115. The Pitfalls of the Fiat Standard: Marty Bent interviews Saifedean Ammous
Fiat money doesn’t just affect economic exchange, its impact on society is much wider. In this episode, Marty Bent, host of the Tales from the Crypt Podcast, interviews Saifedean about the ways fiat money encourages negative societal impacts ranging from climate alarmism to soil degradation to poor diets. They focus on the widely accepted need to transition to from fossil fuels to “renewable” energy and how government funding of science encourages the publication of studies that predict catastrophes and propose state intervention to avoid them. They also discuss how government statistics are manipulated to underplay the negative impacts of fiat and how people can opt out by adopting a bitcoin standard.
- Marty Bent’s website.
- Marty Bent on Twitter.
- The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein.
- The Bitcoin Standard Podcast episodes with Alex Epstein here and here.
- The Bitcoin Standard Podcast episode Is CO2 the Climate Control Knob? with Tom Nelson.
- The St Louis Fed compares the cost and protein content of turkey and soy.
- Marty Bent podcast episode with Untapped Growth for discussion of regenerative farming.
- Link to Saifedean podcast with Nina Teicholz for discussion of fiat nutrition.
- Bitcoin mining council estimates of the bitcoin network’s global energy usage.
- Saifedean’s first book, The Bitcoin Standard.
- Saifedean’s second book, The Fiat Standard. See chapter “The Cost of Fiat Fuels” for statistics on growth in per capita energy consumption falling from the 1970s.
Enjoyed this episode? You can take part in podcast seminars, access Saifedean’s courses and read chapters of his forthcoming books by becoming a Saifedean.com member. Find out more here.
Marty Bent: [00:03:02] I’m sitting down with Dr. Saifedean Ammous, author of a couple of books on this bookshelf here. We’re talking about this whole meme in the Bitcoin space right now, particularly in North America, the bitcoin mining industry feels the need to bring a bunch of information to a bunch of zealot hysterics about bitcoin mining’s energy mix.
They’re pushing the narrative that Bitcoin mining is going to incentivize a transition to renewables, which I don’t think is true. I don’t think a transition to renewables is smart, number one, and then number two, I’ve seen it personally, bitcoin mining is going to incentive more oil production, because it’s going to help oil and gas producers with their operations.
Saifedean Ammous: I think the idea of a renewable transition is just a very dangerous [00:04:02] idea. It’s one of those things that everybody likes to, it’s like motherhood and apple pie, everybody wants to say that they like those things, that they’re good, and everybody can’t think of a bad thing about them, although let’s face it, apple pie is terrible for your blood sugar.
But renewable energy is equally terrible perhaps for your chances at living in a modern civilized society basically. The notion that these renewable energy sources can provide an alternative to fossil fuels is extremely dangerous.
It’s not just misguided. It’s not just ridiculous. It’s also very dangerous, because going back to relying on sunlight and wind isn’t some futuristic utopia Star Trek world, where you press a button and everything materializes without there needing to be any hard work going into it. It means just going back to pre industrialization.
That’s what it means, it’s [00:05:02] de-industrialization. So we can have 14th century technology on wind and solar, we can’t have computers, we can’t have all of these modern things that we’d like to take for granted, like surviving winter. Reliably being able to survive winter, that can’t be done on wind and solar alone.
I think, putting Bitcoin aside, just the simple idea that you engage in the idea that renewable transition is a good thing, I think that’s very dangerous. People need to wake up to it. We’re seeing the effects of that in all of these grids that are fanning all over the world.
All of the countries where the price of electricity is rising over the last 10, 20 years. That’s because they’re introducing all of these primitive industries, all these primitive technologies, into their grids. The more we continue to fashion [00:06:02] the talk of this insane idea of a renewable transition, moving away from fossil fuels to renewables, obviously it’s not something that can be achieved, technically we can’t have the 21st century technology based on 7th century energy sources, the only thing that we’ll do is we’re just going to make energy more and more expensive, and it’s just going to get more expensive for people all over the world. So I think it’s extremely dangerous to talk about that.
But I also think it’s unrealistic. As you say, it’s not going to happen – bitcoin is magically going to break the laws of thermodynamics and suddenly make make it possible to build the modern civilization on solar and wind. It’s just not going to happen.
Marty Bent: It’s not going to happen. Let’s get to the crux of why it’s a bad idea. You’ve been phrasing it as 14th century technology, it’s a regression, and it all comes down to energy density. Wind and solar are [00:07:02] not as energy dense as oil and gas, or nuclear. We can get to nuclear in a bit here, but that’s the red herring.
If they really wanted clean, renewable, they would go for nuclear, which is the most energy dense on the market. But this weird fascination with wind and solar, specifically, as you mentioned, is a regression. Why is it a regression? Because it’s less energy dense. Humans have only progressed as a society as we’ve discovered more energy dense sources of energy.
Saifedean Ammous: Exactly, yeah. And the way that I like to explain this in my next book, Principles of Economics, which is a textbook on economics, I have a whole chapter on economics of energy. I think the way to think of it is that, for something to be an economic good, it has to be valued, and in order for it to have value, it needs to be scarce.
So there needs to be some element of scarcity about a good in order for people to have to value it, as opposed to other things, you need to make a choice between it and other things. So that’s why water is [00:08:02] not an economic good if you’re on a giant river, right on the bank of a giant river.
Air is not an economic good because it’s abundant everywhere. Energy, I think cannot really be understood as an economic good in itself. There’s infinite amounts of energy everywhere around us. The Sun every day hits the Earth with more energy than humanity consumes in an entire year, I think, I forget the exact numbers, but there’s an enormous amount of energy coming to Earth from the Sun.
There’s an enormous amount of energy from wind blowing everywhere, all over the Earth. There’s an enormous amount of energy in all the fuels that are stored underground, the fossil fuels, which are constantly growing. The amount of fossil fuels is as big as we look for. The more we look, the more we find. There’s an enormously infinite amount of them existing under Earth.
[00:09:02] The only limit is just how much we dig for it. Similarly, nuclear energy, infinitely larger, even than fossil fuels, the amount of energy that exists out there, because it’s so extremely dense. So it’s not really accurate that energy itself is the good. What is an economic good, is power, is the delivering of energy at a specific rate over a specific period of time.
That’s what a scarce good is. Being able to have enough energy to perform this job in this place at that time, that’s what scarce, that’s what people pay for. The sunlight contains Joules, the wind blowing contains Joules, energy is all around us.
That’s not valuable for us. We can’t pay for it, we can’t monetize it. In order for us to value it, in order for it to become an economic good, it needs to meet our needs, and in order to do that, you need to direct quantities of energy at a specific period of time. [00:10:02] Power is what is scarce. How much energy can you direct at the work or the problem that you face per second, that is the scarce good.
That is what’s difficult to have. That’s what’s expensive to produce, that’s what’s expensive to produce particularly reliably. That’s where you understand how the energy market works. That’s why solar and wind are such an expensive catastrophe, and it’s completely unworkable, and it’s not something that can be fixed with small efficiency improvements. Not everything will end up following Moore’s law, and just getting cheaper, infinitely forever.
Some things are just not going to get cheaper. We need to accept it, and solar and wind. The problem with it is that the wind and the sunlight are not condensed sources of energy. You need large amount of infrastructure in order to harvest large amounts of energy, directed towards meeting a particular problem that you want to [00:11:02] solve, heating something or moving something.
