Nomination of Lagarde as President of the ECB – A Testimonium Paupertatis

Open letter to the European Council

Dear leaders of Europe and fellow Europeans,

as a longtime proponent of Europe, European integration and the institutions of the European Community, I write this open letter to convey my thoughts on the nomination of Christine Lagarde as next President of the European Central Bank (ECB) by the European Council, and to voice my discontent with this nomination. In short I cannot help but think: what a political testimonium paupertatis.

Please allow me to explain for there are good reasons in support of this qualification. Regardless of our opinions in this matter, I am sure we can all agree Europe simply is too important. Committed to a shared European spirit, I write this open letter.

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Towards a Trias Pecuniae

Abstract
This article presents the idea of a trias pecuniae as a synthesis of the commodity and credit theories of money. The margins of error provided by the rigidities of a classical gold standard and the flexibilities of a purely fiat standard as grounded in the commodity and credit theories of money have historically proven insufficiently robust to prevent episodes of inflation, financial excess and wealth inequalities. In conclusion, it is argued how through checks and balances, societies are able to grant citizens an unalienable right to the freedom of wealth with an effective and simple check. This article puts forward an analytical framework derived from approaches in philosophy (i.e. two theories of causality), law (through a so-called monetary matrix) and political theory (i.e. Montesquieu’s trias politica) to consistently untangle the elements that characterize the two money theories and the three theories of banking attached to them. In conclusion, the trias politica is applied to all wealth, allowing the discernment of three wealth powers: the fiscal power, the monetary power, and the credit power. The checks necessary to serve societies to remain in balance can be implemented by making the relations between the people and each of these institutional powers reciprocal. Essentially, when future income is removed from the equation of eligible collateral on the basis of which each of the wealth powers is able to enter into arrangements of credit, a society tackles all sources of inflation and financial excess. Through these checks, societies are able to eliminate the tendency of income and wealth disparities to become ever greater, not by top-down measures and interventions, but by means of laws that apply equally to all persons, natural and legal, thus leveling the playing field for the management of all wealth in a bottom-up fashion.

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April Fool’s Day 2014: A Unique Opportunity

Hello world!
Prankster in Chief speaking here. Each year, my thoughts drift away thinking of a funny prank for April Fool’s Day. So for this year’s edition, I was thinking about drawing a lot of attention. How can one make the national news and the international press? So for this year’s prank I was thinking of calling on a very large group of people to help out. People all around the world! Hang with me.
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Refuting Geert Wilders

The day before yesterday, local elections dominated the day in the Netherlands. Election night culminated rather unfortunately with a display of xenophobic rhetorics by the leader of the Freedom Party PVV, Geert Wilders. In the Hague, mister Wilders spoke to his supporters (video on the right), with whom he celebrated their re-election in the Hague; one of only two cities where his party campaigned. Mister Wilders victoriously proclaimed that three questions define the principles of his party. He asked his followers to answer three questions that clarify the principles of his party:

“The first question is. Do you want more or less European Union?”, to which the crowd chanted: “Less. Less. Less”. Wilders continued: “The second question is. Maybe even more important. Do you want more or less PvdA”? [*], to which the crowd responded  in a similar fashion. And then he voiced the third question: “The third question is. And we may not say this because criminal complaints are filed against you. And maybe there are public prosecutors of D’66 [**] who prosecute you. However, the freedom of expression is a great good. We have said nothing what may not be said. We have said nothing that was not true. Thus I ask you. Do you want, in this city and in the Netherlands, more or less Moroccans? The crowd chanted: “Less. Less. Less.” Mister Wilders gloated, sensing that his choice of rhetorics had paid off, and welcomed the crowd’s more than enthusiastic response by adding: “we will arrange that”.

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Dr. Zijlstra’s Legacy and the 21st Century Renaissance of Gold

If you read the series of analyses by Dr. Jelle Zijlstra, one of the world’s most informed central bankers of his era (1967-1981), you have read a little over half a “modern book” on the historical backgrounds of the international monetary framework and the reasons for the Bretton Woods framework to collapse. My selection of translations portrays a great similarity to the extent that the essential point is repeated again and again and which is most eloquently described in Zijlstra’s autobiography of 1992: “Gold as the monetary cosmos’ sun”.

Here are my thoughts on why his analysis is highly relevant to today’s financial crisis.

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Nationalized ABN Amro offers fool’s gold

In March, Dutch nationalized banking giant ABN Amro send its trading clients a letter explaining that they have changed the conditions for precious metals trading. In their letter [1], the bank explains that they will no longer deliver physical precious metals (gold, silver, platinum and palladium), that they administer prices slightly differently, and that they have found a new custodian. ABN Amro suggests that clients do not have to do anything, stating “we will administer and manage your precious metals holdings in the new manner”.

Of course clients do not have to do anything, but given the new conditions [2], this is hardly advisable or prudent. Investors with precious metals holdings with ABN Amro are potentially facing fatal risks.

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Aaron Swartz, rest in peace

Last night, I read the very unfortunate news about the suicide of 26-year old Aaron Swartz. Although I am not sure if I should bring this under people’s attention, I genuinely think Aaron’s story needs our reflection, silent or otherwise.

In case you have not heard about Aaron’s story, here’s a link to Harvard’s prof. Lessig reflecting on Aaron’s unfortunate decision to end his life.

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Analyse: de gouden standaard, de goudwisselstandaard en de euro

De aanleiding voor een uitgebreide analyse over de gouden standaard, de goudwisselstandaard en de euro is gevonden met een onjuiste veronderstelling van professor Bas Jacobs van de Erasmus Universiteit. Hij verwijt Europese politici te snel te willen bezuinigen. Zijn kritiek is echter onterecht. Aan de hand van de uitleg van de Franse econoom Jacques Rueff gaat deze analyse in op de verschillen tussen de gouden standaard en de goudwisselstandaard. Rueff, zo zal blijken, wijst op de cruciale rol die de Amerikaanse dollar speelde bij de totstandkoming van de Grote Depressie.

Professor Bas Jacobs uitte onlangs kritiek op de euro: “De euro lijkt te veel op de gouden standaard”. Jacobs gebruikt echter een argument tegen de gouden standaard die betrekking heeft op de goudwisselstandaard. De auteur op basis van wie Jacobs zijn conclusie trekt, en ik zal eerlijk bekennen dat ik dit werk van de auteur niet ken, is Peter Temin. Hij schreef het boek “Lessons from the Great Depression” en zou dus één en ander moeten weten over de oorzaken van de Grote Depressie.

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