Most nations abandoned the gold standard as the basis of their monetary systems at some point in the 20th century, although many hold substantial gold reserves. A 2012 survey of leading American economists showed that they unanimously reject that a return to the gold standard would benefit the average American.
The gold specie standard arose from the widespread acceptance of gold as currency. Various commodities have been used as money; typically, the one that loses the least value over time becomes the accepted form. Chemically, gold is of all major metals the one most resistant to corrosion.
The use of gold as money began thousands of years ago in Asia Minor.
During the early and high Middle Ages, the Byzantine gold solidus, commonly known as the bezant, was used widely throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. However, as the Byzantine Empire's economic influence declined, so too did the use of the bezant. In its place, European territories chose silver as their currency over gold, leading to the development of silver standards.
Silver pennies based on the Roman denarius became the staple coin of Mercia in Great Britain around the time of King Offa, circa 757–796 CE. Similar coins, including Italian denari, French deniers, and Spanish dineros, circulated in Europe. Spanish explorers discovered silver deposits in Mexico in 1522 and at Potosí in Bolivia in 1545. International trade came to depend on coins such as the Spanish dollar, the Maria Theresa thaler, and, later, the United States trade dollar.
In modern times, the British West Indies was one of the first regions to adopt a gold specie standard. Following Queen Anne's proclamation of 1704, the British West Indies gold standard was a de facto gold standard based on the Spanish gold doubloon. In 1717, Sir Isaac Newton, the master of the Royal Mint, established a new mint ratio between silver and gold that had the effect of driving silver out of circulation and putting Britain on a gold standard.
A formal gold specie standard was first established in 1821, when Britain adopted it following the introduction of the gold sovereign by the new Royal Mint at Tower Hill in 1816. The United Province of Canada in 1854, Newfoundland in 1865, and the United States and Germany (de jure) in 1873 adopted gold. The United States used the eagle as its unit, Germany introduced the new gold mark, while Canada adopted a dual system based on both the American gold eagle and the British gold sovereign.
Australia and New Zealand adopted the British gold standard, as did the British West Indies, while Newfoundland was the only British Empire territory to introduce its own gold coin. Royal Mint branches were established in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth for the purpose of minting gold sovereigns from Australia's rich gold deposits.
From 1750 to 1870, wars within Europe as well as an ongoing trade deficit with China (which sold to Europe but had little use for European goods) drained silver from the economies of Western Europe and the United States. Coins were struck in smaller and smaller numbers, and there was a proliferation of bank and stock notes used as money.
In the 1790s, the United Kingdom suffered a silver shortage. It ceased to mint larger silver coins and instead issued "token" silver coins and overstruck foreign coins. With the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the Bank of England began the massive recoinage programme that created standard gold sovereigns, circulating crowns, half-crowns and eventually copper farthings in 1821. The recoinage of silver after a long drought produced a burst of coins. The United Kingdom struck nearly 40 million shillings between 1816 and 1820, 17 million half crowns and 1.3 million silver crowns.
The 1819 Act for the Resumption of Cash Payments set 1823 as the date for resumption of convertibility, which was reached by 1821. Throughout the 1820s, small notes were issued by regional banks. This was restricted in 1826, while the Bank of England was allowed to set up regional branches. In 1833 however, Bank of England notes were made legal tender and redemption by other banks was discouraged. In 1844, the Bank Charter Act established that Bank of England notes were fully backed by gold and they became the legal standard. According to the strict interpretation of the gold standard, this 1844 act marked the establishment of a full gold standard for British money.
In the 1780s, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Morris and Alexander Hamilton recommended to Congress the value of a decimal system. This system would also apply to monies in the United States. The question was what type of standard: gold, silver or both. The United States adopted a silver standard based on the Spanish milled dollar in 1785.
From 1860 to 1871 various attempts to resurrect bi-metallic standards were made, including one based on the gold and silver franc; however, with the rapid influx of silver from new deposits, the expectation of scarce silver ended.
The interaction between central banking and currency basis formed the primary source of monetary instability during this period. The combination of a restricted supply of notes, a government monopoly on note issuance and indirectly, a central bank and a single unit of value produced economic stability. Deviation from these conditions produced monetary crises.
Devalued notes or leaving silver as a store of value caused economic problems. Governments, demanding specie as payment, could drain the money out of the economy. Economic development expanded need for credit. The need for a solid basis in monetary affairs produced a rapid acceptance of the gold standard in the period that followed.
Following Germany's decision after the 1870–1871 Franco-Prussian War to extract reparations to facilitate a move to the gold standard, Japan gained the needed reserves after the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895. For Japan, moving to gold was considered vital for gaining access to Western capital markets.
In 1792, Congress passed the Mint and Coinage Act. It authorized the federal government's use of the Bank of the United States to hold its reserves, as well as establish a fixed ratio of gold to the U.S. dollar. Gold and silver coins were legal tender, as was the Spanish real. In 1792 the market price of gold was about 15 times that of silver. Silver coins left circulation, exported to pay for the debts taken on to finance the American Revolutionary War. In 1806 President Jefferson suspended the minting of silver coins. This resulted in a derivative silver standard, since the Bank of the United States was not required to fully back its currency with reserves. This began a long series of attempts by the United States to create a bi-metallic standard.
The intention was to use gold for large denominations, and silver for smaller denominations. A problem with bimetallic standards was that the metals' absolute and relative market prices changed. The mint ratio (the rate at which the mint was obligated to pay/receive for gold relative to silver) remained fixed at 15 ounces of silver to 1 ounce of gold, whereas the market rate fluctuated from 15.5 to 1 to 16 to 1. With the Coinage Act of 1834, Congress passed an act that changed the mint ratio to approximately 16 to 1. Gold discoveries in California in 1848 and later in Australia lowered the gold price relative to silver; this drove silver money from circulation because it was worth more in the market than as money. Passage of the Independent Treasury Act of 1848 placed the U.S. on a strict hard-money standard. Doing business with the American government required gold or silver coins.
