79 Common Sense Reasons For A Gold Standard

Monday, August 23, 2010

The world enters the final stage of financial destruction thanks to a one-sided application of John Maynard Keynes' equation because politicians and central bankers did a terrific job in deficit spending since the USA defaulted on its gold obligations in 1971, but never followed Keynes advice to build reserves in surplus years. This is a direct result of a fiat money system that allows to create money at essentially no cost, to quote Fed chair Ben Bernanke from his infamous 2002 speech.
IMHO the heated discussion about a new gold standard will follow philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer's saying: "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
Digging a little further I probably could come up with more than 79 facts debunking urban gold myths. I chose this number as gold has the atomic number 79.
  1. Gold has been voluntarily accepted worldwide since 2,800 years.
  2. All fiat currencies of the past 3 centuries have devalued to (near) zero within a human's life span.
  3. All fiat money systems were abused by irresponsible politicians who ignited credit bubbles. All credit bubbles ended with a bust.
  4. Under a gold standard. prices remained stable for more than a century in the USA.
  5. Even former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan got it in his early years. He wrote "in the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation" in his famous essay from 1967 titled "Gold and Economic Freedom". Anecdote to the side: When Congressman Ron Paul got a copy signed by Greenspan, the parting Fed chair said in 2005 he still stands behind this essay.
  6. In one of hist last appearances on Capitol Hill Greenspan said that in extreme time, e.g. war, gold is the only internationally accepted currency. Does anybody have a video proof of this? I watched it live but searched in vain for a video documentation.
  7. One more quote from a young and very wise Greenspan: In the early stages of a developing money economy, several media of exchange might be used, since a wide variety of commodities would fulfill the foregoing conditions. However, one of the commodities will gradually displace all others, by being more widely acceptable. Preferences on what to hold as a store of value, will shift to the most widely acceptable commodity, which, in turn, will make it still more acceptable. The shift is progressive until that commodity becomes the sole medium of exchange. The use of a single medium is highly advantageous for the same reasons that a money economy is superior to a barter economy: it makes exchanges possible on an incalculably wider scale.
  8. Excerpt from the US Constitution, Article I, section 10: No State shall ... coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts....
  9. Under a gold standard, the amount of credit that an economy can support is determined by the economy's tangible assets, since every credit instrument is ultimately a claim on some tangible asset. But government bonds are not backed by tangible wealth, only by the government's promise to pay out of future tax revenues.
  10. Lesson from history: ALL fiat money experiments or the debasing of gold currencies ended in complete devaluation. From Rome to Britain: every empire vanished into oblivion soon after it went off the gold standard.
  11. Gold is durable,
  12. portable,
  13. homogeneous,
  14. divisible, and, therefore, has significant advantages over all other media of exchange.
  15. Gold demand will never cease as half the globe's population intuitively prefers gold over paper. Or does your lady prefer paper over gold on her neck or her fingers?
  16. China recently deregulated the gold market, encouraging banks to trade gold. They have been officially promoting silver since 2009.
  17. Indian housewives may hold more gold than any central bank as it is the only accessible store of value in an underdeveloped banking system.
  18. Physical gold is the only asset class that is not somebody else's obligation. Period.
  19. Hinde Capital warns that gold ETFs are not the same thing as physical bullion.Hinde Capital on Gold August 2012 As this PDF is freely accessible from Hinde Capital I hope CEO Ben Davies does not mind further distribution.
  20. Useability: Technological innovation will bring a flurry of industrial gold applications. Check them out over at utilisegold.com
  21. Low holding/storage costs. A safe in your house is a lifetime investment starting at $174 like this SentrySafe DS3410 Black Fire-Safe 1.2-Cubic Foot Combination Safe. You can store one cubic foot of gold which equals 548 kilos gold or 17,624 troy ounces, representing a value of $21.6 million or €17 million. That should be sufficient for most gold hoarders and is less than a trillionth of the gold value. Check prices in other fiat currencies at goldprice.org.
  22. Even when you spend 1% on your gold's value on a safe this will be cheaper than ETF administration costs in 3 years. That vault will last longer. Check vault safety standards here.
  23. Renting a safe box starts at €60 in Austrian banks, enabling you to store several hundred ounces. Check prices in your country of residence to debunk the myth of high storage costs. How much do you pay for your checking account in comparison? I bet its much more.
  24. Preserve your purchasing power over the millennia: One ounce buys you roughly 350 loaves of bread today. The Old Testament recounts that in 600 BC one ounce of gold bought 350 loaves of bread.
  25. It works in shorter time spans too: A Colt calibre .45 was $20 in 1911 or one ounce of gold. It now sells from $900 (pdf) or less than an ounce.
