What Is The Gold Standard?
Table of Contents:
- Introduction. Understanding the gold standard and its importance
- Positive Aspects of the Gold Standard. Safeguarding wealth and promoting economic integrity
- Negative Consequences of Abandoning the Gold Standard. Economic decline, currency devaluation, and financial instability
- The Gold Standard as a Potential Remedy. Exploring the present financial system and the need for change
- Gold Market Manipulation and Fiat Currency. Examination of gold price suppression, fiat currency flaws, and central bank actions
The Gold Standard: Economic Virtues and Consequences of its Abandonment
Properly understanding the gold standard entails more than just a definition; it involves exploring its theoretical and empirical merits and considering the consequences of its absence. Positively, a gold standard offers economic and monetary virtues:
- Safeguarding wealth for citizens.
- Preserving the integrity of the monetary system.
- Fostering fiscally responsible governments.
- Promoting rational, sustainable economic development.
- Reducing financial crimes.
- Even in the absence of a gold standard, gold can act as an indicator of monetary crime through an increase in the money supply.
In contrast, since the dismantling of the gold standard over four decades ago, the negative consequences have been stark:
- A significant decline in the standard of living.
- The debasement of paper currencies, rendering them practically worthless.
- Bankrupt governments and struggling economies.
- Economic stimulus efforts that no longer yield results.
- Unsustainable resource consumption and environmental degradation.
- Escalating systemic financial crimes measured in the hundreds of trillions of dollars.
A Potential Remedy for a Criminalized Financial System
Meanwhile, an unregulated financial crime syndicate manipulates the price of gold to conceal their actions and economic destruction.
The question is not whether the pre-1971 world under a gold standard is superior to the current criminalized system, but whether our present system could be any worse. The fiat currency monetary system, sold as a cure for the gold standard, has, in reality, proven to be "worse than the disease." It is the gold standard that offers the potential remedy to the endemic crime and corruption plaguing our societies.
In order to provide sufficient context so that the definition provides meaning to readers, it is necessary to explore several, tangential subjects. As such, this discussion will contain:
- A brief review of the abolition of our gold standard.
- An examination (and assessment) of the criticisms of the gold standard, past and present.
- An examination of the monetary system that resulted from the abolition of the gold standard.
- An examination of the financial system that resulted from the abolition of the gold standard.
- A chronicling and explanation of the extreme price suppression of the gold market, a situation which has persisted for most of the post-gold standard era.
In its simple definition, a gold standard a monetary system based upon the “hard” backing of our currencies – that is, backing them with gold. It is a “standard” in that the price of gold is fixed, and thus all currencies, and (by implication) all goods are valued in relation to that fixed price.
The “gold standard” in its modern form was a monetary system that existed for roughly a century. While many nations (and empires) have based their monetary systems upon precious metals, this was most often done directly, via the usage of gold and/or silver money.
Real “money” is distinct from currency because, among other reasons, money preserves the wealth of the holder, while currency does not. Thus, we get our first inkling of why any nation would want to use a gold standard as their monetary system: to preserve and protect the wealth of the citizens of that nation, and thus the nation itself.
The End of an Era: What Replaced the Gold Standard?
On August 15th, 1971, the Nixon administration “closed the gold window,” which effectively put an end to the last vestige of our gold standard. Further elaboration is necessary. In the final decades of our “gold standard,” we no longer had a full gold standard, but rather only “partial convertibility” in our monetary system. What does that mean?
With a true, hard gold standard, where official currency is fully and directly backed by gold, these (paper) currencies can be fully converted into gold at the option of the currency-holder. However, in the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944, the global monetary system was officially altered.
It became a system of partial convertibility, with the U.S. dollar as “reserve currency,” meaning that only one currency – the U.S. dollar – was still convertible to gold. Thus the only mechanism to convert paper to gold was for nations to exchange their U.S. dollars with the U.S. government in exchange for some of its gold reserves. Therefore, when the U.S. government “closed the gold window” in 1971, it defaulted on its gold obligations to the rest of the world, and the requirement that it convert U.S. dollars to gold at the option of the currency-holder. What caused this system to implode?
