Some have asked the question, “Why does it even matter?” when it comes to whether we still have the gold in Ft. Knox or not. They say, “Who cares, nobody uses gold to settle trade anymore.” Even Ben Bernanke has testified (perjured himself) in front of Congress and said, “Gold is not money, it is an asset.” Based on this (il) logic it then goes that even if the vaults are empty it “doesn’t matter.”
Let me take you back to where this all started and to how we got here in the first place. It used to be (before the Federal Reserve was created) that banks could issue “currency” based on how much gold they had to back it. Then the Federal Reserve came along and played the same game, they issued dollars based on how many ounces they had stored. 1934 came along and the Fed couldn’t issue any more dollars because they didn’t have enough gold… no problem, just change the “value” of gold from $20 per ounce to $35 and money supply could be expanded by 75%. This worked for a while and then Bretton Woods came along and the U.S. had the lion’s share of the world’s gold reserves at 20,000 tons…which worked until the early 60’s when Charles DeGaulle decided he (and other nations) would rather have gold than dollars because too many dollars were being issued and gold’s supply was not expanding as fast as the dollars were being printed.
Then along came 1971 when Nixon shut the gold window and effectively defaulted the U.S. to the rest of the world. Henry Kissinger then cut a deal with the Saudis where they would only accept dollars for oil…which worked well until about 10 years ago. During the late 80’s along came derivatives where 1 ounce of gold could “act” like 2 ounces…and then 10 ounces and now 100 ounces. Digressing slightly, 1971 was very similar to 1934 with respect to gold needing to be revalued. It was not “officially” revalued, the marketplace did that.
So here we are today. Yes, gold has been begrudgingly revalued higher but what once was a 1 to 1 relationship has become a 100 to 1 relationship as ounces (tons) have been pledged as collateral and then re-pledged many times over. Notice I used the word “collateral” here? Collateral is “backing” or “foundation” as security or guarantee if you will for loans extended. The problem is that this same and singular collateral has been used many many times over. Clear title and ownership cannot any longer be determined. No problem though…because it has worked and is still working right?
The answer is “yes” it has and still is working but would it? Will it work if this 100 to 1 re hypothecation was commonly known? Would it work if it was commonly known that the vaults were emptied in an effort to suppress the price of gold? Maybe it could or would here in the US because the population has been brainwashed for so long that we no longer understand the definition of money. Will it work with foreigners? Do you really believe that the Chinese will continue to send us fabricated widgets in exchange for pieces of paper just because they have pictures of past U.S. presidents on them?
I guess what I am trying to explain is that Americans for the most part no longer understand currency or exchange rates. We haven’t had to because the world revolved around us; foreigners on the other hand understand exchange rates like the back of their hand because they are exposed to them every day. What Americans also don’t grasp is that currencies are “accepted” based on confidence. There was in the past “confidence” in the U.S. financially …because we “had the gold.” If (WHEN) it turns out that we don’t have the gold, acceptance of dollars will cease. The “when” part by the way, is what I have written about over the last year or more. Once China can no longer exchange dollars and receive gold…they will no longer accept dollars, it really is this simple. Yes I know, some will say “but we have the military and will force people to use dollars”…which has been true. But, can a military perform without funding? I guess this is a question that could have been asked of the Romans and you’d get the proper answer.
The answer to my title is pretty easy. “It doesn’t and won’t matter until it does.” Yes I know, simplistic but…when it does finally matter it will REALLY matter because when a currency is no longer accepted it collapses in value and “hyper inflates” so to speak. Are German Reichmarks or Confederate dollars accepted anymore? Do they have any value other than historical? Would they still have value if they were backed by gold? Yes I know they were both defeated in war…partly because they did not have gold to fund their operations. The same thing could be asked about the Russians…who ran out of gold in 1990. They seem to have learned by that mistake.