Socialist experiments all over the world have proven that central planning does not work. The governments can force you into their schemes, but they cannot deliver the goods. This is true even with simple goods like food. And yet today, the whole world has central planning of money and credit – central banks.
The gold standard is a free market in money and credit. It is the absence of central planning and the laws that force people to participate. It is a return to respecting inalienable individual rights, including the right of property, and the right of contract.
It might be argued that people might choose to use seashells as money, or crude oil and other commodities. With the gold standard, anyone who wanted to try those other things would be free to try. No one should be forced to give or receive gold. However, it is important to acknowledge that whenever people have had the right to choose their money, they have chosen gold. Over thousands of years, gold has been selected for its unique physical properties, and economic circumstances. Even today, with gold officially banished from the monetary system in every country, people still treat gold as money (please click on the previous link for an explanation).
With the gold standard, people may deposit their gold in a bank for the sake of convenience or to earn interest. Or they could put in under the mattress instead. Merchants and creditors could choose to accept payment by paper notes and plastic cards, or not. Technology and markets constantly evolve and progress. People adopt new innovations to improve the quality of their lives.
Those who are interested will find more advanced material on this site, such as a full discussion of the theory and practice of the unadulterated gold standard. There is also a page addressing what the gold standard is not. The key point to take away is that the gold standard is about freedom. Each person should be free to decide what to keep, what to spend, whether to borrow or lend.
It is so simple an idea, and yet so many misunderstandings and distortions about it prevail. Let the free market work.
This is a slight adaptation of something written by Dr. Keith Weiener – President of the Gold Standard Institute US. July 2013