Paper Money vs. The Gold Standard: An Explanation

Great piece here on the Future of Freedom Foundation website by Richard Ebeling.



by Richard M Ebeling

We are living in a time that can only be considered monetary chaos. The U.S. Federal Reserve has manipulated key interest rates down to practically zero for the last six years, and expanded the money supply in the banking system by $4 trillion dollars over that time. And with the true mentality of the monetary central planner, the Fed Board of Governors are now planning to manipulate key interest rates in an upward direction that they deem desirable.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has instituted a conscious policy of “negative” interest rates and planned an additional monetary expansion of well over a trillion Euros over the next year. Plus, the head of the ECB has assured the public and financial markets that there is “no limit” to the amount of paper money that will be produced to push the European economies in the direct that those monetary central planners consider best.

We also should not forget that it was the Federal Reserve that earlier in the twenty-first century undertook a monetary expansion and policy of interest rate manipulation that set the stage for the severe and prolonged “great recession” that began in 2008-2009, in conjunction with a Federal government distorting subsidization of the American housing market.

The media and the policy pundits may focus on the day-to-day zigs and zags of central bank monetary and interest rate policy, but what really needs to be asked is whether or not we should continue to leave monetary and banking policy in the discretionary hands of central banks and the monetary central planners who manage them.

Central Banking as Monetary Central Planning

And make no mistake about it. Central banking is monetary central planning. The United States and, indeed, virtually the entire world operate under a regime of monetary socialism. Historically, socialism has meant an economic system in which the government owned, managed, and planned the use of the factors of production.

Modern central banking is a system in which the government, either directly or through some appointed agency such as the Federal Reserve in the United States, has monopoly ownership and control of the medium of exchange. Through this control the government and its agency has predominant influence over the value, or purchasing power, of the monetary unit, and can significantly influence a variety of market relationships. These include the rates of interest as which borrowing and lending goes on in the banking and financial sectors of the economy, and therefore the patterns of savings and investment in the market.

If there is one lesson to be learned from the history of the last one hundred years – during which the world and the United States moved off the gold standard and onto a government-managed fiat, or paper, money system – is the fundamental disaster of placing control of the money supply in the hands of governments.

Continual Government Abuse of Money

If is worth recalling that money did not originate in the laws or decrees of kings and princes. Money, as the most widely used and generally accepted medium of exchange, emerged out of the market transactions of a growing number of buyers and sellers in an expanding arena of trade.

Commodities such as gold and silver were selected over generations of market participants as the monies of free choice, due to their useful characteristics to better facilitate the exchange of goods in the market place.

For almost all of recorded history, governments have attempted to gain control of the production and manipulation of money to serve their seemingly insatiable appetite to extract more and more of the wealth produced by the ordinary members of society. Ancient rulers would clip and debase the gold and silver coins of their subjects.

More modern rulers – whether despotically self-appointed through force or democratically elected by voting majorities – have taken advantage of the monetary printing press to churn out paper money to fund their expenditures and redistributive largess in excess of the taxes they impose on the citizenry.

Today the process has become even easier through the mere click of a “mouse” on a computer screen, which in the blink of an eye can create tens of billions of dollars out of thin air.

Thus, monetary debasement and the price inflation that normally accompanies it have served as a method for imposing a “hidden taxation” on the wealth of the citizenry. As John Maynard Keynes insightfully observed in 1919 (before he became a “Keynesian”!):

By a continuous process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method, they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The process engages all of the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner that not one man in a million can diagnose.

It is the corrosive, distortive, and destructive effects from monetary manipulation by governments that led virtually all of the leading economists of the nineteenth century to endorse the “anchoring” of the monetary system in a commodity such as gold, to prevent governments from using their powers over the creation of paper monies to cover their budgetary extravagance. John Stuart Mill’s words from the middle of the nineteenth century are worth recalling:

No doctrine in political economy rests on more obvious grounds than the mischief of a paper currency not maintained at the same value with a metallic, either by convertibility, or by some principle of limitation equivalent to it . . . All variations in the value of the circulating medium are mischievous; they disturb existing contracts and expectations, and the liability to such changes renders every pecuniary engagement of long date entirely precarious . . .

