“I’d rather die of the virus than die of hunger, or see my son or my wife go hungry, but I can’t provide them with food,” said Hussein Fakher, 20, who used to earn a little less than $20 a day driving a tuk-tuk in a now-shuttered market in Baghdad. He got into a fight with police who tried to fine him for violating Iraq’s curfew when he went out to seek work. “What should I do?” he asked. “Beg? Steal?”
Art by Minnaar
There is an incredible danger in giving up your liberties to “fight the war” on whatever the latest national emergency happens to be. In his book The Road to Serfdom published in 1944, noted economist and Nobel Prize Winner, F. A. Hayek illustrated how national emergencies can pave the way for the loss of liberty and the rise of dictatorships.
The “War on COVID19”
In the latest “War on COVID19” the loss of liberty has happened all around the world plunging millions of people into financial suffering and uncertainty due to the restrictions on their ability to work and provide for their families. In fact, you have seen it quite blatantly in the most recent power grab by Hungary’s Prime Minister.
Watch the following video and see if you can see the parallels. Think about these things as you remember what it was like when you used to be able to go for a walk on the beach, park or public trail.
Economic freedom (property rights) and political freedom (human rights) are indivisible. They are merely two sides of the same coin – for you cannot have one without the other.
Given that definition, what does it mean when you are prevented from going to work and you are forced to stay home?
To most of us an “essential business” is the one that puts food on our tables, and a roof over our heads. The CoronaVirus is, no doubt, a serious health threat. But governments around the world have initiated the threat of violence via lockdown to deny these most basic human rights to millions of people.
The Hidden Price is Much Higher
These people are now suffering due to their inability to work and provide for their families. They face homelessness, loss of health care due to inability to pay insurance premiums, depression, suicide, and now domestic violence is on the rise. Many are now forced to look to the government for a bailout – the very ones who have exacerbated this crisis by shuttering the economy. But, as many will find out, nothing is free and we will pay the price with ravaging inflation in the coming years – and the day will come when that turns into hyperinflation. Countless more lives will be destroyed. Henry Hazlitt referred to these hidden costs of government policies as “that which is not seen” in his essential book Economics in One Lesson.
Return to Civilization
We live in a dangerous world – that is the nature of life. If you don’t want to risk getting sick you are welcomed to stay at home and remove yourself from circulation. But don’t use the barrel of a gun to keep others from working and providing for their families. If you feel others should stay at home, use persuasion not violence. It is the only civilized thing to do.
Cash is trash. The dollar is doomed to hyperinflation. The stimulus bailout with create another tsunami of increased money supply (inflation). Expect prices to begin rising within a year or so after the short term dip in general prices caused by people dumping assets to put food on their table.
I recommend having a percentage of your investment portfolio in scarce assets like bitcoin, gold & silver. I would be wary of what used to be called “income producing real estate” (traditionally an inflation hedge) because property rights have been stripped from the American people in many States. Many States have rent controls and places like California have made it virtually impossible to evict tenants for non-payment of rent. When you can’t collect rent and still have all the operating expenses you no longer have an asset. You have a liability.
Another great investment opportunity is companies that operate online selling digital products and services – many will do well in a social-distancing world where they are not as easy to tax or regulate.