Our monetary system is broken. It’s given us low growth, a shrinking job force, inequality beyond what a healthy economy would produce, inefficiency, and the unnatural growth of finance as a portion of the economy.
Our aging Federal Reserve System starves both small businesses and Silicon Valley of the capital needed to grow jobs and wages.
Fed policy translates into zero-interest-rate loans for the government and its cronies, and little or nothing for savers or small businesses. And it has transformed Wall Street from an engine of innovation into a servant of government power.
But I believe America can be set on the right path towards a robust and broadly shared capitalism again with just three steps.
Step 1: Abolish Capital Gains Tax on Currencies
This country already allows gold currency. The Treasury mints millions of one-ounce silver eagle dollars that are worth more than twenty dollars apiece and one-ounce gold eagle fifty-dollar pieces that are worth $1,150 apiece.
Virtually all of these are hoarded.
Though it has been legal since 1987 to use them at their metallic value, that route leads to a capital gains tax on their appreciation.
Since the appreciation of a gold or silver piece is by reasonable definition all inflation, the tax is simple confiscation (like all capital gains taxes on spurious inflationary profits).
The move of gold and silver coins into circulation would offer a corrective of constitutional money for any dollar debauchery by the Fed.
Step 2: Remove Obstacles to Alternative Forms of Money
Despite imprudent governmental interference, the internet remains a bastion of American power, with U.S. companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, eBay, Cisco, Qualcomm, and scores of others capturing the bulk of all internet revenues.
The internet plays a central role in the American economy. But there is a profound flaw in its architecture, as I have explained before. It was designed for communications, not transactions.
Around the globe, transactions are shifting toward the internet. Although online purchases remain between 6-7% of all commerce, internet trade is expanding rapidly.
But to buy something on the Internet, you often have to give the supplier sufficient information — credit card number, expiration date, address, security code, mother’s maiden name, and so on — to defraud you or even to steal your identity.
This information therefore has to be protected at high cost in firewalled central repositories and private networks, which are irresistible targets for hackers.
With transactional overhead dominated by offline financial infrastructure, micropayments are uneconomic, and the internet fills with fake offers, bogus contracts, and pop-up hustles. Some 36% of web pages are bogus, emitted by bots to snare information from unwary surfers.
The internet today desperately needs a new trusted and secure payment method that conforms to the shape and reach of global networking and commerce.
It should eliminate the constant exchanges of floating currencies, more volatile than the global economy that they supposedly measure. It should be capable of transactions of all sizes. And it should partake of the same monetary sources of stable value that characterize gold.
The new system should be distributed as far as internet devices are distributed: a dispersed organization based on peer-to-peer links between users, rather than a centralized hierarchy based on national financial institutions.
Fortunately such a payment system has already been invented. It is set to become a new facet of internet infrastructure.
It is called the bitcoin blockchain.
The bitcoin blockchain is already in place. It functions peer-to-peer without the need for outside trusted third parties. And it follows theorist Nick Szabo’s precursor, bitgold. Its value, like gold’s, is ultimately based on the scarcity of time.