How Business Owners Take Cues From Interest Rates

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-01/how-business-owners-take-cues-interest-rates

Authored by Frank Shostak via The Mises Institute,

[MD] The Mises Institute is professionally and universally clueless about money. But within that community, Frank Shostak holds the record for irrational thought. In the olden days his clarion call was “money pumping” … as if money could be pumped. Let’s see what he’s up to now.

According to the Austrian Business Cycle Theory (ABCT) the artificial lowering of interest rates by the central bank leads to a misallocation of resources because businesses undertake various capital projects that prior to the lowering of interest rates weren’t considered as viable. This misallocation of resources is commonly described as an economic boom.

[MD] According to the theory of park swings, if you push on a swing, it will oscillate. What in the world does Shostak think the business cycle is but the money changers farming operation? We here at MD know that a “real” money process does not allow any such perturbations … thus this is a non-sequitur. Now let’s watch him sequitur.

As a rule businessmen discover their error once the central bank – that was instrumental in the artificial lowering of interest rates – reverses its stance, which in turn brings to a halt capital expansion and an ensuing economic bust. From the ABCT one can infer that the artificial lowering of interest rates sets a trap for businessmen by luring them into unsustainable business activities that are only exposed once the central bank tightens its interest rate stance.

[MD] As we love to do here, we point out the nonsense that happens or is imagined to happen without a real money process in operation. What Frank writes about here “can not happen” with a real money process. INTEREST collections are in a bear hug with DEFAULTs experienced. Neither INTEREST nor DEFAULTs are a knob anyone can turn.

Critics of the ABCT maintain that there is no reason why businessmen should fall prey again and again to an artificial lowering of interest rates. Businessmen are likely to learn from experience, the critics argue, and not fall into the trap produced by an artificial lowering of interest rates. Correct expectations will undo or neutralize the whole process of the boom-bust cycle that is set in motion by the artificial lowering of interest rates. Hence, it is held, the ABCT is not a serious contender in the explanation of modern business cycle phenomena.

[MD] What Frank writes here would be true … if we had a real money process. But we don’t. We have a manipulated money process. What could be more obvious when we see them repeatedly use the term “monetary policy”. A real money process has no such capability … and never will. But the so-called “business cycle” which requires no theoretical examination … is a real tool of manipulation. And it does what it is intended to do … to put traders off balance in a “predictable way” … predictable to those turning the knobs … not to the traders suffering the manipulations.

According to a prominent critic of the ABCT, Gordon Tullock,

One would think that business people might be misled in the first couple of runs of the Rothbard cycle and not anticipate that the low interest rate will later be raised. That they would continue to be unable to figure this out, however, seems unlikely. Normally, Rothbard and other Austrians argue that entrepreneurs are well informed and make correct judgments. At the very least, one would assume that a well-informed businessperson interested in important matters concerned with the business would read Mises and Rothbard and, hence, anticipate the government action.1

[MD] Consider an inventory control analogy. If you know exactly what demand will be and have total control of supply, you can have a part arrive at the exact moment a customer comes in to buy it. But if either of those expectations cannot be expected, you must lay in “safety stock” (i.e. surplus for eventualities) to keep service percentage high. Now if someone is artificially manipulating demand or supply for their own benefit, you have two things: (1) A cheater benefiting from his behavior; and (2) A non-optimal process that must pay the cost of defending against the cheater. There’s enough of that going on in business without having it being done covertly and overtly to the money itself … especially in the name of “price stability” and “full employment”.

Even Mises himself had conceded that it is possible that some time in the future businessmen will stop responding to loose monetary policy thereby preventing the setting in motion of the boom-bust cycle.

[MD] No they won’t. In the inventory control example, the businessman statistically observed the supply and demand patterns. When they are noisy and unpredictably cyclical, he must lay in more safety stock. When they’re highly predictable, he can trim his safety stock dramatically. Let’s see what the “Mises” genius himself has to say on the subject.

