Amity Shlaes: Gold Standard for All, From Nuts to Paul KrugmanSubmitted by DeBosco on Sat, 05/05/2012 - 18:38
Amity Shlaes just wrote an interesting column about the gold standard and mentioned the recent Ron Paul vs Paul Krugman debate. She cites a study published in December 2011 by the Bank of England. Here are a couple excerpts from her column:
Markets and countries enjoyed relative stability in gold-standard years, and capital in those years flowed to worthy growth-generating projects. The main sacrifice in gold regimes that the authors identify is that governments lose authority to micromanage domestic economies. But given governments’ records, that may not be such a bad thing, either.
It all suggests that contempt for old gold hands such as Congressman Ron Paul of Texas might not be warranted. And that it might be interesting to peruse the numerous gold-related currency plans outside the door of the academic salon. Plenty of people, many former bankers, think it is time to pass laws returning the U.S. to some version, strong or weak, of the gold standard.
One reason people slap the nut-case label on others with impunity is that for the past 30 or 40 years most economic education has systematically excluded the gold standard and its exponents from the classroom. It’s easy to call something your professors never respected the work of a nut case. But it’s also worthwhile to ask why the professors white out the gold standard from the books. Perhaps it is because the systems they raved about in their dissertations, systems of flexible exchange rates, subsequently underperformed.
This inconsistency in their own modeling is of course hard to acknowledge. Recently Bloomberg Television drew enormous attention when co-anchor Trish Regan moderated a debate between Ron Paul and Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize-winning New York Times columnist.
Krugman sought to hold the middle ground, noting that all he sought, through his recommendation that federal debt rise to 130 percent of gross domestic product, was a return to the kind of America in which his parents lived. The professor treated the congressman’s remarks as unscholarly; in a blog post afterward, Krugman wrote “everything Paul said about growth after World War II was wrong.”
But Krugman too has some sorting through to do. The years when his parents lived were gold years, the Bretton Woods gold exchange standard, a time when the federal government, except in world war, would never had considered raising debt to 130 percent of the economy, as Krugman suggested in the debate.
If we are going to speak of consensus, let’s not forget one that is truly universal: Our economic system stands a good chance of breakdown in coming years. The only way to limit damage from such a breakdown is to ready ourselves to choose other models by learning about them now.
Not to do so would be nuts.
I find it wonderful and amazing that serious discussion of a return to the gold standard can show up in the daily newspaper. It's just another area in which Dr. Paul's life's work is bearing fruit.
You can read the entire column here: