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The main difference between fiat currencies and gold or BTC, for that respect is not their stability. It's the fact that fiat currencies empower a small group of people CBs and controlling govts to manipulate those currencies for better or for worse. If you believe in these people's perception, competence and benevolence, then you will prefer fiat currencies.

As you say, "money is a really weird thing" and "The question of money demand is a hard one, and the human race doesn't really have good answers to this question yet.

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It's not a problem that was solved years ago - it's a problem still waiting to be solved. Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see the case for fiat currency as a strong one. I don't understand how the gold price fluctuations over time show that gold is not a good store of value. Perhaps some of you guys can help me out. The chart shows gold in terms of dollars.

You could say that gold is stable and it's the US dollar that's moving around. Or you could say the dollar is stable and it's the gold that's fluctuating. If we plotted US dollars in terms of zimbabwe dollars and see great variation over time, we would not say that us dollar is not stable. It seems you should compare gold or bit coin against real goods that they would purchase.

That would make more sense, right? The question is: Why would you want to store value?

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Do you want to put your wealth in a vault, to be accessed by your great-grandchildren? Or are you saving for retirement? If you're saving for retirement, and you take a lot of risk, that means there's a chance that your wealth will have decreased at the time that you retire, meaning you must live a poorer life in retirement. If you're putting your wealth in a time-capsule to be accessed by your great-grandchildren, I can't help you with investment advice But remember, U.

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So for most consumption needs, you need to pay in dollars; if gold's price goes down against the dollar, it means fewer steaks for your ounce of gold though of course the price of steak is moving around as well. To compare the value of gold to a reasonably "average" and reasonably stable "basket" of real consumer goods, just deflate the dollar gold price by the CPI. Does that make sense?

Just to reinforce this, consider if you had bought gold at the end of the 70s or beginning of the 80s. It collapsed against not only the dollar but any reasonable basked of currencies, and stayed down, indeed gradually declined further in real terms, for a good two decades. To me it's like begging the question. If you live in zimbabwe and you have to convert to zimbabwe dollars to buy goods suppose govt bans the use of US dolalrs , does this make US dollar a bad store of value because it varies too much wrt zimbabwe dollars?

Tehcnically, it's true if you have no choice, but seems strange to call US dollar a bad store of value as a result.

November | | Brett Alan Sanders

You can compare the real return volatility of gold to volatility of CPI. I am not sure gold has enough of negative covariation with CPI to reduce its variation of real returns compared to the variation of CPI "Just to reinforce this, consider if you had bought gold at the end of the 70s or beginning of the 80s.

Noah, you short-change the 'fiscal theory of the price level' in your characterisation and the Japanese experience hardly presents a refutation of it. You think so? I was under the impression that the FTPL hadn't received a lot of empirical support, though some people had claimed to have found evidence of it in some countries. Yep, the theory hasn't attracted too many adherents either - Woodford was an early advocate then abandoned it - and it has come under criticism on theoretic grounds.

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Yet, virtually every episode of hyperinflation suggests a relationship of some sort I think FTPLers would say this about Japan; the absence of price movements that match the 'explosion' of debt in Japan reflects the faith that Japanese citizens have in their fiscal authorities to maintain sustainability. FTPL sees the government constraint as an equilibrium condition, with expectations playing a determining role. The Fisher relation has to be adjusted to reflect taxes. Did interest rates rise enough during the s by enough to compensate for both inflation and the taxes paid on the inflation component of nominal interest?

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It does not look it from your graph. The question of money demand is a hard one, and the human race doesn't really have good answers to this question yet. Smith, , Wealth of Nations, p. In my old days in the industry, we, and our bosses, believed gold was in fact a reasonable storehouse of value. You could mine about. You could trade an ounce of gold for so many ergs of energy, windpower or human effort, today you can get so many ergs of energy You can trade an ounce of gold for a pretty good suit in and today, all these of course within some reasonable accounting bounds for local price.

So why doesn't that work today? Yeah, I checked that out. As other posters have questioned, is the dollar a "storehouse of value", or a medium of exhange? I guess I'd be more convinced should we compare commodity to commodity, rather than to dollars. Oil would seem to be a decent commodity,.. If barrels of oil are a surrogate for ergs of energy, it looks that with the exception of short term shocks, either financial or political, they're pretty similar. Thanks for replying, by the way. It's a very effective oil hedge, straight up, and a way of preserving real energy consumption over time -- not just for your great-great grandkids.

Unlike dollars, bonds or equities. What's not to like?!

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My science fiction about money goes like this: In the beginning there was infinite money compacted implosively into an infinitesimally small ball. Lacking in spacial dimensions, the ball existed only in time, if that, and was quite invisible to the naked eye.

Then, in a split second,the ball began to shake and boogie out came electric love. Wait, that's incorrect. Out came money. Enough to fill the stratosphere. Money is created by society and the amount of it and the value of it fluctuate as do many things subject to fashions. If there is a lot of borrowing to buy goods and services, and not enough bank-based saving to hold the new money or repaying of bank debt to destroy old money, then inflation will tend to be high.

If there is a lot of borrowing to buy houses or stocks, and not enough bank-based saving to hold the new money or repaying of bank debt to destroy old money, then asset bubbles will tend to occur.

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The mechanisms of it are clear enough although often times wrongly described by economics text books. But predicating how much people will want to borrow, spend, and save in the future, and the forms in which they will try to do it, is very difficult. The mystery is in trying to predict how society will behave, and it is the same mystery involved in much of economics, not anything specially related to money. Noah, a request a bit off topic. It think you should really write a post on the debate exogenous vs endogenous money.

All these blog discussions about it were just confusing. Need your opinion! I don't think that Stephenson is that good at characters or plotting, but then I only read a couple of his books. I wrote an essay a while back explaining why I did not like his work, but it something I am a little embarrassed about now - I said he wasn't human, then I heard talk that he may be on the spectrum.

An incredibly smart guy, and a great world-builder, but a crap storyteller. Noah, While I will be amongst the first to recognise that there are many out there who overestimate the extent to which gold serves as a store of value, on the basis of the various articles of yours I have read, I suspect that for any other possible positive statement this guy could have made on the merits of gold as an investment proposition, you would have been extremely likely to pick up on it and challenge it in this post.

While here your position is obviously defendable as you have honed in on the 'reliable' element in his specific assertion, as a general criticism of an informed gold investor this imo is strawmanning in the extreme - obviously most described gold investors are not under the delusion that in the metal's thousands of years of history of being used as a store of value, there does not exist the possibility that it could underperform vs a given specific currency for 30 years at a time. My impression that you appear motivated on the topic of gold is different to impression i have gotten from reading you on other topics, where you appear more objective on my reading.

We are all human, do you believe that your musings on gold are indeed wholly objective, or do you think they are influenced to some degree by other factors, for example an aversion to the political views of a typical vocal Internet gold bug, or any other factor? Our customer service team will work with you to select the right cruise, right ship and the right destinations. This is how we guarantee maximum fun and make the most of the opportunity for specialist and unobtrusive personal care for every traveller and we minimize any potential risks associated with taking a special needs traveller outside their normal comfort zone.

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