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The Monetary Sin of the West by Jacques Rueff

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By Jacques Rueff

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As it accumulates short-term claims against the gold reserves of key-currency countries, and as such claims compete with the concurrent claims of domestic circulation to those same reserves, it inevitably leads, if it lasts for any length of time, to two possible outcomes: a collapse or a forced currency. To summarize, the gold-exchange standard places the whole economy in the situation of a man falling from the tenth floor: everything goes well at the start, but he can be sure that he is going to crash to the ground.

1 billion. 8 billion as 65 66 THE MONETARY SIN OF THE WEST of i January 1951. 7 billion if at that time the United States had settled its balance-of-payments deficit. 5 billion. —This apparently strange situation results from the operation of the gold-exchange standard, which has led the creditor countries to lend $13 billion to the United States in the form of demand or short-term deposits. 5 billion requirements necessary under existing regulations for the backing of domestic circulation in the United States.

CAN THE MONETARY SYSTEM OF THE WEST ENDURE? 51 stocks available would not make it possible to implement the desired and stated policy of the major countries. The policy could only be feasible if there was a substantial increase in the currency value of the available gold stock or a modification of practices relating to monetary convertibility, bringing on a notable saving in the amount of gold reserves required for the carrying out of such policy. The first of the above two solutions could manifestly have been brought about by a reduction in the legal gold content of the dollar, in other words, by an increase in the price of gold in terms of dollars.

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