Why Gold Is Still The Best Basis For Money

Image result for Why Gold Is Still The Best Basis For MoneyAs we continue to enjoy the “Yellen gold standard,” now in its Powell phase — who knows how long it will last — let’s look at why the gold standard system worked so well for so many centuries, including nearly two centuries of U.S. history before the rupture in 1971, during which time the United States became the wealthiest country in the history of world.

In 1971, the economist Arthur Laffer — he was the chief economist of the Office of Management and Budget at the time — was asked what he thought the consequences would be of Nixon’s “closing of the gold window,” which effectively ended the Bretton Woods period when the dollar’s value was fixed at $35/ounce of gold.

“It won’t be as much fun to be an American anymore,” Laffer reportedly replied. And he was right.

But why? Why is it that the collective intelligence (let’s be generous) of today’s central bankers, and indeed all the central bankers since 1971, cannot outperform a yellow rock? This probably strikes some as bizarre, but it has always been thus. Way back in 1928, in a book called The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism, George Bernard Shaw declared:

“You have to choose … between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the members of the Government. And, with due respect for these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the Capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold.”

It’s the same today. These things never change. Ninety years ago, intelligent women understood these things.

To understand why gold works, as a standard of monetary value, you have to understand what makes good money. Today’s cryptocurrency enthusiasts are rediscovering what monetary thinkers have always known: that the best money is stable money, or, as I like to term it, Stable Money — money that is stable in value. After learning that Bitcoin and its ilk make splendid devices for gambling (the continued popularity of places like Las Vegas and Macau show that there remains a large interest in such things), but a rather poor currency — exactly as I said would happen some years ago — the cryptocurrency engineers are now focusing their energies on developing “stablecoins.”Image result for Why Gold Is Still The Best Basis For Money

Ideally, a currency would be perfectly stable in value. The market economy is organized via prices, profit margins, returns on capital and interest rates. Changes in the value of the currency derange this process, creating chaos and havoc. John Maynard Keynes described in 1923:

“[Markets] cannot work properly if the money, which they assume as a stable measuring-rod, is undependable. Unemployment, the precarious life of the worker, the disappointment of expectation, the sudden loss of savings, the excessive windfalls to individuals, the speculator, the profiteer–all proceed, in large measure, from the instability of the standard of value.”

In The Scandal of Money (2016), George Gilder updated this insight, using the tools of modern information theory:

“Casting a shroud of uncertainty over all valuation, monetary manipulations shorten the time horizons of the economy. In information theory, the dominant science of our age, when a medium sends a message of its own–static on the line–it’s called noise. Noise in the channel reduces the channel’s capacity to transmit accurate information.”

In practice, such idealized perfection is not quite possible, so we have to go with the next best thing. The next best thing is gold: the thing that most closely approximates this ideal of stability of value. President James Madison summed up succinctly:

The only adequate guarantee for the uniform and stable value of a paper currency is its convertibility into specie [gold]–the least fluctuating and the only universal currency.

James Madison understood this.

And the United States became one of the most successful countries in the history of the world because people like James Madison understood it, and adhered to this principle from 1789 to 1971.

In this single sentence, Madison touched on some important political truths. You might argue that, ideally, “smart people” could get together and create some better — that is, more Stable — foundation for money than gold. But, you might also notice that nobody actually does this. They don’t even try, and never have, in the past five decades of floating fiat money. One reason for this is that they are human: consequently, they crumble to political pressures, while gold does not. Even if you could invent some statistical concoction that is a better measure of Stable Value than gold — although no human ever has — arguably, no human institution could ever implement it for any length of time. Just look at how statistical concoctions like the Consumer Price Index have been continually altered, each time in response to political pressures, and to serve political ends. This is one reason why, as Madison asserted, gold remains “the only adequate guarantee for the uniform and stable value of a paper currency.”

Related to this is the fact that gold is the “only universal currency.” It is the only thing (along with its adjunct silver) that all people have agreed to use as the basis of money, which then allows fixed exchange rates between countries, vastly simplifying trade and investment. In the pre-1914 era, most major governments participated in the world gold standard, which was simply the extension of many centuries of gold and silver coinage used throughout the world. This system was reassembled during the 1920s, and again in 1944, at Bretton Woods. We have had no difficulty establishing world monetary systems based on gold.

Contrary to popular belief, most countries today do not have freely-floating currencies. According to the International Monetary Fund, about half of all countries actively “anchor” their currencies to something else, usually a major international currency like the dollar or euro. In other words, they have fixed exchange rates. Another 25% of all currencies are “stabilized” against a major international currency, which remains the reference although exchange rates are allowed to drift somewhat. Either “anchored” or “stabilized,” most currencies today are part of the dollar or euro currency blocs. The only significant difference between the euro currency bloc, and the prior world currency bloc based on gold, is the standard of value: gold, or the floating fiat euro.