  26. Is the USA planning a new gold standard? Bix Weir believes so after interpreting the hidden meanings of new $100 bills that will be issued in February 2011. Read his arguments at RoadtoRoota.com. The bill displays so much gold on the right side one fears it will bend down when holding it at the left edge. Blogger fails to upload a specimen picture at the time of writing. Surf to the link above.
  27. Read the fine print on this new $100 bill: "...the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new..."
    That, my friends, comes directly from our Declaration of Independence and says the following:
    "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
    Has there ever been a time in the last 100 years that the people were more ready to "alter or abolish" the US government, Bix Weir asks correctly.
  28. Why did the Fed Boston publish a comic hailing the virtues of a gold standard earlier this year?Federal Reserve - Road to Roota (Comic)
  29. Mind you this is an aid for teachers for their comic "Wishes and Rainbows" where gold is the beginning of color, i.e. plurality in the world.Federal Reserve - Wishes and Rainbows (Comic) What's going on in the mind of the Fed which is better known as the biggest fiat money printer in history?
  30. Get these comics here and here for your preferred way of reading.
  31. Read James G. Rickards fictional press release of the Russian central bank on a reintroduction of a new gold standard (page 20).James G. Rickards on a new Gold Standard
  32. See Russian ruler Vladimir Putin holding a gold bar while announcing a doubling of gold reserves. Did you ever see a Western head of state in such a pose? Russia started bailing out of Federal Reserve Notes in 2005.
  33. Robert P. Murphy debunks several anti gold standard myths here.
  34. No gold coin has ever lost its purchasing power.To Puzzled Ben Bernanke: Gold Now Again Serves As M-O-N-E-Y
  35. Either buy Ludwig von Mises' "The Theory of Money and Credit" dealing with the virtues of a gold standard or read the most important excerpts here online.
  36. Watch Murray Rothbard's lecture on the gold standard before the Civil War.
  37. Read Books by Murray Rothbard: America's Great Depression, Power and Market, for a New Liberty, a History of Money and Banking in the United States where he debunks the myth that the gold standard caused the Great Depression. Deflation always has a predecessor called inflation and Murray dug through the Fed's figures from the 1920s and 1930s to prove that the Fed had inflated money supply despite a formal gold standard. Actually the Fed went on a fractional gold standard in this period.
  38. Read Good Money, Part I: The New World (Collected Works of F. A. Hayek) and Good Money, Part II: The Standard (Collected Works of F. A. Hayek) (Pt. II)
  39. Why did Dubai repatriate its gold reserves before its giant debts were made public. Maybe because in extreme times gold is the only accepted currency?
  40. Read the Wikipedia entry on the gold standard.
  41. Read the Wikipedia entry on the US Gold Standard Act from 1900 which made gold the standard for the US currency.
  42. Read more on the Gold Standard Act here.
  43. Read the complete Gold Standard Act here.
  44. Dig much deeper into the gold standard at Professor Antal Fekete's website, who is currently the only living academic preaching its virtues.
  45. Find out why gold could shoot to €25,000 per ounce according to this theory of Austrian economist Gregor Hochreiter:If the Euro Were Backed by Gold, One Ounce Would Cost Far More Than €25,000
  46. Napoleon came to power after the collapse of the French Assignats.
  47. Lenin came to power after the hyper inflation of the Russian Rouble.
  48. Hitler came to power after the German Reichsmark collapsed.
  49. Mao Tse Tung came to power after the hyper inflation of the Yuan.
  50. Michael D. Bordo directed the research staff of the executive director of the US Congressional Gold Commission. Get a primer on his opinion at the Library of Economic and Liberty.
  51. The demon(et)ization of gold as money works for paper money as well. You can eat neither gold nor fiat money.
  52. Paper currency/gold currency only has value if people believe it has value.
  53. If you store paper/gold in your house it can be stolen.
  54. But: Paper currency only has if people believe it has value.
  55. Gold (and silver) have a history far longer than any opinions might have and will continue to have a history long after we are gone. One can go to different times and places in history and trade gold for life's necessities. Try that with paper money.
  56. Watch this BBC Video Documentary on German Hyperinflation.
  57. Read "When Money Dies" by A. Ferguson Can Be Read Online For Free.
  58. Read Sought-After "The Dying Of Money" on Hyper Inflation Here.
  59. Was Your Grandpa so Unlucky to Sell Gold at only 270 Million/oz?
  60. Check Monetary Madness in 1 Chart: Hyperinflation Is Around the Corner.
  61. See theBiggest Banknote of the World - Not Worth a Penny.
  62. See Hyper-Inflation visualized in 2 Pictures
  63. Have a look how "rich" Germans were in the Weimar Republic.Hyper Inflation Preview
  64. Barry Eichengreen has more informative research: Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939 (Nber Series on Long-Term Factors in Economic Development) but still holds up the wrong view that the gold standard caused the Great Depression. Barry, please read Murray Rothbard.