Great as this evil would be if it [the supply of money] depended on [the] accident [of gold production], it is still greater when placed at the arbitrary disposal of an individual or a body of individuals; who may have any kind or degree of interest to be served by an artificial fluctuation in fortunes; and who have at any rate a strong interest in issuing as much [inconvertible paper money] as possible, each issue being itself a source of profit.

Not to add, that the issuers have, and in the case of government paper, always have, a direct interest in lowering the value of the currency because it is the medium in which their own debts are computed . . . Such power, in whomsoever vested, is an intolerable evil.

The Social Benefits of a Gold Standard

Under a gold standard, it is gold that is the actual money. Paper currency and various forms of checking and other deposit accounts that may be used in market transactions in exchange for goods and services are money substitutes, representing a fixed quantity of the gold-money on deposit with a banking or other financial institution that are redeemable on demand.

Any net increases in the quantity of currency and checking and related deposits are dependent upon increases in the quantity of gold that depositors with banking and financial institutions add to their individual accounts. And any withdrawal of gold from their accounts through redemption requires that the quantity of currency notes and checking and related accounts in circulation be reduced by the same amount. Under a gold standard, a central bank is relieved of all authority and power to arbitrarily “manage” the monetary order.

Many critics of the gold standard consider this a rigid and inflexible “rule” about how the monetary system and the quantity of money in the society is to be determined and constrained. Yet, the advocates of the gold standard have long argued that this relative inflexibility is essential to discipline governments within the confines of a “hard budget.”

A Gold Standard Can Limit Government Monetary Abuse

Without the “escape hatch” of the monetary printing press, governments either must tax the citizenry or borrow a part of the savings of the private sector to cover its expenditures. Those proposing government spending must either justify it by explaining where the tax dollars will come from and upon whom the taxes will fall; or make the case for borrowing a part of the savings of the society to cover those expenditures – but at market rates of interest that tell the truth about what it will cost to attract lenders to….(Read More)

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Top 10 Ways Liberals Make America Worse

Very important video for us all to understand.

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The Significance of Shivnarine Chanderpaul

It’s been a while since we’ve had a post. I read the piece from Gleaner columnist Keiran King on the retirement of Shiv and had to share it.


In a perfect world, it would have been his swansong. Two home games against arch rivals Australia, echoing the India tour only 18 months earlier, in which he and the sporting world said goodbye to Sachin Tendulkar. On recent evenings, he might have recalled the electric joy and sadness that filled Wankhede Stadium, and allowed himself a similar daydream — the cameras, the press, the handshakes, the interviews, the guard of honour led by Michael Clarke, and, above all, the cheering, jeering, gyrating crowd in Sabina Park, all gathered to witness his final walk from pavilion to pitch.

It was not to be. The West Indies selectors did not pick Shivnarine Chanderpaul against the men from Oz, creating a rather harsher exit for the 40-year-old veteran — dropped from his team, with all the ignominy and inadequacy of an ageing spouse left holding the alimony cheque.

When the glint of the axe appeared, Chanderpaul texted his old teammate and new coach Phil Simmons,  equesting clemency. There was none.

“Unfortunately,” Simmons replied, “length of service is not a criterion for selection.”

Were Chanderpaul regarded with the reverence accorded George Headley, Garry Sobers, Vivian Richards or compatriot Brian Lara, such a blunt coda would be inconceivable. But where those batsmen displayed panache and grace at the stumps, the elfin Guyanese has only ever had a kind of awkward utilitarianism to offer, full of quirks and oddities. We enjoy when great players make success look easy; Chanderpaul, from start to finish, revealed cricket to be hard work. And his Indian heritage made entry to Windies sainthood difficult, since it is unfairly reserved for the more Afrocentric (witness our undying pride in the heroes that ‘blackwashed’ England in the 1980s).

