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It’s Not Late-Stage Capitalism. It’s Late-Stage Fiat

It’s Not Late-Stage Capitalism. It’s Late-Stage Fiat thumbnail
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We’re not within the throes of late-stage capitalism; we’re residing by the late levels and the dying rattle of the post-1971 fiat system. Mistaking the 2 (and basing options or insurance policies on this error) is a recipe for counterproductive interventions and missed alternatives.

Never in my life have I felt a extra urgent sense that we’re approaching the top of one thing; that, to paraphrase William Butler Yeats, the metaphorical heart can’t and isn’t holding. I believe this sensation of approaching finality, of historic transition and of fraying order has saturated and knowledgeable our politics as properly.

The collective creativeness and can of our two political events is proscribed to revivifying Franklin D. Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan, with more and more diminished outcomes. Each social gathering desires to return the nation to its most well-liked trajectory, however these paths have converged and ended. Hence the creeping sense that now we have reached some terminal level.

Many, significantly these on the progressive left, consult with this state of affairs, this liminal section, as “late-stage capitalism,” a phrase rooted in Marxism (however not coined by its founder). The time period’s which means has developed over time however has lately develop into a form of nebulous catch-all time period, a meme of lament for the yawning wealth hole and the absurdity of on a regular basis life, which has come to resemble, in its (at instances) cartoonish futility, a Samuel Beckett play.

Current occasions have solely intensified the lament. This has led some to take a position (or boldly assert) that now we have reached the top of capitalism as a viable financial system; that capitalism, left to its personal gadgets, will proceed to take away or degrade our societal Jenga blocks till every part collapses. We are merely witnessing the inevitable conclusion of a self-defeating system, they are saying. Its pure finish level is both a neo-feudalism through which ultra-rich overlords mete out crumbs to the destitute lots or a collapse that, in its wake, begets an anarchic, balkanized state of nature, favoring the robust and the well-endowed who, minimally constrained, will trample the weak with impunity.

Faced with this bleak outlook, why not preemptively intervene and chart a course into a distinct system? Why not grant the state extra energy to coordinate financial exercise? Why not redistribute the wealth earlier than all of it leads to the palms of the already-powerful few?

I believe most of us perceive the impulse right here. The concept that one thing is essentially damaged and that one thing elementary should change is pervasive. But the reply is to not conjure the senile ghost of Reagan, neither is it to remix Roosevelt. And it’s actually to not abandon capitalism altogether in favor of basically tutorial alternate options — whether or not socialism’s worker-run state or some obscure conception of a prelapsarian, agrarian utopia. But too usually our discourse appears confined to those paradigms.

There are a number of causes for this mental logjam. First, I believe we’re making an attempt to jam spherical reality-pegs into sq., partisan holes. Second, I believe we’re mislabeling the second and misdiagnosing its flaws as a result of our language has not developed past Cold War binaries of capitalism and socialism, bourgeoisie and proletariat, employees and capitalists.

I posit that we’re, certainly, within the late levels of one thing, however this “one thing” just isn’t capitalism. Now, we might finally attain the top of capitalism — I’m not foreclosing that chance, nor am I suggesting that capitalism doesn’t have inherent, intractable points. But a lot of the modern tragicomic grotesqueness we ascribe to “late-stage capitalism” is uniquely enabled and facilitated by fiat forex and never wholly inevitable or innate to capitalism. What we’re presently witnessing is late-stage fiat. More expansive solutions in regards to the finish of capitalism are theoretical and untimely. Consequently, our efforts shouldn’t be marshaled towards the jettisoning or transcendence of capitalism, however reasonably towards error-correcting the introduction and proliferation of the fiat financial order.

Contemporary conceptions of late-stage capitalism are based on or born out of the accelerating and intensifying inequality of wealth, which is seen because the inevitable and inescapable results of capitalism. These outcomes, the argument goes, are inherent to and thus predetermined by a capitalist system.

But that is merely not as axiomatically true as we’re led to imagine. Sure, capitalism entails levels of wealth inequality, excessive iterations of which we’ve traditionally sought to rein in with myriad authorized guardrails. But the obscenely stretched ranges now we have at this time, and which have been particularly exacerbated within the final 15 years, are causally associated to financial insurance policies enabled by fiat forex.

