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Yamato

The US Dollar vs. The Gold Standard

228 posts in this topic

What inflation.

What inflation?

inflationpic.jpg

Inflated gold prices is inflation, that's another way of explaining some of your comments above and nobody is contesting that. The price of gold was stable for 100 years when the dollar was pegged to it. Your thinking causes gold to go to the moon and then you don't even want it? Put some savings into competing currencies or natural gas if you want to protect yourself. For instance, the New Zealand dollar is better than the US dollar. The Canadian dollar is better than the US dollar too. The jury is in ninjadude, and the dollar can't compete with gold on the world market. And it never will with heroes like Helicopter Ben at the switch printing digital money not worth the paper it's not printed on. ;)

Food prices going up and down due to demand is just fine. (and that applies to everything else besides food too, don't forget).

But the stability of food prices is important. Wild swings higher take a physical toll on people and will mean the difference between life and death to some.

caldwell_chart1-2.jpg

Populations can't withstand this kind of price instability. Food supply in the future is going to be a huge problem; just Google it and read some articles. Add endless money printing and it means that even if massive initiatives like a 'Manhattan Project' of food supply is put into action, and even if the global demand for food is met in the coming years, we're still devaluing our money. What do you think this does to the poor? It's prohibitively expensive already to eat healthily in the US (I don't even want to think about the rest of the world because I feel guilty). The bottom of our society can eat beef burritos at Taco Bell and double cheeseburgers and french fries at McDonalds or nasty little meat pizzas from the grocery store. Food-price bang for the buck champions like these are the protein that the poor run on to mow our lawns, paint our houses, clear our brush, pick our onions, and build our homes. Like it's difficult to see why we have an obesity epidemic! ;)

Do you buy groceries? I notice even when food prices appear to remain the same, the serving sizes we get in the packages we're buying have gone down, being filled with air, being hollowed out with dome shaped bottoms, dropping a half gallon of ice cream down to 1.75 quarts and so on. Some of the increase is hidden from us by the food companies and we don't even know it. Government's tricks with the CPI adds mirrors to the smoke.

How can people seriously sit back and not care about health care prices? This has a massive moral component to it; that's what motivates me to make sure that gold, health care, insurance, education, energy and food prices (everything that government has its grubby nubbies into) stay stable next to the value of our money.

Edited by Yamato
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You might have intended it as a joke, but certainly growing your own food is the best insurance against hyperinflation or economic collapse. Much better than any Kruger Rands you can buy.

Make sure you have your shotgun locked and loaded when the good neighbors come storming into your property and wiping your insurance out.

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as much as I can

figures.

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Inflated gold prices is inflation,.

Gold has ZERO to do with inflation. And therin lies your problem.

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Ok...I am going to put my ignorance on my sleeve here so everyone can see it.

Br Cornelius is correct on the line of thought...gold is only valuable because we assign it value. It, for all practical purposes (outside of electronics), is just a pretty soft metal...In theory, you could set the monetary standard to anything that is desirable but that still makes no sense to me.

Why not set the monetary standard to something that actually is valuable and needed...like wheat or grain...beef, pork, chicken, etc. Things that could actually measure the value of a good days work. I recall reading somewhere that once upon a time, the value of wages was set based upon the ability to eat and be sheltered (it was years ago and no I do not have a source). One days work = XX days of food and shelter. Somehow, through the ages, that has spiraled completely out of control....probably because of just flat out greed.

Again, this is a weak place for me. I don't have a firm grasp on economics from a monetary perspective and I have never understood why we lust for gold, diamonds and other worthless shiny things. Well I take that back, at least diamonds can be used as a tool for cutting...gold, silver and platinum, to me, are not worth the value we attach to them...

Ok...ignorance exposed....you can laugh now.

You went first so I'll follow :) I also am clueless about economics but it seems to me that for a thing to have value it must be scarce. The one thing that is finite and in excessive demand is energy - specifically oil. I know we already have "petro dollars" though I don't really understand that concept fully. But any system that replaces the one that is crashing will still have all the characteristics of the one being replaced. IOW it will have to ensure that those on top STAY on top and still give the common person some reason to trust. Some sort of blanket forgiveness of a % of debt might be useful to sell it to the masses but essentially I think nothing will actually change except type of currency and uniformity of it. As in One currency for everyone.
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I'll take the sentiment of free people worldwide for over 6,000 years over the decree of a handful of of lying bureaucrats and their tangled agendas.

