Aug. 2, 2022

554: What Has Government Done to Our Money?

Of all the economic problems, money is possibly the most tangled, and perhaps where we most need perspective.

 The Mises Institute may sound like an academic institution, but it's actually an organization dedicated to promoting the Austrian school of economics and libertarian ideals. And when it comes to money, they know what they're talking about.


On today's I'm joined by Tho Bishop to talk about how of all the economic problems, money is possibly the most tangled, and perhaps where we most need perspective.


Tho talks about how inflation is a tax on savers, and why this hurts everyone who isn't rich. He also explains why central banks are not necessary, and how governments have ruined our money for centuries—and continue to do so today.


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Brian Nichols  0:31  
focusing on winning arguments. We're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and marketing and how we can use them to win in the world of politics, teaching you how to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Well, I'm happy to say that Brian Nichols here on The Brian Nichols Show, I'm fat I know I've missed the guy. It's been a while you're on the program. I've been running around all over the northeast, visiting friends and family and being back and joining you today because yes, I am in fact your humble host and today, looking forward to talking about what has government done with our money but first, before we get there, I want to go ahead and give a shout out to today's sponsor and that is the expat money show, head over to the Brian Nichols forward slash expat and check out the expat money podcast where you can go ahead and learn how a calthorpe can protect the help you protect the money you worked so hard to earn from ambulance chasing lawyers, nefarious creditors, and greedy unjust governments. And oh, by the way, going ahead and checking out the expat money show is a great way to get ready for November 7 through November 11, the expat money summit and it's gonna be five days with 30 expert speakers, and one of those speakers happens to be the one and only Ron Paul. So head over to the Brian Nichols Forward slash expat and get your free Yeah, free tickets. Today. One more time, Brian Nichols, forward slash expat. Alright folks. So with that being said, looking forward to talking about today, what is in fact, happening to our money and what is government doing to our money. And joining us today to talk about that from me Sissu though Bishop, welcome to the program. Hey, Brian, glad to join you. Thanks, though, for joining us. And looking forward to this conversation. And I'm really looking forward to discussing and promoting what you guys are doing over at Mises, you and helping Yeah, bring this conversation to the public? What is government doing to our money, and you guys have an amazing video series over on YouTube that we're gonna go ahead and talk about, but first, let's go ahead, introduce yourself to The Brian Nichols Show audience and what are you guys doing over there? Nice to see you.

Tho Bishop  2:35  
Yes, Mrs. Here was last week, always the best week of the year, we had students from all around the world coming in. Fortunately, not as many in the past, we're still kind of working through COVID craziness in that regard. But, you know, when you get some of the greatest scholars in the Austrian tradition, in Auburn at the Mises Institute, you know, it's always a great program, you know, a lot of late nights, still still recovering from everything going on last week, but it's always great time to be able to talk with with so many talented, enthusiastic young students are just looking to learn. And obviously, one of the big issues this week, or last week is one of the biggest issues in the world right now, which is, what is government doing to our money, the consequences of inflation. And with our nine part animated video series that we have released over the last few months, we've gotten great feedback from it. But it's also I think, getting people to think about these things, not only from a theoretical perspective, and even from a from a Liberty perspective, but also thinking about, you know, how we're funding really bad people, the way this plays right into tyranny, and, and all the great reset, and all this sort of very bad sort of things going on right now. And it's gonna suck, I think, is one of the most important issues out there. And we're just trying to help people understand it in a way where you don't need to read a 900 page book, to kind of get what really is important in it.

Brian Nichols  3:55  
Well, I mean, let's be real talking about money to your average person, beyond just the idea that it's what helps them pay the bills and put food on the table. I mean, they're like, Brian, I'm sorry, I have to worry about 10 Other things that are way more top of mind to me versus trying to sit down and understand why money is important, the origins of money, and then to understand how government has its dirty fingers in every aspect of our money and how that negatively impacts us. And yet, what you guys have done is that you've taken what I would daresay is very difficult sometimes to understand this idea of money and how it pertains to a lot of the problems we see today. And to your point, broke it down into some very easy to digest videos, you said it nine videos over on YouTube, and their ballpark, you know, two to five minutes or so each video and it starts out with the origin of money and goes all the way through where we're at today. And what's gonna be happening over the next 1020 30 years the privatization of money. So talk to us about the inspiration and I know you touched on it a little bit there in terms of meeting people on the issues right and Now that are truly mattering, they're seeing right now, before the inflation cost of living, it's hitting real close to home. And maybe for the first time for a lot of folks who people are politically unaware or agnostic, for the most part, now they're actually feeling it. And they're asking some questions themselves. So let's maybe go back a little bit to the development of this video series. How did that conversation take place and what's been obviously the ultimate feedback you've received thus far?