  65. Even the IMF saw the gold standard as an economic stabilizer in a research paper from 2000 (pdf), although it had to resort to bending the truth a little: "The pre-World War 1 period corresponds to the mature gold standard, with relatively free (and rapidly rising) trade and capital movements. Average annual growth in output per capita exceeded 1.5% during this period, a significant acceleration compared with the preceding century. World output growth per capita almost halved in the subsequent period (1913-1950) marked by two devastating world wars and a crippling world recession in the inter-war period. Attempts to restore the pre-WW1 gold standard during this period ultimately failed under the strains of a deepening world depression, entailing a severe contraction in world trade and capital movements. The post WW2 period to 1973 was characterized by exceptionally rapid per capita output growth (2.9% on average) and the recovery of world trade under the Bretton Woods system of fixes exchange rates and widespread capital controls. The period following the collapse of the Bretton Woods system (1973-2000) saw a slowdown in income growth.
  66. This is a little bit much IMF spin as it fails to address the issue that nations tried to reestablish a gold standard on the respective pre-war terms.
  67. Run for the hills if the IMF succeeds in establishing a new unbacked global fiat reserve currency called "Bancor." This IMF paper from April 2010 is a manual for such a venture that will ultimately fail as all fiat currencies did so far.
  68. In order to establish a gold standard, gold has to be decimalised. Outdated and unfamiliar imperial measures like the troy ounce obstruct the acceptance of gold in a decimalised world.
  69. Murray N. Rothbard has made this point most forcefully: The transition from gold to fiat money will be greatly smoothed if the State has previously abandoned ounces, grams, grains, and other units of weight in naming its monetary units and substituted unique names, such as dollar, mark, franc, etc. It will then be far easier to eliminate the public's association of monetary units with weight and to teach the public to value the names themselves. Furthermore, if each national government sponsors its own unique name, it will be far easier for each State to control its own fiat issue absolutely.
  70. Ron Paul makes a case for the gold standard here.
  71. Ron Paul quotes Mises and comes up with defining US dollars as one grain of .900 gold in order not to repeat the failures of the reestablishment of the gold standard in the 1920 on the rigid old terms: "To provide the US dollar with a fixed definition in terms of gold, it will be a very easy detail to announce to the public that the conversion agency stipulated by Mises is starting to buy and resell the troy-ounce coins at a fixed price. The dollar was defined as 25.8 grains of standard gold in 1900. Today it might be defined as one grain of standard 0.900 gold."
  72. This blogger notes that the gold standard discussion has turned into a most emotional debate where proponents and the fiat money camp throw mud at each other. I consider this an interim stage on the way to sound money.
  73. Abigail Doolittle makes a compelling case why deflation won't kill gold.
  74. The Donovan Law Group points outHow Credit Derivatives Brought the U.S. Economy to the Brink of a Second Great Depression. This could not have happened under a gold standard.
  75. Robert L. Hill wrote in 1956 The Role of Rigidity in the Failure of the Gold Standard. Can anybody out there mail me a copy?
  76. I have yet to readGold: The Once and Future Money,published by Nathan Lewis in May 2007.
  77. Jim Cox, author of The Concise Guide to Economics weighs in: "One last claim against gold is that there just is not enough gold to reestablish the U.S. dollar's redeemability. It is true that the number of paper and credit dollars created has been so vast that there is not enough gold to redeem dollars at the original rate of $20 to the ounce.
  78. Louis Boulanger, CFA, Founder and Director, LB Now Limited, has compiled this 60 page treasure chest full with gold wisdom from the last 3 millennia.Gold is Money and Nothing Else
  79. "In effect there is nothing inherently wrong with fiat money, provided we get perfect authority and godlike intelligence for kings." Aristotle, founder of the school of logic, 384BC-322BC.
  80. J.P. Morgan, undeniably the most influential financier in history told Congress in 1912; "Gold is money. Everything else is credit."
I hope this compilation of facts about the gold standard will help tilt the discussion on a new international currency system towards a gold system. As we get nearer the 40th anniversary of a period where not a single currency has been linked to gold it becomes clear that this does not work. Let's not make this a religious argument but push this into the political arena. The times are way too serious to further dogmatically exclude the gold standard on the way to a new financial world order.

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