Currency incoherency

Karl Denninger points out the observable difference in theory and practice on the part of those who deny that credit money is money:

I happen to find the esoteria between the gold bugs and various other flavors (and, in my view, mis-flavors) of Misean thought to be highly amusing. From my perspective there’s only one point worthy of consideration in this regard, and that is whether or not the particular economic model under debate counts all credit and currency as “moneyness” and therefore innately fungible when evaluating the impact of various policy decisions and strictures.

Sadly, few if any do, and thus I find them all flawed.

I further find it amazingly frustrating that those who claim that such a distinction is unimportant (or, at least, less important) think absolutely nothing of waltzing into the closest restaurant, bar or other establishment and whipping out their VISA card, pretending that it is currency. There’s a certain level of intellectual disconnection required to do that, you see, and it appears in people on both the left and right, conservative and liberal and among all particular monetary theorists. Indeed, most will simply argue that credit is nothing more than a time shift for which one pays a privilege in the form of a thing called “interest.”

Another observed monetary inconsistency is that those who claim to believe in inevitable inflation are not borrowing heavily. The logically correct thing to do, if you are sure that an inflationary or hyperinflationary scenario is in the works, is to borrow as much money as possible at today’s low interest rates, then purchase real assets such as gold that will appreciate in value and permit the repayment of the loans in the significantly less valuable dollars of the future.

If someone is proclaiming “inflation is coming” and “get out of debt” at the same time, the chances are that their monetary model is less than perfectly coherent.

This doesn’t mean that a gold standard isn’t to be vastly preferred to other monetary models, in that it is somewhat harder to abuse by banks and governments. But anyone versed in economic history will know perfectly well that the gold standard isn’t some sort of economic miracle cure either.