The Only True Currency is Local

This post is a response to Join the Euro Area: If Slovakia can, you can too! on Financial Times, Maverecon Blog, by Willem Buiter – posted May 11, 2008

The larger the supply of a particular paper currency the more inefficient such trading capital inevitably becomes (i.e. trade regulations, bureaucracy, taxes, big goverment, armed forces, etc.). On the flip side, pure or liquid barter is the most efficient way of trade as the cost of “money” remains current with the actual trade, and debt levels remain linked to real assets (Schumpeter and Walrus describe such debt to asset links in their vision of Economic Equilibrium). As the Euro makes its way into Eastern European countries, those countries local economies will inevitably inflate and get more inefficeint; as rents and wages will increase proportionately as a function of the Euro’s relatively inflated value.

Although the Euro will seemingly increase the liquidity of these underlying economies, it will be short-term and artificial in nature. For example, as Spain adopted the Euro, property prices skyrocketted and wages followed to keep up with ever increasing rents. However, such prosperity is short-term in nature as Spain’s property market is in the mist of an inflationary cycle.

Don’t get fooled by the short-term strength of the Euro as an international currency. The lifestyles of Europeans are inflating (labor time is increasing relative to free time, time being the true denomination of inflation) as land rents and labor wages are perpetually increasing, until they too cycle. Although the Euro looks exceptionally strong relative to the dollar, that is certainly nothing to be proud of as supply of such western paper currencies are perpetually increasing (yet assets remain fixed by Capitalism’s nature).

The bottom line is that the smaller the supply of a currency, the more precious and stable are the assets (i.e. land and labor) linked to that currency long-term.


The Economic Law of Proportions dictates that labor wages must rise in order to pay for increasing land rents. If labor wages are not increasing proportionately, the economy is inevitably prone to cycle, and cycle it will.

“Inflation” is one of those words that we all just accept as a fact of economic life but have no idea what it really means, why it happens, or how to combat it. Inflation is a function of perpetually rising land rents (oil and other land commodities included) based on land’s scarce nature (Ricardian Rent Theory). The higher land rents go in relation to labor wages, the more inflation exists (see Today). On the flip side, labor wages that grow in relation to land rent levels result in net profits or free time in an economy, which in turn create more time for more human innovation and net profits (i.e. progressive economy as described by Walrus)

I agree that economies of scale do allow for a company to get bigger and bigger for a period of time. But bigger has absolutely nothing to do with better or efficiencies. The same goes for per capita income, for if living costs (i.e. rents) are also higher; a higher per capital income may generate a bigger whole but is certainly not better on a net, net basis. Economies of scale do work with regards to scaling “fixed” assets, but they also reach a point of finite potential as human innovation is “scaled” out of the equation. As a result, economies inevitably become stagnant as it relates to the value of their fixed assets (i.e. Germany and Japan). In essence, the economies reach full potential and then run in place until the labor gets tired stripping out more value from scarcer and scarcer resources and eventually cycle.

With regards to small and large currencies, all other things being equal, “money makes money”; but the currency’s long-term value deteriorates as former land and labor resource value sits idle in the form of paper currency. The paper currency is then used to scale fixed assets (rich get richer) in the form of more and more debt and increase rents/fixed costs as well as economic risks. You are seeing it today as huge amounts of paper currency sits on the sidelines increasing costs and losing value visa vie commodities/gold.

With regards to the expansion of Spain’s international companies, they have been short-lived and time will tell whether such expansion is sustainable (ask Citigroup which seems to be in liquidation phase or denial).

If Spain is really aspiring to be like Japan, I would think again. Japan is certainly the poster child of Capitalism, as land and labor wages have increased proportionately out of control. The economy is forced to work harder and harder as they run in place and strip out the last remaining land and labor resources available; all the while producing less and less future labor (time). Does the CIA factbook measure fiesta’s per capita?

I am not arguing that there is not significant economic gain from working together or cross border. That being said, the European Union could certainly help Slovakia’s economy without the Euro recapitalizing their relatively cheap land and labor; as such economic gains are a function of education and communication, not paper.

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