business and big labor, including in the initial asking in 1965, but just 35% named it at that time.


Sat, 12/28/2013 - 21:38 | 4282561 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

Paper gold is the equivalent of buying a time share apartment in the belief that you are buying freehold. Fiat is much the same thanks to the fractional reserve banking and the government's proclivity in producing more of it through debt creation.

By the way, I found the follwoing piece written by Keynes in 1933 quite intriguing:


Sun, 12/29/2013 - 01:20 | 4282810 WTFUD
WTFUD's picture

Did Copernicus write anything on intimidation, threatening and sacrificial killings?

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 13:11 | 4283248 Tinky
Tinky's picture

Can't answer your question. However, he was, apparently, read and awkwardly paraphrased by Donald Rumsfeld...

"To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge."

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 02:48 | 4282857 GreatUncle
GreatUncle's picture

The abuse of the Keynes mechanism by those in power lining their own pockets from the wealth of a population  is what in fact overthrows governments!

When they implement Keynes they always cautiously ensure even in a bad year they will profit and never lose.

This never losing means continually skimming away at the total value eventually they own it all. UNAVOIDABLE.

This is their flaw, a flaw of greed tbh so that removing the 1% achieves nothing but a reset until the next 1% do exactly the same. POINTLESS BUT PROBABLY NECESSARY for the 99%.

In the current model, this safety margin was set at 2%. Well 2% YOY after 50 years you will have accumulated 100% of the value and game over. 1970's. Yep seen it then, the west run by central banks ran into an economic  brick wall. After that, again still not prepared to ever lose YOY they carried on but now they are driving the level of sovereign debt ever upwards.

In every civilisation there has ever been this underlying concept of eventually owning it all and leaving nothing for others always ends up the same way. So history does not repeat itself or rhyme just a natural state of the 1% doing as they always do with the same dam set of outcomes.

Go figure a flaw in humanity because it will affect whoever becomes the 1% and the eventual demise of any civilisation because of it.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 16:12 | 4282889 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Interesting history in that article, but still grossly superficial when it comes to its bullshit "solution:"

"... it is time to return to the principle of meticulous monetary integrity — as exemplified by the classical gold standard — to restore legitimacy both to to the social order and to government."

"The principle of meticulous monetary integrity" is ridiculously out of touch with the reality that the world is being controlled by lies, backed by violence. Such a principle floats free of any entanglement with the real definition of money, which is measurement backed by murder. Money is produced by human beings, in the context where human beings operate organized systems of lies and robbery. Relative monetary integrity is only temporarily possible, during the relatively brief periods after an empire has been formed, with a still relatively sane and stable sovereign, that can enforce that principle of monetary integrity.

However, that sovereign power's "rule of law" suffers from the paradox of enforcement, that nobody guards the guardians (except maybe the longer term consequences of natural selection upon the society as a whole.) In the shorter terms, the dynamic equilibria between the different systems of organized lies and robberies becomes more and more unbalanced, as one of those systems becomes more triumphant by becoming relatively better at being dishonest and backing that up with coercion. Our privatized fiat money-as-debt system has already done that ...

The "gold standard" is simply old-fashioned silliness, or nostalgic nonsense. It is impossible to go backwards. Indeed, the bigger problem is the degree to which we already see things way too backwards! The chronic political problems have always been that the debt controls were backed by the death controls. All private property was based on staking claims, and then backing those claims up with coercion. To the limited degree that, for a while in the spirals of history, there was relatively sane and stable sovereign power, that could enforce its "rule of law," then the illusions surrounding private property may be believed in by more people, and may be relatively real during their life times, in their personal circumstances.

However, it was always the history of warfare that made and maintained the sovereign powers in the first place, and no private property exists outside of some system of public violence. Possession of gold depends upon being able to possess anything, in the sense of there being a workable "rule of law." However, that is precisely the problem behind an over-simplistic gold standard solution, which deliberately ignores that aspect of the necessary organized violence to back up any claims to private property. Meanwhile, the tendencies of the runaway triumphs of those doing that are the background problem, which is being pushed into the foreground more and more, during our current times.

The real world is already a globalized system of electronic fiat money frauds, backed up by the threats of the use of atomic bombs, and other weapons of mass destruction. That has become way, way more insane than anything that previously existed in human history, and nothing from human history provides anything remotely close to comprehending such problems, which have become trillions of times worse than ever before.

A conservation of matter standard for money is ridiculously old-fashioned. A conservation of energy standard for money might may sense. However, the study of general energy systems, as manifested by human civilizations, explains HOW and WHY we have the problems that exist today, that the history of War Kings created sovereign states, which were covertly taken over by the Fraud Kings, those who run the Central Banking systems.

