In two of my favourite novels by Neal Stephenson, ‘Snow Crash’ and ‘The Diamond Age’, we see the breakdown of the nation state and its replacement by the creation of global ‘phyles’, or voluntary global associations, after fiat currency and taxation systems break down, with a one quadrillion dollar note — the Gipper — being used as small change; this idea of phyles is taken quite seriously by people like Doug Casey, who has written an intriguing PDF article about the subject.
In the second novel, The Diamond Age, which is set around eighty years after Snow Crash ends, we see the rise of the Neo-Victorian ‘phyle’ of New Atlantis, which bears remarkable similarities to the kind of Austrian-economics-based phyle that people like Doug Casey would join if the nation state were to break down due to some catastrophic hyperinflation event brought on by simple-minded politicians and their Keynesian advisers.
If this New Atlantis (or New Austrian) phyle ever did come to pass, then I like to think that one of its inspirational leaders would be Jim Rogers, though I suppose we would have to call him a ‘Commodity Lord’ instead of the literary term which Neal Stephenson prefers in his novels, which is ‘Equity Lord’.
Mr Rogers was recently honoured by the Ludwig von Mises Institute, who awarded him their annual Schlarbaum Prize for a lifetime defence of liberty. He spoke after his presentation, and as is usually the case, everything he said was worth listening to, including sections on travel, fatherhood, Asia, central banking, fiat currency debasement, politics, Obama, Krugman, the Nobel prize in economics, and Keynes.
“As you know it is the official policy of the central bank of the United States to debase the currency. The head of the central bank in America is on record as saying if he has to get in a helicopter and fly around the world and drop out dollar bills, he will do so. This is a man who does not understand economics. This is a man who does not understand finance. He does not understand currencies. All he understands is printing money. His whole intellectual career has been devoted to the study of printing money. America has given him the printing presses and he’s running them as fast as he can. But you just wait until we have serious problems. Then he’s really going to run those printing presses. The world’s going to run out of trees before Mr Bernanke finishes with his approach to the world.”
Jim Rogers gets serious at around 7:00 minutes, but all of his fans will also love everything else before that point, in this 18-minute speech:
After his presentation, Mr Rogers also allowed the audience to question him for over an hour about his life, his beliefs, and how to make a lot of money. I thought Cobden Centre readers might be particularly interested in that third part: