A Vote for Gold
by Frederick Sheehan
Frederick Sheehan is the author of Panderer to Power: The Untold Story of How Alan Greenspan Enriched Wall Street and Left a Legacy of Recession (McGraw-Hill, 2009) and " The Coming Collapse of the Municipal Bond Market"(Aucontrarian.com, 2009)
"…Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney tried to calm everyone’s nerves by declaring that gold ‘has no role to play in the international monetary system.’"
Globe and Mail, November 12, 2010
Carney did not calm the nerves of Hans Merkelbach, investor, advisor, investor advocate, and watch dog of money manipulators, who wrote to the central banker from his office on Bowen Island, British Columbia. After quoting the above, Merkelbach rebuked Carney:
"Let’s get real! Would you explain to me why you, the ex-Goldman Sachs partner, besides having a warped idea of monetary matters, made such a ridiculous statement? The houses of cards are falling all around you, dear sir, but I guess it is hard to notice the bloody monetary mess from the ivory tower."
Carney, no fool, but offensively patronizing, replied: "I said in a recent speech…that it is the adjustment mechanism rather than the choice of reserve asset that ultimately matters."
And so he did; the link to his speech is here. Carney is correct. The adjustment mechanism is the topic, not a gold standard, per se. However, the speech makes clear the one adjustment mechanism he will not tolerate is gold.
Carney never addressed the gold standard other to declare it is a "barbarous relic" (Keynes’ hackneyed description). The central banker went on to say (in his speech) that instability has followed "the breakdown of Bretton Woods." This is a reference to the 1944 "gold-exchange standard" agreement in which gold was the adjustment mechanism. Under its provisions, foreign governments could convert (pay) $35 to the U.S. government in exchange for one ounce of gold. The United States defaulted on its Bretton Woods commitment in 1971. Afterwards (quoting Carney), "capital flows exploded, rising three times faster than the rate of growth of trade over the past three decades."
That sentence is a tidy summation of why the world’s financial system is destined to collapse. No longer constrained by the checks-and-balances of the gold-exchange standard, finance blossomed and grew so large that it is too-big-to-fail: until it collapses. There is no escape.
No company has profited more from this bonanza than Carney’s former employer, Goldman, Sachs & Co. There were approximately 1,000 employees at the investment bank in 1971. Today, there are 35,400. They are well paid.
Carney acknowledged that the current "international monetary system is… increasingly unstable." In fact, there is no "system" to speak of other than a gaggle of central bankers, finance ministers and heads-of-state who are constantly issuing contradictory and deceitful statements.
Carney’s solution is to beef up the G-20. The latter is a splendidly incoherent group of 20 countries still rehashing the senile economics that inflated Goldman, Sachs. Carney rooted for the "successful completion of G-20 reforms." A more accurate prediction was made by Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman, who, attending the first G-20 conference last year, wrote: "Watching an Indonesian delegate wandering, apparently carefree, through the conference centre in Pittsburgh, I felt a stab of pity. ‘You don’t know what you are getting into,’ I thought. ‘You are going to waste the rest of your life talking about fish quotas.’"
Carney made no comment about the article Merkelbach attached to his letter, "Ben Bernanke: The Chauncey Gardner of Central Banking." The sentry on Bowen Island wrote a preface: "The following article displays the ignorance, stupidity and lies from your Professor partner in Washington."
A gold bar is no more intelligent than Bernanke, but it tells no lies. It should be apparent by now that George Bernard Shaw was right: "You have a choice between the natural stability of gold and the honesty and intelligence of the members of government. And with all due respect to those gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the capitalist system lasts, vote for gold."
Frederick Sheehan writes a blog at www.aucontrarian.com