A conservation of energy standard for money could theoretically make more sense, because it can embrace the old-fashioned conservation of matter standards that approximated that in the past. A conservation of energy standard for money could be theoretically integrated into the natural world's natural laws. However, when one actually looks at human energy systems, then one perceives HOW and WHY the history of civilization was primarily driven by warfare, where success depended upon deceits, which was HOW and WHY we actually ended up with a monetary system based on the maximum possible frauds. The surviving War Kings had their power to tax, which is what made their money have meaning, because they could back up the measurement made by that monetary system by murdering those who resisted their "rule of law." The best organized gangs of criminals, the biggest gangsters, the international banksters, were able to create fundamentally fraudulent accounting systems on top of that previous history of fundamentally deceitful sovereign powers.

The goofballs who recommend the facile solutions of returning to a gold standard for money tend to want to believe in the same old-fashioned fundamental dichotomies, and their related impossible ideals, which enables them to deliberately ignore the main social facts, by proposing things that "we should do" regardless of the practical impossibility within the real political conditions, for actually doing that. Who is going to enforce that, and regarding whomever does, who stops them from running amok with their power ???

In fact, governments are the biggest organized crime gangs, which are controlled by the best organized gangs of criminals. For a while, in their rise and fall, they can pretend more successfully that they are something else, and more people will accept that pretense. However, it is never the case that private property does not depend upon some system of public violence, and therefore, all monetary systems are always measurements backed by murders.

Hence, the deeper problem with respect to "the principle of meticulous monetary integrity" is that would actually depend upon there being a meticulous integrity in the murder system, which backed up that money. Nice in theory, but not readily possible after the established systems are headed into their decline and fall phases, due to having too successfully operated their kinds of lies, backed by violence, for too long. The monetary system actually depends upon the biggest bullies' bullshit social stories being enforced, however the contradictions caused by doing that tend to get bigger!

In fact, we have already pushed the established monetary systems through the phases of debt slavery, into generating numbers which are debt insanities. Therefore, we are already on the verge of historical forces precipitating unprecedented death insanities as the consequences from that. The only theoretically possible ways that we could ameliorate that is IF we could catalyze the transformations towards a new system of death controls, to back up new systems of debt controls, because REAL MONEY IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE PRODUCED BY HUMAN BEINGS ENGAGED IN MEASUREMENTS, BACKED BY MURDERS.

Nicely sublime notions about money as measurement of gold, or any other form of private property, tend to be based on deliberately ignoring the paradox of enforcement, and the tendency for the best organized gangs of criminals controlling the government to experience final failure from too much success. In the contemporary context, that is manifested as the banksters' fiat money frauds running amok. However, going back to the old-fashioned concepts of the conservation of matter, in the form of gold, etc., that can not be created out of nothing, nor sent to nothing, is grossly inadequate in a world where it has been proven that matter is a form of energy, by the fact that atomic bombs go boom!

In my view, there is practically no chance of enough human beings understanding general energy systems radically enough to cope with what has happened to civilization during my life time, since the overwhelming vast majority of them are not remotely close to doing that, and not even remotely close to wanting to do that. Instead, the vast majority of human beings still want to go backwards, towards some old-fashioned religions or ideologies, as somehow providing the solutions. Indeed, here upon Zero Hedge, I find that although the articles and comments are much more worthwhile to read than almost anywhere else that I am aware of presently, the bogus "solutions" that usually are presented at the tail end of relatively good analysis of the problems almost always are disappointing.

There can not be an honest money system without an honest murder system to back that up. There could not be a sound money system, without a sound murder system to back that up. Relatively honest and sound murder systems, operated by sane and stable sovereign powers, only relatively exist during some periods of history, which tend not to last too long within the spirals of the rise and fall of civilizations.

In that context, exhortations to miraculously go backwards, to something that relatively existed for a while in history, as somehow being genuine solutions, is quite ridiculous, since it is so utterly unrealistic. The REAL problems now are that electronics and atomic power, et alia, all EXIST. The only solutions which might make theoretical sense would require a monetary system which was as completely consistent with more scientific understanding of general energy systems as possible.

However, such an adequate transformation of our society towards becoming a more scientific society appears quite laughable, at the present time, since our society is operated by ruling classes which depend upon systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, which depend upon the vast majority of people being kept ignorant and afraid in order to continue operating. THAT is the actually already existing social pyramid system that is being pumped up and up by sciences and technologies providing capabilities and powers to some human beings that are trillions of times BIGGER than ever before in human history.

