3 May 2006

Fiat's Reprieve: Saving the System, 1979-1987

SavingtheSystem: "Reading the pro-gold submissions incorporated in the Report of the U.S. Gold Commission twenty-some years ago is a humbling exercise. A lot of those old commentaries could have been written today. They say just what gold bugs say now: our monetary system is doomed, and its end will be marked by a major monetary crisis. The concluding chapter of the Minority Report (Volume II, Annex A) put it thus:[1]
Should Congress not adopt the recommendations outlined above, we can expect core inflation rates to rise over the next decade, and at an accelerated rate – so that in ten years from now we can expect cheering in the media when the inflation rate falls below 50%. As inflation deepens and accelerates, inflationary expectations will intensify, and prices will begin to spurt ahead faster than the money supply. / It will be at that point that a fateful decision will be made – the same that was made by Rudolf Havenstein and the German Reichsbank in the early 1920’s: whether to stop or greatly slow down the inflation, or to yield to public outcries of a “shortage of money” or a “liquidity crunch” (as business called it in the mini-recession of 1966). / In the latter case, the central bank will promise business or the public that it will issue enough money to enable the money supply to “catch up” with prices. When that fateful event occurs, as it did in Germany in the early 1920’s, prices and money could spiral upward to infinity and it could cost $10 billion to buy a loaf of bread. America could experience the veritable holocaust of runaway inflation, a cataclysm which would make the Depression of the 1930’s – let alone an ordinary recession – seem like a tea party.
Ahem. To state the obvious, the gold bugs of a generation ago got it wrong"

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