01/12/2018

Bitcoin Isn't The Bubble — The Global Financial System Is

Michael Krieger, The Hill

Pretty much every article you read about bitcoin in the mainstream press ends up in the same place. You may not hear it until the seventh or eighth paragraph, but eventually you’ll be told that the whole thing is nothing more than a modern day "tulip bubble." The more creative types will also throw around the South Sea or Mississippi Bubble. You get the point. The consensus among the very smart experts is unanimous: bitcoin is clearly and indisputably a gigantic bubble that’s set to burst. I’ve been hearing this since the early days of getting involved in the space back in 2012. But I’m not convinced.

For one thing, bubbles don’t do what bitcoin has done since its inception in 2009. During my 10-year tenure on Wall Street, I saw several bubbles grow and then burst, and one thing you learn is that an actual bubble rises like crazy and then totally pops. It doesn’t come right back a couple of years later and soar again to a new price 10 times greater than the previous bubble's high, which is what bitcoin has done after each one of its three or four previous “bubbles” burst.

That’s not a bubble, but something else entirely.

Let’s take the oil price in the middle of the last decade as an example of a real bubble. The price went on a historic and seemingly unstoppable run all the way to $150 per barrel in 2008. It then proceeded to burst in spectacular fashion just ahead of the financial crisis, plunging all the way back to $30 before rebounding. Ten years later and the price is still nowhere near that prior high, with it currently trading around $60. That’s what happens when a real bonafide bubble bursts. It stays below the prior high for decade at least, sometimes forever. The behavior of bitcoin since the "genesis block" has been completely different.

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4,000 Years Of Price Control

Tablets, said to be 200 years older than the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi ... show that the ancient kingdom of Eshnunna had wage control and price control. The news ought not to have come as a surprise. For the code of Hammurabi itself (unearthed in 1902), which was promulgated earlier than 2000 B.C., fixed prices, wages, interest rates, and fees. This makes price control at least about 4,000 years old. ...

 

Ironically, it is those who now wish to return to this ancient totalitarian device who are fondest of calling themselves “progressives.” They are also fond of saying that those who believe in economic liberty “are living in the nineteenth century.” These controlists have yet to learn that they themselves are still living, as the discoveries in Babylonia attest, in the nineteenth century—B.C.!

-- Henry Hazlitt,

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