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Under a gold standard, paper notes are convertible into pre-set, fixed quantities of gold.

The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed weight of gold. Three distinct kinds of gold standard can be identified. The gold specie standard is a system in which the monetary unit is associated with circulating gold coins, or with the unit of value defined in terms of one particular circulating gold coin in conjunction with subsidiary coinage made from a lesser valuable metal. The gold exchange standard may involve only the circulation of silver coins, or coins made of other metals, but the authorities will have guaranteed a fixed exchange rate with another country that is on the gold standard, hence creating a de facto gold standard, in that the value of the silver coins has a fixed external value in terms of gold that is independent of the inherent silver value. The gold bullion standard is a system in which gold coins do not actually circulate as such, but in which the authorities have agreed to sell gold bullion on demand at a fixed price.

Gold certificates were used as paper currency in the United States from 1882 to 1933, these certificates were freely convertible into gold coins.

Contents

The gold specie standard

A gold specie standard existed in some of the great empires of earlier times, such as in the case of the Byzantine Empire which used a gold coin known as the Byzant. But with the ending of the Byzantine Empire, the civilized world tended to use the silver standard, such as in the case of the silver pennies that became the staple coin of Britain around the time of King Offa in the year 796 AD. The Spanish discovery of the great silver deposits at Potosi in the 16th century, led to an international silver standard in conjunction with the famous pieces of eight, which carried on in earnest until the nineteenth century. In modern times the British West Indies was one of the first regions to adopt a gold specie standard. The gold standard in the British West Indies, that followed from Queen Anne's proclamation of 1704, was a 'de facto' gold standard based on the Spanish gold doubloon coin. In the year 1717, Sir Isaac Newton, who was master of the Royal Mint, established a new mint ratio as between silver and gold that had the effect of driving silver out of circulation and putting Britain on a gold standard. But it wasn't until the year 1821, following the introduction of the gold sovereign coin by the new Royal Mint at Tower Hill in the year 1816, that the United Kingdom was formally put on a gold specie standard. The United Kingdom was the first of the great industrial powers to switch from the silver standard to a gold specie standard. Soon to follow was Canada in 1853, Newfoundland in 1865, and the USA and Germany 'de jure' in 1873. The USA used the American Gold Eagle as their unit, and Germany introduced the new gold mark, while Canada adopted a dual system based on both the American Gold Eagle and the British Gold Sovereign. Australia and New Zealand adopted the British gold standard, as did the British West Indies, while Newfoundland was the only British Empire territory to introduce its own gold coin as a standard. Royal Mint branches were established in Sydney, New South Wales, Melbourne, Victoria, and Perth, Western Australia for the purposes of minting gold sovereigns from Australia's rich gold deposits.

The gold exchange standard

Towards the end of the nineteenth century some of the remaining silver standard countries began to peg their silver coin units to the gold standards of the United Kingdom or the USA. In 1898, British India pegged the silver rupee to the pound sterling at a fixed rate of 1s 4d, while in 1906, the Straits Settlements adopted a gold exchange standard against the pound sterling with the silver Straits dollar being fixed at 2s 4d. Meanwhile at the turn of the century, the Philippines pegged the silver Peso/dollar to the US dollar at 50 cents. A similar pegging at 50 cents occurred at around the same time with the silver Peso of Mexico and the silver Yen of Japan. When Siam adopted a gold exchange standard in 1908, this left only China and Hong Kong on the silver standard.

The gold bullion standard

The gold specie standard ended in the United Kingdom and the rest of the British Empire at the outbreak of the World War I. Treasury notes replaced the circulation of the gold sovereigns and gold half sovereigns. However, legally the gold specie standard was not repealed. The end of the gold standard was successfully effected by appeals to patriotism when somebody would request the Bank of England to redeem their paper money for gold specie. It was only in the year 1925 when Britain returned to the gold standard in conjunction with Australia and South Africa, that the gold specie standard was officially ended. The British act of parliament that introduced the gold bullion standard in 1925 simultaneously repealed the gold specie standard. The new gold bullion standard did not envisage any return to the circulation of gold specie coins. Instead, the law compelled the authorities to sell gold bullion on demand at a fixed price. This gold bullion standard lasted until 1931. In 1931, the United Kingdom was forced to suspend the gold bullion standard due to large outflows of gold across the Atlantic Ocean. Australia and New Zealand had already been forced off the gold standard by the same pressures connected with the Great Depression, and Canada quickly followed suit with the United Kingdom.

Dates of adoption of a gold standard

Suspension of the gold standard

Governments faced with the need to fund high levels of expenditure, but with limited sources of tax revenue, suspended convertibility of currency into gold on a number of occasions in the 19th century. The British government suspended convertibility during the Napoleonic wars and the US government during the US Civil War. In both cases, convertibility was resumed after the war.

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Gold standard from peak to crisis (1901–1932)

Suspending gold payments to fund the war

As in previous major wars under the gold standard, the British government suspended the convertibility of Bank of England notes to gold in 1914 to fund military operations during World War I.[11] By the end of the war Britain was on a series of fiat currency regulations, which monetized Postal Money Orders and Treasury Notes. The government later called these notes banknotes, which are different from US Treasury notes. The United States government took similar measures. After the war, Germany, having lost much of its gold in reparations, could no longer produce gold Reichsmarks, and was forced to issue unbacked paper money, leading to major inflation.

Following Germany's example after the Franco-Prussian War of extracting reparations to facilitate a move to the gold standard, Japan gained the needed reserves after the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895. Whether the gold standard offered a nation a seal of good housekeeping when it sought to borrow abroad is debated.

For Japan, moving to gold was considered as vital to gaining access to Western capital markets.[12]

Great Britain, Japan, and the Scandinavian countries left the gold standard in 1931.[citation needed]

Depression and World War II

Prolongation of the depression

Some critics blame the gold-exchange standard (different from a true gold standard) of the 1920s for prolonging the depression. The gold standard limited the Federal Reserve's control over monetary policy. As a result, the Fed could not lower interest rates as an expansionary policy to stimulate the Great Depression to an end. Rather, the Fed defended the fixed price of dollars in respect to the gold standard by raising interest rates, trying to increase the demand for dollars. Higher interest rates intensified the deflationary pressure on the dollar and reduced investment in the US. Central banks. The banks converted dollar assets to gold in 1931, reducing the Federal Reserve's gold reserves. This speculative attack on the dollar created a panic in the U.S. banking system. Fearing imminent devaluation of the dollar, many foreign and domestic depositors withdrew funds from U.S. banks to convert them into gold or other assets.[13] Since the gold standard depressed demand for dollars, interest rates rose. Due to the Federal Reserve's reluctance to abandon the gold standard and float the U.S. currency as Britain had done, recovery in the United States was slower than in Britain. It wasn't until 1933 when the United States finally decided to abandon the gold standard that things began to improve.[14]

