Today, the international need for long-term reliable money still exists. Only gold can play that role to satisfaction. Speculators aside, the paper gold trade (as largely explained in Aristotle's work) has functioned as a much needed currency of gold in a fashion very similar to that just described for the dollar during the Roaring Twenties...albeit with a floating dollar attachment rather than a fixed one. The paper gold is received and held as a contract that specifies a right to gold delivery, perhaps some as a lump sum, perhaps as installments. (Contracts can be written so many ways!) The key parallel, and purpose of this post is to show you that this works only as long as confidence is retained, and that excessive issues of claims has not jeopardized the real ability to get gold without being the one left holding the bag of paper gold when the bottom drops out.
But the real problem comes from what these Bullion Banks consider reserves. You and I obviously realize that the only reserves that will suffice in a bank run are actual physical pieces of gold. But these banks are presently relying on certain "paper gold" items as their "physical reserves".
During the CFTC hearing Mr. Christian admitted that the CPM group uses the term "physical" in a very loose way. That "physical" actually means paper claims and physical combined. So these Bullion Banks are holding paper liabilities from other Bullion Banks and mining operations and calling them "physical reserves". Very circular, don't you think?
So under this loose definition of "physical gold", perhaps Mr. Christian was not lying. Perhaps the banks do constrain their naked shorting with at least 10% paper longs from "credible sources". And if so, I would guess that those credible sources also have 10% "reserves" behind their paper. And so on, and so forth.
Well, I hope you can clearly see the problem here. When the bank run finally begins people and entities will want real physical gold, not paper longs, or liabilities from credible sources.
It all comes down to gold, the actual physical stuff. That's what the people wanted during the bank runs of the 1930's. It is what brought down the London Gold Pool. It is what forced the closing of the Nixon gold window. And it will be what people want this time too. That's the real bank run... to actual physical gold in your own possession.