Here it is essential for readers to grasp that, in a monetary system of perfect integrity, there would have been zero incentive for other nations to redeem or convert their U.S. dollars into gold; each would be equally valuable. Only one possible factor could have provided nations with an incentive to engage in such conversion: the fear (and knowledge) that the system had lost its integrity.
In order to finance the war in Vietnam, the U.S. government had been printing too many U.S. dollars for several years. This meant it was expanding the supply of money beyond the corresponding size of its gold reserves.
U.S. dollars were officially convertible to gold, but because of this deliberate over-supply they were no longer fully “backed” by gold. The currency was being debauched, so the gold was worth significantly more than the actual value of the U.S. dollar. It was effectively monetary fraud. As the fraud became larger and more apparent, the drain on the U.S.’s gold reserves relentlessly grew.
Suggested: Why These Gold Standardites Are Wrong
This left only two options for the U.S. government: re-impose monetary discipline (on itself) and thus restore the integrity of the U.S. dollar, or default on its international obligations. The U.S. government chose the latter. It is important to note that former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker has since stepped forward to claim personal credit for abolishing the gold standard. It is here where readers are introduced to the love/hate relationship between central bankers and gold. This was one of history’s most emphatic (and prophetic) warnings against monetary crime. But what, precisely, does it mean? Here readers must first forget everything they think they know about the word “inflation.” “Inflation” (verb: to inflate) means to expand, or inflate, the supply of money. This is the correct, economic definition of that term.
What most people think of as “inflation,” the increase in the price of goods, is simply the inevitable consequence of inflating the supply of money. It is very important that readers never forget this crucial distinction. As an academic, Alan Greenspan was fully cognizant of the correct definition of inflation, and was using it in that context.
There is no way to protect the confiscation of savings (theft of wealth) via an increase in the supply of money. Why? As more, new currency is printed, all existing currency is worth less, effectively confiscating some of the wealth of those existing currency holders. This is nothing more than the concept of dilution.
If you add water to lemonade, you dilute all the lemonade, and each unit of lemonade is worth less. If a company prints more shares, it dilutes its share structure, and each share is worth less, and some of the wealth of existing shareholders has been “confiscated.” More importantly, it is the company that prints these new shares that has confiscated that shareholder wealth. This is why the (corporate) concept of “dilution” is utterly despised by shareholders.
If a government (i.e., central bank) prints new currency, thus diluting the money supply, each existing unit of currency is worth less. The principle is identical. Each time our central banks print more “money” (i.e., our paper), they dilute the value of all existing currency and confiscate some of the wealth of existing currency-holders.
When we go to the supermarket and pay $2 or $3 more for a dozen eggs, it’s still the same dozen eggs. The eggs haven’t changed. It’s the paper currency in our wallets that has lost half of its value due to “inflation” – the inflation of the supply of money, and the dilution (in value) that must accompany it.
So Where Does this Confiscated Wealth Go?
How and why is this confiscation of our wealth (via inflating the supply of money) an act of theft? It’s very simple. When our central banks print new currency, they don’t distribute it evenly amongst the entire population. They hand every single unit of that new currency (virtually for free) to the Big Bank syndicate.
“Give me control of a nation’s money supply, and I care not who makes the laws.”
- Mayer Amschel Rothschild, banker (1744 – 1812)
Our monetary system has been criminalized. Instead of a tool of commerce, our monetary system is now a weapon used to systemically plunder the wealth of our populations (as per Greenspan’s warning). This weapon is then placed into the hands of the recipients of all this new, central bank funny money: the Big Banks. When new currency is printed, it reduces the value of all existing currency. All of this new currency is handed to the Big Banks (by the central banks). These Big Banks then “lend” roughly 30 times that amount of currency to us (via “fractional-reserve banking”) at usurious rates of interest, which dilutes and reduces the value of all existing currency even further (thus increasing the rate of theft).
This is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the financial crime that has been unleashed upon us as a direct result of the abolition of the gold standard. How could we have sacrificed our only “protection” from such systemic, monetary crime? Thank the critics of the gold standard. It is their attacks (which are relentlessly repeated by the corporate media oligopoly) on the one possible form of Honest Money that made possible first the abolition of the gold standard, and then the collective refusal (by corrupted governments) to reinstitute the only legitimate form of monetary system.
