Taco Stand Narrative with a Troy Ounce of Silver

Posted by admin on June 12th, 2012 filed in general, travel

Sometime last year, Dad decided to do RAAM again. (For anyone unfamiliar with the Race Across America, it’s a non-stop bicycle race that starts in Oceanside, CA and ends in Annapolis, MD. Yup, people actually sign up for this.)

This time he’s on a mixed, 4-person, all-Bacchetta team, (three of whom are from our area in Florida), and despite all the blatant warnings and the misery of our previous crewing experiences, Mom and I agreed to crew for their RAAM team.

But I’ll get to all that in another post.

This post is about a lunch in San Antonio, TX.

So the three of us (Mom, Dad and I) just finished RV-ing our way across the country from the Tampa Bay area to Oceanside, CA. We followed I-10, but stopped in San Antonio (our old hometown) for a few days, to visit friends and family. Sunday, on our way out of town, we ate lunch with some long-time family friends, Ron and Patsy.

Dad met Ron through a former employer in San Antonio and, via house visits and dinner parties, Ron soon became the family’s (unpaid, but highly entertaining and painfully informative) consultant on scientific, social, political and economic theory. Our educational Think Tank and expert Socratic-method teacher (usually over enchiladas or lasagna).

We agreed to meet at a restaurant at The Rim, and Mom and Dad met with Ron and Patsy while I ran a quick errand. I joined them toward the end of the meal, sitting down in the midst of a conversation about how my mom had a taco stand. (What?)

First a bit of background: Ron has an interesting instructive style, which always tends to include a narrative involving one or more of those present as players in the lesson. The narrative I walked in on starred Mom as the Taco Stand Owner (with me as the understudy in the retelling), Dad as the Banker, and Ron as the Customer/Borrower. It went something like this:

“So let’s say you own a taco stand. I come to your taco stand and give you a dollar for your goods/services. You take that dollar over to the Banker to put in the bank. Now how much money do you have?” Answer: a dollar.

“Now, I ask you for a recommendation on a good place to bank and you send me over to the Banker as well. I ask him for a loan of a dollar, he gives me the dollar, I go about my business and eventually make it back to the taco stand and give you that dollar in return for more goods/services. You take that dollar and put it in the bank. Now how much money do you (think you) have?” Answer: two dollars.

“I go to the Banker again and ask for another loan of a dollar. He gives me that dollar. I eventually get hungry, end up at your taco stand and give you a dollar for more corn/beans/cheese/meat and you deposit that dollar at the bank. How much money do you have now?” Three dollars.

“Now what if I, the Customer/Borrower, go bankrupt and can’t pay back the Banker. I skip town and the bank goes under. How much money do you have in the bank?” None. Which brings us to a unique function of the banks – masking the amount of money really out there.

Ron’s use of flaring natural gas as an analogy to the banking industry and its treatment of money leads to a discussion (implicitly of the silver and/or gold standard, but explicitly) of currency, coin and value (intrinsic vs. face), wherein Ron plopped on the table three large silver coins and a dollar bill.

Teacher Ron asks, “What are each of those worth?”

Looking closer, I answer, “A dollar,” pointing to a silver dollar, “more than a dollar,” pointing to a one-ounce silver coin, “a dollar,” pointing to the dollar bill, “and … nothing,” pointing to a silver-colored token from the Big Dog Casino of who-knows-where.

I forget exactly where the conversation went from here, but Dad brought up the excellent book, Good Money, which led to discussion of fiat currency and the use of force to implement intrinsically worthless substitutes for effective currency, including button-like tokens and tally sticks in England and our lovely paper bills, State-side.

We talked briefly about the small change shortage in England in the late 1700s (discussed in length in Good Money), but unfortunately never got around to discussing similar, more-current situations (like in Argentina).

With our meals long gone and the clock ticking on our cross-country trip, we figured it was time to go. As Ron was packing up, I swiped up two of the coins and joked, “I’ll hang on to these for you.” To my surprise, he said ok – as long as I could retell the narrative to others.

This post is my first attempt, and now that I know Ron is watching, there will probably be a few revisions. =D If any of you other readers care to correct or comment, please don’t hesitate to do so! And be sure to check out Ron’s comments. (I know you won’t let me down, Ron!) They’ll definitely be worthwhile.


4 Responses to “Taco Stand Narrative with a Troy Ounce of Silver”

  1. Rozland Says:

    KP:

    Excellent 1st cut — you captured the key ideas. Now a few quotes from those who should know:

    “Each and every time a bank makes a loan, new bank credit is created -new deposits – brand new money.” — Graham F Towers, Governor, Bank of Canada, 1934-54

    “The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled.” — John Kenneth Galbraith, Money: Whence it came, Where it Went p-29.

    “And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” — Thomas Jefferson, 3rd US President, in a letter to John Taylor in 1816

    “The modern banking system manufactures ‘money’ out of nothing; and the process is, perhaps, the most, astounding piece of ‘sleight of hand’ that was ever invented. In fact, it was not invented. It merely ‘grew’. … Banks in fact are able to create (and cancel [flare]) modern ‘deposit money’, just as much as they were originally able to create, or call in, their own original forms of private notes. They can, in fact, inflate and deflate — i.e., mint and un-mint the modern ‘ledger-entry’ currency.” — Angas, Major L. L. B. (Lawrence Lee Bazley) (1937). Slump ahead in bonds. Somerset Pub. Co.. pp. 20-21. OCLC 3506072

    SUMMARY — And the Debasement (dilution) of your money is not new — metallurgical analysis of expired empires indicate the coins were routinely debased to feed the spending habits of the powers that were:

    http://rozland.airpost.net/inflation_history/index0.html

    Regards, RonM

  2. Rozland Says:

    Forgot the most amazing quote of all:

    “Permit me to issue [inject into circulation] and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.” — Mayer Anselm Rothschild, Banker

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rothschild_banking_family_of_Austria

  3. admin Says:

    I hadn’t heard of the others, but I’m familiar with this one. Its truth is pretty harsh.

  4. Rozland Says:

    Harsh? Humm … in a way, the fractional reserve banking system may have made the western world into what it is today — i.e. one of the reasons that western civilization jumped ahead of older, more sophisticated societies. This does not “forgive” the near criminal nature of bankster-gangster games and schemes — yet it maybe that all the churn of 400+ years of money creation stirred and boiled the cauldron of creativity and innovation — often by funding war and empire — and sometime in more subtle ways.

    For an illustrated — and animated — history of the bankster-gangster process — and the collusion of governments in the process — Canadian Paul Grignon assembled a powerful video of the process — and entitled “Money as Debt” — the harder you work to break the leg-irons — the bigger the ball and chain grow:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqvKjsIxT_8

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