Earlier this year, American investor, economist, and scholar George Gilder released a ground-breaking new book on global economics called The Scandal of Money: Why Wall Street Recovers but the Economy Never Does.
Gilder’s book has drawn praise from luminaries like former senator Jim DeMint, entrepreneur Peter Thiel, and CNBC’s Larry Kudlow.
In the summer 2016 edition of the Acton Institute’s journal, Religion and Liberty, Stephen Schmalhofer added his name to the list of people who enjoyed The Scandal of Money:
Perhaps the only futurist worthy of that grandiloquent title, Gilder draws on a lifetime of insights into entrepreneurship and innovation to consider the problems caused by the present state of American money. Generously sharing his pages with the best underappreciated thinkers, like 20th-century French economist Jacques Rueff, and introducing relevant innovations in information technology, Gilder considers possible solutions: a modernized gold standard and decentralized digital currencies like Bitcoin. Gold and Bitcoin both offer the advantage of irreversibility, desirable in the same way that the results of an experiment should not be manipulated after their collection. Lacking a philosopher’s stone, we must expend time in the form of capital and labor to produce more gold. Mined not from the ground but through advanced mathematics, digital currencies like Bitcoin defeat attempts at counterfeiting with timestamping. Their irreversibility is anchored in the scarcest resource—time. In the author’s imaginative prose: “Sound money requires hostility to time travel.”
If Trump and Sanders are the tribunes of anxious middle Americans, failed monetary policy is partly responsible for their rise. Time-bound to the real economy, these workers have experienced remarkable productivity gains since World War II, but wages have failed to keep pace since the United States broke the last link to gold in 1971. Who is left behind? Gilder tells us: “Incarcerated in time are nonfinancial wage and salary earners, paid by the hour or month.” Denied the knowledge necessary to flourish, these Americans are unable to intelligibly respond to changes in the economy and see their wage growth slow. Misdiagnosing stagnation as inequality, technocrats energized by the recent work of French economist Thomas Piketty “propose mechanical and accounting solutions that do not address what real people care about and what affects our well-being: opportunity, creativity, and growth.” With our frontier closed, voters turn their frustration against scapegoats (e.g., immigrants, foreign trade) offered up by self-interested populists. With our monetary mistakes veiled, greed leads by an invisible hand to socialism as redistribution misallocates scarce capital to the “least productive users of it—politicians.” Fortunately, we have George Gilder to help us separate the signal from the noise, bearing surprising new knowledge, not wielding power.”
Read Schmalhofer’s full review here.
Jon Schweppe is the Communications Director at American Principles Project.