Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.UK House Prices BrExit Crash NOT Likely Despite London Property Market Weakness - Nadeem_Walayat
2.BrExit Morning - New Dawn for Britain, Independence Day! - Nadeem_Walayat
3.LEAVE Wins EU Referendum - Sterling and FTSE Hit Hard, Pollsters, Bookies and Markets All WRONG! - Nadeem_Walayat
4.BrExit Implications for UK Stock Market, Sterling GBP, House Prices and UK Politics... - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Trading BrExit - Stocks, Bonds, Sterling, Opinion Polls, Bookmaker Odds and My Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
6.FTSE and Sterling Brexit Trading, Deconstruction of the EU Referendum Result - Nadeem_Walayat
7.UK Interest Rate Cut to 0.25% Imminent and More QE Money Printing - Nadeem_Walayat
8.Trading BrExit - British Pound Plunges, FTSE Stock Futures Slump on LEAVE Shock Referendum Win - Nadeem_Walayat
9.The Stock Market is Reading it Wrong! - Chris_Vermeulen
10.Breakouts Galore in Gold and Silver - Jordan_Roy_Byrne
Free Silver
Last 7 days
On the Italian and Eurozone Doomsday Scenario - 27th July 16
Japan's "Helicopter Money" Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure Debt Deflation? - 27th July 16
Monetary Zika - The Insidious Nature of Credit Expansion - 27th July 16
Gold and Pork Bellies - 27th July 16
Silver Is Insurance Against The Worst Part Of This Depression - 27th July 16
Don’t Buy The SPX Hope Stock Market Rally! - 27th July 16
Bitcoin $650 Still in Play - 26th July 16
Deutche Bank Stock Price Crash - The EU Has Problems Far Beyond the Brexit - 26th July 16
The Forex Markets Are Getting Exciting! - 26th July 16
Underpriced Silver Is the “Rip Van Winkle” Metal - 25th July 16
Declines in Multiple Market Indexes - 25th July 16
Retailers Are Doomed as Most Americans Are Too Poor to Shop - 25th July 16
Here’s One Currency That Could Go to Zero - 25th July 16
Stock Market Top is Expanding - 25th July 16
Silver Manipulation – Because They Needed the Eggs - 25th July 16
Silver Market COT Stuns: What's Going On Here? - 24th July 16
Gold Demand Remains Stable During Sector Weakness - 24th July 16
Sernova, Diabetes and Haemophilia - 24th July 16
Russia: Tensions, Turmoil, and Western Hubris - 24th July 16
Soybean Commodity Price to Soar Again - 23rd July 16
SPX Stock Market Uptrend Continues - 23rd July 16
Gold And Silver – Debt Addiction Will Carry Precious Metals Higher, Guaranteed - 23rd July 16
Pokemon Go - How to Play, First Use, Balls, Stops, Catching Pokemon's... Great Excercise! - 23rd July 16
7 Signs That the Gold Market Remains Resilient - 23rd July 16
Basic Income in The Time of Crisis - 23rd July 16
Silver Bull Faces Correction - 22nd July 16
The Serious Warning No One’s Talking About - 22nd July 16
Stock Market Insight from Greed, Volatility, and Put/Call Ratio - 22nd July 16
What Will Happen To the Stock Market When Interest Rates Rise? - 22nd July 16
How to Escape the World’s Biggest Ponzi Scheme - 22nd July 16
Addicted to Debt - We Can’t Borrow from the Future Anymore - 21st July 16
Not Everything Is Bullish for Gold - 21st July 16
Don’t Get Sucked Back Into the Stock Market - The Big Picture Hasn’t Changed - 21st July 16
Silver – Caught Inside - 21st July 16
Forex: "The Markets Are Getting Exciting!" - 20th July 16
China Economic Troubles - Is Kyle Bass Finally Getting His Revenge? - 20th July 16
Why Lithium Will See Another Price Spike This Fall - 20th July 16

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

The Power of the Wave Principle

The Gold Standard Never Dies

Commodities / Gold and Silver 2010 Nov 29, 2010 - 11:11 AM GMT

By: LewRockwell

Commodities

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleJohn Maynard Keynes thought he had pretty well killed gold as a monetary standard back in the 1930s. Governments of the world did their best to help him. It took longer than they thought. Gold in the money survived all the way to Nixon, and it was he who finally drove the stake in once and for all. That was supposed to be the end of it, and the beginning of the glorious new age of paper prosperity.