Tho Bishop  5:24  
What's interesting was at the Mises Institute, a lot of our work in the past has been kind of scholarly focused, it's about creating all of kind of the, you know, that the intellectual rabbit hole that people go down. And so a lot of our content, you know, obviously, if we've had some great kind of beginner sort of content form of economics in one lesson and some of our articles out there, but one of the things the last few years we've been focusing on is trying to create kind of easier one on one style, sort of videos and clips and things like that, we got a donor James klutz, who was very passionate about this. And so previously, we did a series called economics for beginners, that was kind of a similar sort of mold, you know, different sort of animation style, but really kind of capturing the unique sort of Austrian approach of, of kind of basic economics. And then after that was very successful, we were looking for a new project. And obviously, Murray Rothbard, is what has government done to our money that the mini book was always one of my favorites, I think it's one of the great sort of introductions into these issues. And so when I went about writing this, I wanted to try to capture the essence of what Rothbard was capturing with with his book, right, which, which went into the theory, and then the origins of money, and then some of the history, and then trying to extend it beyond that, that mini book itself was written in the 1960s. Obviously, a lot has changed since then, um, this was even before you know, America went off the gold standard fully with a Nixon closing the window and somebody one, so trying to bring it beyond where Rothbard had taken it, but still trying to keep it very simple, as much as possible, and obviously, capturing not only the current inflationary environment, which you know, nothing sparks people to think a little bit more closely about economics. And when they're feeling that pain, and the day to day life, that takes us away from being something theoretical to being something construct, and it kind of has kitchen table issues, but then it can also tie it into the consequences of, you know, why are central banks trying to create their own central bank currencies, you know, make it a lot easier to track things, and I think a lot of people recognize the dangers of that, after everything we've experienced with COVID, you know, understanding how this plays into, you know, the great reset sort of ideas. And, of course, you know, what are the roles that something like a Bitcoin or, or, you know, some states be more interested in gold and silver sort of policies, you know, how can this dynamic going forward? You know, I think ultimately, it doesn't matter where you are in the political spectrum, it doesn't matter if you're Republican or libertarian or Democrat, whatever, if you're concerned about kind of the consolidation of power, and the, you know, this this, this oligarch class trying to impose your values on you, I think, ultimately, there's no way of getting around the ultimate dynamic of power here, which is the politicalization, or the privatization of money at its core. You know, I think that the Canadian trucker situation is one example of that. And so can trying to tie all those strings together, it was a lot of fun to do. And just a great honor to be able to try to provide that on a site with obviously, so much great work within this specific topic.

Brian Nichols  8:21  
One of the particular episodes I really enjoyed was the PhD standard. And the reason being is because you hinted at it over the past few years, what we've really seen take place, not just in terms of policy, but also in terms of the narrative behind set policy. And it was what trust the experts, and that's really what we've seen happen to our monetary policy is has gone away. And it's something you guys very well explained in the video, it's gone away from the traditional gold standard, and instead has really turned into this Leviathan of different of, you know, whether it's banking, or definitely government organizations Bureau, just it's become one big bureaucratic mess, and it has its bureaucratic mess, now become, essentially this this 2020 expert class, and you guys mentioned it, the Ph. D. Standard, where it's folks who really have never had to get outside of the intellectual, you know, let's talk about this, and not actually put it into practice actually see what is the real impact of the policies we're talking about? So that wasn't actually I found that episode particularly interesting. What are the episodes that you heard a particular folks bring up as things that they really enjoyed here for these nine different episodes?

