Key Monetary Writings

A Long View of Longevity, Fertility, Education and Income

Presentation to the Tenth Annual UNICEF-Georgetown International Development Conference (IDC). I'm honored to address the 10th UNICEF-Georgetown International Development Conference (IDC). Since the theme of this year's conference--"Educate, Empower, Enlighten"--begins with education, and international development is simply a broad view of human development, I'd like to discuss the interconnection between longevity, fertility, education, and income. I thought this might be useful background for anyone planning to work in this area. I'll draw on my book ,[2] which includes a …Read more

Recent Arguments Against the Gold Standard

The Republican presidential primary contests of 2011-2012 brought renewed attention to the idea of reinstituting a gold standard.  At least four candidates spoke favorably about the gold standard.  One suggested a “commission on gold to look at the whole concept of how do we get back to hard money.”  The 2012 Republican Party Platform, adopted in Tampa, called for just such a commission, explicitly viewing it as a sequel to the U.S. Gold Commission of 1981: “Now, three decades later, … we propose a similar commission to investigate possible ways to set a fixed value for the …Read more

Myth 1: There isn’t Enough Gold to Operate a Gold Standard Today

Personal finance columnist John Waggoner (2012) recently claimed in USA Today that “there's not enough gold in the world to return to a gold standard.”  He explained:
In the gold standard, the amount of currency issued is tied to the government's gold holdings. The price of gold would have to soar to accommodate U.S. trade in goods and services.  … Total gold owned by the [United States] government — including the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Mint— is 248 million ounces. That's about $405 billion dollars at today's prices, hardly enough to support a $15 trillion economy. The …
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Myth 2: The Gold Standard is an Example of Price-Fixing by Government

Barry Eichengreen (2011) writes that countries using gold as money “fix its price in domestic-currency terms (in the U.S. case, in dollars).”  He finds this perplexing:
But the idea that government should legislate the price of a particular commodity, be it gold, milk or gasoline, sits uneasily with conservative Republicanism’s commitment to letting market forces work, much less with Tea Party–esque libertarianism. Surely a believer in the free market would argue that if there is an increase in the demand for gold, whatever the reason, then the price should be allowed to rise, giving the …
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Myth 3: The Volatility of the Price of a Gold Since 1971 Shows that Gold Would be an Unstable Monetary Standard

Eichengreen (2012, p 128) writes of “gold's inherent price volatility” making it unsuitable to “provide a basis  for  international  commercial and financial transactions  on a  twenty-first-century  scale.” Ezra Klein (2012) declares that “The problems with the gold standard are legion, but the most obvious is that our currency fluctuates with the global price of gold as opposed to the needs of our economy.” It is not entirely clear what “our currency fluctuates with the global price of gold” means in this declaration.  If it means that for a country that is …Read more

Hearing of the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy & Technology

Statement and Testimony of Lewis E. Lehrman Chairman, The Lehrman Institute Prepared for September 21, 2012 Hearing ... Now we are able to formulate an authentic, bipartisan program to restore 4 percent American economic growth over the long term. Tax rate reductions with an enlarged tax base, government spending restraint aimed at a balanced budget, simplification of business regulation designed to empower entrepreneurial innovation -- these reforms can be made effective for America and the world by a modernized gold standard and stable exchange rates. This is the very same platform which …
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Money, Where’s the Money?

Since September 2007, when the British Government and the Bank of England bungled the Northern Rock affair, one government after another has sent in the boy scouts in an attempt to douse what has become an international economic wildfire. Their efforts haven’t worked. Indeed, they have often made matters worse – much worse – and the fire remains uncontained. Heads of state continue to rush from one meeting to the next. Worryingly, they (and the army of pundits that follow them) continue to focus most of their rhetoric on whether fiscal austerity or more fiscal stimulus is the right strategy to …Read more

Practical Steps on Births, Benefits, Booms and Busts

Practical Steps on Births, Benefits, Booms and Busts Remarks prepared by John D. Mueller, EPPC Lehrman Institute Fellow in Economics, for an Interparliamentary Forum at the World Congress of Families VI in Madrid, Spain, on May 25, 2012. I'm pleased to participate in this Interparliamentary Forum. At noon, I am scheduled to chair the plenary panel on "The Demographic Winter (How We Got to Where We Are)." Later I am to participate in the panel on "Family and Social Government Policies." Now I'd like to focus on "Practical Steps on Births, Benefits, Booms and Busts," using the USA and Spain as examples. Let me start by summarizing the findings …Read more

A Gold-based Currency Board, Please

Until early in the 20th century, gold played a central role in the world of money. Gold had an incredible run – almost three thousand years. And why not? After all, Professor Roy Jastram convincingly documents in The Golden Constant just how gold maintains its purchasing power over long periods of time. But, since President Richard Nixon closed the gold window in August 1971, gold has not played a formal role in the international monetary regime.  Re-published in … Read more
 

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

In Memoriam
Professor Jacques Rueff
(1896-1978)

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