Balaji just dropped another epic 4.5 hour interview, this time on TFTC with Marty Bent. The focus of the interview is what Balaji calls the “fiat crisis,” which states that we are in the beginning stages of a collapse of the dollar. He spends a lot of time framing up the issue, describing the different groups in play and providing helpful frameworks for understanding how we got here and what’s coming next.
I was left at the end with two resounding impressions. One, damn he made a lot of good points, I think he’s right, and I think this is extremely important. And two, I wish there was a positive or “white pilled” takeaway so that everything didn’t feel so bleak.
So for you dear audience, all fifteen of you elite intellectuals, because I love you, I’ve decided to provide that white pill. The main point is that the resolutions to many of the issues Balaji raises are already in America’s DNA, they are why we got so powerful to begin with, and we can course-correct and go back to them.
The brink of disaster that we find ourselves on is made up of three forces: Militarization, Finanicialization, and Centralization. Each of these is antithetical to America’s DNA and solutions are not difficult to find (though, yes, at the moment they’re difficult to implement).
Militarization: Balaji rightly points out that America is on a losing streak militarily. Our foreign policy is unfortunately run by the disgraced Neocon death-cult that is responsible for starting and losing the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan and are now spending down what’s left of American credibility in the war in Ukraine.
Whitepill: The US was founded to be an overtly non-interventionist country. We can and will return to that ethos either because we wake up and decide to change or go broke and have to stop LARPing as the World Police. Waking up is clearly the better path while going broke is the dark and destructive path. But in any case, once that happens we’ll have more to offer the world by refocusing on creating a better democracy at home than trying to export a broken one abroad. When this happens the Neocons will end up in the dustbin of history alongside discredited psychotic regimes like Nazis, Communists, and others whose Utopian visions were only impeded by the necessary murder of millions. We should be pushing for this outcome now and presidential candidate RFK is already talking loudly about it.
Financialization: Balaji gives a great description of how the financialization of the economy has become toxic and is nearing an end game. Our reliance on money printing and financial trickery will drive the world away from using US treasuries as a store of value. As nations abandon the currency, world reserve currency status will be lost causing a massive devaluation cascading into social instability.
Whitepill: Lot’s of ink has been spilled describing the value of Bitcoin as a solution to the over-financialization of the economy, and Balaji does an excellent job of describing it in the interview. What I think could be further emphasized is that America’s rise from zero to world power took place on the gold standard. So hard money doesn’t only protect individuals and constrain government, but allows for much more efficient systems that are more conducive to innovation. Sometimes people think of hard money like gold, or they look at the rather ‘basic’ functionality of Bitcoin and think that they’re regressive. But effective money is like effective policy: you want it simple, straightforward, and transparent. Complexity will be gamed by insiders every time. But simple money leads to strong countries. America’s prime is proof of that.
Centralization: Balaji rightly points out that the current leadership in DC can no longer offer peace and prosperity to the world. More and more we resemble a developing country with high inflation, civil unrest, corruption, and an increasingly divided society. This is moving the world from being unipolar to multipolar.
Whitepill: The US was designed specifically to be one of the most decentralized governments on the planet. We’ve just gotten lazy so are not using it that way. But the 10th amendment makes it clear that any powers that are not specifically given to the federal government are reserved for the states. Letting Washington DC bureaucrats run the entire country, from healthcare to education to social welfare to monetary policy, is like steering a car with your feet and then blaming the car when you get in a wreck. It wasn’t designed to be operated that way! We’re supposed to have significantly more power at the local and state level, significantly less at the federal, and much less government overall. Over the last century we ceded that power to DC because they wanted it. Meanwhile we were so fat, happy and rich that we allowed ourselves to maintain the delusion that a far away technocratic elite could run everything for us while we drank miller highlife and watched football. But it’s becoming obvious that that doesn’t actually work
Conclusion: Balaji’s on the money that the old order is falling away, that it will be a messy process, and that you want to be positioned for it or risk becoming collateral damage. What I propose is that we don’t merely consider what our individual response should look like, but our entire societal response. When we do that we find that the US was literally built for such a time. If we look to our roots we’ll find it’s perfectly appropriate to demilitarize, become more production-oriented than financialized, and decentralize power and decision-making back to the local and state levels. Only when we wrestle the power and money away from the special interests that control DC will we re-emerge as the adaptive, innovative, and fiercely competitive country that once inspired the world.