Money-market mutual funds (MMMFs) have had a turbulent couple of weeks. On March 18, the Federal Reserve System created a Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility (MMLF) to "assist money market funds in meeting demands for redemptions by households and other investors." What's the source of the…

gold, bimetallism, silver, gold standard, bitcoin

When Bitcoin's price spiked in 2017, so did public mentions of the cryptocurrency, as measured by a Google n-gram plot. When William Jennings Bryan promoted bimetallism during his run for President in 1896, mentions of bimetallism similarly spiked. Noting this parallel, economist Robert Shiller compares the two…

Milton Friedman (1951, 1960) provided influential back-of-the-envelope estimates of the costs devoted to extracting gold under what he called a "strict" gold standard. I have criticized those estimates elsewhere (White 1999, pp. 42-48) for exaggerating the volume of gold reserves used by actual gold-standard economies, and thus…

dollarization, Ecuador, mercantilism, trade

An interesting debate has arisen in Ecuador during recent weeks over the following proposition advanced by authors at a Quito think tank: a dollarized country shouldn't reduce its tariffs when the dollar is overvalued relative to the currencies of its regional trading partners (according to purchasing-power-parity measures)…