October 1, 2022

Money Does Matter: The End of a Gold Standard Led to a lesser Standard of Living

When the Nixon administration completed the dollar’s ties for you to gold, it was yet another unfortunate chapter in the US government’s exploitation of its currency

On September 15, 1971, Richard Nixon  announced   that the US dollar (USD) would no longer be redeemable within gold.

This was supposed to be temporary. And yet, 51 years future, here we are. The old watches standard was gradually messed up in the twentieth  century. These days people are experiencing the consequences: a reduced amount of purchasing power, more economic cycles, and a weaker market.

In the phase 4 of his book  What Gives you Government Done to Our Cash? , Murray Rothbard goes over the steps the government loved end the gold normal over the twentieth  century, in the end of the classical yellow metal standard to the closing within the gold window in 1971.

The Time-honored Gold Standard (1815– 1914)

Typically the classical gold standard maintained to prevent the government from running budget deficits and starting debt, as it could not quite easily create inflation. In 1913, the Federal Reserve (Fed) was born. When the US entered the World War I, ALL OF US dollars were printed in a excess of the gold reserves. At this point, the US got off the classical gold standard and this also money printing contributed to the  depression of 1920– 21 .

The Gold Return Standard (1926– 31)

In this regimen, the USD and the lb . sterling (GBP) were each of the currencies of reference (“ key currencies” ). North america went back to the classical senior standard (converting USD into gold). GBP and other foreign currencies were not convertible into rare metal (except for large bars). The Great Britain converted GBP to USD and the several other European countries converted their currencies to GBP. So , the Great Britain inflated GBP and the other European countries did the exact same with their respective currencies (a “ pyramiding” of GBP on USD and of various other European currencies on GBP). Consequently, as Rothbard  stated :

Britain and The eu were permitted to inflate unchecked, and British failures could pile up unrestrained by your market discipline of the silver standard…. Britain was able to induce the United States to inflate cash so as not to lose lots of dollar reserves or antique watches to the United States. As pristine balances piled up in Portugal, the United States, and elsewhere, typically the slightest loss of confidence within the … inflationary structure was basically bound to lead to general break. This is precisely what happened in 1931; the failure of overpriced banks throughout Europe, plus the attempt of “ tough money” France to take advantage its sterling balances to get gold, led Britain to continue off the gold standard absolutely. Britain was soon and the other countries of The european union.

Fluctuating Fiat Currencies (1931– 45)

In 1933– 34 the united states abandoned the classical senior standard once again. The CHF was defined as 1/35 of some ounce of gold in support of foreign governments and central banks could convert it into gold. So , there was the link to gold, but the US ALL was in a floating change rate regime. As Rothbard  stated , from cutting the ties to help gold, this regime

leave[s] the absolute control of every national currency in the paws of its … government [which can] allow it is currency to fluctuate widely with respect to all other fiat stock markets … [The flaw] is to hand total domination over the money supply to [the government], and then to … expect that it will refrain from implementing that power.

the disastrous connection with … the 1930s regarding fiat paper and fiscal warfare, led the United States law enforcement to [aim] the restoration of a feasible international monetary order

Bretton Hardwoods and the New Gold Trading Standard (1945– 68)

Thus, your Bretton Woods system (conceived and implemented by the See a conference in Bretton Woodlands, New Hampshire in 1944, and ratified by the ALL OF US Congress in 1945). It was similar to the gold exchange ordinary, but with the USD being the only “ key forex, ” priced at $35 any ounce of gold and even being redeemable in yellow metal only by foreign government authorities and central banks.

However , this system eventually achieved its end. The US overpriced the USD (“ pyramided” it on its money reserves), and other governments retained USD as their reserves as well as “ pyramided” their foreign currencies on those dollars. And additionally throughout the 1960s, the US regularly inflated the dollar in absolute terms and in accordance with Europe and Japan. This kind of decade was marked because of the “ War on Poverty, ” the Vietnam War, plus space programs.

