(1) The content by weight of pure gold in the national monetary unit as defined by the law of a country. When the gold standard was in effect and there was unlimited exchange of paper money for gold, the price of gold expressed in the national monetary unit corresponded to the weight of the gold content of the unit. For example, if the gold content of the US dollar under the 1934 law, amounted to 0.888671 g of pure gold, then the price of 1 troy ounce (31.1035 g) of pure gold was $35.00. This was also the official price in the world capitalist market of devalued US paper dollars until 1972, when it was set at $38.00. Other capitalist countries fixed the gold content of their currencies by law according to the official exchange rate of their monetary unit in relation to the US dollar and in accord with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
(2) The ratio of two monetary units calculated on the basis of their legally fixed gold content. According to this meaning, “gold parity” usually takes the place of the term “parity rate,” which indicates the quantity of monetary units of another country having the same content of pure gold by weight as the monetary unit of the given country. For example, a pound sterling contains 2.13281 g of pure gold, and the French franc contains 0.160 g; that is, a pound sterling has 13.33 times more pure gold than a franc. Therefore, the parity rate of a pound sterling and a franc sets £1 equal to 13.33 francs. When the gold standard was maintained, the foreign exchange rates fluctuated within the limits of the gold points. In capitalism’s foreign exchange system established after World War II and regulated by the charter of the IMF, the foreign exchange rates deviated from parity by not more than 1 percent in each direction. Since 1972 the IMF widened the limits of deviation of rates from parity to 2.25 percent up or down. These limits are maintained by operations of the central banks of the capitalist countries.
In the USSR gold parity is established by the state as a matter of planning and serves as a basis for quotations by the Gosbank (State Bank) of the USSR for foreign exchange.
K. A. SHTROM