Monday, January 16, 2017

A New Review of Our Latest Book, The Impending Monetary Revolution, the Dollar and Gold, Second Edition.

By Patrick Barron

Austrian school economist Edmund Contoski has written a welcome addition to his 2012 explanation of the inevitable consequences of forcing fiat money on society. Six additional chapters have been added to his fifteen chapter 2012 first edition. Not only are readers of the original treated to new material, they are treated to a plan of action. Whereas the first edition laid out the case for commodity based money that arises naturally in the market place (and is well worth rereading), the second edition adds recent monetary insults that have arisen, the logical adverse consequences of these additional insults, and policy fixes. It is the latter addition, the policy fixes, that I found most interesting.

The author makes clear that policy must change. But what kind of change? The answer is a return to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers. Most readers, including your humble reviewer, will be treated to an in-depth explanation of the principles of federalism that go beyond the separation of powers. Once exposed to their ideas, one cannot but agree that nothing superior to the thoughts of our Founding Fathers has been advanced over the almost two and a half centuries since the Constitution's adoption by the states. There has been a steady chipping away at our freedoms, which will lead to catastrophe if not reversed.

Chapter XIX "More on Amendments" is a blueprint for action with the states taking the leading role. Only the states have the resources to counter the federal leviathan. But they must act in unison and with full adherence to the law. The law to which the states must adhere is the Supreme Law of the Land, the Constitution itself. But they must adhere to the Constitution as written and as explained by our Founders at the time of adoption, not by subsequent supposed legal scholars who have found much federal power "between the lines" of the written document. There is much original source material by the Founders upon which the states may depend. Our Constitution is a living document in the sense that the Founders provided the philosophical underpinnings to the real framework of our federal system, which is infinitely adaptable to the challenges of modern life.

Apologists for a strong central government will miss the point of this book. Americans do want a strong federal government, but we want that strength applied only to the areas of government delegated to it by the states and enumerated in the Constitution. We do want a strong national defense. We do want free trade within our borders. We do want a federal judiciary to which we may appeal when the states overstep their bounds and threaten our liberties. The problem that has existed at least since the Civil War is that there seems to be no appeal when the federal government itself oversteps its bounds. That government's own court system decides these questions. The states must act in unison to oppose these federal encroachments. I am certain that the author does not ascribe all wisdom to the states, but at least there are fifty states in competition for our productive citizens. A state that adopts perfectly legal but foolish policies will find that it has lost resources to other, wiser states. Currently there is no escape from the federal government's poor policy choices. This must change!

Please read Mr. Contoski's updated book, 2nd edition.

Patrick Barron is a consultant to the banking industry and taught Austrian economics for many years.