British hesitate to return to gold standard

During the 1939–1942 period, the UK depleted much of its gold stock in purchases of munitions and weaponry on a "cash and carry" basis from the U.S. and other nations.[citation needed] This depletion of the UK's reserve convinced Winston Churchill of the impracticality of returning to a pre-war style gold standard. To put it simply the war had bankrupted Britain. John Maynard Keynes, who had argued against such a gold standard, proposed to put the power to print money in the hands of the privately owned Bank of England. Keynes, in warning about the menaces of inflation, said "By a continuous process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method, they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some".[15] Quite possibly because of this, the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement established the International Monetary Fund and an international monetary system based on convertibility of the various national currencies into a U.S. dollar that was in turn convertible into gold. It also prevented countries from manipulating their currency's value to gain an edge in international trade.[citation needed]

Post-war international gold-dollar standard (1946–1971)

After the Second World War, a system similar to a Gold Standard was established by the Bretton Woods Agreements. Under this system, many countries fixed their exchange rates relative to the U.S. dollar. The U.S. promised to fix the price of gold at $35 per ounce. Implicitly, then, all currencies pegged to the dollar also had a fixed value in terms of gold. Under the regime of the French President Charles de Gaulle up to 1970, France reduced its dollar reserves, trading them for gold from the U.S. government, thereby reducing U.S. economic influence abroad. This, along with the fiscal strain of federal expenditures for the Vietnam War, led President Richard Nixon to end the direct convertibility of the dollar to gold in 1971, resulting in the system's breakdown, commonly known as the Nixon Shock.

Theory

Commodity money is inconvenient to store and transport. It also does not allow the government to control or regulate the flow of commerce within their dominion with the same ease that a standardized currency does. As such, commodity money gave way to representative money, and gold and other specie were retained as its backing.

Gold was a common form of money due to its rarity, durability, divisibility, fungibility, and ease of identification,[12] often in conjunction with silver. Silver was typically the main circulating medium, with gold as the metal of monetary reserve.

It is difficult to manipulate a gold standard to tailor to an economy’s demand for money, providing practical constraints against the measures that central banks might otherwise use to respond to economic crises.[16]

The gold standard variously specified how the gold backing would be implemented, including the amount of specie per currency unit. The currency itself is just paper and so has no intrinsic value, but is accepted by traders because it can be redeemed any time for the equivalent specie. A U.S. silver certificate, for example, could be redeemed for an actual piece of silver.

Representative money and the gold standard protect citizens from hyperinflation and other abuses of monetary policy, as were seen in some countries during the Great Depression. However, they were not without their problems and critics, and so were partially abandoned via the international adoption of the Bretton Woods System. That system eventually collapsed in 1971, at which time nearly all nations had switched to full fiat money.

According to later analysis, the earliness with which a country left the gold standard reliably predicted its economic recovery from the great depression. For example, Great Britain and Scandinavia, which left the gold standard in 1931, recovered much earlier than France and Belgium, which remained on gold much longer. Countries such as China, which had a silver standard, almost avoided the depression entirely. The connection between leaving the gold standard as a strong predictor of that country's severity of its depression and the length of time of its recovery has been shown to be consistent for dozens of countries, including developing countries. This partly explains why the experience and length of the depression differed between national economies.[17]

Differing definitions

A 100% reserve gold standard, or a full gold standard, exists when a monetary authority holds sufficient gold to convert all of the representative money it has issued into gold at the promised exchange rate. It is sometimes referred to as the gold specie standard to more easily identify it from other forms of the gold standard that have existed at various times. A 100% reserve standard is generally considered difficult to implement as the quantity of gold in the world is too small to sustain current worldwide economic activity at current gold prices. Its implementation would entail a many-fold increase in the price of gold. Furthermore, the "necessary" quantity of money (i.e. one that avoids either inflation or deflation) is not a fixed quantity, but varies continuously with the level of commercial activity.[citation needed]

This is due to the Fractional-reserve banking system. As money is created by the central bank and spent into circulation, the money expands via the money multiplier. Each subsequent loan and redeposit results in an expansion of the monetary base. Therefore, the promised exchange rate would have to be constantly adjusted.

In an international gold-standard system (which is necessarily based on an internal gold standard in the countries concerned)[18] gold or a currency that is convertible into gold at a fixed price is used as a means of making international payments. Under such a system, when exchange rates rise above or fall below the fixed mint rate by more than the cost of shipping gold from one country to another, large inflows or outflows occur until the rates return to the official level. International gold standards often limit which entities have the right to redeem currency for gold. Under the Bretton Woods system, these were called "SDRs" for Special Drawing Rights.[citation needed]

Advantages

The theory of the gold standard rests on the idea that maximal increases in governmental purchasing power during wartime emergencies require post-war deflations, which would not occur without monetary institutions like the gold standard, which insist upon return to pre-war price-levels and therefore deflationary wartime expectations.[19]

The gold standard limits the power of governments to inflate prices through excessive issuance of paper currency. It may tend to reduce uncertainty in international trade by providing a fixed pattern of international exchange rates. Under the classical international gold standard, disturbances in price levels in one country would be partly or wholly offset by an automatic balance-of-payment adjustment mechanism called the "price specie flow mechanism."

Disadvantages

Gold prices (US$ per ounce) since 1968, in nominal US$ and inflation adjusted US$.
  • The total amount of gold that has ever been mined has been estimated at around 142,000 metric tons.[20] Assuming a gold price of US$1,000 per ounce, or $32,500 per kilogram, the total value of all the gold ever mined would be around $4.5 trillion. This is less than the value of circulating money in the U.S. alone, where more than $8.3 trillion is in circulation or in deposit (M2).[21] Therefore, a return to the gold standard, if also combined with a mandated end to fractional reserve banking, would result in a significant increase in the current value of gold, which may limit its use in current applications.[22] For example, instead of using the ratio of $1,000 per ounce, the ratio can be defined as $2,000 per ounce effectively raising the value of gold to $8 trillion. However, this is specifically a disadvantage of return to the gold standard and not the efficacy of the gold standard itself. Some gold standard advocates consider this to be both acceptable and necessary[23] whilst others who are not opposed to fractional reserve banking argue that only base currency and not deposits would need to be replaced.[citation needed] The amount of such base currency (M0) is only about one tenth as much as the figure (M2) listed above.[24]
  • Many economists believe that economic recessions can be largely mitigated by increasing money supply during economic downturns.[25] Following a gold standard would mean that the amount of money would be determined by the supply of gold, and hence monetary policy could no longer be used to stabilize the economy in times of economic recession.[26] Such reason is often employed to partially blame the gold standard for the Great Depression, citing that the Federal Reserve couldn't expand credit enough to offset the deflationary forces at work in the market. Opponents of this viewpoint have argued that gold stocks were available to the Federal Reserve for credit expansion in the early 1930s. Fed operatives simply failed to utilize them. In this case, a causal factor of the Great Depression was not the gold standard but rather a politically usurped monetary system.[27]
  • Monetary policy would essentially be determined by the rate of gold production. Fluctuations in the amount of gold that is mined could cause inflation if there is an increase, or deflation if there is a decrease.[28][29] Some hold the view that this contributed to the severity and length of the Great Depression.[22][30]
  • Some have contended that the gold standard may be susceptible to speculative attacks when a government's financial position appears weak. For example, some believe the United States was forced to raise its interest rates in the middle of the Great Depression to defend the credibility of its currency.[30]
  • If a country wanted to devalue its currency it would generally produce sharper changes than the smooth declines seen in fiat currencies, depending on the method of devaluation.[31]