Tho Bishop  9:35  
That was very fun want to do and I think particularly this time, where obviously after, you know, all of the disaster of public health experts and the amount of power we've kind of thrust upon them very vividly in a very short period of time. You know, one of the things I've tried to play out in touch on in within the video series and some my writings is that all of the the issues that people have, like Dr. Fauci are very valid, but we also need to understand that this sort of same dynamic has been at place within the economic sphere of things. Really, I would argue, going back, particularly with Alan Greenspan was great amplification there. But what Ben Bernanke did during the 2008 2010 years is, you know, I think he should be trying alongside of Falchi. And again, when you have a lot of people becoming distrustful of the quality of our university system, the quality of this expert class, and having them recognize that, you know, when you substitute gold, you substitute for the judgment of this very specifics of isolated sort of people. And when one of the really interesting things is that, you know, one of America's most powerful exports abroad has been this sort of, of, you know, monetary central planning to all these other countries that are suffering from the same exact situation, and the main case even worse than we are, because they kind of adopted those ideas. One of the other videos on my personal one, if if I can admit to having a favorite one is the one that came up comes after that, which is kind of the the consequences of political money. Yep. And because, again, when we talk about inflation, it's good that people recognize Okay, prices going up. That's bad for us. And so so that that economic pain? Well, I obviously, wish that was not happening, you know, that's something that people see immediately, it's right in front of them. One of the things that I find interesting, though, is that if you if you kind of expand on that the non purely economic consequences of what we're doing to our money supply, affects so many other major issues that people talk about, you know, if you're concerned about big tech censorship, and kind of consolidation of big tech, well, that's a direct byproduct of us subsidizing the court, you have basically debt that large corporations can have, right Facebook was able to buy Instagram and WeChat, to really consolidate its power, because of low interest rate environments, right? That the cultural side of things, if you make it, if you punish people for doing the responsible things, for example, if you punish people for saving, rather than taking out loans, then you're going to have a cultural dynamic there that I think is very devastating for civilization itself. And so that's one of the one of the topics I really enjoyed kind of getting into it's something that really Austrians are kind of stand alone and talking about, and that's that's came up a little bit during Mises, you as well, that's one of the topics that I really enjoy trying to run out and non libertarian non Austrian audiences, because it gets them to kind of think about why economics is so foundational, right? It's, it's not simply supply and demand charts. Like, I think that's something that connects in a little bit different manner than a kind of purely economic materialistic supply demand sort of style arguments out there,

Brian Nichols  12:37  
when think about like the impact of addressing the money issue, right head on, versus addressing the outcomes of the money issue. It's like, if we were looking at this from the perspective of a doctor, right, you want to not just get rid of the cancer, you want to ultimately get rid of the root cause of the cancer. So when we look at a lot of the political conversations that take control of the modern political discourse, a lot of those conversations are in response to trying to remedy the actual problems, not actually solve the actual reason that we're in the problem. And I think that speaks to exactly why I maybe I'm gravitating so much towards this, because what we talked about during the program, it often is bringing solutions to the table versus just trying to focus on winning arguments. And if we can, instead of focusing on winning arguments about the problems we see, instead actually bring real tangible solutions that people can say, Oh, I see now that it is actually the money that's causing the main issues that we see today, whether it's you're you're a conservative and you don't like big tech, well, hey, guess what big tech was a direct result of the money issue. And the fact that a lot of these big tech companies, right and profitable, I think that's the part that's blows me away the most is that we look at these massive companies that they put them on the pedestal up near the top deacons of industry in America, and yet, they don't really make anything, if anything, they lose money. So I think it helps reset the narrative. And that's partly what we've been trying to help here in the program, as well as refocusing on readdressing the narratives, instead of responding to narratives is changed the way that we're approaching these these topics in these issues. Because at the end of the day, if nobody else is talking about the money issue, then the issue is not going to be discussed, and it's not going to be addressed. It's going to continue to be a problem. And it's going to help make things worse, and we've just seen over the past 10 years. Yeah, 10 years, I wasn't congressional campaign. And I remember we were just like talking about the idea of the debt getting in the double digits of the trillions of dollars now we're well over 20 some odd trillion 30 trillion worth it. The numbers don't make sense now. So this is a perfect time to have this conversation. So talk to me what's been the feedback that you've been getting across the board from the videos and obviously, I would love to hear maybe some of the negatives as it have you heard any folks who have tried to debunk or or take out On the approach here from your nine video series.

