Blank Checks and No Balances: Why Governments will Continue to Print Money
The newspapers are filled with stories of governments spending money they don't have. Some blame it on work ethic (Greece), historical trauma (Germany), political gridlock (US), or just sheer frivolity (Italy). The assumption is that political change will bring about a change in spending patterns. It won't. Politicians take on obligations they can't afford for one simple reason: Because they can.
Throughout history, kings and politicians used paper derivatives of real money to finance their pet projects and wars. In the past, however, their ability to do so was limited by technological constraints (even paper money takes time and resources to produce), competition (the availability of other, more "solid' currencies), and the fact that large parts of the global economy relied on barter trading or other means of exchange and not on official currencies.
Today, technology allows governments (and banks) to create trillions in new money at the click of a button; all currencies are controlled by an inter-government cartel that prevents competition (once the Americans start debasing their currency, the Europeans follow, as do the Japanese, Chinese, etc. so savers have nowhere to "hide"); and the global economy relies overwhelmingly on government-sanctioned money.
The only way to stop governments from living beyond their means (at the expense of our futures) is to move towards a global currency system that constrains their ability to "create" money. One way of doing so is by tying currencies back to a basket of commodities or a single commodity (gold, for example). Our politicians, and the other beneficiaries of the current monetary system (financial, military industries etc.) are not likely to give up their privilege freely. And so, a new monetary order is likely to emerge only once the current one collapses, either directly through a currency crisis or indirectly through a global war. Brace for impact.