The failing case for gold

Again, what’s repellent here is not so much Paul’s loopy assessment of costs and benefits; it’s his radical pessimism, his aggressive and indiscriminate distrust of humanity. I can see how a man like Madison would have turned against paper money, in the days of worthless “continentals” and frontier land swindles.

But now? Modern capitalism is susceptible to fraud, panic, inflation and recession, as we have all witnessed in recent years. It has also generated and distributed a fantastic amount of wealth — much of it in the years since the gold standard ended. Fiat money has, on balance, aided that development. It has expressed and promoted trust across a widening circle of humanity. To an astonishing degree, that trust has been vindicated.

As between retaining fiat currencies, while trying to reform them through democratic means, and reverting to a gold standard, with all its risks, the choice is easy. The former embraces practical confidence in human nature — the latter, the jaded mind-set of a perpetually suspicious man.