The US should go back to a gold standard
No semantics or trolling. I am against the gold standard.
Until Ron Paul and a few well-funded libertarian think tanks came to power, the gold standard was actually a non-issue as many conceded the fact that it didn’t work. And that’s what I am arguing today. My main points are how gold standards cause recessions, or at least slow its recovery. And I will also talk about inflation.
Gold standard and deflation
What’s all the hype about inflation? Deflation is worse and small inflation is traditionally good for the economy. The amount of money is actually equilibrium; there should not be too much money in the system, but not too little. Deflation hurts this as it causes too little money in the system. When inflation begins to rise, one must cut back the amount of money supply. When unemployment begins to rise, the money supply should be [slowly] expanded. This way the amount of money is not too far off and this will prevent disaster. Insufficient money supply is linked to recessions, and is a large factor in depressions (discussed later).
The gold standard itself is deflationary. The money supply is then determined by the amount of gold production, to increase the money supply one must increase mining of gold. In other words, economic growth is constrained by the gold supply. Limited gold supply means massive deflation would occur. The annual production of gold is 2500 metric tons of gold. In other words, out GDP would not be able to pass 80 billion dollars if we kept the system today. If we adapted the system now we would have to get gold from other countries, like China and Africa, then they would literally have our economy on a thin string. Unless gold is mined, the economy will not grow. If the gold stock were fixed to prevent inflation, massive deflation would occur. (^M = 0 = ^P + ^Y). Therefore in a growing economy the gold standard would end economic growth. In an economy with a lot of trade, like ours, it would develop trade deficits. Although the above applies, the quote I am about to cite applies a great deal to the US, “a balance of payments deficit is followed by a gold outflow. Thus, a single country's ability to expand money supply is limited by its balance of payments position. An expansion of money supply causes a trade deficit. A gold outflow would set off deflation.”
The village analogy helps show how the gold standard creates deflation on a more simple scale. Now there are two versions of this, so lets look into both of them.
(1)We assume the theory that gold will not be able to fuel a world economy is correct, and there is a village. A man has the one gold nugget, the only currency. The other nine people have items willing to sell for the nugget, as it’s the only way to get other items. And everything costs one nugget, so you can only use it once. So once the man buys an item he begs for it back as it’s the only way he can purchase things. But he cannot get it back as there is a line of people waiting for access to the nugget through sales. The constriction of money supply would mean economic activity would be almost zero, the activity would be literally double the amount by just using inflation and splitting the nugget in half.
(2)Now suppose the village has 100 units of work, and 100 units of gold. Now suppose the economy grows to 120 units of work. If the money supply I not increased, deflation occurs. So they have two options, increase the monetary count so now they have 120 units of gold, or increase the worth of the unit. So lets assume there are three villagers. One of the three made all of the 20 extra units of work and he wants to sell his product, but with gold prices stable at the time the money worth does not increase so there is insufficient money. The other two villagers want to buy the product but can’t as there is insufficient money supply. So the only option they have is to lower prices from five coins for the product to four. This is called inflation. This seems good, lower prices right? Wrong. This process of deflation is horribly inefficient so the dilemma would last for a long time and therefore leads to an economic bust before the situation can adjust itself. Going down is hard for money, going up slowly via inflation is efficient and is therefore good for an economy. Gold standard cannot inflate therefore deflates and hurts the economy.
Gold and the great depression
13 countries abandoned gold in 1931 in attempt to hinder the current gold monetary problems. Countries that stayed on gold experienced a 15% decline in economic output. The countries that left gold, however, saw all positive outputs in the next year of 1932 and for many years after. Then most countries caught on and left gold, all saw increases in economic output and therefore economic growth. Areas they stayed on gold, however, saw a 6% decrease in productivity. In other words, gold hurt countries that kept gold because of its deflation effect.
