The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The gold standard

From time to time, I see people, particularly of a conservative/libertarian bent, advocating a return to the gold standard, or at least to a precious-metal standard which might include silver as well. My feeling is that the gold standard served a great purpose in its day, but there isn't a snowball's chance in you-know-where that we will ever return to it, so why even talk about it?

First of all, note that people like Justice Antonin Scalia, of the United States Supreme Court, believe that the Constitution must be interpreted in the light of the original intent of the people who wrote the words. And to them, a "dollar" had a meaning that implied a precious-metal standard, and the phrase "coin money and regulate the value thereof" in Article I also implied such a meaning. So one can see that people who believe in "original intent" can be expected to be in favor of such a return to the gold standard. And one thing I grant: Ever since we went off it, and put our money wholly on a fiat money standard, there has been an inexorable inflation that has devalued everyone's savings. For this reason alone, I can see a great benefit in a return to a precious-metal standard. But the main problem is this: The gold standard worked only because the other major countries of the world were also on a precious-metal standard. And an internationally agreed upon return to a precious-metal standard simply won't happen. Countries just like the ability to devalue their currencies at will.

It is really a shame. The resistance to inflation that a precious-metal-based standard conferred on the currency was a good thing. But it bring about a return to such a standard is an unattainable goal. So no profit will come in discussing it. It does make me wonder: is there any way of stabilizing the value of money?

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