In his reply to  Lachmann he wrote,

It may be that businessmen will in the future react to credit expansion in another manner than they did in the past. It may be that they will avoid using for an expansion of their operations the easy money available, because they will keep in mind the inevitable end of the boom. Some signs forebode such a change. But it is too early to make a positive statement.2

[MD] Idiot! The businessman has no choice. He must serve his customers in the face of any eventuality. Picture him going to his bank and saying he’s not going to pay his mortgage this month because of “tightening” but fear not, next month there will be “loosening” and I will make both payments then.

Do Expectations Matter?

Now, a businessman has to cater for consumers future requirements if he wants to succeed in his business.

So whenever he observes a lowering in interest rates he knows that this most likely will provide a boost to the demand for various goods and services in the months ahead. Hence, if he wants to make a profit he would have to make the necessary arrangements to meet the future demand.

[MD] What is Shostak arguing for? He hasn’t made a demand to institute a “real” money process to make this manipulation impossible.

For instance, if a builder refuses to act on the likely increase in the demand for houses because he believes that this is on account of the loose monetary policy of the central bank and cannot be sustainable, then he will be out of business very quickly. To be in the building business means that he must be in tune with the demand for housing.

[MD] Actually, he’s better to be in tune with the money changer’s farming operation. That’s the tune that is being played.

Likewise, any other businessman in a given field will have to respond to the likely changes in demand in the area of his involvement if he wants to stay in business.

If a businessman has decided to be in a given business this means that the businessman is likely to cater for changes in the demand in this particular business irrespective of the underlying causes behind changes in demand. Failing to do so will put him out of business very quickly.

[MD] But do you see these businessmen or Shostak demanding the institution of a real money process? I wonder if Shostak will demand anything to deal with this manipulation problem.

Hence, regardless of expectations once the central bank tightens its stance most businessmen will “get caught”. A tighter stance will undermine demand for goods and services and this will put pressure on various business activities that sprang up whilst the interest rate stance was loose. An economic bust emerges.

Furthermore, even if businessmen have correctly anticipated the interest rate stance of the central bank and the subsequent changes in the growth rate of money supply, because of the variable time lag from money changes to its effect on economic activity it will be impossible to establish the accurate timing of the boom-bust cycle.

[MD] Frank. Read some history! Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802 “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered…. I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies…. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” And even if he didn’t write it, it’s absolutely true and obvious.

Due to the time lag, prior changes in money supply could continue to dominate the economic scene for an extended period. (Given that the time lag is variable, it is not possible to ascertain when a given change in the money supply growth rate is going to start to dominate the economic scene and when the effect of past changes in money supply is going to vanish).

We can conclude that correct expectations cannot prevent boom-bust cycles once the central bank has eased its interest rate stance.

The only way to stop the menace of boom-bust cycles is for the central bank to stop the tampering with financial markets.

[MD] And the only way to get them to do that … since they’re doing it “on purpose for their farming operation”  … is to INSTITUTE A REAL MONEY PROCESS TO COMPETE WITH THEM. Asking them kindly “please don’t do that” isn’t going to work.

What is “Proof of Stake”

HN: Hacker Noon
By Shaan Ray

What is “Proof of Stake”
https://hackernoon.com/what-is-proof-of-stake-8e0433018256

Oct 6, 2017

The proof of stake system is attracting a lot of attention these days, with Ethereum switching over to this system from the proof of work system.

MD:
The Bitcoin (i.e. blockchain) people claim it’s main asset is that there is no central authority. But there is certainly a central process or “switching over” wouldn’t be possible. The RFC process of the entire internet has shown us it is possible to have a universally accepted process … without cryptography and without block chains and without a central authority. The DNS (Domain Name System) is a distributed database protocol that has many attributes useful for a distributed database system with no central authority. And of course it has some serious issues.

HN: Proof of stake is an alternative process for transaction verification on a blockchain. It is increasing in popularity and being adopted by several cryptocurrencies. To understand proof of stake, it is important to have a basic idea of proof of work. As of this writing, the proof of work method is used by Bitcoin, Ethereum and most other major cryptocurrencies.