Despite this enthusiasm for fixed exchange rates (a form of Stable Money), there is little interest today in establishing a unified world currency bloc. We could, for example, form a world currency bloc around the euro, and the IMF has long promoted such solutions. Then, the world would be free of the difficulties of floating currencies. The dollar/euro exchange rate would be fixed, along with the pound/euro, yen/euro and other exchange rates.

The simple reason is that nobody would trust the European Central Bank. I wouldn’t — because the ECB is subject to political pressures, or other agendas, to which gold is immune. The ECB can also serve as a means of imposing political pressures.

Actually, the world did have a system like this. It was called the Bretton Woods arrangement. The British pound, German mark, Japanese yen, French franc and all other world currencies were nominally linked to the U.S. dollar. The reason why they agreed to this is that the U.S. dollar was also linked to gold, at $35/oz. When the dollar left gold in 1971, nobody was interested in remaining linked to the dollar, and currencies floated. They still float today.

Gold’s performance as a standard of Stable Value has been exemplary. It is, actually, a lot better than one might rationally expect. The things that the gold standard made possible — such as the extraordinary stability of bond yields during the nineteenth century — have never been replicated under fiat currencies. Just look at those results (achieved without market manipulation), and tell me which central bank wiseguy — give me a name of a real person — that you think could accomplish this; and then explain, if that is true, why they haven’t done so already.

Yields on long-term government bonds: U.S. (1970-2017) and Britain (1830-1880)NATHAN LEWIS

Economies work best when currencies are stable in value. Once we know what the goal is, we then look for a way to achieve it; and the best way has always been to base a currency on gold. Nobody has found a better way, even in the form of a proposal; and nobody has ever needed to find a better way, because gold has always worked very well.

[“source=forbes”]

The 9 Travel Stores With the Best Gear

The Best Entertainment System Gear

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Forbes may earn affiliate commissions.

A solid home entertainment system should have essential gear that seamlessly works together and enhances your viewing and listening experience. Here are a few of our favorite recommendations to get you started.

Vizio P-Series F1Rozette Rago

LCD/LED TV: Vizio P-Series F1

The Vizio P-Series F1 is our pick for the best LCD/LED TV, as it offers the best  HDR experience we’ve seen from Vizio. The P-Series F1 has a wide color gamut, full-array local dimming, and movies and shows were shown with high-quality backlighting and brightness during our testing. In comparison to competitor models we tested, it has more HDMI inputs, plus it supports Google Home and Alexa. The P-Series F1 also comes with Chromecast support which allows you to stream content from a phone or tablet. We like that it has a basic, easy-to-use interface and a game mode which lowers input lag.

Shop Now: $800

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TCL 65R617Photo Courtesy of Wirecutter

Budget 4K TV: TCL 65R617

For a great, inexpensive set that has all the features we expect in a modern 4K TV, we recommend the TCL 65R617. It’s equipped with HDR support and better image quality than many pricier competitors. During testing, we found that the 65R617 had far more local dimming zones than similar models in its price range and it offers contrast ratio, resolution, and brightness that make for a superior viewing experience. We like that its Wi-Fi remote has a built-in headphone jack for listening without disturbing others, and love that you don’t need to buy a separate Roku streaming stick. If your space calls for a 4K budget model that’s slightly smaller, we recommend the 55-inch version—the TCL 55R617.

Shop Now: $1,000

Definitive Technology W Studio MicroKyle Fitzgerald

Soundbar: Definitive Technology W Studio Micro

The Definitive Technology W Studio Micro is the perfect soundbar for most TVs because it has a simplistic design, an 8-inch subwoofer that offers impressive sound, and access to streaming services via DTS Play-Fi. During testing, our entire panel chose it as a favorite for listening to music but it also reproduces deep, textured bass which improves movie-watching experiences. It’s a breeze to set up and easy to use on a day-to-day basis, plus it has an array of connection options including two optical digital audio inputs. The W Studio Micro isn’t Bluetooth enabled, but can be controlled over Wi-Fi or with its intuitive IR remote. If you’re looking for a home theater speaker system that’s primarily for watching movies, and one that offers bigger, enveloping sound, we recommend the ELAC Debut 5.1 System.

