‘Bitcoin is Teaching Realism to Libertarians': An Interview With Old-School Cypherpunk Vinay Gupta


KenK's picture

Whatever gold's disadvantages are, and there are a few, the fact remains that gold is what it is; gold is gold, and has historically never been worth zero, whatever happens. The interviewee's opinion that you'd need to have an army of guards to protect your gold is ludicrious. Most people could convert their entire net worth into gold bars or coin and it wouldn't even half way fill a family sized gun safe. I am not an economist but that's how it seems to me.
"I own the house I live in," Mr. Gupta says, "but that house next door that I’m renting to you? The reason it’s mine, is because the state says it is. The ability to do large scale capital accumulation without having to need a private army is basically an artefact of pre-existing law." By this reasoning the only way to securely own anything more than the clothes on your back is to have a state that will let you own things, at its pleasure, for now. There are some store owners in Ferguson, MO who have been dispossessed recently when the state of MO sat on its hands and let mobs loot & burn their property for political reasons.
Gupta seems to be saying that digital stores of value are fine as long as the cat and mouse game with the state stays friendly (i.e., non-violent) and low key, or did I get this wrong?

Samarami's picture

From the article:

    "...But if civilization breaks down, almost any store of value becomes useless very quickly..."

I'd want to know how the writer (an apparent "guru" in the eyes of some) defines "civilization". Because that occurrence (the "breaking down" -- which, too, would need more clear definition) could mean the beginning of our ever-sought-after liberty and freedom. But not without lots of pain for lots of folks -- mostly those still clinging to the statist mindset. Because in their minds, yes, the only "secure" ownership requires monopoly state to "protect" it and grant "title". And they represent a huge plurality -- even a very large number of writers of "libertarian" philosophy. Read this (it's very long -- skip down to the "comments" and see how poor old Sam got himself lambasted in his use of "the white man" :-)

TEOTMSAWKI will eventually arrive. How that will pan out I know not. But it appears the calamity will be global -- there is no "sound money" anywhere. And you can't eat gold. So it would probably be prudent to increase your stock of canned goods, staples with long shelf lives, and resources to produce and garner edibles and shelter; rather than hoard precious metals.

But precious metals will always be good stores of value -- I think. I am not at this time convinced that so-called "digital stores of value" will survive usurpation of psychopaths hiding under the mantle of "state". That may be because I'm old and not savvy to the digital age as are you younger geeks. Sam

KenK's picture

Gupta over thinks the whole issue IMHO. Digital currency is perfect for transactions of a dubious or flat out illegal nature, and that's about it. As long as the Internet and  phone system hold up we can all switch over to hawalla style payment systems. At least that's how I see it.
The real thing about "money" is that it represents saved effort, or saved worked.  If people have no way or means to bank or save or cache the value of their surplus work, then commercial activity as such drastically declines, and we're back to being hunters, gatherers, and subsistence farmers. That's why  money must exist for a modern life and I don't think Gupta's ideas about digital money solves that problem or even addresses it.
My two cents.