To assess whether the gold standard, or any monetary system, is "good" or "bad" requires careful consideration of the institutional characteristics of the system. A gold standard can work quite well within the right institutional structure. But the same could be said for a fiat regime. To argue that one or the other is inherently bad - or worse, claim that everyone agrees with you - is to do a disservice to those who want to learn about monetary economics.Regular readers aren't surprised that I'd also like monetary economics to be expressed in ways which at least make basic sense to the public. For one thing, the more a given population understands about the basic workings of their monetary system, the more likely they may be inclined to trust their own governmental institutions.
One of the most useful aspects of today's fiat monetary systems, are their flexibility. As services have become more dominant components of developed economies, fiat monetary regimes help to streamline the process of incorporating time based services and knowledge use into a broader monetary framework. Why don't we tell simpler institutional stories which might encourage citizens to be more confident in these systems?
Meanwhile, the effects of services dominance on equilibrium conditions have yet to be broadly discussed, and even some economists and central bankers don't appear to be comfortable with the monetary claims of services generated wealth. Perhaps we would benefit from a closer look at how services sector dominance influences macroeconomic outcomes, particularly effects on long term growth and overall debt load structure.
Many have wondered why central bankers still use inflation targeting, instead of a more precise tool such as a level nominal target. It could be that inflation targeting serves as a foil for central bankers to dismiss the recent complications which today's services dominated economy present for overall macroeconomic structure. Just the same, avoidance such as this needs to be dealt with, especially since central bankers haven't been faithful to a full level of monetary representation, in terms of what is being produced by all concerned.
Real economy conditions have only become more important, for the maintenance of an appropriate monetary standard. Gold standards existed in a historical framing when not only was wealth more closely associated with commodity dominance, this wealth was easier to measure and ascertain. Indeed, some economists would still prefer a commodity standard in the present. Wikipedia explains that in a fiat standard, the value of currency is set by the federal government, and continues:
Not long ago, America's monetary system was built on a commodity standard, where the value of currency depended on a fixed exchange rate between money and a single good or a basket of goods.Compared with a fiat monetary standard, a commodity standard was relatively simple. One could assemble a broad sampling of commodities and regularly manufactured product, and glean a reasonably good approximation regarding the dimensions of an equilibrium, in which both manufacturing and services sectors basically circulated revenue flows in balance with each other.
In spite of the flexibility they contribute to spontaneous coordination at a national level, fiat monetary systems tend to distort this circulatory balance in ways that many groups have reason not to completely trust. As governments switched to fiat monetary regimes and set about utilizing extensive debt formation for time based services, an element of uncertainty was introduced, regarding reliable equilibrium dimensions. While a nominal level target is best equipped to represent equilibrium dimension, central bankers may doubt the ability of their governments to maintain present conditions for time based services contribution, to wealth creation in general. In spite of this recalcitrance on the part of policy makers, it remains vital to get monetary representation right, for the wealth and economic activity that people seek to create.
Part of the problem, is that too much services generation and knowledge use have proven notoriously difficult to measure. How many other resources are expected to be redirected, for any given unit of time based service product?
Personal economic time value, as a wealth generating commodity unit, could eventually lend better measurement capacity for knowledge use and overall economic stability. How so? As an internally generated, non debt producing unit of commodity wealth which is accounted for at the outset, time arbitrage could contribute to reliable general equilibrium dimension in the same (primary market) capacity as traditional manufacture. Time based commodity units would eventually help to restore circulatory balance between primary market wealth creation, and secondary market wealth circulation.
Even though fiat monetary systems are reliable for the external compensation of knowledge use up to a point, these highly specific skill rewards aren't fully accountable at the outset. Consequently, fiscally compensated time based product contributes to a debt driven equilibrium which distorts the true capacity of monetary flow potential. Time arbitrage would be instrumental in returning to a status in which equilibrium capacity could be more readily determined.
While fiat monetary regimes are still quite useful in the present, they cannot simply continue as open checkbooks which don't determine the nature of ongoing debt formation in relation to overall resource capacity. By utilizing time value as a commonly held commodity, time based services generation could eventually place less demand on overall monetary representation, thereby generating more public trust in knowledge generation processes.