Advocates of a renewed gold standard

The return to the gold standard is supported by many followers of the Austrian School of Economics, Objectivists and libertarians[10] largely because they object to the role of the government in issuing fiat currency through central banks. A significant number of gold standard advocates also call for a mandated end to fractional reserve banking.[citation needed]

Few lawmakers[23] today advocate a return to the gold standard, other than adherents of the Austrian school and some supply-siders. However, some prominent economists have expressed sympathy with a hard currency basis, and have argued against fiat money, including former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan (himself a former Objectivist), and macro-economist Robert Barro.[32] Greenspan famously argued the case for returning to a gold standard in his 1966 paper "Gold and Economic Freedom", in which he described supporters of fiat currencies as "welfare statists" intent on using monetary policies to finance deficit spending. He has argued that the fiat money system of today has retained the favorable properties of the gold standard because central bankers have pursued monetary policy as if a gold standard were still in place.[33] U.S. Congressman Ron Paul has continually argued for the reinstatement of the gold standard.

The current global monetary system relies on the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency by which major transactions, such as the price of gold itself, are measured.[citation needed] A host of alternatives have been suggested, including energy-based currencies, market baskets of currencies or commodities, gold being one of the alternatives.

In 2001 Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad proposed a new currency that would be used initially for international trade among Muslim nations. The currency he proposed was called the Islamic gold dinar and it was defined as 4.25 grams of pure (24 carat) gold. Mahathir Mohamad promoted the concept on the basis of its economic merits as a stable unit of account and also as a political symbol to create greater unity between Islamic nations. The purported purpose of this move would be to reduce dependence on the United States dollar as a reserve currency, and to establish a non-debt-backed currency in accord with Islamic law against the charging of interest.[34] However, to date, Mahathir's proposed gold-dinar currency has failed to take off.

Gold as a reserve today

During the 1990s Russia liquidated much of the gold reserves of the former USSR, while several other nations accumulated gold in preparation for the Economic and Monetary Union.[citation needed] The Swiss Franc was based on a full gold convertibility until 2000. However, gold reserves are held in significant quantity by many nations as a means of defending their currency, and hedging against the U.S. Dollar, which forms the bulk of liquid currency reserves. Weakness in the U.S. Dollar tends to be offset by strengthening of gold prices. Gold remains a principal financial asset of almost all central banks alongside foreign currencies and government bonds. It is also held by central banks as a way of hedging against loans to their own governments as an "internal reserve". Approximately 19% of all above-ground gold is held in reserves by central banks.

Both gold coins and gold bars are widely traded in liquid markets, and therefore still serve as a private store of wealth. Some privately issued currencies, such as digital gold currency, are backed by gold reserves.

In 1999, to protect the value of gold as a reserve, European Central Bankers signed the Washington Agreement on Gold, which stated that they would not allow gold leasing for speculative purposes, nor would they enter the market as sellers except for sales that had already been agreed upon.

See also

References

  1. ^ Kindleberger, Charles P. (1993). A financial history of western Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 60–63. ISBN 0-19-507738-5. OCLC 26258644. 
  2. ^ Newton, Isaac, Treasury Papers, vol. ccviii. 43, Mint Office, 21 Sept. 1717.
  3. ^ "The Gold Standard in Theory and History", BJ Eichengreen & M Flandreau [1]
  4. ^ The Pocket money book: a monetary chronology of the United States. Great Barrington, Massachusetts: American Institute for Economic Research. 2006. pp. 4–6. ISBN 0-913610-46-1. OCLC 75968548. 
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ [4]
  8. ^ [5]
  9. ^ [6]
  10. ^ [7]
  11. ^ Snowdon, Brian; Howard R. Vane (2002). "Gold Standard". An Encyclopedia of Macroeconomics. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 293. ISBN 1840643870. http://books.google.com/books?id=HSVakrh8TToC&pg=PA293. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  12. ^ a b Metzler, Mark (2006). Lever of Empire: The International Gold Standard and the Crisis of Liberalism in Prewar Japan.. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. [8]. ISBN 0-520-24420-6. 
  13. ^ http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/speeches/2004/200403022/default.htm
  14. ^ The European Economy between Wars; Feinstein, Temin, and Toniolo
  15. ^ John Maynard Keynes Economic Consequences of the Peace, 1920.
  16. ^ Demirgüç-Kunt, Asli; Enrica Detragiache (April 2005). "Cross-Country Empirical Studies of Systemic Bank Distress: A Survey". National Institute Economic Review 192 (1): 68–83. doi:10.1177/002795010519200108. ISSN 0027-9501. OCLC 90233776. http://ner.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/192/1/68. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  17. ^ Bernanke, Ben (March 2, 2004), "Remarks by Governor Ben S. Bernanke: Money, Gold and the Great Depression", At the H. Parker Willis Lecture in Economic Policy, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia.
  18. ^ The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd edition (2008), Vol.3, S.695
  19. ^ Thompson, Earl A. (1997). "The Gold Standard: Causes and Consequences". in David Glasner. Business cycles and depressions: an encyclopedia. New York: Garland Publishing. pp. 267–272. ISBN 0-8240-0944-4. OCLC 34651539. http://books.google.com/books?id=e1ZEPd_pQnoC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0#PRA2-PA167,M1. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  20. ^ Butterman, W. C.; Earle B. Amey III (2005) (PDF). Mineral Commodity Profiles—Gold. Reston, Virginia: United States Geological Survey. OCLC 62034878. http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2002/of02-303/OFR_02-303.pdf. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  21. ^ "Money Stock and Debt Measures". Federal Reserve Board. 2008-03-13. http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h6/current/default.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  22. ^ a b Warburton, Clark (1966). "The Monetary Disequilibrium Hypothesis". Depression, Inflation, and Monetary Policy: Selected Papers, 1945-1953. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 25–35. OCLC 736401. 
  23. ^ a b Paul, Ron; Lewis Lehrman (1982) (PDF). The case for gold: a minority report of the U. S. Gold Commission. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute. p. 160. ISBN 0-932790-31-3. OCLC 8763972. http://www.mises.org/books/caseforgold.pdf. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  24. ^ Data from http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h6/hist/ as interpreted in File:Components of the United States money supply2.svg
  25. ^ Mankiw, N. Gregory (2002). Macroeconomics (5th ed.). Worth. pp. 238–255. 
  26. ^ Krugman, Paul. "The Gold Bug Variations". Slate.com. http://www.slate.com/id/1912/. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  27. ^ Timberlake, Richard H. 2005. "Gold Standards and the Real Bills Doctrine in US Monetary Policy". Econ Journal Watch 2(2): 196-233. [9]
  28. ^ DeLong, Brad (1996-08-10). "Why Not the Gold Standard?". Berkeley, California: University of California, Berkeley. http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/Politics/whynotthegoldstandard.html. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  29. ^ Bordo, Michael D. (2008). "Gold Standard". in David R. Henderson. Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. ISBN 0-86597-666-X. OCLC 123350134. http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/GoldStandard.html. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  30. ^ a b Hamilton, James D. (2005-12-12). "The gold standard and the Great Depression". Econbrowser. http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/2005/12/the_gold_standa.html. Retrieved 2008-11-12.  See also Hamilton, James D. (April 1988). "Role of the International Gold Standard in Propagating the Great Depression". Contemporary Economic Policy 6 (2): 67–89. doi:10.1111/j.1465-7287.1988.tb00286.x (inactive 2008-11-12). http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120017201/abstract. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  31. ^ McArdle, Megan (2007-09-04). "There's gold in them thar standards!". The Atlantic Monthly. http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/09/theres_gold_in_them_thar_stand.php. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  32. ^ Salerno, Joseph T. (1982-09-09). "The Gold Standard: An Analysis of Some Recent Proposals". Cato Policy Analysis. Cato Institute. http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa016.html. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  33. ^ Greenspan, Alan (July 1966). "Gold and Economic Freedom". The Objectivist 5 (7). http://www.constitution.org/mon/greenspan_gold.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  34. ^ al-'Amraawi, Muhammad; Al-Khammar al-Baqqaali, Ahmad Saabir, Al-Hussayn ibn Haashim, Abu Sayf Kharkhaash, Mubarak Sa'doun al-Mutawwa', Malik Abu Hamza Sezgin, Abdassamad Clarke and Asadullah Yate (2001-07-01). "Declaration of 'Ulama on the Gold Dinar". Islam i Dag. http://www.islamidag.dk/ulamaongold.html. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 