Tho Bishop  15:03  
Now, for the most part, all the feedback we've gotten has been positive on the amount of viewers of yours that we've gotten both on YouTube, but also kind of our standalone site, what has government done to our have been incredible. I mean, the internal numbers are really, you know, have exceeded any expectation we've had. And again, it's just it's because the time is right. And and I think that, if you're to your point, you know, often the money issue has been a blind spot. I think, for a lot of other kind of free market groups out there. I mean, even Milton Friedman, right, I, you know, his views on the Fed contrasted a very severe lead to that of Ludwig von Mises or Murray Rothbard. And I think particularly right now, with just the the scope and scale of everything that has gone on within the financial system, really going back to the response to 2008. It's something that it's, if we don't take a second step backwards and appreciate the degree to which his his has misaligned. Financial incentives, right, you're talking about the corporations that aren't profitable, the kind of like zombie companies, and the companies that focus on kind of growth in the marketplace, over profit and loss, which you can get to get away with a little bit at first, whatever. The problem is that you have so many of these companies that have that were based on being able to just kind of recycle their debt with cheap interest rates. And now, when you add into that, that this current environment where the Fed right now is trying to massively juice up interest rates, which I think is the right move. For all my criticisms of Jay Powell in the past, all my criticism of the Feds institution, I think that this increase in the interest rate is the proper way of handling this. The problem is, is that this is something that these companies were not pricing in a year ago, I mean, the Federal Reserve, I mean, there's no fed board member a year ago that thought that interest rates were going to be what they are right now. And so the consequences once you start Crete, you're raising this price of debt, this price of money, and you don't have that factored in, and your entire business strategy is dependent upon the sort of addiction to cheap money, these are going to be major, major consequences. And so this is kind of this, what we're the powers that be have found themselves in a lose lose situation, or on the one side, if they did nothing, if they kept low interest rates, low, the inflation side of things, we've been going crazy, and then that's, that's a major immediate driver. The problem is, is that when you have the consequences of increasing interest rates, and people are going to start seeing a 401, I mean, they're already seeing their 401 K's being being hit by their net worth being hit housing prices, where a lot of people may be overextended in that I think it's less a problem where I'm at here in Florida, because there's still a ton of people trying to come in here. But if you're out in California, if you're out in some of these other markets, people's net value is going down in a big, big way. And that itself is going to create a situation where people are going to ask why, why that? Why is that and so the more people we have been able to explain to people in a way that that resonates with them, you know, if they can give a better explanation for what is going on in the world right now than other people, I think that will help the entire larger movement of identifying the value that comes with our ideas in the broad sense that I've been very fortunate to be able to talk to a lot of kind of Normie conservative audiences I went out to the Babylon be a last month for an episode that's coming up soon. You know, I've had a lot of fun taking this sort of good old Rothbardian you know, monetary theory and taking it to audiences that don't have a lot of interactions with even you know, us in the Ron Paul crowd sort of things and the lights have gone on, I mean, the amount of boomers the amount of, of young college Turning Point USA people, the amount of people that can not normally in our orbit that are recognizing, okay, you have something to say here and this stuff, it fits with something I've already felt in my gut, right? Yeah, looking at that the debt ceiling looking at you know, how long this stuff can go on it, it's my gut. And they've been resonating I think very well to the way that we lay it out in this series, which has been a lot of fun to see.

Brian Nichols  19:00  
Yep. And one of the the last things I wanted to touch on here is you brought up people starting to ask why and then I think the next logical question is well then what can we do and that goes to the the last video and that is the the future of money and we talked about the privatization of money specifically addressing Bitcoin now. I'm curious, we've seen over the past few months, Bitcoin really is taking a hit cryptocurrency across the board and taking a hit I think the merits of crypto and the merits behind bitcoin and you know, Aetherium specifically, are strong, but let's kind of dig into the future of private money. Where do you see this fitting into the conversation as we move things forward? Is it still in cryptocurrency and Bitcoin going to have as much of an impact as it's had in the past few years? And do we really see maybe companies starting to embrace alternatives like cryptocurrency to avoid the impacts of the Fed changing the inflation rates or the impacts of federal governments with their infinite spending plans that seem to come out year after year?