Government accounts were legally separated from the banking system. However, the mint ratio (the fixed exchange rate between gold and silver at the mint) continued to overvalue gold. In 1853, the US reduced the silver weight of coins to keep them in circulation and in 1857 removed legal tender status from foreign coinage. In 1857 the final crisis of the free banking era began as American banks suspended payment in silver, with ripples through the developing international financial system. Due to the inflationary finance measures undertaken to help pay for the US Civil War, the government found it difficult to pay its obligations in gold or silver and suspended payments of obligations not legally specified in specie (gold bonds); this led banks to suspend the conversion of bank liabilities (bank notes and deposits) into specie. In 1862 paper money was made legal tender. It was a fiat money (not convertible on demand at a fixed rate into specie). These notes came to be called "greenbacks".
After the Civil War, Congress wanted to reestablish the metallic standard at pre-war rates. The market price of gold in greenbacks was above the pre-War fixed price ($20.67 per ounce of gold) requiring deflation to achieve the pre-War price. This was accomplished by growing the stock of money less rapidly than real output. By 1879 the market price matched the mint price of gold. The coinage act of 1873 (also known as the Crime of ‘73) demonetized silver. This act removed the 412.5 grain silver dollar from circulation. Subsequently silver was only used in coins worth less than $1 (fractional currency). With the resumption of convertibility on June 30, 1879 the government again paid its debts in gold, accepted greenbacks for customs and redeemed greenbacks on demand in gold. Greenbacks were therefore perfect substitutes for gold coins. During the latter part of the nineteenth century the use of silver and a return to the bimetallic standard were recurrent political issues, raised especially by William Jennings Bryan, the People's Party and the Free Silver movement. In 1900 the gold dollar was declared the standard unit of account and a gold reserve for government issued paper notes was established. Greenbacks, silver certificates, and silver dollars continued to be legal tender, all redeemable in gold.
|US gold stock|
The US had a gold stock of 1.9 million ounces (59 t) in 1862. Stocks rose to 2.6 million ounces (81 t) in 1866, declined in 1875 to 1.6 million ounces (50 t) and rose to 2.5 million ounces (78 t) in 1878. Net exports did not mirror that pattern. In the decade before the Civil War net exports were roughly constant; postwar they varied erratically around pre-war levels, but fell significantly in 1877 and became negative in 1878 and 1879. The net import of gold meant that the foreign demand for American currency to purchase goods, services, and investments exceeded the corresponding American demands for foreign currencies. In the final years of the greenback period (1862–1879), gold production increased while gold exports decreased. The decrease in gold exports was considered by some to be a result of changing monetary conditions. The demands for gold during this period were as a speculative vehicle, and for its primary use in the foreign exchange markets financing international trade. The major effect of the increase in gold demand by the public and Treasury was to reduce exports of gold and increase the Greenback price of gold relative to purchasing power.
Towards the end of the 19th century, some silver standard countries began to peg their silver coin units to the gold standards of the United Kingdom or the United States. In 1898, British India pegged the silver rupee to the pound sterling at a fixed rate of 1s 4d, while in 1906, the Straits Settlements adopted a gold exchange standard against sterling, fixing the silver Straits dollar at 2s 4d.
Around the start of the 20th century, the Philippines pegged the silver peso/dollar to the U.S. dollar at 50 cents. This move was assisted by the passage of the Philippines Coinage Act by the United States Congress on March 3, 1903. Around the same time Mexico and Japan pegged their currencies to the dollar. When Siam adopted a gold exchange standard in 1908, only China and Hong Kong remained on the silver standard.
When adopting the gold standard, many European nations changed the name of their currency, for instance from Daler (Sweden and Denmark) or Gulden (Austria-Hungary) to Crown, since the former names were traditionally associated with silver coins and the latter with gold coins.
Governments with insufficient tax revenue suspended convertibility repeatedly in the 19th century. The real test, however, came in the form of World War I, a test which "it failed utterly" according to economist Richard Lipsey.
By the end of 1913, the classical gold standard was at its peak but World War I caused many countries to suspend or abandon it. According to Lawrence Officer the main cause of the gold standard’s failure to resume its previous position after World War I was “the Bank of England's precarious liquidity position and the gold-exchange standard.” A run on sterling caused Britain to impose exchange controls that fatally weakened the standard; convertibility was not legally suspended, but gold prices no longer played the role that they did before. In financing the war and abandoning gold, many of the belligerents suffered drastic inflations. Price levels doubled in the US and Britain, tripled in France and quadrupled in Italy. Exchange rates changed less, even though European inflations were more severe than America’s. This meant that the costs of American goods decreased relative to those in Europe. Between August 1914 and spring of 1915, the dollar value of US exports tripled and its trade surplus exceeded $1 billion for the first time.
Ultimately, the system could not deal quickly enough with the large balance of payments deficits and surpluses; this was previously attributed to downward wage rigidity brought about by the advent of unionized labor, but is now considered as an inherent fault of the system that arose under the pressures of war and rapid technological change. In any case, prices had not reached equilibrium by the time of the Great Depression, which served to kill off the system completely.
For example, Germany had gone off the gold standard in 1914, and could not effectively return to it because War reparations had cost it much of its gold reserves. During the Occupation of the Ruhr the German central bank (Reichsbank) issued enormous sums of non-convertible marks to support workers who were on strike against the French occupation and to buy foreign currency for reparations; this led to the German hyperinflation of the early 1920s and the decimation of the German middle class.
