The Gold Standard in Theory and History

By Barry Eichengreen; Marc Flandreau | Go to book overview

13

Report

Macmillan Committee on Finance and Industry*


The international gold standard

35 To restore gold to its old position as an international standard of value was the avowed aim of currency policy for a period of six or seven years after the cessation of hostilities. This aim was endorsed by two International Conferences, that of Brussels (1920) and Genoa (1922). Since the restoration of the gold standard the main preoccupation of currency authorities has been with the manner in which it has worked and the extent to which, under the conditions actually experienced, it has been responsible for the present degree of international disequilibrium.

36 By an international gold standard is to be understood not identity of the currency arrangements of all the countries comprising the gold standard group but the possession by all of them of one attribute in common, namely that the monetary unit (i.e. pound sterling, dollar, franc, mark and so on) should possess a gold value prescribed by law, or, rather, a gold value within the limits of the buying and selling price of gold of the local central bank. In almost all countries gold coin has now been withdrawn from circulation and its place taken by paper representatives of the gold. The gold price of the paper representatives of gold is determined by the limits at which the central banks will give gold for paper, or paper for gold. Thus in Great Britain an ounce of standard gold, containing eleven parts of gold to one part of alloy,

* From Cmd. 3897, London, HMSO, 1931, pp. 18-24, 106-14, abridged.

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