MD: At MD we know for “real” money you don’t need “proof” of anything. What you need is universal transparency to things. Those things are the “creation and delivery on time and space spanning promises made by traders.”

HN: Proof of work

Proof of work is a mining process in which a user installs a powerful computer or mining rig to solve complex mathematical puzzles (known as proof of work problems). Once several calculations are successfully performed for various transactions, the verified transactions are bundled together and stored on a new ‘block’ on a distributed ledger or public blockchain. Mining verifies the legitimacy of a transaction and creates new currency units
.
MD: Digging a hole and filling it right back in is work … totally useless work. A money system that relies on useless work is an open admission that the “money” itself has zero value. Rather it “represents” something of “perceived” value … and that perception must be universal. Thus, here we have open admission of a failure of the “proof of work” scheme.

HN: The work must be moderately difficult for the miner to perform, but easy for the network to check. Multiple miners on the network attempt to be the first to find a solution for the mathematical problem concerning the candidate block. The first miner to solve the problem announces their solution simultaneously to the entire network, in turn receiving the newly created cryptocurrency unit provided by the protocol as a reward.

MD: This is admission that this scheme is even more stupid than using precious metals as money (being proof of work). At least with precious metals all miners are creating something of “real” value. And when someone else gets there first, they don’t lose their work.

HN: As more computing power is added to the network and more coins are mined, the average number of calculations required to create a new block increases, thereby increasing the difficulty level for the miner to win a reward. In proof of work currencies, miners need to recover hardware and electricity costs. This creates downward pressure on the price of the cryptocurrency from newly generated coins, thus encouraging miners to keep improving the efficiency of their mining rigs and find cheaper sources of electricity.

MD: Another open admission of the absurdity of this process. We see the predictable today. So-called “miners” use exotic bots to “steal” computer cycles from internet users. They sneak onto government owned super computers. They also create faster machines that quickly obsolete existing machines thus wasting more “real” resources. It’s not unusual for brand new state of the art ASIC and FPGA based machines to pay themselves off in one to three months … and be totally obsolete in three to six months. In the meantime, they make so much noise they drive their owners out. But they do have an advantage. They use so much electricity, they can mask a hidden marijuana operation.

HN: Bitcoin is an example of a cryptocurrency that uses the proof of work system.

MD: There is no need for the “currency” to be encrypted. In fact, in a “real” money process, the traders, the process, and the terms must be in universal plain view … and unchangeable. This is easily accomplished with simple universal hashing protocols.

HN: Mining rigs in a bitcoin mining facility.

Proof of Stake

Unlike the proof of work system, in which the user validates transactions and creates new blocks by performing a certain amount of computational work, a proof of stake system requires the user to show ownership of a certain number of cryptocurrency units.

MD: In a “real” money system, new traders creating money don’t have to be existing large money changers. Here is open admission that the “proof of stake” system copies a myth from our existing flawed (rigged actually) Medium of Exchange (MOE) process.

HN: The creator of a new block is chosen in a pseudo-random way, depending on the user’s wealth, also defined as ‘stake’. In the proof of stake system, blocks are said to be ‘forged’ or ‘minted’, not mined. Users who validate transactions and create new blocks in this system are referred to as forgers.

MD: In any MOE system, counterfeiters are often “forgers”. Interesting choice of terms isn’t it. Presumably they’re using the “forge” metaphor where existing metal is hammered into different shapes. But there is also the “faking” form where signatures and whole documents are forged. Any MOE process must prevent this. In a “real” MOE process, it is the only leak possible and is mitigated by total transparency of the money creation and destruction activity.

HN: In most proof of stake cases, digital currency units are created at the launch of the currency and their number is fixed.

MD: Bad idea. This fixing of the number “guarantees” the process will be deflationary. In a “real” process, inflation (deflation) is perpetually zero.

HN: Therefore, rather than using cryptocurrency units as reward, the forgers receive transaction fees as rewards. In a few cases, new currency units can be created by inflating the coin supply, and forgers can be rewarded with new currency units created as rewards, rather than transaction fees.

