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Thursday, September 11, 2008

What is Good Money?

There's one pro-State troll comment people keep making over and over again that has me very annoyed.

Using Federal Reserve Points as money is arbitrary. Similarly, using gold as money is just as arbitrary.

Currently, people use Federal Reserve Points as money only because government violence demands they do so. Alternate monetary systems are banned/taxed/regulated to make them unworkable.

Gold and silver were chosen by the free market as money, before the State was strong enough to interfere. They make good money for several reasons. A metal coin is fungible; every .999 purity ounce coin is equivalent to every other .999 fine ounce coin. Metal coins can be quickly counted, if you trust the mint. Metal has a certain guaranteed rarity; it can't be forged. With gold, a specific gravity test is excellent proof against forgery. With silver, an alloy of cheaper metals can fool a specific gravity test. Gold and silver coins can be melted for their chemical/industrial properties, and used to build other things.

In the present, the primary demand for silver is industrial demand, not monetary demand. Gold also has many useful chemical properties; silver and copper are more commonly used, because they are cheaper. In the present, the primary demand for gold is monetary demand; gold jewelry is a type of monetary demand. Gold and silver have stood the test of time. They have kept their purchasing power for 100-1000+ years.

Once common argument is "If you're dying of thirst in the desert, then gold is useless money." If you're dying of thirst in the desert, you're SOL unless you have water. However, that's an extreme example. You can also say "If the economy totally collapses, then only guns, canned food, and tangible goods are usable as money." If it's a complete and total collapse, that's true.

What if it's an orderly collapse? Suppose that inflation is 50%-100% per month? In that case, gold and silver would probably be usable as money. People would be willing to accept gold or silver coins as payment, because they would be an inflation-protected way to store your savings. With inflation that high, nobody would bother keeping money in a checking account.

It is morally acceptable to use Federal Reserve Points as money *PROVIDED* you immediately trade them for tangible goods. If you hold Federal Reserve Points, you're subsidizing the State as your savings are eroded by inflation; inflation is a type of tax. An agorist can sell goods to part-time agorists or non-agorists, accepting payment in Federal Reserve Points. As long as the agorist converts his savings to tangible goods, he isn't subsidizing the State.

Paid disinformation agents repeatedly say "A return to a gold standard would be a disaster". A return to a gold standard would be a disaster for the people who get first dibs on the Federal Reserve's newly printed money; they would no longer be able to loot the savings of everyone else.

Gold and silver are usable as money, if it weren't for State regulations banning their use. People falsely say "The free market discredited the gold standard." The reality is that State violence discredited the gold standard, once governments became strong enough to force people to use worthless money. The Federal Reserve was allowed to print more Federal Reserve Notes than actual gold existed in the US Treasury; this guaranteed an eventual default on the gold-backed dollar.

1 comment:

David_Z said...

I've blogged about this, especially as it relates to a gross misapplication of Gresham's Law. Like you, I'm fed up with the "gold is fiat money, too!" argument.

So long as media of exchange are chosen freely, it makes no difference why people value the commodity, only that they do.

The only reason anyone ever desires paper currency is because he or she is obliged by law to use it, or else. For Christ’s sake, the U.S. Government had to effectively issue a prohibition on the individual ownership of gold, in order to drive it out of common use. The government forces everyone to accept paper currency, quite literally at the point of a gun. If anyone who advocates fiat currency would like to address this point (and they never do), I’m all ears.

Otherwise, I call bullshit on the “gold is fiat money, too!” argument.

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