If it passed, the initiative would have had no real impact on the central bank
Image Credits: Giorgio Monteforti / Flickr
The Swiss gold initiative has come and gone.
It can be summarized as much ado about nothing. Even if it had passed, the initiative would have had no real impact on the central bank’s ability to print money or conduct monetary policy.
The central bank is currently defending a 1.2 Swiss-francs-to-the-euro floor. By pegging its currency, the Swiss central bank has basically opted to follow its neighbor’s excessively easy monetary policy. To keep the peg, the Swiss central bank has been purchasing euros by printing Swiss francs. The central bank then returns the euros to the Euro money supply by purchasing European government bonds. It could have just as easily used those euros to buy dollars for gold. In either case, the euros or dollars are returned to the market, and therefore the Swiss action does not influence the respective Euro or US money supplies. We must remember that exchange rates are determined by differences in monetary growth rates and anticipation of what those differences will be in the future.
The Swiss government and Swiss central bank opposed the initiative. This should not be surprising. It is standard government policy to use fear tactics to justify continued government theft.