Monday, May 02, 2011

How much gold is there?

Evidently, there is enough so that China's central bankers can consider buying up to $1 trillion in gold, which would mean there would be enough gold to fully back the world's money supplies if governments were willing to go back to a gold standard. 

Those of you who know real fiat money supplies--really tens of trillions of dollars--may object to this, but my grandfather's economics textbook from the 1920s notes that about eighty billion dollars in money supply then was backed by only two to four billion dollars worth of gold due to fractional reserve banking.  Hence, if there is in fact about a trillion dollars worth of gold these days (of course, that's not as much gold as you used to need to get a trillion bucks) or more, you could legitimately back forty trillion dollars of money with a trillion dollars worth of gold.

In other words, one of the biggest arguments against the gold standard--that there simply isn't enough out there to back currency--simply isn't true.  The biggest argument against gold, of course, is that it prevents governments from incentivizing debt and collecting an "inflation tax" against savings accounts by releasing more fiat currency.  ("inflation tax" = government spends the money, savers lose the value, nobody is directly taxed, hissing of the goose is less)

1 comment:

Gino said...

it makes it hrder to rig the game, thats for sure.

ron paul wants to allow an alternate currency. if the govt is screwing the dollar, you can demand euroes on your paycheck instead, and deal with that...

the competition keeps the currencies honest.