Our “Fiat Future” (June 13, 2011)

. . .

Y          “So we live in an economy driven by ‘fiat money.’  Should we use the money to buy a Fiat car?  You know it is an acronym for ‘Fix It And Trade’?”

X          “Our fiat currency rolls along, but it is not a convertible vehicle.  I would like to fix it and trade, but we are just trading it.  A ’fiat’ is an order and a directive.  The United States Government orders and directs the citizens to accept ‘fiat money’ or ‘fiat currency’ or ‘fiat dollars’ for ‘for all debts public and private.’  The order and directive are backed by the ‘full faith and credit’ of the United States Government.  See, no worries.”

Y          “But I’m worried.  The credit of the United States government on paper is non-existent.  Why take its paper?  Who has even ‘half faith’ in its credit?”

X          “Only fools and citizens.  Only you and me.”

Y          “Why have faith when the empirical evidence is so clear and so clearly to the contrary?”

X          “Think about it this way.  I will accept the dollar if and because you will accept the dollar.”

Y          “Well then I will accept the dollar if and because you will accept the dollar.”

X          “That is the rationale.  It has worked and it works, but it may not work.  I don’t know if I want to accept the dollar.”

Y          “If you want to get rid of them, I will take them off your hands.”

X          “I will use them for the time being if and because you will accept them.  Half of the physical dollars are in circulation outside the United States and serve as the de facto currency in some countries and regions.  At the same time, the banks and financial institutions in America may have one tenth of one percent of the physical dollars necessary to cover the deposits in the banks and financial institutions.  Our fractional-reserve banking system is fractured, but it has not yet fractured.  A run on the banks, for rational reasons or irrational whims, would confirm what no one denies.”

Y          “So is the refusal to raise the debt ceiling a rational or an irrational triggering event?”

X          “An understandable reaction, but an irrational and dangerous response.  In a country awash in electronic dollars, there are no real dollars and not even enough fake dollars.  When the populace resorts to gold, everyone will discover that it is ‘fiat gold’ even if we are not ordered and directed by the government to accept it.”

Y          “The government took gold out of the equation decades ago.  And if you want to get rid of any gold, by the way, I will take it off your hands.”

X          “Others have put their full faith and credit in gold.  And then fail to see the irony in denominating the value of gold in . . . ‘fiat dollars.’”

Y          “So the dollar is not backed by gold, but gold is backed by dollars.”

X          “Seems to be.  However, there is no fiat bread.”

Y          “So when everyone realizes that the government ‘bread’ is stale, we will yearn for real bread.” 

X          “Bread is the real bread.  But we can’t print it.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

Bake Bread

Know how to bake bread

He Who Has The Gold Makes The Rules

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