Further reading

External links

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The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed weight of gold. There are distinct kinds of gold standard. First, the gold specie standard is a system in which the monetary unit is associated with circulating gold coins, or with the unit of value defined in terms of one particular circulating gold coin in conjunction with subsidiary coinage made from a lesser valuable metal.

Similarly, the gold exchange standard typically involves the circulation of only coins made of silver or other metals, but where the authorities guarantee a fixed exchange rate with another country that is on the gold standard. This creates a de facto gold standard, in that the value of the silver coins has a fixed external value in terms of gold that is independent of the inherent silver value. Finally, the gold bullion standard is a system in which gold coins do not circulate, but in which the authorities have agreed to sell gold bullion on demand at a fixed price in exchange for the circulating currency. s were used as paper currency in the United States from 1882 to 1933. These certificates were freely convertible into gold coins.]]

Contents

The gold specie standard

A gold specie standard existed in some of the great empires of earlier times. One example is the Byzantine Empire, which used a gold coin known as the Byzant. But with the ending of the Byzantine Empire, the European world tended to use the silver standard. An example is the silver pennies that became the staple coin of Britain around the time of King Offa in the year 796 AD. The Spanish discovery of the great silver deposits at Potosí and in Mexico in the 16th century led to an international silver standard in conjunction with the famous pieces of eight, important until the nineteenth century.

In modern times the British West Indies was one of the first regions to adopt a gold specie standard. Following Queen Anne's proclamation of 1704, the British West Indies gold standard, was a 'de facto' gold standard based on the Spanish gold doubloon coin. In the year 1717, master of the Royal Mint Sir Isaac Newton established a new mint ratio between silver and gold that had the effect of driving silver out of circulation and putting Britain on a gold standard. However, only in 1821, following the introduction of the gold sovereign coin by the new Royal Mint at Tower Hill in the year 1816, was the United Kingdom formally put on a gold specie standard.

The United Kingdom was the first of the great industrial powers to switch from the silver standard to a gold specie standard. Soon to follow was Canada in 1853, Newfoundland in 1865, and the USA and Germany 'de jure' in 1873. The USA used the Eagle as their unit, and Germany introduced the new gold mark, while Canada adopted a dual system based on both the American Gold Eagle and the British Gold Sovereign.

Australia and New Zealand adopted the British gold standard, as did the British West Indies, while Newfoundland was the only British Empire territory to introduce its own gold coin as a standard. Royal Mint branches were established in Sydney, New South Wales, Melbourne, Victoria, and Perth, Western Australia for the purposes of minting gold sovereigns from Australia's rich gold deposits.

The crisis of silver currency and bank notes (1750–1870)

To understand the adoption of the international gold standard in the late 19th century, it is important to follow the events of the late 18th century and early 19th. In the late 18th century, wars and trade with China, which sold to Europe, but had little use for European goods, drained silver from the economies of Western Europe and the United States. Coins were struck in smaller and smaller amounts, and there was a proliferation of bank and stock notes used as money.

In the 1790s England suffered a massive shortage of silver coinage, and ceased to mint larger silver coins, issued "token" silver coins and overstruck foreign coins. With the end of the Napoleonic Wars, England began a massive recoinage program, that created standard gold sovereigns and circulating crowns and half-crowns, and eventually copper farthings in 1821. The recoinage of silver in England after a long drought produced a burst of coins: England struck nearly 40 million shillings between 1816 and 1820, 17 million half crowns and 1.3 million silver crowns. The 1819 Act for the Resumption of Cash Payments set 1823 as the date for resumption of convertibility, reached instead by 1821. Throughout the 1820s small notes were issued by regional banks, which were finally restricted in 1826, while the Bank of England was allowed to set up regional branches. In 1833, however, the Bank of England notes were made legal tender, and redemption by other banks was discouraged. In 1844 the Bank Charter Act established that Bank of England Notes, fully backed by gold, were the legal standard. According to the strict interpretation of the gold standard, this 1844 act marks the establishment of a full gold standard for British money.

The US adopted a silver standard based on the "Spanish milled dollar" in 1785. This was codified in the 1792 Mint and Coinage Act, and by the Federal Government's use of the "Bank of the United States" to hold its reserves, as well as establishing a fixed ratio of gold to the US dollar. This was, in effect, a derivative silver standard, since the bank was not required to keep silver to back all of its currency. This began a long series of attempts for America to create a bimetallic standard for the US Dollar, which would continue until the 1920s. Gold and silver coins were legal tender, including the Spanish real, a silver coin struck in the Western Hemisphere. Because of the huge debt taken on by the US Federal Government to finance the Revolutionary War, silver coins struck by the government left circulation, and in 1806 President Jefferson suspended the minting of silver coins.