Moreover, his dismissal seemed to fit one of the ur-stories of sport — the elite athlete, singularly focused, deaf to criticism and blind to his declining powers, who must finally be ushered off for his own sake as much as ours (see Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong et al). But Chanderpaul deserves better, if not from the WICB then from us, the unwashed masses. He is likely gone from the international stage, but we can at least remember him well, and for what he was — the last of the great West Indian juju-men.

Of the 3,000 souls to ever play Test cricket, only 35 have retired with a batting average over fifty, only 24 have survived two decades, and only eight have done both, among them Headley, Sobers and Chanderpaul.

Even that illustrious company belies his unique contribution, because no one in those shortlists — which, lest you forget, contains the greatest batsmen of all time — remained unbeaten at the wicket more often (18%), a fitting crown for the man who Shane Warne complained, “You need[ed] to crowbar away from the crease.” The Guyanese ‘Tiger’ earned his stripes in 164 Tests, more than anyone else in a maroon cap, as many as Chris Gayle’s and Marlon Samuels’s entire careers combined. He was, in brief, the most reliable batsman in history.

What the numbers cannot divulge is that Chanderpaul was also the last West Indian with that special mystique, the last one who knew the pungent linseed-oil smell of dominance firsthand, who felt an unbroken lineage of calypso custodians behind every cover drive, who could ignite the spectre of defeat in his opponents simply by padding up. His disappearance marks the dying breath of the greatest dynasty in sport, from 1978 to 1995, when the West Indies ruled the world. All that’s left now are a bunch of orphans, scrounging for scraps at the foot of the ICC rankings table.

To be fair, the decline in Windies cricket is a misnomer, more accurately described as stagnation amidst a rise elsewhere. Just as sabermetrics upended baseball, creating new winners and losers, so cricket transformed itself in the 1990s from a game of talent to a game of training and technology, a change that benefited richer nations at the expense of the poorer. Thus Australia, England, and South Africa have batted the top spots between them since 1995, while Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies (alongside newcomers Zimbabwe and Bangladesh) continue to struggle.

This more precise, more demanding, more lucrative sport has less room for anomalies like the boy from Unity Village, whose crab-like stance, unorthodox shuffle-step and overall eccentricity would now be excised in the name of efficiency and an IPL contract. (Plus, you can’t take your guard with LCD light-up bails.) For better or worse, the game has moved on, rejuvenated for a new century, with restless impatience for nostalgia.

All the old generals (Jayawardene, Kallis, Tendulkar) have fallen. The last man standing — as always, as it should be — was Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

——-FROM RIGHT FROM YAAD TO THE TIGER: Farewell Tiger, you were top notch. Thanks for the memories!———-

Keiran King is a playwright and journalist, pursuing his master’s degree in California. His column appears on Sunday. Tweet @keiranwking or email and

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The Road to Totalitarianism

The first post of 2015. Sorry readers, I have been very busy these past few months. Thought I would share this gem from the Mises Institute:



In spite of the obvious ultimate objective of the masters of Russia to communize and conquer the world, and in spite of the frightful power which such weapons as guided missiles and atomic and hydrogen bombs may put in their hands, the greatest threat to American liberty today comes from within. It is the threat of a growing and spreading totalitarian ideology.

Totalitarianism in its final form is the doctrine that the government, the state, must exercise total control over the individual. The American College Dictionary, closely following Webster’s Collegiate, defines totalitarianism as “pertaining to a centralized form of government in which those in control grant neither recognition nor tolerance to parties of different opinion.”

Now I should describe this failure to grant tolerance to other parties not as the essence of totalitarianism, but rather as one of its consequences or corollaries. The essence of totalitarianism is that the group in power must exercise total control. Its original purpose (as in communism) may be merely to exercise total control over “the economy.” But “the state” (the imposing name for the clique in power) can exercise total control over the economy only if it exercises complete control over imports and exports, over prices and interest rates and wages, over production and consumption, over buying and selling, over the earning and spending of income, over jobs, over occupations, over workers — over what they do and what they get and where they go — and finally, over what they say and even what they think.