MD: What are these cases? If this can be done, how can they say the number is fixed? Also notice that their process seems to “require” that the creators of the money be “rewarded”. This is also taken from our flawed (corrupt) existing system. They implement a process of elites with power and privilege and ability to demand tribute … just like our current flawed system.

HN: In order to validate transactions and create blocks, a forger must first put their own coins at ‘stake’. Think of this as their holdings being held in an escrow account: if they validate a fraudulent transaction, they lose their holdings, as well as their rights to participate as a forger in the future.

MD: So they take their fake wealth and risk it … like putting it up as collateral. This is also from our existing flawed system. The capitalists take just two years to reclaim their stake (they collect 40%/year interest which doubles in two years). After that, they are forever playing with OPM (Other People’s Money) and risk nothing themselves at all.  A “proper” MOE process uses perfect “transparency” and “interest collection according to propensity to default” to keep the players honest and provide negative feedback for stability. In a proper process, these deadbeats can pay back their defaults and return to good standing.

HN: Once the forger puts their stake up, they can partake in the forging process, and because they have staked their own money, they are in theory now incentivized to validate the right transactions.

MD: Myth in the open. Putting up a stake does not mean putting up their own money. They’ve gotten back their own money through deflation very quickly.

HN: This system does not provide a way to handle the initial distribution of coins at the founding phase of the cryptocurrency, so cryptocurrencies which use this system either begin with an ICO and sell their pre-mined coins, or begin with the proof of work system, and switch over to the proof of stake system later.

MD: Now they’re borrowing from the corporate model where a group can create a vision, sell a little less than half to suckers (in the form of stocks), hype the vision, pull out their stake but leave themselves in control, and bingo … you have another form of elite gaming of the system. And again, how do they switch systems later.?This sounds like they’re destroying the money and then using it to buy gold. Our current MOE manipulators call this the “business cycle”. It’s their “farming operation”.

HN: Cyptocurrencies that currently run the proof of stake system are BlackCoin, Lisk, Nxt and Peercoin, among others.
Proof of work mining versus proof of stake forging.
Block Selection Methods
For a proof of stake method to work effectively, there needs to be a way to select which user gets to forge the next valid block in the blockchain.

MD: There must be privileged users. In our present corrupt system we call them bankers (and sometimes governments) and they get 10x leverage over the rest of us.

HN: Selecting the forger by the size of their account balance alone would result in a permanent advantage for the richer forgers who decide to stake more of their cryptocurrency units. To counter this problem, several unique methods of selection have been created. The most popular of these methods are the ‘Randomized Block Selection’ and the ‘Coin Age Based Selection’ methods.

MD: This is characteristic of processes invented by very smart people with very good memories. Rather than seeing the rudimentary flaws in what they are doing, scrapping it, and starting over with a better concept, they run into obvious flaws we less smart people see immediately, and come up with more and more complicated workarounds … and the process soon stops because no one understands it.

HN: Randomized block selection

In the randomized block selection method of selection, a formula which looks for the user with the combination of the lowest hash value and the size of their stake, is used to select the next forger. Since the size of the stakes are public, each node is usually able to predict which user will be selected to forge the next block. Nxt and BlackCoin are two proof of work cryptocurrencies that use the randomized block selection method.

MD: This looks like an open invitation to corruption and manipulation. And when you have a “randomizing” process, the pseudo-random number generator must be open and fixed. Everyone must use the same process. The same random seed must yield the same next random number. This is problematic for obvious reasons.

HN: Coin Age based selection

The coin age based system selects the next forger based on the ‘coin age’ of the stake the potential forger has put up. Coin age is calculated by multiplying the number of days the cryptocurrency coins have been held as stake by the number of coins that are being staked.

MD: Look how long Bitcoin ran before people started to pay attention  … it was several years. During that time they were giving coins away just to make it look like there was activity. Mining costs were trivial and the supply grew very quickly with the demand not growing at all. Now that it is starting to catch on (the hook is getting set), these early worthless “coins” own the process. What’s not to like about that? Duh? A Ponzi scheme with no Ponzi.

