Front Page Titles (by Subject) Specie Money vs. Antibullionists - Literature of Liberty, July/September 1979, vol. 2, No. 3
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Specie Money vs. Antibullionists - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, July/September 1979, vol. 2, No. 3 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Specie Money vs. Antibullionists
“Winners and Losers: Some Paradoxes in Monetary History Resolved and Some Lessons Unlearned.” History of Political Economy (Winter 1977): 476–489.
Today's monetary issue is as old as economics itself, yet as modern as tomorrow: the question of the monetary standard, which, in modern terms, is the criterion of monetary policy. The “bullionists” are supposed to have won the nineteenth century monetary controversies, yet it is the “antibullionist” dogma that pervails today. We have the abstract (noncommodity) monetary unit desired by the antibullionists, but do not know how to manage it because we adopted it by default rather than by design.
Ricardo argued that nothing would prevent a costless currency from becoming worthless. No one has yet proved him wrong, and today we appear to be proving him right. The banking school became the stewards of the antibullionist doctrine, and relied on banking practice rather than politicians to maintain the value of the monetary unit. Forgotten were the fallacies at the root of banking school principles, such as the Real Bills doctrine. But these fallacies governed the operation of the banking system. The banking school dogma was tested and proved a failure in the thirties. Though the public believed the bullionists had won, public policy had, in effect, unknowingly enshrined the banking school doctrine. Hence, the disastrous consequences for the banking system—which was believed to be the product of the bullionist paradigm, but in fact operated according to the principles of antibullionism.
But the modern International Monetary Fund is simply a repetition of past errors. International reserves, intended to determine the international money supply, must instead function to protect an indeterminate supply. We are still left with the problem. Can a noncommodity money allow us to find a market-determined rule to guide monetary policy in the place of a real commodity money and the derived rules of the past? Monetarists think they have found such a rule, but neglect real factors (e.g., war) that are responsible for inflation-deflation cycles.
“It is no wonder that we do not know what to do. We know not what we have done or are doing.”