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Freegold and AE - Mises, Menger ,Hayek and more

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J.R. posted on Thu, May 26 2011 2:46 PM

In "Return to Honest Money" (, blogger FOFOA discusses the idea of Freegold in the context of some writings from prominet Austrian School economists, focusing on Mises, Menger, Hayek, and in particular Mises' ideas regression and a "secondary media of exchange."

The discussion of "Two Monies" and the relative distinction betwen "transactional" and "storage" media is quite novel and interesting (yet also in keeping with Misesian and Mengerian money theorem as discussed therein), as are his obervations on the efficacy of some of the more commonplace ideas on returning to  "honest money."

Also interesting is the discussion of Bitocin in the context of Mises regression theorem and Mises/Menger AE money theory.

Lots of thought provoking ideas:






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J.R. replied on Fri, May 27 2011 12:07 AM

Some ideas about the practicality realities involved in returning to hard money:

Getting to Hard Money

As I have mentioned, Ron Paul's honest money ideas have evolved since these early days. In fact, in many ways he is quite a bit closer to Freegold today than he was in the early 80s. He is still stuck to the idea of a fixed price for gold, but he seems to have evolved from a one-time government price-fixing to more of a market-based "decision" on how high the price of gold should be fixed. He still wants to denationalize the US gold hoard and get it into circulation, but he seems to have evolved to more of a Hayekian competition of privatized currency, which begs the question of how to denationalize the gold.

Basically, it seems that over the last 30 years he has evolved his ideas from strictly "end the Fed and institute a new gold standard" as described by Rothbard above, to a more measured approach of "allow a competing currency to circulate which will (presumably) win the day and weaken the Fed and lead to its end." But even still, I think Rothbard's description above reveals some important issues that are still lacking clarification; issues that I have written about on this very blog.

For one thing, as I have written several times, the Fed does not own the US stockpile of physical gold. It is a common misconception, even among some scholars, that in 1933 the gold was taken by the Fed when, in fact, it was taken from the Fed and placed in collective ownership via the United States Treasury. The gold had previously been base money inside the banking system (the Federal Reserve System) and was removed from the Fed and placed in the Treasury. In fact, today the Fed is custodian of only 5% of the Treasury's gold (418 m/t). The rest (7,715 m/t) is in the custody of the US Mint, which is part of the Treasury Dept., held in Fort Knox, West Point and Denver. So ending the Fed hardly implies the necessary denationalization of the gold.

(On a side note, I just noticed that Gary North came to Ron Paul's defense in saying the US should sell its gold to pay down the debt. Gary says Ron Paul is right, and he ends his short piece with this: "The gold bugs honestly trust the Federal government to restore a gold standard someday. There has not been one since since 1933 that any government on earth will do this, but somehow, the gold bugs believe, it will do it in the future.")

A few other thoughts that are addressed here at FOFOA but not above, and not in the hard money circles of today, are how do you define gold? Should we include paper gold like Bullion Bank liabilities, futures contracts, mining forward sales and ETFs in the new gold standard? And how do we define the link between the dollar and gold? How do we fix the price and then defend that fixed price? In the past we did that by running down the gold reserves from 22,000 tonnes to 8,000 in 20 years. And lastly, how will we transition from the dollar being the global reserve currency, held in bulk overseas, to defending a new fixed price of gold in dollars? These are tough questions, and I think I have a few of the answers.

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