Short History of Gold


Why Gold?

gold SINCE the dawn of creation, gold has been held in high esteem as a store of value and a universal monetary substance in all civilizations. But why?

Pleasant to the touch, highly malleable, resistant to all external influences, deep yellow in color and with deep luster, gold has captivated mankind and won a special place in human history. Clearly, this love of gold is not limited to the capitalist economic system.

Gold was greatly sought after in Greek and Roman times and throughout the Middle Ages. It is prized in the Middle East where it was used for the first time as money, and it?s also highly valued in China, Africa, the pre-Columbian America of the Aztecs and Incas, in the Russian Empire and even among the followers of Attila and Genghis Khan.

Thus gold is one of the few common values that has united mankind throughout the millennia, transcending race, religion and geography - a rarely noted fact but significant in light of today's growing cultural convergence and emerging global economy.

After thousands of years serving as the world's money in the form of coinage, the advent of paper and electronic money is now challenging gold's monetary role in the 21st century.

Gradually, throughout the last several decades, gold has assumed a new role as a monetary reserve medium, rather than a medium of exchange. This subtle yet powerful monetary shift has gone mostly unnoticed by the American public.

By 1999, the powerful central banking community that controls all modern money creation began advocating the complete abandonment of gold as a monetary reserve.

Is this historic shift the result of the natural progression of human maturity? Is this the natural evolution of money, as Darwinian - Keyensian economists would say?

Or, is it a quantum leap toward total manipulation of the masses into a single manageable global political, social and economic system?

These questions are growing in the minds of many Americans. Let's quickly review America's monetary history and see if we can find some answers.

The Folding, Spindling & Mutilating of America's Money System

Imagine for a moment that you have the ability to create any amount of money, without ever having to produce anything.

Is there anyone or anything you couldn't buy? Probably not.

Sound impossible? It should be, but it isn't. Just ask your local Federal Reserve banker - they do it every day.

The folding, spindling and mutilating of America's monetary system became legitimized in 1913, when the Federal Reserve was formed. Long ago bankers discovered a nasty little secret referred to as "fractional-reserve banking" which is fueled by credit and debt creation out of thin air.

The modern American monetary system is the result of an incestuous relationship between the federal government and the private banking cartel, deceptively called The Federal Reserve System (a.k.a. "The Fed").

But don't expect the mainstream press or prominent political figures to ever discuss this relationship publicly. Sadly, few Americans understand the process, or even challenge the Fed's attempt to manipulate the money system.

In the two centuries prior to the creation of the Fed, unredeemable paper currencies were judged as unethical and immoral. As of 1792, they were deemed unconstitutional as well.

The fundamental misconception today is that America's paper or electronic currency, denominated in Federal Reserve Notes, is that a dollar actually has any intrinsic value.

In the words of former Fed economist John Exter, "Today?s U.S. dollar is nothing more than an IOU-nothing." Paper money retains only the symbol, or form, of its original substance - gold and silver.

Let?s now examine the untold story of how and why the U.S. dollar was transformed from substance (gold) to symbolism (debt) - and what you can do to recover the substance while you still have time.

Legal Plunder

As difficult as it is for honest, hard-working Americans to fathom, the lifeblood of the American political and economic system is legal plunder. The 19th-century economist Frederic Bastiat summed up the tendency of central governments to embrace economic plunder in this way:

"There are two ways to acquire the niceties of life: to produce them or to plunder them. When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living to- gether in society, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."

The gradual devaluation of U.S. currency during the 20th century reflects a more subtle transformation - too many Americans have abandoned the morality and economics of our Founding Fathers.

Today's warped and degenerate political system represents a marked departure from the statesmanship of a bygone era. Economics likewise has degenerated into a convoluted science orchestrated to conceal a colossal fraud perpetrated on an unsuspecting public.

In short, "We the People" allowed the Federal Reserve, with the full cooperation of the federal government, to replace the "Puritan work ethic" with a "pagan plunder plan" and now the chickens are starting to flock home to roost.

To achieve this massive wealth distribution plan required a shift in public values from hard work and responsibility, to hardly working and gambling. This dramatic change has occurred gradually over the past two or three generations.

The result or fruit of this shift can be seen in the monetary realm. We abandoned true money (commodity - gold or silver) in favor of false money (fiat - paper, electronic). Here's how it happened, in a nutshell.

Substance Money

All true money must be derived from a commodity, or at least have a substance to back it up, or it will gradually become fraudulent, or fiat money.

Historically, the most common substance used as a medium of exchange and a store of value has been gold or silver coins of a standard weight and fineness.

The U.S. Coinage Act of 1792 specifically defined a dollar as "one twentieth of an ounce of gold (25.8 grains of 90 percent fine) or a silver coin containing one ounce of silver (421.5 grains of 90 percent fine)." The Founding Fathers specifically prohibited the federal government from issuing Bills of Credit, (paper money) in the U.S. Constitution.

Congress shall have Power to coin money and regulate the value thereof ... No State shall make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.
-Art.1 Sec. 8 & 10

America's system of constitutional, commodity-based money functioned well in our nation for 125 years, from 1792 to 1913. Then "We the People" made a big mistake - we allowed a privately owned corporation called the Federal Reserve to begin creating paper money instead of gold and silver coins as the Constitution requires.