Shop Now: $900

Photo courtesy of WirecutterSony VPL-HW45ES

1080p Projector: Sony VPL-HW45ES

A good projector can take your home entertainment setup to the next level and the Sony VPL-HW45ES is the best 1080p projector for a dedicated home theater. It’s a great option if you don’t need to stream 4K video and its color accuracy, contrast, and image quality is top-notch. It runs quiet and its lens is flexible which makes it easy to install. Professional calibration isn’t an absolute must as it comes with a built-in image reference preset straight out of the box. Although the VPL-HW45ES lacks an Ethernet port and analog video inputs, its provided features come at a decent price and of all the projectors we tested, it has one of the lowest lag rates.

Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

Shop Now: $2,000

AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI CableKyle Fitzgerald

HDMI cable: AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable

While an entertainment system is usually jam packed with speakers, a TV, and similar gear, simple additions will come in handy when completing your setup. The AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable is sturdy, reliable, and inexpensive. It’s also compatible with all video sources and any UHD 4K TV. We think that a 3-foot cord is long enough to connect your gear to a soundbar, TV, or receiver, but if you need a longer option, it’s available in lengths of 6, 10, 15 and 25 feet.

Shop Now: $6

These picks may have been updated. Click through to see the current recommendations or availability updates for the best gear for building your home theater, the best 4K TV on a budget, the best soundbar, the best LCD/LED TV,  the best projectors, and great, cheap HDMI cables.

Wirecutter is a list of the best gear and gadgets for people who want to save the time and stress of figuring out what to buy. Our recommendations are made through vigorous reporting, interviewing, and testing by teams of veteran journalists, scientists, and researchers.

[“source=TimeOFIndia”]

The best Apple MacBook laptops for every budget

It’s pretty easy to buy an Apple laptop: You pick one on the Apple website or store that fits your budget, and you buy it.

But if you dig a little deeper into a laptop’s product page, you can find customizable options for certain specs, like the processor, storage space, and RAM. It’s perfect for tweaking a laptop’s specs to better fit your needs and budget.

Apple macbook pro 6Apple

For example, you can tweak the cheapest MacBook Pro with extra performance specs that propose great value against more expensive models. Going into those tweaking details isn’t for everyone, so I’ve done it for you!This guide should help you find which Apple laptop fits within your budget according to what kind of user you are, whether you use lightweight apps, have several open browser tabs and apps, or you’re a power user who needs the top performance. I also propose budget options, as well as “full-fat” models that make less of a compromise on performance and features.

You can even buy certain models from Apple’s Refurbished Mac Store if you want to save some money. Don’t balk at the word “refurbished.” My experience with refurbished Macs from Apple has been fantastic. I saved a bunch of money on my refurbished MacBook Pro , and it came in pristine aesthetic and working condition.

$3,000 – $4,200: For uncompromising performance and little regard to budgeting.

$3,000 - $4,200: For uncompromising performance and little regard to budgeting.

You can max out the processor of the most powerful $2,800 15-inch MacBook Pro with an even more powerful 7th-gen 3.1GHz Core i7 processor for $3,000.

The top, most specced-out MacBook Pro with the aforementioned processor and two terabytes of storage will set you back a whopping $4,200.

$2,300 – $2,800: For power users who don’t mind spending extra for more power.

$2,300 - $2,800: For power users who don't mind spending extra for more power.

Powers users who don’t mind spending to get great performance can opt for:

– 13-inch MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar) with 256GB of storage, 7th-gen 3.5GHz Core i7, and 16GB RAM upgrades: $2,300

– 15-inch MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar) as standard (256GB of storage, 7th-gen 2.8GHz Core i7, 16GB RAM, dedicated graphics card): $2,400

– 15-inch MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar) as standard (512GB of storage, 7th-gen 2.9GHz Core i7, 16GB RAM, dedicated graphics card): $2,800

The 15-inch machines will also suit video editors and Mac gamers, as they come with dedicated graphics cards.

$1,800 – $2,000: For busy users willing to spend a little extra for performance, or power users on a budget.

$1,800 - $2,000: For busy users willing to spend a little extra for performance, or power users on a budget.

For busy users who want a better performance guarantee, or budget power users who use more advanced apps, your best options are:

– 15-inch MacBook Pro (no Touch Bar) as standard (256GB storage, 4th-gen 2.2GHz Core i7, and 16GB RAM): $2,000

– 13-inch MacBook Pro (no Touch Bar) with 128GB to 256GB storage, 7th-gen 2.5GHz Core i7, and 16GB RAM upgrades: $1,800 – $2,000

– 13-inch MacBook (with Touchbar) with 256GB storage, 7th-gen 3.1GHz Core i5 as standard, and 16GB RAM upgrade: $2,000

For more 15-inch models in this budget range, you’d do well to check out Apple’s Refurbished Mac Store for the 2016 15-inch models with 6th-gen 2.6GHz Core i7 processors and Touch Bar, which start at $1,850. The refurbished 2016 models are a better deal considering their newer specs and better pricing than the aforementioned 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 4th-gen processor.