Tho Bishop  19:59  
Last few months? But interesting because I think what you're seeing is that everything we're talking about, right, and the degree to which people were were building business plans and making investments on that low interest rate environment. You know, we've seen the consequences of rising interest rate in sort of a tightening financial environment hit a variety of industries. And I think a lot of people maybe mentally thought, okay, crypto is a competitor to the dollar, and therefore, it's naturally going to benefit from inflation, and yet failing to recognize how much of this sort of crypto ecosystem was itself kind of dependent upon cheap credit. I'm still very, very bullish on Bitcoin. If you look at the world right now, I don't see any less of a demand for a non politicized non politically manipulatable unit of account. And so I think that ultimately, the underlying arguments for Bitcoin people safety mousse makes in the Bitcoin standard, I think that's as strong as ever before, I am a lot less optimistic about most other crypto projects. And I'm not going to try to paint with a broad brush here necessarily. I think most of those, though, don't have the same sort of argument that Bitcoin has. But But going forward, I think that there's also something to be said about gold and silver. I think that the weaponization of the dollar, which has really been I think, amplified with the kind of the global financial war against Russia, for its aggression within Ukraine, highlights is additional moment, which is kind of the recognition globally, that the dollar is a, you know, the tip of the spear of America's military response, you know, foreign policy response to actors it doesn't like and I think that itself kind of fuels the need for other countries to look at alternatives. So I think there's still probably a role for gold, you know, maybe even silver. And one of the beauties, though, of the of the Austrian perspective of money is that we're not necessarily explicitly pro one outcome out of any of these non political alternatives. The main thing is simply allowing for a marketplace to develop, where people have the option to choose the currencies, that they want to make a kind of an entrepreneurial judgment on, what are going to last longer, what's going to be the best their long term interest. It's one of the things I would like to focus on from a policy perspective, which we don't touch in this series. But it's something I've had a lot of fun conversations with a variety of people in the last few months is if we abolish taxes on gold, silver and cryptocurrency, which you're very much kind of resembles a bill that Ron Paul pushed back when he was in Congress, it was a competition of currencies act, that's one of those, it's something that I think can be kind of attached to a much broader sort of, you know, the next generic Republican tax bill, whenever that comes alive, right? Republicans take over the federal government, they're only good at two things, giving the military money and passing a cat tax cut, if you can kind of get it get just a few figures and understand why this matters. And then kind of work in this very subtle sort of Bill on top of the big thing, I think that's something that could really create an opportunity within the US of really attracting making it safer to invest in Bitcoin or gold. Because what we do know is on the other side, there's a lot of people that recognize that these other alternative currencies do threaten some of their plans for censorship for greater control. And so you know, we need to try to be doing everything possible to to eliminate the impending barriers, and then the big currently existing barriers that reduce competition and currency, and instead provide as many alternatives possible, then let the market figure it out. From there.

Brian Nichols  23:33  
This conversation could keep going. But unfortunately, we're already hard pressed for time. So I know it goes fast. So unfortunately, what we had to do is go to the part of the show where we go through final thoughts. So anything you want to make sure the audience takes away from today's conversation or anything in particular, you want to make sure that folks maybe will focus on as we're talking about money. And specifically, and we talked about this all the time here in the show, selling these ideas, to friends and family, your average person what some advice you would give as we would take away today's episode,

Tho Bishop  24:01  
I think one of the biggest things is again, just just if you spend just a little bit time every day understanding the headlines and in a deeper way, that's one of the things the Mises Institute tries to do with all of our, our daily articles, with our podcasts and things like that, I think now is really gonna be a time where there's gonna be chaos going on, you know, the more that you can be the person in the room that can better explain the headlines in a way that people know that the press isn't telling them the truth, if you can provide a better narrative to the struggles that we're dealing with, I think that's gonna benefit you not only intellectually but can benefit you within arrays, you know, that the quality of the knowledge of your friends your community, and and perhaps, you know, I think that's that's where we can really benefit from these is the value of these ideas as demonstrating that our our lens lets us better understand the world and other people we need to be able to do. It takes continual work to do it. You can't just read one book and kind of coast off of it. But that's one of the one of the the real main purposes I think, at the Mises Institute and it course, if anyone out there has any questions, I'm always happy to answer them. You know, feel free to hit me up on Twitter, email, anything like that.

Brian Nichols  25:07  
Perfect you took around my mouth. I was gonna say social media plugs may hit us with it. Perfect. Thank you so and folks, I will obviously make that easy for you. I'll include all those links in today's show notes. All you got to do if you're on your podcast version of the show, go to your audio catcher, make sure you click the artwork you'll bring right to today's episode where you can find Yes, all of the links as we mentioned, but also the entire transcript from today's episode. Plus, you can find the YouTube version for the show head over to YouTube if you have not yet hit that subscribe button and also hit that little notification bell so you're not missing a single time we go live and oh, by the way, did you go ahead and get your tickets to revolution 2022 down in Florida yet, folks if not sorry, they're already sold out. So if you are heading down to revolution 2022 This Thursday through Saturday, I will see you there. Yours truly will be there on media row. And also we will have a table there at Rev 2022. So make sure you stop by and say hello. And then also did you check out the episode we had air yesterday it was getting comfortable with uncomfortable conversations. I'll make sure if you did not see that episode. I will include it right here below me and I will see you over there. But with that being said, Folks, thank you for joining us on today's episode. With that being said, it's Brian Nichols signing off. You're on The Brian Nichols Show for Thau Bishop. We'll see you tomorrow

Unknown Speaker  26:22  
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Transcribed by

Tho BishopProfile Photo

Tho Bishop

Assistant Editor

Tho is an assistant editor for the Mises Wire, and can assist with questions from the press. Prior to working for the Mises Institute, he served as Deputy Communications Director for the House Financial Services Committee. His articles have been featured in The Federalist, the Daily Caller, and Business Insider.