An Exclusive Interview with Lewis E. Lehrman, Part 20

It is an extraordinary privilege to present this exclusive interview with Lewis E. Lehrman, in 21 installments, of which this is the twentieth. 

Lewis E. Lehrman has written widely about economic and monetary policy.  He has co-authored the book Money and the Coming World Order (1976) with renowned MIT Economist Charles Kindleberger and others.  Lehrman has written about economics in publications such as Harper's, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard, Crisis, Policy Review and National Review.  His writings about monetary economics earned him an appointment by President Ronald Reagan to the Presidential Gold Commission in 1981.  Along with Congressman Ron Paul, Lewis Lehrman collaborated on a minority report of the commission, which was published as The Case for Gold (1982).

Lehrman published seven volumes on “Rueff Monetary Economics” (The Collected Works of Jacques Rueff, 1997, Plon, in French).  Jacques Rueff, the distinguished French monetary economist, established the monetary and economic plan of the Fifth French Republic, as President DeGaulle's chief financial advisor. The primary purpose of the plan was to restore economic prosperity, a stable French currency, and the end of French inflation by means of convertibility to gold of the French franc.  Lehrman has been named to the advisory board of the American Principles Project’s Gold Standard 2012 initiative.

 Lewis E. Lehrman [Photo by Ralph Benko]

Q.  Among your many accomplishments you have won acclaim as an historian, both for your writings and for the work of the Gilder-Lehrman Institute.  How has history informed to your analysis and advocacy of the gold standard?

The study of history is indispensable to the formation of public policy.  It is desirable, even necessary to understand the destructive errors in past monetary policy in order to try to avoid them.  Ignorance of monetary history and policy of our Presidents and Prime Ministers, has been the source of disaster. 

The study of monetary history confirms that floating exchange rates lead to trade wars and currency wars, and often, ultimately to real wars among competitive nations.  The same holds true for reserve currency systems, and gold-exchange standards.  Nations will always compete, but an international monetary system based on currency convertibly to gold – without reserve currencies -- tends to rule out, or at least mitigate, currency and trade wars.  The true or classical gold standard, an impartial arbiter among great nations, tends to focus competitive nations on innovation, better management, and increasing productivity and wages, instead of competing through currency manipulation, export subsidies, and exporting unemployment and deflation to neighboring nations.

 

Kathleen M. Packard, Publisher
Ralph J. Benko, Editor

In Memoriam
Professor Jacques Rueff
(1896-1978)

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