The US Treasury was put on a strict hard money standard, doing business only in gold or silver coin as part of the Independent Treasury Act of 1848, which legally separated the accounts of the Federal Government from the banking system. However the fixed rate of gold to silver overvalued silver in relation to the demand for gold to trade or borrow from England. The drain of gold in favor of silver led to the search for gold, including the "California Gold Rush" of 1849. Following Gresham's law, silver poured into the US, which traded with other silver nations, and gold moved out. In 1853 the US reduced the silver weight of coins, to keep them in circulation, and in 1857 removed legal tender status from foreign coinage.

In 1857 the final crisis of the free banking era of international finance began, as American banks suspended payment in silver, rippling through the very young international financial system of central banks. In the United States this collapse was a contributory factor in the American Civil War, and in 1861 the US government suspended payment in gold and silver, effectively ending the attempts to form a silver standard basis for the dollar. Through the 1860–1871 period various attempts to resurrect bi-metallic standards were made, including one based on the gold and silver franc, however, with the rapid influx of silver from new deposits, the expectation of scarcity of silver ended.

The interaction between central banking and currency basis formed the primary source of monetary instability during this period. The combination that produced economic stability was restriction of supply of new notes, a government monopoly on the issuance of notes directly and indirectly, a central bank and a single unit of value. Attempts to evade these conditions produced periodic monetary crisis — as notes devalued, or silver ceased to circulate as a store of value, or there was a depression as governments, demanding specie as payment, drained the circulating medium out of the economy. At the same time there was a dramatically expanded need for credit, and large banks were being chartered in various states, including, by 1872, Japan. The need for a solid basis in monetary affairs would produce a rapid acceptance of the gold standard in the period that followed.

The gold exchange standard

Towards the end of the 19th century some of the remaining silver standard countries began to peg their silver coin units to the gold standards of the United Kingdom or the USA. In 1898, British India pegged the silver rupee to the pound sterling at a fixed rate of 1s 4d, while in 1906, the Straits Settlements adopted a gold exchange standard against the pound sterling with the silver Straits dollar being fixed at 2s 4d.

Meanwhile at the turn of the century, the Philippines pegged the silver Peso/dollar to the US dollar at 50 cents. A similar pegging at 50 cents occurred at around the same time with the silver Peso of Mexico and the silver Yen of Japan. When Siam adopted a gold exchange standard in 1908, this left only China and Hong Kong on the silver standard.

The gold bullion standard

The gold specie standard ended in the United Kingdom and the rest of the British Empire at the outbreak of World War I. Treasury notes replaced the circulation of the gold sovereigns and gold half sovereigns. However, legally the gold specie standard was not repealed. The end of the gold standard was successfully effected by appeals to patriotism when somebody would request the Bank of England to redeem their paper money for gold specie. It was only in the year 1925 when Britain returned to the gold standard in conjunction with Australia and South Africa, that the gold specie standard was officially ended.

The British act of parliament that introduced the gold bullion standard in 1925 simultaneously repealed the gold specie standard. The new gold bullion standard did not envisage any return to the circulation of gold specie coins. Instead, the law compelled the authorities to sell gold bullion on demand at a fixed price. This gold bullion standard lasted until 1931. In 1931, the United Kingdom was forced to suspend the gold bullion standard due to large outflows of gold across the Atlantic Ocean. Australia and New Zealand had already been forced off the gold standard by the same pressures connected with the Great Depression, and Canada quickly followed suit with the United Kingdom.

Dates of adoption of a gold standard

Suspension of the gold standard

Governments faced with the need to fund high levels of expenditure, but with limited sources of tax revenue, suspended convertibility of currency into gold on a number of occasions in the 19th century. The British government suspended convertibility during the Napoleonic wars and the US government during the US Civil War. In both cases, convertibility was resumed after the war.

Gold standard from peak to crisis (1901–1932)

Suspending gold payments to fund the war

As in previous major wars under the gold standard, the British government suspended the convertibility of Bank of England notes to gold in 1914 to fund military operations during World War I.[6] By the end of the war Britain was on a series of fiat currency regulations, which monetized Postal Money Orders and Treasury Notes. The government later called these notes banknotes, which are different from US Treasury notes. The United States government took similar measures. After the war, Germany, having lost much of its gold in reparations, could no longer produce gold Reichsmarks, and was forced to issue unbacked paper money, leading to hyperinflation in the 1920s.

Following Germany's example after the Franco-Prussian War of extracting reparations to facilitate a move to the gold standard, Japan gained the needed reserves after the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895. Whether the gold standard provided a government sufficient bona fides when it sought to borrow abroad is debated.

For Japan, moving to gold was considered vital to gain access to Western capital markets.[7]

Great Britain, Japan, and the Scandinavian countries left the gold standard in 1931.[8]

Depression and World War II

Prolongation of the Great Depression

Some economic historians, such as UC Berkeley professor Barry Eichengreen, blame the gold standard of the 1920s for prolonging the Great Depression.[9] Others including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman lay the blame at the feet of the Federal Reserve.[10][11] The gold standard limited the flexibility of central banks monetary policy by limiting their ability to expand the money supply, and thus their ability to lower interest rates. In the US, the Federal Reserve was required by law to have 40% gold backing of its Federal Reserve demand notes, and thus, could not expand the money supply beyond what was allowed by the gold reserves held in their vaults.[12]

In the early 1930s, the Federal Reserve defended the fixed price of dollars in respect to the gold standard by raising interest rates, trying to increase the demand for dollars. Higher interest rates intensified the deflationary pressure on the dollar and reduced investment in U.S. banks. Commercial banks also converted Federal Reserve Notes to gold in 1931, reducing the Federal Reserve's gold reserves, and forcing a corresponding reduction in the amount of Federal Reserve Notes in circulation.[13] This speculative attack on the dollar created a panic in the U.S. banking system. Fearing imminent devaluation of the dollar, many foreign and domestic depositors withdrew funds from U.S. banks to convert them into gold or other assets.[13]

The forced contraction of the money supply caused by people removing funds from the banking system during the bank panics resulted in deflation; and even as nominal interest rates dropped, inflation-adjusted real interest rates remained high, rewarding those that held onto money instead of spending it, causing a further slowdown in the economy.[14] Recovery in the United States was slower than in Britain, in part due to Congressional reluctance to abandon the gold standard and float the U.S. currency as Britain had done. It was not until 1933 when the United States finally decided to abandon the gold standard that the economy began to improve.[15]

British hesitate to return to gold standard

During the 1939–1942 period, the UK depleted much of its gold stock in purchases of munitions and weaponry on a "cash and carry" basis from the U.S. and other nations.[citation needed] This depletion of the UK's reserve convinced Winston Churchill of the impracticality of returning to a pre-war style gold standard. To put it simply the war had bankrupted Britain.