So moving that energy from the abundant and low density state of wind and solar, into the on-demand high power state that you require to operate all of your toys and essential devices, and to warm your house, and to keep your kids warm. All of those things require high bursts of energy per second, high power on demand.
So to transform solar, low power density sources into high power density available on demand, that’s the expensive thing, and that is the problem exactly that fossil fuels solve. That’s what fossil fuels are. They solve this problem because they are nature’s perfect, abundant, cheap, wholesome batteries, and they’re just available all over the planet.[00:12:02]
Concentrating the solar energy that has been accumulated on Earth for millions and billions of years into tiny little chunks of condensed energy. It’s exactly what you’d wish for. Just imagine, if you understand how the world actually works, your life is all about trying to dedicate and find energy to answer your problems.
And mother Earth has chunks of stored energy hidden for us, like Easter eggs, under its entire surface for us to go out there and survive the winter and move around. It’s amazing. It’s the most incredible gift of the Earth has given us. It allows us to have all these nice things, and yet people are kicking the gift away and saying, no, we need to get off this gift and get back to medieval peasant technologies. Rely on the sun rising today so we [00:13:02] can get to survive and stay warm.
Marty Bent: It’s insane. There’s this weird anti-human is getting used a lot these days, but it’s true.
There’s this weird masochism in the mainstream that we feel bad, many humans, I don’t feel bad, but there’s many people out there who feel bad that we have the incredible ability to number one: recognize that these fossil fuels are this dense energy provider. That they’re natural batteries that can produce energy and then produce electricity for us.
And for some reason we don’t like that. We’ve been able to harness this and build this modern society that we have today with all these lights, the streaming technologies, microphones. It’s like for some reason the masses have been conned in psyopped into believing that, doing all this is bad.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah. I have my theories about the reason, and it’s in The Fiat Standard, but [00:14:02] before we get into that, let’s talk a little bit about exactly why it is that energy is important for our lives. A great way of explaining it is our friend Alex Epstein, who’s been on your podcast before, has been on mine several times, Alex has a great way of explaining it, which is, think about the amount of energy you use in terms of the number of people that would take to produce that work. So currently the average American has the equivalent of, I forget the exact number, but somewhere around 200 slaves effectively working for them all day.
If you think about how much energy you consume in terms of getting in the car, moving the car around, the energy that needs to go to boil your water, make your water hot so that you can take a hot shower, the electricity that keeps your house lit, air conditioning, heating, all of the stuff that you use in your work, your computer, all of the devices that you use, think about how much energy that contains, and then divide that [00:15:02] by how much energy a human being, the average human being spends everyday.
So each one of us will consume and produce work equal to around 2000 to 3000 calories a day. And yet the average person today gets hundreds times of that, average person, I should say, in a rich country, in a rich industrialized country that has 24 hour electricity grids and heavy consumption of high power sources of energy.
The average person will have 200 humans effectively working for them all day to produce their goods. Now of course, it’s not exactly equivalent to 200 humans, because if you replace that with 200 humans, the 200 humans can’t get you as far as your car can take you, and they’re not going to run as fast as your car can take you.
They can’t make your life as good as the machines, and the energy that we consume does, but it’s nonetheless a good metric to get the problem in perspective. So you’ve got 200 humans as [00:16:02] your daily slaves basically, in all of those machines that you use every day. That’s why your life is so much better than what your ancestors lives were like a few hundred years ago. Because up until a few hundred years ago, up until we discovered these amazing batteries of nature that are fossil fuels up, until we started to massively deploy coal, oil and gas into making our lives better, the vast majority of humans that have ever lived all throughout human history had nothing but their own energy to meet their daily needs. You woke up every day and you had your own hands to meet everything that you need to do.
You had your own 2000 to 3000 calories a day that had to keep you warm, to keep you fed, to go get the wood, to keep your house warm, to go get the food, to hunt, to grow the food, to harvest the food to build your house, to [00:17:02] secure your house, to make your clothes, make sure that they are good and continuously maintain them, maintain the house, all of that stuff, you only had yourself working for it.
And obviously you could hire others, but you have to obviously produce something in exchange for that. So you only have those 2000, 3000 calories a day and you have to economize your energy in a way that would allow you to survive. So obviously when you think of it this way, imagine I put you on an island and you only have yourself and your own time and energy to survive.
You see how difficult it is. It’s extremely difficult to be able to survive with only your own labor and not be able to use other energy sources. The only people that historically had access to higher levels of energy where Kings and slave owners historically. So if you manage to be King or chief of a tribe, you had a 100 or 500 slaves, [00:18:02] and those people ran around all day, they needed to take care of themselves, but they spent a big chunk of their energy taking care of you.
If you had a slave, that person would go to the forest, get firewood, so then you didn’t have to worry about ever being cold. One whole slave is probably needed just to make you warm, if you could just outsource getting firewood.
And then another 20 slaves would be responsible for moving you around, and then another 50 slaves would be responsible for growing your food and harvesting your food and so on, and producing your food and cooking for you. If you were a king, you had something like a couple of hundred slaves working for you a few hundred years ago, and that gave you a decent life.
That’s what a very tiny minority of humanity had ever had. And today, because of the abundance of energy, basically the average normal American has [00:19:02] something equivalent to hundreds of slaves meeting their needs. And not only that, but they also have it in a way that some of the richest Kings of human history have never had, because as good as slaves can be to have, obviously it’s better to have more people working for you, they are nothing like what the machines can do.
There’s no slave that can take you as fast as a modern car. And that’s the miracle of how these fuels have improved our life. And it is precisely because of their ability to direct large quantities of energy at the problems that we want to solve to do the work that we want to do, precisely at the time that we want it. On demand.
The thing is, the ability to just flick a switch and watch a dark room go lit, immediately, without ever worrying about whether that can happen or can’t happen, or is the wind blowing, or is the sun shining, that really is [00:20:02] what makes our modern life possible. And that’s why these fuels are so essential.
And that’s why trying to move away from them is so dangerous.
Marty Bent: Yeah. And you can’t move away from them without them. Number one, you shouldn’t do it, that’s one of the things that really grinds my gears about this whole debate is again, accepting their framing, where it’s like what is renewable? What is sustainable?
Even fossil fuels, I’m starting to be like, should we even use that term? Because I feel like that’s a psyop to make it feel like there’s like dinosaurs that are scarce on the ground that like we can only use.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of people say that the term fossil fuels is misleading and I generally try and not use it as often.
I prefer the term hydrocarbons, which is the technical term. They are hydrocarbon compounds. And I think there’s pretty compelling evidence that these don’t have to come from fossils. Maybe they do come from fossils, some of them, but there’s no reason why these [00:21:02] chemicals can’t exist in the crust of the Earth.
There are meteors on which gases and hydrocarbons have been found, and there are places on Earth where, I’ve seen this in the south of Turkey, that are flames that come out of the mountain that have been lit for thousands of years. It’s just gas coming out and burning for thousands and thousands of years continuously.
The idea that you have to have fossils there in order for this to happen, I think is not necessary. It’s an assumption that’s been taken unquestioned, but I doubt how valid it is.
Marty Bent: Yeah. If you want to look it up, the abiogenic process of creating these hydrocarbons under the Earth’s surface. Vaclav Smil, he writes a lot about this and natural gas powering the 21st century, and makes a pretty convincing [00:22:02] argument that there’s most likely abiogenic process happening under the Earth that makes this possible.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, and I think really natural gas is the unsung hero here. If the world wasn’t taken over the last 50 years by insane people who don’t understand anything, just children that are basically throwing tantrums and saying we don’t want the things that make our lives possible anymore, we want you to make them differently.
