I often speak about sound money on this blog. In fact, in my answer to Just One Thing, I chose sound money. Walter Block answered the same. Now Judy Shelton, writing in the WSJ, makes the case for a parallel currency, backed by gold, to compete with Federal Reserve Notes. She makes the case logically and much more elegantly than I ever could:

Inflation is the enemy of capitalism, chiseling away at the foundation of free markets and the laws of supply and demand. It distorts price signals, making retailers look like profiteers and deceiving workers into thinking their wages have gone up. It pushes families into higher income tax brackets without increasing their real consumption opportunities.

In short, inflation undermines capitalism by destroying the rationale for dedicating a portion of today’s earnings to savings. Accumulated savings provide the capital that finances projects that generate higher future returns; it’s how an economy grows, how a society reaches higher levels of prosperity. But inflation makes suckers out of savers.

If capitalism is to be preserved, it can’t be through the con game of diluting the value of money. People see through such tactics; they recognize the signs of impending inflation. When we see Congress getting ready to pay for 40% of 2009 federal budget expenditures with money created from thin air, there’s no getting around it. Our money will lose its capacity to serve as an honest measure, a meaningful unit of account. Our paper currency cannot provide a reliable store of value.

Given this choice….

Given that the driving force of free-market capitalism is competition, it stands to reason that the best way to improve money is through currency competition. Individuals should be able to choose whether they wish to carry out their personal economic transactions using the paper currency offered by the government, or to conduct their affairs using voluntary private contracts linked to payment in gold or silver.

…which would you choose?

Our monetary system is the source of our troubles. It is time we admit that our flirtation with fiat money has failed. As Judy Shelton puts it:

We need money that works for the legitimate producers and consumers of the world — the savers and borrowers, the entrepreneurs. Not money that works for the chiselers.

Read the whole thing. It’s important.