Discussing Alternate Currencies in Washington / Copper as a Barter Currency

Recently Rob Gray of the American Open Currency Standard testified in front of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy on the subject of competing/alternate currencies.   Mr. Gray has been running the AOCS for five years, which issues barter credits to be used in trade between willing participants.   You can read more about the program and his time in Washington here.    He gave a scathing speech and the gist of it to the government was “just stay out of our way”.   He brings up the point that currencies come and go, but there’s always a human desire to trade and we as humans will always find ways to facilitate it whether or not there’s a government-issued currency.  I liked Gray’s approach of political indifference on the matter – he isn’t asking for any laws to be made or repealed, he’s just asking for them to basically leave the issue of alternate currencies alone and let the people decide.    On his webpage he posted the following statement:

Let’s stop talking about auditing the Fed.

Forget about ending the Fed.

Let’s start ignoring the Fed,

and eliminating the impact they have on our lives.

Honestly, I think that’s a pretty good and practical approach to a lot of things in this country and I try to address that on this blog and in my daily life.   Sometimes instead of trying to change the system, it’s best to try to find ways to limit the impact of the system on you.    I think it’s great that the politicians in Washington had to sit through that speech – all except Congressman Al Green (D – TX), who apparently had enough and walked out when Gray called the Federal Reserve and all the politicians present that enable it thieves.

Fans of “sound money”, precious metals, barter and/or Ron Paul, or even folks who just enjoy watching politicians have someone set up camp in their asses every now and then will enjoy his speech:

I have a couple of the Ron Paul AOCS 1oz copper bullion rounds and I would like to pick up some more of the different ones they offer.   I have to say that they are pretty cool coins and they feel like something that actually has intrinsic value.   Each 1oz copper round is given a value of 2, which corresponds to roughly $2 worth of barter – if the participants want to give it that value, of course.

I’m glad that AOCS decided to go with copper and other metal rounds instead of just issuing electronic credits, plastic, coupons or something else as a medium of exchange.  Copper has played a role as a medium of trade (aka “money”) for thousands of years and there’s something timeless about using metal money in today’s world of Visa cards and paper money.   Even in this country we’ve historically used copper for pennies, although these days we use an alloy that is almost entirely zinc.

Going back to a few hundred or even a couple thousand years ago to agrarian economies, a commoner would have recognized copper as a metal with a great degree of utility and a little bit of beauty if put in the hands of the right craftsman.   Copper utensils, cookware, chains and handcrafts would have been prized and any bit of copper could always be used for one of these items.   Today copper is just as useful and prized in our society for wiring and piping as well as other things – look at all the copper theft going on if you need proof.   One big selling point of copper is that it’s easily recyclable – all you have to do is melt it and it’s about 100% reusable.   It also never goes bad, it’s durable and changes of or within government have no impact on it, making it a good choice as money.

Just based on my gut feeling when I look at one of these rounds, I would imagine that if I went back to one of those previously-mentioned agrarian economies, one of these rounds would purchase a small unit of some agricultural product – I’m thinking something along the lines of a squash, a couple of tomatoes, a couple of potatoes, a bunch of greens, a couple carrots, two eggs or something else comparable.   Perhaps a couple of coins could get a blade sharpened, a mug of beer or a loaf of bread.    In other words, copper as money fills in the gap for the small day-to-day transactions that might be too small to handle with silver and definitely for gold and allows for a little more denominational flexibility.

I also think that today if I ran into a merchant at the farmer’s market that accepted AOCS copper, I would be able to pick up just about the same amount with one ounce of copper as someone would’ve been able to centuries ago – even theoretically using the same atoms of copper used back then.     There definitely is something cool about the timelessness of metals as a medium of exchange between two parties…


Ron Paul Wins Iowa’s Delegates



During the Iowa Caucus in January Ron Paul placed third behind Santorum and Romney, who were virtually tied for first.  The Paul campaign placed a lot of emphasis on getting supporters into the delegate positions.   Being on average a little younger and more motivated than the rank-and-file Republicans that came out that night, Paul supporters managed to get nominated to these spots.   The process to be nominated as a delegate goes something like this:
“Ok, so does anyone want to be a delegate?”

One person raises their hand and gives their name.

“Does anyone object?”

