Has Bitcoin Reached Peak Stupidity?

Bitcoin futures trading starts today. From this cryptocurrency base camp, where basic Cartesian common sense — let alone an understanding of the highly nonlinear nature of monetary dynamics — is already dangerously rarefied, the final assault on Peak Stupidity, that magnificent siren beckoning in the distant haze, has begun. Of the eager and ambitious hordes from around the world setting out with lofty goals, backpacks laden with confidence, few will survive.

Continue reading Has Bitcoin Reached Peak Stupidity?

Finest Product of the Human Brain

Luca Pacioli taught mathematics at all the well-known universities of Quattrocento Italy including that of Perugia, Napoli, Milan, Florence, Rome, and Venice. In 1494 he published his Summa Arithmetica, Tractatus 11 of which is a textbook on book-keeping. The author shows that the assets and liabilities of a firm do balance out at all times, provided that we introduce a new item in the liability column that has been variously called by subsequent authors “net worth”, “goodwill”, and “capital”. This innovation makes it easy to check the ledger for accuracy by finding that, at the close of every business day, assets minus liabilities is equal to zero. If not, there must be a mistake in the calculation.

But what Pacioli discovered was something far more significant than a method of finding errors in the arithmetic. It was the invention of what we today call double-entry book-keeping, and what Göthe called “the finest product of the human brain” (Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship.)

Continue reading Finest Product of the Human Brain

Fool’s Gold Paradise

An article recently appeared in the Guardian newspaper titled: Are we ready for the next volcanic catastrophe?

It reads: “The largest eruption ever recorded, in Indonesia 200 years ago, wreaked havoc across the world, causing hunger, disease and death for years afterwards. When a volcanic event on that scale happens again – and it will – we should be prepared for serious disruption to our climate and food production.

My suggestion is that if people are worried about millions dying from starvation, then don’t worry about the Tambora volcano — worry about a total global collapse of the financial derivatives market.

Continue reading Fool’s Gold Paradise

Antal Fekete’s Deleted Wikipedia Entry

This reposting counters Wikipedia's Stalinist tactic of erasing whole chunks of the record, without prior warning or notice, to fool the next generation that is not supposed to know of or have access to the true record.

Antal E. Fekete

Introduction

Antal E. Fekete is a retired professor of mathematics and statistics at Memorial University (Newfoundland, Canada). He is a proponent of the gold standard and critic of the current monetary system.

His theories fall into the school of economic thought led by Carl Menger. His support of the gold standard has similarities to Austrian Economics; however, Fekete’s treatment of fractional-reserve banking, capital or time preference theory of interest, real bills and quantity theory of money is different from that of Murray Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises. In 2002 Fekete started the Gold Standard University on the Internet. Lecture notes were published and students could consult free of charge through the Internet. Gold Standard University went live in February, 2007, when Fekete started semi-annual sessions at the Martineum Academy (Szombathely, Hungary). There is a substantial body of research material and lecture notes, as well as the Gold Standard Manifesto, made available on his website, that have grown out of this initiative.

Continue reading Antal Fekete’s Deleted Wikipedia Entry

A Conversation with Antal Fekete – Introduction

Oops. Now I’ve done it. I’ve asked Professor Antal E. Fekete, a professional mathematician and long-time researcher of monetary gold dynamics, for an interview and he agreed. What was I thinking? Had he rudely declined because his time is precious and he would rather spend it doing something more productive, such as chewing on tin foil, I would be off the hook, self esteem intact. But noooo… he just had to be polite and say yes. Now what? I think English is, like, the man’s 23rd language, and I can barely, like, conversate in one. And what in God’s creation am I going to ask about? Um, Antal, what color is gold?

How did I get myself in this position? (Oh yeah, now I remember: “Max Photon” is a sad little reaction formation to my being rather dim.)

Continue reading A Conversation with Antal Fekete – Introduction

Gold is Mooney

Excerpt from: Whither Gold?, by Antal E. Fekete, 1996. (Lightly edited.)

The Janus-Face of Marketability: Salability and Hoardability

In developing his theory of value, Menger described the origin of money in terms of the evolution of marketability. But as the ancient Italian god Janus (in whose honor the first month of the year is named) marketability has two faces. The first is marketability in the small — or hoardability. The second is marketability in the large — or salability. The latter is synonymous with Menger’s term Absatzfähigkeit, the cornerstone of his theory of value. Hoardability has not been independently analyzed before. In isolating this concept I propose to lay a new cornerstone for the theory of interest.

Continue reading Gold is Mooney