Suggested: Eric Sprott on banks and the markets
Criticisms of the Gold Standard
Gold is “a barbarous relic.” How many times have readers heard this vacuous statement during their lifetime? If a gold bullion standard is our only protection against monetary crime (according to the most esteemed monetary authority of our lifetime, Sir Alan Greenspan), how could gold be either “barbarous” or a “relic?” If gold is “a barbarous relic,” how could it remain (to this day) an official monetary asset of every government on the planet? If gold is “a barbarous relic,” would the world’s central banks (creators of all our paper currencies) have ever gone from being net-sellers of 500 tonnes of gold per year to becoming net-buyers of 500 tonnes of gold per year?
On that basis alone, the architect of that statement, John Maynard Keynes, is shown to be misleading, or at the very least misinformed. Even so, legions have followed in Keynes’s footsteps, inventing new “reasons” for repudiating the only form of Honest Money. The gist of the neo-propaganda which maligns the gold exchange standard today is that:
...a system which relied on inelastically supplied precious metals and elastically supplied foreign exchange to meet the world economy’s demand for reserves was intrinsically fragile, prone to confidence problems, and a transmission belt for policy mistakes [emphasis mine].
We’ve already seen the rebuttal to this argument:
In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation.
How Does a Gold Standard Protect Our Wealth from Theft?
It does so because a gold standard minimizes that inflation/dilution, because the supply of gold is “inelastic.” Thus this “inelasticity” is one of the gold standard’s principal virtues. But what about the “elastically supplied foreign exchange,” i.e. all of the paper currencies which were (supposedly) backed by gold? To be clear, “Elastically supplied” paper currencies represent inflation of the money supply, and thus the theft of wealth. What this critic of the gold standard is effectively confessing is that because the supply of gold is inelastic, it makes it difficult for the central banks to create inflation, and thus confiscate and/or steal our wealth.
This concept has been expressed in a far more linguistically dramatic manner, again by legendary goldhater John Keynes. Keynes referred to the gold standard itself as “the Golden Handcuffs.” He intended this as another insult, too blinded by his own ideological biases to understand that he was actually praising the gold standard.
Who is Being “Handcuffed” by the Gold Standard?
Part of this question was already addressed. The gold standard makes it impossible for central banks to initiate their monetary crime of theft-by-inflation, at any more than a relative trickle. This illustrates one of the gold standard’s primary virtues, and thus one of the primary motives for its assassination. On the day that central banker Paul Volcker killed the gold standard, the U.S. dollar (reserve currency of the world) was quasi-money. Today it is nothing but worthless green confetti.
If creating “inflation” (through expanding the supply of money) represents the deliberate theft/confiscation of wealth, what does the chart above represent? It indicates monetary organized crime, on a scale never before seen, on a scale which would never be possible with a set of Golden Handcuffs firmly in place. Note that a gold standard does more than handcuff our central banks. It also handcuffs our governments. How? Imposing mandatory limitations on the expansion of the money supply severely limits the capacity of our governments to issue new debt (and thus bury us in those debts).
On the day that central banker Paul Volcker killed the gold standard, all our governments were fully solvent. Our economies were relatively strong and healthy. Today, these same governments are all hopelessly insolvent, and our economies are crippled beyond recognition. However, the bankers and economists are not finished defending their actions. Our governments and central banks tell us they need the “flexibility” to do more of what these institutions like to do: borrow and print.
As already expressed in the quoted excerpt, central bankers in particular supposedly need more “flexibility” with their money-printing (i.e. more inflation) in order to “meet the world economy’s demand for reserves.” To put this more simply, they claim that a gold standard can’t provide “enough currency” to fuel the global economy. It is here where this institutionalized fraud (theftvia-inflation) appears to retain a veneer of legitimacy.
We are told that the world economy’s demand for (currency) reserves is infinitely expanding. Notably, though, it is the bankers and charlatan economists who make this claim.
- Do we “need” an infinitely expanding money, and infinite theft-via-inflation?
- Do we “need” infinite economic growth?
