Detlev Schlichter is back!

Paper Money Collapse Second Edition

Paper Money Collapse – Second Edition

Turns out my ‘final’ blog was not so final after all.

Yes, it is true. I am coming out of blogger retirement. It has only been a few months since I called it quits but here I am again. Why did I change my mind? First, I received a lot of very nice feedback from people who enjoyed my blogs and encouraged me to keep writing. It was great to see that some people really liked what I had to say and had a genuine interest in my views. Second, it was fun and I missed it. I simply enjoy blogging and writing, and I remain passionate about economics. Third, and this may sound immodest but what the heck, I say it anyway – I think this matters. Our fiat money system has finally achieved what all elastic money systems accomplish ultimately: it has manoeuvred itself into a corner from which there is no painless exit. All our troubles are systematic, not cyclical as the mainstream economic consensus keeps telling us. The arguments for the policies of easy money, inflation, and asset price manipulation are based on fallacies and misconceptions, yet they get repeated ad nauseam in a decidedly underwhelming public debate. The discussions in the media frequently make my heart sink. It is depressing. The new meme out there is that the system has been mended and that central banks are finally in ‘exit mode’ from their ‘unconventional’ policies [audience laughter here].

The case for free markets and sound money, and against fiat money, central banking and market manipulation, has to be made, and it should be made on the foundations of the Austrian School. As things unfold, I think there will continue to be demand for a well-considered alternative perspective to the dreary mainstream nonsense. Maybe this is even a public service, as a friend of mine suggested. I know I am not the only one doing this. Fortunately, the hard-money fraction and the Austrian School have some prominent spokespeople, and I may only be a small voice in this debate, but I think it has to be done. And I enjoy doing it.

What about those ‘projects’ I mentioned in my farewell blog a few months ago? One has been to explore ways in which I get involved in asset management or wealth advisory, and this project is still ongoing. Is there a risk that this may ultimately stop me from blogging? Yes, but there is also a chance that the two could coexist or even form a symbiosis. If that is indeed the case I expect this website to evolve over time and become a platform for other services, too.

The other project I have been working on was to thoroughly revise and update Paper Money Collapse for its second edition, which is due this summer. I cherished the opportunity to go through the text again with a fine comb, and to embellish and strengthen the argument further, an exercise in which I was greatly aided by the many queries, constructive criticisms, and suggestions I have received since the book came out, not least from readers of this site. The core argument and my conclusions have not changed from the first edition (“this will end badly…”) but the second edition gave me the opportunity to address some recent developments, not least the rise of Bitcoin, and also to include some additional reflections on Tullock’s critique of the Austrian Business Cycle Theory, on the arguments of the “free bankers” (Selgin, White, at al.) and the advocates of 100-percent-reserve-banking and a completely state-controlled money supply (the old “Chicago Plan”), and on the odd but strangely well-received attack on monetary economists by anthropologist David Graeber. These are not new chapters. I only deal with these topics to the extent that they relate to and matter for my main argument. I hope that this helps clarified my position relative to alternative theories and that it has made my own arguments stronger and the presentation of these arguments more complete. Work on the book reinforced my conviction that the topic is highly relevant and will remain so.

This is the second blog in which I explain my own decisions and projects. Enough of that. It is time to pay attention again to the big economic debate. I hope you enjoy the analyses presented here and find them enlightening and useful. Thanks for reading.