Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Investing in a Bubble Mania Stock Market Trending Towards Financial Crisis 2.0 CRASH! - 9th Sep 21
2.Tech Stocks Bubble Valuations 2000 vs 2021 - 25th Sep 21
3.Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
4.Stock Market FOMO Hits September Brick Wall - Evergrande China's Lehman's Moment - 22nd Sep 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
7.AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
8.Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
9.Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
10.Global Stock Markets Topped 60 Days Before the US Stocks Peaked - 23rd Sep 21
Last 7 days
Ravencoin RVN About to EXPLODE to NEW HIGHS! Last Chance to Buy Before it goes to the MOON! - 21st Oct 21
Stock Market Animal Spirits Returning - 21st Oct 21
Inflation Advances, and So Does Gold — Except That It Doesn’t - 21st Oct 21
Why A.I. Is About To Trigger The Next Great Medical Breakthrough - 21st Oct 21
Gold Price Slowly Going Nowhere - 20th Oct 21
Shocking Numbers Show Government Crowding Out Real Economy - 20th Oct 21
Crude Oil Is in the Fast Lane, But Where Is It Going? - 20th Oct 21
3 Tech Stocks That Could Change The World - 20th Oct 21
Best AI Tech Stocks ETF and Investment Trusts - 19th Oct 21
Gold Mining Stocks: Will Investors Dump the Laggards? - 19th Oct 21
The Most Exciting Medical Breakthrough Of The Decade? - 19th Oct 21
Prices Rising as New Dangers Point to Hard Assets - 19th Oct 21
It’s not just Copper; GYX indicated cyclical the whole time - 19th Oct 21
Chinese Tech Stocks CCP Paranoia, VIES - Variable Interest Entities - 19th Oct 21
Inflation Peaked Again, Right? - 19th Oct 21
Gold Stocks Bouncing Hard - 19th Oct 21
Stock Market New Intermediate Bottom Forming? - 19th Oct 21
Beware, Gold Bulls — That’s the Beginning of the End - 18th Oct 21
Gold Price Flag Suggests A Big Rally May Start Soon - 18th Oct 21
Inflation Or Deflation – End Result Is Still Depression - 18th Oct 21
A.I. Breakthrough Could Disrupt the $11 Trillion Medical Sector - 18th Oct 21
US Economy and Stock Market Addicted to Deficit Spending - 17th Oct 21
The Gold Price And Inflation - 17th Oct 21
Went Long the Crude Oil? Beware of the Headwinds Ahead… - 17th Oct 21
Watch These Next-gen Cloud Computing Stocks - 17th Oct 21
Overclockers UK Custom Built PC 1 YEAR Use Review Verdict - Does it Still Work? - 16th Oct 21
Altonville Mine Tours Maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 16th Oct 21
How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
The Only way to Crush Inflation (not stocks) - 14th Oct 21
Why "Losses Are the Norm" in the Stock Market - 14th Oct 21
Sub Species Castle Maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 14th Oct 21
Which Wallet is Best for Storing NFTs? - 14th Oct 21
Ailing UK Pound Has Global Effects - 14th Oct 21
How to Get 6 Years Life Out of Your Overclocked PC System, Optimum GPU, CPU and MB Performance - 13th Oct 21
The Demand Shock of 2022 - 12th Oct 21
4 Reasons Why NFTs Could Be The Future - 12th Oct 21
Crimex Silver: Murder Most Foul - 12th Oct 21
Bitcoin Rockets In Preparation For Liftoff To $100,000 - 12th Oct 21
INTEL Tech Stock to the MOON! INTC 2000 vs 2021 Market Bubble WARNING - 11th Oct 21
AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Wall of Worry Meets NFPs - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Intermediate Correction Continues - 11th Oct 21
China / US Stock Markets Divergence - 10th Oct 21
Can US Save Taiwan From China? Taiwan Strait Naval Battle - PLA vs 7th Fleet War Game Simulation - 10th Oct 21
Gold Price Outlook: The Inflation Chasm Between Europe and the US - 10th Oct 21
US Real Estate ETFs React To Rising Housing Market Mortgage Interest Rates - 10th Oct 21
US China War over Taiwan Simulation 2021, Invasion Forecast - Who Will Win? - 9th Oct 21
When Will the Fed Taper? - 9th Oct 21
Dancing with Ghouls and Ghosts at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 9th Oct 21
Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
Scan Computers - Custom Build PC 6 Months Later, Reliability, Issues, Quality of Tech Support Review - 8th Oct 21
Gold and Silver: Your Financial Main Battle Tanks - 8th Oct 21
How to handle the “Twin Crises” Evergrande and Debt Ceiling Threatening Stocks - 8th Oct 21
Why a Peak in US Home Prices May Be Approaching - 8th Oct 21
Alton Towers Scarefest is BACK! Post Pandemic Frights Begin, What it's Like to Enter Scarefest 2021 - 8th Oct 21
AJ Bell vs II Interactive Investor - Which Platform is Best for Buying US FAANG Stocks UK Investing - 7th Oct 21
Gold: Evergrande Investors' Savior - 7th Oct 21
Here's What Really Sets Interest Rates (Not Central Banks) - 7th Oct 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

Will Gold Eever be a Means of Exchange and Measure of Value?

Commodities / Gold and Silver 2010 Jul 13, 2010 - 01:21 AM GMT

By: Julian_DW_Phillips


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleWhen gold is written about as money, it means different things to different people. Money is, after all, what most people see as a means of exchange; you use money to pay for goods and services, simply that.