If the world wasn’t taken over by that, and if we haven’t spent enormous amounts of money and capital on these insane misguided attempts to build all of these white elephant projects, I think the world would have moved a lot more toward natural gas over the last few decades.
We’d have had a lot more investment in natural gas, and natural gas is better than coal for power generation because it’s much cleaner and it’s more modern and probably safer as well.
Marty Bent: Put it through a [00:23:02] pipeline, and it’s much easier to transport that then over rails with coal.
Saifedean Ammous: Exactly, yeah. It’s much cheaper to transport.
So we would have had a natural gas revolution if the world was not insane. And I think, and that’s the point in The Fiat Standard, the argument that I want to present in The Fiat Standard is that, like everything, this can and should be blamed on fiat. It is the fault of fiat. Everything is the fault of fiat, and this is no exception.
I have a whole chapter on fuels in particular in The Fiat Standard, and it wasn’t just there because I wanted to rant about things about fiat in order to sell books, it’s there because it’s a fundamental part of the problem of fiat. In my opinion, the way that fiat inflation has been hidden over the last 50 years is by trying to convince people and gaslight them into [00:24:02] believing that the things that are necessary for them are not good for you because of various stupid pseudoscientific ideas, and that the way that you can save yourself and save the Earth is for you to live like a 13th century peasant, basically.
That’s really what we see when it comes to food, and it’s what we see when it comes to energy. Both of those things are extremely sensitive to inflation, and we saw how big of a problem this was in the 1970s, and I discussed this in The Fiat Standard.
So in the 1970s, when Nixon went off the gold standard, they went off the gold standard in 1914, but in 1971 they removed the gold exchange window, and so there was no limit on how much money the U. S. government could generate, and prices shot up. Prices of food and oil in particular rose significantly in the 1970s, that was a huge issue.
This was the most important issue [00:25:02] of the seventies, whenever anybody remembers the seventies, they think of inflation. It was a massive global catastrophe. And how do they fight it in the U. S.? We have very extensive evidence of the way that they fought it in the 1970s. And that was when it comes to food, they invented these insane dietary guidelines that tell people that you should eat industrial slop and mass produced crops that are very cheap because that’s better for you, and that you should not eat meat and animal fats that have been produced for millions of years – which all of your ancestors have eaten, no matter where you are in the world, your ancestors have relied on animal fats in order to survive everywhere in the world – it’s the universal thing that unites us as humans, we eat meat and all our cultures rely on animal fats.
That somehow became dangerous in the 1970s when it became very expensive, because of inflation, and [00:26:02] somehow cheap industrial sludge became the thing that is healthy, and somehow all the universities of the world began repeating this insane idea: oh no, the animal fats that all of your ancestors have eaten in order to bring you here were bad.
Marty Bent: They’re giving you heart disease.
Saifedean Ammous: Giving you heart disease – that only started in the last 20 years once we started manufacturing our industrial sludge fats. And the answer, you’ll never guess it, but the solution to your heart disease problem is the same industrial sludge engine lubricant that we’re feeding you, which started the whole heart disease epidemic all over the world.
And so the answer magically, for energy and for food is – you need to consume the cheap stuff. And it’s the same thing with energy. With energy we’ve gone from up until the 1970s, you had a 2% per capita increase in energy consumption per year [00:27:02] since the beginning of the 19th century. So we had about almost 200 years of uninterrupted growth in per capita energy consumption worldwide as modern technology spread.
And then that slows down in the 1970s, and it stopped increasing. As prices of energy went up, we had an abundance of all of these silly pseudosciences explaining why we need to stop consuming all of these essential energy sources. So initially we were going to run out of oil and that’s why we need to stop, that’s why prices are rising, and that’s why we need to stop using oil because we’re going to run out, and we’re addicted, and there’s not enough to go around, and we’re all going to die if we don’t beat the addiction on oil. And that was the 1970s, when the prices were rising. Then in the 1980s prices crashed and production continued to go up.
And so they rebranded the scare story, the conclusion is still the same, obviously this is stupid motivating reasoning, so there’s no evidence behind it, the [00:28:02] conclusion is still the same – we’re all going to die, and it’s all because of you consuming food and fuel to meet your needs, and the answer is for you to live like a 13th century peasant.
The details of why switched from, there’s not enough oil to go around to there’s way too much oil, there’s so much oil that we’re going to actually boil the oceans by burning all of this oil. The details may differ, we may go from too much to too little, but it doesn’t matter because we’re set on the conclusion, and the conclusion is fixed, and the conclusion is that you need to live like a 13th century peasant.
But you look at this, it’s not like it’s one big giant conspiracy to push those ideas, I genuinely believe what’s driving this is just, this is where government fiat financing takes the scientific process. If you come up with a conclusion that tells the government [00:29:02] what it wants to hear, you get more funding.
That’s why I have a whole chapter on fiat science, because in order to understand how we ended up living in a world where all of our politicians want to make us live like 13th century peasants, and tell us that it’s good for us, you have to get into the science, the science is what’s driving this, and the scientific process..
Marty Bent: The science.
Saifedean Ammous: Exactly. The science. This insane cult called ‘The science‘ and it’s a government supported religion that gets money from governments all over the world to promote crazy apocalyptic ideas that we’re all going to die, and the only way to save Earth is for you to obey. If you look at the funding of science in nutrition, it’s gone entirely down the insane pathway of you need to stop eating meat and you need to eat more of our industrial sludge, here’s [00:30:02] all this very complicated science about how to manage your intake of sludge in the most optimal way, making sure that you get enough of our sponsored sludge because we’re counting on you to do that, champ! And the same thing, we see it with the science on climate and energy.
It’s absolutely insane when you think about it, in American universities today there are thousands of economists with PhDs playing professors, and none of these people basically will actually stand up and say, I actually think hydrocarbon fuels are good and necessary for modern civilization.
It’s just completely uncontroversial, completely undebatable statement. You have to be completely delusional to think that this is a bad thing and yet not a single professor will say this. The only person that we know who says [00:31:02] this stuff is outside of academia, Alex Epstein. And a few others, also from outside of academia, all of them, but there aren’t any professors talking about that. But all of these professors will give you an impassioned virtue signaling diatribe about how important it is that we move to wind and solar.
The disconnect between reality, between just an entire academic establishment that lives in a world in which we need to get rid of what is making our world possible, and the only question is how and when, and how quickly do we do it, versus a real world in which everybody continues to rely every single day on these energies that they just are casually telling us: yep, we’re going to replace that.
They think of it like it’s changing the color of your iPhone skin. Nope, we’re gonna ban black and white iPhones, we’re going to make all green iPhones from now on. It’s if we just pass a law, we get apple to do this, then everybody has to use a green iPhone and then [00:32:02] the earth is saved! They really think this is what needs to be done when it comes to energy. This is the depth of the sophistication that is discussing issues of energy in universities, because for the last 50 years It’s been corrupted by fiat financing to produce nothing but fiat apologia, fiat propaganda basically.
There’s no inflation and you need to stop consuming the things that give us inflation because that’s not nice of you.
Marty Bent: Yeah, and it’s gotten to the point where it’s, being in the mining industry, particularly close with oil and gas companies, it’s gotten to the point, especially like with the super majors, where the fiat world has convinced them that they’re bad, and they’re like actively trying to transition.
