You keep using that word IV: fiat

Economics has become a pseudo-science and one of the reasons why the education bubble is real and will result in the demise of the university system.  It will collapse under its own weight of stupidity.  Here I am a university-trained PhD telling you that much of what goes on in academics is just a bunch of  fantasies created in the mind of the scholars.  In my own field it consists of such scholarly imaginations as Q, the Secret Gospel of Mark, or the anti-Semitic source theory of the Pentateuch (JEPD [pdf]).

So it is not at all surprising to me to learn that the same foolishness inhabits other fields of study, including economics.  So now a certain Prof. Willem Buiter has produced a blog post entitled, “Gold – a six thousand year-old bubble“.  Rather than just simply admit that gold has intrinsic value because of its rareness and unique properties, Prof. Buiter, that colossus of economic brilliance, concludes that mankind throughout recorded history has kept gold in a bubble.  In my view, wisdom would dictate that 6000 years as a currency would make gold the most secure form of money known to man.  But alas, then Prof. Buiter writes these lines:

Gold has become a fiat commodity or a fiat commodity currency, just as the US $, the euro, the pound sterling and the yen … [snip] are fiat paper currencies. (From Financial Times Blog, [snip because of 30 word limit imposed by Financial Times])

The term fiat actually refers to currencies with nothing, such as gold or silver, backing them.  Such currencies are predestined for failure as the temptation to make too much of it seems to derive from human nature.  On the other hand, gold has intrinsic value, so it requires no backing.  To call gold a “fiat” anything is as stupid as Nouriel Roubini saying that gold has no intrinsic value.  These economists don’t even understand what the terms “fiat” or “intrinisic” mean.  This is disgusting and pathetic and it is no wonder that the world is in such economic chaos with such dunderheads running the show.

For the correct definition of fiat currency, see Investopedia.

And now for the video clip, which I dedicate to Prof. Buiter :

Advertisements

Gold versus paper currencies in the aftermath of war

To understand the value of gold as a currency with intrinsic value versus paper currencies which have only derivative value, it is perhaps helpful to consider what happens when a war comes to a conclusion.  The victors, if they ask for tribute or war reparations, will only accept gold.  Consider that throughout history, when conquerors overtook cities, they would strip them of gold and silver and other precious real goods, such as when Alaric sacked Rome in 410.  They didn’t say, “Oh please, would you print some images of the Emperor and give them to us.”  Instead, the barbarians forcefully took away the intrinsic wealth of the city.

In our more recent past, we see that the United States has been able to force its paper currency on the losers of wars.  At the end of the Civil War, the Confederate dollar became worthless paper.  The loser cannot make the winner accept its paper.  Then, at the end of World War II, the US was able to begin to impose its currency on the rest of the world, until it became the world’s reserve currency.  Originally the US dollar was a derivative for gold; but  afterwards, Nixon took it off the gold standard, and it became a purely fiat currency.  But had the United States not won World War II, we’d be speaking German and Japanese and Yen and Marks would have become the world’s reserve currencies.

At the end of World War I, the Treaty of Versailles imposed war reparations upon Germany, mind you not in the paper currency of the Weimar Republic, the Deutsche Mark, which became so much wallpaper in a few years, as it began to fill the wheel barrows of the country.  No, the treaty required that the Germans pay back their debt in gold.  Funny, isn’t it?  How is it that the loser of a war can impose upon the winner the acceptance of a metal which has been in a 6000 year bubble?