George Gilder is most recently the author the ground breaking The Scandal of Money: Why Wall Street Recovers but the Economy Never Does. He is a founding fellow of the Discovery Institute and a senior fellow at the American Principles Project, which sponsored this book.
Gilder is also the author eighteen other well-regarded books including Knowledge and Powerand Microcosm. After the publication of Wealth and Poverty, he became Ronald Reagan’s most frequently quoted living author.
In the following clip — from a speech Gilder gave at FreedomFest 2016 — he discusses how near-zero interest rates, far from stimulating economic growth, actually create an environment which fosters inequality.
Zero interest rates essentially zero out time.
As Hayek put it, the root and source of all monetary evil is the government monopoly of money. Matt Ridley said the government monopoly of money not only suppresses innovation and creativity, not only retards growth, it also fosters inequality. Because what we have today is a bifurcated economy produced by the government monopoly of money that fosters inequality.
Think of most of us. Most of us get paid by the hour, paid by the day. We are inexorably caught in the economy of time; that’s how we get compensated. But what’s happened in the world economy in recent decades as a result of the government monopoly of money and that exploitation of that government monopoly to allow the unlimited expansion of government power through the creation of money.
What’s happened is a financialization, a hypertrophy, of finance in the world economy. The hypertrophy of finance escapes time — we have zero interest rates after all. It results in a lot of bidding up of existing assets because the opportunity cost is registered to be zero for spending today. Essentially the result is a bifurcation of the economy where the flash boys engage in millions of trades an hour and the rest of us are caught in the economy of time.
And, it’s a scandal because it doesn’t even deliver a measure of economic activity. A measuring stick that’s less stable and more volatile than the economic activity that it’s supposed to measure. It’s a scandal of money, a 5.3 trillion dollar a day scandal of money. The result has been across the capitalist world a big expansion of finance compared to the time-based economic activities which represents the reality of our economy.