The US did not suspend the gold standard during the war. The newly created Federal Reserve intervened in currency markets and sold bonds to “sterilize” some of the gold imports that would have otherwise increased the stock of money. By 1927 many countries had returned to the gold standard. As a result of World War I the United States, which had been a net debtor country, had become a net creditor by 1919.
The gold specie standard ended in the United Kingdom and the rest of the British Empire at the outbreak of World War I, when Treasury notes replaced the circulation of gold sovereigns and gold half sovereigns. Legally, the gold specie standard was not repealed. The end of the gold standard was successfully effected by the Bank of England through appeals to patriotism urging citizens not to redeem paper money for gold specie. It was only in 1925, when Britain returned to the gold standard in conjunction with Australia and South Africa, that the gold specie standard was officially ended.
The British Gold Standard Act 1925 both introduced the gold bullion standard and simultaneously repealed the gold specie standard. The new standard ended the circulation of gold specie coins. Instead, the law compelled the authorities to sell gold bullion on demand at a fixed price, but "only in the form of bars containing approximately four hundred ounces troy [12 kg] of fine gold". John Maynard Keynes, citing deflationary dangers, argued against resumption of the gold standard. By fixing the price at the pre-war rate of $4.86, Churchill is argued to have made an error that led to depression, unemployment and the 1926 general strike. The decision was described by Andrew Turnbull as a "historic mistake".
Many other countries followed Britain in returning to the gold standard, this was followed by a period of relative stability but also deflation. This state of affairs lasted until the Great Depression (1929–1939) forced countries off the gold standard. In September 19, 1931, speculative attacks on the pound forced Britain to abandon the gold standard. Loans from American and French Central Banks of £50,000,000 were insufficient and exhausted in a matter of weeks, due to large gold outflows across the Atlantic. The British benefited from this departure. They could now use monetary policy to stimulate the economy. Australia and New Zealand had already left the standard and Canada quickly followed suit.
The interwar partially backed gold standard was inherently unstable, because of the conflict between the expansion of liabilities to foreign central banks and the resulting deterioration in the Bank of England's reserve ratio. France was then attempting to make Paris a world class financial center, and it received large gold flows as well.
In May 1931 a run on Austria's largest commercial bank caused it to fail. The run spread to Germany, where the central bank also collapsed. International financial assistance was too late and in July 1931 Germany adopted exchange controls, followed by Austria in October. The Austrian and German experiences, as well as British budgetary and political difficulties, were among the factors that destroyed confidence in sterling, which occurred in mid-July 1931. Runs ensued and the Bank of England lost much of its reserves.
Some economic historians, such as Barry Eichengreen, blame the gold standard of the 1920s for prolonging the economic depression which started in 1929 and lasted for about a decade. In the United States, adherence to the gold standard prevented the Federal Reserve from expanding the money supply to stimulate the economy, fund insolvent banks and fund government deficits that could "prime the pump" for an expansion. Once off the gold standard, it became free to engage in such money creation. The gold standard limited the flexibility of the central banks' monetary policy by limiting their ability to expand the money supply. In the US, the central bank was required by the Federal Reserve Act (1913) to have gold backing 40% of its demand notes. Others including former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Nobel Prize-winner Milton Friedman place the blame for the severity and length of the Great Depression at the feet of the Federal Reserve, mostly due to the deliberate tightening of monetary policy even after the end of the gold standard. They blamed the US major economic contraction in 1937 on tightening of monetary policy resulting in higher cost of capital, weaker securities markets, reduced net government contribution to income, the undistributed profits tax and higher labor costs. The money supply peaked in March 1937, with a trough in May 1938.
Higher interest rates intensified the deflationary pressure on the dollar and reduced investment in U.S. banks. Commercial banks converted Federal Reserve Notes to gold in 1931, reducing its gold reserves and forcing a corresponding reduction in the amount of currency in circulation. This speculative attack created a panic in the U.S. banking system. Fearing imminent devaluation many depositors withdrew funds from U.S. banks. As bank runs grew, a reverse multiplier effect caused a contraction in the money supply. Additionally the New York Fed had loaned over $150 million in gold (over 240 tons) to European Central Banks. This transfer contracted the US money supply. The foreign loans became questionable once Britain, Germany, Austria and other European countries went off the gold standard in 1931 and weakened confidence in the dollar.
The forced contraction of the money supply resulted in deflation. Even as nominal interest rates dropped, deflation-adjusted real interest rates remained high, rewarding those who held onto money instead of spending it, further slowing the economy. Recovery in the United States was slower than in Britain, in part due to Congressional reluctance to abandon the gold standard and float the U.S. currency as Britain had done.
In the early 1930s, the Federal Reserve defended the dollar by raising interest rates, trying to increase the demand for dollars. This helped attract international investors who bought foreign assets with gold.
Congress passed the Gold Reserve Act on 30 January 1934; the measure nationalized all gold by ordering Federal Reserve banks to turn over their supply to the U.S. Treasury. In return the banks received gold certificates to be used as reserves against deposits and Federal Reserve notes. The act also authorized the president to devalue the gold dollar. Under this authority the president, on 31 January 1934, changed the value of the dollar from $20.67 to the troy ounce to $35 to the troy ounce, a devaluation of over 40%.
Other factors in the prolongation of the Great Depression include trade wars and the reduction in international trade caused by barriers such as Smoot–Hawley Tariff in the US and the Imperial Preference policies of Great Britain, the failure of central banks to act responsibly, government policies designed to prevent wages from falling, such as the Davis–Bacon Act of 1931, during the deflationary period resulting in production costs dropping slower than sales prices, thereby injuring business profits and increases in taxes to reduce budget deficits and to support new programs such as Social Security. The US top marginal income tax rate went from 25% to 63% in 1932 and to 79% in 1936, while the bottom rate increased over tenfold, from .375% in 1929 to 4% in 1932. The concurrent massive drought resulted in the US Dust Bowl.
