Feces and the Gold Standard: A Psychological Explanation of Goldbuggery
This week, delegates at the Republican National Convention will decide whether the GOP should officially contemplate a return to the gold standard. Among plutocrat investor types the policy makes some sense—by pegging the dollar to the world’s gold supply, government spending remains in check, inflation stays down, and Uncle Scrooge’s piles of cash don’t lose their value. For everyone else, as my colleague Noam Scheiber argues, this brand of monetary policy makes no sense. So why has it caught on?
Noam supposes that Tea Party goldbugs are suffering from false consciousness, a misunderstanding of their material circumstances. For my part, I would suggest examining the GOP’s potential unconscious motivations. Would Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, have anything to say about Republicans’ gold obsession?
Quite a bit, as it turns out. The GOP’s embrace of the gold standard isn’t just a reversion back to nineteenth century monetary theory, it seems. It’s also a regression back to psychological infancy.