Bretton Woods, Gold, and the current monetary system

17 April 2013

In the next post, I intend to describe what I personally deem to be bearish arguments against gold, and make out a case why the secular bull market that began in 2001 probably ended in September 2011. Undoubtedly, there will be many believers in gold who will vehemently disagree. My bullish arguments FOR gold are laid out in this post (but as my next post will explain, I think the bear case outweighs the bull case).

First however, I will need to devote one post to describing a little bit of history to set the context for the discussion. We need to understand how the current monetary system evolved, as well as its flaws.

Post World War II, the Bretton Woods system fixed global exchanged rates to the US dollar, and the USD was in turn pegged to gold at a price of $35 per ounce. The US Federal Reserve guaranteed USD-gold interconvertibility between central banks at this rate, and the free market for gold was naturally tied down by this arrangement.

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