Saturday, July 25, 2009

Should I Support Free Silver?

Here's an anachronistic political question I've been curious about for a while: if it's 1896 in America, should I support Free Silver?

I've been inclined to say yes, because the distributive implications of Free Silver sound pretty good. Poor farmers get their debts inflated away, while incredibly rich Gilded Age industrialists see the real value of their assets fall. Plus, modern-day gold bugs are total cranks propounding a dogma that would bring great misery upon the world. But I don't know how well that applies to the "sound money" people of 1896. Surely it'd be better to have a modern central banking system, where you smooth out the business cycle by making inflationary moves in a recession and deflating the currency when the economy rises. But supposing it's 1896 and we don't have the Fed for another 17 years, do I vote for William Jennings Bryan?
Post a Comment