It didn't work out as they thought. The 1970s was a time of monetary chaos. What was worth a buck in 1973 is worth only 20 cents today. Stated another way: a dime is worth 2 cents, a nickel is worth a penny, and a penny is worth … nothing at all. It is an accounting fiction that takes up physical space for no reason.

Welcome to the age of paper money, where governments and central banks can manufacture as much money as they want without limit. Gold was the last limit. Its banishment as a standard unleashed the inflation monster and Leviathan itself, which has swelled beyond comprehension.

But guess what? Gold actually hasn't gone anywhere. It is still the hedge of choice, the thing that every investor embraces in time of trouble. It remains the most liquid, most stable, most fungible, most marketable, and most reliable store of wealth on the planet. It has a more dependable buy-sell spread than any other commodity in existence, given its value per unit of weight.

But is it dead as a monetary tool? Maybe not. Whenever the failures of paper become more than obvious, someone mentions gold and then look out for the hysteria. This is precisely what happened recently when Robert Zoellick, head of the World Bank, made some vague noises in the direction of gold. He merely suggested that its price might be used as a metric for evaluating the quality of monetary policy.

What happened? The roof fell in. Brad DeLong of Keynesian fame called Zoellick "the stupidest man alive" and the New York Times trotted out a legion of experts to assure us that the gold standard would not fix things, would hamstring monetary policy, would bring more instability rather than less, would bring back the Great Depression, and lead to mass human suffering of all sorts.

One thing this little explosion proved: newspapers, governments, and their favored academic economists all hate the gold standard. I can understand this. The absence of the gold standard has made possible the paper world they all love, one ruled by the state and its managers, a world of huge debt and endless opportunities for mischief to be made from the top down.

One of the funniest explosions came from Nouriel Roubini, who listed a series of merits of gold without recognizing them as such: gold limits the flexibility and range of actions of central banks (check!); under gold, a central bank can't "stimulate growth and manage price stability" (check!); under gold, central banks can't provide a lender-of-last-resort support (check!); under gold, banks go belly up rather than get bailed out (check!).

His only truly negative point was that under gold, we get more business cycles, but here he is completely wrong, as a quick look at the data demonstrates. And how can anyone say such a thing in the immediate wake of one of history's biggest bubbles and its explosion, which brought the world to the brink of calamity (and which still isn't over)?

Newsflash: it wasn't the gold standard that gave us this disaster.

As Murray Rothbard emphasized, the essence of the gold standard is that it puts power in the hands of the people. They are no longer dependent on the whims of central bankers, treasury officials, and high rollers in money centers. Money becomes not merely an accounting device but a real form of property like any other. It is secure, portable, universally valued, and, rather than falling in value, it maintains or rises in value over time. Under a real gold standard, there is no need for a central bank, and banks themselves become like any other business, not some gigantic socialistic operation sustained by trillions in public money.

Imagine holding money and watching it grow rather than shrink in its purchasing power in terms of goods and services. That's what life is like under gold. Savers are rewarded rather than punished. No one uses the monetary system to rob anyone else. The government can only spend what it has and no more. Trade across borders is not thrown into constant upheaval because of a change in currency valuations.

Of course the World Bank head was not actually talking about a real gold standard. At most he was talking about some kind of rule to rein in central banks that attempt what the Fed is attempting now: the inflating of the money supply to drive down the exchange-rate value of the currency to subsidize exports.

Still, it's good that he raised the topic. The Mises Institute has been pushing scholarship and writing about gold since its founding. To be sure, the issue of the gold standard is largely historical but no less important for that reason. The people who hate the gold standard of the past have no desire for serious monetary reform today.

We should be thrilled should the day ever come when monetary authorities really make paper money directly convertible into gold (or silver or something else). I doubt we can look forward to that day anytime soon. But there is one thing they could let happen right away: free the market to create its own gold standard by permitting true innovation and choice in currency. It's a fair guess that opponents of the gold standard would oppose that too, because, as Alan Greenspan himself once admitted, the people who oppose gold are ultimately opposed to human freedom.

This debate isn't really about monetary policy, much less the technical aspects of the transition. It is about political philosophy: what kind of society do we want to live in? One ruled by an ever-growing, all-controlling state or one in which people have freedom guaranteed and protected?

Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. is chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, editor of LewRockwell.com, and author of The Left, the Right, and the State. Send him mail. See Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.'s article archives.

© 2010 Copyright Ludwig von Mises - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2016 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - 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

Catching a Falling Financial Knife