It’s like no, be proud of what you’re doing. What you’re doing is an incredible thing for humanity, and yet you are succumbing. But the driver of that is the people who have the fiat money at the top,
Saifedean Ammous: Exactly.
Marty Bent: Who control the spigots. They’re like if you want this money, you got to posture this way.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah. Folks, if this was really [00:33:02] an evil conspiracy, like the oil companies would be at the forefront, but they’re not, they’re out there being apologetic about what they do. They’re out there making life possible for the world, giving us modern technology, giving us homes that function, they’re giving us warm winters, they’re giving us cars that move, and airplanes that travel, they’re making every single thing that you would like possible. And they’re basically apologizing for it, and promising you that they’re going to be changing. You’re absolutely correct, I think this is really the way to understand it.
If this was just a corrupt process of corrupt companies, then you’d expect the oil companies and their executives would be at the forefront of lobbying for this stuff to get what benefits them. But it’s because this is all fiat, once the fiat scientific process has been set in motion in the direction of, we need [00:34:02] conclusions that tell us that this thing is bad, and that thing is good, meat is bad and industrial engine oil refuse is good for you, then that’s it. There’s 50 years of research, and academics, and research centers, and policies that are going to be based around this. Similarly with energy, once you go off on that path, once the academics are going on about how fossil fuels are bad and they’re boiling the ocean, then you’re set on the path of, everything is downstream from that.
The media, the press, public opinion, universities, policies, democratically elected leaders, and everything is gonna go towards this direction. And here’s the kill shot, I think this is really how they get to all these industries and make them repeat all this insane nonsense, the financing. The fiat financing. You can’t just go be an oil company today and raise money, you need to go to Wall Street, then you need to adhere to [00:35:02] environmental sustainability regulations and standards, and you need to issue a sustainability statement. This is all basically top-down and forced from larger corporations linked to an environmentalist agenda, which is coming from central banks, which have become extremely concerned about issues of the environment and diet.
I am eternally grateful for the good people at the St. Louis FED Twitter account, who did the best absolute possible advertisement for my book The Fiat Standard, when it came out a week before Thanksgiving and they tweeted about how you can save money and get more proteins from your Thanksgiving Turkey if you made your Turkey out of soy.
They’re so concerned about your food and your energy consumption, they’ve become Betty Crocker, they’ve become climatologists, and this [00:36:02] doesn’t just affect their tweets, this affects their regulations that they impose for financing, and this affects everything in capital markets.
So it’s not very easy for oil companies to go and just get money and tell the world, yeah you know what? Everybody needs our oil in order to survive, and until you people figure out how to survive without our stuff, we’re not going to count out your stupid bullshit, and pretend that the Earth was boiling the oceans.
If you say that it doesn’t matter how much of a rich fat cat oil executive you are and how many cigars you smoke in your board room with your other evil fat cat oil executives. You’re likely not going to make it at the big companies, you need to cut out to big capital, until that is,
Marty Bent: we get a Bitcoin standard.
Saifedean Ammous: Until we get a Bitcoin standard. This is why Bitcoin fixes this. Again, everything bad is caused by fiat and fixed by Bitcoin.
Marty Bent: I want to create a Bitcoin standard oil and gas company where you drill wells, [00:37:02] you sell the oil to market for cash, and then you use the associated natural gas to produce power to mine Bitcoin onsite.
And you can sell that oil to market, subsidize the mining operation, stack Sats on your balance sheet, and if Bitcoin does what it does in the next 10 years, you won’t have to go to these financers and say, I need your money to do this. You’d be like, nope I love oil, I love bitcoin, we’re making it happen, and there’s nothing you can do about it. I own this property, I own this business, I’m producing these revenues. I don’t even need outside investment.
Saifedean Ammous: There is one thing they can do though. Cry harder.
Marty Bent: So like I have that in mind, working towards that, it’s happening, the mining companies I’m involved in, that’s what we’re working toward.
Saifedean Ammous: But let’s let’s dwell a little bit on why that really is what Bitcoin fixes. The thing about the way that fiat works is basically you can’t really ever get truly rich and financially secure on [00:38:02] fiat, because it’s a melting ice cube. So you can’t just go start a billion dollar company, sell your stake for a billion dollars, and sit on those billion dollars and just be professionally full-time rich for life.
You can’t do that, because the million dollars if you keep in cash, they’re going to be devalued all the time, and within a few years you find yourself with half the real wealth that you had. You worked for a billion dollars and 10 years down the line, you’ve got something like 400 million, it kind of stings.
So you can’t just sit on the money and be rich and go and live your life and be a philosopher or whatever. You have to keep playing the financial market casino. You have to beat inflation. And that’s just a full-time job. And so you have to keep going back to the well, basically, to drink again from the fiat casino. You have to keep playing the game, trying to beat inflation, trying to beat inflation, over and over again.
And that’s basically how political control is achieved through fiat. This is why fear leads to political [00:39:02] centralization, because you can’t just get rich and independent and wealthy and then go sponsor the things that make you more money. Your money is constantly draining, so you need to constantly go back and get invested more.
And of course, the smart thing to do as I discussed in The Fiat Standard, the smart way to work with fiat is to accumulate liabilities. With Bitcoin, you want to stack as many Bitcoins as you can. With fiat, you want to stack as many fiat liabilities as you can. You want to buy stuff today, own capital goods, own stuff that you can use today, and pay for it with tomorrow dollars because tomorrow dollars are going to be cheaper.
So the smart thing to do is to get financing. So everybody runs on financing. So oil companies, everyone is constantly looking for financing because it makes no sense to save your own money and then go and invest it. It makes more sense to borrow other people’s money because this money is devaluing. So everybody needs financing all the time.
So as rich as you get, [00:40:02] the richer you get, the more financing you can get, and the more you get into this game. So instead of just stacking money and getting rich, you’re constantly getting richer by getting into more fiat debt. And so you become more and more politically dependent on the system, on the financial system, the fiat system. On playing along with all of their stupid fiat games, on going along with all the stupid fiat narratives, on making things in your company operate according to whatever the latest current thing is.
And that just makes everybody dependent. It makes society politically centralized, and it puts more and more power in the hands of the people that control the printing press, as if they need more fucking power. But bitcoin fixes this because with bitcoin, I know bitcoin fixes this even besides the mining issue, bitcoin fixes this because now with bitcoin, at least you can get rich and stay rich. Put your money in Bitcoin, and then you can [00:41:02] be reasonably certain that five years down the line, it’s not going to have lost half its value, it’s more likely going to have doubled at least if not much more.
So with that, you can become independently wealthy. You don’t have to keep going back to the fiat financing faucet, asking for more, and presenting more and more ESG credentials so that you can get more money.
With bitcoin, you can just stack the money, watch it appreciate, and then you become independent. That weakens the ability of centralized authority to continue to manipulate and dominate and gaslight society into believing insane hysterical nonsense.
Yeah. You don’t have to focus on mining specifically and you’re going to have locality, just straight up buy bitcoin, put it on the reserves, but this is something I’ve become very passionate about last few years, getting like cities, counties, even states, that have energy, either excess energy on their [00:42:02] utilities that they own, or fuel sources on their land, like natural gas in Wyoming. I would love for Wyoming to start a bitcoin mining permanent fund, where they can issue a municipal bond to their constituents.
