May 16, 2013
In Chapter 12 of David Stockman’s new book The Great Deformation, the outspoken truth-sayer discusses the realities of the end of the gold standard – from the the Bank of England’s ‘default’ in 1931 to the 1960 London Gold panic (a shot across the Keynesian bow) and on to Nixon and Bretton Woods, Stockman explains how we are constantly deferring the day of reckoning…
“Richard Nixon soon found that meeting the nationâ€™s obligation to pay its debts in gold and to uphold the Bretton Woods system were distinctly inconvenient to his own reason of state: reelection in 1972.
Moreover, he had found a polyglot of economic advisors who persuaded him to discard the essence of the old-time Republican financial doctrine.. and embrace the prosperity management model, turning fiscal policy into a hapless stepchild of the jobs count and the GDP measurements, and giving a public policy rationalization to endless raids on the Treasury by special interest groups and crony capitalists….
Worse still, severing the link to gold paved the way for the T-bill standard and a vast multi-decade spree of central bank debt monetization and money printing. Since a rĂ©gime of floating-rate paper money had never been tried before on a global basis, the Keynesian professors and their Friedmanite collaborators can perhaps be excused for not foreseeing its destructive consequence.
The record of the next several decades, however, eliminated all doubt.
The combination of free markets and freely printed money gave rise to a toxic financial deformation; namely, the vast financialization of the world economy and the rise of endless carry trades, massive arrangements of speculative hedging, and monumental daisy chains of debts, owned by debts, owned by still more debts.”