How can either of these propositions be true when we live in a very finite system? We have finite space (i.e. usable land), meaning space which must be allocated, fairly and rationally, between industrial users, commercial users, agricultural users, and residential users. Pretending we can have infinite growth in a finite system has only ensured the gross misallocation of these precious land resources.
Challenging the Notion of Infinite Growth in a Finite World
Even more limiting is that while virtually all categories of resources are finite, many of our most important resources are not only non-renewable, but, as in the case of oil, are facing a near-term supply crisis. Again, simply pretending that we can produce infinite growth in a finite system has resulted in atrocious recklessness by the United States, in particular, in terms of its energy-consumption habits. Not only do our Golden Handcuffs prevent irresponsible governments from taking on too much debt, and prevent corrupt central banks from printing too much money (in order to maximize theft- via-inflation), these same Handcuffs operate indirectly to prevent unbridled, economic expansion. By implication, a gold standard ensures sane, sustainable development over the long term.
In contrast, bankers, economists, and many politicians preach a doctrine of unsustainable development: attempting infinite growth in a finite system. This goes past corruption, and excels to the level of cultural insanity. “Sustainable development” (i.e. limiting ourselves to what is theoretically possible) is seen as the irresponsible mantra of tree-huggers. Instead, our societies and economies attempt the impossible by exclusively pursuing unsustainable development. It must be clearly understood that as an elementary principle of economics, economic growth is a “zero-sum game” over the long term. That is, deliberately pursuing economic development at an unsustainable rate comes with a guaranteed cost: less growth in the future. To put this into undeniable terms: attempting to “have more” for ourselves, today, guarantees our children “having less” tomorrow – and even less for our grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren, and so on.
Unraveling the Consequences of Fiat Currencies
Once upon a time, our societies were more geared to collectively pursue an unstated goal: to provide a better life for our children than for ourselves. No longer. We now live in “me-first” societies, and have been programmed by the corporate media to be self-centred: look after yourself, today, and forget about “the future” (i.e. the lives of our children).
As a matter of elementary logic, only one (microscopic) segment of society can prosper from such a live-for-today, damn-the-future mentality: the bankers. However, this may not yet be apparent to readers. This is because we have not even begun to scratch the surface in terms of the endemic, institutionalized, financial and monetary crime which necessarily evolves in the absence of a gold standard. The next step in this process of discovery is to closely examine the pretend money in our wallets: our paper “fiat currencies.”
Suggested: Gold Price Manipulation, and Inflation
Fiat Currency Ponzi Scheme
All fiat currencies are Ponzi schemes. This is not an assertion, but rather an elementary statement of fact. It is a principle which can be demonstrated in a variety of different manners, both direct and indirect. However, this puts the cart before the horse. What is a “fiat currency”?
It is currency which, by definition, has no intrinsic value of any kind. Rather, the sole basis for accepting it as a medium of exchange is because of government decree (i.e. the “fiat” of our government). These are worthless scraps of paper, which we are forced to accept as payment for goods and services because of government decree. Is it any surprise that such a scam has never been able to withstand the test of time?
The world’s first fiat currency originated in China, roughly 1,000 years ago. In the millennium since then, every fiat currency ever created has either plunged to worthlessness or simply been removed from circulation before that final plunge could occur. One thousand years, and “a perfect record.” The empirical evidence alone is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but we have no need to stop there.
“It’s our currency, but it’s your problem.”
What did this U.S. official imply as he discussed the abandonment of the gold standard? The U.S. dollar, a global reserve currency, was losing its intrinsic value, prompting other nations to resist relying solely on fiat currency. Instead, they attempted to inject value into this otherwise worthless paper. Corrupt Western governments, influenced by bankers, started borrowing their own currencies into existence, resulting in new debt for governments and profits for central banks.
The shift away from the gold standard meant that currency lost its intrinsic value, becoming mere paper. Central banks and governments found this unacceptable and began borrowing their own currencies into existence, transforming currency units into obligations of sovereign governments. While currency, an obligation, is inferior to money with intrinsic value, it is still better than pure fiat currency. This shift essentially turned official currencies into units of nothing, reflecting a Ponzi scheme. The alteration to this system didn't eliminate its Ponzi nature; it just changed how it would ultimately collapse – through accumulated debt. Borrowing currency to fuel unchecked economic expansion, along with compounding interest on that debt, guaranteed medium-term financial trouble.
