A monetary system in which currency values are defined in terms of gold

Conferences and Conventions

31 Oct - 1 Nov 2008, The Gold Standard Revisited, The Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama

Articles

"Bad Money Drives Out Good", by Charles W. Adams, Future of Freedom, Dec 2003
Explains Gresham's Law, recounting how Queen Elizabeth I restored pure silver coinage and how the Romans debased the Greek silver drachma
"... in the end the Roman government had to go back to gold and mint a new gold denarius. Since then, gold has remained the basis for all sound revenue systems, and, despite arguments to the contrary, most governments today have pursued a policy of minting phony coinage or printing worthless paper."
Related Topic: Money
Competing Money Supplies, by Lawrence H. White, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
Discusses the arguments in favorand against free banking, with multiple private banks issuing their own notes, including historical precedents and proposals for the medium for note redemption
"Other episodes of the competitive provision of banknotes took place in Sweden, Switzerland, France, Ireland, Spain, parts of China, and Australia. In total, more than sixty episodes of competitive note issue are known, with varying amounts of legal restrictions. In all such episodes, the countries were on a gold or silver standard (except China, which used copper). In a free banking system based on a gold standard, competing private banks would issue checking deposits and banknotes redeemable on demand for gold."
Related Topics: Banking, Central Banking, Money
George W. Bush's Nixonomics, by Gregory Bresiger, Mises Daily, 22 May 2006
"The United States under Nixon, and predecessor presidents Lyndon Johnson and John Kennedy, was cheating on the promises of a gold standard, using other nations to disguise its own deficits. It was a system that allowed Americans to pay foreigners in depreciated dollars, while foreigners had to settle debts in gold or in another currency other than their own."
H.L. Mencken: The Joyous Libertarian, by Murray Rothbard, New Individualist Review, Jun 1962
Examines the themes and style in Mencken's writings, mainly from the self-selected pieces in A Mencken Chrestomathy
"His old friend, Hamilton Owens, writes of Mencken's vehement anger at Roosevelt's taking America off the gold standard. 'With all the vehemence of which he was capable he insisted it was downright robbery. He talked about taking court action in person.'"
How Gold Was Money--How Gold Could Be Money Again, by Richard H. Timberlake Jr., The Freeman, Apr 1995
Ludwig von Mises, socialism's greatest enemy: His life and times, by Jim Powell
Lengthy biographical essay on Mises, including details on Menger and Böhm-Bawerk
"Mises presented a strong defense of a gold standard: 'The excellence of the gold standard is to be seen in the fact that it renders the determination of the monetary unit's purchasing power independent of the policies of governments and political parties. Furthermore, it prevents rulers from eluding the financial and budgetary prerogatives of the representative assemblies. ...'"
Making Money Disappear, by Richard W. Rahn, The Washington Times, 22 Nov 2011
Defines money, discusses inflation and the gold standard and suggests that the problems will only go away if governments relinquish their monopolies on money issuance
"Under a classic gold standard, the sale of bonds by government was limited to the amount of gold the government held, plus the amount of gold that the bond buyers could reasonably expect the government would be able to buy from projected tax revenues if it became necessary. ... At some point, politically intolerable rates of inflation or economic stagnation will result. This, in turn, will force a massive monetary contraction or a move back to a gold standard or some other real backing for the money. ... A gold standard for money is not a panacea, but it is far better than an undisciplined fiat standard."
Related Topics: Inflation, Money, Zimbabwe
Milton Friedman, 1912-2006, by Hans F. Sennholz, 7 Dec 2006
Memorial essay, but critical of professor Friedman's advocacy of monetary policies which would leave money issuance in hands of the government
"What Professor Friedman called the 'dethroning' of gold was, in truth, the default of central banks to make good on their legal and contractual obligations. Following the example set by the United States on August 15, 1971, central banks all defaulted in their duty to redeem their currencies in gold. The default, unfortunately, did not bring stability and prosperity ..."
Related Topic: Milton Friedman
Monetary Central Planning and the State, Part 29: The Gold Standard in the 19th Century, by Richard M. Ebeling, Future of Freedom, May 1999
Discusses the evolution of the gold standard, from the creation of the Bank of England (1694), the Bank Restriction Act (1797), arguments for its repeal by David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill, and its international development until the 1890s
"By the fact that such a large number of countries had each linked their respective currencies to gold at some fixed rate of redemption in this manner, there emerged an international gold standard. A person in any one of those countries could enter any number of established, authorized banks and trade in a certain quantity of bank notes for a stipulated sum of gold, in the form of either coin or bullion. ... There was only one fundamental problem and inconsistency ... The gold standard, after all, was a government-managed monetary system."
Mont Pelerin: 1947-1978, The Road to Libertarianism, by Ralph Raico, Libertarian Review, Dec 1979
Reviews the presentations and discussions at the 1978 meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society, with an overview of the Society's history and particularly the 1958 meeting which had similar themes
"Donald Kemmerer noted in reply that the greatest lesson of economic history is that fiat money does not work. But this understanding has been lost, he said, due to the elimination of the study of gold from money courses. F.A. Hayek then rose from the audience to answer monetarism. He noted that the gold standard historically was the only discipline on governments. He reaffirmed his own opposition to all monopoly on money and to all government control of money. He presented what he calls his revolutionary program—monetary competition in each country after denationalization or destabilization of money."
Robert Morris to President of Congress, by Robert Morris, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 15 Jan 1782
Report, as U.S. Superintendent of Finance, to the Congress (under the Articles of Confederation); examines weights, measures and money practices in various states and countries, particularly England and France, and recommends coinage of U.S. dollars
"In England the Money Standard is rather affixed to Gold than to Silver because all Payments are made in the former and in France it is rather affixed to Silver than to Gold. ... Since therefore a Money Standard affixed to both the precious Metals will not give this certain Scale it is better to make use of one only. Gold is more valuable than Silver and so far must have the Preference but it is from that very Circumstance the more exposed to fraudulent Practices. Its Value rendering it more portable is an Advantage."
Related Topic: Money
The Case for Gold, by Mark Calabria
Review of The Case for Gold (1982) by Rep. Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman
"Published in book form by the Cato Institute that year, the report covers the history of gold in the United States, explains how the breakdown in its use as a financial standard was caused by government, and details the critical need for sound money — where prices reflect market realities, government stays in check, and people retain their freedom. ... Paul and Lehrman remind us that the ultimate purpose of a monetary standard is not price stability, but 'trust and honesty.' A gold standard is an avenue, among others, to restore our trust in government, by appropriately constraining the discretionary power of government."
Related Topics: Ron Paul, Murray N. Rothbard
The Case for the Barbarous Relic, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Mises Daily, 21 Mar 2006
"We do not lack plans to restore sound money. Indeed, defining the dollar as a fixed weight of gold and eliminating the power of the Fed to print money is all that is necessary. What we lack is the political will to do so. A gold standard would be the single best reform we could make to the cause of freedom."
The Federal War on Gold, Part 1, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Aug 2006
Discusses some of the provisos in the U.S. constitution regarding coinage and the issuance of paper money
"One, the gold standard eliminated the power of federal officials to do what governments had historically done to their citizenry — plunder and loot the people through the issuance of depreciating paper money. Two, the gold standard had an enormously positive effect on capital markets, which was one of the major contributing factors for the tremendous economic expansion and prosperity that characterized the United States through most of the 19th and early 20th centuries."
The Federal War on Gold, Part 3, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Oct 2006
Describes Franklin Roosevelt's executive order confiscating gold and nullifying gold clauses in contracts, its constitutional ramifications and subsequent related history
"Keep in mind that the Framers had implemented a gold standard so that the American people would be forever protected from the destructiveness of inflation. It was the gold standard — that is, the requirement that the federal government redeem all its paper notes and bills in gold — that had operated as a restraint on government's ability to print ever-increasing amounts of paper money. The gold standard's positive effect on capital markets was also one of the primary reasons that the United States rather quickly became one of the most prosperous nations in history."
The Gold-Plated Sting, by Gary North, 3 Mar 2007
"The gold standard was a restraint on governments . . . until the governments grew tired of the restraint. The gold standard was a restraint on privately owned ... banks after governments turned their nations' gold over to the central banks . . . until the central bankers grew tired of the restraint. The modern gold standard was therefore from day one a gigantic con job."
The New Deal and Roosevelt's Seizure of Gold: A Legacy of Theft and Inflation, Part 2, by William L. Anderson, Future of Freedom, Sep 2006
"Since the gold standard included requirements that the country's money supply have at least a 40 percent gold backing, a drain on gold reserves would have forced the government to stop printing so many dollars. Therefore, the plans of the New Dealers ran headlong into the reality of the gold standard and its check on inflation."
The Organization of Debt into Currency: On the Monetary Thought of Charles Holt Carroll, by Robert Blumen, Mises Daily, 27 Apr 2006
Review of the fractional reserve banking and monetary arguments made by Charles Holt Carroll, a 19th century Massachusetts merchant, in a collection of 36 essays re-published in 1964 in Organization of Debt into Currency and Other Papers
"To put and end to recurring financial crises, and to restore the nation to sound and honest principles of trade, Carroll advocated a bullion standard, with the dollar defined as a fixed weight of gold. 'The true policy for every nation is to keep the currency sound and strong. As gold and silver form the acknowledged money of the world, we can do no better than to use them in their standard purity, and permit nothing to be acknowledged as a dollar that is not a dollar.'"
Related Topics: Banking, Inflation, Money, Prices
Under the Shadow of Inflationomics, by Hans F. Sennholz, Mises Daily, 1 Jun 2006
"A full gold standard was in effect from 1900 to 1933. The Legal Tender Act of 1933 made all American coins and paper money 'legal tender' which must be accepted at face value by creditors in payment of any debt, public or private. The Gold Reserve Act of 1934 stipulated that gold could no longer be used as a medium of domestic exchange ..."

Videos


GMU's Lawrence H. White on Free Banking and the Gold Standard (11/18/10), by Lawrence H. White, 18 Nov 2010
Central Banking vs. Free Banking and the Gold Standard, presentation by Lawrence H. White, Professor of Economics, George Mason University, at the Cato Institute's 28th Annual Monetary Conference
Related Topics: Banking, Central Banking