Market sentiment is everything. It determines the value of everything that has value.

Gold is an infamous inflation hedge. Google dot com ninjadude.

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We're way past done with problem recognition. Let's enter the solutions phase. I am providing the solution and you're not explaining, other than making a lot of empty statements, what's wrong with it. What's the problem for the hundred years before the Fed was created and the dollar was stable?

I think the problem is that the economy started growing many, many multiples of what the gold standard could back. That is, without devaluing the gold itself. And thus creating inflation. So growth would have to be Limited somehow, and so I ask you if that is the American Way... to limit growth just because we don't have enough gold? The proposal fixes one thing and creates a half dozen more of the same caliber.

Also it is naive to believe that the rest of the world still working on the fiat system will just let the US go on its economic way. The world economy would flounder and everyone would be pulled down. Ruinous.

I don't get why you are beating the dead horse gold. We know that gold is limited and that there is not enough of it to even guarantee the money in circulation.

....

It is naive to base currency on something that does not even cover the current need of money in circulation.

They could devalue Everything, but I don't think anyone has the Brass to do that. Or they could set the currency to something else, like diamonds.

Because really, even if they had enough gold, and I went in and asked for $1 in gold, what would I get? A tiny little mote of dust. The average man still could not redeam his savings for a reasonable amount of gold. A months wages would be a tiny little dime size coin.

And, as was said, there is not enough gold. So gold would have to be revalued at 10 or 20 times as much. Such that a years wages would equal that one tiny coin. That should make all those Gold Standard people feel better.

Not to mention that everyone out there with gold in their closets would now be super rich. The Rich get richer again??

Food prices have gone up and down based on supply/demand as they should.

I've yet to see the prices in any vending machine EVER decrease.

Small down ticks do not cancel out major increases in grocery prices. There is a reason the US FedGov does not include Fuel and Food in its calulations of inflation. Because if they did, people would know that inflation is a real factor in day to day life.

Reeeeeallllllly?

Wasn't that quote supposed to reference the Romans in 700 BC? To them it WAS only a decorative metal. Few people had enough to make it work anything in the Roman economy.

Why not set the monetary standard to something that actually is valuable and needed...like wheat or grain...beef, pork, chicken, etc. Things that could actually measure the value of a good days work. I recall reading somewhere that once upon a time, the value of wages was set based upon the ability to eat and be sheltered (it was years ago and no I do not have a source). One days work = XX days of food and shelter. Somehow, through the ages, that has spiraled completely out of control....probably because of just flat out greed.

I think primarily those things cannot be set as the value for US Currency because they cannot be stockpiled in enough quantity to have value equal to the economic activity that occurs over a year.

Since those things are part of the economy, they basically have to represent themselves. So to use chickens as the example, you'd need not just chickens to cover the value of all chickens, but everything else too. So, you'd need like 2 trillion dollars of stockpiled chickens. Or about 500 billion frozen chickens. And where would we keep all of them, and how would people be able to draw out their chickens that back their currency??

Basically all physical goods could back themselves, but what then would back all the services and other transactions that occur?

It would take very valueble materials and lots of it, to back the US economy. Maybe several traincars full of diamonds or cocaine? Both are hundreds or thousands of times more valuable then gold.

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Comments and arguments about the content of this article?

Will the gold standard ever make a comeback?

By Dominic Frisby Apr 13, 2011

Excerpt from this article

... With gold supply growing at virtually the same rate as world population, you can see why gold keeps its purchasing power over millennia, unlike modern fiat currencies, the increasing supply of which dwarfs population growth. Gold is very much a natural form of money. Which is why it's the only currency in history that has never disappeared.

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Comments and arguments about the content of this article?

Will the gold standard ever make a comeback?