The Austrian School asserted that the Great Depression was the result of a credit bust. Alan Greenspan wrote that the bank failures of the 1930s were sparked by Great Britain dropping the gold standard in 1931. This act "tore asunder" any remaining confidence in the banking system. Financial historian Niall Ferguson wrote that what made the Great Depression truly 'great' was the European banking crisis of 1931. According to Fed Chairman Marriner Eccles, the root cause was the concentration of wealth resulting in a stagnating or decreasing standard of living for the poor and middle class. These classes went into debt, producing the credit explosion of the 1920s. Eventually the debt load grew too heavy, resulting in the massive defaults and financial panics of the 1930s.
Under the Bretton Woods international monetary agreement of 1944, the gold standard was kept without domestic convertibility. The role of gold was severely constrained, as other countries’ currencies were fixed in terms of the dollar. Many countries kept reserves in gold and settled accounts in gold. Still they preferred to settle balances with other currencies, with the American dollar becoming the favorite. The International Monetary Fund was established to help with the exchange process and assist nations in maintaining fixed rates. Within Bretton Woods adjustment was cushioned through credits that helped countries avoid deflation. Under the old standard, a country with an overvalued currency would lose gold and experience deflation until the currency was again valued correctly. Most countries defined their currencies in terms of dollars, but some countries imposed trading restrictions to protect reserves and exchange rates. Therefore, most countries' currencies were still basically inconvertible. In the late 1950s, the exchange restrictions were dropped and gold became an important element in international financial settlements.
After the Second World War, a system similar to a gold standard and sometimes described as a "gold exchange standard" was established by the Bretton Woods Agreements. Under this system, many countries fixed their exchange rates relative to the U.S. dollar and central banks could exchange dollar holdings into gold at the official exchange rate of $35 per ounce; this option was not available to firms or individuals. All currencies pegged to the dollar thereby had a fixed value in terms of gold.
Starting in the 1959–1969 administration of President Charles de Gaulle and continuing until 1970, France reduced its dollar reserves, exchanging them for gold at the official exchange rate, reducing US economic influence. This, along with the fiscal strain of federal expenditures for the Vietnam War and persistent balance of payments deficits, led U.S. President Richard Nixon to end international convertibility of the U.S. dollar to gold on August 15, 1971 (the "Nixon Shock").
This was meant to be a temporary measure, with the gold price of the dollar and the official rate of exchanges remaining constant. Revaluing currencies was the main purpose of this plan. No official revaluation or redemption occurred. The dollar subsequently floated. In December 1971, the "Smithsonian Agreement" was reached. In this agreement, the dollar was devalued from $35 per troy ounce of gold to $38. Other countries' currencies appreciated. However, gold convertibility did not resume. In October 1973, the price was raised to $42.22. Once again, the devaluation was insufficient. Within two weeks of the second devaluation the dollar was left to float. The $42.22 par value was made official in September 1973, long after it had been abandoned in practice. In October 1976, the government officially changed the definition of the dollar; references to gold were removed from statutes. From this point, the international monetary system was made of pure fiat money.
An estimated total of 174,100 tonnes of gold have been mined in human history, according to GFMS as of 2012. This is roughly equivalent to 5.6 billion troy ounces or, in terms of volume, about 9,261 cubic metres (327,000 cu ft), or a cube 21 metres (69 ft) on a side. There are varying estimates of the total volume of gold mined. One reason for the variance is that gold has been mined for thousands of years. Another reason is that some nations are not particularly open about how much gold is being mined. In addition, it is difficult to account for the gold output in illegal mining activities.
World production for 2011 was circa 2,700 tonnes. Since the 1950s, annual gold output growth has approximately kept pace with world population growth (i.e. a doubling in this period) although it has lagged behind world economic growth (approximately 8-fold increase since the 1950s, and 4x since 1980).
Commodity money is inconvenient to store and transport in large amounts. Furthermore, it does not allow a government to manipulate the flow of commerce with the same ease that a fiat currency does. As such, commodity money gave way to representative money and gold and other specie were retained as its backing.
Gold was a preferred form of money due to its rarity, durability, divisibility, fungibility and ease of identification, often in conjunction with silver. Silver was typically the main circulating medium, with gold as the monetary reserve. Commodity money was anonymous, as identifying marks can be removed. Commodity money retains its value despite what may happen to the monetary authority. After the fall of South Vietnam, many refugees carried their wealth to the West in gold after the national currency became worthless.
Under commodity standards currency itself has no intrinsic value, but is accepted by traders because it can be redeemed any time for the equivalent specie. A US silver certificate, for example, could be redeemed for an actual piece of silver.
Representative money and the gold standard protect citizens from hyperinflation and other abuses of monetary policy, as were seen in some countries during the Great Depression. Commodity money conversely led to deflation and bank runs.
Countries that left the gold standard earlier than other countries recovered from the Great Depression sooner. For example, Great Britain and the Scandinavian countries, which left the gold standard in 1931, recovered much earlier than France and Belgium, which remained on gold much longer. Countries such as China, which had a silver standard, almost entirely avoided the depression (due to the fact it was then barely integrated into the global economy). The connection between leaving the gold standard and the severity and duration of the depression was consistent for dozens of countries, including developing countries. This may explain why the experience and length of the depression differed between national economies.