Large bodies of economic research agree with this point that gold is bad for the economy and has actually lengthened the great depression. The fixed rate it caused made financial disturbances and made it harder for governments to prevent the monetary crisis. Many blame the U.S. for causing the monetary crisis, though new evidence leads scholars to think France, who kept the gold standard, created the problem for exactly that reason; that they had a gold standard to begin with. Most economic historians agree deflation was the cause of the monetary crisis. Although the U.S. and France lead to the deflation in the 20’s, when both had the gold standard, France continued the trend in the 30’s which kept the international deflation continuing therefore leading to much of the economic peril. “Many of the international monetary difficulties of the late 1920s can be traced to the decisions made to resume the gold standard in the mid-1920s after World War I.”
As we can see, the deflation effect of the gold standard hurts recoveries, makes the severity of economic downturns worse, and makes it harder for economies to grow as they are limited to the amount of gold production.
The gold standard does stop inflation, and if inflation occurs it is very temporary. But it causes deflation, which is much worse. It retards economic growth as we are now constrained by gold production, which would be a GDP of 80 billion dollars (and that’s all of worlds production, so the actual number would be even lower as we would not have access to it all). Gold standard does little help to an economy, but almost always hurts it causing recessions, depressions, making recovery harder, and making the downturn worse, and therefore hurting the overall economy.
My opponent as PRO has the BOP, and for being against the status quo. Lets see if he can fufill it. (Word makes spacing all weird)
 Douglas A. Irwin “Did France Cause the Great Depression?” Dartmouth College & NBER (November 15, 2010)
Hello, I am going to talk about why the gold standard. Anyway, Republicans have always supported the gold standard and we were very prosperous under it. Look at the Gilded Age with strong Republican presidents like Chester Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinely. So I am going to be arguing why the gold standard is going to help people.
What my opponent does not understand is that the U.S. government holds more than enough gold to sustain a dollar gold standard. Currently, the government owns 260 million ounces of gold. At a market price of $1,700 per ounce, that is worth $442 billion. Or more than 40% of the currency in circulation ($1,058 billion) and more than 15% of the $2.6 trillion monetary base. Under the classical gold standard, gold reserves typically were less than 10% of the currency in circulation .
The U.S. government would not be required to hold enough gold to back, on a 1:1 basis, currency in circulation. As an example, the Bank of England, which was the center of the world gold standard for more than a hundred years, held only about 1:20 amount of gold relative to currency in circulation. Adam Smith called for a 1:5 ratio .
The U.S. trade deficit would not necessarily grow under the gold standard. In general, a trade deficit reflects something far more basic than a nation's competitiveness. The trade deficit is the difference between domestic savings and investment. The gold standard with reduce the "bad" trade deficit, which contributes to job losses. Under the current system of floating currencies, the world is on a de facto paper dollar standard. This creates artificial demand for the U.S. Treasury securities by foreign central banks and corporations. But to increase their holdings of dollar deposits, foreign entities have to sell more goods and services in the United States than they buy in the United States, which increases the deficit on the trade account. Under an international gold standard, gold and other gold-backed currencies would be ready substitutes for the dollar. As a consequence, foreigners would less inclined to trade goods in exchange for imports of American-amde goods or services. This would be put in place of powerful economic forces that would lead to a reduction in the "bad" trade and an increase in the U.S. savings rate. When these powerful economic forces are coupled with elimination of the tax bias that ships jobs overseas, the United States will dominate the world trade .
Refuting the Village Analogy
As I have said, the Bank of England held only about 1:20 amount of gold relative to currency in circulation. The U.S. government holds more than enough to sustain a dollar gold standard. There goes the first scenario .
Those two villages that want to buy from the other village in the second scenario can. Say both villages have a federal reserve. Their federal reserves could sell securities from their portfolios, thereby further reducing the monetary base. At some point, this process would create a scarcity of dollars relative to gold (at a fixed rate of exchange between the dollar and gold) such that an individual or country would present gold for either currency or dollar deposits in a bank in the United States. Again, those villages would not be required tpo hold enough gold to back, on a 1:1 basis, currency in circulation (remember the Bank of England) .
Refuting Gold and the Great Depression
While some believe that the gold standard started the Great Depression, it actually did not. What we know as the Great Depression actually started as a recession, similar to the recession of 1919. In both cases, we were on a gold standard, and the Federal Reserve mismanaged it. But what turned the recession of the early 1930s into the Great Depression was a series of additional policy errors that intensified the severity and duration of the the downturn .
