Gold Prices Show There’s a “Big Short” Going on in Official Currencies
- Gold Prices Show There’s a “Big Short” Going on in Official Currencies
by Thorsten Polleit, https://mises.org/
On August 4, 2020, the price of gold surpassed $2,000 per ounce, currently trading around an all-time high of $2,050 per ounce. While one may say that the price of gold is on the rise, it would actually be more meaningful to say that the purchasing power of the world’s fiat currencies vis-à-vis gold is on the decline, because this is what a rising price for gold and silver in, say, US dollars, euros, Chinese renminbi, Japanese yen, or Swiss francs really stands for: The higher the price of this precious metal, the lower the exchange value of official currencies.
Gold isn’t just a good like any other. It is special: it is the “ultimate means of payment,” the “base money of civilization.” Monetary history bears this out: whenever people were free to choose their money, they went for gold. Indeed, gold has all the physical properties that make for sound money: gold is scarce, homogenous, easily transportable, divisible, mintable, durable, and, last but not least, has a relatively high value per unit of weight. Even though officially demonetized in the early 1970s, people haven’t stop appreciating gold’s “moneyish” qualities.
However, it is not only the rising gold price that indicates that the purchasing power of fiat currencies is on the decline. Basically, all other goods prices go up as well, most notably asset prices—the prices of stocks, bonds, housing, and real estate. This means that you can buy fewer and fewer stocks, bonds, and houses with a given official currency unit. From this perspective, you can rightfully conclude that a broad-based debasement is going on as far as the world’s major official fiat currencies are concerned.