This is an opinion piece by Mark Maraia, an entrepreneur, author of “Rainmaking Made Simple” and a Bitcoiner.
“What is your relationship with money?”
I would say that is a more intimate question for many than “Are you happily married?”
I’m sure most readers have never thought deeply about their relationship to money. Those raised with a scarcity mindset will never have enough. This is usually learned from parents and family at a very young age. It is also reinforced by fiat. If you are lose 7.7% of its purchasing power every year you are likely to foment a mindset of scarcity. Those who grew up with it or those who cultivated an abundance mindset were programmed differently. Either way, your mindset around money is ultimately a choice; you can modify or rewrite the program. For some people, it’s easy. For others, it’s almost impossible. And there are people who have a lot of money, but are still not happy.
In our modern world, many people believe that money is essential to life. There are those who go too far and idolize money. They love making it and they love people who make a lot of it. If you have or earn a lot of money, count your blessings. A man or woman who has few needs lives more freely and abundantly than others.
Most of us have a special – often unseen or unexamined – relationship with money. For some it gives them their whole purpose in this world, while for others it is a means to an end. As we observe events like the freezing of Canadian trucker bank accounts Where Biden’s theft of Russian reserves, we are beginning to realize some frightening realities about the nature of money. If you don’t have physical possession of the monetary asset, all you have is an IOU, and that IOU is very tenuous if the authorities in power decide that your words or actions are not in compliance to their view of the world. Usually, the IOU comes from the bank or credit union where you deposited “your” money. The only thing is: it’s not “your” money once it’s deposited in the bank.
Bitcoiners like to say, “Not your keys, not your coins.” What many people who aren’t Bitcoiners keep thinking about is that the money in their bank account isn’t really theirs. Zoltan Pozsar, global head of short-term interest rate strategy at Credit Suisse, makes the case that we have entered a new era of Bretton Woods III, which involves domestic money and foreign money and claims that commodities will be the basis of international monetary affairs. Domestic money is money that has an intermediary, like a bank. All the money you hold is essentially an IOU. Outside money is money that is outside the banking system. It cannot be taken away from you by denying you access to an account, nor can it be inflated.
The money you earn for the work you do is proof of work. If you’re lucky, you earn more than you need for daily life. In the age of paper money, this meant that you traded your precious time, labor, and life energy for strips of green paper and small discs of metal. Today you trade your precious time, labor and life energy for pixels on a computer screen. Seen through this lens, one begins to realize that money is only a symbol. If all we have is an IOU with one bank, all kinds of mischief is possible from governments and banks. This can include bail-ins, bail-ins, and outright theft. It is deeply disturbing. Our dependence on state-issued currencies means that our wealth can be confiscated with a keystroke or the stroke of a pen.
The original question can be broken down into two very important and personal questions:
What is your relationship with the US dollar?
I grew up very lucky. I lived in a home where there was always food on the table, a roof over our heads, and the privilege of never having to worry about money. A classic middle-class education through high school. I went to a public school and a private college, where I paid for half my education and worked as a professional once I left school.
I was lucky to grow up without really thinking about money. He was low on my priority list and remains so to this day. I rarely worried about having enough and usually took money for granted. Yes, early in my career, I was living paycheck to paycheck, but I had savings — modest as they were — and parents who were financially supportive. A family banker of last resort, so to speak.
This education was both a blessing and a curse. Why a curse? Because I never thought much about money. Other than the unspoken values my parents molded, I have never heard of money, our banking system, or our financial system. Those of us who live in the United States enjoy the added privilege of having the world’s reserve currency in our pocket. This privilege is a privilege that most Americans take for granted.
While the US dollar is still considered the strongest currency in the world today, it is no longer a reliable store of value. Even the most privileged people are beginning to notice this after watching the Federal Reserve and our government pump absurd amounts of money into circulation.
All Americans alive today grew up with the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. For most, that means nothing. Most of us probably remember the first time someone handed us a $5 bill or some other denomination when we were young and we felt rushed and thought. “Wow, I’m rich!
Do you have a strong sense of pride in the United States and its founding ideals? Could this influence your perception of the dollar? Are you ashamed of the eternal wars we have waged since Vietnam? Although it may seem out of place, these feelings will have a huge impact on your relationship with the country’s currency.
Are you a fund manager in a hedge fund? Are you a millennial? Are you a boomer? Are you a venture capitalist? Each will shape your relationship with the world’s most desirable fiat currency. Do you view your bank account or your access to capital as a source of safety, a source of security, or a source of power? Do you consider having a bank account a privilege? They are all symbols. The majority of people in the world are unbanked. As we learn in 2022, these symbols are fading and highly illusory.
Enter a new kid on the block that was quietly created on January 3, 2009.
What is your relationship with Bitcoin?
A huge percentage of people in the western world reject it. Like all new technology, we have a hard time trusting something we don’t understand. Until we have no choice. Canadian truckers weren’t interested in bitcoin until they needed it. I believe we have now entered a period where transgressions of the fiat system leave us with no choice but to learn more about bitcoin.
This is a guest post by Mark Maraia. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.