The time that the Gold standard was taken off was 1933, and that year was also the worst year during the Great Depression. In 1934, the United States resumed the gold standard (if at a higher price), and the recovery got going. It was a mediocre recovery, in that going off the gold standard and the dollar devaluation against gold had introduced a lack of clairty in the system. Adding more trouble was the American president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who created a large government system to fix the economy, that made the recovery more complex and longer .
A gold standard does not lead to more recessions. The classical gold standard leads to fewer, shorter, and shallower recessions. In the 19th century, the noteworthy "panics," such as thbose of 1873 and 1893, were cuased by the United States wavering in its cmmitment to keep the dollar as good as gold. In both cases, however, the United States came around renewing to its commitment to the gold standard, and the recoveries that came were stupendoues and immediate. The run of growth from 1873 to 1892 was the greatest in American history (4.7% per year). From 1894 to 1913, growth was 3.6%, above the post-1913 average of 3.2% .
1. Herman Cain, "9-9-9 An Army of Davids"
Gold Standard and deflation
My opponent’s arguments actually do not even scathe my argument and actually shows he does not understand currency. His main theme in his rebuttal in the US has enough gold in stock to sustain a gold standard. We have enough paper money to sustain our economy, for example. If we stopped producing the money, however, we would see massive deflation and a huge economic downturn. On a gold standard, its production will be extremely slow as the mining process is inefficient for a growing economy. So, it’s the production of the currency not the amount of currency that will cause the deflation/inflation.
My opponent’s second argument is the bank of England. England was only able to keep the gold standard in circulation due to the fact they dumped huge amounts of money in recoinage programs to make production a decent rate to sustain growing economies. So my opponent’s argument is exactly what I am saying, production not brute amount is the factor in deflation .
My opponent is attempting to argue that it will raise some deficits, and lower others, and therefore cause something known as “balanced trade”. And later it will cause us to be the trade leader of the world. But how could this happen when deflation occurs? For example, the current gold production means our GDP would only be 80 billion dollars, which is extremely low. And that’s if the US used every ounce of gold in the world produced yearly on its currency. So realistically it would be much lower. And with an economy of many third world countries I doubt we would become a “trade leader”. Also a countries ability to expand monetary amount is essential in preventing trade deficits. The only way to prevent trade deficits would be to have gold outflow .
My opponent fails to show money production would not be inefficient and cause deflation. So the actual analogy might be refuted, though the idea of how it causes inflation still stands.
My opponent’s second scenario of federal reserves is bogus, as deflation has not occurred since the gold standard has been done away with. And my opponent brings up his ratios again, which are irrelevant to the argument.
My opponent’s first objection is saying other factors likely caused the depression. I agree, other factors played a large role in the depression. But my opponents case fails to refute my point as I proved that gold standards are the reason depressions occur due to the fact they create unnecessary boom and bust cycles. Although the recession was caused by other factors, the gold standard always makes recessions worse as since the abolition of the gold standard depressions never occurred again . It is also a fact that the gold standard made the depression much worse. Here is an informative graph:
The triangles mark the period when the countries left the gold standard. And what to we see? The trend of growth increased (hinting gold standard sped up recoveries) or the downward trend became an upward trend (meaning abolishing gold standard began a recovery). As we can see switching monetary policy helped end the gold standard.
My opponent’s second argument is the recovery was mediocre. But this admits switching currencies helped begin a recovery and the gold standard had little effect (or even worsened) the recovery. And based on the graph presented above, wealth per capita went from under $6,000 too nearly 8,000. As we can see the recovery was actually significant, an increase in income by a factor of three.
My opponent’s last argument was the gold standard leads to overall stability, but this is false, the gold standard elimination ended depressions. In other words the gold standard makes sort term volatility and is extremely unstable . Research shows the gold standard is extremely unstable from a depression standpoint; it worsens most downturns and causes short-term volatility, creating booms and busts. It also worsens the economy in the short term. In the long term it will overall shrink an economy, and be like a cap on economic growth .
