The Ethical Case for a Gold Standard
As economist Thorsten Polleit pointed out, inflation has pernicious effects on the average person, while tremendously benefiting the chosen few. Inflation the money supply is a policy intentionally carried out by central bankers around the world. Polleit calls this an “inflation scam.” With the Federal Reserve signaling that it is willing to let the inflation monster run loose, you should be prepared to see the value of the dollar erode even further in the future.
In essence, inflation facilitates a transfer of wealth from the average Joe and Jane to the politically connected. You can’t talk about wealth inequality without pointing a finger at the Federal Reserve. After all, it is the central bank that generates inflation by effectively creating money out of thin air.
At a more fundamental level, this is made possible by the fiat money system that has evolved in the US and around the world. When money is backed by nothing, governments and central banks can coordinate to inflate the money supply in order to facilitate government spending and monetize the national debt. We see the results of this in the rapid devaluation of the dollar since President Richard Nixon eliminated the last vestige of the gold standard in 1971. According to the Consumer Price Index data released by the Bureau Labor of Statistics, the dollar has lost more than 80% of its value since Nixon’s fateful decision.
Antonius Aquinas argues that a metallic monetary system is not only better from an economic standpoint, but the ethical case is even more compelling.
The following aricle is by Antonius Aquinas and was originally published on his website. The views expressed are his for your consideration and don’t necessarily reflect those of SchiffGold or Peter Schiff.
The efficacy of a metallic monetary system is beyond dispute at least among real economists which eliminates just about 95% of whom are now engaged in the “profession.” Money, which gold is, allows for specialization, the division of labor, and provides the means for mankind to escape from barter and, thus, a primitive existence. Like free trade, money naturally integrates mankind both among and between peoples.
A system of central banking with unbacked paper currency is the antithesis of a gold standard. Manipulation of currencies by central banks, mostly through debasement, hinders trade, creates distortions, and ultimately leads to the dreaded business cycle. Murray Rothbard aptly describes the baneful results of state intervention in the monetary system:
…government meddling with money has not only brought untold tyranny into the world; it has also brought chaos and not order. It has fragmented the peaceful, productive world market and shattered it into a thousand pieces, with trade and investment hobbled and hampered by myriad restrictions, controls, artificial rates, currency breakdowns, etc. It has helped bring about wars by transforming a world of peaceful intercourse into a jungle of warring currency blocs.”
While the economic efficiency of a gold standard is important, the ethical case for it is more compelling and was the reason why gold, as money, lasted as a medium of exchange for so long. Gold/money has to be created through honest-to-goodness production and exchange. The often dangerous mining of gold takes labor, capital goods, and land. Turning raw gold into coinage is another process which requires a high level of specialization and production techniques. Both are honest and morally sound activities which make for the betterment of life all around.
The ethical standing of central banking and its issuance of unbacked currency as money through the printing press, stroke of a computer key, or via the expansion of credit cannot stand similar scrutiny. By any appraisal, central banking is immoral. Through the creation of money, banks stealthy transfer wealth to those who control the money supply and those closely associated with it.
The ability of central banks to create unlimited amounts of money and credit has been the greatest redistribution scheme ever conceived. The process ultimately leads to class conflict as the wealth disparity between the politically well-connected and those outside that nexus invariably widen.
Under a gold standard, none of this would take place.
Because of their lack and often disdain for economic doctrines, in particular, monetary theory, “economic nationalists” (really “economic ignoramuses”) have wrongly focused on trade as a factor in the continued decline of the middle and working classes. China’s supposed unfair trade practices was a staple of President Trump’s campaign rhetoric and it has continued through much of his first term.
The focus on trade has deflected attention from the real cause of worsening economic conditions for American workers and the enrichment of Wall Street. Despite the blatant transfer of wealth via the Fed’s policies of suppressed interest rates and money printing since the 2008 Recession, economic nationalists continue to applaud President Trump’s tariff policies while the President continues to browbeat the Fed to do more of the same even calling for negative interest rates and more Quantitative Easing.
The Left rightly speaks out of the vast and growing inequality of wealth distribution, but like those who espouse economic nationalism, they fail to understand the reason for why the societal imbalance has occurred. One remedy they propose – a “wealth tax” – will not address the problem. Moreover, their “soak-the-rich” schemes would snare in their plunder (not that Leftists particularly care) many of the wealthy on the outside of the banking and financial sector of their legitimate, just gains.
The case for honest money must be made on ethical grounds. The current system must be exposed and shown for the scam that it is: a massive redistribution scheme enriching the political elites and their closely aligned business and financial allies. While it is undeniable that a gold standard would lead to enormous prosperity, its reinstatement would remedy one of the great injustices that plague the world – central banking!