What exactly is wealth? What does it consist of, and how is it measured? I discussed the concept of money back in my June 10, 2016 blog essay What is Money?, but I will take it a different direction today. (You can read my money post from last June here at https://putnamlibertynotes.wordpress.com/2016/6/10/what-is-money/ )
We can begin by stating that fiat currency/ paper money/ bank notes such as present day Federal Reserve Notes are not true wealth. They are fantasy tokens, irredeemable in anything and taken in commerce only because of penalty of law. The gold and silver coins used by our ancestors were not so; they were tradable in any society or time period because of their intrinsic value. FRNs are only better then Monopoly money because the government –under threat of force- demands people use them.
While we have established that present day money really isn’t, we have not touched upon whether or not specie and bullion are the only, or even the best, way to measure wealth. I hold that they are not. Gasp!
Wealth can mean many things, from money to land and great possessions. The earliest form of wealth was probably land and cattle –the necessities of survival. Those who had more food, tools, or land than they needed to feed themselves and their family had wealth. Eventually, man turned to precious metals as a store of excess wealth. Metals were selected because of their utilitarian nature –they could be melted down into something of practical use and were of easily determined purity and size/weight.
Gaining gold or silver coins was not the goal of life in the ancient world, or even in early white America. Accumulating gold and silver was something one might do after they had land and the necessities of life –if they were prosperous enough to do so.
But urbanization and the industrial revolution have changed man, erasing his cognizance of his ancestors and the past, and blurring his vision of the current world. Man no longer feeds himself. Man no longer provides his family with the water that is necessary for drinking and sanitation. Man no longer raises his food, or preserves it himself. Man cannot cook his food or heat his house in winter with resources from his land. Man has been colonized by a government and corporate “grid” of food, water, and energy production and distribution. This is the premise of Michael Bunker’s excellent exit-the-system book Surviving Off Off-Grid.
When man lost his concept of personal production and survival, he also lost his concept of wealth. No longer was wealth something to be accumulated after his basic necessities were met. Now “wealth” was the accumulation of money –even electronic digits in a bank’s computer representing paper fiat money. Even if he lived in a rented house 10 feet from his neighbor, and all his (unhealthy) food came from a corporate store, he had “money” in his account to buy consumer luxuries with –TVs, smartphones, vacations, etc. Modern man in the West now has the illusion of great wealth, while living in borderline poverty and being totally un-survivable in the event of a temporary (or long term) societal collapse.
Many conservative types buy gold or silver coins to preserve their wealth. This is not a good idea for almost everyone. Why? Because they are not in a survivable situation before acquiring this store of excess wealth. If a man cannot live through a complete and total collapse of the government and corporate grid of food, water and energy production and distribution for at least six months –then he is unviable. He needs to concentrate his resources on things to ensure his survival –not on expensive little metal disks that he cannot eat or defend himself with.
If gold and silver are the absolute and inflation proof store of wealth that its dealers advertise it as, then why are they selling it for the fiat paper dollars that they are warning their customer about? Why are they brokering sales of “true” wealth in order to acquire paper script that is inflating away? I think we have all missed something here.
I heard a commercial on Fox News recently; I forget the name of the company. There was a spokesman warning that we are running out of silver, and that its price might double! His solution? Buy silver from them! Really? If we are running out, why is it still easily available for purchase, and why would the price only double if we are *really* running out (as in there will be no more of a finite resource)? If it is so valuable, why is selling it for inflationary paper? (crickets chirping)
A decent .22lr caliber rifle (such as a Ruger 10/22), a decent scope, and 2,000 rounds of good (CCI, etc.) ammo today might cost you $600 in June 2017 America. That is about 30 ounces of silver, or ½ ounce of gold. That .22 rifle is not for big game hunting, and is very marginal for personal defense, but it allows small game hunting and pest control –and defense if used very carefully. If everything goes down, for a few months or for a decade or two, that .22 rifle will be of much higher practical value to you than thirty 1oz. silver rounds. That .22 rifle is not a replacement for a handgun or a .308 battle rifle, but it is a start at survival.
A stockpile of freeze dried food is a decent place to start, but a poor place to end. It is far better to be able to produce and preserve food from your land –a long term sustainable solution. A copy of Michael Bunker’s book Surviving Off Off-Grid will tell you why in-depth, and will only cost you about one ounce of that precious silver. (https://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Off-Off-Grid-Decolonizing-Industrial/dp/0615447902 ).
On a final note, reselling metals might not be what you think. By definition, a coin costs more than its melt value. The shop or online dealer you bought it from bought it for more than melt value (as it was refined and minted) and then sold it to you for a profit –enough to stay in business. He is not going to rebuy it from you for what he sold it to you for. To buy metals and make money one must be willing to hold on to it for years, and hope that the price increases dramatically. Then one can sell it for more than they have in it; but the coin or pawn shop buying your metal still will not give you what they sell it for. But there is one more wrinkle. During the period between your buy and sell dates, the price of metals also has to have risen faster than inflation; otherwise one just preserved their money –or perhaps lost less than if they had left it in FRNs. It seems to me that profitable metals investing would be difficult. A (((tribe))) who has been money changing for a couple thousand years might be able to consistently increase their holdings, but I doubt that most common men can. The process of going from (bad) paper to (good) bullion and back to (bad) paper for a profit of (bad) paper is really a bizarre game. (((Who))) could have came up with this?
It is unwise to buy bullion if you do not already have the basic tools and weapons necessary to survive an extended “grid down” period. Wealth, whatever exactly one thinks it is, is of no good to those who are dead.
(c) Copyright 2017 by Joseph Charles Putnam or Orange County, Indiana. All rights reserved.