What is money? For thousands of years currency was tied to a commodity, if the commodity itself wasn’t actually exchanged. Today, that relationship has drastically been altered. Money, as a human institution, has evolved from having a real value to only having a perceived value.
Milton Friedman traces it back to one specific date. “It’s seldom that you can date precisely when there’s a major change in a human institution let alone in a monetary institution. But you know it’s an interesting fact that you can date precisely a really drastic change in the character in the monetary system around the world. And you can date it on August 15, 1971. That’s the date on which Richard Nixon finally ended the supposed agreement by the U.S. Government to sell gold for thirty-five dollars an ounce to foreign governments. And that was the final nail in the coffin of the kind of monetary system that had prevailed from the beginning of time so far as you can see.”
Hear the effects of that policy shift from Milton Friedman, Robert Hall, and Daniel Gressel in the latest episode of the Free To Choose Media Podcast, Money.