Bitcoin is the solution for a growing division of wealth inequality driven by the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy of printing trillions of dollars.


These charts present an inequality of wealth that has develop into more and more acute since 1971, once we formally deserted the gold commonplace and went to a full fiat system. From this level ahead, we began increasing the cash provide at an accelerating charge, culminating within the COVID-19 liquidity infusions.

Bitcoin is the solution for a growing division of wealth inequality driven by the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy of printing trillions of dollars.


Increasingly, a rising tide doesn’t raise all boats. This is as a result of the underside 50% of boats are usually not uncovered to the tide. They’re not even within the water as a result of they don’t personal property. This has solely gotten worse in current a long time.

Bitcoin is the solution for a growing division of wealth inequality driven by the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy of printing trillions of dollars.


The more and more acute disparity just isn’t the inevitable results of capitalism. Rather, it’s the results of a fiat system through which these closest to, and exercising probably the most affect over, the principles of the financial community reap probably the most advantages.

The anti-capitalism refrain reached fever pitch within the run-up to the 2020 election, because the fortunes of most of the world’s billionaires grew exponentially through the course of the COVID pandemic.

Almost fully neglected of this dialogue was the function performed by financial coverage. Let’s study Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the poster boys of this rising wealth inequality all through COVID. I’m no apologist or cheerleader for both, however their fortunes have been elevated primarily by the Federal Reserve’s financial coverage. We flooded the financial system with new cash which, due to the Cantillon Effect, went first to probably the most creditworthy establishments and people, e.g., the rich, who then poured them again into property, juicing the costs of these property, that are disproportionately owned by the rich. You get the concept.

Here’s a chart of Tesla’s inventory. Look what occurred from March of 2020 onward:

Bitcoin is the solution for a growing division of wealth inequality driven by the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy of printing trillions of dollars.


Here’s Amazon, which mainly doubled after March of 2020:

Bitcoin is the solution for a growing division of wealth inequality driven by the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy of printing trillions of dollars.


Someone like Musk, who owns a ton of Tesla inventory, is made fantastically rich on paper. It’s not as a result of he was ramping up exploitation over the pandemic. It’s as a result of we printed a ton of cash that, as is at all times the case, ended up pooling in property and creating asset-price inflation.

The capacity to print cash at will (and bear in mind, 40% of the {dollars} presently in circulation have been created in 2020-2021), is an inherent characteristic of fiat forex. It is not an inherent or needed characteristic of capitalism.

I’d argue different phenomena usually attributed to late-stage capitalism are uniquely enabled by a fiat system. The capacity to wage conflict fully on credit score, for instance, which distances the typical citizen from the fact of conflict and thereby diminishes resistance to partaking in conflict, is enabled by the fiat system. This is elucidated within the work of Alex Gladstein.

The offshoring of labor and the hollowing out of our manufacturing capability, which has crushed the working courses, has been facilitated and, in truth, necessitated by the greenback’s place because the reserve forex. This offshoring has solely exacerbated wealth inequality.

I’d lastly argue that the broad and ubiquitous breakdown of belief in establishments is expounded to fiat forex, as properly. In a fiat-currency world, cash itself lies. It may be manipulated and weaponized. To paraphrase Jeff Booth, when there’s misinformation on the base layer of society (which is the cash), this misinformation leaks out all over the place. And we’re solely in the beginning of this course of.

This just isn’t an issue inherent to capitalism. It’s a fiat-currency drawback. The binary just isn’t capitalism vs. socialism; It’s fiat vs. sound cash. Much of our politics now’s involved with fixing the mistaken drawback and jamming our very actual systemic flaws into fully inaccurate Cold War binaries.

Properly figuring out the aircraft on which the issue exists permits us to pursue efficient options, like changing the fiat system with one based mostly on a impartial reserve asset with non-manipulable guidelines, i.e., Bitcoin.

This is a visitor put up by Logan Bolinger. Opinions expressed are fully their very own and don’t essentially mirror these of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.

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