$1,500 – $1,700: The value sweet spot for busy users with lots of open web browser tabs and/or multiple basic apps running at the same time.

$1,500 - $1,700: The value sweet spot for busy users with lots of open web browser tabs and/or multiple basic apps running at the same time.

The base 13-inch MacBook Pro without a Touch Bar comes standard with 8GB of RAM, but you can give it a meaningful performance boost by opting for the 16GB RAM option. You can pick that option on the product pages for 128GB and 256GB storage models. It’ll cost you an extra $200 on top of the laptop’s $1,300 – $1,500 price tag, but it will make a huge difference.

RAM is where your computer stores your open apps and browser tabs so you can quickly switch between them. The more RAM you have, the more apps and browser tabs you can run without your computer slowing down. For busy users who usually have lots of open web browser tabs and apps, I’d generally recommend you consider more RAM before processing power, at least when it comes to basic apps and tasks.

The processor that comes standard with the laptop will handle basic apps just fine, and will even do you proud for lightweight photo editing.

$1,500: For the lightweight user who wants a premium design and the ultimate in portability with little concern about budgeting.

$1,500: For the lightweight user who wants a premium design and the ultimate in portability with little concern about budgeting.

The $1,500 MacBook with a 7th-gen Core i5 comes with more storage as standard than the aforementioned MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. With that said, it offers comparable performance to the MacBook Air for $600 more, at least according to benchmark tests. What you’re paying for here is the MacBook’s extreme portability.

You can find a refurbished model from Apple’s Refurbished Mac Store for a small discount at $1,360.

$1,300 – $1,500: For the lightweight user who wants something more premium.

$1,300 - $1,500: For the lightweight user who wants something more premium.

The base 13-inch MacBook Pro with 128GB of storage ($1,300) or 256GB of storage ($1,500) is for the same kind of person who would buy the MacBook Air but wants a premium design, better features, and more “comfortable” performance for basic and advanced apps.

Spending an extra $300 over the base MacBook Air model will get you a significantly better screen and speakers, as well as better overall performance with the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s 7th-gen 2.3GHz Core i5. You’ll also get a giant trackpad, which makes navigating around macOS and apps easier. It’s also not that much bigger or heavier than the MacBook Air.

It also has better future-proofing potential – where it could last longer before you need to upgrade – than the MacBook Air.

Be aware that the MacBook Pros only come with USB-C ports. That means you’ll need to buy adapters, docks, or docking stations to plug in any legacy peripherals, like standard USB mice and keyboards, or non-USB-C monitors that use HDMI or DVI.

As with the MacBook Air, you can get the 13-inch MacBook Pro for less on Apple’s Refurbished Mac Store.

$1,000: The cheapest option for the lightweight user on a budget.

$1,000: The cheapest option for the lightweight user on a budget.

If you must have an Apple laptop but you don’t need much power and you don’t care so much about fancy displays and features like Apple’s Touch Bar, the base $1,000 13-inch 128GB MacBook Air with a 5th-gen 1.8Ghz Core i5 processor is your best bet – and the cheapest Apple laptop you can buy.

You can also get the model with 256GB of storage for an extra $200.

It’s a remarkably portable laptop that can fit anywhere, whether it be the kitchen counter, your lap on the couch, the home office, or while traveling. It’ll service basic apps and tasks – think lightweight apps like web browsers, note apps, tax apps, messaging apps – admirably. It’ll also run more advanced apps for things like photo editing, but don’t expect lightning quick performance.

Something to note: Apple’s MacBook Airs don’t come with USB-C. Instead, they come with a range of standard ports, including two USB ports, a Thunderbolt 2 port (for hooking up a monitor), and an SD card port (to transfer photos from a camera). There’s no need for adapters here. Those who need a simple, capable laptop for basic tasks aren’t necessarily chasing the latest and greatest technology and standards, like USB-C, and these standard ports are compatible with the majority of accessories, which is a good thing.

You can get this laptop for less if you buy refurbished models from Apple’s Refurbished Mac Store. At the time of writing, there’s a listing for a refurbished 1.8Ghz MacBook Air for $850 – $50 cheaper than brand-new. And if you need more than the included 128GB of storage in the base model, you can get a refurbished model with 256GB for $1,020 – just $20 more than the price of a brand-new base model.

[“Source-businessinsider”]