I am a freelance translator and Linux developer.
My Economic Views
My economic views are anti-Fractional Reserve Banking and anti-usury at all levels of an economy. I realize that, although there is more to sound currency than the logistics of the currency itself, Bitcoin will help citizens of the world free themselves from the slavery of fractional reserve banking and usury and rekindle in them the sense of justice, which St. Thomas Aquinas defines as the "rendering to each one his right."
- My favorite economics book: Return to Order by John Horvat II
(cf. his article "The Problem with Local Currencies," whose comments mention Bitcoin)
- My favorite economist and medieval mathematical physicist: Bishop Nicole Oresme (1320-1382). He wrote, in the first monetary treatise, that inflation caused by tampering with money's value, as in fractional reserve banking, is worse than usury:
The usurer has lent his money to one who takes it of his own free will, and can then enjoy the use of it and relieve his own necessity with it, and what he repays in excess of the principal is determined by free contract between the parties. But a prince, by unnecessary change in the coinage, plainly takes the money of his subjects against their will, because he forbids the older money to pass current, though it is better, and anyone would prefer it to the bad; and then unnecessarily and without any possible advantage to his subjects, he will give them back worse money. . . . In so far then as he receives more money than he gives, against and beyond the natural use of money, such gain is equivalent to usury; but is worse than usury because it is less voluntary and more against the will of his subjects, incapable of profiting them, and utterly unnecessary. And since the usurer’s interest is not so excessive, or so generally injurious to the many, as this impost, levied tyrannically and fraudulently, against the interest and against the will of the whole community, I doubt whether it should not rather be termed robbery with violence or fraudulent extortion.Bitcoin is immune to this problem because of its controlled money supply.
- I am opposed to usury, which is still a sin. The past decades have seen an exponential increase in the number of "quick money" shops throughout the United States. This is contrary to justice and detrimental to the economy; this is the only part of an economy that must be regulated.
Pope Benedict XIV's encyclical Vix Pervenit gives the reasons why:
The nature of the sin called usury has its proper place and origin in a loan contract… [which] demands, by its very nature, that one return to another only as much as he has received. The sin rests on the fact that sometimes the creditor desires more than he has given…, but any gain which exceeds the amount he gave is illicit and usurious.
One cannot condone the sin of usury by arguing that the gain is not great or excessive, but rather moderate or small; neither can it be condoned by arguing that the borrower is rich; nor even by arguing that the money borrowed is not left idle, but is spent usefully…(See also: Church and the Usurers: Unprofitable Lending for the Modern Economy by Dr. Brian McCall or Interest and Usury by Fr. Bernard W. Dempsey, S.J. (1903-1960).)
Bitcoin is, by design, unable to perform chargebacks or force collection of interest on loans, thus making usury within the blockchain impossible.
Bitcoin is the future. The technology behind it (esp. the blockchain concept) is very ingenious, and it's revolutionizing finance and even democracies (some countries are even considering using blockchain-based voting, where everyone can verify his vote is counted and there can be no fraud without breaking the chain; the powers of cryptography! cf. "Alternative chain").
Coinbase is the easiest way to convert between USD and BTC. Of the many Bitcoin wallets to choose from, I prefer the Bitcoin-Qt / Core wallet for desktop computers and GreenAddress wallet for mobile devices.
- Watch both videos here. The first is a general intro to Bitcoin, and the second discusses that the financial aspect of Bitcoin is just the tip of the iceberg; the blockchain concept is far more innovative.
- CoinDesk's Beginner's Guide to Bitcoin is a good collection of resources.
- The best, free book on Bitcoin: Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas M. Antonopoulos (who says "Bitcoin is not currency; it's the internet of money!")
- Introduction to Bitcoin by cryptographer Zulfikar Ramzan: Bitcoin Video Series (Khan Academy)
- I am not an Austrian economist, although "Austrian Economics" is based, in part, on the Catholic economics developed by the Spanish Scholastics of the Salamanca School. See Prof. Jesús Huerta de Soto's lecture "The Spanish Scholastics," his article, and book Money, Bank Credit, & Economic Cycles.
- Capitalism = Usury-ism.
To take usury for money lent is unjust in itself, because this [usury] is to sell what does not exist.—St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II-II q. 78 a. 1 ("Whether it is a sin to take usury for money lent?") c.
"The-borrower-paying-back-over-and-above-what-the-lender-lent" is not not something ontologically real that can be bought or sold; thus, usury means charging interest on non-recourse loans.
- Summa Theologica II-II q. 57 a. 1 c.; cf. his short-work on buying and selling time
God bless Bitcoin. ☺