John Maynard Keynes, who had argued against such a gold standard, proposed to put the power to print money in the hands of the privately owned Bank of England. Keynes, in warning about the menaces of inflation, said "By a continuous process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method, they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some".[16]

Quite possibly because of this, the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement established the International Monetary Fund and an international monetary system based on convertibility of the various national currencies into a U.S. dollar that was in turn convertible into gold. It also prevented countries from manipulating their currency's value to gain an edge in international trade.[citation needed]

Post-war international gold-dollar standard (1946–1971)

After the Second World War, a system similar to a Gold Standard was established by the Bretton Woods Agreements. Under this system, many countries fixed their exchange rates relative to the U.S. dollar. The U.S. promised to fix the price of gold at $35 per ounce. Implicitly, then, all currencies pegged to the dollar also had a fixed value in terms of gold. Under the regime of the French President Charles de Gaulle up to 1970, France reduced its dollar reserves, trading them for gold from the U.S. government, thereby reducing U.S. economic influence abroad. This, along with the fiscal strain of federal expenditures for the Vietnam War, led President Richard Nixon to end the direct convertibility of the dollar to gold in 1971, resulting in the system's breakdown, commonly known as the Nixon Shock.

Theory

Commodity money is inconvenient to store and transport. It also does not allow the government to control or regulate the flow of commerce within their dominion with the same ease that a standardized currency does. As such, commodity money gave way to representative money, and gold and other specie were retained as its backing.

Gold was a common form of money due to its rarity, durability, divisibility, fungibility, and ease of identification,[7] often in conjunction with silver. Silver was typically the main circulating medium, with gold as the metal of monetary reserve.

It is difficult to manipulate a gold standard to tailor to an economy’s demand for money, providing practical constraints against the measures that central banks might otherwise use to respond to economic crises.[17]

The gold standard variously specified how the gold backing would be implemented, including the amount of specie per currency unit. The currency itself is just paper and so has no intrinsic value, but is accepted by traders because it can be redeemed any time for the equivalent specie. A U.S. silver certificate, for example, could be redeemed for an actual piece of silver.

Representative money and the gold standard protect citizens from hyperinflation and other abuses of monetary policy, as were seen in some countries during the Great Depression. However, they were not without their problems and critics, and so were partially abandoned via the international adoption of the Bretton Woods System. That system eventually collapsed in 1971, at which time nearly all nations had switched to full fiat money.

According to later analysis, the earliness with which a country left the gold standard reliably predicted its economic recovery from the great depression. For example, Great Britain and Scandinavia, which left the gold standard in 1931, recovered much earlier than France and Belgium, which remained on gold much longer. Countries such as China, which had a silver standard, almost avoided the depression entirely. The connection between leaving the gold standard as a strong predictor of that country's severity of its depression and the length of time of its recovery has been shown to be consistent for dozens of countries, including developing countries. This partly explains why the experience and length of the depression differed between national economies.[18]

Differing definitions

A 100% reserve gold standard, or a full gold standard, exists when a monetary authority holds sufficient gold to convert all of the representative money it has issued into gold at the promised exchange rate. It is sometimes referred to as the gold specie standard to more easily identify it from other forms of the gold standard that have existed at various times. A 100% reserve standard is generally considered[by whom?] difficult to implement as the quantity of gold in the world is too small to sustain current worldwide economic activity at current gold prices. Its implementation would entail a many-fold increase in the price of gold.[citation needed]

This is due to the Fractional-reserve banking system. As money is created by the central bank and spent into circulation, the money expands via the money multiplier. Each subsequent loan and redeposit results in an expansion of the monetary base. Therefore, the promised exchange rate would have to be constantly adjusted.

In an international gold-standard system (which is necessarily based on an internal gold standard in the countries concerned)[19] gold or a currency that is convertible into gold at a fixed price is used as a means of making international payments. Under such a system, when exchange rates rise above or fall below the fixed mint rate by more than the cost of shipping gold from one country to another, large inflows or outflows occur until the rates return to the official level. International gold standards often limit which entities have the right to redeem currency for gold. Under the Bretton Woods system, these were called "SDRs" for Special Drawing Rights.[citation needed]

Advantages

  • Long-term price stability has been described as the great virtue of the gold standard.[20] Under the gold standard, high levels of inflation are rare and hyperinflation is impossible as the money supply can only grow at the rate that the gold supply increases. Economy-wide price increases caused by ever-increasing amounts of currency chasing a constant supply of goods are rare, as gold supply for monetary use is limited by the available gold that can be minted into coin. High levels of inflation under a gold standard are usually seen only when warfare destroys a large part of the economy, reducing the production of goods, or when a major new source of gold becomes available. In the U.S. one of those periods of warfare was the Civil War, which destroyed the economy of the South,[21] while the California Gold Rush made large amounts of gold available for minting.[22]
  • The gold standard limits the power of governments to inflate prices through excessive issuance of paper currency. It provides fixed international exchange rates between those countries that have adopted it, and thus reduces uncertainty in international trade. Historically, imbalances between price levels in different countries would be partly or wholly offset by an automatic balance-of-payment adjustment mechanism called the "price specie flow mechanism."
  • The gold standard makes chronic deficit spending by governments more difficult, as it prevents governments from 'inflating away' the real value of their debts.[23] A central bank cannot be an unlimited buyer of last resort of government debt. A central bank could not create unlimited quantities of money at will, as there is a limited supply of gold.