Lessons from 2008
In 2008, the bankers' fiat currency Ponzi scheme collapsed due to excessive practices by major banks. Insolvent governments had to resort to "quantitative easing" to create money out of thin air. The old Ponzi scheme resurfaced as the only option, relying on inherently worthless paper currencies for commerce, resulting in wealth erosion. The choice lies between legitimate commerce and legislated monetary fraud.
Critics argue against the value of gold, but it remains a crucial tool for preserving wealth and facilitating commerce. As we scrutinize fraudulent fiat currencies, the value of gold becomes more apparent. The gold standard is vital not only for preventing monetary crime but also for minimizing systemic financial misconduct.
Crime in Banking: Bank Frauds
Bankers have recently admitted to fraud in their industry, with a survey of 500 senior executives in the US and the UK revealing 26% had knowledge of wrongdoing at work, and 24% believed unethical or illegal conduct was essential for success in finance. This admission carries weight as it goes against their interests. The financial sector's culture of criminality is compounded by a lack of accountability. Big Banks commit enormous financial crimes with minimal consequences, facing fines of 1% or less of their actual offenses. The situation worsened as the Department of Justice granted these banks complete and permanent immunity from prosecution.
The decline in ethical standards in banking can be traced back to the abandonment of the gold standard, which limited opportunities for financial crime. Without it, financial institutions engage in large-scale illicit activities. Additionally, Swiss academics' computer modeling reveals that a single "super-entity" controls around 40% of the global economy, violating antitrust laws that are no longer enforced. This entity operates through a complex network of 147 corporate fronts, primarily financial entities, functioning as a unified "Vampire Squid." The financial casualties of the 2008 crisis were interconnected arms of the same entity, and the trillions in bailout funds constituted an unjustifiable windfall and a multi-trillion-dollar fraud.
Suggested: Gold and Silver Prices At An Inflection Point
Too Big to Fail?
The 2008 financial crisis was potentially a staged event as it was followed by the coordinated suspension of global credit by major financial institutions. While these banks claimed they were acting to protect themselves from losses, if there were no actual losses, this suspension served as a smokescreen for a "bail-out" extortion game. The concept of "too big to fail" goes against the principles of capitalism and free markets. Japan's economic experience with this policy for over two decades demonstrated its failure, yet Western governments replicated it in 2008, despite promises not to do so.
The intentional deception by officials who promised not to copy Japan's policies and then did so maliciously demonstrates the corruption in the system. While officials often avoid prosecution for their original transgressions, lying under oath is considered an act of malice and is punished. Corruption and fraudulent policies like "too big to fail" and "quantitative easing" could not persist under a gold standard. However, governments have gone further with the "bail-in," where private assets are seized and handed to big banks without legal justification. Japan's experience underscores the economic bankruptcy of "too big to fail," as it led to decades of institutionalized extortion and economic degradation.
Japan, once one of the wealthiest nations per capita, became the most indebted nation after embracing "too big to fail," proving its failure. Western governments maliciously copied this policy and replicated its economic destruction. But they didn't stop there; they introduced the "bail-in," enabling financial crime syndicates to seize private financial assets based on manufactured losses. The need for a gold standard is exemplified by the corruption of "too big to fail." This institutionalized criminality is built upon layers of corruption. The ongoing role of gold in the monetary system and the evolution of the gold market are compelling reasons to reinstitute the gold standard.
Post-Gold Standard Price Suppression : Gold Standard Economics
In 1971, gold lost its official monetary standard status but retained its role in the financial system, functioning as an economic barometer. Gold serves as an indicator of monetary crimes, particularly theft via inflation, responding directly to changes in the money supply in a linear manner. For example, when the U.S. money supply increased fivefold from 2009 to 2014, the price of gold should have experienced a similar percentage increase. However, it only rose from around $850/oz to $1,150, far less than expected.
