The Gold Standard: Retrospect and Prospect

“In general, the gold standard effectively managed the money supply to stabilize the purchasing power of money over time. This was no accident.” ~Peter C. Earle and William J. Luther

On August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon closed the gold window, thereby preventing foreign governments from converting United States (U.S.) dollars into gold.

The Nixon shock created a clear dividing line in American monetary history. Prior to August 15, 1971, the U.S. dollar had been tied to gold in one way or another since the nation’s founding.

Fifty years after the Nixon shock, it is difficult for many to imagine a dollar connected to gold. Most Americans have never used a gold-backed dollar. They do not understand how the gold standard worked. They have not considered the merits of returning to the gold standard. The gold standard, in their minds, is a relic of a bygone era.

The contributions in this volume help to bridge the knowledge gap created by fifty years of fiat money.

The American Institute for Economic Research in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, was founded in 1933 as the first independent voice for sound economics in the United States. Today it publishes ongoing research, hosts educational programs, publishes books, sponsors interns and scholars, and is home to the world-renowned Bastiat Society and the highly respected Sound Money Project. The American Institute for Economic Research is a 501c3 public charity.

Table of Contents

AIER Research Staff, August 1971
Chapter 1. Introduction
Peter C. Earle and William J. Luther
Chapter 2. The Rise and Fall of the Gold Standard in the United States
George Selgin
Chapter 3. How Does a Well-Functioning Gold Standard Function?
Peter C. Earle and William J. Luther
Chapter 4. Price Specie Flow Mechanism and the Monetary Approach to the Balance of Payments
Kwabena Boateng and Joshua Hendrickson
Chapter 5. How Good was the Gold Standard?
Thomas L. Hogan
Chapter 6. Arguments against the Gold Standard
Lawrence H. White
Chapter 7. Is the Gold Standard Feasible?
Bryan P. Cutsinger
Chapter 8. Monetary Rules: Is a Constrained Central Bank as Good as Gold?
Alexander W. Salter
Chapter 9. International Monies: The Gold Standard, Currency Boards, and Dollarization
Nicolas Cachanosky
Chapter 10. Digital Gold: The Case for Cryptocurrencies
William J. Luther
Chapter 11. Conclusion
Peter C. Earle and William J. Luther

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