My opponent’s case
Where is it? My opponent with the Burden of Proof has not laid out a statement and therefore should automatically lose the debate unless he presents one this round. If he does not create a case, he fails to meet his burden.
My opponents pro, is against the status quo, yet fails to uphold his burden of proof by not presenting a case. Unless he does so, he should automatically lose the debate. I would also like to note my case still stands and many of my opponents arguments have shown not shown deflation would not occur as production of gold would be limited. It would be like a cap on our economy, and the cap is under 80 billion dollars. Further I have shown leaving the gold standard benefits countries in times of depression and since then depression have been non-existent. And that a gold standard lengthened the depression (a point my opponent drops). Based on these facts I urge a CON vote.
 Ben Bernanke and Harold James “The Gold Standard, Deflation, and Financial Crisis in the Great Depression: An International Comparison” University of Chicago Press, (1991).
My opponent has responded by stating that production causes deflation and thus the U.S. should not go back on the gold standard. Here is why he is wrong. The gold standard does not limit the increase in the amount of dollars to just 2% a year, the average increase in the quantity of gold. The rapid economic growth and dramatic increase in the standard of living during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century was accomplished under a gold standard. Under a 21st Century Gold Standard, the Federal Reserve would be required to maintain the value of the dollar in terms of gold and exchange gold coins and bullion for currency or deposits at the Federal Reserve. This would be accomplished through open-market operations, with the 260 million ounces of gold currently owned by the government acting as a buffer stock. There would be no requirement to increase this stockpile of gold in order to increase the amount of dollars in circulation.
The key point in my refutation of my opponent's arguments in round 3 is that as long as the value of dollar is constant in terms of gold, then the Federal Reserve would be able to provide all the money the U.S. economy needs to fuel economic growth.
So to conclude, the gold standard does not limit the increase in the amount of dollars and thus the U.S. trade deficit would not necessarily grow.
This is much like my refutations above when discussing the village analogy. I have explained that we can produce more dollars as long as the Federal Reserve keeps the value of the dollar constant in terms of gold.
Again, more money can still be produced and they can be kept at the value of the gold as long as their constant in terms of gold.
Allow me to explain further depth why the gold standard did not create the Great Depression and other policies did. By 1928, the Federal Reserve was so "embarrassed" by a stock market on fire that it began a five year program where it would starve the economy of money. In 1929, the stock market crashed the day after some final hurdles were clear in Congress that allowed the passage of the Smoot-Hawley tariffs likely. That was a massive tax increase on international trade, rising the tax to 60% on 3,200 imported products. The economy, along with the stock market, started to into free fall. In 1932, Congress raised tax rates across the board which further caused economic troubles. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates, stood by as banks failed by the thousands, and hoarded its gold.
The constant in the episode is the gold standard. The variable is federal intervention and the reach of tax policy. Therefore, the culprit behind the 1929-1933 event resides in taxes. During the 1919-1920 (which the federal reserve mismanaged causing it) recession went down in the context of gold, and we got the Roaring Twenties. They went up in the early 1930s in the context of gold, and we got the Great Depression. To associate the Great Depression with the gold standard is to make a hefty category mistake.
The moral of the story: let the economy be! When the Federal Reserve engineered inflation from 1913 to 1919, which coincided with a huge tax increase, we experienced slow growth, then a recession. In the 1920s when taxes were low and the Federal Reserve kept its head down, we had one of thje great runs of all time. After 1929, as the Federal Reserve and the rest of the government got activist again, our economy plunged terribly and stayed low for a decade.
To respond to my opponent's arguments that going off the gold saved the economy, he has missed some critical information. The United States went off the gold in 1933, and that year came in as badly as the Depression's trough year of 1932 in all major economic catergories. Then, the gold was put back on in 1934 (if at a higher price), and the recovery was mediocre due to FDR's interference in the economy and the rise of taxes. Also, going off the gold in the first place and the dollar devaluation against the gold had caused a lack of clairty in the system. Furthermore, the following countries; Britain, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan were all preparing for war or were already in wars by the 1930s. War production helped the economies in those countries.