This anomaly raises questions about the suppression of gold prices, a topic that experts often avoid addressing honestly. The discrepancy between gold's expected and actual response suggests deliberate price suppression.
To understand how this suppression occurs, we can turn to central bankers, who have been instrumental in perpetrating this suppression.
“...central banks stand ready to lease gold in increasing quantities should the price rise.”
- Testimony of [Federal Reserve] Chairman Alan Greenspan, July 24th, 1998
It is an illustration of the arrogance and audacity of these central bankers, and the endemic corruption of our present system, that Sir Alan Greenspan is effectively confessing to two separate crimes in his own official testimony as acting Federal Reserve Chairman.
Why did Greenspan proclaim his willingness to respond to an increase in the price of gold by “leasing gold in increasing quantities?” What would be the effect of such a policy? To begin with, anyone with any familiarity with the gold market knows precisely what was (and is) done with this “leased” gold: it is sold (i.e. dumped) onto the market.
What is the Consequence of Dumping Gold Onto a Market?
Key Points on Gold Market Manipulation:
- Price Suppression: When gold is "dumped," its price falls, and the intent behind this action is to depress the price. This is a form of market manipulation and is a crime, even if conducted by high-ranking officials like the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
- Gold Generates No Income: Bankers often claim that gold generates no income to discourage the public from converting paper currencies into gold. This is part of their strategy to deter people from protecting their wealth from inflation by investing in gold.
- Borrowing Gold: Borrowing or "leasing" gold serves no legitimate purpose, especially if gold generates no income. Central banks and Western central banks lease gold knowing that it will be sold onto the market, effectively removing it from circulation, which is a criminal act in itself.
- Conversion and Fraud: Selling what one does not own, or conversion, is a crime. Central banks list leased gold as a current asset in their accounting, which is fraudulent, as the actual "owners" are the eventual third-party purchasers.
- Secrecy and Lack of Transparency: Central banks' gold-leasing activities are shrouded in secrecy, as there is no public audit. It's impossible to know how many times the same bars of gold have been leased.
- Magnitude of Fraud: The gold market is a hundred times larger in paper trades than the actual amount of physical gold, creating significant opportunities for fraud and manipulation.
- Long History of Manipulation: Gold market manipulation did not start with the monetary fraud of the 2008 financial crisis but became particularly evident during that time. Western central banks had a quota for gold-dumping, suppressing prices by selling large quantities of gold.
- Not a Free Market: Despite the perception of a free market for gold, the gold market has a long history of central bank interventions, including dumping and leasing, which are manipulative and often illegal practices.
Suggested: Decision Time for Gold & Silver
The Gold Standard Conclusion
Understanding the gold standard involves more than a definition; it encompasses its merits and the aftermath of its abandonment. The gold standard, in a positive light, offers robust economic and monetary advantages:
- Safeguarding and preserving citizens' wealth.
- Upholding the integrity of the monetary system.
- Encouraging fiscal responsibility in governments.
- Promoting rational and sustainable economic development.
- Reducing financial crimes, fostering a more secure financial environment.
- Even without a gold standard, gold can serve as a signal for monetary crimes, particularly inflation-driven wealth erosion.
In contrast, the forty years since the gold standard's dismantling reveal severe consequences:
- A significant decline in the standard of living.
- The devaluation of paper currencies, rendering them nearly worthless.
- Bankrupt governments and struggling economies.
- Ineffective economic stimulus efforts.
- Unsustainable resource consumption and environmental degradation.
- Escalating systemic financial crimes worth hundreds of trillions of dollars.
- The unregulated financial crime syndicate manipulates the gold price to conceal their systemic economic destruction. The question arises whether our current system could be any worse, as the fiat currency system, touted as a cure for the gold standard, has, in reality, proven "worse than the disease." The gold standard emerges as the potential remedy for the pervasive crime and corruption plaguing our society.
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The content in this material is for informational purposes only and is not an offer or solicitation for the sale of any product or service. The views and opinions of the authour are as of the publication date, are subject to change without prior notice to you and may not necessarily represent the views of Sprott Money Ltd. Any economic statistics and projections presented in this material are subject to revision by the agencies that issue them.
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