As a measure of value, gold need not be money in the same way at all. Many supporters of gold would like it to be money in the system but there is so little gold out there is this realistic? Now that central banks are buying gold and some banks are using gold as collateral, gold has returned to a deeply realistic monetary role in the money system. The BIS set of transactions confirmed this emphatically. So what's the difference?

Gold - As a Means of Exchange - The Gold Standard

In the early part of last century, the world used the Gold Standard a system where gold certificates represented an amount of gold [such as the one here]. These certificates then transformed into gold-backed currencies and actually were exchangeable into gold. This then halted with the passing of the Gold Standard and in the monetary system, only central banks could exchange gold between each other. The belief and theory behind this was that governments would only issue currency against the gold it held. This was finally halted in 1971 by President Nixon.

When the Gold Standard failed, it was found that the British government had over-issued currencies far ahead of the gold it held. The Gold Standard was deemed a failure. Then governments worldwide dropped the Gold Standard in favor of currencies without any backing whatsoever. That's when gold ceased to be a Means of Exchange. Gold was blamed for the failure instead of the system set up around gold. Had the Pound Sterling been devalued in terms of gold, this problem would have been solved. Let's emphasize that point - gold did not fail, it was the relationship paper currencies had against gold that failed!

After the Gold Standard failed gold was relegated to the role of an 'important Reserve Asset' [one of the assets in the portfolio of a nation's reserves alongside foreign currencies]. A campaign to discredit and sideline gold in the monetary system was undertaken successfully over the next 30 years up to the end of last century. Now, worldwide, we have a system of national currencies which are simply 'promises to pay' by government.

Un-backed Currencies are the only "Means of Exchange"

The reality of life today is that paper currencies have captive users. This allows government to control 'means of exchange' and ensure just what is used. Because of that we face an inescapable fact of life and that is gold cannot be used as a "Means of Exchange" anymore. For it to relate to money supply its price would have to be well into five figures, or more, in all of the world's currencies.

International trade requires the use of foreign currencies which must be exchanged for the currency of the exporter's country. For example, South African gold mines sell their gold for U.S. Dollars, but then have to sell these U.S. Dollars for South African Rands. It the Rand strengthens, the miners see their income drop. If the Rand weakens their incomes rises. Gold would be in insufficient quantities at current prices to be used as an international "Means of Exchange".

In theory a currency's exchange rate is supposed to reflect its Balance of Payments status. That is, money coming in, less money going out, should determine an exchange rate. Capital flows are included in this formula. While the U.S has had a persistently large Trade deficit for more than one decade, this has been ameliorated by capital inflows. However, if foreign surplus $ holders lose confidence in the U.S. $, then they will not invest their Dollars back into the U.S. This could prejudice capital flows into the U.S. Across the Atlantic and after the Greek debacle the debt crisis has continued to worsen. The once so strong Euro has seen confidence plummet significantly. Most Euro investors are worried about its future, leaving the world with no solid reserve currency.

The only way to resolve future currency crises is for governments to be bound irrevocably to an exchange rate that does reflect their financial health or pay the penalty of a falling exchange rate. But that won't happen until the world feels the blows of a major global monetary crisis and foreigners abandon the guilty currency. Only then will a systemic re-structuring be considered. In that case and if we extrapolate what happening out there now, gold will have to display its qualities in that crisis before any role for it could be considered.

Gold can serve a role in such a reformed currency world. Provided it became the relatively exclusive domain of the globe's central banks gold can and does serve as backing to a country's reserves in extreme times. [For individuals, as the U.S. Treasury puts it, gold ownership is a privilege, not a right. This privilege can be withdrawn at any time through confiscation.] In desperate times a nation's gold extends far beyond the gold held in the central bank's vaults. Gold confiscation ensures that.

This would apply in particular to countries where their longer-term future looks bleak and far more support is needed than 3-months worth of international obligation's worth of foreign exchange reserves will be required. There, gold can act as collateral to much larger international support over a longer period. Gold is far more desirable than simply its Dollar value in such situations. It can be stretched and made flexible in so many ways as bankers well know. We are headed for inventive times for gold as it finds its most valuable place in the international monetary scene in the near and far future. As a 'measure of value' gold has returned to the global monetary system.

Last week saw evidence that this is happening already in the B.I.S. 'Gold Swap" revelations.

Gold Forecaster regularly covers all fundamental and Technical aspects of the gold price in the weekly newsletter. To subscribe, please visit

By Julian D. W. Phillips
Gold-Authentic Money

Copyright 2009 Authentic Money. All Rights Reserved.
Julian Phillips - was receiving his qualifications to join the London Stock Exchange. He was already deeply immersed in the currency turmoil engulfing world in 1970 and the Institutional Gold Markets, and writing for magazines such as "Accountancy" and the "International Currency Review" He still writes for the ICR.

What is Gold-Authentic Money all about ? Our business is GOLD! Whether it be trends, charts, reports or other factors that have bearing on the price of gold, our aim is to enable you to understand and profit from the Gold Market.

Disclaimer - This document is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase or subscribe for any investment. Gold-Authentic Money / Julian D. W. Phillips, have based this document on information obtained from sources it believes to be reliable but which it has not independently verified; Gold-Authentic Money / Julian D. W. Phillips make no guarantee, representation or warranty and accepts no responsibility or liability as to its accuracy or completeness. Expressions of opinion are those of Gold-Authentic Money / Julian D. W. Phillips only and are subject to change without notice.

Julian DW Phillips Archive

© 2005-2019 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in