HN: Coins must have been held for a minimum of 30 days before they can compete for a block.

MD: This is building a time constant into the process … and is open for manipulation. A proper MOE process has no openings for manipulation at all.

HN: Users who have staked older and larger sets of coins have a greater chance of being assigned to forge the next block. Once a user has forged a block, their coin age is reset to zero and then they must wait at least 30 days again before they can sign another block
.
MD: How is this done? Does this mean the “timestamps” for the coins … used for determining age … can be manipulated too? What’s not to like?

HN: The user is assigned to forge the next block within a maximum period of 90 days, this prevents users with very old and large stakes from dominating the blockchain thereby making the network more secure.

MD: Another knob to manipulate … another opening for fraud and corruption … by regulators.

HN: Because a forger’s chance of success goes up the longer they fail to create a block, forgers can expect to create blocks more regularly. This mechanism promotes a healthy, decentralized forging community.

MD: This is classic complication delivering fairness. Hint people: Fairness is not complicated. But it does go against something that is current flawed wisdom … wisdom that says centralization is good. This says centralization is “not” good. So let’s apply that wisdom … iterative secession. BTW: With a “proper” MOE process, there can be any number of independent processes as long as they all deliver the same transparency and follow the same simple rule (DEFAULT perpetually equals INTEREST collected). No system can be better in any way so all competing systems are equal in performance to the traders using it.

HN: Peercoin is a proof-of-stake system based cryptocurrency which uses the coin age selection process combined with the randomized selection method. Peercoin’s developers claim that this makes a malicious attack on the network more difficult, since purchasing more than half of the coins is likely costlier than acquiring 51% of proof-of-work hashing power.

MD: Notice how all these “complicated” processes have “developers” making “claims” and solving open flaws in other complicated processes … such flaws being prone to “malicious attacks” … opened by their complexity.

HN: Most proof of stake coins that pay a reward in the form of a transaction fee for verifying transactions and creating new blocks, set a target interest rate which users can expect to earn from staking their coins.

MD: Another knob (interest) that a proper MOE process knows should never exist but rather should be an automatic negative feedback mechanism with no opening for intervention. A proper MOE process has no monetary policy. Rather, it precludes it totally.

HN: In the case of cryptocurrencies where forgers create new coins, this rate also becomes the maximum rate at which the currency supply is inflated over time.

MD: “Maximum rate”? For inflation? Over time? What a joke. They clearly have no understanding of what money is. Hint: Don’t try to create a money process without know what money is. Hint: Money is “an in-process promise to complete a trade over time and space and is “always” and only created by traders”.

HN: Proof of stake systems are more environmentally friendly and efficient, as the electricity and hardware costs are much lower than the costs associated with mining in a proof of work system.

MD: A “proper” MOE process is “perfectly” environmentally friendly and efficient. It costs nothing to create and destroy money. There is no “profit” to be made in the process anywhere. The total cost is always borne by the traders and is trivial to the size of their trades. Ideally, it is absorbed as an implicit default and is paid through interest collections on deadbeat traders. Responsible traders pay nothing at all.

HN: A greater number of people are encouraged to run nodes and get involved because it is easy and affordable to participate in this system; this results in more decentralization.

MD: In a proper MOE process, the only incentive to become a node is to decrease latency … and that is a huge incentive. It’s like a communication system with no backbone. Rather it is a mesh system where all nodes make up the connection path. This would be an obvious improvement over the current (easily manipulated) internet process. Can you say “network neutrality?”

HN: This is only a general guide to the proof of stake system. Each cryptocurrency issuer will most likely customize this system with a unique set of rules and provisions of their own as they issue their currency or switch over from the proof of work system.

MD: But the different monies  themselves must be indistinguishable to the “users” (as opposed to the “creators”) of the money. And they must be non-counterfeit able.

