Archive for April, 2010

Money Meltdowm, A book by Judy Shelton; A review of a book that falls short of being golden than the gold

April 4, 2010

I laboured over past several months to read this book, which is more like a reaserch paper. But it ends up, almost after every few pages, emphasising the perils of the world economy due to the fluctuating value of the US dollar, often those that are artificially orchestrated by the political compulsions of the USA, as per the author. And, as a recourse, Judy insistently recommends that each dollar printed in paper should be backed by gold, as was the prectice before, when the paper currency was brought into practice.

I have yet to finish the last quarter of the book, as the author seems to be repeating her recommendations in it as well. The basic flaw of the book or of the author, is her ability to exclude the potential of human ingenuity and enterprise. Today, or at anytime, the worth of the US dollar is nothing else but the credibility of the US as an economy, which is continuously renewed by its technology and industry. A bad politics has less chance of prevailing in the USA, as it is the domain of some tyrannical systems still ruling people promising falsely a security and prosperity, in some parts of the world. These nations are often in league with each other to limit the influence of the USA. But the only way it could be possibly done is playing the way the USA does.

Imagine a scenerio when, anxious about the plummeting value of dollar of late, Bill Gates sells all his stocks in the market and starts buying gold. Which China has done lately. Being a communist nation Chinese seem to have excellant instincts of a capitalist one-however, to have invested so heavily in the US economy, expecting security. Once it is threatened, they go the reliable way of keeping gold as reserve. Though they still have one of the highest reserves of US dollars in cash. Had that cash backflowed into the US economy, which so liberally buys the Chinese manufactures, the stability of Dollar might not have been questioned. Though there have been discovered some inconsistencies in the domestic economical and financial institurions of the the USA, the current crisis there has a foreign dimension that could not be ignored. That is why it is the USA, which will continue to show the way one has to follow, notwithstanding the economical mess into which it is presently: That the trade has to be a two way process, and mutual confidence between the trading partners is the only security, which gold can not sustitute. The USA has a system that will correct its flaws without needing a cover up hopefully, but the same can not be said about its trading paretners, who sit on the largest reserves of its money-which speculatively is spread more outside of the USA. And When it has no choice but to print more of the dollars, it is not only the USA that will suffer.

So, the book of Judy is a limited perspective for someone looking for security of the capital one has acquired. If one goes by its logic, after the earth’s reserve is exhausted, the mankind will explore the other planets only to harvest gold. Which is only valuable for its scarcity and does not compensate for technological development and enterprise of its product. Imagine what happens if we find a planet where gold is available as we have iron or aluminium here. But the book is informative, for someone looking for how the existing monetary system of the world came into being. It is more about history than about insight into the future, in a very crafty prose. This I said almost fiftten years of the said book published. May be when it was published it was a remarkable book.

I will try to read the remainder of it. Though the book falls short of being golden than the gold.

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