On April 28th 1925 Winston Churchill, then Chancellor Of the Exchequer, gave a speech defending the decision to return the UK to the gold standard:
Every expert conference since the War – Brussels, Genoa – every expert Committee in this country, has urged the principle of a return to the gold standard. No responsible authority has advocated any other policy. No British Government – and every party has held office – no political party, no previous holder of the Office of the Chancellor of the Exchequer has challenged, or so far so I am aware is now challenging, the principle of a reversion to the gold standard in international affairs at the earlierst possible moment.
The deflation required to achieve this had left the UK with years of crushing double digit unemployment and a mutinous General Strike.
It was all for nothing. The build up to the Second World War, itself fuelled by the brutal deflations the gold standard demanded, would force the UK to leave a few years after it rejoined, never to join again.
Today the Gold Standard is seen as a quaint anachronism; a policy whose defects seem so obvious it is hard to imagine how anyone could advocate it in good faith . And yet as the quote shows, everyone thought it was.
The point then is to ask, each and everyday, what are our equivalent beliefs?
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