Marty Bent: It’s sort of like the Volcano Bond in El Salvador, but just on a smaller scale. In Wyoming, you issue a muni bond to invest in mining infrastructure, or you give your abandoned orphaned wells to a partner in the private sector on the mining side. Say, hey, come take this well for free, you can mine on this gas. Just give us 3% of the mining revenues that we’re going to roll into this permanent fund that you can then build up that fund, and what does the federal government hold over these states, it’s funding. If you have this permanent fund that amasses a significant amount of wealth in it, the individual states can then begin to turn around and say, hey, no thank you federal government, I don’t need this funding anymore, I don’t need to go back to the fiat well, the federal government.
To [00:43:02] me that makes the most sense, we’re going to break away from this morass of these terrible politicians leading us down terrible roads, and creating a shit ton of conflict and making our lives worse off at the end of the day.
Having movements like this at the city state level is a good way to break away.
Saifedean Ammous: Absolutely. I think it seems increasingly like we’re headed to a system of financial apartheid. Where there’s people who are in the fiat system, who get access to cheap credit, and are constantly benefiting from inflation, and a majority of people are unable to get cheap credit.
Therefore they’re being robbed by inflation. And then there’s a third class of people that have found the cheat code to the system, and that cheat code is Bitcoin. Where you stacks at and the Sats appreciate over time, and you become less and less dependent on [00:44:02] the system. Because the way that it’s going with the normies, back in fiat land, the dark ugly place you and I, and your listeners have thankfully left.
But the way that it’s going is it’s been 50 years of inflation, and 50 years of dumb pseudoscience trying to convince the peasants that actually inflation is not a problem. And the reason you’re experiencing poverty and can’t feed yourself or stay warm in the winter is because of the climate crisis. And the way to solve that is that you need to go more hungry and more cold in the winter, and we need to rely on more expensive forms of energy that are far less useful for meeting your needs. And also, we have all this new science now, thanks to all these amazing scientists that we have.
And it’s settled. The science is in, and the science says [00:45:02] you need to stay home, you need to eat the bugs, you need to live in a tiny little pod, you need to have a tiny little golf cart for a car, and you need to have a maximum range of driving of 20 minutes away from your home, and you need to use the CBDC currency, the CBDC in your phone.
Because of climate considerations, you can’t ever use, your money isn’t good anywhere more than 20 minutes away from your house, because you shouldn’t be going anywhere more than 20 minutes away from your house, because that was going to consume too much energy. This is really the key thing.
As long as you get people to think that energy consumption is a bad thing. Then you can always alleviate the pressure from inflation by making people consume less, and forcing them to consume less one way or the other. And I think lockdowns are a great way to do that, and I think the work from home culture is going to help with that.
Stay home, work from home, get your bug soy [00:46:02] burgers delivered to your home. We can run society on a lower energy footprint if everybody lives like a bug man in a little pod and eats soy. We can massively reduce the carbon footprint of the United States, of course, by giving it the living standards of a very poor African country.
So once you’ve gotten down that path of just believing this original lie of the idea that consuming energy is bad. Then it’s an infinite world of possibilities for the fiaters to turn you into a bug man and make you live like shit and convince you that it’s your fault that the weather is bad.
The only way to fix it is for them to get more money printed, and for you to eat more bugs. The longer you keep eating bugs and living like a bug man and [00:47:02] refusing to doubt in this narrative, the more they can continue to print, the more the scam goes on.
Marty Bent: The more control they get, and this what gets me very passionate about the mining industry right now, the mining industry North America is catering to this framing. It’s Hey, no, we’re only using 0.1% of the global energy consumption of the world. Don’t even see the
Saifedean Ammous: It’s not going to be 0.1% for long, it’s number go up technology.
Marty Bent: Yeah, number go up. Energy use isn’t bad.
Saifedean Ammous: Exactly.
Marty Bent: You should be going back to these people who are trying to paint the bitcoin mining industry is some world destroying industry, and say: no you are anti-human, you do not understand how we live in this modern society that we enjoy today, and I’m not going to cater to you, you are a hysteric zealot that has psyopped the world into believing that humans are bad and energy use is bad, and I think we need to start [00:48:02] calling them out. So that’s one thing they use is models, the models are very fiat.
Saifedean Ammous: It’s a cult. It’s useful to talk to people who believe in this stuff like you talk to survivors of cults. Look, if you went to a school, and you were a nine-year-old kid, and they told you that the Earth is boiling and dying and suffocating because of a disease called humans, and that you’re doing that because you’re driving your car around. Your dad is killing the planet because he drove you to school today, and because you have electric devices at home, and because you emit carbon dioxide.
If you went to a school where they taught you that, congratulations, you’re a member of a cult! This is what cults do. If you teach a child they were born into sin and they are sin and that they need to pay money to the people in charge in order for them to absolve themselves from this, that’s a cult. Like you’re just [00:49:02] manipulating people and you’re convincing them that the weather that’s around them is, it’s rained too much or too little, or it’s too hot, or it’s too cold.
That’s your fault for doing the normal things that everybody’s doing. And the answer is for you to give us more money and power, but that’s insane. And I think the amazing thing about bitcoin, the reason I love bitcoin is that it’s forcing this conversation out into many people’s minds.
Without bitcoin, this wouldn’t really be there. Like 10 years ago, it was very difficult to make this case. Alex Epstein has had a much more difficult time I think, preaching this point to nocoiners than he does with bitcoiners, because bitcoin really brings this question to the fore and prevents you from employing the usual mental tricks that people’s hypocrisy employs in order to justify their abject hypocrisy when it comes to [00:50:02] their views and their actions on climate.
So everybody who thinks that we’re in a climate crisis still thinks it’s okay to drive a car, and still thinks it’s okay to run central heating in their house, and thinks it’s okay to log onto their laptop and use it to access servers of Twitter halfway around the world and shit post on the internet, even though that’s consuming energy and emitting carbon dioxide.
So you have those people who live in this world where everything we do is bad, and yet we’re going to do it anyway, because we need to do it. They don’t see the contradiction and they can’t come to terms with it, and they want to believe in this insane idea that we can have the apple without the apple tree.
We can just have apples without having to have any apple trees. So we can have nice things. We can have computers. We can have children that don’t die when they’re born, because we have incubators that run [00:51:02] 24/7 reliably because we have reliable 24/7 electricity. We can have computers and servers, we can have MacBook pros and we can have Zoom calls and we can have all of these amazingly sophisticated technology, but we don’t want to have what makes it possible.
We don’t want to have the apple tree, which has all of these hydrocarbons. And the only way to come to terms with that is you need to reject the cult, snap out of the stupid cults teachings that you are bad, that you seeking to keep your children warm through the winter is you being an evil psychopath, and accept the idea that yes, energy consumption is a good thing. And the more energy I consume, the better my life becomes. The more energy I consume, the more likely I am to keep my kids alive through winter, the more I can take them around wherever I need to take them, the more I am able to provide them with food and nutrition and all the things that they need and to flourish and prosper in life.
That’s just what people need to accept. Bitcoin [00:52:02] puts that at the forefront because, once you’ve caught the NGU bug, once you’ve understood the number go up technology, bitcoin becomes about self-interest, and people get bitten by the bitcoin mind virus.
Then it becomes very difficult for them to reconcile the fact that while bitcoin is good and bitcoin consumes a lot of electricity, with the worldview that what is good is to not consume electricity and to go back to primitiveness.
Bitcoin puts this front and center, and I think it’s helped a lot of people who were generally, I think a lot of Bitcoiners now are very skeptical of the old energy narrative that they grew up with, the climate narrative. Bitcoin has helped force that because it’s just put it out there in front of them. All right, you don’t like electricity, quit your bitcoin and go and use your national currencies, which is very environmentally friendly.
