My thoughts on Freegold

A reader, LS, asked for my thoughts on the following topics:

1) freegold
2) the gold for oil trade
3) the current price is not a real physical price of gold because of happenings in COMEX/LBMA
4) do you believe the current world affairs will resolve itself towards freegold or something similar?

Firstly, I haven’t had the time to read FOFOA in depth given the amount of material and thus give it justice. My comments here are therefore tentative thoughts.

Freegold is very interesting and I can see the logic of the idea of leaving fiat to perform the medium of exchange role and gold the wealth store role. I have a feeling free banking (see also) and a restriction on maturity transformation would need to be involved for it to work. There is a hell of a lot of discussion condensed in that sentence, more than I have time for at the moment.

I would also argue that Freegold needs to allow gold leasing but not gold lending. By “leasing” I mean as in leasing a car, ie physical asset rented (not borrowed and sold). Manufacturers of gold products like the Perth Mint could not operate without leasing because with Freegold’s ban on lending of gold and other financialisations it would be difficult (impossible?) to hedge against gold price movements.

This leads to my next point, which is that the gold price under Freegold would not be stable and still exhibit some volatility. This is because under Freegold people can save excess wealth either in gold or by investing in productive enterprises (ie true investment). Human nature being what it is we will still have overestimation of the success of productive enterprises, thus failures, thus business cycles, ths varying preferences to store wealth in gold versus investments.

On the Oil/Gold idea, I don’t have an option as this is not an area of FOFOA I’ve looked at much.

The current price is a real physical price as physical buyers and sellers of size (giants) are willing to exchange at that price. When aversion to counterparty risk really hits market players (MF Global you’d think should have been enough), then we will see a divergence between paper and physical.

As to the fourth question, well this is bound to my answer in the paragraph above, which is a necessary condition, but not sufficient, for Freegold to emerge. You would also need consensus that a gold standard is not the answer, and there are strong forces working towards that end. Possibly the biggest problem is getting people to understand the reason why financialisation of gold needs to be banned. How it will end is impossible to predict.

Either way it is going to be exciting to see how it plays out.

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