By Dominic Frisby Apr 13, 2011

Excerpt from this article

... With gold supply growing at virtually the same rate as world population, you can see why gold keeps its purchasing power over millennia, unlike modern fiat currencies, the increasing supply of which dwarfs population growth. Gold is very much a natural form of money. Which is why it's the only currency in history that has never disappeared.

I don't know where this gentleman gets the notion from that the gold production increases at the same rate as the population:

graphics2.png

Wordl-Population.jpg

but I guess he is entitled to his, even if erroneous, opinion.

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Ok...I am going to put my ignorance on my sleeve here so everyone can see it.

Br Cornelius is correct on the line of thought...gold is only valuable because we assign it value. It, for all practical purposes (outside of electronics), is just a pretty soft metal...In theory, you could set the monetary standard to anything that is desirable but that still makes no sense to me.

Why not set the monetary standard to something that actually is valuable and needed...like wheat or grain...beef, pork, chicken, etc. Things that could actually measure the value of a good days work. I recall reading somewhere that once upon a time, the value of wages was set based upon the ability to eat and be sheltered (it was years ago and no I do not have a source). One days work = XX days of food and shelter. Somehow, through the ages, that has spiraled completely out of control....probably because of just flat out greed.

Again, this is a weak place for me. I don't have a firm grasp on economics from a monetary perspective and I have never understood why we lust for gold, diamonds and other worthless shiny things. Well I take that back, at least diamonds can be used as a tool for cutting...gold, silver and platinum, to me, are not worth the value we attach to them...

Ok...ignorance exposed....you can laugh now.

Sorry I haven't read all the posts yet, I've just got this far...however gold does have value (besides its desirability in jewelry for its beauty) because of its many applications in electronics.

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Sentiment is the only thing that gives Gold value. It doesn't make it a good money system in the modern world.

Why can't anyone seem to understand that we placed the value in Gold - no one else.

People seem to think that a return to old certainties will solve all our problems, but if it doesn't actually work its not going to help. How do you account for growth in real wealth in a fixed and invariant money supply ? If you allow for growth then you have circumvented the main claimed benefit of Gold which is its invariant value. Then if you have a fractional Gold standard (as you would have to have) who controls the fractional leverage - and what is to stop Bankers from manipulating that rate to increase the money supply - as has happened historically. Also - are you advocating a Global reserve currency of fixed value - or will each country have their own currency - who will police the system??

Since Gold cannot be used as an actual currency on a day to day basis (not enough) its just replacing one form of paper with another - the only difference is your perceived confidence in the value of that paper.

PS-What we have now is what capitalism always gravitates to. I don't actually believe in the utopia of perfect capitalism and I base this belief on the fact that it has never existed. I use the failure of theocracy throughout history as the basis of my extrapolation. Utopian dreams are just that - DREAMS. I prefer to live reality.

Br Cornelius

Sentiment is what gives value to something without any concrete value.

Gold doesn't need sentiment. It's valuable without sentiment.

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I was thinking about this in a part of my mind overnight and can see a couple ways that a gold system might work.

First, make the gold the currency and not paper. Then if you have a coin with a tiny fleck of gold, you have the gold.

Also the Romans did not stockpile gold to back their economy, no one did till very late in history. So really all you would need to back is the actual Currency. And that would be very easy to do with the gold the US could get. So, none of the online/electronic exchanges would be backed with gold, but would only be electronic bartering basically. At least at the upper levels were such things would really matter.

Another thought that came to me was that a single 10 dollar gold coin (Assume a coin with 10 dollars of gold in it), could pass through hundreds of hands, and be in hundreds of exchanges every year. I get that coin from the bank and get a haircut. The barber uses it to buy lunch. The lunch lady uses it to pay part of her electric bill and the electric company pays an employee with it, and so on and so on. One 10 dollar coin would be responsible for thousands of dollars of goods and services exchanged. Or... the coin could go into a box and stay there for 10 years. Just a thought exercise.

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keep thinking DC... eventually you're going To figure it out

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I was thinking about this in a part of my mind overnight and can see a couple ways that a gold system might work.

First, make the gold the currency and not paper. Then if you have a coin with a tiny fleck of gold, you have the gold.

