Can gold be the money of the free market if the violent monopoly of government gets behind the effort? This utterly wrong notion is what Ralph Benko seems to be suggesting in his recent article on NationalInterest.org titled "How to Go Gold".
Basically Benko sees a return to gold through world government initiative and collaboration, starting with the US president. He appears to cite evidence that this is underway, starting with the central bank's buying of gold. Then Benko concludes by citing Lewis Lehrman's 5 steps back to a "classical" gold standard:
Step 1. America leads by the president announcing unilateral resumption of the gold monetary standard at a certain date, not more than four years in the future (allowing for a market adjustment period).
Step 2. The president issues an executive order eliminating any and all taxes imposed on the buying, selling and circulation of gold.
Step 3. Shortly after the announcement in Step 1, the United States calls for an International Monetary Conference of interested nations to provide for multilateral currency convertibility to gold, and the deliberate termination of the dollar-based official reserve currency system.
Step 4. The conference agreement -- attended by representatives of the BIS, IMF, WTO, and the World Bank -- would establish gold as the means by which nations would settle residual balance-of-payments deficits.
Step 5. A multilateral international gold standard -- the result of the currency convertibility agreement -- would effectively terminate floating exchange rates, reestablishing stable exchange rates among the major nations.
Obviously I disagree with this stupid idea. Lehrman is Ron Paul's ally from back in the Reagan days (when they were the only two on Reagan's gold standard commission who actually favored going to gold), though Paul appears to have moved increasingly towards anarcho-capitalism since then.
But the above solution is anything but an anarchist (read "a true free market") one. The obvious reason: there is no mention of doing away with the underpinnings of the Fed, for one (the Fed being backed by the coercion of government). That is to say, there is no repealing the Fed's legal tender and other monopoly privileges or the government's protection of such, and allowing the market to determine what should be the instrument of sound money. (Hint: the market may not choose gold as sound money.)
We may think gold would be the market's first choice as sound money, but the market (i.e. all of us) choosing is different than having the choice imposed via government.
About 10 years ago I wrote an essay about how central banking and sound money are mutually exclusive -- that they cannot co-exist in the same economy anymore than lovemaking and rape can co-exist in the same act. It has to be one OR the other. Hence, the return to sound money cannot be achieved without ending the Fed. Keeping the Fed with a gold standard would lead to something like the bad experience Britain had when it tried to return to a preward ratio of gold to the British pound.
What are the steps that we as anarcho-capitalists actually recommend for going back to "sound money"? Here are some basic suggestions off the top of my head:
Repudiate the Public Debt
End the Fed
Liquidate all government regulatory bodies
Limit or abolish the taxing power of the federal government
Repeal all remaining industry protections and subsidies
Let the chips fall where they may.
You may wonder if there would be too much chaos this way. But I have to wonder if there would be too much chaos any other way.
Of course, the world is likely going the "other" way. Governments are probably not going to take my suggestions to get out of the way. They'll keep borrowing, taxing, regulating and monopolizing the money supply. And it will all end painfully. That's why we provide our TDV newsletter subscribers with our best actionable advice to come out wealthier despite the government's attack on their prosperity. You can learn more about that by clicking here.
Original blog can be found HERE