From 1880 to 1914, British exports of goods and services averaged around 30 percent of national income, a stupendous figure. Britain had made itself rich; now it was setting about making the entire world rich. This was made possible, of course, by the world gold standard centered around London and the Bank of England. Investors, importers, and exporters did not have to worry about foreign exchange fluctuations; tariffs within the empire were low; and Britain's legal system, which it exported to its colonies, reduced the legal and political uncertainties. The Bank of England's commitment to the gold standard was unwavering, and as a result it was able to hold together the world gold standard with only a pittance of gold in reserves. ... For decade after decade, hard money stayed hard; exchange rates stayed fixed; interest rates remained low; and gold remained the basis of it all.