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Brandon Smith Warns ‘The Virtual Economy’ Is The End Of Freedom

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Brandon Smith via,

There is one simple rule to follow when understanding the tragic history of economies: Never put blind faith in a system built on an establishment-created foundation. You would think this would not be a difficult concept to grasp being that we have so many examples of controlled economies and collapse to reference over the centuries, but in our era more than ever the allure of a virtual world with promises of endless wealth and ease is overwhelming.

Yes, I am referring primarily to cyptocurrency "tulip-mania" (sorry bitcoiners, the description is too fitting, it isn't going away), but not this issue alone. I am also referring to a far-reaching problem of which cryptocurrencies are a mere reflection.

Namely, the fact that humanity is swiftly losing sight of what a true economy is and what it is supposed to accomplish. It is because of this reality that crypto is thriving.

First, let's be clear, fiat currencies are one of the first machinations of the virtual economy. Once paper currencies printed from thin air by central bankers were separated from tangible backing and accepted by the masses as "valuable" and worth trading labor for, the seed of financial cancer was planted. Today, there is one final step needed for the establishment to accomplish complete tyranny in global trade and that is to disconnect the masses fully from private transactions. In other words, we must be tricked into going digital, where privacy is an absurd memory.

Virtual economics is appealing for several reasons, most of them bad.

Americans and much of the west in particular are increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of real production. The latest generation coming into political and social influence, the millenials, is a perfect example. Surveys show American millenials more than any other generation lack basic workplace competency skills, including scoring low on arithmetic and reading comprehension. Often portrayed as "tech savvy" in popular culture and the media, millenials are quite inept when it comes to core skills that fuel strong business and trade, which is part of the reason why the U.S. is falling into the shadow of foreign workforces.

Millenials in the West also exhibit abysmal technical skills in international testing and lag far behind foreign peers. This has come as a surprise to many mainstream economists and social analysts, primarily because millenials are also considered the "most educated" generation ever. But, of course, we have not only been given a virtual economy in recent decades, but also a virtual educational system. A majority of millenials are lacking when it comes to key production skills and entrepreneurship methods because they have been trained to dismiss such skills as negligible. In other words, millenials have been conditioned to be academic idiots.

Why go through the struggle and hardship required to become an effective producer of tangible necessities when it is far easier to join a collectivist drive for socialism and a structure in which little to no work is required to obtain such necessities? Why not steal from a productive minority and spread it thinly enough to keep the unskilled majority fed? It is only within this kind of culture that virtual production, a virtual society and virtual "money" is seen as an ideal solution.

The notion is becoming more and more prevalent in our popular media, and I believe this is rather symbolic (or ironic) of our conundrum.

For example, consider the book Ready Player One, a pop-culture craze and archetypal zeitgeist for millenials soon to be released as an intended Hollywood blockbuster directed by Steven Spielberg. The novel depicts the world of 2045, a world in which fossil fuel depletion and "global warming" have triggered economic and social decline (Remember in the 1980s when they used to tell us that global warming was going to melt the polar icecaps and we would be under water by the year 2000?). A totalitarian governing body controlled by corporate behemoths rules over the dystopian sprawl.

In response to an ever painful existence in the real world, the masses have sought to escape to a virtual world called "the Oasis," created by a programming genius. The Oasis becomes a nexus for the global economy and a virtual society.

This sounds like a rousing background for a story of rebellion, and it is about that… sort of. Unfortunately, here is where the disturbing ties between our world and the fictional world of Ready Player One meet. The "rebellion" is for all intents and purposes also virtual, and for millenial audiences in particular, this is supposed to be inspiring.

Perhaps this is why cryptocurrencies are so appealing to the millenial crowd in particular. Think about it — the dismal economic doldrums of Ready Player One exist NOW; we don't have to wait until 2045. Millenials are already feeling disaffected, indebted and disenfranchised, and most of them are also skill-less. Self reliance to them is an idea so alien it rarely if ever crosses their minds. So, how do they fight back? Or, how are they tricked into thinking they can fight back against a virtual system that has left them in the gutter? Why, with a virtual community and a virtual currency, of course.

Millenials and others think that they are going to rebel and "take down the banking oligarchs" with nothing more than digital markers representing "coins" tracked on a digital ledger created by an anonymous genius programmer/programmers. Delusional? Yes. But like I said earlier, it is an appealing notion.

Here is the issue, though; true money requires intrinsic value. Cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic value. They are conjured from nothing by programmers, they are "mined" in a virtual mine created from nothing, and they have no unique aspects that make them rare or tangibly useful. They are an easily replicated digital product. Anyone can create a cryptocurrency. And for those that argue that "math gives crypto intrinsic value," I'm sorry to break it to them, but the math is free.

In fact, for those that are not already aware, Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hash function, created by none other than the National Security Agency (NSA) and published by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).

Yes, that's right, Bitcoin would not exist without the foundation built by the NSA. Not only this, but the entire concept for a system remarkably similar to bitcoin was published by the NSA way back in 1996 in a paper called "How To Make A Mint: The Cryptography Of Anonymous Electronic Cash."