Disadvantages

  • A gold standard leads to deflation whenever an economy using the gold standard grows faster than the gold supply. When an economy grows faster than its money supply, the same money must be used to execute a larger volume of transactions. The only ways of achieving this are for the money to circulate faster or to lower the cost of the transactions. If deflation drives costs down, the real value of each unit of money goes up. This increases the value of cash, and decreases the monetary value of real assets, since the same asset can be purchased with less money. This in turn tends to increase the ratio of debts to assets . For example, assuming interest rates remain unchanged, the monthly cost of a fixed-rate home mortgage stays the same, but the value of the house goes down, and the value of the money required to pay the mortgage goes up. Thus deflation rewards cash savings.[citation needed]
  • Deflation rewards savers[24][25] and punishes debtors.[26][27] Real debt burdens therefore rise, causing borrowers to cut spending to service their debts or to default. Lenders become wealthier, but may choose to save some of their additional wealth rather than spending it all. The overall amount of expenditure is therefore likely to fall.[28] Deflation also robs a central bank of its ability to stimulate spending.[28] Deflation is considered to be difficult to control, and to be a serious economic risk. However in practice it has always been possible for governments to control deflation by leaving the gold standard or by artificial expenditure.[28][29][30]
  • The total amount of gold that has ever been mined has been estimated at around 142,000 metric tons.[31] Assuming a gold price of US$1,000 per ounce, or $32,500 per kilogram, the total value of all the gold ever mined would be around $4.5 trillion. This is less than the value of circulating money in the U.S. alone, where more than $8.3 trillion is in circulation or in deposit (M2).[32] Therefore, a return to the gold standard, if also combined with a mandated end to fractional reserve banking, would result in a significant increase in the current value of gold, which may limit its use in current applications.[33] For example, instead of using the ratio of $1,000 per ounce, the ratio can be defined as $2,000 per ounce effectively raising the value of gold to $9 trillion. However, this is specifically a disadvantage of return to the gold standard and not the efficacy of the gold standard itself. Some gold standard advocates consider this to be both acceptable and necessary[34] whilst others who are not opposed to fractional reserve banking argue that only base currency and not deposits would need to be replaced.[citation needed] The amount of such base currency (M0) is only about one tenth as much as the figure (M2) listed above.[35]
  • Many economists believe that economic recessions can be largely mitigated by increasing money supply during economic downturns.[36] Following a gold standard would mean that the amount of money would be determined by the supply of gold, and hence monetary policy could no longer be used to stabilize the economy in times of economic recession.[37] Such reason is often employed to partially blame the gold standard for the Great Depression, citing that the Federal Reserve couldn't expand credit enough to offset the deflationary forces at work in the market. Opponents of this viewpoint have argued that gold stocks were available to the Federal Reserve for credit expansion in the early 1930s, but Fed operatives failed to utilize them.[38]
  • Monetary policy would essentially be determined by the rate of gold production. Fluctuations in the amount of gold that is mined could cause inflation if there is an increase, or deflation if there is a decrease.[39][40] Some hold the view that this contributed to the severity and length of the Great Depression as the gold standard forced the central banks to keep monetary policy too tight, creating deflation.[33][41] Milton Friedman however argued that the main cause of the severity of the Great Depression in the United States was the Federal Reserve, and not the gold standard, as they willfully kept monetary policy tighter than was required by the gold standard.[42] Additionally three increases by the Federal Reserve in bank reserve requirements in 1936 and 1937, which doubled bank reserve requirements [43] lead to yet another contraction of the money supply.
  • Although the gold standard gives long term price stability, it does in the short term bring high price volatility. In the United States from 1879 to 1913 the coefficient of variation of the annual change in price levels was 17.0, whereas from 1943 to 1990 it was only 0.88.[40] It has been argued by among others Anna Schwartz that this kind of instability in short term price levels can lead to financial instability as lenders and borrowers become uncertain about the value of debt.[44]
  • Some have contended that the gold standard may be susceptible to speculative attacks when a government's financial position appears weak, although others contend that this very threat discourages governments' engaging in risky policy (see Moral Hazard). For example, some believe the United States was forced to raise its interest rates in the middle of the Great Depression to defend the credibility of its currency after unusually easy credit policies in the 1920s.[41] This disadvantage however is shared by all fixed exchange rate regimes and not just limited to gold money. All fixed currencies that appear weak are subject to speculative attack.[45]
  • If a country wanted to devalue its currency it would generally produce sharper changes than the smooth declines seen in fiat currencies, depending on the method of devaluation.[46]

Advocates of a renewed gold standard

The return to the gold standard is supported by many followers of the Austrian School of Economics, Objectivists, strict Constitutionists, and libertarians [47] largely because they object to the role of the government in issuing fiat currency through central banks. A significant number of gold standard advocates also call for a mandated end to fractional reserve banking.[citation needed]

Few lawmakers[34] today advocate a return to the gold standard, other than adherents of the Austrian school and some supply-siders. However, some prominent economists have expressed sympathy with a hard currency basis, and have argued against fiat money, including former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan (himself a former Objectivist), and macro-economist Robert Barro.[48] Greenspan famously argued the case for returning to a gold standard in his 1966 paper "Gold and Economic Freedom", in which he described supporters of fiat currencies as "welfare statists" intent on using monetary policies to finance deficit spending. He has argued that the fiat money system of his day (pre-Nixon Shock) had retained the favorable properties of the gold standard because central bankers had pursued monetary policy as if a gold standard were still in place.[49] U.S. Congressman Ron Paul has continually argued for the reinstatement of the gold standard, but is no longer a strict advocate, instead supporting a basket of commodities that emerges on the free markets.[50]

The current global monetary system relies on the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency by which major transactions, such as the price of gold itself, are measured.[citation needed] A host of alternatives have been suggested, including energy-based currencies, market baskets of currencies or commodities, gold being one of the alternatives.

In 2001 Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad proposed a new currency that would be used initially for international trade among Muslim nations. The currency he proposed was called the Islamic gold dinar and it was defined as 4.25 grams of pure (24 carat) gold. Mahathir Mohamad promoted the concept on the basis of its economic merits as a stable unit of account and also as a political symbol to create greater unity between Islamic nations. The purported purpose of this move would be to reduce dependence on the United States dollar as a reserve currency, and to establish a non-debt-backed currency in accord with Islamic law against the charging of interest.[51] However, to date, Mahathir's proposed gold-dinar currency has failed to take hold.

Gold as a reserve today

The Swiss Franc was based on a full gold convertibility until 2000. However, gold reserves are held in significant quantity by many nations as a means of defending their currency, and hedging against the U.S. Dollar, which forms the bulk of liquid currency reserves. Gold remains a principal financial asset of almost all central banks alongside foreign currencies and government bonds. It is also held by central banks as a way of hedging against loans to their own governments as an "internal reserve".

Both gold coins and gold bars are widely traded in liquid markets, and therefore still serve as a private store of wealth. Some privately issued currencies, such as digital gold currency, are backed by gold reserves.

In 1999, to protect the value of gold as a reserve, European Central Bankers signed the Washington Agreement on Gold, which stated that they would not allow gold leasing for speculative purposes, nor would they enter the market as sellers except for sales that had already been agreed upon.

See also

International institutions:

