”Everything we get, outside of the free gifts of nature, must in some way be paid for…”— Henry Hazlitt
About a year ago, Kevin Herrald, an editor at John Wiley & Sons, approached me about updating Demise of The Dollar, a book I first wrote in 2004.
I had updated it once before, back in 2008. The second edition was published and distributed prior to the collapse of Lehman Bros., prior to Hank’s Paulson now-infamous 3-page plea to Congress to bail out the Wall Street banks, prior even to the national debt cresting $10 trillion dollars.
The current edition brings our story into the third decade of the 21st century.
We cover the bailouts, the Bernanke-Yellen Federal Reserve, years and years of zero interest rate policy, the Pandemic lockdowns and subsequent stimulus check programs… The list goes on, and finally culminates in our national debt skipping right past $31 trillion before our very eyes.
The third edition of the book is a wild romp through recent monetary history and its impact on the dollar.
We explain the true nature of “inflation” and why it began so quickly in 2021.
As I’ve mentioned in The Daily Missive before, books of this genre rarely go into a second edition, let alone a third. This brand-new, fully updated third edition is a testament to how remarkably resilient the themes we’ve been covering all this time are. I’m quite proud of the third edition. Especially having just received a box of “author’s” copies to send out to friends and family. The look, feel and smell of fresh ink on the pages is gratifying for anyone who’s been through the writing process to produce such a work.
Today, I’d like to invite you to go to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble and preorder a copy. The book will begin arriving in bookstores soon after May 2nd.
Follow your own bliss,
The Wiggin Sessions
P.S. It’s often hard to promote your own work. Writing about oneself feels cheesy and uncomfortable. Instead, below, I include the kind words in the foreword to the book written by my friend Jim Rickards. Enjoy.
Demise of The Dollar forward by James Rickards:
Making monetary economics complex and inaccessible to all but experts is easy. All you have to do is follow the crowd of mainstream Ph.D. economists, use lots of jargon (like Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment, NAIRU, and Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity, DNWR), adopt some handy models such as the Phillips Curve, and you’re all set.
No one will understand what you’re saying, but you’ll win applause from pundits and Wall Street cheerleaders who will welcome you to the club of incomprehensible insiders.
Making monetary economics straightforward and accessible to everyday Americans is hard. First you have to understand the technical concepts yourself (including their many flaws). Then you have to translate the jargon into plain English. Finally you have to write in a clear style with a strong dose of history for context, and a pinch of humor.
The irony is that the accessible version is closer to the truth of how money works than the complex version.
There are two reasons for this. The first is that the jargon is … just jargon. I’ve done economic analysis at the highest levels of difficulty for over forty years and I’ve yet to encounter a concept that could not be clearly stated in plain English. For example, Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity just means that people don’t like pay cuts. Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Employment means that if labor is scarce, wages and inflation go up as a result. Is it really so difficult to write plainly? The answer is it’s not difficult at all if you’re willing to shed the armor suit of jargon most economists wear to bed.
The second reason is that most of the models used by economists (and the jargon used to describe them) are simply wrong. I once examined the list of all winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics and discovered that about one-third of the prizes were given for contributions that are completely false.
Ben Bernanke won the prize in 2022 for research on banks and financial crises, yet his leadership at the Federal Reserve caused the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and led to the failures of Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Lehman Brothers. William D. Nordhaus won in 2018 for work in integrating climate change into macroeconomic analysis. Yet, most climate change “science” is false and there is no climate change caused by CO2 emissions; climate change is slow and is caused by long-term factors such as sun cycles, ocean currents, and volcanoes that Nordhaus ignored. Eugene Fama won in 2013 for his theory of efficient markets, but markets are not efficient at all; they’re wild and unpredictable and subject to crashes and bubbles. To be clear, there are some notable winners who made solid contributions to economics, but many of the prizes were given for junk science.
