"Because the value of a currency was tied, by law, to a specific quantity of gold and because the amount of currency that could be issued was tied to the quantity of gold reserves, governments had to live within their means, and when strapped for cash, could not manipulate the value of the currency. Inflation therefore remained low. Joining the gold standard became a “badge of honor,” a signal that each subscribing government had pledged itself to a stable currency and orthodox financial policies. By 1914, fifty-nine countries had bound their currencies to gold."
--Liaquat Ahamed, "Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World"