Skip to main content

Against the IFP

Centralizing control over a currency’s infrastructure is a seemingly obvious mistake.

One would think any Austro-libertarian worth their salt would be able to see thru such a charade. Yet here we are, again. Face to face with economic illiteracy. Not garden variety lefist economic illiteracy, but one far more stinging and painful - one which comes from within our own community, rather than from without. 

First, Bitcoiners faced the economic illiteracy of maximalism and small blockers. Attempts to masquerade money’s primary function as value storage (Ammous) or rejecting Menger’s Regression Theorem altogether (Szabo) are luckily demonstrably false. Nevertheless, the shock of our fellow Bitcoiners illiteracy was like an unexpected slap in the face. Suddenly, we were forced to confront the fact that the ignorance of our allies in the fight for sound money, had led them astray. Yet, thru BCH we were thankfully able to keep Satoshi’s dream of peer to peer cash intact. 
Well, crypto anarch…

Edward Stringham: Private Governance | Book Review

There is a wide-spread conception - not only among Socialists, but also many Social Democrats and Conservatives - that the market would be driven to chaos if it were not regulated by the State, and that it therefore needs to be "kept in check" through the implicit threat of coercion if it did not behave according to its dictates. In Private Governance, Edward P. Stringham challenges this view, by delineating how the stock market, online commerce, private police and complex financial markets have been well self-regulated throughout history, and that when the State endeavors to take over the task of regulation of this and that industry, the result of the substitution of statutory regulation for self-regulation often turns out as a net negative, as State actors have far less of an understanding of how the industries work and less of an incentive to avoid either too little or excessive regulation.

Though the author's logic seems to endeavor towards favoring a Stateless society, it's no manifesto addressing the most potent objections to such a system (like military and crime [i.e. the questions of how a private police would conduct its business under a Stateless society, and whether there'd be no rules or competition in law and how], such as Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, Market for Liberty by Morris & Linda Tannehill, Chaos Theory by Robert Murphy, The Conscience of An Anarchist by Gary Chartier, The Ethics of Liberty by Murray N. Rothbard, Against the State by Lew Rockwell, and many others have delineated theoretical solutions to), but it's certainly a useful contribution to its literature in terms of what historically has been shown to work in contrast to what theoretically may.

Stringham proves himself to have done a lot of research on the different sides of the debates of the subjects he brings up, formats his citations exactly to my aesthetic enjoyment, and provides a good structure to the content at hand. I'd certainly recommend this work for "central legalists" as Stringham calls them, who thinks the State is the first and foremost institution of arbitration one should approach in order to terminate civil conflicts, and I'd recommend them to check out some of the works cited above as complementary reading material to get more answers to questions in the format of "But without the State, how would X be dealt with?". Certainly, it's also quite good material for libertarians to get more of an understanding of the historical track record of market self-regulations, either out of curiosity or just as fuel for better arguments in debates with central legalists. Either way: Great style, structure and content, as well as informative in an academic, yet layman-friendly manner.

Stefan M. Kløvning is a Norwegian student discussing political, economic, and philosophical matters from an Austro-Libertarian perspective on his blog MisesRevived.


Popular posts from this blog

Global Warming & Economics

Libertarians who deny the existence of global warming run the risk of making us all look like a bunch of illiterate fools.

Much like economics, being ignorant of planetology or climate science isn't a crime, but having a "loud and vociferous" opinion on the subject while remaining in a state of ignorance can be a dangerous thing. And frankly, the science behind climate change is elementary.

Sunlight enters our atmosphere and warms our planet. Earth then gives off that heat in the form of infrared radiation (this is the same principle behind those cool goggles our collapsitarian friends have). However, and this is a crucial point - the CO₂ molecules in our atmosphere do not allow IR to easily escape back into space. This is known as the greenhouse effect. As the temperature of the planet increases, polar ice caps melt and eventually surface water will begin to evaporate. Since H₂0 also prevents IR from escaping our atmosphere, the additional water vapor only compounds th…

Technological Agorism I: Digital Feudalism

We live in the age of digital feudalism.

In earlier times, peasants saw their productive capital rerouted to their feudal lords. Likewise, we modern serfs see the monetary value of our digital presence being rerouted to big tech CEOs. And just as medieval lords used this capital to maintain their elaborate manors & their status in the nobility (thru kickbacks to the monarch), these modern day lords do precisely the same. The advent of tokenization promises to change this.

Big tech has profited enormously from the digital peasantry in two ways. 
They earn money based on the popularity of user-generated content. In other words, we use FB, Twitter, & IG to view content posted not by these companies, but by the individuals who use their platforms. Big tech collects & monetizes our personal data & has been doing so for quite some time. Own Your Content The tokenization of digital content has already started the process of disrupting legacy business models. Seeing as the fir…

The Economics of BTC Maximalism

BTC maximalism is a flawed doctrine, fallacious in numerous respects. 

First, if you'd prefer to hear these arguments in audio, check out this recent episode of ABNP, where @mrpseu & I discused these same topics. 

Also, a qualifier: I'm not capable of making, defending or refuting technical arguments. I'll leave that aspect of the debate to others. My concerns with BTC maximalism are entirely economic and can be divided into four areas. 

Based on the criteria for saleability as laid out by the austrian school, BTC is not the most marketable digital commodity.A lack of portability relative to other cryptocurrencies implies BTC isn't as sound of a commodity. Value storage is a secondary function of money and cannot satisfy the use-value requirement of regression theorem. BTC maximalism lays waste to the Hayekian notion of competition as a discovery procedure. This final point was addressed in detail on episode 50 of The Agora, Crypto-Economics and thus, isn't elabor…