I have served on the Pembroke, Ontario Daily Observer’s community editorial board since early 2012 and have written a number of articles which are presented below. Since 2014 some of the articles have also been featured on websites such as mises.ca and zerohedge.com. The articles are listed in chronological order, with the most recent articles at the bottom of the page.
Looking at why a default in Greece could, thanks to credit default swap derivatives, lead to another global financial crisis. Published March 10th, 2012
Explaining the 4 processes by which an economy reduces its debt burden (inflation, write-offs, wealth transfers to the poor, and austerity) and why certain processes are favoured by policymakers over others. Published May 19th, 2012
An analysis of the LIBOR scandal and the culture that spawned it. Published July 28th, 2012
Looking at the Ontario government’s decision to pass back-to-work legislation instead of engaging in negotiations with teachers. Published October 6th, 2012
Comparing the obvious corruption being uncovered by Quebec’s Charbonneau Commission to the much more damaging but less obvious corruption taking place in the financial markets. Published December 15th, 2012
Examining efforts by the Mortgage Brokers’ Association to extend mortgage loan terms in the name of housing affordability. Published March 16th, 2013
A skeptical view of then-current data pointing to an economic recovery. Published June 8th, 2013
An analysis of the unintended consequences of a law intended to ensure fairness in teacher hiring. Published August 31st, 2013
An article arguing that we are likely near a market top in the bond market and therefore in all other interest-sensitive financial assets as quantitative easing gets less and less effective. Published November 16th, 2013
An article linking the outcry directed at the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority officers who let a youth board a flight to Mexico with his family after confiscating a pipe bomb he had forgotten he had put in his camera case to the reluctance of administrators at York University to deny a student’s request to be excused from doing course work with female students due to his religious beliefs. Published January 25th, 2014.
An article comparing the fierce efforts made by governments to combat wage and price inflation in the early 1980s to the desperate efforts being made by governments to encourage asset price inflation today. Published March 8th, 2014.
An article looking at the possibility of the dollar losing its global reserve currency status as a result of the U.S. government’s pursuit of higher inflation intended to support the banking system. Published May 17th, 2014.
An article that examines the benefits of having bureaucracies feel competitive pressure. Published Wednesday October 22nd, 2014.
An article that compares zero percent interest rates and quantitative easing to giving blood thinners to a patient with atherosclerosis, when what is needed is major reform to unblock the arteries. Published July 26th, 2014.
An article (published under the title If something can’t go on forever, it won’t) that compares heavily indebted industrialized nations to heavily indebted individuals who need additional credit in order to continue to appear solvent. Published October 4th, 2014.
An article that looks at the connection between two events from the fall: the Bank of Japan’s decision to engage in rampant money printing at the end of October and the Swiss Gold Initiative referendum held at the end of November. Published December 20th, 2014.
An article (published under the title Time for some mattress padding) that explains why borrowers are now paid to borrow money in Switzerland and some of the Nordic countries, and explores the likely consequences of this development. Published February 21st, 2015.
An article (published under the title Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation) that looks at how the Bank of Canada stopped behaving like a Crown Corporation run in the public interest in the 1970s in order to satisfy the demands of private commercial banks, and how the actions of these banks have led directly to many of the financial and even geopolitical problems facing the world today. Published April 25, 2015.
An article that looks at the monopoly problems inherent in public education and suggests a competitive way forward. Published June 27th, 2015.
An article that looks at Gresham’s Law with reference to threats to eliminate cash in order to impose negative interest rates. Published August 29th, 2015.
A seasonal article that looks at the trick of credit creation and the treat of rising asset prices with a nod to the concept of ‘the febezzle.’ Published October 31st, 2015.
Why do Western nations continue to respond to acts of terror with bombing, when it is clear that the acts of terror were committed precisely to provoke such a response? Published January 2nd, 2016.
Low interest rates pull both investment and spending forward. After 8 years of interest rates near zero, what happens when increased productive capacity meets consumer exhaustion? Published February 20th, 2016.
Over time, centralized systems established in the name of greater efficiency result in higher costs and consequently reduced services. Published May 7th, 2016 as “Can’t afford the Caddy? Keep walking.”
The end of the Cold War, instead of bringing the end of history, instead permitted Western international institutions to act as unaccountable rackets, causing people in both developing and, increasingly, developed nations to reject the global system. Published July 23rd, 2016.
Guaranteed basic income schemes (currently attracting interest as a means of addressing rising inequality) are money printing for the poor. Given that rising inequality is a consequence of money printing for the rich, one wonders whether it might be better to simply stop printing money. Published October 8th, 2016.
Just as during the final decades of the Soviet Union, our leaders, while aware that the system is not working, are nonetheless unable to imagine an alternative and so are reduced to pretending that it is and convincing (or coercing) citizens to do likewise. Published December 31st, 2016.
The Conservative Party of Canada must embrace its small business roots and expand opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business and roll back the power of monopolies and other agents of the ‘rentier economy’ in order to regain political legitimacy. Published March 18th, 2017.
The U.S. dollar relies upon foreign purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds to retain its value. As it is now impossible to raise interest rates to attract foreign buyers, it has become necessary to create global instability so as to induce foreigners to buy dollar assets as a ‘safe haven.’ Published June 3rd, 2017.
Current geopolitical tension between the U.S.A. and North Korea can perhaps be best understood as an attempt to provoke a confrontation which would allow those in charge of our central banks and banking system to escape responsibility for making the collapse of our corrupt fiat money financial system inevitable. Published August 19th, 2017.
Staying with the geopolitical tensions in East Asia, can they perhaps be best understood as an indirect means for the U.S.A. to apply pressure on China in order to preserve U.S. dollar hegemony in the face of recent efforts by the Chinese to establish markets for both gold and oil denominated in yuan? Published November 4th, 2017.