Also the Romans did not stockpile gold to back their economy, no one did till very late in history. So really all you would need to back is the actual Currency. And that would be very easy to do with the gold the US could get. So, none of the online/electronic exchanges would be backed with gold, but would only be electronic bartering basically. At least at the upper levels were such things would really matter.

Another thought that came to me was that a single 10 dollar gold coin (Assume a coin with 10 dollars of gold in it), could pass through hundreds of hands, and be in hundreds of exchanges every year. I get that coin from the bank and get a haircut. The barber uses it to buy lunch. The lunch lady uses it to pay part of her electric bill and the electric company pays an employee with it, and so on and so on. One 10 dollar coin would be responsible for thousands of dollars of goods and services exchanged. Or... the coin could go into a box and stay there for 10 years. Just a thought exercise.

Now, given that all the gold in the world is about 5.3 billion troy ounces worth about 7 trillion dollars and we have about 7 billion people people on earth, can you vision a economy where everybody has just $1,000,000 in total liquifiable assets?

Edited by questionmark

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There's nothing technically wrong with fiat currency. The funny thing about this thread is that those who are saying gold has an intrinsic value are pointing to uses that only arose after everyone abandoned it as a standard. In the old world, it was valuable because it was rare, didn't corrode, and its only uses were decoration or money.

Using chunks of valuable material as currency has one big problem:

Tying the value to the actual money as opposed to the confidence in the government represented by the money opens us up to the concept that the material value could outstrip the currency value. In other words, the money would need to be so nearly worthless that it could never get to the point that people were melting it down to sell it instead of spending it. If you're going to make it that low a value, then you're already creating a fiat currency, you're just using an unnecessarily expensive medium for it.

The ideal solution to the problem would be to continue using fiat currency, but have the government be in control of its supply instead of the Fed.

Edited by sam12six
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I think the general idea is to use a fractional gold reserve. That way all of the perceived benefits accrue without actually having to carry around the hard stuff.

Of course this thinking simply replaces one piece of paper with another and fails to address the problems inherent in a Gold based monetary system - but it has a sheen of simplicity and incorruptibility about it.

I think its all nostalgia for the good old days (whenever they were).

The only thing I can think would be an advantage is that since a country must hold the Gold it trades - it would force the authorities to clamp down on all the shenanigans in transnational international currency and stock trading. Some might think that a hamstrung market system would be a bad thing though.

The thing that strikes me the more I think about this whole issue - is how incredibly complex the "problem" of money is in the modern world. This is why I have a deep felt belief that trying to shoe horn the modern world into a simple Gold standard would have massive unforeseen consequences.

What is happening is that the problems of deregulation of markets are been blamed on money (which has its own intrinsic flaws in the current Fiat system), so the solution is to treat the cause which is market instability, rather than one of the aspects - which is Fiat money. Fiat money in its current form will always collapse eventually - but the current "crisis" is not part of that greater cycle - it is a market driven crisis. To quote Chomsky;

The triumphalism was an expression of the fact that a very small section of the population was becoming enriched. But this crisis happens to be now at a point where it's hitting rich people, and that's why it's a crisis. But in fact the crisis has been going on for 25 years. There was a period after the second world war, sometimes called the Golden Age of capitalism, in which there were historically unprecedented growth rates over most of the industrialized world. There was also growth of the social contract, labor rights, workplace reforms, as well as growth of both the economy and productivity. That sort of continued into the late 1960s, more or less.

From the early 1970s, the industrial world has been in a long downturn. Since the early 1970s growth rates have slowed, both of the economy and of productivity, wages and incomes have basically stagnated for most of the population; for a period, corporate profits were lowered, but in the 1990s--and that's the triumphalism--corporate profits shot up, sky-high. Read the business press in the United States, every year: "dazzling," "stupendous," they ran out of adjectives a long time ago. And that's the triumphalism. For a small sector of the population, this long downturn happened to lead to extreme wealth mostly via redistribution upward. That is why inequality is so radically increased.

