alsblog.net & ALS poll

First, thanks to an anonymous donor the ALS blog now has a new & easy to remember web address: alsblog.net

Second, It’s been a while… but finally the ALS poll question has been updated. The new question builds on one of the most persistent debates in the libertarian blogosphere “What is your preferred monetary policy?” This one should get Terje & GMB excited.

The possible answers includes the status quo of inflation targetting, where an independent monetary agency manages money supply to ensure a low & stable rate of inflation. This is the most popular position among mainstream monetary economists and is now accepted by most politicians.

One alternative that used to be quite popular (especially among Keynesians) was the idea of an activist monetary policy that aims to maintain full employment by increasing money supply (decreasing interest rates) when unemployment is high. In response, the “monetarists” argued for a fixed money supply rule to prevent politicians playing with the money supply and causing inflation. After some concerns about a variable velocity and credit multiplier (which means the government has only indirect and inaccurate control of money supply) the monetarists shifted their focus towards inflation targetting.

At the radical libertarian end there is free banking, which simply asks the government to play no role in money and allow the competitive marketplace to come up with a solution. The expected solution is a range of competing currencies with one being significantly more popular than the rest. It is assumed that this currency will needed to be backed by assets (to maintain the confidence of users), but this isn’t required. The private currency provider will likely use fractional reserve banking to make more money but will have an incentive to maintain very low inflation otherwise people will switch to other currencies (that don’t devalue over time).

Some people argue against fiat currency (ie currency not backed by assets) and suggest we should return to a currency backed by gold (or other valuable assets). It is argued that this approach is better at maintaining monetary stability than inflation targetting. Still others want to go further and actually ban the practice of fractional reserve banking (where the bank issues more money than they hold in reserve). If you want to know more about any of these views, please ask in the comments.

Finally, I’ve included the options of “I don’t know” and “I don’t care” for the non monetary boffins.

The last poll question asked Which is the most objectionable tax? The winning answer was income tax with 34%, followed by tariffs on 14% and payroll tax on 13%. Other unpopular taxes included the death tax (7%), capital gains (5%) and stamp duties (5%). Amazingly, nobody voted for company tax. Only 3% thought that a carbon tax was the most objectionable, which indicates that most people would approve of a trade-off between introducing a carbon tax and abolishing/reducing some of the other taxes.

59 thoughts on “alsblog.net & ALS poll

  1. Only 3% thought that a carbon tax was the most objectionable, which indicates that most people would approve of a trade-off between introducing a carbon tax and abolishing/reducing some of the other taxes.

    Oh yeah? Failure to make such a tax “most objectionable” leads to that conclusion? There wasn’t a question on “second most objectionable”.

    The rationale for a carbon tax is based on the assumption the sky is falling and someone can prop it up. That’s inherently objectionable, whatever the trade-off.

  2. Yeah, failure to make a tax “most objectionable” means that it isn’t the most objectionable. I think that’s a pretty obvious conclusion.

    The rationale you mention is one rationale. Here’s another one: we’re going to have some tax in Australia so let’s have it in a relatively less offensive place. Income tax is more offensive than a carbon tax.

    Here’s another one: we’re going to have activity on AGW anyway (fact), so let’s do it in a way that hurts us less.

  3. John,

    Your opening a rather well worn can of worms. You must be bored or else still undecided on this topic.

    I can’t really answer your question using the multiple choice options that you have given because of the way in which the options are structured. I support fixing gold as the unit of account but I also support free banking. Depending on the details these are not necessarily incompatible choices.

    Likewise many Rothbardians that would ban fractional reserve banking (that excludes me) would also advocate the idea of fixing to gold. And in any case they don’t generally believe in a ban on fractional reserve banking but rather they insist on regulating banks such that the maturity timeframes for financial assets and liabilities are synchronised (ie no borrowing short term and lending long term). Which has little to do with monetary policy specifically and more to do with credit policy.

