Tag Archives: Gold Window closure

The Great Keynesian Coup Of August 1971: Fifty Years Later, by William L. Anderson

Since President Nixon ended the last vestige of the gold standard in 1971, the result has been the same as every other time governments have replaced honest money with fiat fraud—a complete disaster. From William L. Anderson at mises.org:

On August 15, 1971, the last remains of what had been a magnificent monetary system died a terrible death, and the American academic, political, business, and media elites led the cheers. The Dow Jones Average jumped by more than 32 points the next day. A de facto national default was spun as a great liberation from a tyrannical financial arrangement that had plagued humanity for generations. A half century later the disinformation continues, as intellectual bankruptcy parallels the financial bankruptcy of that event.

I write, of course, of the decision by President Richard Nixon to officially close the “gold window,” through which the US government was obligated to sell its gold stores to foreign governments at $35 an ounce, which even then was a bargain. As Nixon’s regime encouraged the Federal Reserve System to inflate the dollar to pay for its bloated military and welfare spending, as had the Johnson and Kennedy regimes before him, it became apparent that the US dollar was quickly losing value. The United States was in rapid decline—and the dollar was falling with the nation’s prestige.

What happened? There are several accounts, and I will give the main ones, ending with the Austrian perspective. The first will be the Keynesian, the second the monetarist (Chicago school), the third the supply-side version, and the fourth from the Austrians. Before doing that, however, I will give a brief account of the events that began with the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944 and ended in national disgrace, an ignominy that even now the official American narrative refuses to recognize.

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