No one objects.    The delegate later represents the precinct at the county convention and moves on.   If more than one person wants to be a precinct delegate, there’s a vote.

I understand that not everyone is crazy about Ron Paul, but I think he’s the only mainstream candidate (or something resembling one) that is willing to depart from the center-right/center-left paradigm that’s failing us and Europe right now.   He’s the only one willing to address some of the systemic problems of our economy, instead of finger pointing at the other side and making promises about how many billions of jobs he’ll magically create as President.    While the other politicians try to tell us that if we just check “R” or “D”, they’ll fix everything and get things back on track, Paul’s plan offers a true departure from the way this country has been ran for at least the past 60 years.

I try to avoid politicking on this blog, but the fact that Ron Paul and his supporters (which of course includes me) managed to hoodwink the mainstream conservatives through completely legitimate channels gives me a little hope for the future.   I don’t think that Ron Paul has all the answers and I certainly don’t think he’s going to be President Elect in November, but he’s planted a ton of seeds and I think that the spirit of the “Ron Paul Revolution” will go on beyond this election cycle and the good doctor’s lifetime.

I understand if some people aren’t 100% in love with what he has to say, but I think it’s undeniable that Paul’s campaign has turned a lot of young people on to the following things:

–  Personal liberty.  It seems like more people are willing to call the government out on overstepping its bounds.

– Personal accountability.   There’s an increase of faith in individuals over government mandates.

–  The Federal Reserve.   The debate on whether or not this is a beneficial arrangement for us was relegated to the realm of conspiracy theorists before this campaign.   Now the debate has crept into the mainstream as more people are now aware and asking questions.

–   “Sound Money”.   Just like the Federal Reserve issue, the concept of the gold (or silver) standard has entered mainstream discussion.   I’m not 100% on board with a gold standard, but many people are now questioning the idea of inflation, which I think Ron Paul has done a great job explaining throughout the debates and interviews.

Myself and other silver / goldbugs out there had a collective “Oh, damn!” moment when Paul pulled out the silver coin on Bernake

– Non-interventionism.    Frankly put, you’re no longer considered a liberal pussy for questioning the wars we’re involved in.   As a Marine in Iraq, I always felt wrong about some of the things we had to do but was uncomfortable with the traditional left-leaning anti-war movement.    I would’ve been honored to stand between American citizens and evil-doers and pay whatever price needed, but I don’t feel that I really did that over there.   I think more people from different walks of life are more willing to question these sorts of things now without the stigma of being branded “anti-American” or having your masculinity questioned.

–  Government doesn’t know best.  I think faith in some of the institutions there to “help” us like the TSA, USDA, ATF, etc. are at all time lows due to some harebrained policies and iintrusions into personal liberty. I like to think that some of this stems from Paul’s lead lambasting these guys.

–  Economics.   More young people are looking into these things in part due to Ron Paul mentioning things like “Austrian Economics” and everything associated with that frequently.   Regardless of your stance on policy, I think it’s good that we have more people who are willing to study up on things of this nature rather than letting talking heads and politicians do it for them.

– The founding fathers. More young people are reading and taking to heart the philosophies that originally made this country special. I think this phenomena parallels situations in other parts of the world when soulless neoliberalism fails to deliver, they look back to their past for inspiration such as “banking backlash fashion” in Iceland, tango revival in Argentina in the aftermath of their collapse and the right-wing Golden Dawn party in Greece evoking classical Greek imagery.

Perhaps the best thing to come out of the Ron Paul campaign is that we now know what can be done politically at the grassroots level.   Virtually all of Paul’s funding came from private individuals like myself, as opposed to the mainstream candidates who received money from PACs and corporations.    Despite negative press and not having many friends in high places, the Paul campaign managed to at the very least make the GOP shake in their boots over the idea that the status quo was being knocked around a bit.   I have a feeling Occupy Wall Street may end up doing a similar thing to the Democratic Party as well.   We the people might not be in the position to go all the way right now, but we’ve managed to lash out a little bit and we’re gaining momentum against the failed neo-con/neo-liberal establishment.

Even though the presidential campaign is more or less over for Ron Paul, those of us that stood behind him need to move on and continue to fight for liberty, peace and prosperity in our own lives and for our nation.