    Fixing the currency to gold could be done merely by stating that all government bonds will be denominated in gold and all government tax laws will be denominated in gold (they have to be denominated in something so the government must either choose or else give up on the idea of borrowing and/or taxation). The medium of exchange (ie the bits of paper that pass as money) could then be promissory notes issued by the private sector under free banking. However in this instance they would be predominately denominated in gold merely because the government sets the tempo.

    The fallacy in your set of questions lays in the assumption that under free banking there is some real independent means by which the market can achieve an acceptable consensus on what we use as a common unit of account without being directly influenced by government (either deliberately or inadvertently).

    Those that believe that a system of free banking can freely define a unit of account purely and independent of governemnt are assuming that the gorilla is no longer in the room. Perhaps in an idealised anarchist state this may be some sort of achievable reality but any notionally small government (eg what we had prior to 1910 in Australia) is still going to involve a government determined unit of account.

    I have covered much of my thinking on this previously here on the ALS blog and one of the relevant articles can be found at the following URL link to my private blog:-

    http://terjepetersen.wordpress.com/2007/04/12/the-bank-notes-act-of-1910/

    In my mind a more meaningful question would be:-

    Q1. In any given government jurisdiction the dominate common unit of account should be determined by which of the following means:-

    a) The government should decree that it is gold or some such natural commodity.

    b) The government should leave it to the market to decide but should use gold or some such natural commodity as the unit of account for all it’s own commercial affairs thus ensuring that it is probably gold (or some such other natural commodity that it chooses).

    c) The government should issue a fiat currency and it should manage the supply of that currency such that it’s value remains fixed to gold (or some such natural commodity).

    d) The government should issue a fiat currency and it should manage the supply of that currency such that it’s value remains fixed to some basket of consumer goods that is routinely amended to reflect local consumer fashion.

    Given those choices I would rank my preference as follows:-

    b)
    c)
    a)
    d)

    Perhaps that makes me a free banker. However I think it also makes me an advocate of gold as the preferable unit of account.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  4. Which side of the road do you think we should drive on:-

    A) LEFT
    B) RIGHT
    C) BLUE
    D) HOLDEN
    E) THE BEST

    No fallacy in that either.

  5. “The rationale for a carbon tax is based on the assumption the sky is falling and someone can prop it up.”

    It’s just a straightforward externality charge. Or should be.

  6. Tex;
    Glad your back.

    When it comes to economics, just remember what a wise man once said: –
    ->” My view of economics and liberty in general is unapologetically simple: voluntary transaction is good, government regulation thereof is bad. I keep this algorithm simple for two reasons: 1) it works, 2) all complicated economic theory is pretty much an extension of the general rule. There, I just saved you from reading 2000 pages of Chicago school horseshit”.

    Learn this and you can’t go wrong.

  7. LOL.

    Thanks Terje for your clarification. I agree with option b).

    I don’t see how fractional reserve could be banned consistent with the principle of liberty, since if person A and person B knowingly agree to such a transaction, why should the government be able to ban it?

    I also think a golden currency would be cool, because I just like gold, is all. I think gold coins would be great. Also, gold looks good, it glitters and you can wear it around your neck or give it to your sweetheart. All these are good reasons for a gold standard.

    Now. Terje. Could you please give us your view of some of the financial ructions in the USA at present?

    1. To what extent is the housing bubble caused by government?
    2. Is it accurate to say that inflation is caused by government increasing the money supply above the rate that it would increase by market forces?
    3. If so, then what about the capacity of private entities such as banks to increase the money supply by fractional reserve lending?
    4. If not, then how come the Austrian school attributes inflation to government when it could equally be created by private action?

  8. Terje, do I have this straight? When adopting a gold standard currency it is supposed to be self regulating by varying the profitability of mining activities controlling the increase in the gold supply.

    However, if say Australia adopted a gold standard and no-one else did, we would represent just a small part of the global demand for gold. Wouldn’t we therefore lose this self regulating mechanism?

  9. Terje — the available answers are perfectly clear and sensible. I’ve included the two standard answers (activist monetary policy v inflation targetting) as well as two less-popular options (gold & rothbardian crankism) and the radical libertarian option.

    Your alternative answers are both too long to be in the poll, and are (suprise suprise) fixated on gold.

