It is wise parental wisdom that the young sometime receive when they are told to not throw away something before they can find a replacement. Find a replacement first, then throw it away, parents may say.
In that transition period the two may need to co-exist. Just as the old stands next to the new in our ancient cities. And though physical human presence eventually turns to dust, something does remain.
Aristotle is more alive today than he perhaps ever was while he lived. Galileo, Einstein. We can call upon many other immortalized intellects to express a deep truth. That the old must give way to the new.
We could have fallen very low and taken a different tone. We could have accused the Baby Boomers, our own parents, of squandering great wealth at the same time as they sunk us deep into debt.
We could have accused the best of them of failing to keep the peaceful order. So cheering on the Iraq war which led, directly or indirectly, to razed ancient Syrian cities at the cost of the lives of so many of their own children.
And that accusation would sting because they re-elected Tony Blair and George Bush even after they began a war which breached all principles we had been taught in school.
And then we could accuse them further of leading nations to near outright collapse through the creation of money out of completely nothing to keep them sedated while their children died.
And if we made such accusations, we would not be directing them to individuals themselves. The point would not be to lay blame. They are, after all, our own parents. Our fathers and mothers.
The point instead would be to show that they too could, and did do, wrong. In the process illustrating that we are now more knowledgeable in some aspects, so having the benefit of their experience and mistakes.
The point would be to show that they once were our age too and had our chance. And to show what they did with it. Plenty good, of course. We still hear their songs for Africa. But complacency is rarely a luxury we can afford. There was plenty that could have been done far better and unfortunately that’s what we must focus on so that we do actually do it better.
No one doubts they tried or aimed. They did what they could. But now, so being unable to do much more any longer themselves, the best of them look to their children, some of whom have become parents, and they look to them with admiration.
However, some, unintentionally, and in our view very much good willed in nature, so having dedicated all their lives to a certain system, can simply not comprehend how another one can operate.
Because emotions, so powerful in nature, leading to our universal conclusion that they are irrational, can easily make one believe, especially after spending 50 years in a certain world-view, that its surroundings are the truth. That it can not possibly be any other way.
There must have been many in East Germany who looked at the 90s young incomprehensibly. Who looked at the books they held high and burned them in strict parental tone. Especially those in responsible positions.
This crude example is provided for no other reason but to illustrate that old minds can often belong to very old worlds, even when they are very wrong and yet do not know it.
That is why the moon waxes and wanes and generations come and go. Our parents have lived their lives. They did what they did with their youth. The world is now ours. The world now belongs to the millennial generation.
And though of course we’ll heed the advice of our fathers and mothers for they are so wise, they must understand, there are many things we know far better.
Take Jamie Dimon, a typical baby boomer and a father of three. “It’s creating something out of nothing that to me is worth nothing,” he said.
We agree. That’s the entire point in some ways. Central banks have created an estimated $10 trillion since the banking crash, completely and utterly out of nothing, with no accountability whatever nor any mandate by the populace, which has seen its wages fall in real terms.
Our parents see many of their children without houses, kicked out from one apartment to another renting like savages, unable to settle for a family because house prices have reached stratospheric levels thanks to the constant money printing.
Yet no one asks whether there is a housing bubble or whether there is a fiat bubble or whether this creation of something out of nothing makes any sense at all. A creation with no foundations on anything whatever. A la-la land of incredible proportions. At our huge expense for some may call it unintentional outright theft.
Then our own parent, a 61 year old father of three soon to retire and need nurses for caring, makes this threat: “governments are going to close them down.”
But we are the government. General broad policy in the civil service or banks may be laid down from up high – to where we’ll necessarily rise because of that ruler of all things, time – but its implementation is made by the millennials. They decide the strictness or looseness of whatever broad policy.
They so happen to have key positions in all industries, public or private. And they are rising, certainly from junior to mid level, but some are already at an executive level.
They are now the biggest generation and voting block to have ever lived in the history of human kind. It was the millennials that brought Trump to power. Because generations are changing and because we could not stand another Bush or Clinton.
Our parents must understand that this is their own children. They had the chance to build the world. It is now ours. And though we too may have among us an Al Capone, we also have our own Tesla.
And though I speak of present generations, as if we all came up with any of this out of nothing, let me present Wittgenstein’s cousin, Hayek:
“When one studies the history of money one cannot help wondering why people should have put up for so long with governments exercising an exclusive power over 2,000 years that was regularly used to exploit and defraud them.
This can be explained only by the myth (that the government prerogative was necessary) becoming so firmly established that it did not occur even to the professional students of these matters (for a long time including the present writer!) ever to question it. But once the validity of the established doctrine is doubted its foundation is rapidly seen to be fragile.”
It may seem like a radical thought, but if Hayek is radical, then who on earth is not? Dimon and the rest may think we’re playing. That all of this is virtual nonsense and all this digital coding stuff is claptrap. That we are still children just as they may recall us when we were 3 or 4, but he should know that our game has changed to that of 30 years olds.
For while he may have been young and naive at the time Hayek gave such teachings, we now see them through experience and based on facts objectively judge them to be right.
Which brings us to another parent – a parent for us. More rightly, they are both to be called grandparents if nature so blessed them. Mario Draghi, the 70 years old current President of the European Central Bank.
Presumably fully unaware and unable to comprehend just what a token issued through the ethereum blockchain is, he shouted down to Kaspar Korjus, the millennial, who happens to be in charge of Estonia’s e-residency program. Telling this generation that “no member state can introduce its own currency.”
For a token to be called a currency is a first. Even we, in this space, refrain from doing so. It may, of course, act as a currency, but its nature is so new we don’t quite know what to call it yet, save for borrowing old terms, such as a token, which in name itself clearly communicates it’s not quite a currency.
But such fine nuances regarding this very new world shouldn’t really be expected by a 70 years old who happens to be in charge of euro money printing out of completely thin air instead of enjoying his old age.
“The older generation of bankers would probably be completely unable even to imagine how the new system would operate and therefore be practically unanimous in rejecting it. But this foreseeable opposition of the established practitioners ought not to deter us.
I am also convinced that if a new generation of young bankers were given the opportunity they would rapidly develop techniques to make the new forms of banking not only safe and profitable but also much more beneficial to the whole community than the existing one,” Hayek in the Denationalization of Money.
It is unfortunate, nature so being what it is, that we can not expect even our own parents to express understanding of our aims and ambitions. Even though surely many of them see them as good, as otherwise they must see their own children as not being good-willed.
But there are plenty among them who fully support these innovative approaches. The former Prime Minister of Britain himself, David Cameron, included.
We will never fight a war with our own parents. We are not French. But we must explain our foundations in the hope they understand and we may fully ignore them if they please to stick to their own ways. Not least because time has blessed them with very old life which they now may wish to enjoy.
We are not rebels, or revolutionaries, we are not radicals or destroyers. We are the best of your children, educated at Oxford and Harvard, who can simply see what is self evident and what is good. To serve we live and to live we must advance for our challenges increase in complexity daily.
Unlike you, we can not stick with old ways because they have been shown to have flaws. And though your time may near, ours has just begun.
You should cheer, and see. And like a good grandparent, you should provide wise advice. Not to order say what’s right or wrong, for we are now in charge of that, but to pass your wisdom and knowledge, including what was done right and what was done wrong, so that we can learn.
Though your age I’ve never been, I must assume that’s now your role. And though my age you once were, I must hope you see it all. For force in a world of ideas, you know has no role, especially when your weak body so ensures, by god himself, you do not command that force at all.
What you command is wisdom, and for that our ears are open, but you should know your wise words face the towering Hayek and his self-evident insight which is all too obvious.