A full or 100%-reserve gold standard exists when the monetary authority holds sufficient gold to convert all the circulating representative money into gold at the promised exchange rate. It is sometimes referred to as the gold specie standard to more easily distinguish it. Opponents of a full standard consider it difficult to implement, saying that the quantity of gold in the world is too small to sustain worldwide economic activity at or near current gold prices; implementation would entail a many-fold increase in the price of gold. Gold standard proponents have said, "Once a money is established, any stock of money becomes compatible with any amount of employment and real income." While prices would necessarily adjust to the supply of gold, the process may involve considerable economic disruption, as was experienced during earlier attempts to maintain gold standards.
In an international gold-standard system (which is necessarily based on an internal gold standard in the countries concerned), gold or a currency that is convertible into gold at a fixed price is used to make international payments. Under such a system, when exchange rates rise above or fall below the fixed mint rate by more than the cost of shipping gold, inflows or outflows occur until rates return to the official level. International gold standards often limit which entities have the right to redeem currency for gold.
A return to the gold standard was considered by the US Gold Commission back in 1982, but found only minority support. In 2001 Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad proposed a new currency that would be used initially for international trade among Muslim nations, using a Modern Islamic gold dinar, defined as 4.25 grams of pure (24-carat) gold. Mahathir claimed it would be a stable unit of account and a political symbol of unity between Islamic nations. This would purportedly reduce dependence on the US dollar and establish a non-debt-backed currency in accord with Sharia law that prohibited the charging of interest. As of 2013 the global monetary system continued to rely on the US dollar as the main reserve currency.
Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan acknowledged he was one of "a small minority" within the central bank that had some positive view on the gold standard. In a 1966 essay he contributed to a book by Ayn Rand, titled "Gold and Economic Freedom", Greenspan argued the case for returning to a 'pure' gold standard; in that essay he described supporters of fiat currencies as "welfare statists" intending to use monetary policy to finance deficit spending. More recently he claimed that by focusing on targeting inflation "central bankers have behaved as though we were on the gold standard", rendering a return to the standard unnecessary.
Similarly, economists like Robert Barro argued that whilst some form of "monetary constitution" is essential for stable, depoliticized monetary policy, the form this constitution takes—for example, a gold standard, some other commodity-based standard, or a fiat currency with fixed rules for determining the quantity of money—is considerably less important.
In the United States, strict constitutionalists object to the government issuing fiat currency through central banks. Some gold-standard advocates also call for a mandated end to fractional-reserve banking. Many similar alternatives have been suggested, including energy-based currencies, collections of currencies or commodities, with gold as one component.
Former congressman Ron Paul is a long-term, high-profile advocate of a gold standard, but has also expressed support for using a standard based on a basket of commodities that better reflects the state of the economy.
In 2011 the Utah legislature passed a bill to accept federally issued gold and silver coins as legal tender to pay taxes. As federally issued currency, the coins were already legal tender for taxes, although the market price of their metal content currently exceeds their monetary value. Similar legislation is under consideration in other US states. The bill was initiated by newly elected Republican Party legislators associated with the Tea Party movement and was driven by anxiety over the policies of President Barack Obama.
In 2015, some candidates for the 2016 presidential election advocated for a gold standard, based on concern that the Federal Reserve’s attempts to increase economic growth may create inflation. Economic historians did not agree with candidate's assertions that the gold standard would benefit the US economy.
In 2012 a poll of 40 U.S. economists in the IGM Economic Experts Panel found that none of them believed returning to the gold standard would result in "price-stability and employment outcomes [that] would be better for the average American." The panel of polled economists included past Nobel Prize winners, former economic advisers to both Republican and Democratic presidents, and senior faculty from Harvard, Chicago, Stanford, MIT, and other well-known research universities. The specific statement with which the economists were asked to agree or disagree was as follows: "If the US replaced its discretionary monetary policy regime with a gold standard, defining a 'dollar' as a specific number of ounces of gold, the price-stability and employment outcomes would be better for the average American."
The economist Allan H. Meltzer of Carnegie Mellon University presented arguments against Ron Paul's advocacy of the gold standard from the 1970s onward. He sometimes summarized his opposition by stating simply, "[W]e don’t have the gold standard. It’s not because we don’t know about the gold standard, it’s because we do."
The inflationary attempts of the government from January to October were thus offset by the people's attempts to convert their bank deposits into legal tender" "Hence, the will of the public caused bank reserves to decline by $400 million in the latter half of 1931, and the money supply, as a consequence, fell by over four billion dollars in the same period.
Throughout the European crisis, the Federal Reserve, particularly the New York Bank, tried its best to aid the European governments and to prop up unsound credit positions. ... The New York Federal Reserve loaned, in 1931, $125 million to the Bank of England, $25 million to the German Reichsbank, and smaller amounts to Hungary and Austria. As a result, much frozen assets were shifted, to become burdens to the United States.
As financial historian Niall Ferguson writes in Newsweek: "Double-Dip Depression ... We forget that the Great Depression was like a soccer match, there were two halves." The 1929 crash kicked off the first half. But what "made the depression truly 'great' ... began with the European banking crisis of 1931." Sound familiar?
the Union also experienced inflation as a result of deficit finance during the war; the consumer price index rose from 100 at the outset of the war to 175 by the end of 1865
from 1792 until 1847 cumulative U.S. production of gold was only about 37 tons. California's production in 1849 alone exceeded this figure, and annual production from 1848 to 1857 averaged 76 tons. ... Soaring gold output from the California and Australia gold rushes is linked with a 30 percent increase in wholesale prices from 1850 through 1855
Countries with current account surpluses accumulated gold, while deficit countries saw their gold stocks diminish. This, in turn, contributed to upward pressure on domestic spending and prices in surplus countries and downward pressure on them in deficit countries, thereby leading to a change ... that should, eventually, have reduced imbalances.
