If you want to understand economics, the current state of the finance industry, and some of the corruption caused by bizarre inflationary money systems, it’s worth reading How an Economy Grows and Why It Doesn’t.

It’s a comic – which is kinda cool – and it was published in 1985 – which makes the parallels with the current financial [industry] meltdown kinda eerie.  (Even the web site is old!  It proudly declares ‘best viewed in Netscape’!)

The comic was written by Irwin Schiff, who is the father of Peter Schiff.  Peter Schiff has been getting a lot of airtime at the moment as the (a) ‘Dr. Doom’ who predicted the crisis.  He actually thinks things are going to get worse (for America) as the situation turns into a currency crisis (for America).

(On a side note – I like how America seems to be calling for a ‘unified approach’ to dealing with the global financial crisis.  Well of course they are!  If you are going to inflate your money supply you need every other country to do the same thing so that your country isn’t disadvantaged relative to other countries!  Sheesh!)

I’m only up to page 70 of the comic (so may words, man!) – but it appears that’s also where the world is up too, or a least the public reporting of it.  So I’m excited about reading what happens next!

Interestingly, while Peter Schiff is doing well his father Irwin, who developed the comic, appears to be currently in jail.  He is some sort of tax denier who doesn’t only dislike tax but thinks it’s ‘voluntary’ – and has argued as such in court.

From what I’ve read his argument is wishful thinking – he seems to be finding the word ‘voluntary’ in various documents relating to the American federal tax system and reading into it that people don’t have to pay if they don’t want to.  But I think what these documents are actually saying is that the tax system relies on voluntary compliance with the law as opposed to knocking on millions of doors and asking for tax (i.e. mandatory compliance).

Sure, if everybody stopped paying tax then the IRS wouldn’t have the resources to move to ‘mandatory’ compliance – but that doesn’t mean everybody wouldn’t be breaking the law.  However, that wouldn’t mean everybody would be prosecuted either – it would mean a revolution, maybe blood would be spilt.  I don’t want blood – let’s just continue to pay our taxes and complain.

Sorry Irwin – I could have saved you 12 years.  That said – I like your style and agree there is something a little fishy (ah, get it?  Fishy! – read the comic) about paying people so they can buy votes.  But, as I said, always pay your taxes.  If a mugger with a knife wants your wallet you give it to them right?