There’s no proof of work in the Venezuelan Bolivar, there’s no [00:53:02] proof of work in the Lebanese Lira, there’s no proof of work in the US dollar, they don’t consume anywhere near as much energy as bitcoin does. So why don’t you just use them? If you think that energy consumption is bad, there is no comparison between the Venezuelan Bolivar and bitcoin.
So if energy consumption is bad, then go with the Venezuelan Bolivar, the environmentally friendly and sustainable option, the green renewable currency.
Marty Bent: There’s layers to this conversation too, what we should really be focused on is misallocation of resources, energy resources being one of the most important.
And what does The Fiat Standard do? It allows us to misallocate these energy resources. Imagine how energy resources will be allocated under a Bitcoin standard.
Saifedean Ammous: Exactly. There are real environmental problems in the world. The idea that CO2 is boiling the ocean is not one of them, the idea that CO2 is going to change the Earth’s temperature and make the Earth unlivable is not one of them, none of the CO2 scare stories are real environmental problems, but there [00:54:02] are real environmental problems in the world.
And I think they are massively amplified by the fact that we are having our time preference raised by inflation. We’re constantly discounting the future more and more because we don’t have a reliable way of providing for the future. And when our money is losing value, that means we don’t have a reliable way of storing value into the future.
That means there’s a discount on everything else for the future. The value for everything in the future gets discounted because we prioritize consumption now. And so this is why I think the soil gets depleted, because people don’t value the soil much because they discount the future heavily. If you discount the future heavily, you don’t care about the quality of your soil 10 years from now, you care about the money that you make today. The higher your time preference, the more you discount the quality of your soil 10 years from now, and as time preferences has risen, and as the value of money has declined, the quality of the soil has declined.
And nobody, not nobody, but the [00:55:02] majority of agriculture now degrades the soil completely and then just adds fertilizer to it, which is very unhealthy. It’s a very hard time preference thing to do. You’ve degraded the Earth for short-term profits, let’s maximize the crop today, maximize the crop today.
And now we’re at the point where today is the future that the past generations had discounted, and now we’re paying the price for it.
Marty Bent: Yeah, and it’s a heavy price. So that’s what I worry about. I’ve been getting really deep into The Beef Initiative with Texas Slim, Cole Bolton from K&C cattle here in Austin. On the farming side of things, particularly the ranching side of things, it seems to be hitting a dire situation. Particularly with top soil depletion and the most of all, the profitability of actually running a quality ranch or farm is hitting a point where you have a lot of ranchers just throwing their hands up and saying, I can’t do this, I can’t survive [00:56:02] on this, so I’m just going to tap out.
And this is because they’re losing out to heavily subsidized corn cropping in other areas of the food industry that the fiat standard is enabling. And so I’m under the impression personally that we’re hitting, we may be reaching a point of no return if we don’t quickly transition to a sound money standard. That we’re going to be doomed for industrial sludge.
How Important do you think it is that we transition to a bitcoin standard in a somewhat timely manner?
Saifedean Ammous: Obviously it’s the faster the better. The human toll is enormous, people are getting sick because of this. And I think the link is really strong, and I also discussed this in the Fiat Food chapter.
It’s no coincidence that the soil is getting degraded, the quality of food is getting degraded, and the health of the people is degrading, these aren’t just [00:57:02] coincidences, and these cannot be unrelated to people’s time preference. If you understand what the time preference is, you cannot just say all of this stuff is happening, people are making bad high time preference decisions with their food choices.
People are making bad high time preference decisions with the way that they farm their soil, and that’s all unrelated to the fact that their money as constantly being devalued. I don’t think there’s a tenable argument that can be made against that, and I make the case in The Fiat Standard.
But I think, and I do agree, of course the damage is enormous, but I don’t think there is a point of no return. Because I think no matter how much damage you do to the soil, any soil, no matter how damaged, no matter how destroyed and dead can be rejuvenated, and regenerated using regenerative grazing.
So you just need to let loose cows, and they [00:58:02] make the soil green again, that’s the beauty of regenerative grazing. All over the U S there are people doing regenerative grazing that are taking land that was used for soy and corn and other fiat crops and the mass production of these crops completely destroyed and devastated the land.
And yet within a few years, it’s back to being a great grazing land with very dense grass cover and very thick layer of nutrients under the soil. So it’s just going to continue to improve over time I think, if you start doing it. This is the optimistic thing about it, in a sense you can upgrade. These things are not like an actual prison that’s put out there.
These are just the economic realities of using this currency. And if you snap out of this currency, if you opt out of this currency, you’ve basically [00:59:02] uninstalled the fiat standard from your life, and you’ve upgraded to bitcoin standard. You can escape this, you can find a farmer, buy beef from them, and the more you buy from them, the more you’re giving them money to invest in more cows to go around on more land, regenerate more land and make it healthier.
We can get a little bit to black billed and to doomy about it, but this ends the moment you say it ends.
As far as you’re concerned, and this is really the only useful thing to think about is just think about yourself individually in your own life, you can snap out of this the moment you choose to. You can get out of this the moment that you decide that you don’t want to be in it, because you get out of fiat to get into Bitcoin world, you start accumulating hard money, you start thinking about the future more and you start eating like a human being, and that just is better [01:00:02] for you and for people around you.
So the more people that join the better off the world will be. I think it’s going to become more and more likely that, I think now we’re entered the point over the last two years where people are getting into bitcoin, even if they’re not interested in any of the money stuff.
People are getting into bitcoin if they’re interested in eating meat, not just because of the memes on Twitter and because of Bitstein, but because if you follow what’s going on and if you looked at how restrictions were imposed all over the world, we’re not that far away from a world in which Bill Gates declares that you’re not allowed to eat more than 10 grams of beef a day.
That’s really not so farfetched when you remember that just a couple of years ago, he went up and said, Hey, there’s no going back to church or sports events or normal life until everybody has bought my products. [01:01:02] And he just said it on TV, and everybody just went along, and all the world’s public health Hitlers just went and repeated that, and all of the world’s presidents and Kings and prime ministers just went along and said, yep that’s what our public health experts Hitler’s are saying.
And everybody just went along with it and we did get locked up at home, many of us, for a very long time. Some people are still locked up in some parts of the world, and how far is it from the day that Bill Gates announces a climate emergency and you can’t eat more beef, and you can’t drive more than 10 minutes away from her house?
Marty Bent: Yeah, it’s not that far. If you let them. So that’s the other thing, especially bringing it back to the context of the bitcoin mining industry, they’re kowtowing, no, this is what we have to. We have to lock down, two weeks, we have to get our booster, a lot of people think. But it’s like [01:02:02] you can stand up and say no.
Like you just mentioned, you can stand up and say, no, I’m going to opt out of this, go to a bitcoin standard.
I know that I keep bringing it back to mining, but it’s just top of mind. I’m trying to get the message out to the mining industry, we can stand up and say, no, we’re not going along with this. We’re not going to do this. It is a personal decision, a choice that you make in a moment. Say no.
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, I think if I were to make the practical argument against kowtowing to this, and the practical marketing argument for cry harder as a response to this kind of attack is, look, you’re not going to be able to reason with somebody engaged in motivated reasoning.
The problem [01:03:02] here is not carbon dioxide, and I think everybody in the Bitcoin mining industry is pretty much onboard with this. If you notice the debates among Bitcoiners, you’ll never see anybody serious say that, oh okay, this is a real climate crisis and we need to do this. It’s all about no, but people think it’s a climate crisis, and so we need to frame our messaging in a certain way.