Now its time to refute my opponent's last argument that it does not lead to stability. Going on to the gold standard creates real growth for the economy. Let's look at some comparisions. Remember that the gold was taken off in 1971. We will compare the post-World War 2 era which had a gold standard to 1971 to 2010.
Gross Domestic Product
1947-1967: 4.1% Average
1971-2010: 2.8% Average
Real Median Family Income
1947-1967: 2.7% Average
1971-2010: 0.5% Average
Civilian Unemployment Rate
1948-1967: 4.8% Average
1971-2010: 6.3% Average
Consumer Price Inflation
1948-1967: 2.0% Average
1971-2010: 4.4% Average
AAA Corporate Bond Yields
1948-1967: 3.8% Average
1971-2010: 8.2% Average
As we can see there was higher GDP and family income while lower unemployment, inflation, and interest rates when the gold standard was in place during the post-World War 2 era. The gold standard did help in making the economy stable. During the entire post-World War 2 era, with all of the radical developments in the world economy, there were no financial crises in the United States until President Lyndon B. Johnson began to break from the promise that a dollar was worth one-thirty-fifth of an ounce in gold. Since abandoning the gold standard for a paper dollar, the American people (and people all over the world) have suffered through the following financial crises:
1. 1973 oil shock
2. 1979 dollar crisis, second oil shock
3. 1982 Latin American debt crisis
4. 1984 Continental Illinois Bank collapse (largest in U.S. history prior to the 2008 financial crisis)
5. 1987 stock market crash
6. 1989-1991 savings and loan crisis bailout
7. 1990 Japanese bubble collapse and banking crisis
8. 1994 Mexican peso crisis
9. 1998 Asian currency crisis
10. 2001 dot-com crash
11. 2007-2009 housing collapse and international financial crisis
12. 2010-2011 European sovereign debt crisis
Making the dollar as good as gold will bring order and stability to our monetary system and contribute to the prosperity and liberty of the American people. When you provide stability to the financial infrastructure to the economy, the private sector and business do what they do best which is economic growth to the entire nation and the world.
Here are four ways the new gold standard will lead to economic growth:
1. The Federal Reserve is required to provide all the money the economy needs to fuel real growth without inflation.
2. When you save, you can do so knowing that the dollar you save will be worth a dollar when it is needed in the future.
3. Those who invest and create jobs can do so without the fear that monetary instability and financial crises will destroy the value of their investments.
4. Investments in real, job-creating businesses will replace sterile investments in hedges against dollar depreciation including gold, foreign currencies, etc.
So Apparently I have to make a Case
The gold standard is good! It does not cause recessions and causes stability across the board for the economy. It does not cause deflation.
I have proven why the gold standard is good and should be brought back for the U.S. to use. Vote Pro!
1. Herman Cain and Rich Lowrie, 9-9-9 An Army of Davids (seriously this is my only source for all my arguments so its obvious that I do not need to put in those tiny numbers and stuff)
Gold standard and deflation
My opponent claims production is irrelevant as the Federal Reserve has enough gold stock to keep the dollar “as good as gold”. But is this a viable argument? No, not really. Although the amount of gold stock is a good indicator of deflation, even my opponent’s argument proves my point. As every single ounce of gold in the world, not the US’s gold stock, is sufficient to support a gold standard and keep our currency as good as gold. The current US gold stockpile is 2.5% of all gold in current markets. Currently, all the gold in the world is worth the same amount of the current US dollars (4.6 trillion). We can assumes that the total gold is a good proxy for monetary worth of the US, 4.6 trillion. Now using my opponent’s argument, we need a 1-5 ratio. 1/5th of 4.6 trillion is nine hundred and twenty billion. Our current reserves (2.5% of 4.6 trillion) are worth 115,000,000 in other words, which is under the 1/5th mark he said we require. If we more then double the amount too 10%, we still get under the 1/5th mark. And it is unlikely many countries and companies will give all their gold to the US government, therefore my opponent’s argument from round 2 and last round is illogical.
If we go on further, the production is still the main key of inflation/deflation. As stated the production means our economy (if we where able to get all gold production) would be 80 billion dollars. This point was never refuted therefore still stands.