Take, say, the recovery in the United States, the latest stage of the business cycle in the United States, from about 1991 until now. In fact, it's the slowest postwar recovery. And it's the first one in American history in which most of the population has been left out. Wages and incomes are barely getting back to their 1989 level, let alone their level of the 1970s. One thing that is booming, however, is the stock market. When you read - this is pre-August, still triumphalist - the stories about "the fairy-tale economy," about Americans being "smug and prosperous," there is only one example that's given: that's the stock market. But close to 50 percent of the stocks are held by one percent of households; and most of the rest is held by the top ten percent so that roughly 90 percent of the stocks are held by ten percent of the population. And in fact if you look more closely, the richest one half percent holds about forty percent of the stock. And for that sector, the economy no doubt is a fairy-tale economy. But for maybe two thirds of the population or perhaps as much as 70 percent of working people, wages have either stagnated or declined, working conditions have gotten worse, working hours have gotten longer, and you have to have both husband and wife working just to keep food on the table. It's been a long slowdown across the industrial world, and it has hit the underdeveloped world in much harsher ways.

You can roughly date when it happened, it's from the early 1970s. And there was one crucial event that took place in the early 1970s, namely the Bretton Woods system was dismantled. The Bretton Woods system - the postwar economic system - was based on an effort to free trade from restraints (freedom of trade was considered something to work for), but to simultaneously regulate finance. So the Bretton Woods system was not solely a liberalization system - it called for liberalization of trade but regulation of finance and fixed exchange rates. Capital controls were permitted, and there was something like a gold standard except that it was a dollar standard, with the dollar pegged to gold. The IMF in its rules was to maintain stability of exchange rates and to cut back capital flight. For example the rules of the IMF prohibit giving credits to cover capital flight. The rules are not honored nowadays, but they're there.

This system was dismantled from the early 1970s. The U.S. took the first steps to break it down, Britain went along, and gradually other financial powers went along as well, and so the rest of the world just had to do it too. Some parts held back, like South Korea, they maintained the system of controls through the late 1980s. And then they were more or less forced to give them up. That was a condition for entry into the OECD. And the United States put enormous pressure on them to overvalue their currency and to take more American imports and to deregulate their financial markets and so on, and they gave in. Next you had this huge market failure, which is largely what it is: the so-called Asian crisis. By now it's fairly widely recognized.

First, the pundits were talking about crony capitalism and that sort of thing, as an explanation, which is nonsense - I mean, it's there, of course, but it's here too, it's everywhere, and it was there during the growth period as well. What was different about the recent period of decline was that you had an almost classic failure of financial markets, a huge flow of capital, huge borrowing, private borrowing, private lending, and an extraordinary flow of herd-like behavior, and then pulling it all out in another irrational, herd-like action. And this is very familiar. Keynes warned about it 60 years ago, when he argued that finance ought to be closely regulated and controlled, as indeed it sort of is internally. So internally to the United States, the banks want to keep it controlled or otherwise everything blows up.

But during this neoliberal escapade of the rich after dismantling Bretton Woods, they were having a ball, and it was great for them, the super rich, while most of the population suffered. And they spread the conditions supporting this sort of triumph far and wide. And now the crisis is hitting home, hitting them too, so now it's called a crisis.

Notice that there is nothing new about the volatility - since the early 1970s, markets have become much more volatile, contrary to the predictions of many famed economists. Milton Friedman predicted with confidence that, free the exchange rates, let the market rule, and everything will settle down, it will all be stable. It went exactly the other way. With capital restraints reduced, with limits on how capital could be moved about, markets became far more volatile, with very sharp ups and downs. The IMF recently released a report saying that of its roughly 180 members, about 20% had suffered severe financial crises, and about 60 percent, some number around that neighborhood, had suffered fairly serious ones, over this post World War Two triumphalist period (1980 to 1995). This is the way financial markets operate. There is no theory of financial markets. It's mostly amateur psychology. When you read economists - Alan Greenspan and so on - talking about economic policy, it's mostly, this is going to inspire confidence, or this will make people feel better, or something like that. You can sort of dress it up in formulas if you like, but it's a kind of amateur psychology, no real theory applied.

