As we’ve reviewed the concept of an American Civil War, the perspective we’ve taken is not one of combat. We’ll cover that another time because in such a war, there will be foreign intervention, and their goal will be to grab the strategic power of the US: nuclear weapons, our Naval and bomber fleets, and control of the sea and air. That’s a given. We’ve looked away from combat because we know combat, we know strategy, operations and tactics in warring with formally trained and ad hoc organizations. Today we turn our view to the economy of an American Civil War.
Merriam-Webster defines economy as “the structure or conditions of economic life in a country, area, or period.” The structure has both directives: laws and policies and agreements of shall and shall nots; and the physical components to exchange a good or service for a desired item of value. We call this item of value ‘money.’ It can be a physical object like a metal, mineral, or even the promise to provide a metal or mineral in the future. This last is the person selling himself into debt slavery: he works to pay back for the good or service acquired through credit.
In this civil war the Left is working so hard to start, it is necessary to collapse the economy. Like the proverbial glass filled with water, if you pour out the water, you fill the empty space with air. People abhor vacuums in their lives. A modern example of the collapse of an economy and what happens after is the former Yugoslavia. As the politicians lead their people into division first, then hatred, it became necessary to collapse the economy to get the murder into motion. How the people of the former Yugoslavia handled their new economy resembled what we had in the Confederate States of America.
Christopher Memminger of South Carolina was the first Confederate Secretary of the Treasury. His job was impossible because the Southern economy, divorced from the North, was based on fantasy thinking. The premise of the rebel economy was that combat would be over within a few months and then Southerners could enjoy greater wealth freed from paying Northern merchants and federal tariffs and taxes. To that end, combat forces were raised by individuals wealthy enough to afford a company, battalion or regiment, or the citizens of communities that contributed pre-war monies to raise organizations. The premise was a bad one.
Before New Year’s Day of 1862, the individual contributions dried up. The Confederates tried taxation. This became unenforceable because collecting taxes was left to individual states, which withheld a large portion of the taxes to pay for their own priorities. The Confederacy starved itself of cash necessary for paying for military supplies and manpower. This economy forced General Lee to invade the North in search of supplies, which forced battles over shoes (Gettysburg, which proved disastrous to the South), and desertion as men slipped away to eat, stay warm, and shore up their families.
The Confederate political leaders expected to get hard cash from tariffs on international trade: cotton and slavery were major commodities which underpinned the Southern pre-war economy. The Federal Navy stopped most trade; and, the Confederate Congress made a major mistake by refusing to trade cotton with Europe. The thought was cotton was so important to Europe that the British and French would sail to the South’s rescue. Cotton is grown in Egypt, and in India, and on other continents. The British and French grew rich in the absence of competition from America. Dependent on tariffs that could not be collected without trade, money needed to service their growing debt, the South became desperate and went full “Occupy Wall Street.”
These 1860s version of the Bernie Bros seized Federal property and attempted to repudiate debts owed to Northern banks. This presented two new problems to the Southerners and their core identity as Christian, honorable people. Seizing property is theft. Repudiating debt is also theft. Very few Southerners were willing to risk Salvation for a transient perception of being debt free. Today, in a post-Christian country, and one in which Honor is drag, the Bernie Bros tactics will work in the short term – but who will loan cash to them when it comes time to rebuild after the conclusion of a civil war? If you think it won’t happen, consider what happened to the former British colonies in Africa that repudiated their debts.
The Confederacy failed in another way: monetary policy. Fiat currency is money created by law, in this case, the “Greybacks” which were the equivalent of US dollars. There were two types of greybacks: the regular ones, and then the second type was an interest-bearing greyback, so one Confederate dollar was meant to be worth more than a dollar. The Confederacy printed too many of these greybacks and inflation was insane. Finally the South turned to the gold standard – but how much gold was left after sending it to Europe to buy privateers, blockade runners and a dribble of supplies?
Should the Left succeed in getting America into a Civil War, the economy on their side will resemble their economic preferences. For the Bernie Bros, National Socialism is their preferred economic and political philosophy. For the Progressives, their preferred system is Xi-ist Marxism (billionaires at the very top, bayonets for the rest of China). After the confiscations and usual Keynsian mismanagement, the Left would have to resort to (with many heads exploding, literally and figuratively) capitalism. Considering that banks and the Federal Reserve system are based in cities, natural Leftist centers, the Left will immediately possess the infrastructure for an economy. But, these are in natural opposition to Leftist political and economic philosophies that their hired Antifa and Black Bloc mobs will enforce to the death.
“Social Safety Nets” could not be afforded. Food, water, basic staples would be imported from Europe and Asia, and the prices would be exorbitant. The too-poor, the elderly, the infirm would be sent to Rest Homes, with an initial free shower thrown in to reduce costs and consciences. Debt slavery will be transferred to a more open evil of actual slavery, which won’t respect race or faith. Much of what America covets in terms of materiel goods doesn’t maintain value – look at the Kelly Blue Book, and besides, why would a merchant accept yet another Prius in exchange for groceries? It’s cheaper and easier for Progressives to have the average Leftist citizen working in the fields growing cabbages or rebuilding buildings by hand.
Not a pretty picture. Folks who are eager for a civil war have no idea what they are in for. The former Yugoslavia as well as the former British colonies in Africa have yet to recover from making the same mistakes the Confederacy made from 1861-1865. The South didn’t recover for 120 years after the surrender at Appomattox. If the Civil War begins in 2020, that means Americans would not see recovery until 2145. As if the world would let us recover, but that’s a post for another day.