The campaign for monetary reform is underway. “We will return to the gold standard within five years,” according to Lewis E. Lehrman during an interview with Judge Napolitano on FreedomWatch on August 18, 2011.
Mr. Lehrman should know. He is leading the charge, reminding his fellow Americans of our shared western history and the vision that our Founders set forth in the Constitution.
In a remarkably short period of time, the United States grew from thirteen ill-managed colonies into the most prosperous nation the world had ever seen. During most of this period, our monetary regime—the gold standard—inspired confidence and trust in market mechanisms, encouraging long-term savings and investment and heretofore unseen economic growth.
That is, until one hundred years ago.
With the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913, the Bretton Woods system of the post-Second World War era, and Nixon’s rescission of the gold standard in 1971, a century of decline in the dollar’s value ensued. At the outset of the 1980s, President Reagan inherited a suite of economic problems. Although he seriously entertained the idea of a return to the gold standard in the 1980s—even requesting and reviewing a plan on how to restore convertibility of the dollar to gold—fiscal restructuring, in the form of an overhaul of the tax code, took center stage.
The monetary reform plan was never carried out.
The wild volatility over the last forty years, especially during the economic downturn of 2007-09, provides further evidence that only a dollar as good as gold will restore long-term price stability and lay the foundation for long run economic growth.
America and the world need a true gold standard more than ever. Is America still courageous enough to lead the world in reestablishing financial order? Let’s hope so—the true gold standard is our last best hope.
... In the last 100 years, there has been unbridled recourse to fiat currency. This column draws heavily on a benchmark address by Lewis E. Lehrman on “The Federal Reserve and the Dollar” at the 31st Annual Monetary Conference at the Cato Institute, Washington DC.,US (November 14, 2013).
Lehrman quotes Keynes in “Indian Currency and Finance”, to say that whether a central bank holds its reserves in gold or in foreign exchange “is a matter of comparative indifference …India, in her Gold-Exchange Standard… far from being anomalous, is in the forefront of monetary progress …(heading towards) “the ideal currency of the future”. What glory for India!
... It is difficult to interpret [Jeb] Hensarling’s declaration to hold hearings on “the entirety of their hundred year history and what America has looked like since adopting a fiat currency” as anything but an intention to bring the Commission up for a vote. Hensarling promises to process vast amounts of information. The constraints on a committee hearing, and on a committee staff, cannot do such a huge topic justice. As Rep. Kevin Brady put it in his own remarks at Cato, a “brutally bipartisan” Commission — with Hensarling a Commissioner — is called for.
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
The Problem of Say's Law
For several decades, the theories of John Maynard Keynes replaced the classical theory which had dominated policy-making for more than a century until the Great Depression. This brought things full circle, because the classical economists had succeeded the Mercantilists. And the Mercantilists were proto-Keynesian in their contention that, left to itself, the economy has a tendency toward “under-consumption,” which, they argued, must be combated by public spending, combined with measures to increase the money supply.
"Double-entry bookkeeping developed in 14th century Italy, whence the precise, simplified ledger and balance sheet accounting basis for the development of a 'fractional' reserve banking system emerged. In such a banking system a new kind of 'abstract' fiduciary money developed – subject to transfer by checks. They came to be called book entry bank deposits, bank advances, credit money, or checking accounts, sight liabilities, or demand deposits. The banks held bullion or coin reserves against this new credit money. The precious metal reserves were equal to a prudent 'fraction' of the total bank note and deposit money circulation, hence the phrase 'fractional reserve banking system'."
The Federal Reserve tries to explain what it is doing, but it can’t quite explain it because the rules aren’t really clear. So Wall Street tries to anticipate what the Fed means in the absence of real rules. The Wall Street Journal’s Victoria McGrane has noted: “The Federal Reserve has...
We are pleased to announce the publication of– Money, Markets, and Government: The Next 30 Years.
The articles in Money, Markets, and Government were first presented at the Cato Institute’s 30th Annual Monetary Conference, held on November 15, 2012. The 2008-09 financial crisis and Great Recession have vastly increased the power...