After reading the Bitcoin Standard, the part that shook me the most was the following realisation:
Hard money makes wars inefficient, whereas soft money makes them bloody and endless.
If anything, the takeaway from every thing Seifedean Ammous says should be the following. I’m using a thread reader app to stitch the tweets together ’cause apparently it’s a thing we need to do these days in order to read a coherent argument. Fuck twitter, I hate it so much. Here it is:
And a screenshot because I fucking hate twitter:
In short, when you have hard money in order to wage aggressive or defensive war you have to actually have them on hand, meaning in your country’s treasury or by taxing the people or by taking a loan from an ally. That places a hard cap on the amount spent, which forces those in power to minimize losses and make the cost of human life smaller. Also, when you’re aggressive, it’s much harder to sustain for a long time, even with religious and fanatical ideologies. On the defensive, it’s easier to tax people more and more since you’re defending them. Anyone opposing 70%-90% taxation when their country is being invaded would be considered a non-patriot. That means the attacker has a leash that keeps dragging them back while the defender has dug into their position and is willing to fight to the death.
I’m not naive, I know this is simplified but in general those are the forces at play in any war in history. In Greece we’ve experienced this with the aggressive war during Great Idea (Megali Idea) in 1919 when we extended too far out into the Turkish territory because of a stupid ideological war and got screwed as a result. It’s a bit complex but in simple terms the revenge fantasy of taking back Constantinople drove the people to keep attacking, and the ones in power couldn’t halt the war effort without losing face. That cost us dearly in lives and territory. The Turks fought back, our supply lines were spread thin and far beyond breaking point, and when the rubber band snapped we got slaughtered and lost the entire Asia Minor coastline in 1922.
You can look up the Wikipedia article for a more detailed analysis. I’m sure many countries have these exact themes played out over the years, and if you boil it down to economics, it’s all about unsound money. It’s the money printer going BRRRRRR that robs future generations of their wealth for short-sighted gains, if any, and huge loss of human life. You might remember the two world wars right after that big Greek loss. Seifedean thinks that the blood spilt during those wars could have been prevented if Keynesian economists didn’t back up corrupt politicians and printed endless supplies of money to fund their wars. Again, I know it’s naive to think that one thing could have prevented it all, but it’s not one thing. It’s many things that add up. Keynesian economists, neoliberal ideologies, massive egos, racism, technological development (let’s not forget that WWI was fought with archaic battle tactics and modern weaponry and those that didn’t adapt got slaughtered.)
I also understand that the World Wars accelerated our technology to what it is today. Our world would not look like this if insane amounts of money hadn’t been poured into weapons research. While I’m all for technological development, that’s not the way I wanna see it happen. We would have been fine staying 100 years behind and inventing all those things more organically through inevitable minor skirmishes here and there funded by sound money. The free market would have given enough competition for people to invent those wondrous things we have today.