HN: Additionally, this is a rapidly evolving industry, and apart from proof of work and proof of stake, there are currently several other systems and methodologies of transaction verification and block creation being tested and experimented with.

MD: All equally complicated and demented I’m sure.

Don Boudreaux quoting his St. James Buchanan

Re: 2017/07/31: http://cafehayek.com/2017/07/bonus-quotation-day-41.html

Don Boudreaux seems to be a Mises Monk. He, and the other acolytes, have gone apoplectic over comments by a Nancy MacLean that evidently wrote a book that took some shots at one of their saints … a James Buchanan.

This quote is typical of the type presentations you get from these people. Saint James Buchanan is said to have written:

The abiding genius of Karl Marx lies precisely here, in his acute understanding of the possible reaction of the ignorant intellectual to the workings of the capitalist or market order.

Now there is nothing mystical about a capitalist. A capitalist is easily defined as “two years”. That’s what it takes for a person with elite connections, and thus privileged under banking laws granting them 10x leverage, to double the “capital” they put into a bank … assuming they make a conservative 4% spread (which x10 is 40%/year on “their” money) on the so-called “loans” they make.

After that, they can take “their” money off the table, and leave the other half to ride forever. In a 30 year career, their con of compound interest turns their money into over 24,000 times what they “put in” for just that “two years”. It’s infinite when you consider they had zero capital at risk over the other 28 years.

Pretty slick deal isn’t it. What’s not to like about capitalism. And of course, anyone who takes a shot at capitalism must be a “communist”. That’s the only other alternative, right? That’s what they would have you believe, yet they repeatedly qualify their “capitalism” with the adjective “crony” when they don’t think it’s pure … i.e. when it is mostly communism and corruption and what they like to call “corporatism” (they never seem to run out of “isms”) as it is in the USA … and everywhere else capitalism is claimed to be found.

Here at Money Delusions, we talk about “traderism”. We know and we prove that “money” is created only by traders ( … oh, and of course counterfeiters … these being easily and quickly mitigated in a proper process). Money is “not” created by banks. It is “not” created by the governments banks institute to protect their con.

So, putting so-called capitalism aside for now (i.e. ignoring everything we read about it herein), let’s keep our eye on their other subject … that being “market order” … something we here know at MD is not “order-able” … it is free to do what it pleases … and if not, it is “rigged” and is not a market at all. Of course all markets are rigged because money is rigged.

Just keep that in mind as you read these annotated excerpts of some of Don Boudreaux’s nonsense:
vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

From Bourreaux’s Essay/

… is from page 167 of Vol. 19 (Ideas, Persons, and Events [2001]) of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan; specifically, it’s from Jim’s 1986 paper “Liberty, Market and the State”:

The abiding genius of Karl Marx lies precisely here, in his acute understanding of the possible reaction of the ignorant intellectual to the workings of the capitalist or market order.

DBx: Fancying themselves to be unusually insightful, thoughtful, and knowledgeable, a great many intellectuals are, in fact, mindless pack animals.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

MD: When challenged to disprove the definition and proof of what money is as given by this MD site (see side panel), Boudreaux responded like a “mindless pack animal”. He said he doesn’t feel compelled to address my “unorthadox” treatment of the subject. I reminded him that Columbus and Copernicus also presented unorthodox views on subjects we take today as being obvious.

And here’s some more of the Boudreaux pot calling the kettle black:

They mistake their slogans – which sound fine to the ears of intelligent second-graders – for insight and knowledge.  Never bothering to learn economics, and also never bothering to think realistically about politics or to study history with care, they criticize without careful reflection, condemn without sound judgment, and propose without information, insight, or wisdom.

MD: Now, I have not found a single economist that knows what money is. How in the world can you teach a subject like economics without knowing what money is? So anyone who has “never bothered to learn economics” really has a leg up on those who have. They don’t have to unlearn any of that nonsense.

It all begins with knowing what money is. At this site we will repeatedly bring up their confusion and shine light on it. Remember … Boudreaux says the obvious truths explained here are “unorthodox” … what a properly religious term he uses to explain his own behavior.