The origins of bitcoin and thus the origins of crytpocurrencies and the blockchain ledger suggest anything other than a legitimate rebellion against the establishment framework and international financiers. I often cite this same problem when people come to me with arguments that the internet has set the stage for the collapse of the globalist information filter and the mainstream media. The truth is, the internet is also an establishment creation developed by DARPA, and as Edward Snowden exposed in his data dumps, the NSA has total information awareness and backdoor control over every aspect of web data.

Many people believe the free flow of information on the internet is a weapon in favor of the liberty movement, but it is also a weapon in favor of the establishment. With a macro overview of data flows, entities like Google can even predict future social trends and instabilities, not to mention peek into every personal detail of an individual's life and past.

To summarize, cryptocurrencies are built upon an establishment designed framework, and they are entirely dependent on an establishment created and controlled vehicle (the internet) in order to function and perpetuate trade.  How exactly is this "decentralization", again?

TOTAL information awareness is the goal here; and blockchain technology helps the powers-that-be remove one of the last obstacles: private personal trade transactions. Years ago, a common argument presented in favor of bitcoin was that it was "completely anonymous."  Today, this is being proven more and more a lie. Even now, in the wake of open admissions by major bitcoin proponents that the system is NOT anonymous, people still claim anonymity is possible through various measures, but this has not proven to sway the FBI or IRS which have for years now been using resources such as Chainanalysis to track bitcoin users when they feel like doing so, including those users that have taken stringent measures to hide themselves.

Bitcoin proponents will argue that "new developments" and even new cryptocurrencies are solving this problem. Yet, this was the mantra back when bitcoin was first hitting the alternative media. It wasn't a trustworthy assumption back then, so why would it be a trustworthy assumption now? The only proper assumption to make is that nothing digital is anonymous. Period.

With the ludicrous spike in bitcoin prices, champions of the virtual economy are unlikely to listen to any questions or criticisms. I have never argued one way or the other in terms of bitcoin's potential "market value," because it does not really matter. I have only ever argued that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are in no way a solution to combating the international and central banks.  In fact, cyrptocurrencies only seem to be expediting their plan for full spectrum digitization and the issuance of a global currency system.

Bitcoin could easily hit $100,000, but its "value" is truly irrelevant and consistently hyped as if it makes bitcoin self evident as a solution to globalism. The higher the bitcoin price goes, the more the bitcoin cult claims victory, yet the lack of intrinsic value never seems to cross their minds. They have Scrooge McDuck-like visions of swimming in a vault of virtual millions. They'll only accuse you of being an "old fogey" that "does not understanding what the blockchain is."

The fact is, they are the one's that do not really understand what the blockchain is — a framework for a completely cashless society in which trade anonymity is dead and economic freedom is destroyed.

Ask yourself this: Why is it that central banks around the world (including the BIS and IMF) are investing in Bitcoin and other crytpocurrencies while developing their own crypto systems based on a similar framework? Could it be that THIS infusion of capital and infrastructure from major banks is the most likely explanation for the incredible spike in the bitcoin market?  Why is it that globalist banking conglomerates like Goldman Sachs lavish blockchain technology with praise in their white papers? And, why are central bankers like Ben Bernanke speaking in favor of crypto at major cryptocurrency conferences if crypto is such a threat to central bank control?

Answer — because it is not a threat. 

They benefit from a cashless system, and liberty champions are helping to give it to them.

Above all else, the virtual economy breeds weakness in society. It encourages a lack of tangible production. Instead of true producers, entrepreneurs and inventors, we have people scrambling to sell real world property in order to buy computing rigs capable of "mining" coins that do not really exist. That is to say, we may one day soon be faced with millions of citizens expending their labor and energy in order to obtain digital nothings programmed into existence and given artificial scarcity (for now).

It also encourages false rebellion. Real change requires actions in the real world. Removing banking elitists and their structures by force if necessary (and this will probably be necessary). Instead, freedom activists are being convinced that they will never have to lift a finger to beat the bankers. All they have to do is buy and mine crypto. The day will come in the near future when the folks that embrace this nonsense will wake up and realize they have wasted their energies chasing a unicorn and are ill prepared to weather the economic reset that continues to evolve.

To maintain a real economy in which people are self reliant and safe from fiscal shock, you need three things: tangible localized and decentralized production, independent and decentralized trade networks that are not structured around an establishment controlled system (like the internet is controlled), and the will to apply force to protect and preserve that production and those networks. If you cannot manufacture a useful thing, repair a useful thing or teach a useful skill, then you are essentially useless in a real economy. If you do not have localized trade, you have nothing.  If you do not have the mindset and the community of independent people required to protect your local production, then you will not be able to keep the economy you have built.

This is the cold hard truth that crypto proponents do not want to discuss, and will dismiss outright as "archaic" or "not obtainable." The virtual economy is so much easier, so much more enticing, so much more comfortable. Why risk anything or everything in a real world effort to build a concrete trade network in your own neighborhood or town? Why risk everything by promoting true decentralization through localized commodity-backed money and barter systems? Why risk everything by defending those systems when the establishment seeks to crush them? Why do this, when you can pretend you are a virtual hero wielding virtual weapons in a no risk rebellion in a world of electronic ones and zeros?

In truth, the virtual economy is not legitimate decentralization, it is a weapon of mass distraction engineered to kill legitimate decentralization.

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