It's known descriptively that highly irrational behavior, even from the point of view of market doctrine, takes place all the time. So in a rational market, investors are supposed to look for economic fundamentals, they're supposed to value solid manufacturing capacity and fiscal austerity and all that kind of stuff. They are not supposed to do what is called technical trading, to look for short-term patterns and see if you can make a tiny gain by playing this and that game over a period of weeks, or days, or even hours. But the latter is exactly what they do. About 80 percent of the capital in foreign exchange has a turnaround time of less than a week, much of it a day or less. And what this is, it's smart guys, a lot of Ph.D.s in math who are working for Wall Street firms on sophisticated techniques to extrapolate little changes in currency fluctuations and so on, so that you can make a lot of money fast.

It finally hit home that this is a real crisis when one of the big hedge funds collapsed, which wasn't supposed to happen, but that's the game they're playing. Not only does it not contribute to the economy, it harms it.

...........

So what they're now talking about in the G-7, and the finance ministers, and Business Week, and the Financial Times and so on, is what critics have been saying all along, that unless there is some regulation, careful regulation in fact, of financial flows, and some penalty for short-term speculation, you're going to have serious problems. And in fact there have been problems, in blow-up after blow-up. Now they're even willing to talk about things that were anathema to them until recently, like the Tobin tax.

The Tobin tax was proposed more than 20 years ago by a Nobel prize-winning economist, who pointed out that unless you do something to throw sand in the gears of short-term, speculative capital flows, it's going to seriously harm the international economy. Well, nobody wanted to hear that, because that was challenging the orthodoxy that markets are wonderful, which was an orthodoxy precisely because it was benefiting rich people, not because there was any logic in it - the usual story. There was a major study done on the Tobin tax by a group of quite well-known international economists, about five years ago I guess. The UN Development Program wanted to distribute it, and they were apparently put under pressure by the Clinton administration not to so the book is known mostly to technical economists. Not all of the authors thought it was a great idea. It includes people like the chief economist of the IMF, who didn't particularly like it. But it was a serious discussion of its possibility, and this type discussion was just not supposed to be on the agenda. In today's newspapers, however, they're talking about it. What's the difference? Well, now the rich people are in trouble. So it's a sudden crisis -- a crisis for the wealthy and powerful whereas up until now, it was just a crisis for everybody else.

http://www.chomsky.i...ws/199811--.htm

I say treat the many systemic drivers of instability before attempting to replace the money supply. failing to do this will mean that both the markets and Governments will have a continued vested interest in debauching the currency whatever form it takes.

The prospect of war is much less, but for other reasons. Europe is, in modern history at least, the most violent part of the world. One of the reasons why Europe conquered the world is that it created a culture of war, based on centuries of mutual massacre and slaughter - both a culture of war and a technology of war. But that largely came to an end in 1945, and for a very simple reason. Everybody could understand that the next time we play this game, we're all dead. The techniques of destruction had reached such a point that war is simply not an option for rich and powerful countries. If they try it once more, that's the end. Now, somebody may be irrational enough to do it anyway, but within anything remotely like the domain of rationality, where you can at least begin to talk about prediction, there isn't going to be war among the powerful countries. And this is understood.

..............

But to return to your other point, what actually overcame the depression was not so much the war as the semi-command economies. The British economy started to pick up in the late 1930s, when it sort of deliberalized and became a kind of semi-command economy. The U.S. was barely at war, there was no fighting here. But the wartime economy not only overcame the depression, it flourished as industrial production tripled, and so on. But that was a semi-command economy, it was highly coordinated from Washington, run by corporate executives, with wage and price controls, industrial policy deciding what would be produced, and so on. And that worked like a charm. Just like it worked in England - England in fact out-produced Germany and came close to the United States.

So the mobilization of the economy did overcome the depression. The war was taking place and that was the justification for it, but the war was not what overcame the depression in itself. This was pretty well understood. The consensus among American economists and businessmen and others in the mid-forties was that with the government-coordinated economy declining, after the war, they were going to go right back to the depression due to market failures. And so there was an interesting discussion in the late forties, quite open. It's in the business press, I've quoted parts of it at times, and it's very interesting. There was recognition that we've got to do something to get the government to stimulate the economy again or else we'll go back to the depression.

