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The Upside Down

Every morning, we run the Narrative Machine on the past 24 hours worth of financial media to find the most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected and central) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles or articles we think are most interesting … often far from it.

But for whatever reason these are articles that are representative of some sort of chord that has been struck in Narrative-world.


Facebook’s (FB) Libra Faces Intense Scrutiny From Regulators  [Zacks Equity Research]

Facebook’s upcoming cryptocurrency, Libra, has drawn attention of banking and financial market regulators and policy makers globally. While the announcement has been applauded by cryptocurrency issuers, users and enthusiasts, it met a fast and worried response from central banks and regulators.

This is because regulators believe that entry of tech giants like Facebook into the banking and financial systems through cryptocurrencies like Libra, without any regulation, is too dangerous for consumers.

A recent statement by European Central Bank (ECB) executive board member Benoit Coeure, quoted by Bloomberg, also suggested this. Per Coeure, “It’s out of the question to allow them to develop in a regulatory void for their financial service activities, because it’s just too dangerous.”

Of course I’m a big fan of Stranger Things. Any show that can celebrate Dungeons & Dragons before it was called Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is a show for an OG gamer like me.

If you haven’t seen the show, the core plot device is a struggle between our dimension and an alternative dimension called the Upside Down. As the name implies, everything is topsy-turvy in the Upside Down, from the most fundamental laws of physics on down. That’s the Big Baddie in the picture above, known as the Mind Flayer (all of the monsters in the show have good D&D names … love it).

Narrative-world is a lot like the Upside Down.

I’m reminded of that when I read articles like the one here from Zacks, where we are told that the crypto community is overjoyed about Facebook’s Libra, but that government regulators are beside themselves with worry.

LOL.

This Zacks article is a classic construction of Fiat News – the expression of opinion as fact – chock-full of affect-laden words like “applauded”, “worried”, “because”, “believe”, and “suggested”. This article is figuratively shaking its finger at you, telling you how to think about Libra, not what to know about Libra.

Look, if your wall of worry is comprised of a mean letter from Maxine Waters and stern words from Benoit Coeure … well, god bless.

That’s not even a hurdle. It’s like two mini-hurdles that a child could step over.

Please. Libra was designed for government regulators. It is exactly what government regulators want to see in a stablecoin.

And of course all of the crypto raccoons are praising Libra. All attention is positive attention to the hucksters.

Who’s the real Mind Flayer? Modern financial media, that’s who.


Comments

  1. “Who’s the real Mind Flayer? Modern financial media, that’s who.”

    Right on. And ‘modern’ really goes back at least 100 years, and probably much longer.

    Back then, the Party Line was defending the gold standard, and the vultures of the media (and academia) were no less ferocious than today.

    You see, while the gold standard lent great support to the money system initially, as the elites kept printing money and spending gold to defend the peg, it became a great drag to the system. (And you wonder why today’s mainstream economists think of gold as evil.) While gold was their good boy, the biggest benefit the elites derived from the shiny metal was that the Sacred Task of defending the gold standard called for deflation rather than inflation as a policy response to the financial busts that kept occurring periodically.

    Deflation meant defaulting on unpayable debts, shutting businesses and laying off workers. If the benefits of the money-printing-driven bubble went mostly to the elites, the pain of the bust must go mainly to the public. Above all, without default and deflation, the only way to stabilize a post-bust financial system was usually inflation, via devaluing currency against gold. The latter would give a bad rep to the elites’ printed money, and, worse, point an almost direct finger at the real source of the problem for all to see. We can’t have that!

    So, the only time the dollar was officially devalued against gold (by about 50%) was during the worst of the Great Depression, when FDR saw that the suffering across the country was such that, if we didn’t have some inflation, we might not have a country any more. This inflation allowed funding of the New Deal and also diluted the real value of the debts. Both helped reduce the pain for the average American. You could see this as the Flight-93-of-Economics. The first time commoners were able to fight back, to some extent. And, thankfully, it was to be not the last, judging by the subsequent 3000% appreciation of gold in dollar terms.

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