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Cross of Gold

2008-08-15 17:34:07.424502+00 by Dan Lyke 8 comments

I'm not generally a fan of "the gold standard". Especially since gold now has an industrial use in electronics, rather than, as it was historically, just being a shiny metal with curious properties, tying currency value to keeping an important commodity from the market seems foolish. But I understand some of the arguments both ways, and think that Terry Pratchett[Wiki]'s recent novel Making Money[Wiki] is a worthwhile exploration of the value of currency.

But here's another piece that's worth a read, and if anything can make me a fan of a position, William Jennings Bryan[Wiki] opposing it is a good start: William Jennings Bryan’s 1896 “Cross of Gold” speech:

You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. I tell you that the great cities rest upon these broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.

Also worth reading because of the way in which political oratory has changed over a century.

[ related topics: Politics Currency Economics Terry Pratchett ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-16 18:11:00.270171+00 by: JT

On the top of political orators, Huey P. Long, former Governor of the great state of Louisiana had some wonderful speeches and some very interesting quote in his time in office.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-16 23:48:51.3583+00 by: crasch

tying currency value to keeping an important commodity from the market seems foolish.

Foolish? More foolish than tying the value of the currency to the government printing press?

But forget a gold standard, I would be pleased if the Feds simply stopped imprisoning those who provide alternative currencies.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-19 18:24:00.296988+00 by: ziffle

Would you rather keep in your safe, gold coin or Federal Reserve Notes?

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-19 18:49:51.300047+00 by: spc476

Right now, with inflation being underreported, M3 no longer being reported and pennies worth twice their face value in metal content, I think I wouldn't mind some gold in my safe.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-19 19:13:53.353458+00 by: Larry Burton

I'd keep gold coins in my safe. Federal reserve notes are for storing in the bank where they can grow.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-19 20:09:35.652906+00 by: Dan Lyke

I'll go a step further than Larry: If I'm concerned about the breakdown of society I'll keep pepper in my safe, 'cause come the apocalypse it'll be a far more useful trade medium than gold. When your diet is simple starches, flavors have more value than jewelry. Otherwise I want my assets out invested and working for me.

Assets are great, but they only have value in the context of the society around them. Gold may be a good speculative investment at times, but right now I think if you're concerned about the stability of the dollar that metals and similar commodities are going to stay relatively constant in dollars as dollars inflate and there are better things to invest in.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-19 20:37:24.450217+00 by: TheSHAD0W

Lead is an even better investment. Especially when it's already formed into bullets and mounted in cartridges.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-19 20:50:06.81365+00 by: Dan Lyke

Oh, additional to crasch, yeah, I agree that creating coins and/or marketing them as competing currency to U.S. dollars should be legal.