So Chomsky dismisses the idea that we can use a manufactured war to resolve the current financial crisis. We need another galvanizing motive to drag us out of the current world depression. It seems that the only option which makes any constructive sense, is to mobilize the workforce to address the current Global ecological crisis. This is on a scale comparable to that presented by the First and Second World wars and actually offers us the opportunity to place the world on a sustainable economic footing for the century ahead.

Again I repeat my earlier observation - economics is simply the system which allows us to do other productive things. It has been the mistake of the modern world to assume that economics is the actual territory we navigate rather than merely a map to the real world.

Br Cornelius

Edited by Br Cornelius
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Economics as currently conducted is a form of perpetual class warfare.

Br Cornelius

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There's nothing technically wrong with fiat currency. The funny thing about this thread is that those who are saying gold has an intrinsic value are pointing to uses that only arose after everyone abandoned it as a standard. In the old world, it was valuable because it was rare, didn't corrode, and its only uses were decoration or money.

Using chunks of valuable material as currency has one big problem:

Tying the value to the actual money as opposed to the confidence in the government represented by the money opens us up to the concept that the material value could outstrip the currency value. In other words, the money would need to be so nearly worthless that it could never get to the point that people were melting it down to sell it instead of spending it. If you're going to make it that low a value, then you're already creating a fiat currency, you're just using an unnecessarily expensive medium for it.

The ideal solution to the problem would be to continue using fiat currency, but have the government be in control of its supply instead of the Fed.

Excellent post!

A major problem with a gold-backed money system is that it is impossible to verify how much gold actually exists in the hands of governments and individuals...which would be crucial to maintaining 'faith' and therefore legitimacy in that system.

It is estimated by some that governments may hold as much as 10 times more gold than they report. Can you imagine the economic devastation that could be wrought if a country like the US went to a gold standard, only to have a country like China suddenly flood world markets with cheap gold? In many ways, gold is even more susceptible to manipulation and chicanery.

The best thoughts I've read on this subject suggest a fiat system wherein the supply of money is tied to GDP growth targets set by (democratic) government mandate. Take the control of money supply away from private interests (Fed) and return it to the republic (yes, it was once that way...thanks Woodrow).

Value of money is all about faith and trust in the money system and a country's domestic output is ultimately more stable than gold or private fiat.

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There's nothing technically wrong with fiat currency. The funny thing about this thread is that those who are saying gold has an intrinsic value are pointing to uses that only arose after everyone abandoned it as a standard. In the old world, it was valuable because it was rare, didn't corrode, and its only uses were decoration or money.

Using chunks of valuable material as currency has one big problem:

Tying the value to the actual money as opposed to the confidence in the government represented by the money opens us up to the concept that the material value could outstrip the currency value. In other words, the money would need to be so nearly worthless that it could never get to the point that people were melting it down to sell it instead of spending it. If you're going to make it that low a value, then you're already creating a fiat currency, you're just using an unnecessarily expensive medium for it.

The ideal solution to the problem would be to continue using fiat currency, but have the government be in control of its supply instead of the Fed.

Imo, the fact that the Fed is in control of printing the money is unconstitutional but nobody seems to care...I mean people do care, but not enough people.

(yes, it was once that way...thanks Woodrow).

You're right about that...thanks Woodrow...if you read about this guy...*ugh*

Edited by Gummug

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Imo, the fact that the Fed is in control of printing the money is unconstitutional but nobody seems to care...I mean people do care, but not enough people.

The government can delegate any of its tasks to whomever it wants. There is nothing unconstitutional about that.

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The government can delegate any of its tasks to whomever it wants. There is nothing unconstitutional about that.

I wish it would delegate its power back to the people then.

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I wish it would delegate its power back to the people then.

That would result in chaos as "the people" cannot collectively govern.

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Now, given that all the gold in the world is about 5.3 billion troy ounces worth about 7 trillion dollars and we have about 7 billion people people on earth, can you vision a economy where everybody has just $1,000,000 in total liquifiable assets?

Nope. But isn't my post suggesting that might not be necessary? It could work without a giant stockpile.

But, I tend to agree with those saying it is impractical. I don't like the idea of using gold at all, but I'm just saying I can see ways it could be implemented if done smartly. At least on a US national scale.

