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Perfectionism, Withdrawal, and Paralysis

Written by Gary North on May 7, 2016

About 25 years ago, I received a letter from a self-professed Christian. He wanted me to buy him. Literally.

He offered me the opportunity to buy his lifetime services as an indentured servant. All I had to do was to pay him survival wages in goods and services — no money.

Money, you see, was made up of Federal Reserve Notes. The Federal Reserve is evil. Totally evil. He did not want to touch filthy lucre. It would corrupt him. He sought purity.

He didn’t mind at all that I didn’t mind using Federal Reserve Notes. My corruption was basic to his offer. I would make the corrupt bargains with the Federal Reserve. He would remain pure as my loyal servant.

I declined the offer.

Yes, the Federal Reserve is evil. It is not evil incarnate. It has lots of competitors for this role. But the system is evil. Rothbardians say this. Greenbackers say this. But other economists avoid using moral adjectives to describe banking. They prefer the FED to a gold coin standard, especially an exclusively private gold coin standard.

I use fractional reserve banks. So do you. Are you burdened with guilt? If your boss were to double your salary, would you feel twice as guilty? Well, not twice. Marginal utility theory would estimate less than twice. The last dollar in your raise would be worth less to you than the first dollar. But pretty guilty, all things considered.

What’s that? You say you would not feel guilty at all?

But what about the money? Isn’t that close to a pact with the devil herself?

It seems that you are not a perfectionist.


In a mutual exchange, both parties expect to benefit. Each party wants what the other one is selling. Each party has separate goals, but they both can achieve their goals less expensively through mutual exchange.

But wait! If I do a deal with a person who uses the profits from the exchange to pursue evil, am I partially to blame? Am I an unindicted co-conspirator?

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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