I’ve always considered myself a progressive type of the left… or, in my opinion, someone who prides himself on putting the needs of ordinary people above corporate interests or the wealthy few.
I grew up in a seaside town with liberal parents, attended progressive schools, and I can spit a Marxist critique of just about anything you throw at me. The fair distribution of wealth between classes – and the reduction of the wealth gap – has been at the center of my political consciousness for as long as I can remember.
Fast forward to my Bitcoin learning and I quickly began to understand the economic injustice of today’s fiat monetary policies and how government control of the US dollar has been used to “make the rich richer” at the expense of virtually everyone else.
When countries are in economic trouble for whatever reason – from irresponsible use of debt to unpredictable challenges like the pandemic – they will print new currency (aka expanding the money supply) to pay whoever they see fit, which are usually creditors or assets. equity holders, also known as existing wealthy people.
In the process, the purchasing power of an average person’s salary decreases. When there is more money in the economy, everything becomes more expensive, especially things that are hard to earn more – like real estate and commodities.
Until I started learning about Bitcoin, I didn’t truth understand what was causing the rapid rise in the prices of assets such as real estate. I just knew it was happening, and it was happening faster than I could keep up.
Younger generations are, of course, disproportionately affected by these policies – as even high-income millennials will struggle to afford home ownership in cities where they are likely to be employed.
Most millennials will remain permanent tenants as home prices have far outstripped wages, nearly killing the American dream.
Fortunately, however, and quite uniquely, this particular economic problem may have a relatively simple solution: one that does not depend on the results of an election, a disorganized legislature, or any other governmental body beyond our individual control.
Step into Bitcoin – a digital money that is designed to be inflatable (i.e., no one can “print” it anymore) and uncontrollable by a central body. The network works on thousands of independent computers with no primary authority.
Unlike other inflation-resistant assets like gold or real estate, bitcoin is also incredibly affordable. There is no minimum investment to buy bitcoin and you can store as much as you like on a flash drive in your apartment. You don’t even need a bank account to buy bitcoin. Head to your local “Bitcoin ATM” with some cash on hand and boom – you have scarce financial assets that cannot be inflated. Of course, if you He does have a bank account, there is no need to get out of bed. Buying bitcoin takes less than a minute on any number of mobile exchange apps.
Yay for the “common man”, right?
A great equalizer for the average working person, bitcoin immediately seemed in line with the values I grew up with… Democrats – seemed to have a stronger negative bias against Bitcoin than those on the right.
“Why do Democrats hate Bitcoin?” I thought to myself.
After doing a little research and talking to some smart economist friends, what I learned wasn’t all that surprising.
First, from the point of view of direct political theory, people on the left are ideologically more apt to trust a central government to distribute wealth “fairly” than to trust the free market economy. The left is generally pro-government (especially when it comes to finance) and Bitcoin is intentionally designed to resist government control.
Bitcoin was essentially born out of a libertarian ethic – a word many on the left hear with skepticism.
After all, it was unfettered “free capitalism” that led to the subjugation and subsequent riots of the working class in the era of Standard Oil and US Steel. Without government intervention and the advent of antitrust laws, it is quite possible that today’s capitalism would look more like feudalism than the relative financial freedom we have today.
Skepticism aside, there is also a practical argument for government control over currency – an argument most Bitcoiners don’t like to talk about – and that is, government-controlled currency allows us to avoid or mitigate economic contractions.
It would be difficult to avoid a full-blown pandemic depression, or a complete banking collapse like in 2008, if the government was not able to “rescue” anyone it wanted with newly minted money.
In theory, this type of printing saves jobs (the most important determinant of quality of life for most of the country) and, in some cases, the new money is distributed directly to workers and low-income people, as was the case with Covid-19. era stimulus checks.
When looking more deeply into this reality, however, most of the money that was printed during the pandemic no go to save jobs or fill the wallets of ordinary citizens, but instead it went to save the stock market and other asset holder interests.
According to the Washington Post, only one-fifth of the U.S. stimulus distributed during the pandemic went to individual citizens, while most went to companies that did not need to show whether they were impacted by the pandemic nor were they required to use the funds to keep people employed. .
Another clear example of stimulus used to bail out the rich rather than the working class was in 2008 when the stimulus was used to bail out banks (lenders) that issued predatory loans rather than using the stimulus to bail out debtors – the ordinary workers who were victims of such predatory lending in the first place.
This is all to say that if anyone is going to make the claim that the government should be able to control the money supply, then they should also be held accountable for how those dollars are distributed. Unfortunately, neither side of the aisle has a proven track record in this regard.
When you look at the history of money – all the way back to Ancient Rome – for centuries, government control of currency has almost always been used to increase the wealth gap, not reduce it.
Roman emperors often depreciated silver coins by adding more bronze or tin to increase the money supply – and the windfall was mostly spent on wars of conquest and lavish architectural projects. Likewise, Henry VIII was famous for degrading gold bullion with copper to improve his personal lifestyle and finance sieges across Europe.
The history of currency devaluation has a very clear link to irresponsible government spending at the expense of civilians, with very few, if any, examples to the contrary.
That makes me sad. me actually want live in a world where wealth can be fairly distributed by a trusted government. But I’m understanding more and more why so many think hope is naive. It is because of an observable history of thousands of years of governments using currency devaluation in the best interests of the few rather than the many.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living with Bitcoiners, it’s that millennials, many of whom are generally progressive voters, are joining this chorus after learning about how current monetary policy is rapidly destroying our chances of accumulating wealth.
I recently heard a friend say at a Bitcoin gathering: “I am a vegan environmentalist – and I suddenly find myself agreeing with Ted Cruz on Elizabeth Warren.”
Until we see a fiat monetary policy that actually benefits us (which I have no hopes for), I want to store my money in an inflation-safe asset that I can easily pay, maintain, and self-custody.
In other words, I’m buying bitcoin.
This is a guest post by Isabel Foxen Duke. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.