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Nope. But isn't my post suggesting that might not be necessary? It could work without a giant stockpile.

But, I tend to agree with those saying it is impractical. I don't like the idea of using gold at all, but I'm just saying I can see ways it could be implemented if done smartly. At least on a US national scale.

If you want to set money to a standard the only possibility is to use something that grows or shrinks dynamically adapting the value of money in circulation. Something like capping the circulation according to the GDP would work. Or capping it to the national productivity. Just arbitrarily using a stockpile of something has proven to cause more problems than it solves.

But I can understand that some companies want to push the metal they mine as "money". They just don't have thought it through: If what they mine is money, with what would they get paid? Or are we just going to switch banker for gold miners to sit on the money bin?

For that to work we would have to go back to the old system when actual gold and silver was used as payment: All gold and silver belonged to the state and those exploiting it were paid fractionally for their effort (if at all).

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I think the problem is that the economy started growing many, many multiples of what the gold standard could back. That is, without devaluing the gold itself. And thus creating inflation. So growth would have to be Limited somehow, and so I ask you if that is the American Way... to limit growth just because we don't have enough gold? The proposal fixes one thing and creates a half dozen more of the same caliber.

Also it is naive to believe that the rest of the world still working on the fiat system will just let the US go on its economic way. The world economy would flounder and everyone would be pulled down. Ruinous.

They could devalue Everything, but I don't think anyone has the Brass to do that. Or they could set the currency to something else, like diamonds.

Because really, even if they had enough gold, and I went in and asked for $1 in gold, what would I get? A tiny little mote of dust. The average man still could not redeam his savings for a reasonable amount of gold. A months wages would be a tiny little dime size coin.

And, as was said, there is not enough gold. So gold would have to be revalued at 10 or 20 times as much. Such that a years wages would equal that one tiny coin. That should make all those Gold Standard people feel better.

Not to mention that everyone out there with gold in their closets would now be super rich. The Rich get richer again??

Growth should be limited by the market. That is the American way. Not inflated by the government. Deflation is something Bernanke can't stand and something the market gladly accepts daily.

The amount of gold doesn't matter. The amount of gold wasn't an issue in 1970 and it wouldn't be an issue now. There might be runs on the bank for cash the way we're stacked now but there aren't going to be runs on the bank for gold unless you're anticipating a currency crisis after the gold standard rather than before. Looking at all of US history I'm not sure how someone can think rock solid value for 100 years under the gold standard is a currency crisis while ignoring <100% devaluation <100 years. If a gold standard is adopted and eventually there "isn't enough gold" it's going to drive gold prices higher. Higher gold prices is inflationary without a gold standard and deflationary with one. More affordable housing, insurance, health care, college tuition, gasoline, electricity, food etc. doesn't scare me.

Without just making statements about what's naive, you should explain how you figure the world would flounder and become ruinous just because the US (as opposed to China, India, Europe or someone else) decided to base its currency on gold and silver like it's done in the past. Countries can simply peg to the dollar, adopt a gold standard themselves, or if they believe deflating their currency is good for their own economies (e.g. Switzerland) or simply do nothing at all (until they decide to).

If $1 of gold is impossible to get, so what? If that's what the problem is with the idea then it's an awesome idea.

Supporting the status quo without offering any alternatives ultimately isn't saying much. Banks don't have the cash to liquidate their balance sheets, to meet the digital values that are printed on their customers bank statements, they turn what you deposit into 10x the original amount, and nobody suggests making one dollar bills worth $10 to compensate for that practice, much less marching in the street protesting for the end of fractional reserve banking. Changing the rules on a metals backed currency when determining valuations is completely unnecessary.

The explosion of growth in the past 30 years has occurred due to the explosion of credit. Debt as money has its limitations and when we take a look at current events, we should start to be able to identify those limits. I'm all for the free market setting interest rates and giving loans to responsible lenders. I'm not interested in the insanity in going from $1 trillion in credit in 1980 to $50 trillion in credit today over a single generation of Americans. Just how entitled do these boomers think they are? What's ruinous is putting our children in chains to pay back all our credit card bills, because it's clear there isn't a wick's worth of willpower in Washington to pay the debt off.

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