If there is any beneficial aspect of a foreign dictatorship, it is that it can provide a reality check for the American people, especially those who are convinced that they live under a “free-enterprise” economic system.
A case in point is Iran, where a court has just sentenced a couple, Vahid Behzadi and his wife Najva Lasheidae, to death. Their “crimes” were monetary ones: (1) hoarding 6,700 automobiles, with the intent of selling them at higher prices; (2) having 100 kg of gold and 24,700 gold coins in their home; (3) smuggling “hard currency” — probably U.S. dollars; and (4) “laundering” $200 million of money.
Sound familiar? It should.
American citizens have recently been targeted for criminal prosecution for hoarding “essential” supplies during the coronavirus crisis. The prosecutions arise out of “anti-gouging” laws popular in states across the country, just like in Iran.
Iran’s tyrannical obsession with gold brings to mind a similar obsession held by President Franklin Roosevelt. In the 1930s, his regime made it illegal to own gold coins and targeted any American caught violating the law with a federal felony prosecution. Now, it’s true that the FDR regime didn’t try to execute Americans caught owning gold coins but it was certainly determined to punish gold criminals by jailing them for many years.
Every American knows that Iran is a tyrannical regime. So the punishment meted out for economic crimes shouldn’t surprise anyone. On the other hand, most every public school graduate in the United States is convinced that Franklin Roosevelt was a great president who supposedly “saved” America’s “free-enterprise system” The question naturally arises: How can economic crimes be tyrannical in one country and yet constitute “free enterprise” in another?
Why was that Iranian couple doing what they were doing? It’s because the Iranian government has been inflating the money supply (i.e., printing money) in order to pay for the ever-burgeoning costs of the government. That artificial expansion of the money supply naturally decreases the value of people’s income and savings.
The decrease in the value of money arising from the government’s inflation is manifested by rising prices of things that money can buy. When government inflates, prices rise.
When the prices rise, the government naturally blames the phenomenon on the businesses that are raising their prices. Many people join in, given that they have no idea that it’s the government’s inflationary policies that are the real cause of the rising prices.
Some savvy people try to protect themselves from the government’s inflationary onslaught by putting their savings into “hard assets” — that is, assets that will be likely to preserve their value vis a vis the government’s rapidly devaluing currency. Such assets might include cars, gold, silver, or foreign currencies, such as the Swiss franc.
That’s obviously what that Iranian couple was doing — protecting their own savings as well as providing a service that was helping other people protect their savings through the acquisition of cars, gold, and foreign currencies.
Needless to say, governments hate that sort of thing. They want to plunder and loot people through monetary debasement to their heart’s content, while blaming inflation on the businesses that are raising their prices.
That’s why Roosevelt nationalized gold coins, which had been the official money of the American people under the Constitution for more than 125 years. It’s why he made it a felony offense for Americans to own gold coins. It’s why he converted America to a paper-currency standard.
It’s also why that Iranian court has sentenced that Iranian couple for death for hoarding cars and gold and for helping people protect themselves from the government’s inflationary binge.
With the Federal Reserve having now embarked on its own inflationary binge, every American should brace himself for major price increases on the horizon, which will be followed by the standard condemnation and prosecution of “price-gougers” and “profiteers” that is found in tyrannical regimes like Iran.
If you end up finding yourself being prosecuted and punished here in the United States for economic crimes, just keep telling yourself that it’s tyranny in Iran but “free enterprise” here in the United States.