29 October 2009

Golden Avalanche

Nick from www.sharelynx.com shared some quotes with me that I'd like to pass on. They are from a book written in 1939 by Graham & Whittlesey called Golden Avalanche:

“Before leaving the subject of gold supply it is interesting to relate present gold reserves to the monetary circulation of this country and the world. The gold reserves of the United States are almost two and a half times the total of all ordinary money now in circulation in this country. We could replace at its present value every piece of paper money with a gold coin and would still have enough left over to do the same for every country in Europe. There is enough gold in the monetary reserves of the world to replace all ordinary currency of the entire world 100 per cent with gold coins. Never until the present decade was such a situation as this even approached.” p.15

"It has been estimated by a number of writers, on the basis of conditions prior to 1914, that the production of gold would have to rise by about 3 per cent a year in order to preserve approximately stable price levels. The best known of these calculations are those of the Swedish economist, Professor Cassel. This estimate tends to exaggerate the rate of expansion in the demand for basic reserve money. It is based on a period when population and production, and, therefore, the money-work to be done, were increasing at an exceptional rate, and when the non-monetary demand for gold was at its highest. During these years, moreover, the need for gold rose as rapidly as it did partly because of the extension of the international gold standard system to embrace a growing list of countries.

Even if the gold standard system were again established as it was in 1913 the need for gold could not be expected to increase as it did in the half century before the World War, simply because there would not exist the same possibility of extending the use of gold over a steadily widening area.

As was noted earlier, the monetary reserves of the world are today nearly three times as great as in 1929. If commodity prices were to return to the 1929 level, if business activity were to increase at an annual rate equal to that maintained in the sixty fat years prior to 1914, and if all the countries then on the gold standard should return to it, we should still have enough gold to meet all monetary requirements for many years to come, even though not one single ounce was produced during that time. If the gold standard is not restored on such a scale, then the world is long on gold to a corresponding degree. It is absolutely fair to say that, ignoring entirely the possibility of increasing the efficiency of our monetary and banking systems and making the most liberal assumptions as to growth in the monetary and non-monetary demand for gold, there is not the remotest prospect of the world’s needing to have another ounce of gold mined for several decades." p. 18-19

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