  10. John – you list options some of which are not incompatible with eachother or even rival alternatives. You seem to have missed this even after it has been explained again and again and again. Your options suggest that you are fixated on the idea that “Free Banking” is a comprehensive answer. You list gold fixing as being an alternative to Rothbardian monetary policy even though gold is quite explicitly part of the Rothbardian formulation of monetary policy. In my view this is intolerably simplistic and suggests that you do not really properly understand the arguments for these alternatives or else you are indifferent to these arguments and so you create a poll that suits your own bias.

    Tim – where natural commodities are chosen (or imposed) as the common unit of account their value tends to be self stabilising. With commodities like gold, where the global stock is high relative to global production, this is particularly true. The investment of capital and labour in the production of new gold will automatically slow if the rate of production is inflationary at the global level. Whilst at the regional level gold will flow outward if it offers better buying power elsewhere.

    You are right that a lone participant nation in any gold standard will have a marginally less stable unit than if there is a more general global convergence on the gold standard. However three points make me advocate a gold standard regardless:-

    i) I don’t believe that a lone adherent can do much better with any other approach given an international sea of instability. Gold is still flowing to the areas in which it has the highest utility. And much of the worlds gold stock remains monetary in nature.
    ii) I don’t think global convergence is likely to occur unless we start with a lone adherent.
    iii) The Australian dollar tends to follow commodities trends somewhat in any case.

  11. Justin,

    In response to your questions.

    1. I’m not sure. I don’t think that it can be blamed entirely on the government. However there is certainly more moral hazard in the US banking system with the governments underwriting demand deposits as well as underwriting some property insurance. Unlike in Australia US banks are required to meet certain reserve requirements which has prosibly encouraged the expansion of non-bank rivals. However I am not fully conversant with all the relevant details and I don’t feel that I can make a fair judgment.

    2. The government can increase the base money supply and cause no inflation (no aggragate change in the price level) so long as the increase in the supply of money is commensurate with an increase in the demand for money. However remember that the word inflation is a polyseme and in some contexts (typically conversations with Austrians) it has an alternate meaning in which inflation simply means increasing the money supply.

    3. Banks don’t create money proper (at least not these days). They fascilitate the credit creation process. Credit can act as a money substitute and as such the creation of such credit can certainly effect the value of money. However if your monetary policy targets a constant value for money then it is already taking account of this effect and dynamically compensating.

    4. See my response to point two above. Austrians tend to use an alternate definition for inflation. The Austrians and those they debate tend to waste a lot of time in disagreement because of such semantic differences.

    The Austrians blame government for inflation because:-

    i) They define inflation as an increase in money.
    ii) They note that the government has a monopoly on base money creation (ie a monopoly on printing fiat currency).
    iii) They argue that central banks enable excessive private sector credit creation by promising to print more base money if the risk of wide spread debt default becomes precarious.

    However I am not of the Austrian school of thought so I am possibly not the best person to answer this question.

    Of course other schools of thought also blame government policy for any occurance of price inflation.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  12. Terje — you’re being a bit dense about this. Of course gold is a part of the rothbardian alternative… but I only have a few words to write each answer and the defining differentiating feature of their approach is their concern about fractional reserve banking. I mentioned the rothbardian alternative with the gold option and said people could ask for more info.

    In contrast, 3/4 of your answers talk about gold and you exclude the Keynesian alternative despite the fact that it is probably the most popular for the “man-in-the-street”. Why? Aren’t you aware of it?

  13. If I asked you whether you prefer living in Australia or Queensland the major problem with the alternatives offered is not that I left Spain off the list.

    My alternatives to your monetary question were gold oriented alternatives because that is where your question needed refinement.

    It is your survey and I have explained why I can’t answer it in a meaningful way given the options supplied. Instead I have used words to explain where I stand. You are welcome to do as you wish with that feedback.

  14. John;
    I doubt that I could ever suggest that Terje is a bit dense about anything. Fixated on gold, perhaps, but not dense.

