What is the Gold Standard?

Susan Kelly

Jan 05, 2022

The gold standard is the monetary system under which all the countries fixed the value of their currency or paper money in terms of a fixed quantity of gold. In simple words, the value of paper money is directly linked to gold value. The currency of the country that uses the gold standard is convertible into a fixed amount of gold and they can buy &''' sell gold at that fixed price.

Also, there was no restriction on the import and export of gold. If you want to get to know a deep understanding of the gold standard and its different advantages &''' disadvantages, keep scrolling to find detailed information related to this monetary system. Let's dive in!

Understanding of Gold Standard

In this exchange rate system, each country's currency is fixed in terms of gold and is guaranteed by the government. Therefore, exchange rates between currencies are also fixed. In an international gold standard system, gold has been one of the popular exchange mediums of international payments.

Moreover, the conversion of fiat money (the currency in the country for payments) into gold limited the quantity of fiat money. In the US, the dollar is fiat money. Under the gold standard, the balance of payments differences were used to be settled according to the gold value.

The country with the balance of payments in the deficit would experience gold outflows, including a reduction in money supply and a decrease in the domestic price level. On the other hand, countries in surplus would receive large gold inflows and vice versa. These trigger prices are Gold points. Furthermore, in this system, physical gold was used to trade between nations for goods and services.


Gold has a unique influence like no other asset. In 1821, the gold standard was first adopted and put into operation in England. The classical gold standard is a period that existed from 1880 to 1914 (outbreak of World War I). In 1834, the US fixed the price of gold $20.67 per ounce. It remained at it until 1933.

In 1934, the gold price was set at 35$ per ounce by the US government to increase the economy. Moreover, in 1821, the US on the bimetallic standard was switched to gold. In the 1870s, major countries such as Germany, France and, US Joined the gold standard system. The era of the gold standard was short. The gold standard system was suspended on the breakdown of World War I.

After World War I, the countries did not tie their currencies to the value of gold to prevent harm to the world economy. And, by the 1930s, the countries began to leave this monetary system. In 1931, Britain stopped using the gold standard system. In 1933, the US followed the suit and give up the remnants of the system in 1973. Also, Gold has been used as a currency throughout history.

Advantages of Gold Standard

First and foremost, the gold standard system discourages inflation and debt. It limited the power of the government to cause price inflation because when more money chases few goods, inflation happens. The other advantage of this system is that it creates certainty in international trade because of a fixed pattern. Fixed asset backs the money value.

In the gold standard, the government can print the money according to the quantity of gold in the country. Due to this, it results in causing a stabilizing and self-regulating effect on a country's economy. Furthermore, it can cause a boost in the investment of gold's export businesses. And, it rewards productive nations.

Disadvantages of Gold Standard

The disadvantages of the gold standard are that the economy of the country depends on the gold supply. Therefore, countries without any gold are at loss. After Australia, the US is the second-largest gold mining country. So, it was not a problem for the US.

Also, it can cause significant fluctuations in the economy and unemployment can increase. Last but not least, another con of this system was that countries fixate on keeping their gold ignoring the important tasks.

The Bottom Line

In a nutshell, under this monetary system, gold backs the value of money. The US was one of the last countries that joined the gold standard. Although the system disappeared in 1971 and the gold is no longer used as a standard but its appeal is still strong.

Now, the gold price is determined by the metal demand.Furthermore, gold has a long-standing relationship with the US dollar and its history is complex. Gold is a major financial asset that has a unique influence on its demand and supply.

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