A Pound of Hamburger

I was struck by the following from a recent issue of Imprimis:

[W]hen you go into the grocery to buy a pound of hamburger, why should you worry about how much hamburger you get—so long as it’s a pound’s worth? A pound is supposed to be .45359237 of a kilogram. But if Congress can permit Mr. Bernanke to use his judgment in deciding what a dollar is worth, why shouldn’t he—or some other Ph.D. from M.I.T.—be able to decide from day to day what a kilogram is worth?


You say you want to be paid $100 an hour. That’s fine by your boss. But he—or Chairman Bernanke—gets to decide how many minutes in the hour. Or how long the minute is. You know you’ll get a kilogram of meat for the price a kilogram of meat costs. But you won’t know how long you have to work to earn the money.

Does this not get at the heart of the issue of a monetary system which has no real basis? You and I expect a pound to be a pound and an hour to be an hour. We also expect a dollar to be worth a dollar–but it isn’t. Oh, it says that on the face, but it buys less tomorrow than it did yesterday.

An acquaintance of mine recently thought I had gone loony when I remarked that I was glad to see that a member of the North Carolina legislature was concerned about the future of legal tender in that state:

Cautioning that the federal dollars in your wallet could soon be little more than green paper backed by broken promises, state Rep. Glen Bradley wants North Carolina to issue its own legal tender backed by silver and gold.

The Republican from Youngsville has introduced a bill that would establish a legislative commission to study his plan for a state currency. He is also drafting a second bill that would require state government to accept gold and silver coins as payment for taxes and fees.

Will this go anywhere? The fact that this is even being brought up is telling. Oh, and North Carolina is something like the 10th state to recently consider the matter. Why? Because, that which cannot continue (the massive expansion of the US money supply without corresponding inflation, etc) cannot continue.