    I see no reason for gold not to have a legitimate place in a free economy, possibly as a parallel currency, say we have the Au dollar, as well as the Au gram, with a free or fixed exchange rate, I’m not ‘economic’ enough to decide which. You would have to ask Terje about that, although you would probably have some good ideas yourself.

  15. An idealised libertarian position would be to allow all banks and moneys to compete equally. I suspect that hard-metal banks and coins would win such a free-market competition, though it might be a platinum economy, not gold.
    However, this might be impossible to achieve in economies now, because the voters are accustomed to factional money. Maybe we can subvert the system by offering shares in metal weights- i.e., have a hard-metal alternative on offer, but just don’t call it that. If the coins were shaped like amulets, you could wear the money around your neck, and non-initiated would just think- that’s just decoration.

  16. Despite being a bond trader for the best part of 15 years, i am getting a bit lost with Rothbarian ecoomics, fractional reserve banking and free banking. John – is there anywhere one can find a detailed explanation of these alternatives? Or would you care to elaborate?

    On a simpler to understand level, did anyone notice the new tax proposals put forward by the British Conservatives?\

    Reduce Corp tax to 20% (from 28%), abolish Inheritance Tax, abolish Stamp Duty on houses and shares and increase the band for the top tax rate (currently $75k). However, they didnt dare propose a reduction in taxes as they argued that all these should be offset by new carbon taxes.

  17. Nicholas,

    I have tried several times now to post a response to your comment about platinum. It seems that this blog does not like me including a URL in my comment so I will have to hand wave. Take a look at the e-gold website and see if you can locate the statistics section. Then compare gold velocity with platinum velocity.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  18. What I said on catallaxy about this:

    “My preferred policy other than deregulation (i.e free banking) is to link the growth of the currency base directly proportionally with reserves of gold, and to target zero real monetary growth over the business cycle (like balancing budgets over the cycle) within a tight band averaging around zero. Float the currency.”

    Here is some interesting information:

    http://www.econjournalwatch.org/pdf/BrionesRockoffAbstractAugust2005.pdf

  19. Mark,

    In your Catallaxy comment you seem to be advocating 100% backing of the fiat currency (base money supply) with gold. I don’t personally think that much is achieved by doing that, although I don’t find it as objectionable as some alternative proposals. Why would you see 100% backing with gold as important? It is not what private banks would do and not what they did prior to 1910 when we had an approximation of free banking.

    I am personally much more interested in seeing commodities (and gold in particular) being used as a price signal rather than being stockpiled in central bank vaults. A gold standard entails targeting the exchange rate between the fiat currency and gold via the use of open market operations. In my view it makes perfect sense for a central bank or other monetary authority to maintain a diversified (and conservative) portfolio of reserve assets some of which will hopefully pay a return (unlike gold).

    Regards,
    Terje.

  20. Mark,

    As I understand it Costello has not said he will crack down on low doc loans. What he has said is that the state governments should. This suggests to me that it is merely theatrics designed to entertain the masses before an impending election.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  21. Terje — there is no “Qld v Australia” style answer in the poll. The difference between free banking & the gold answer is whether you would require that the currency be gold-linked.

    If you prefer free-banking as a policy and a gold-linked currency as a consumer preference then you should vote for “free banking”.

    An analogy… consider a poll that asked “what is your position on international trade” and one answer was “free trade” and the other answer was “just trade with Japan”. If you only preferred to buy Japanese products but supported free-trade as a policy, which answer would you choose?

    If you’re still confused, feel free to ask me to explain the options to you. But stay off your solid-gold http://www.rent-a-degree.com high-horse.

  22. I prefer free banking as a policy. However that still leaves the question as to what consumer preference the government should have when it denotes tax policy or fines or what unit it should prefer when it borrows. So in a free banking environment I think the governments consumer preference should be gold. Both are policy issues. And if the government chooses gold in a free banking environment then freedom to choose the unit of account is only really notional anyway because the government remains the gorilla in the market.

    Now I notice that you think arguing from authority will be convincing. However please stay off your http://www.i-am-not-dense-like-you.com high horse. If you don’t want to talk to people then don’t create public polls on public websites.