Financial repression occurs when governments implement policies to channel to themselves funds that in a deregulated market environment would go elsewhere
Deflation hurts borrowers and rewards savers," said Drew Matus, senior economist at Banc of America Securities-Merrill Lynch in New York, in a telephone interview. "If you do borrow right now, and we go through a period of deflation, your cost of borrowing just went through the roof.
"In September 1931, following a period of financial upheaval in Europe that created concerns about British investments on the Continent, speculators attacked the British pound, presenting pounds to the Bank of England and demanding gold in return. ... Unable to continue supporting the pound at its official value, Great Britain was forced to leave the gold standard, ... With the collapse of the pound, speculators turned their attention to the U.S. dollar
!!! is the eponymous debut studio album by dance-punk band !!!. It was released in 2001 on Gold Standard Laboratories.1896 Democratic National Convention
The 1896 Democratic National Convention, held at the Chicago Coliseum from July 7 to July 11, was the scene of William Jennings Bryan's nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate for the 1896 U.S. presidential election.
At age 36, Bryan was the youngest Presidential nominee in American history, only one year older than the constitutional minimum. Bryan's keynote "Cross of Gold" address, delivered prior to his nomination, lambasted Eastern monied classes for supporting the gold standard at the expense of the average worker. This was a repudiation of Cleveland administration's policy, but proved popular with the delegates to the convention.
Bryan secured the nomination on the fifth ballot over Richard P. Bland. Bryan declined to choose a Democratic vice presidential nominee, leaving the choice to his fellow delegates. Arthur Sewall of Maine was nominated on the fifth ballot. Bryan and Sewall ultimately lost to the Republican candidates, William McKinley and Garret Hobart.Coinage Act of 1873
The Coinage Act of 1873 or Mint Act of 1873, 17 Stat. 424, was a general revision of the laws relating to the Mint of the United States. In abolishing the right of holders of silver bullion to have their metal struck into fully legal tender dollar coins, it ended bimetallism in the United States, placing the nation firmly on the gold standard. Because of this, the act became contentious in later years, and was denounced by some as the "Crime of '73".
By 1869, the Mint Act of 1837 was deemed outdated, and Treasury Secretary George Boutwell had Deputy Comptroller of the Currency John Jay Knox undertake a draft of a revised law, which was introduced into Congress by Ohio Senator John Sherman. Due to the high price of silver, little of that metal was presented at the Mint, but Knox and others foresaw that development of the Comstock Lode and other rich silver-mining areas would lower the price, causing large quantities of silver dollars to be struck and the gold standard to be endangered. During the almost three years the bill was pending before Congress, it was rarely mentioned that it would end bimetallism, though this was not concealed. Congressmen instead debated other provisions. The legislation, in addition to ending the production of the silver dollar, abolished three low-denomination coins. The bill became the Act of February 12, 1873, with the signature of President Ulysses S. Grant.
When silver prices dropped in 1876, producers sought to have their bullion struck at the Mint, only to learn that this was no longer possible. The matter became a major political controversy that lasted the remainder of the century, pitting those who valued the deflationary gold standard against those who believed free coinage of silver to be necessary for economic prosperity. Accusations were made that the passage of the act had been secured through corruption, though there is little evidence of this. The gold standard was explicitly enacted into law in 1900, and was completely abandoned by the U.S. in 1971.Cross of Gold speech
The Cross of Gold speech was delivered by William Jennings Bryan, a former United States Representative from Nebraska, at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago on July 9, 1896. In the address, Bryan supported bimetallism or "free silver", which he believed would bring the nation prosperity. He decried the gold standard, concluding the speech, "you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold". Bryan's address helped catapult him to the Democratic Party's presidential nomination; it is considered one of the greatest political speeches in American history.
For twenty years, Americans had been bitterly divided over the nation's monetary standard. The gold standard, which the United States had effectively been on since 1873, limited the money supply but eased trade with other nations, such as the United Kingdom, whose currency was also based on gold. Many Americans, however, believed that bimetallism (making both gold and silver legal tender) was necessary for the nation's economic health. The financial Panic of 1893 intensified the debates, and when Democratic President Grover Cleveland continued to support the gold standard against the will of much of his party, activists became determined to take over the Democratic Party organization and nominate a silver-supporting candidate in 1896.
Bryan had been a dark horse candidate with little support in the convention. His speech, delivered at the close of the debate on the party platform, electrified the convention and is generally credited with getting him the nomination for president. However, he lost the general election to William McKinley and the United States formally adopted the gold standard in 1900.Fixed exchange-rate system
A fixed exchange rate, sometimes called a pegged exchange rate, is a type of exchange rate regime in which a currency's value is fixed against either the value of another single currency, a basket of other currencies, or another measure of value, such as gold.
There are benefits and risks to using a fixed exchange rate. A fixed exchange rate is typically used to stabilize the value of a currency by directly fixing its value in a predetermined ratio to a different, more stable, or more internationally prevalent currency (or currencies) to which the value is pegged. In doing so, the exchange rate between the currency and its peg does not change based on market conditions, unlike flexible exchange regime. This makes trade and investments between the two currency areas easier and more predictable and is especially useful for small economies that borrow primarily in foreign currency and in which external trade forms a large part of their GDP.
A fixed exchange-rate system can also be used to control the behavior of a currency, such as by limiting rates of inflation. However, in doing so, the pegged currency is then controlled by its reference value. As such, when the reference value rises or falls, it then follows that the value(s) of any currencies pegged to it will also rise and fall in relation to other currencies and commodities with which the pegged currency can be traded. In other words, a pegged currency is dependent on its reference value to dictate how its current worth is defined at any given time. In addition, according to the Mundell–Fleming model, with perfect capital mobility, a fixed exchange rate prevents a government from using domestic monetary policy to achieve macroeconomic stability.
