Shame is something we can all enjoy. In the wake of cyclist Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, TIME’s Joe Stein wrote: “I am incredibly judgmental. This is partly because it’s fun, partly because it’s a way to bond with others and mostly because one of my few faults is not appreciating how difficult it is for others to be as amazing as I am.”
“I do not believe that people who watched the Oprah interview felt wronged for believing that an athlete didn’t dope to win a sport they’ve never watched,” Stein wrote. “I believe that interview made us feel better about all the bad things we’ve done, because at least we didn’t cheat at cycling. Even better, it allowed us to avoid asking if we would have. I know I would have if I weren’t so afraid of needles. And exercising.”
“Shame is like everything else,” wrote Salman Rushdie, “live with it for long enough and it becomes part of the furniture.” Shame is a near universal impulse. We see it all the time when Congress hauls the delinquent or presumed-delinquent before their committee hearings to denounce wrong-doing. Shame should be reserved for the things we choose to do, not the circumstances that life puts on us. We saw it when Jonah Lerer collected $20,000 from the Knight Foundation for detailing how he fabricated for his best-selling book Imagine:
What I clearly need is a new list of rules, a stricter set of standard operating procedures. If I’m lucky enough to write again, then whatever I write will be fact-checked and fully footnoted. It doesn’t matter if it’s a book or an article or the text for a speech like this one. Every conversation with a subject will be tape recorded and transcribed. If the subject would like a copy of their transcript, I will provide it. There is, of course, nothing innovative about these procedures. The vast majority of journalists don’t need to be shamed into following them. But I did, which is why I also need to say them out loud.
So, there you have, the antidote to shame is following the rules – whether in sports or writing or even monetary policy. The problem comes when folks think they can (a) ignore the rules; (b) make up their own rules.
And, of course, is why we need a monetary rule called the gold standard. It is when political and monetary authorities decided to scrap that rule that we began the long descent into monetary disorder and shame.
With the gold standard, we might only feel better. We might prosper.
Today’s economic conditions reflect a fiat monetary system held together by many tricks and luck over the past 40 years. The world has been awash in paper money since removal of the last vestige of the gold standard by Richard Nixon when he buried the Bretton Woods agreement — the gold exchange standard — on August 15, 1971.
Since then we’ve been on a worldwide paper dollar standard. Quite possibly we are seeing the beginning of the end of that system. If so, tough times are ahead for the United States and the world economy.
In terms of public policy, though, we favor honest money. It works out better for more people. And there is a moral dimension to the question of honest money. This was a matter that was understood — and keenly felt — by the Founders of America, who almost to a man (Benjamin Franklin, a printer of paper notes, was a holdout), cringed with humiliation at the thought of fiat paper money. They’d tried it in the revolution, and it had been the one embarrassment of the struggle. They eventually gave us a Constitution that they hoped would bar us from ever making the same mistake.
Publisher's Note: Originally released in June/July of 1991, this detailed report discusses Jacques Rueff's economic theories and applies them to modern economic events.
By John D. Mueller
Rueff Restates the Quantity Theory of Money
... Rueff argued that the real problem with the monetarists is not that they focus too much, but rather too little on the supply of money; namely, they assign too little importance to the concrete mechanisms by which money is actually created. Most monetarists adopt the convention that the government can control the nominal supply of money, while demanders of money control its value. Rueff pointed out that under a properly functioning monetary system, even the nominal supply of money is determined by people’s demand for it.
"The economist defines money as a medium of exchange. It is the token we supply in order to effect payments for the goods we demand. Money is especially a standard like a yardstick – a unit of measure by which we value and price economic goods. Money units express prices which are the vital information necessary for efficient exchange. Money is surely a store of value."
Indian culture long has held a high appreciation for gold.
The Vedic faith records four historical ages, the highest being the Satya Yuga. Per Wikipedia, "when humanity is governed by gods, and every manifestation or work is close to the purest ideal and humanity will allow intrinsic goodness to rule supreme.
“Here’s the short story: The U.S. has exited from financial crisis: Asia and Europe have not,” wrote Rana Foroohar in TIME at the beginning of this year. “China, the second largest economy in the world, is pretty much where the U.S. was five years ago – deeply in debt...Japan, where...