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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

How Gold Could Fix Turkey's Currency Issue

Forbes' Steve Hanke believes gold could make the Lira a worthwhile currency.

According to Forbes contributor Steve Hanke, Turkey's currency continues to serve as its country's Achilles' heel. Despite the Turkish president's political maneuvering, Hanke claims in a recent article that there is no hiding the truth from the Turkish people: the lira is effectively a junk currency and a bad choice of wealth storage.

In the article, banking data shows up to 70% of deposits in Turkey are made in a foreign currency. The lira has been on a declining trajectory since 2008, and the Central Bank of Turkey was forced to replace its diminishing foreign assets with lira denominations, further complicating affairs.

Hanke believes that, in order for the country and its President to yield real power, these rampant currency issues need to be fixed. And despite the extent of Turkey's currency struggles and the length of time that they stretch, the solution might be a simple one.

The lira could be made into a worthwhile currency, says Hanke, by attaching a gold standard to it. Although some show no recollection of it, Hanke reminds us that gold was a central part of money until the 20th century, owing in no small part to its ability to preserve purchasing power.

Ever since gold was abandoned by the official monetary system, the article states that there have been calls to restore it to its former role, with some predicting that the yellow metal is bound to return. To Hanke, the most infallible way of using gold to back Turkey's economy is in the form of currency boards.

These boards have existed in some form in over 70 countries and, when applied correctly, allowed for increased financial discipline and higher growth as opposed to a system revolving around central banks.

The article reads that, for optimal effect, the currency board would be stationed in Switzerland to improve regulation, and its purpose would be to issue notes and coins wholly backed by gold reserves. Furthermore, the issued currency would be convertible to gold by Turkey's citizens upon request and without fee.

Independent from Turkey's politics, Hanke's proposed board would alter the country's everyday financial dealings without assuming the burden of the government's obligations. And, so as to remove any doubt over bullion coverage, the physical gold tethered to the board's denominations would be held in an internationally-certified gold warehouse or a similar institution.

With the added flexibility of choosing whether the currency board would be government-run or private, Hanke believes that Turks would have an all-encompassing way of returning to a system that is proven to create more stable and organized economies.

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