To finance all this, the started running large budget failures, with the Fed monetizing the debt (expanding the money supply). However , the Western European countries of which had adopted more decent monetary policies (Western Malaysia, Switzerland, France and Italy), started to oppose the obligation to amass dollars. Europe began to get dollars in gold, as well as Bretton Woods system began to collapse in 1968 (ending in 1971, when Nixon halted the redemption of the USD in gold).

The Closing from the Gold Window and the Boost of the Floating Exchange Process Regime (1971–? )

In order to keep the exact redemption of the USD through gold,   the US government had two options :

  1. Cut spending and taxes to relieve the budget deficit. The supply of cash would decrease, and the UNITED STATES DOLLAR would appreciate, which would permit prices to fall to be able to levels that would be consistent with any ounce of gold by $35 and restore demand for the currency.
  2. Dollar devaluation. This would shows that the price of an ounce for gold would have to rise to your level that would be consistent with the flow of USD and the higher prices for goods and services. But the require the government to reduce this deficit to prevent future devaluations.

Equally options were inconvenient in the government. Thus, in February 1973, after two devaluations of the USD that brought up the price of an ounce involving gold to $42. 22, the closing of the your unwanted watches window became permanent. Therefore , the USD returned towards the floating exchange rate program (as in 1931– 45, but with no link to gold).

As a result, often the USD devalued and the 1970s were marked by stagflation.   In 1980, the price of an ounce about gold was $850. The price of oil rose from slightly below $3 a barrel in 1970 to just under $40 around 1980 . The Consumer Expense Index (CPI) was around 14 percent in 80 (chart 1). It was only in the early 1980s that the CPI started to decline, when Paul Volcker, Fed chairman at the time, reared the federal funds beat to almost 20 percent (chart 2).

Chart 1: Consumer Expense Index (1965– 85)


Source: Dealing Economics; author’s own elaboration.

Chart 2: Federal Resources Rate (1970– 88)


Source: WYATT; author’s own elaboration.

However , during 1980, the US federal personal debt was “ only” $930. 2 billion (chart 3). Thus, it was possible to be able to significantly increase interest rates while not causing major impacts concerning the economy. Today, the govt debt is  on top of $30. 5 trillion . The Fed  simply can’t raise rates without piling the economy . The US moved from being the tour’s biggest creditor in the early 1970s to the world’s biggest debtor today (the PEOPLE has more debt than all other governments in the world combined).

Chart four: Federal Debt for the The us (1970– 2021)


Source: FRED; author’s own elaboration.

As the federal finances rate rose, the UNITED STATES DOLLAR appreciated and there was a fabulous restoration of confidence in the currency. This (along in the fact that the US dollar was already the currency in which oily fat and other commodities were priced) allowed the USD to remain the main world reserve foreign remuneration. And this, along with the fact that this USD has been unbacked seeing as 1971, has allowed the US to help inflate it over time, doing damage to its value. As of August 3, 2022, the oz of gold costs $1765:

Graph 4:   Price of Yellow metal (In US Dollars)


Price of first Kg – 1Kg = 2 . 20462 Pounds (Left Axis); Price of an Ounces (Right Axis).

Source: goldprice. org; author’s own elaboration.


The consequences of the end for this gold standard began to be thought in the 1970s. The devaluation with the USD substantially reduced Americans’ real wages.   Before 1970, usually merely one member of a family was able to assist it. From the 1970s onwards, this began to change to the point where today this is only possible for wealthier people. Despite all the manufacturing advancements, the standard of life today is lower than in the particular 1950s and the 1960s, mainly because today, in order to live and to buy things they want as well as need, people need to work lot’s more (and even go into debt) . If the USD was not devalued since 1913 (or even if it had been appreciated,   which is what is likely to occur when there is no economical expansion ), the typical of living would be much higher today.

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