Meanwhile, most of humanity continues to look backwards, in one way or another, and recommends various kinds of backward solutions to our problems on that basis. Therefore, I presume that the real future will require the established systems continuing to go madly self-destructive, and collapse themselves into chaos, as their debt insanities drive death insanities. I would like to recommend that we should be going through more profound paradigm shifts in the philosophy of science, that apply to politics, so that we could change the ways that we operate our death controls, because there are no other solutions which are sufficient to evolving better human ecologies, which could be integrated with industrial ecologies, within natural ecologies ... Ah but, too bad, so sad, most of those are going to very likely continue to destroy themselves, as we turn past the point where more exponential growth is no longer possible, which tipping point in history appears to be getting closer, faster!

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 06:11 | 4282917 falak pema
falak pema's picture

Wowie! ZH publishes something to LAUD Keynes!

This has to be a first timer about-turn in ideological mindset of Libertarian Land. Hats off to you TDs ! 

Thank you for seeing that Keynes was not just a money printing shill, the epitomy of evil; aka what IMO Friedmanista inspired mantra leading to BW revoke became.

Keynes's Bancor would have AVOIDED Triffin's paradox that sank the BW construct in the 60s leading to BW revoke of 1971, and triumph of Friedmanism à gogo, aka monetary brinkmaniship along with petrodollar hegemony à la "Dear Henry".  But that Bancor deal did not fit in with Pax Americana hegemony in the making and Keynes's partner White shot it down in name of FDR's regime. 

To move on to Copernicus's times. The Habsburgs had just inundated the European markets with Aztec gold and silver around 1525. They had also opened up the Joachimsthaler mines in Bohemian Austria part of Habsburg eastern empire. This inordinate dissemination of PM caused extreme strain for its competitors : the Tudors and Valois kingdoms and the Italian city states of Venice and Florence that procured gold and silver for their huge commercial/banking operations; mainly silver; gold from the Orient via Alexandria (Mali mines) or silver from Ottoman Constantinople via its mining possessions in Timisoara (Moravia), Kosovo and Bosnia (Srebrenica & Novo Brdo mines).

Whence the debasement of French and English coins and the mad fluctuations of price of silver as supply moved up and down creating prices to rise and fall and inflation to be born in war torn Europe.

Copernicus, like Da Vinci and Machiavelli, had his eyes opened by Renaissance chimes.

The Renaissance were tipping times politically, philosophically, economically and scientifically; not just artistically.

A bit like present times.

And Keynes is an early Renaissance giant of our modern fiat-crypto currency monetarist age in the making as Pax Americana $ hegemony decays; not saying the PMs won't have a part to play in this. 

Keynes, White, And The Battle Of Bretton Woods - Forbes

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 12:55 | 4283219 RaceToTheBottom
RaceToTheBottom's picture

Don't forget the mines of Banska Stiavnica....

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 11:24 | 4283069 Sashko89
Sashko89's picture

Professor Antal Fekete, of the new school of Austrian economics is the only one of any interest to me.. Austrian economics here in the USA is at a bit of a standstill in my point of view.. Return the real bill doctrine and the discount house, I want to see a full debate between the American Austrians and the new Austrians who suppport the real bills vs rothbards 100 gold reserves argument..

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 11:32 | 4283078 wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

Right on. Mr Fekete explains it better and like no other. I have followed his stuff for years.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 12:17 | 4283151 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Real money...

Too much work to steal.

Fiat is what most professionals prefer.

Blink...there you go. Instant money.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 13:01 | 4283226 Wish Doctor
Wish Doctor's picture

The Section 179 write-off is the ONLY THING that allows the self-employed and small businesses to pay the crushing double-taxation of Schedule SE.

Has anyone here mentioned that it's going away?


Sun, 12/29/2013 - 13:07 | 4283237 Wish Doctor
Wish Doctor's picture

 and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.

The lady doth protest too much.  I was thinking that I'm more like one in a thousand, or at the 99.9th quantile of understanding.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 15:30 | 4283527 Gromit
Gromit's picture

Didn't have Zerohedge back then.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 18:27 | 4283888 Clowns on Acid
Clowns on Acid's picture

Exactly. They didn't have shadow banking or electronic FX swaps between CXB's back then either.

Actually with a total population of say 350MM  in the US, would 1 in every 350 people understand the immorality and fraud of the Federal Reserve since Greenspan ? So...1 out of every million people might be low in present day US.   

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