Money is always a currency,in that it can be used to purchase other items that have value, but as we’ve just learned, currency is not always money because it doesn’t have value in and of itself. If you are having a hard time grasping this, just think about a hundred-dollar bill. Do you think that paper is worth $100?
The answer is, of course, no. That paper simply represents value that is stored somewhere else—or at least it used to be before our money became currency. Later we will study the history of our currency and the gold standard, but for now all you need to know is that the U.S. dollar is
backed by nothing other than hot air, or what is commonly referred to as “the good faith and credit of the United States.” In short, our government has the ability to, and has been, creating money at will without anything to back it up. You might call this counterfeiting; the government calls it
fiscal policy. The whole thing is what we refer to as fiat currency.
Michael Maloney is widely recognized as a leading expert on monetary history, economics, economic cycles investing, and precious metals. He is CEO and founder of GoldSilver.com, one of the world’s largest gold and silver bullion dealers, CEO and founder of WealthCycles.com, an educational website, and host of the most popular video series on the topics of monetary history, economics and economic cycles, The Hidden Secrets of Money.