I don’t see many Bitcoiners trying to legitimately make the case that CO2 is destroying the Earth. There are obviously a few weirdos, and congratulations on your cult membership, wishing you all the best, but really nobody’s serious about the fact that the CO2 is destroying the Earth within the Bitcoin community. This stuff flies in the normie land, among CNN viewers on the New York Times readers.
Yeah, you talk about this stuff and you can say it, but nobody in the bitcoin space is that silly. No, [01:04:02] people aren’t actually worried about a climate crisis. A bunch of people might pretend to be, but look at the way that they live, look at their actions. They’re not worried about a climate crisis. There is no climate crisis.
But I think the case for just being upfront about that and saying, look, CO2 is not going to burn the Earth, there is no climate crisis, there is no catastrophe waiting for us, and energy consumption is what makes life worth living, and the real crisis would be if we stopped consuming energy, and if we reduced our energy consumption because of this hysteria about what CO2 is doing to the Earth.
I think this is a more coherent message, because if you accept the premise, if you accept the premise of the hysterics, if you tell them all right okay, we agree, indeed, this is a crisis and the world’s going to end, and we need to move away.
Then you’ve just played into their frame and you can’t argue with them. You can’t argue your way out of this motivated [01:05:02] reasoning, because the whole thing is just a trap whose goal is to get you under their control. The whole point is to get you to start performing circus rituals so that then there’s control over it.
So once once you’ve accepted the premise and you start kowtowing to them, then the next step is it doesn’t matter what you argue, everything that you say is noise for them. For them, there’s a problem: the gods of the wind are angry at us and they’re going to make Gaia destroy us, whatever cartoon story they want to believe, but there’s a solution and the solution is give us money and power.
So you can’t tell them, all right, I agree with you, the goddess of the wind is going to make Gaia destroy us for our sins, but the solution is for me to not give you money and power. The solution is for me to keep my own money for myself. That’s not going to fly. It doesn’t follow from the [01:06:02] premises. The whole premises are constructed in a way to arrive at the conclusion and you can’t win this game.
They’re not reasonable. They’re not being scientific about it. They’re not looking for evidence encountered evidence. They’re just political, and it’s a political movement, it has political objectives and those objectives are control. And so playing along is just helping them grab more control, helping them control how you behave, how you frame yourself, how you frame your narrative, and trapping yourself into their claws.
I think it’s not going to work, because obviously if you accept the premise, there’s no way that you can argue with the premise in order to refute the conclusion. So you’re playing into their hands and you’re making your position, frankly, incoherent. I think if you accept the premise that CO2 really is destroying the Earth, [01:07:02] then I’m sorry, but all of the anti bitcoin hysterics are correct.
Bitcoin is an insane wasteful criminal enterprise. Why would we want to spend so much energy on making a currency if it’s going to really destroy the Earth? That’s actually a valid argument, only obviously if you believe in the insanely nonsensical idea that CO2 is destroying the Earth.
Yeah, CO2 is destroying the Earth, every little bit of CO2 reduction helps, and the idea of moving the world’s monetary system into a fully electronic based system is going to require an enormous increase in the amount of electricity that consumes, and yeah, we can save the Earth by sticking to inflationary, low energy currencies. You can’t really argue with that logic.
If it follows, then yeah we should get rid of bitcoin, but not just bitcoin, we just get rid of washing machines. Who needs washing [01:08:02] machines? Why should you get to wear clean clothes with a machine, why can’t you just wash them with your hands? We need to get rid of all kinds of different things as well.
So that’s where I think the effective messaging will come. The effective messaging is yes, bitcoin consumes energy because it’s worth it, just like your washing machine consumes energy because it’s worth it, because the alternative is hyperinflation and political control, and high inflation, and low inflation, and all these different varieties of inflation, and business cycles, and genocidal maniacs having a printing press to subsidize all of their genocides.
That’s why bitcoin is worth it. Like everything that we spend electricity on, it’s worth it because it’s a better way of doing things. It’s not worth it because it’s going to allow a bunch of renewable energy projects to go up. Nobody cares about those renewable energy projects. They’re just boondoggles. They mean nothing.
They’re not fixing the Earth and not going to make the weather better, [01:09:02] they’re not going to fix the climate, whatever your cult told you about wind and solar is not true. It’s just an extremely inefficient, extremely expensive boondoggle that a lot of people have gotten rich off of over the last 50 years.
And it serves absolutely no useful function when introduced to the grid. It is completely superfluous to the grid because there are times during the year when the sunlight is zero and the wind is zero. There’s no sun and there’s no wind and you still need electricity. And sometimes that might happen at peak load demand.
So you still need to have the whole peak load demand provided from a reliable on-demand energy source, like gas or coal or nuclear. And adding wind and solar is just going to be operated at times where wind is running, and solar is running, when the Sun is shining, and the wind is blowing. So that just means you might be reducing a little bit of the gas consumption, but it’s [01:10:02] destroying the reliability of the grid by having to constantly shift between energy sources based on the energy that is happening.
And it’s completely superfluous because you could just run the whole thing on one reliable unit of generation, and one grid, which is what we’ve been doing for decades, and that’s what has given us 24 hour electricity. There’s no
good thing about renewable energy. It’s just a very expensive and inefficient and dirty way of laundering hydrocarbons. It’s really hydrocarbon laundering. Because you can’t build solar panels without hydrocarbons, and they consume an enormous amount of solar energy, and they consume it at very high power, and then they deliver very small amounts of low power over not a very long time, and they fall apart, and then they can’t really be recycled, or the windmills that are filling up landfills all over the world because they can also can’t be recycled.
So there’s nothing nice, [01:11:02] and we don’t need to ingratiate ourselves to the scam of an industry. I’m going to speak for myself, I don’t feel that I can need to ingratiate myself. And I think accepting the framing is just sucking you into having to play their game, and once you’ve accepted the framing, then there’s no way around you are the problem.
You are the carbon they want to reduce. Never forget.
Marty Bent: Yeah. We’re already seeing it begin to materialize, the fact that they don’t care about how much ‘renewable’ energy is. You have activists and politicians around the world, particularly in Europe where bitcoin miners like, Hey, we’re using a hundred percent wind solar and hydro, and the activists are like, that electricity could be used for something else.
Saifedean Ammous: Exactly.
Marty Bent: We don’t want you there.
Saifedean Ammous: Exactly. Once you’ve accepted the premise, this is the perfect illustration of what I wanted to get at, thank you. Once you accepted the premise that CO2 emissions are boiling the ocean, you have no defensible [01:12:02] position anywhere.
Even your own breathing is up for attack. Like why are you breathing? Every time you breathe, you’re releasing CO2, you criminal. How dare you? You have an indefensible position. And I think, nope, I’m going to put my foot down and I’m going to beat crazy, and I’m going to get laughed at, by all the weirdos who want to believe what they’re seeing in a cult, tells them, nope, me breathing is not destroying the Earth, me driving my car is not boiling the oceans, me owning bitcoin and making a bitcoin transaction is not going to destroy the weather. Just like all of those other things are not going to destroy the weather, and I’m not going to let anybody tell me what to do based on what they think my actions contribute to the weather.
That’s I think the rational way that people need to start talking about it. And I think Bitcoin is just a natural place where this is going to emerge. And I think that a lot of the green hysterics think that, [01:13:02] yeah, we’re just going to bring our green hysteria to Bitcoin and then we’re going to be done with Bitcoin and turn it to green.