  23. If you feel like explaining things then here are some questions that I would love you to explain away.

    Lets say we have free banking. And anybody can issue and use any currency they please.

    Q1. Does the currency that the government chooses to use for paying government employees and for borrowing funds and for clearing tax liabilities matter at all?

    Q2. Could they still issue their own coloured bits of paper for these purposes and maintain that we have free banking because you can use whatever currency you want for all the other dealings that you undertake?

    Q3. Does free banking mean the government is “free to choose” when it comes to government affairs?

  24. Thanks for your questions Terje. Always happy to oblige. I will dismount my http://www.stop-copying-my-insults.com high horse to answer.

    The money decisions of the government do make a difference. Ideally, the government would strive to be as money-neutral as possible. They might offer to pay employees in the currency of their choice, or to frame tax legislation as percentages. And of course, if the government was much smaller then their market-power would be much smaller. But they would continue to have some influence (as would Microsoft, Coles, McDonalds & Rio Tinto).

    I would prefer if the government did not own a controlling share in any business activity, including the money business.

    I don’t understand your third question. Free banking doesn’t mean the government can do whatever it likes.

  25. So you admit that you were being insulting. Very good.

    I respect your answer. However I think it confounds the argument for small government with the question about monetary policy. Nowhere in your poll did you say that negligible government was going to prevale and that we should choose accordingly. In fact I would think that caeteris paribus would be the more reasonable assumption. (It has become necessary for me to use latin just to reinforce the fact that I’m smarter than you).

    I also believe that expecting government officials to be mindful of monetary objectives in every aspect of their affairs is overly fanciful. Payroll in multiple currencies is certainly doable however it is enormously labourious and it is quite easy to see that any manager of a government division is going to apply subtle pressure for people to choose from a more limited array of options, esspecially when it comes to new market entrants in the currency arena. Apply that same reasoning to the borrowing of funds and the levying of taxes and I don’t share your faith that government could in practice remain neutral. I think it is better to have the government express a bias that is practical than attempt a form of neutrality that is unsustainable.

  26. Hey smart-boy… you spelt your latin wrong. It’s ceteris paribus. Given your pseudo-economist status I’ll also let you in on the economists-club habit of shortening it to cet par.

    Under free banking I think the vaste majority of people would choose to use the same most-popular currency, while several other smaller currencies will make up under 5% of the market. If the main currency faces a confidence crisis then I think the shift to the more stable currency would be sudden and overwhelming.

    If we move to free banking by privatising the RBA then I think the current fiat currency would remain our primary currency, at least in the short term, with gold (or asset) backed currencies waiting in the wings for the RBA to fail in their management.

  27. Terje,

    I would force the RBA under a more austere and long run policy to link to gold as a moderator of currency growth and to keep the ratio of cash to backing the same. I am all for letting external balances work themselves out, but I want to reduce the impact of Government induced volatility. Linking to gold isn’t costless so it is harder to cheat to zero base growth rule as well (i.e keep on going to the upper band in the short run).

  28. John,

    I would not support the privatisation of fiat currency whilst all tax liabilities and government salaries and government debts are denominated in that currency. And nor whilst huge numbers of private contracts are denominated using that unit of account. I would find it tolerable if the Australian dollar was redefined for such legacy contract purposes as 40 milligrams of gold, or 90 US cents or some such thing and if the currency circulated by the privatised RBA was called something else (eg The Reserve Dollar) that could maintain parity or not as they see fit. The “medium of exchange” can fail or otherwise but there is too much tied up in the “unit of account” to trivialise the consequences of a disruptive failure.

    I’m not partial to a sudden and overwhelming change of the unit of account and I doubt many voters are either. Decimalisation when we switched from the Australian pound to the Australian dollar was disruptive enough and it was merely a fixed conversion rate. I have a lot of contracts (some long term) that are tied up with the value of the Australian dollar. My office lease, term deposits and employee salaries are but a few.

