The More Things Change…
Gold has just hit $1,000 and seems to be staying there. China has revealed that it is divesting its dollar holdings into gold and other assets in order to save their sovereign-fund investments. Even the UN is getting into the act. (Do they see a future role for themselves?)
The more things change, the more they stay the same. So this seems as good a time as any to recall what was said by a subsidiary of the American Institute for Economic Research back in July of 1975 when the Institute’s founder, E.C. Harwood, was still alive. Much of it is still relevant today.
“Removal of the gold reserve requirement for Federal Reserve notes (your paper money) in March 1968 and closing of the so-called gold window in August 1971 eliminated the last barriers to inflating continually the Nation’s purchasing media. As long as a substantial gold reserve was required by law, the money-credit managers were confronted with a restraining influence.
Now, only the wisdom and determination of the Nation’s money-credit managers can prevent the ultimate decline of the buying power of the dollar until it becomes nearly worthless. To what extent the citizens can rely on the wisdom and courage of those ‘responsible men’ can be judged by events of the past [seven] decades, including loss of 70 percent [how much today?] of the buying power of savings and life insurance, the increasing rate of depreciation in recent years, loss of much of the Nation’s gold, and the fact that several of these managers have been among the most persistent in advocating the removal of all restraints. Truly wise and responsible men would not want to be without the guidance of such an objective criterion as a gold reserve requirement; and unwise, irresponsible men should not be relied upon to act properly without such guidance.
The dollar appears doomed to continue losing buying power, the only question being, ‘How long before it will be practically worthless?’
We, as well as others, have foreseen this possibility for many years. [Six] decades ago advising investors how to protect themselves against substantial depreciation of the dollar was relatively easy. Most domestic common stocks then were available at prices approximating the prewar level, and a long continued upward trend of windfall profits for U.S. corporations was practically assured by the World War II inflating.
Now, however, the situation is different. No longer is there a large reserve of idle purchasing media such as that accumulated during World War II, which was used to augment business expansion during the earlier postwar decades. Rather, there now exists a huge amount of debt incurred during the prolonged period of inflating. Debt liquidation may have a cumulative effect on business failures.
We have concluded:
1. … Recently Government authorities have been more concerned with attempting to avoid a severe depression than with reducing the rate of inflating.
2. That the various “welfare state” obligations, including the unfunded Social Security obligations, constitute a self-destruct mechanism reducing the standard of living, and consequently the birth rate as well, for a majority of the Nation’s population.
3. That prolonged past inflating has fostered initiation of innumerable businesses lacking adequate capital, widespread speculation “on margin” in real estate and securities, and installment borrowing on an unprecedented scale by individuals.
4. … Even if [there are] chances of a temporary recovery induced by deficit spending … the adverse possible consequences of a severe depression are so great that we do not recommend gambling on a near-future cyclical recovery.
5. Finally, that continuation of the international financial crisis justifies placing much of one’s funds abroad before exchange controls are ordered, which may occur at any time….
RUPTURE OF ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIPS IN WESTERN CIVILIZATION
The consequences of nearly four decades [make that seven in 2009] of almost continuous inflating are becoming more evident with each successive international monetary crisis. All currencies have been and are being degraded steadily. All now have lost about three-fourths, at least [nine-tenths as of 2009 for the U.S. dollar], of their pre-World War II buying power, and all seem destined to depreciate much more in the next several years, perhaps for as long as a few decades before they become practically worthless.
Clearly, what the world needs is a relatively stable money or accounting unit. In the absence of such a unit long-term promises including bonds, life insurance, and pension plans are like a mirage in the desert and business depreciation schedules are misleading distortions of alleged facts. Unfortunately, the world is getting a continuing flood of paper ‘money’ that has neither a reliable exchange value nor any assurance that it will retain future purchasing power. Without these two essential ingredients, confidence in fiat paper ‘money’ will continue to diminish, until the flight from currencies overwhelms the efforts of monetary and political authorities to cope with the chaos.
Politicians generally insist on remaining in their Politicians’ Paradise where lavish promises in order to obtain votes are fulfilled with inflationary purchasing media created to finance government deficits. Their accomplices in embezzling the savings and life insurance of the people in Western civilization are the central bankers of the leading nations. Without exception they choose to remain in their Banker’s Heaven, where promises to pay are, as John Exter pointed out, simply ‘I owe you nothings.’ And the people of Western civilization are beginning to endure the Hell that has been paved with the good intentions of those who would save the world (and incidentally retain power, or is it vice versa) by the money-credit manipulations.
We see little possibility that there will be a return to sound money-credit procedures until after some bitter lessons have been learned during a future depression.
Meanwhile, each succeeding crisis in the foreign-exchange markets for currencies will tend to spread the realization that paper profits are more easily reaped than retained, and that the purchasing power of hard won savings is ephemeral unless those savings are invested in a tangible asset whose exchange value is not subject to manipulation by the monetary and political authorities. Among such tangible assets, gold has proved throughout the centuries of history to be unsurpassed both as a unit of account and as a store of value. Therefore, projecting an increasing demand for gold in its various forms during the period of unstable monetary conditions that almost surely lies ahead appears to be warranted in the light of both recent experience and earlier history.
The more the politicians and central bankers struggle to free themselves from the so-called ‘tyranny of gold,’ the more that governments endeavor by controls of one kind or another to counteract or conceal the consequences of their money-credit follies, the more they endeavor to seize the wealth of citizens by increased taxes of all kinds in the hope of maintaining a semblance of monetary order, the greater is the incentive of the citizens of every country to get gold. As a safe and sure means of holding wealth, of avoiding the grasp of the tax collector, and of assuring the economic future of families, gold never has had a peer in the history of mankind. Those who would demonetize gold in order to facilitate their embezzlement of private wealth and maintain their positions of power in governments and central banks are following policies that must inevitably teach every intelligent citizen the usefulness of gold. The money-credit managers are defeating their own ends at a price that almost surely will include serious retrogression within Western civilization.”
Aren’t these remarks still valid today? I’ll just leave you with my mantra:
You can take gold out of the standard, but you can’t take the standard out of gold.