#decentralizehk●Financial freedom is freedom from being deprived of your assets

Published (HKT): 2021.04.07 11:16

Ever since “Rich Dad Poor Dad” was published, the concept of financial freedom has been ingrained in people’s mind. You don’t have to have read the bestseller to know that the idea of having financial freedom, as highlighted in the book, refers to a state when your passive income is enough to support your daily expenses, so that you do not have to work for money. In other words, you have enough money to retire.

A good book it may be, but “Rich Dad Poor Dad” was written in 1997 and the context was America. Today, having enough money to retire is probably not enough to live a worry-free life. Financial freedom has to be redefined and should include two new aspects.

For one thing, the money in the notion of “having enough money to retire” should be in US dollar. But by the time you have saved an amount of money that you think is enough for you to retire, the purchasing power of the US dollar may have depreciated significantly. Private property protection is certainly the bedrock of capitalism and a free society, but even if the government cannot take away your US dollars, don’t forget that the money protected by law that you own represents the numerator, while the money controlled by the government and parliament is the denominator. This is like the big shareholders of a company issuing a large amount of new shares that small shareholders cannot afford, so as to dilute the interest of the small shareholders. That is a big trick.

Escape from the local banking system to prevent freezing of assets

If I play a game with you: your goal is to attain a number as big as possible; you can randomly give a number as the numerator; I will name another as the denominator, even primary school kids know there is a trick here. Unfortunately, this is precisely the basis of the Modern Monetary Theory. Most adults are not aware that this is a game they have been playing throughout their life. One doesn’t have to look that far. Let’s look at the US$1.9 trillion Covid relief bill that Joe Biden recently launched. Is the amount of money too huge for you to relate to? Well, that is twice the market value of Bitcoin. Is Bitcoin really capable of being a bubble?

With this in mind, we can see that the second layer of meaning of financial freedom is “the freedom not to ‘be overprinted money’”. Why is the value of Bitcoin against the US dollar continuing to go up? The thing is the US dollar against Bitcoin has been going down. Every Bitcoin owner is aware and can prove that the size of their assets (the denominator”) is expanding by 6.25 times every 10 minutes and that the growth rate drops every four years. Besides, they know there will only ever be 21 million Bitcoins ever produced, and so there is no such a thing as overproduction of Bitcoins.

Quantitative easing is in effect a way of taking money from people’s pockets by overprinting money. It is a gradual process and it only affects a local currency. Oftentimes, a regime uses more ruthless ways to freeze citizens’ assets. In Hong Kong, the Spark Alliance, the Good Neighbour North District Church, Jimmy Lai and the family of Ted Hui have had their assets frozen. The list goes on and on.

There is one thing in common among all the cases mentioned above: none of the people involved have been convicted of any crime. Freezing citizens’ assets as a form of punishment before they ever face a trial is a handy tool for the regime. When not even courts can order the freezing of the lifetime savings of a citizen, the regime surely has no reason not to use the handy tool to crack down on voices of opposition. Besides, with the national security law having taken effect, the government is equipped with even bigger power. It can easily freeze more assets of more people. Surely more cases of frozen assets will emerge.

Mind you. I’m not saying the moon is bigger abroad. I am well aware it is the US government that is the big brother when it comes to forcing financial companies to collaborate with it to freeze the assets of people it considers a thorn in its flesh. In 2010, the US government blocked all sources of income and assets of Wikileaks. Even Swiss banks had to cooperate with it to find a way to freeze the bank accounts of Julian Assange. American companies of course had to follow the US government’s instructions, too. Amazon suspended the service of its cloud services platform Amazon Web Services to Wikileaks; Paypal froze Wikileaks’ account; Visa and Master also refused to handle transactions for Wikileaks.

Nonetheless, Assange, a hacker who studied mathematics and physics, is not one who gives up easily. Wikileaks has turned to Bitcoin. In a tweet, Assange thanked the US government for cracking down on Wikileaks, forcing it to invest in Bitcoins and enabling it to make a 50,000 percent return on the cryptocurrency. But note that the tweet was published in 2017. At the time, a Bitcoin cost some US$5,000. So Wikileaks should have made a 500,000 percent return. In the face of comprehensive banking blockade worldwide, Wikileaks has managed to find a solution for itself. Hongkongers, why are you still trapping yourselves within the local banking system?

The ultimate form of financial freedom is the freedom from being deprived of one’s own assets.

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