    Define the Australian dollar as 40 milligrams of gold and then revoke legal tender laws and allow free banking and I’ll happily let the market evolve from there. At that point I’d even let you sell of the printing press. Until then I don’t support your tragectory towards free banking. You seem to be to friendly with chaos.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  29. Mark,

    Assuming we keep the fiat currency and the central bank I would make them fix the exchange rate with gold and then so long as they maintained that link they could print as much of the stuff as they like. The market will tell them when to slow down by threatening their gold exchange target.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  30. Correct.

    Neither is one private maket player having control of a privatised monopoly fiat currency that is the unit of account embedded into a multitude of long term contracts due to historical legal reasons and proped up by government patronage.

  31. It tries to replicate what private markets would do.

    Private markets would fix currencies, but not in the same way that nations fix currencies or can do so now.

    The market can balance price differences. A fixed exchange rate regime would last as long as it could be properly managed. You will end up with a floating currency anyway.

    It is far easier to supply a good relative to a measure of output than it is to fix prices indefinitely.

    I would say that I rank the classical gold standard higher than inflation targeting and below free banking. But fixing currencies won’t be the same unless everyone else agrees. We won’t have the same price adjustment mechanism because there won’t be the same specie flow mechanism.

    Most fixed currencies simply break down because they are jsut too hard to manage.

    Inflation targeting has worked, albeit with a poor choice in targets.

  32. Mark,

    Fixed currencies break down because one of two things happens:-

    1. The thing that is being fixed to is no longer a stable reference for value.
    2. Politicians decide that something other than stability in the “unit of account” matters most. ie they want to rip off some sector of society to prop up some other sector (typically the public sector).

    All systems are prone to breakdown if politicians don’t like them. Free banking breaks down if politicians decide that regulated banking better serves their agenda.

    The Brenton Woods gold standard collapsed because Nixon decoupled the US dollar from gold as per point 2 above. The rest of the world then subsequently decoupled from the dollar as per point 1 above. The system was fine in it’s function but flawed in that the US remained the custodian of the system by virtue of the dollars position within the system. When the US no longer liked the rules of the system the system was doomed.

    The classical gold standard was characterised by two things:-

    1. Nations had a unit of account denominated by gold that was used for government business.

    2. Banks were generally free to issue promisory notes to circulate as a medium of exchange. And typically they stuck with the government prefered unit of account (ie gold). Government treasuries also circulated promisory notes which were in effect an on-call bearer bond.

    The species flow issues are in my view not so dependent on everybody in the world being in on the same game. Ultimately gold flows to where it’s utility is greatest regardless. A single nation can stick with a gold standard. Switzerland did after the breakdown of Brenton Woods until they realised that pretty soon every resourse in Switzerland would be sucked into the global banking industry and politicians did not like the cultural and strategic impact of that outcome as per point 2 above. Things are somewhat different today because rampant price inflation is not as widespread in todays world.

    Regards,
    Terje.

    P.S. In the old James Bond movies the bad guys were always smuggling gold (gold ownership was effectively illegal in the USA until 1975) and the best place to bank was in Switzerland (anonymous, private and still gold backed).

    P.P.S. Gold will be back because gold never went away.

  33. Yes – we really still use gold (RBA reserves, international settlements, private currencies, barter and SDRs), but there are few options to rein in irresponsible policy. Even inflation targeting countries end up with credit mispricing and political goals ala the political business cycle through monetary rather than fiscal policy.

    Fixed currencies break down not because of financial re-regulation or rederegulation, but the inability of policy makers, like anyone else, to continually fix prices over a good that can be readily bought and sold.

  34. “Specie flow issues don’t matter if you’re the only game in town, gold will flo to where it’s marginal use is most valued”…

    Or something like that.

    Yes it does. Sure it will flow, at least in warehouses. The effect on a fixed currency in a floating world will be fairly sharp with respect to internal monetary policy.

    Conversely I would advise a small commodity dominated economy (Banana Republics) to peg their currency to the USD.

  35. Not exactly sure of your point.

    1. International finance and trade flows and elasticities means that it isn’t a good choice for Australia. It is for others with highly elastic demand for commodities which dominate local production, trade and total national income, usually by a peg.