My opponent’s analysis sounds exactly like fiat money. He says the Federal Reserve can still pump money into the economy and use inflation to help curb economic downturns etc. But then our currency is inflating and still losing value, like the current monetary system. So my opponent sounds like he wants a modified version of fiat money, not a gold standard. A good amount of inflation, as proven in round two, is a rate of 2%. Under a gold standard this rarely happens, it actually caps the amount of money in an economy, and does not increase it like my opponent claims it has the capability of doing. Monetary inflation would be determined by gold mining therefore which is extremely slow, which would cause deflation. My opponent did not properly deal with that argument in this debate. “Under a gold standard, the long-run trajectory of the price level is determined by the pace at which gold is mined in South Africa and Russia. … Under the gold standard, the average rate of inflation or deflation over decades ceases to be under the control of the government or the central bank, and becomes the result of the balance between growing world production and the pace of gold mining.”
With a slow rate of gold production, sometimes non-existent, this is a cap on economic growth and inflation and causes deflation, and that’s a fact.
You failed to explain how the Federal Reserve could keep the dollar the same worth as gold when production is low and the amount of gold necessary is nearly impossible to acquire. The refutation is simply illogical.
Again how would this work? Without the 1-5 ratio you talked about it is impossible.
Gold Standard and the great depression
My opponent’s new rebuttal actually drops the argument. I said the gold standard worsened the depression, not created it. I also showed France played a large role in lengthening it as the depression did not begin to recover properly until they left the gold standard. I also noted the recovery never began until dependency on gold ended, which was shown last round in the graphs. As we can see the gold standard hurts countries in times of economic peril and leaving it saves them from ever entering the crisis again.
My opponent then cites many statistics, but before and after averages is extremely difficult to determine if it works, and it misses many factors. In that time, for example, many liberal economic policies where implemented that could have been in economic detriment. Also the statistics are cherry picking as it does not calculate the time of the depression, where the gold standard has adverse effects . “Countries that were not on the gold standard in 1929--or that quickly abandoned the gold standard--by and large escaped the Great Depression … Countries that abandoned the gold standard in 1930 and 1931 suffered from the Great Depression, but escaped its worst ravages. … Countries that held to the gold standard through 1933 (like the United States) or 1936 (like France) suffered the worst from the Great Depression.” As we can see the statistics my opponents used are extremely cherry picked in order to avoid the facts that the gold standard hurts economies during downturns. It also ignores the volatility the gold standard has in the market, there where eight recessions (including the dreat depression) from gold standard times. There where six after. So even using these economic proxy indicators we see the gold standard likely has little effect on long term economic growth like my opponent indicates, and likely is a cap on growth via deflation. Also note good proof that the gold standard hurts us in recessions is this: recessions lasted longer when the gold standard was in use.
Also note my opponents statistics miss a few year periods in the middle, which statistically can change the game here. My statistics where not missing any dates in relative to the depression therefore are better at proving leaving the gold standard helps the economy.
Also note correlation does not equate causation, my correlation, however, has dozens of economic papers on the subject (see round two, where I said the link is well established) and my opponent is citing evidence from a book, not written by an economist.
My opponent then cites many financial problems, but many of these never where US problems therefore can be discarded. Others where not caused by currency at all, rather housing bubbles that started years before with housing legislation from the carter administration, others by the invention of the internet. My opponents list here fails to prove a point. Others where due to energy policies/company policies. So in that long list only three apply to the debate. And besides, gold as proven last round is extremely unstable and is not better at stabilizing currency via inflation/deflation. It caps economic growth and causes short-term volatility and booms and busts at higher rates. This was undefeated.
My opponent’s case
You have actually failed to prove the gold standard is good, you have only proven it is not deflationary. That is not necessarily good, and you still have not provided case only rebuttals. The only thing you have that is close to a case is that it is stable, here is a graph:
We see periods of hyper inflation, then massive deviation during the gold standard, then stable inflation during fiat currency. As we can see, is is not stable.
My opponent made no case, and the case he did make (stability) is false. It causes deflation and hurts the overall economy during times of recession, extending their lengths and increasing their hardships. Vote CON, as he[should] win.
1Historygenius forfeited this round.
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