A couple of things I’d like to add, that there IS a major difference between a fiat currency and a metal standard, etc. The first and most important is that, contrary to popular belief of the people huddling around mac-n-cheese, a “fiat” currency isn’t “backed by thin air,” what it’s backed by, rather than just gold which isn’t a very accurate representation of anything other than the market demand for gold, at current, is the total goods and services of a nation’s economy. This creates a bit of a wedge in the idea of printing money = inflation and I’ll explain why.
You see, if you print money and that money builds a space program, that money doesn’t just get spent and disappear — you now own a space program. It’s similarly misleading to suggest that we should live under this austerity capitalism, always driving toward lower and lower deficits. We should not. Imagine you have $400,000 in the bank and you spend that money (print, if you’re the government, and then pay for goods and services and investments) and you buy a house with it, you aren’t then flat broke, you now just transferred the value from cash into a piece of real estate. The same goes for government spending, which is why, here in the U.S., we’re doing everything all wrong, we give huge tax breaks rather than doing social and intellectual spending, we cut NASA to give rich people breaks, we cut the EPA in order to give Amazon another tax break, and those things that we’re cutting, those government programs, basically keep our currency valuable by backing it with tangible goods and services, as well as intellectual property and so forth.
The thing is, if we taxed all of the debt out of existence, there’d be no money, there’d be no one employed, there wouldn’t be a single bus driver in your nation, which isn’t a very valuable nation at all. There are more and more effective ways to expand the money supply so that they reflect (and stimulate) economic activity and thus expand the good and services of the economy at the same time — giving it away to rich people to horde in the Caymen islands is NOT how this is done. Even healthcare can be seen as an investment toward a healthy population, a population which will come up with inventions and produce, contributing to GNP (which ultimately backs the currency). So, this is the other side of that same coin. A “fiat” currency is not only just similar to a metal standard, it’s better because it’s intended to reflect the GNP, at least somewhat.