The biggest joke of all is that the Nobel Prize in Economics is not even a real Nobel Price. The original Nobel Prizes were awarded for Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, and Peace beginning in 1901. In 1969, the Swedish Central Bank created the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel funded by the central bank; the original Nobel Prizes were funded by the estate of Alfred Nobel. You can think of the Nobel Prize in Economics as a wannabe prize frequently awarded for ideas that don’t hold water.
Another example of junk science in economics is the Phillips Curve. This is not just some arcane theory; it’s at the center of Federal Reserve interest rate policy today. The theory is that low unemployment causes higher inflation, and high unemployment reduces inflation. The relationship between unemployment and inflation can be represented on a graph as an downward sloping curve.
The only problem with the theory is that it’s not true. The period in the late 1960s did see low unemployment and rising inflation. Yet, the late 1970s saw high unemployment and high inflation, so-called stagflation. The period from 2013 to 2019 saw low unemployment and low inflation; (inflation didn’t really take off until 2021). So, where’s the correlation? There isn’t any. It’s a fake theory with no empirical support. Still, the Fed swears by it. Is it any surprise that current monetary policy is driving the U.S. economy over a cliff?
What do solid economic analysis and clear writing actually look like? They look like this book by Addison Wiggin. The Demise of the Dollar is a sterling example in the use of models that hold up in the real world and jargon-free exposition. This book is not only up-to-date and clear, it’s an invaluable guide to navigating the uncharted economic waters that surround us.
To explain inflation, Addison does not need the Phillips Curve. He simply compares prices of everyday goods like eggs, milk and gas at the pump to what they cost a year or two years ago. That’s the thing about inflation – you can’t spin it. The price of food and fuel is in your face every day. You don’t need a flawed model. You just have to watch your credit card balance go up, and your savings account balance go down and you’ll know more about inflation than those trapped in an ivory tower at Harvard or in the West Wing.
Another great strength of his book is that Addison includes a heavy dose of History. Readers generally enjoy historical context for current events. History is like the spoonful of sugar that helps the economic medicine go down. Yet it’s more than that. Inflation does not just drop out of the sky. It builds slowly through a succession of monetary policy blunders by the Federal Reserve, and fiscal policy negligence by the Congress and White House. Addison takes us through the long litany of such blunders that has accrued over decades.
Addison looks at the creation of the Federal Reserve (1913), Bretton Woods (1944), the Marshall Plan (1948 – 1954), and Nixon’s suspension of the convertibility of dollars for gold (1971) among other notable economic milestones. He explains why the U.S. and the world achieved strong growth and low inflation (1944 – 1971) followed by weak growth and high inflation (1971 – 1982), and then the Age of King Dollar (1983 – 2008) when the world learned to live without a gold standard but was utterly dependent on the Petrodollar standard.
Since 2008, we’ve encountered one crisis after another including financial panic, pandemic panic, supply chain breakdown, and now a full-scale shooting war in Europe with a financial war side-by-side. We abandoned solid economic policy in 1971 and are now reaping the bitter fruit of flawed policies ever since.
Best of all, Addison is not a doom-and-gloomer. He’s forthright in his analysis and criticism but also positive in his recommendations. We are not victims. There are many ways to preserve wealth and even prosper in the most difficult economic times and Addison lays these out clearly with specific recommendations for portfolio allocations and strategies.
I’m confident you will enjoy reading this book as much as I did. And I’m equally confident that you will come away from it with greater confidence in the future and a reliable playbook on how to survive.
Learn more about The Demise of the Dollar here »
Addison Wiggin is an American writer, publisher, and filmmaker. He was the founder of Agora Financial and publisher for 18 years. An acclaimed New York Times best-selling author, his books include: Financial Reckoning Day, Empire of Debt, The Demise of the Dollar, and The Little Book of the Shrinking Dollar. Addison is also the writer and executive producer of the documentary I.O.U.S.A., an exposé on the national debt, shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2008. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his family. Addison started his latest project, The Wiggin Sessions, powered by Consilience Financial, in March 2020. He films from a homegrown studio in his basement.