The Real Truth About Money

23 12 2010

Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast has released a new book entitled The Real Truth About Money. After reading the booklet cover to cover, I have a few comments and observations. These are off-the-cuff remarks, not meant to be a comprehensive review.

First, the good.

Jack does a good job providing an explanation of our current debt-based monetary system in a way that most people should be able to understand. He also explains why it can never work – except insofar as it soon enslaves everyone to the FED and the Federal government.

Jack also does a good job of encouraging what he calls “individual sovereignty” – becoming less dependent upon the corporate/government fascists to sell us everything we need and want, and instead taking steps to begin to provide at least part of our own food and other needs.

Jack’s writing is fairly easy to read and also entertaining. If you’ve heard any of Jack’s podcasts, its quite easy to “hear” him as you read, and, if you’re a long-time listener from the days of the Jetta TDI mobile podcast studio, you half expect to hear him interject a play-by-play of a near-accident on the highway.

Secondly, the wrong.

One of the pervasive problems with the book is that Jack uses the terms “money” and “currency” interchangeably, without making the necessary distinction between money (gold, silver, and other commodities) and things which merely represent money, such as currency. This is not a finely nuanced theoretical quibble – it is a basic and foundational distinction which is necessary to understand in order to grasp what things need to change in our monetary system. Jack actually does an adequate job of attempting to define money at some points in the booklet, but then does not carry this through to his analysis of alternatives to debt-based currency. He seems to view money as merely something that would back currency, and thus makes a distinction between a barter economy and fiat currency. More on this in the next point, but the basic thrust in the book frames the question as an intramural debate between social credit and debt-based fiat currency, rather than where it should be, which is between fiat currency of any sort versus real money.

Thirdly, the misleading.

Throughout the book Jack claims to not be advocating any particular position on what our money should be, but merely attempting to educate the reader about the true nature of our current system, which is a debt-based sham whereby the FED/GOV beast enslaves us perpetually. However, the truth of the matter is that Jack is clearly advocating a type of social credit approach. He frames the entire question in a way that pits debt-based fiat currency against a currency based on “whatever the American people choose via their elected representatives to Congress”. He suggests a “cap” on the currency based on some type of mish-mash valuation of the country’s natural resources and other types of wealth, both real and imagined.

The result of this “framing of the question” is that the best solution – real money, and liberty to decide what one wants to accept as payment – is not even an option to be considered. While Jack couches his advocacy of a social credit fiat currency with the proviso that the American people may choose whatever cap or “backing” they prefer, he clearly implies that this currency will be subject to “legal tender” legislation. This is more clearly illustrated in his example of ammunition as a money source, when he suggests that the “people” could limit production to authorized “mints”. Furthermore, Jack selectively quotes the Constitution in promoting this idea, but the fact is that the Constitution allows for only gold and silver to be made legal tender in payment of debts, and expressly prohibited “bills of credit”, or fiat currency.

Fourth, the omissions.

As mentioned above, legal tender issues are critical to this entire discussion. If the government were to issue this type of capped Greenback currency proposed by Jack, would anyone really prefer it to the actual resources which supposedly backed it? Not in a million years! The only way it would work is if the government pronounced it “legal tender” and required us to accept it as payment, as it does for FRN’s today. This would be WRONG. Let people decide what they want to accept for payment, and this will also solve all of the false dilemmas and strawmen erected by Jack concerning the gold standard. The state should be required to accept gold and silver, as the Constitution provides for, but the individual should be free to accept whatever he prefers.

Jack does a great job explaining how interest (or usury) charged on the money borrowed into circulation creates a debt that can never be repaid. However, even if we abolished the FED and went to a social credit currency via a capped Greenback approach, usury on loans between individuals and between businesses will create the same unpayable debt burden, albeit in a slower fashion. This is a very important point that must be addressed in any comprehensive monetary alternative.

Finally, some parting thoughts.

Its much easier to criticize a book than to write one. And it is not fun to write a book and then have people come along and poke holes in it. What I don’t want anyone to take away from this review is that Jack’s book isn’t worth reading. For a great many people, it would be well worth their time, and probably eye-opening to say the least. I appreciate the effort Jack has put into this book, and if nothing else I hope he will take some of my criticisms and answer them to help round the book out and cover all the bases. Jack has done what many others need to do – quit armchair quarterbacking and actually try to help people get in the game. And he did it with a free book. We need more of this!




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