References

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  2. ^ Newton, Isaac, Treasury Papers, vol. ccviii. 43, Mint Office, 21 Sept. 1717.
  3. ^ "The Gold Standard in Theory and History", BJ Eichengreen & M Flandreau [1]
  4. ^ The Pocket money book: a monetary chronology of the United States. Great Barrington, Massachusetts: American Institute for Economic Research. 2006. pp. 4–6. ISBN 0-913610-46-1. OCLC 75968548. 
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  9. ^ Eichengreen, Barry (1992) Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939. Preface.
  10. ^ Speech by Ben Bernanke to the Conference to Honor Milton Friedman at University of Chicago, November 8 2002.
  11. ^ WorldNetDaily, March 19 2008.
  12. ^ The original Federal Reserve Act provided for a note issue which was to be secured ... by a 40% reserve in gold
  13. ^ a b "FRB: Speech, Bernanke-Money, Gold, and the Great Depression -March 2, 2004". Federalreserve.gov. 2004-03-02. http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/speeches/2004/200403022/default.htm. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  14. ^ "In the 1930s, the United States was in a situation that satisfied the conditions for a liquidity trap. Over 1929-1933 overnight rates fell to zero, and they remained on the floor through the 1930's."
  15. ^ The European Economy between Wars; Feinstein, Temin, and Toniolo
  16. ^ John Maynard Keynes Economic Consequences of the Peace, 1920.
  17. ^ Demirgüç-Kunt, Asli; Enrica Detragiache (April 2005). "Cross-Country Empirical Studies of Systemic Bank Distress: A Survey". National Institute Economic Review 192 (1): 68–83. doi:10.1177/002795010519200108. ISSN 0027-9501. OCLC 90233776. http://ner.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/192/1/68. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
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  19. ^ The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd edition (2008), Vol.3, S.695
  20. ^ Bordo, Michael D. (2008). "Gold Standard". http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/GoldStandard.html. The great virtue of the gold standard was that it assured long-term price stability.
  21. ^ http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/ransom.civil.war.us The Economics of the Civil War the Union also experienced inflation as a result of deficit finance during the war; the consumer price index rose from 100 at the outset of the war to 175 by the end of 1865.
  22. ^ http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/whaples.goldrush California Gold Rush from 1792 until 1847 cumulative U.S. production of gold was only about 37 tons. California’s production in 1849 alone exceeded this figure, and annual production from 1848 to 1857 averaged 76 tons. ... Soaring gold output from the California and Australia gold rushes is linked with a 30 percent increase in wholesale prices from 1850 through 1855.
  23. ^ Gold and Economic Freedom by Alan Greenspan http://www.constitution.org/mon/greenspan_gold.htm
  24. ^ http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB10001424052748704779704574554830014559864.html deflation rewards savers who hoard cash
  25. ^ http://208.106.154.79/story.aspx?82504cb2-de36-4934-bd4f-6912fbca58cc Deflation rewarded those who saved
  26. ^ http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=am.gkYZFlB0A “Deflation hurts borrowers and rewards savers,” said Drew Matus, senior economist at Banc of America Securities-Merrill Lynch in New York, in a telephone interview. “If you do borrow right now, and we go through a period of deflation, your cost of borrowing just went through the roof.”
  27. ^ http://www.dailypaul.com/node/120184 which in contrast rewards savers and penalizes debtors, and governments most of all, they being the largest debtors in the modern era.
  28. ^ a b c http://www.economist.com/node/13610845 Inflation is bad, but deflation is worse
  29. ^ http://www.economist.com/node/16590992?story_id=16590992&CFID=136849207&CFTOKEN=92989586
  30. ^ http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/docs/meltzer/fisdeb33.pdf. Irving Fisher The Debt Deflation Theory of Great Depressions "the above named factors have played a subordinate role as compared with two dominant factors, namely over-indebtness to start with and deflation following soon after" and "I have, at present, a strong conviction that these two economic maladies, the debt disease and the price-level disease, are...more important causes then all others put together"
  31. ^ Butterman, W.C.; Earle B. Amey III (2005) (PDF). Mineral Commodity Profiles—Gold. Reston, Virginia: United States Geological Survey. OCLC 62034878. http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2002/of02-303/OFR_02-303.pdf. Retrieved 2008-11-12. [page needed]
  32. ^ "Money Stock and Debt Measures". Federal Reserve Board. 2008-03-13. http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h6/current/default.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  33. ^ a b Warburton, Clark (1966). "The Monetary Disequilibrium Hypothesis". Depression, Inflation, and Monetary Policy: Selected Papers, 1945-1953. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 25–35. OCLC 736401. 
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  35. ^ Data from http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h6/hist/ as interpreted in File:Components of the United States money
  36. ^ Mankiw, N. Gregory (2002). Macroeconomics (5th ed.). Worth. pp. 238–255. ISBN 0324171900. 
  37. ^ Krugman, Paul. "The Gold Bug Variations". Slate.com. http://www.slate.com/id/1912/. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  38. ^ Timberlake, Richard H. 2005. "Gold Standards and the Real Bills Doctrine in US Monetary Policy". Econ Journal Watch 2(2): 196-233. [3]
  39. ^ DeLong, Brad (1996-08-10). "Why Not the Gold Standard?". Berkeley, California: University of California, Berkeley. http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/Politics/whynotthegoldstandard.html. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  40. ^ a b Bordo, Michael D. (2008). "Gold Standard". In David R. Henderson. Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. ISBN 0-86597-666-X. OCLC 123350134. http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/GoldStandard.html. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  41. ^ a b Hamilton, James D. (2005-12-12). "The gold standard and the Great Depression". Econbrowser. http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/2005/12/the_gold_standa.html. Retrieved 2008-11-12.  See also Hamilton, James D. (April 1988). "Role of the International Gold Standard in Propagating the Great Depression". Contemporary Economic Policy 6 (2): 67–89. doi:10.1111/j.1465-7287.1988.tb00286.x. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120017201/abstract. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  42. ^ http://www.pbs.org/fmc/interviews/friedman.htm "One of the explanations given for the Federal Reserve action was that they were tied to the ideology of the gold standard. The gold standard is not a limiting factor, and the Federal Reserve at all times had enough gold so they could have maintained the requirements of the gold standard at the same time that they expanded the quantity of money.
  43. ^ http://www.jstor.org/pss/4538817 The Federal Reserve doubled reserve requirements between August 1936 and May 1937
  44. ^ Michael D. Bordo and David C. Wheelock in The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review September/October 1998.
  45. ^ http://web.mit.edu/krugman/www/crises.html The classic example of this strategy is, of course, George Soros' attack on the British pound in 1992. As argued in the case study below, it is likely that the pound would have dropped out of the exchange rate mechanism in any case; but Soros's actions may have triggered an earlier exit than would have happened otherwise.
  46. ^ McArdle, Megan (2007-09-04). "There's gold in them thar standards!". The Atlantic Monthly. http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/09/theres_gold_in_them_thar_stand.php. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  47. ^ "Time to Think about the Gold Standard? | Cato @ Liberty". Cato-at-liberty.org. 2009-03-12. http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/03/12/time-to-think-about-the-gold-standard/. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  48. ^ Salerno, Joseph T. (1982-09-09). "The Gold Standard: An Analysis of Some Recent Proposals". Cato Policy Analysis. Cato Institute. http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa016.html. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  49. ^ Greenspan, Alan (July 1966). "Gold and Economic Freedom". The Objectivist 5 (7). http://www.constitution.org/mon/greenspan_gold.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  50. ^ "End The Fed & Consider Outlawing Fractional Reserve Banking". 2009-11-14. http://www.ronpaul.com/2009-11-14/end-the-fed-consider-outlawing-fractional-reserve-banking/. 
  51. ^ al-'Amraawi, Muhammad; Al-Khammar al-Baqqaali, Ahmad Saabir, Al-Hussayn ibn Haashim, Abu Sayf Kharkhaash, Mubarak Sa'doun al-Mutawwa', Malik Abu Hamza Sezgin, Abdassamad Clarke and Asadullah Yate (2001-07-01). "Declaration of 'Ulama on the Gold Dinar". Islam i Dag. http://www.islamidag.dk/ulamaongold.html. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 

Further reading

External links


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