Reflections on survival and resilience written while spending Christmas in Israel. Published January 13th, 2018.
In honour of St. Patrick’s Day, an examination of crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin from the point of view of a Leprechaun. Would a Leprechaun want either crypto-currencies or fiat currencies in his pot at the end of the rainbow? Published March 17th, 2018.
Corruption corrodes our ability to trust one another and thereby impedes our ability to act collectively to solve common problems. The corruption of money over the past 50 years has inflicted the most damage of all. Published May 19th, 2018.
American trade deficits are best understood as tributary payments to the imperial power. Trump’s attempts to eliminate such deficits will only serve to hasten the end of the American Empire. Published July 21st, 2018.
For the past 30 years, debts have grown much faster than income. To restore balance, governments have tried to increase income by engaging in currency wars and, currently, trade wars. Will we complete the sequence of the 1930s by stumbling into a shooting war?Published January 16th, 2019.
The growing SNC-Lavalin scandal is just a single instance of the corruption that is facilitated to a large extent by deficit finance and monetary inflation. Published April 12th, 2019 under the title “Bribes and cover-ups an established practice in the world of government procurement.”
Developing local renewable energy resources can decentralize power, preserve independence and promote world peace as well as benefit the environment. Published September 16th, 2019 under the title “Why Renewable Energy Threatens American Global Power.”
The affordability crisis is about housing. Unaffordable housing is a predictable consequence of ever-more bank lending for property speculation, which is both costless and riskless for the banks even as it undermines the real economy. Published February 5th, 2020.
The choice we face is clear – more money printing will, at best, give us more inequality, less affordability, less competitiveness and less freedom. On the other hand, a deliberate debt deflation would do precisely the opposite. The current COVID-19 shutdown presents us with a golden opportunity to reset our financial system to support the productive economy. Published April 22nd, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that, as David Graeber tweeted, “…the more directly your work benefits others, the less you’re paid and the worse you’re treated.” On the other hand, fiat money has fueled the growth of both crony capitalism and the B.S. jobs such capitalism generates in spades. Published May 22nd, 2020 under the title “COVID-19 illustrates the difference between essential work and B.S. jobs.”
The higher government spending, increased reliance on large corporations and reduced use of cash made necessary by the pandemic must be reversed if we are to avoid losing our liberties to ever-more government and corporate surveillance and control. Published August 5th, 2020.
Two versions of the same article – the former is a bit shorter and is the one run by the Pembroke Observer and News while the latter was carried by some online news sources, including a slightly edited version entitled “Throwing Printed Money at This Problem Won’t Make It Go Away.” Central bank efforts to avoid asset price corrections may make things smoother in the short run, but the consequences of doing so over the long run (rising inequality and possible hyper-inflation) may result in not just economic calamity, but disastrous political and social collapse as well. Published August 20th, 2020.
An elementary distinction that, unfortunately, is lost on most people and especially most policy-makers. Published December 3rd, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed our societal fault lines. In order to meet the current challenge and certain future challenges, people need to trust their governments and governments need to trust the people. Published December 23rd, 2020.
The students currently in high school and university are likely to bear the brunt of the pain when we face the acute phase of the crisis that has been building steam now for 13 years. Just as the G.I. Generation had to fight WWII and rebuild our institutions, so too will our Millennials and Generation Z be called upon to face danger and rebuild our society. Published September 1st, 2021.
Banks create money when they issue loans. Loans given to small business can drive economic growth without generating asset or consumer price inflation. Small, regional banks are more likely to lend to small business than large national banks. Thus, we should break up the ‘Big 5’ and charter a host of regional banks to lend to small business. Published September 10th, 2021
Bitcoin, as a perfect speculative asset (new, poorly understood, and therefore impossible to price), while developed to replace our fiat money system, instead supports the current monetary regime by encouraging the borrowing and speculation that are its essential features. Published January 3rd, 2022
Media propaganda over the crisis in Ukraine, by leaving out the historical context of Western promises made to Russia at the end of the Cold War, mendaciously places all the blame for any conflict on Russia. Published as “Why Ukraine should be barred from NATO” on January 28th, 2022
Like Occupy Wall Street 11 years ago, the Freedom Convoy, fuelled by anger at injustice, has captured our attention. Can it (unlike Occupy) maintain our attention and facilitate positive change going forward? Published March 9th, 2022.
Around the world, the people who deal in tangible and essential goods and services are beginning to realize that they have more power than those who run the global debt-based financial system. Published May 18th, 2022.
Unable to actually raise interest rates enough to arrest inflation (or change the ‘buy the dip’ mentality that has driven ‘investment’ for over 20 years), all that central banks can hope to do is scare us into behaving more prudently with apocalyptic warnings of higher interest rates that will likely never come to pass. Published July 20th, 2022.
Pierre Poilievre won the leadership of the Conservative Party by promising to free workers from the shackles imposed upon them by ‘gatekeepers’ in the government. This has strong echoes of Ronald Reagan’s promises to get governments off of workers’ backs and out of workers’ pockets. Does Poilievre intend to actually improve the lives of working people or will he, like Reagan, instead perform a bait and switch? Published October 25, 2022.
A year on from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it is clear that the conflict was deliberately provoked by the United States and NATO so as to reinforce the U.S. dollar’s role as the global reserve currency. Published March 28, 2023.
The Ontario Federation of Labour’s “Enough is Enough” campaign is a welcome one as rising prices make the lives of working Canadian increasingly precarious. However, there needs to be a greater focus on the role played by finance in this disaster, and a greater commitment to sustained change to make things better. Published June 1st, 2023.