The Phaserl


Fourteen Years AFTER Bernanke Defined the U.S. Dollar as Worthless – Jeff Nielson

by Jeff Nielson, Sprott Money:

History can be a cruel mistress – at least when one is able to find it via Google’s increasingly “forgetful” search engine. Who was it that made the following remark, on November 21, 2002 ?

“Like gold, U.S. dollars have value only to the extent that they are strictly limited in supply.” [emphasis mine]

Here is a hint for regular readers. It’s the same person responsible for the chart below.

That’s right, B.S. Bernanke. The same Federal Reserve Governor who stated that the U.S. dollar can only have value as long as it is strictly limited in supply quintupled the supply of U.S. dollars in less than five years as Chairman of the Federal Reserve: the Bernanke Helicopter Drop.

Strictly limited in supply.

Did Benjamin Shalom Bernanke even understand those words, either when he first uttered them 14 years ago, or six years later when he began hyperinflating the supply of U.S. dollars? As anyone with a sophisticated understanding of mathematics knows, the chart above is the mathematical representation of the phrase “out of control”.

As a chart of the money supply of a major currency, the message above could not possibly be clearer. This is a one-way trip to worthlessness, an illustration of a hyperinflation-in-progress. However, the quoted sentence above is not when Bernanke defined the U.S. dollar as being worthless. Bernanke did this in the sentence immediately following, in what could be the most incongruous two sentences ever uttered in sequence.

…But the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost . [emphasis mine]

The first quotation is utterly shocking in that it was made by the same person who would quickly become the least-responsible Chairman of the Federal Reserve in its 104 year history, in terms of not strictly limiting the supply of dollars.

The second quotation is even more shocking, but for an entirely different reason. It is so shocking because it is certain that Bernanke did not understand his own words, or he would have never advertised the worthlessness of the dollar.

As an elementary proposition of logic, anything that can be produced in infinite quantities and at zero cost must be worthless. Why? Because if this infinitely abundant, free commodity was not worthless, one could literally use that infinitely abundant commodity to buy every asset on the planet. No matter how microscopic the unit value of the infinitely abundant (free) commodity, its total supply would represent infinite wealth – more than enough to purchase every asset on the planet.

This is why, as a basic principle of economics, all fiat currencies must be worthless. They can be created in infinite supply, at zero cost. It is (not surprisingly) why every fiat currency ever created has plunged to worthlessness, or been removed from circulation before that final death-spiral could occur.

Worthless by definition.

Ponder those words. Now ponder that one of the premier authorities for this proposition of logic/economics is a former Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Newer readers always respond to such logic with the same retort.

If the U.S. dollar is worthless, why has its exchange rate risen (dramatically) versus other fiat currencies?

The facetious reply to that question is that 1,000,000 X 0 is still equal to zero. Saying that one (worthless) fiat currency is “more valuable” than another (worthless) fiat currency brings to mind the old joke about the man who jumps off the roof of a 100-storey building.

A man jumps off of the roof of a 100-storey building. As he sails past an open window on the 50 th floor, someone sitting in an office inside hears him exclaim, “so far, so good.”

How does this joke relate to the world of worthless fiat currencies? Picture two men jumping off of a 100-storey building, with one man standing on the shoulders of the other. What is the only real difference between the two men? One goes “splat” slightly sooner than the other.

This is what the “high value” of the U.S. dollar really means: splat – a little bit later.

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