Latest posts by Jay Lehr (see all)
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The first edition of Edmund Contoski’s book,The Impending Monetary Revolution, the Dollar and Gold was excellent, and would be an outstanding textbook in a college economics course. The second edition, released in November 2014, is even better, because he has added significant new chapters, focusing on issues such as the world’s gold economy, alternative currencies, and Keynesian economics’ logical inconsistency.
In my opinion, this book ranks among those written by Adam Smith, Frederick Bastiat, and Ludwig Von Mises. Understanding Contoski’s message will make a reader a more effective participant in the fight to fix our country’s flawed economic policies.
By reading Contoski’s clearly-written book—a rare trait among economics books—one gains an understanding of just what money is. By inflating the money supply beyond the amount of resources supporting currency reserves, readers will learn, governments are the cause of all recessions.
The world is effectively covered in fiat money, paper unrepresentative of value from physical resources, Contoski explains.
The author explains the history of bank notes and checks and that fiat money descended from the receipts given by goldsmiths, the keepers of a valuable physical resource. Contoski also tells entertaining true stories of intrigue, such as how a single individual working at Goldman Sachs was able to keep Greece’s debt crisis from becoming public knowledge for years, collecting $300 million as a reward.
This, and other parts of the gold story, read like a best-selling mystery thriller.
He makes the failure of Fannie and Freddie easy to comprehend, naming thethe politicians who created the housing bubble which began with the Community Reinvestment Act, and expanded through FHA and various HUD housing mandates, involving characters such as Janet Reno to Barack Obama
Another true story, which reads like a best-selling mystery thriller, is Contoski’s retelling of some of President Richard Nixon’s economic measures to shift the American monetary system to a fiat system.
When one reads Contoski’s common-sense approach to economics, one begins to wonder\ how government gets it so wrong. In a free market, he tells us, every transaction benefits both sides, according to their own judgment. If a transaction did not benefit all parties, they would not participate in the transaction.
However, in transactions forced by government, it is a win-lose game, because government seeks to benefit one side by imposing loss on the other.
“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in a society,” French economist and philosopher Frederic Bastiat wrote, “they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
Throughout his book, Contoski provides evidence that we live in such a society. The Founding Fathers, Contoski explains, feared the evolution of such a system, in which politicians enacted policies by force, declaring such unilateral actions as beneficial to all.
This fear is coming true, Contoski writes, as government actions and regulations become more aggressive.
On a positive note, however, The Impending Monetary Revolution, the Dollar and Gold is refreshing, because of the author’s pragmatic recognition of the improbability that any single politician will solve the nation’s economic problems.
Because of individual politicians’ desire to win votes by pleasing their constituents, Contoski concludes that a constitutional convention to change the rules by which government plays represents a solution more likely to succeed.
State legislators, he writes, should be willing to call for a convention, to retake their power over the government’s operation. At some point during the nation’s history, the states allowed themselves to become subservient to the federal government, an outcome our Founding Fathers would have found undesirable.
Additionally, Contoski describes a simple set of amendments he believes would meet with widespread approval during a constitutional convention, putting our nation back on its intended track.
Some examples supported by the author include reforming the Electoral College and a Balanced Budget Amendment punishing legislators with forced resignation, should the national government fail to balance its checkbook.
Other suggested reforms include the restoration of the Enumerated Powers of the Constitution, repealing The Federal Reserve Act and restoring the interpretation of “interstate commerce.”
My favorite suggestion, though, is official recognition of the right to pursue happiness, a reform which would eliminate government control over which crops we plant and which light bulbs or bathroom showerheads we install in our homes.
“Either we return to the principles on which this country was founded which were the basis for its success,” Contoski soberly concludes, “or we face a bleak future.”
Clearly, this outstanding text is a cautionary tale worth reading by anyone who has a serious interest in our economy.
I rarely rate the books I review, but economics books—often called “the dismal science”—sometimes scare readers away. Giving this book “five stars” may encourage people to pick up this enjoyable and informative book.