How Will Bills of Exchange Be Paid?
Normally merchants will pay their bills of exchanges with checks, either paper or electronic. When customers buy goods covered by a bill of exchange, they will pay with gold coins, bank notes, gold certificates, or checks. (Credit cards are not a final payment since the customer still has to pay the credit card bill with check or some other form of money.) Merchants deposit all these moneys in their checking accounts. All paper moneys deposited will be returned to the bank that issued them or on which they are drawn through clearing houses. All paper moneys not cancelled with other paper moneys are redeemed in gold.
When the bill comes due, the merchant most likely uses a check to pay the bill. If the owner of the bill is the bank holding the merchant’s checking account, the bank transfers gold from the merchant’s account to itself. If the bill is owned by another bank, that bank will send the check to the merchant’s bank for cancellation. If the merchant’s bank does not hold enough liabilities of the bank receiving the merchant’s check, the merchant’s bank sends the bank owning the bill gold to make up the difference. Gold in the amount of the bill cancelled is transferred from the merchant’s account to his bank. If the owner of the bill is not a bank, the owner receives the merchant’s check and deposits it in his (the bill owner’s) bank, and the process just described is followed.
The above description shows the importance of the gold-coin standard accompanying the real bills doctrine. All paper moneys (bank notes, checkbook money, and gold certificates) connected with the bill and the bill itself convert into gold and are extinguished with the maturity of the bill. Gold regulates the whole process and prevents excessive paper money from being produced.
[This article first appeared in The Gold Standard, issue #10, 15 October 2011.]
Copyright © 2011 by Thomas Coley Allen.
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