If total control over the economy must in the end mean total control over what people do, say, and think, then it is only spelling out details or pointing out corollaries to say that totalitarianism suppresses freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of immigration and emigration, freedom to form or to keep any political party in opposition, and freedom to vote against the government. These suppressions are merely the end-products of totalitarianism.

All that the totalitarians want is total control. This does not necessarily mean that they want total suppression. They suppress merely the ideas which they don’t agree with, or of which they are suspicious, or of which they have never heard before; and they suppress only the actions that they don’t like, or of which they cannot see the necessity. They leave the individual perfectly free to agree with them, and perfectly free to act in any way that serves their purposes — or to which they may happen at the moment to be indifferent. Of course, they sometimes also compel actions, such as……(read more)

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Why Liberals Are Modern NAZIS: The Death Of Thought And The Demise Of America Through Mindless Emotional ‘Liberal’ Outrage

Well….I think we kinda now know the truth on the real way the Affordable Care Act passed and what it really was all about.

Start Thinking Right

As we speak, I am watching riots.  I am watching burnings and lootings of businesses, I am watching public access points being seized and blockaded, I am watching rabid calls to violence.  All in the name of “demonstrations.”

I am watching what horrified sadly-too-few Germans in the 1930s is what I’m watching.

I ask myself, how many conservative riots have there been?  The answer, of course, is zero.

Is it just black people who riot?  I mean, aside from Ferguson, we can go back to lots of other black riots, such as Watts in ’68 and so on.

But I ask myself, how many conservative black people rioted?  And the answer, of course, is zero.

This behavior isn’t about race.  It’s about a culture that has been led astray by means of an utterly depraved worldview commonly known as “liberalism.”

Interestingly, “liberalism” is about as “liberal” as “ISIS” is “religious.” 

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Embracing Innovation as our Business Culture

by Lipton Matthews

Establishing a business venture is a risky and uphill task, therefore, we sympathise with the plight of private entrepreneurs, but we will not accept their inertia in Jamaica.

For years, business magnates have portrayed Jamaica as an “unfriendly business environment”. Although this characterisation is somewhat truthful, it doesn’t change the fact that several of our local entrepreneurs have refused to embrace innovation as a way of life.

Innovation may be seen as an expense, but without it companies will become obsolete. Historically, innovative firms tend to outperform their competitors. Research conducted on innovation by London School of Business indicates that organisations that focus only on incremental product enhancement cannot prevent decline in their own market as they mature and new competitors enter the field.

Another recent study by Pricewaterhouse-Coopers concludes that the UK’s most innovative grew on average 50 per cent faster than the least innovative over the last three years.

Although R&D expenditure may contribute to innovation, fostering a culture of innovation in your organisation is more important. For example, according to the results of a Boaz and Company 2011 survey on global innovation, seven of the top 10 innovators were not among the big spenders on R&D.

A company’s cultural alignment to its innovation strategy plays a more decisive role in determining innovation than investment in product development. Companies, therefore, with higher levels of alignment have a 30 per cent higher enterprise value growth and 17 per cent higher profit growth than businesses with low degrees of alignment.

However, the importance of R&D cannot be understated. Many global firms have made the creation of research institutes a priority. One such firm is Samsung Electronics, operator of Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology. This institute was established to create disruptive technologies and new businesses.

Local entrepreneurs may not have the capital to develop world-class institutes, but it’s not odd to expect groups like the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica to develop cooperative research networks. It is time for private entrepreneurs to accept their role as wealth creators and stop complaining about everything, because there is no such thing as the perfect business environment.

Lipton Matthews is a second year law student and is unusual in being a young Jamaican Libertarian-Conservative  who believes in the virtues of Capitalism. He can be reached at

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Who Are The Racists?

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