Friday, November 12, 2010

The gold standard poised to return?

Well, that hardly seems likely. But it's nonetheless interesting that Robert Zoellick, head of the World Bank, of all places, referred to the possibility of using gold in some way to help stabilize the international currency system. That's a long way from referring to the idea of a gold standard as a "barbarous relic" of nastier times. Of course Zoellick explained that he wasn't talking about an actual; gold standard, oh, no, just some way to use gold (in ways I have yet to see him specify) to stabilize what is inherently an unstable system with all those paper currencies based on the will-o-the-wisp of full faith and credit. Still, an interesting step.

I have noted many times that governmentalists seldom if ever adopt a more freedom-oriented approach to policy unless and until an entire subsystem is falling down around their ears. we didn't get airline deregulation until the system was widely acknowledged to be a complete mess, or welfare reform or school choice. It's hardly flattering to those of us who spend our lives trying to make sound arguments for freedom that little steps in the direction are seldom the result of our persuasiveness and sound arguments, but there it is. So I'm thinking the international economic system is unstable, but not so disastrous that they'll consider anything resembling a gold standard -- yet.

No comments: