God, family, Bitcoin: the new creed of the American right

What justifies the craze for crypto-currencies? According to Nobel laureate Paul Krugman in the United States, the explanation is political rather than economic. And it must be sought in the distrust of the institutions advocated by Trump and his supporters. Krugman throws the stone in the pond and deserves the attention, whether it can be shared or not

The New York Times welcomes a new speech from Paul Krugman on agricultural currencies. This time, the Nobel Prize does not approach the question from an economic point of view but from a political point of view. Uh, maybe he’s not as good at politics as he is at economics.

It’s true: since their appearance, Bitcoins have established a close correlation with certain cornerstones of a certain American political thought, that which refers to libertarianism and the theories of the minimum state, one of the cornerstones of which is the ‘silver. In some ways Bitcoin seems to be the fulfillment of the theories of these thinkers. Basically, power returns to the people and escapes the control of institutions. It’s a bit of the dream of anarchists of all persuasions.

Krugman, however, goes beyond this known and declared parentage to glimpse a new karst alliance between the strategy of the alt-right and the new American right and what Bitcoin can represent for it. Fundamentally, the discourse is about the concept of trust in democratic institutions.

Although highly debatable, even partial, Krugman’s speech deserves special attention, whether it is rejected or shared.

L’BUG FOR BITCOIN

Josh Mandel, a Trump supporter vying for the Republican Senate primaries in Ohio, tweeted his sweeping agenda: “Ohio needs to be a religious state, supporting family and promoting bitcoin. .

Indeed, there has been a strong connection between Bitcoin and the New Right for some time – evoking the historic one between the conservative world and gold. But today the craze for Bitcoin is even stronger than that for gold.

What is the cause of this phenomenon?

Now, the fact that many bitcoin enthusiasts use them for wild talks, by itself, does not mean that cryptocurrencies are a bad thing. People can support good causes for the wrong reasons.

For example, I’m sure that many people accept the unanimous support of science for vaccines not because they are convinced of the results of scientific research, but because they are fascinated by the people in white coats who work in laboratories and who talk loudly.

This is why it is important to understand the reasons behind the cult of cryptocurrency.

DIGITAL MONEY IS ALREADY HERE!

First, a little economy.

I am continually reminded that we live in the digital age and therefore need to use digital money. But we are already doing it! Like many of you, I pay for most things with the click of a mouse, using a credit card or pressing a button on the phone. I used to keep a few dollar bills in my wallet to buy fruits and vegetables from the stalls that line the sidewalks of New York, but now they accept too. PayPal.

All these payments are based on trust: people accept credit cards like Apple Pay, VISA because underneath there is a checking account guaranteed by the bank.

The purpose of Bitcoins, as stated in the “white paper” that established them in 2008, was precisely to eliminate this type of fiduciary guarantee: they would have validated payments using cryptographic methods – that is, via a code string.

Bitcoins aiming to create a peer-to-peer payment system, completely independent of any third-party financial mediation.

WHY BITCOIN?

But why introduce such a thing? Maybe the banks are so lacking in confidence? I’ve been to many meetings where cryptocurrency skeptics have asked, in the most respectful way possible, for simple examples of things that can be acquired more effectively with cryptocurrencies than with other forms of payment. I still haven’t received a single clear example that doesn’t involve illegal activity – which can, to be honest, be done more easily if you’re using cryptocurrencies.

And the truth is, although Bitcoins have been around for a long time by internet standards – 13 years! -, they and other cryptocurrencies have made very little progress as coins, that is, as a medium of exchange for the purchase of goods and services. The exact numbers aren’t there, but it seems that a large portion of cryptocurrency transactions involve the speculative activities rather than the ordinary affairs of life.

WHAT ARE BITCOINS USED FOR?

However, Bitcoin and its competitors have now reached a market valuation of over $1 trillion. So what goals do they plan to achieve with cryptocurrencies?

One could be to protect against the erosion of wealth by the government. As noted in a recent Bloomberg article, some billionaires are buying cryptocurrencies in case the value of money “goes up in flames”.

In fact, there have been as many as 57 cases of hyperinflation around the world. However, all occurred amid political and social chaos. Now, can anyone really think that in such a context, one could go online and trade their Bitcoins?

Then there is FOMO – that is to say “the fear of missing out – the fear of being excluded”. Bitcoins have seized on a sort of weak point in the market: they look like something highly technological and futuristic, and at the same time they give vent to a certain political paranoia.

Bitcoin’s success has led many apolitical investors to descend into politics, and has also prompted public figures like Eric Adams, New York’s new mayor, to promote Bitcoin as they imagine it makes them appear forward-looking. to come up.

But these confused and incoherent logic inherent in Bitcoin will lead to the implosion of this technology? Not necessarily. After all, gold has ceased to function as a medium of exchange for generations, but its value has not collapsed.

And we shouldn’t underestimate either the extent of illegal activities. There is approximately $1.6 trillion in circulation in $100 bills which represent 80% of all US currency. It is very difficult for ordinary consumers to use high value tickets. What do you think people do with all those “big bucks”?

THE ALLIANCE BETWEEN BITCOIN AND THE LAW

But let’s put aside market forecasts and ask ourselves how to explain the increasingly close alliance between Bitcoin and the new right that backs Trump and his agenda?

The answer, I would say, is that bitcoins are intended to create a monetary and payment system that is independent of trust in an institution – and the modern right aims to promote mistrust. Covid is a hoax; the elections were stolen; The California wildfires have nothing to do with the weather, but were caused by space lasers controlled by Rothschilds.

In this context, it is perfectly natural for right-wing politicians to demand an end to a monetary system that works through the banks – we all know who controls them, don’t we? – and which relies on a currency linked to the institutional system. Although there is no evidence of widespread monetary abuse, for the far right this is not very important.

So the fact is, while there are real economic issues associated with cryptocurrencies, their growth has a lot to do with the insane political backdrop more general that keeps American democracy on the edge of the precipice.

From: Paul Krugman The strange alliance of crypto believers and MAGA, The New York Times, January 10, 2022

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