Glocal Econ 18: Goldbugs, Greenbacks and e-Bucks

Homework Due:

Questions on Web of Debt:

Chapter 37 The Money Question: Goldbugs and Greenbackers Debate

  1. Who were the Goldbugs and where did the term come from? Who were the Greenbackers and how did Vernon Parrington summarize their position? Was the burden of the “difficult and often dangerous circumstances” under which gold was extracted borne by the Goldbugs?
  2. How did the scarcity of gold lead into dishonest money, according to Stephen Zarlenga? Why did paper credits need to be mixed with the gold? Today who are the goldbugs? Why does Machiavelli prophesy that reformers have an uphill battle?
  3. How did the real estate market in Vietnam demonstrate the problem with a gold-peg? What did the price of gold surge to in the ’70’s and return to in 2001? What is the advantage of an expandable currency? How did the Greenbackers view money, similar to the medieval tally system? What happened when the “Founding Fathers” adopted a precious metal standard at the Constitutional Convention?
  4. Describe the scenario of being shipwrecked with a chest of gold coins. Do you see any flaw in the logic? Do you see any flaw in the tally-stick scenario?
  5. Ellen Brown puts M3 at $12 trillion. What is it known to be now? Why was gold able to function well as a currency up until WWI? How is the “real bills” doctrine used by the Federal Reserve to advance credit today? How has that led to the current crisis? What do you think of the Kilowatt Card concept?
  6. Explain the NESARA bill and what it stands for. What does Ellen Brown say the real problem is with the US currency?
  7. Imagine a county e-currency in which no more than 6000 units per resident was ever generated. No one from the outside could buy e-credits, which would only exist as accounts at the county-owned bank. E-credits could be bought back by the county government at $1 per credit and recirculated in the local economy. But preferential tax breaks would encourage local spending instead. Would this currency be subject to inflation or deflation? What would happen to it if the US dollar inflates? Could vendors post a different price in e-currency and US dollars?

Chapter 38 The Federal Debt: A Case of Disorganized Thinking

  1. How much of the public portion of the debt is owed to foreign investors? What does Al Martin say that the income tax would need to be just to service the debt in 2013? Who authorized his study, which found that US citizens are left with “supersized bubbles and really scary economic numbers?”
  2. What is another grave threat to the US dollar? What did John Pilger say about the conflict with Iran and Iraq? How much was the US foreign debt in 2005, according to Mike Whitney? How does Ellen Brown suggest repaying the debt?
  3. How might the Caribbean hedge funds have been buying up US debt for the US Treasury? How would this have worked when Venezuela dumped $20 billion US? What’s the significance of March 2006 being the date that the Fed stopped reporting M3?
  4. What was the Coinage Subcommittee’s answer to the debt? What drawback did it have? If the US Treasury made an accounting entry to pay off the debt, would that fix the problem? Which Goldbug and which Greenbacker agree that fiat money is the only way to pay off the debt?
  5. If the US converted Federal Reserve bills to US Treasury bills, would it convert the $11 trillion held in tax havens? The $26 trillion issued to banks and corporations? Would the $600 trillion in derivatives be collectible or only the ones buried in deposit accounts and covered by FICA?
  6. Once the full faith and guarantee of the American people backs the currency that was issued by the banks, will we need to compete with these fortunes in order to buy US real estate? Water rights? Politicians?
  7. Would it be better to allow the bank-issued currency to hyperinflate and float away, while protecting our local assets by transferring them to county governments as the banks go bankrupt?
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