Why doesn't some country create a gold-backed currency?

The US is intent on printing money to stave off "deflation." For the moment, people all over the world still demand dollars. But the day will surely come when they no longer do.

In the meantime, why doesn't some forward-thinking government (I know, I know) buy a bunch of gold and issue a currency backed by that gold? Such a currency would, in my humble opinion, be an immediate competitor to the dollar. I would also think such a move would attract investment capital to that country.

What good is having a bunch of nations if they all act the same and issue fiat?

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Shorter Jonathan Wilde: Why

Shorter Jonathan Wilde: Why hasn't Cryptonomicon happened yet?

Or even more puzzling: Why hasn't it been made into a kick-ass movie yet?

You know that comment just

You know that comment just got Cryptonomicon moved up on my list. It sits on my shelf unread, time to change that.

I don't read much fiction,

I don't read much fiction, but Cryptonomicon is right up there with Heinlein's The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

and my Kindle just downloaded it, thanks guys

a string recommendation never hurts my reading list. I've been so economically focused of late, a nice change of pace is in order.

One of my favorite novels

Stephenson is my favorite author. He sells libertarianism without admitting he's one. It's like osmosis.

This blog's current name is derived from a concept in one of his other novels.

He is certainly on my

He is certainly on my short-list of favorite authors. The name of this blog is what attracted me in the first place, bet you regret that name change now!

What would be the benefits of

What would be the benefits of a national gold currency over a private gold currency?

As far as I understand it, the critical concern for holders of any currency is whether the receipts they are issued in a transaction will be a store of value until the day they are traded for some other good. The most direct assurance that a receipt will hold its value is if it actually represents physical gold in the issuer's possession.

The issuing organization needs access to enough force to defend their warehouse of gold from external theft, but if the organization possesses enough force to maintain monopolies or cartels, it merely encourages fraudulent reporting of the number of receipts compared to the physical gold.

It takes time for governments to perpetrate the fraud--they have to go through the following steps:

  1. Establish the convenience of trading their receipts instead of physical gold.
  2. Maintain a good reputation until their receipts are used in significantly more transactions than physical gold or other currencies.
  3. Protect themselves against currency holders demanding their receipts be reimbursed for physical gold.

It is only at this final stage that the issuing organization now has the power to generate bogus receipts that can be used to outbid legitimate receipt holders for goods and services in the market.

The warehousing business is much less profitable than a business that can participate in issuing bogus receipts. I suspect we're in a window as people lose faith in fractional reserve currencies when there is a market for private companies to start gold (or other commodity) warehouses. Whether the market endures depends on whether customers can benefit from the lower margins of warehouses and continue to use them, or whether governments endure and reestablish a banking cartel.

Switzerland needs a new virginity

Switzerland needs a new virginity after the UBS scandal. Historically, people have (irrationally?) bought CHF as a proxy to gold. Maybe they could go a step further and issue a currency convertible in gold (warehouse receipts are overkill). They have a sizable gold reserve already (7th in the world) and it represents about 30% of their forex holdings. On paper, they'd be a good candidate.

All it would do is to run up

All it would do is to run up the price of gold. 90% of the working class would be in worse shape.

How would this stop our owners from sending jobs off shore?

I think the obvious reason no

I think the obvious reason no country is going on the gold standard is that theft via fiat currency is like taking candy from a baby. That's the second to last tool they want to give up.

Yep, hard to fund world

Yep, hard to fund world policing expeditions without robbing the folks back home to pay for the bullets, beans and smart bombs.