In a fixed exchange-rate system, a country’s central bank typically uses an open market mechanism and is committed at all times to buy and/or sell its currency at a fixed price in order to maintain its pegged ratio and, hence, the stable value of its currency in relation to the reference to which it is pegged. To maintain a desired exchange rate, the central bank during the devaluation of the domestic money, sells its foreign money in the reserves and buys back the domestic money. This creates an artificial demand for the domestic money, which increases its exchange rate. In case of an undesired appreciation of the domestic money, the central bank buys back the foreign money and thus flushes the domestic money into the market for decreasing the demand and exchange rate. The central bank from its reserves also provides the assets and/or the foreign currency or currencies which are needed in order to finance any imbalance of payments.In the 21st century, the currencies associated with large economies typically do not fix or peg exchange rates to other currencies. The last large economy to use a fixed exchange rate system was the People's Republic of China, which, in July 2005, adopted a slightly more flexible exchange rate system, called a managed exchange rate. The European Exchange Rate Mechanism is also used on a temporary basis to establish a final conversion rate against the euro from the local currencies of countries joining the Eurozone.Gold Standard Act
The Gold Standard Act of the United States was passed in 1900 (approved on March 14) and established gold as the only standard for redeeming paper money, stopping bimetallism (which had allowed silver in exchange for gold). It was signed by President William McKinley.
The Act made the de facto gold standard in place since the Coinage Act of 1873 (whereby debt holders could demand reimbursement in whatever metal was preferred—usually gold) a de jure gold standard alongside other major European powers at the time.
The Act fixed the value of the dollar at 25 8⁄10 grains of gold at "nine-tenths fine" (90% purity), equivalent to 23.22 grains (1.5046 grams) of pure gold.
The Gold Standard Act confirmed the United States' commitment to the gold standard by assigning gold a specific dollar value (just over $20.67 per Troy ounce). This took place after McKinley sent a team to Europe to try to make a silver agreement with France and Great Britain.
On April 19, 1933, the United States domestically abandoned the gold standard, whereafter independent states would remain assured of their US dollar holdings by an implied guarantee on their convertibility on demand: the Bretton Woods system formalized this international arrangement at the conclusion of World War II, before the Nixon shock unilaterally cancelled direct international convertibility of the US dollar to gold in 1971.Gold Standard Laboratories
Gold Standard Laboratories or GSL was an independent record label which was founded in 1993 in Boulder, Colorado by Sonny Kay. In 2000, it was relocated to San Diego, California, United States, and two years later, to Los Angeles. It was headquartered in L.A. until closing its doors on October 29, 2007.
Beginning in 2001, GSL was co-owned by The Mars Volta's Omar Rodríguez-López.Gold reserve
A gold reserve was the gold held by a national central bank, intended mainly as a guarantee to redeem promises to pay depositors, note holders (e.g. paper money), or trading peers, during the eras of the gold standard, and also as a store of value, or to support the value of the national currency.
The World Gold Council estimates that all the gold ever mined totaled 187,200 metric tons in 2017 but other independent estimates vary by as much as 20%. At a price of US$1,250 per troy ounce, reached on 16 August 2017, one ton of gold has a value of approximately US$40.2 million. The total value of all gold ever mined would exceed US$7.5 trillion at that valuation and using WGC 2017 estimates.Gold standard (test)
In medicine and statistics, a gold standard test is usually the diagnostic test or benchmark that is the best available under reasonable conditions. Other times, a gold standard is the most accurate test possible without restrictions.
Both meanings are different because for example, in medicine, dealing with conditions that would require an autopsy to have a perfect diagnosis, the gold standard test would be the best one that keeps the patient alive instead of the autopsy.Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late-1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.The Great Depression started in the United States after a major fall in stock prices that began around September 4, 1929, and became worldwide news with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929 (known as Black Tuesday). Between 1929 and 1932, worldwide gross domestic product (GDP) fell by an estimated 15%. By comparison, worldwide GDP fell by less than 1% from 2008 to 2009 during the Great Recession. Some economies started to recover by the mid-1930s. However, in many countries the negative effects of the Great Depression lasted until the beginning of World War II.The Great Depression had devastating effects in countries both rich and poor. Personal income, tax revenue, profits and prices dropped, while international trade plunged by more than 50%. Unemployment in the U.S. rose to 25% and in some countries rose as high as 33%.Cities around the world were hit hard, especially those dependent on heavy industry. Construction was virtually halted in many countries. Farming communities and rural areas suffered as crop prices fell by about 60%. Facing plummeting demand with few alternative sources of jobs, areas dependent on primary sector industries such as mining and logging suffered the most.Great Depression in the United States
The Great Depression began in August 1929, when the United States economy first went into an economic recession. Everyone in the Great Depression were struggling financially due to the collapse of the banking system. The citizens of the United Stated voted Franklin D. Rosevelt into presidency and he proposed the “New Deal” which he claimed would bring the U.S. out of The Great Depression. Although the country spent two months with declining GDP, it was not until the Wall Street Crash in October 1929 that the effects of a declining economy were felt, and a major worldwide economic downturn ensued. The stock market crash marked the beginning of a decade of high unemployment, poverty, low profits, deflation, plunging farm incomes, and lost opportunities for economic growth as well as for personal advancement. Altogether, there was a general loss of confidence in the economic future.The usual explanations include numerous factors, especially high consumer debt, ill-regulated markets that permitted overoptimistic loans by banks and investors, and the lack of high-growth new industries. These all interacted to create a downward economic spiral of reduced spending, falling confidence and lowered production.
Industries that suffered the most included construction, shipping, mining, logging and agriculture (compounded by dust-bowl conditions in the heartland). Also hard hit was the manufacturing of durable goods like automobiles and appliances, whose purchase could be postponed. The economy hit bottom in the winter of 1932–33; then came four years of growth until the Recession of 1937 brought back high levels of unemployment.