    2. I wish to expand real base growth at zero, which should mean that the price relative to gold doesn’t change due to a change in the nominal base.

    There will be adjustments in all cases. You try to make adjustments more predictable and less volatile in all cases.

  36. You said that a policy maker would not be able to continually set a price for a good that is bought and sold.

    My point is that fixing the price of the aussie dollar is easy for the RBA if the political will exists. The question is merely what price? If they want to fix the price of the aussie dollar at 40 milligrams of gold it is a trivial objective for them to achieve and sustain in technical terms. Likewise if they want to fix the price of the aussie dollar at 90 US cents. Pick one price and they can fix it. There is no technical barrier to doing this continually.

    In your more recent comment you say that a exchange fix would not be good for Australia. Surely that would depend on what we fix too. We currently fix to a basket of consumer goods at least notionally. Why is a basket of consumer goods superior to a basket of commodity goods?

    Secondly you have said you would wish to expand the money base (notionally you mean the quantity of our currency in circulation I presume) at a real rate of zero. I don’t know why you believe this. Perhaps you can elaborate. Personally I think such ridgid quantity targets are at best futile and at worst downright destructive. It would seem to me to make sense only within a closed economy which does not apply in Australias case (but it does in the case of the world). At various times the amount of our base money that resides within our domestic economy versus the amount that is offshore will vary. Currency moves readily in and out of it’s roles as a medium of exchange and as a store of wealth and it moves across borders.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  37. Read what I proposed.

    Zero real base (long term) growth over the cycle within a band centred around zero, where reserves must be expanded directly proportionally to base growth.

    This is not the same as targeting used in the 1980s.

    The political will might exist, but bands, pegs and so on are good while they last, they just don’t.

  38. REAL relative to what? The CPI?

    I don’t think that you can adjust meaningfully in this way. The CPI measures price changes however your not using it to index a price your using it to adjust a quantity. That seems to entail some indifference to the dimension of the variables involved.

    Sorry I still don’t understand what your driving at.

  39. The inflation rate in the long run is equal to monetary growth in excess of GDP growth.

    Just set Mg=GDPg over the cycle and match increases in supply with increases in reserves. It is very simple, predictable and in no way suffers from problems wih volatility as in the short run the target is within a band centred on zero.

  40. That assumes all aussie currency circulates inside the domestic economy. It doesn’t. It also assumes that changes in velocity are merely cyclical however that need not be the case.

  41. The only assumptions that are needed to be made are that the velocity changes only matter in the short run (volatility of demand cannot by definition be a long run problem) and that external balances can be made…by a floating currency…both of which were implicit in the description of the policy.

  42. E-gold works in such a way that some of the Rothbardian school of thought have characterised it as banking without the use of fractional reserve (not something I advocate although I do advocate gold as a unit of account). E-gold facilitates roughly a billion dollars worth of gold denominated micro transactions each year. E-gold really deserves a full article here and maybe one day I’ll give it the relevant attention. However for now I just wanted to note that the founder of e-gold now runs a blog. I thought the following article by Dr Jackson demonstrated a good understanding of what banking is.

    http://blog.e-gold.com/2007/08/deconstructin-1.html

  43. Regarding #20. It seems that this blog rejects all comments that include an e-gold url. It does not just quarantine such comments but instead it immediately chucks them away. It must be a global conspiracy. 😦

  44. The Bank Notes Tax Act of 1910 was repealed by the 1945 Commonwealth Bank Act, which in turn was repealed by the 1959 Reserve Bank Act.

    While the 1910 Act only imposed a tax on bank notes, section 44 of the Reserve Bank Act prohibits the private issue of currency entirely.

    Judging by some of the “e-currency” products floating around, such as this (e.g. http://www.westpac.com.au/internet/publish.nsf/content/PBTSGC+Frequently+asked+questions ) this law doesn’t appears to be a toothless tiger thes days.

  45. Regarding comment 56. The sudden appearence of comment number 55 suggests that the global conspiracy may be off. 😉 However my earlier discussion of platinum that included an e-gold url still appears to be held hostage.

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