But I think the opposite is going to happen, the exact opposite is going to happen. They’re just going to keep coming into Bitcoin, and because Bitcoin exposes this hypocrisy, as I was saying earlier about the idea that, do you actually believe that consuming energy is a good thing or a bad thing?
Because bitcoin exposes that. The more they do this on bitcoin, the more it exposes their shtick on everything else. And I think bitcoin continues to work, bitcoin isn’t going anywhere, and this green hysteria is only going to become more and more ridiculous to more and more people over time.
Bitcoin is going to continue to operate, people are going to continue to benefit from using bitcoin, people continue to use it, and on the other hand, the weather’s just going to continue to be the same weather that we’ve always had forever, which is constantly changing. It changes day to day, it changes year to [01:14:02] year, changes season to season, changes decade to decade.
There’s nothing constant on Earth, but it’s largely pretty much the same throughout your lifetime. So people are going to continue to see that there’s no climate crisis. The weather is just doing the same thing that it’s always done and bitcoin works.
So I think it’s going to expose the hypocrisy of the green idea rather than getting Bitcoiners to change. And I think this is a great example, because in their perspective, energy is a bad thing, and we’re trying to consume as little energy as we can, and we want to make as much of that come from renewable crap.
So therefore telling them well bitcoin runs on a lot of renewables, is telling them hey we’re going to eat all of your new renewables. It’s not helping. You’re still consuming energy. And there’s no escaping the fact that Bitcoin consumes energy. So own it. Accept it. It’s real. You consume energy. You wouldn’t be alive without [01:15:02] energy.
Marty Bent: Thank you for so eloquently stating that. I’ve been trying to articulate this for what feels like a year now, and you just succinctly distilled it in a 10 minute rant there.
Saifedean Ammous: Thank you, sir. I think it really helps that in bitcoin, people like us can talk to one another. Everywhere else, we’re just the weirdos that get laughed at and don’t get research funding or lose their jobs.
You just cancel people with fiat money, all fiat institutions, anybody who dares say anything about CO2 not being the devil just gets canceled. But in bitcoin, we could continue to have this conversation, and of course we always get the screeching idiots sling their tomatoes.
Marty Bent: There’s probably a bunch of them under this live stream already.
Saifedean Ammous: Get off Twitter! You are consuming too much carbon dioxide. Stop. Be the change you want to see in the world, and stop consuming or producing carbon dioxides, and then we’ll take anything you say seriously. Until then, we’re just going to continue here, bouncing ideas off of each other [01:16:02] and making a more eloquent and intelligent and precise case for why human life is more valuable than your silly hysteria.
Marty Bent: Yeah. And I want to thank you too for not being afraid, I think it’s because you live in a bitcoin standard and you’ve written some of the most prolific words about the subject that many respect. You specifically, having the courage or just, I don’t know if it’s courage or you just don’t give a fuck, but it’s just being able to stand out there and say, no, I’m not going along with this climate hysteria.
I think it’s definitely emboldened people. It’s definitely emboldened somebody like myself, who probably in years past were like, yeah, maybe we should just try to appease them. But I have been completely convinced no, there is no appeasing these people. We do should not accept their frame, humans are not bad, we’re good, we’re going to use more energy. That’s [01:17:02] the beauty of bitcoin, because it’s gonna bring the sound monetary system to existence that forces us to be efficient with energy allocation too. That’s the narrative we should be leaning into as a
Saifedean Ammous: Yeah, energy efficiency, that’s what Bitcoin is going to do.
Marty Bent: Yeah.
Saifedean Ammous: And cheap energy. This is the thing that we should be stressing on, energy is a good thing, and Bitcoin is going to help us provide a lot more energy for the world because bitcoin is an ongoing bounty.
There’s about $35 million Bitcoin, every day, bitcoin has given out $35 million of bounty to people who have cheap electricity. So anybody who’s got cheap electricity, if you have a source of cheap electricity anywhere in the world, You can make a lot of money from Bitcoin.
Just develop that, find a way of turning it into reliable, cheap electricity that runs 24/7, and you can sell that to the Bitcoin network and make a lot of money. This is like a global [01:18:02] bounty for everybody in the world to go and make more cheap, reliable electricity. And cheap, reliable electricity is what has given us the modern world.
There is nothing bad about that. This is what the Bitcoin mining industry should be proud of. It’s really what we’re doing. We’re giving the world cheap electricity. If you increase demand for anything, if you increase the quantity of people demanding to buy any good, that just results in more and more of it being made, and more capital being invested in this production, and therefore lower and lower prices for its productions.
Bitcoin is doing that for energy and it’s going to increase energy consumption. And I think I’ll leave the people who think increased energy production is a bad thing, or consumption is a bad thing, to think of it this way, if you’d like everybody in the world who lives in poverty to live according to the living standards of your average, say American or European middle-class person, we’re not gonna, we don’t want everybody to be, I do want everybody to be Bezos.
But obviously [01:19:02] the richer you are, the more energy you consume. People that have a private jet, have the equivalent of tens of thousands of slave persons energy being used to operate this. So let’s not go that far, but if you want to have just your average middle-class American’s level of energy consumption, and you want to give it to everybody in the world, that’s going to necessarily mean that we’re going to at least 4x, 5x the global amount of energy consumption that takes place in the world.
That cannot be done from wind and solar obviously. It cannot be done from hydroelectric, because most people don’t live near hydroelectric dams, and it can’t all come from nuclear. It will have to come mainly from hydrocarbons, which is where more than 80% of the world’s energy comes from until today.
And it is 80%, but in reality is more like 90% because as I was saying earlier, [01:20:02] all the other stuff is really hydrocarbon laundering. Yeah, we do get a small percent from solar, but really until we can build solar panels out of solar energy, then solar is just an expensive elaborate way of wasting hydrocarbons.
We use the hydrocarbons to build the solar, and then that thing produces the energy. So ultimately we are still utterly reliant on the hydrocarbons. So if you’d like the world’s poor to not be poor anymore, if you’d like people who have very low life expectancy, people who have very high infant mortality.
People who live in places where premature babies can’t survive just because the hospital doesn’t have 24 hour electricity, so they don’t bother get any incubators, because the incubators won’t work and the babies would die, if you want those people to build to the living standard where incubators work 24/7, there’s reliable electricity, everybody’s got a fridge in their house.
Everybody’s able to stay warm throughout winter. That means four or five [01:21:02] times the amount of energy consumption in the world today, and four or five times the amount of emissions that are taking place today. Would that be a good thing or a bad thing? I’d like you to weight the pros and cons of this. On the one hand, cO2 emissions go up, all right, what are the pros and the cons of that?
And on the other hand 4, 5, 6 billion people improve their lives immensely, and improve their living standard and life expectancy, and they get to live much better. What exactly can carbon dioxide do that is worth more than these 5, 6 billion people living a much better life? Each one of those people knowing that their first born child has a very good chance of surviving their first five years.
What does carbon dioxide have to do? And what evidence do you have for the fact that carbon dioxide is in fact doing this thing that you were told by your cult it is supposed to be doing? [01:22:02]
Marty Bent: Do you have the answer? I dont know. We’ll leave it at that. Saif, it’s always a god damn pleasure, sir.
Saifedean Ammous: Thank you, my man. Thank you for having me. Always fun!
Marty Bent: All right. Peace and love freaks!