The Depression caused major political changes in America. Three years into the depression, President Herbert Hoover, widely shamed for not doing enough to combat the crisis, lost the election of 1932 to Franklin Delano Roosevelt by an embarrassingly wide margin. Roosevelt's economic recovery plan, the New Deal, instituted unprecedented programs for relief, recovery and reform, and brought about a major realignment of American politics.
The Depression also resulted in an increase of emigration for the first time in American history. Some immigrants went back to their native countries, and some native U.S. citizens went to Canada, Australia and South Africa. There were mass migrations of people from badly hit areas in the Great Plains (the Okies) and the South to places such as California and the cities of the North (the Great Migration). Racial tensions also increased during this time. By the 1940s immigration had returned to normal, and emigration declined. A well-known example of an emigrant was Frank McCourt, who went to Ireland, as recounted in his book Angela's Ashes.
The memory of the Depression also shaped modern theories of economics and resulted in many changes in how the government dealt with economic downturns, such as the use of stimulus packages, Keynesian economics, and Social Security. It also shaped modern American literature, resulting in famous novels such as John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.
Examining the causes of the Great Depression raises multiple issues: what factors set off the first downturn in 1929; what structural weaknesses and specific events turned it into a major depression; how the downturn spread from country to country; and why the economic recovery was so prolonged.Many banks began to fail in October 1930 when farmers defaulted on loans. There was no federal deposit insurance during that time as bank failures were considered a normal part of economic life. Worried depositors started to withdraw savings, so the money multiplier worked in reverse. Banks were forced to liquidate assets (such as calling in loans rather than creating new loans). This caused the money supply to shrink and the economy to contract (the Great Contraction), resulting in a significant decline in aggregate investment. The decreased money supply further aggravated price deflation, putting more pressure on already struggling businesses.
The U.S. Government's commitment to the gold standard prevented it from engaging in expansionary monetary policy. High interest rates needed to be maintained in order to attract international investors who bought foreign assets with gold. However, the high interest also inhibited domestic business borrowing.
The U.S. interest rates were also affected by France's decision to raise their interest rates to attract gold to their vaults. In theory, the U.S. would have two potential responses to that: Allow the exchange rate to adjust, or increase their own interest rates to maintain the gold standard. At the time, the U.S. was pegged to the gold standard. Therefore, Americans converted their dollars into francs to buy more French assets, the demand for the U.S. dollar fell, and the exchange rate increased. One of the only things the U.S. could do to get back into equilibrium was increase interest rates.Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman and his fellow monetarist Anna Schwartz argued that the Federal Reserve could have stemmed the severity of the Depression, but failed to exercise its role of managing the monetary system and ameliorating banking panics, resulting in a Great Contraction of the economy from 1929 until the New Deal began in 1933. This view was endorsed by Fed Governor Ben Bernanke who made this statement in a speech honoring Friedman and Schwartz:
Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression, you're right. We did it. We're very sorry. But thanks to you, we won't do it again.
— Ben S. BernankeH
H (named aitch or, regionally, haitch , plural aitches) is the eighth letter in the ISO basic Latin alphabet.Pound sterling
The pound sterling (symbol: £; ISO code: GBP), commonly known as the pound and less commonly referred to as sterling, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the British Antarctic Territory, and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence (singular: penny, abbreviated: p). A number of nations that do not use sterling also have currencies called the pound.
Sterling is the third most-traded currency in the foreign exchange market, after the United States dollar, and the euro. Together with those two currencies and the Chinese yuan, it forms the basket of currencies which calculate the value of IMF special drawing rights. Sterling is also the third most-held reserve currency in global reserves (about 4%).The British Crown dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man produce their own local issues of sterling (the Guernsey pound, the Jersey pound and the Manx pound) which are considered fully equivalent to UK sterling in their respective regions. The pound sterling is also used in Gibraltar (alongside the Gibraltar pound), the Falkland Islands (alongside the Falkland Islands pound), Saint Helena and Ascension Island in Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (alongside the Saint Helena pound). The Bank of England is the central bank for the pound sterling, issuing its own coins and banknotes, and regulating issuance of banknotes by private banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Banknotes issued by other jurisdictions are not regulated by the Bank of England; local governments use Bank of England notes as backing for local issuance by allowing them to be exchanged 1:1 at face value.Public Credit Act of 1869
The Public Credit Act of 1869 in the USA states that bondholders who purchased bonds to help finance the Civil War (1861 – 1865) would be paid back in gold. The act was signed on March 18, 1869, and was mainly supported by the Republican Party, notably Senator John Sherman. The measure is significant because it was a step to help alleviate the financial struggles faced by the United States after the Civil War. The U.S. was already indebted before the war and the issuing of greenbacks to keep currency circulating during the war increased the indebtedness significantly. The country had no central bank or monetary policy at the time and was desperate to improve its position to maintain itself as a global economic leader. The U.S. was undecided as to whether it should operate on a greenback, gold, or bimetallic standard. The passing of the Public Credit Act of 1869 is an early indicator that the country was moving toward reinstating the gold standard for economic and political reasons. In effect, however, the intent of the Public Credit Act was never fully realized.Therapy
Therapy (often abbreviated tx, Tx, or Tx) is the attempted remediation of a health problem, usually following a diagnosis. In the medical field, it is usually synonymous with treatment (also abbreviated tx or Tx). Among psychologists and other mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, counselors, and clinical social workers, the term may refer specifically to psychotherapy (sometimes dubbed 'talking therapy'). The English word therapy comes via Latin therapīa from Greek: θεραπεία and literally means "curing" or "healing".As a rule, each therapy has indications and contraindications.