Trust Money

The Federal Reserve's monetary manipulation began with a promise to create paper money that could always be redeemed for commodity money - gold or silver coin. This 100 percent redeemable money is referred to as fiduciary or trust money.

The creation of fiduciary money assumes that the promise of payment in substance by the issuer is redeemable at some future point. Trust money was used as a medium of exchange even though it consisted largely of an intrinsically valueless substance - paper.

Since the U.S. government was prohibited by constitutional law from issuing this trust money, the Fed - a private corporation - was created to soften and manipulate the economic down-cycles in 1913. The price we have paid is surrendering our substance money (gold) for trust money (credit/debt). In my view, central bankers took the mine... and we got the shaft. Why do I say that?

History has proven time and again that neither bankers nor governments possess the discipline needed to limit the amount of credit (or paper money) to equal the true supply of gold and silver coins. So the supply of paper money (credit/debt) must continually rise.

The result is always disastrous in the long term because the economy suffers through cycles of inflation, deflation, artificial growth, recession and depression. Because U.S. citizens did not protest the use of trust money, our economic system then began to degenerate into untrustworthy or fiat money.

Fiat Money

Fiat paper money abandons any promise whatsoever to redeem the paper currency in any physical commodity. This third step in the decline of our currency is considered by many historians and economists as the beginning of the end, monetarily.

Dr. Franz Pick, the noted Austrian economist, aptly stated the link between a nation and its money,

"The destiny of a currency is, and always will be, the destiny of a nation."

Under the fractional-reserve banking rules, a bank must always issue more units of fiat money than can ever be redeemed (typically at an 8:1 ratio). Fractional-reserve banking is inherently a fraudulent system. But by 1933 FDR forced Americans off the gold standard and onto the treadmill of credit fueled by fractional-reserve banking.

Here is an example that may help you grasp why fractional banking is flawed. Imagine that you live on a small island with just one other inhabitant - a fractional-reserve banker. On the island there is only $1,000 in circulation total. Let?s say you decide that you want to start a fishing business, and visit your banker for a loan. The banker agrees to loan you $1,000 but must charge you $50 interest. That mean you will owe $1050. But wait, there is only $1,000 in circulation. Where will the other $50 come from? It must be created by the banker or you could never fully pay the loan back. This is the origin of inflation and devalues every other dollar in circulation.

Therein lies the faulty foundation of fractional banking - it must constantly inflate the amount of currency which in turn decreases the value of all the money in circulation. The consequences are many, but most harmful is the crushing of the middle class via long-term monetary inflation. If (when) the public finally discerns that the Emperor (Fed) has no clothes, I expect hyper-inflation and a flight back to substance money in a New York second.

Lenin pondered this modern flaw in the Capitalist system stating,

"The best way to destroy the Capitalist system is to debauch the currency. The process of inflation is so insidious that not one in a million can properly diagnose it, until it is too late."

The Federal Reserve and the federal government are banking on Lenin?s conclusion - that the public will not become aware of this insidious process? until it is too late.

Karl Marx also knew that centralized money control was critical to control the masses.

"Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly."
-5th Plank, Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx (1848)

The facts are that popular delusion and public confidence are the only two forces that uphold our present fiat money system. The financial house of cards created by our massive personal, corporate and government debt is now more vulnerable than ever. The government knows it and the Fed knows it - they even admit it in print:

"All the paper money issued today is Federal Reserve Notes. The real backing for the nation?s money is faith in the strength, soundness and stability of the U.S.economy."
-Hats the Fed. Reserve Wears, Federal Reserve Bank of Phil., p. 4

One can only deduce that the Fed believes that as America?s faith and confidence goes, so goes the economy. It is interesting that the root meaning of the word credit (credaria) is "to believe." It is true, we now have a monetary system purely based on faith - faith in a system that betrays us and our children.

Over the last decade the government has even established a formal "Consumer Confidence Index" as a means of monitoring and manipulating the public confidence in the economy and money system. This index has been moving downward in 2001, reflecting a loss of confidence in the Fed... and our money system.

Virtual Money

Starting in 1990, Federal Reserve Notes have two subtle additions: a metallic strip embedded in the bill and special micro-print around the President's bust. The official reason is to thwart counterfeiters and monitor anyone attempting to leave the U.S. with a suitcase full of cash through the use of special airport detectors.

This sounds reasonable enough, right? After all, counterfeit Fed notes are popping up all over the world. They're calling it economic terrorism. The Fed cannot allow competition in the money counterfeiting business to encroach on its domestic policy of issuing unconstitutional fiat (read: counterfeit) money.

The next major step is to convince Americans to convert entirely to a totally intangible, electronic money system - with no "cash" at all.

It took the last decade to prepare us, but I expect over the next decade the government and banks will accomplish it because it offers convenience - the new passion of American culture.

So, where do we go from fiat money? To virtual money - that is, pure credit transactions reduced to blips on computer screens. This new form of money gives the government total economic control over the populace - a goal many have long desired. Financial privacy is also forfeited in the process.

Should all of this give you grave concern, or a sleepy nod? It depends on how much you value your privacy, sovereignty, freedom, liberty and that of the next generation - all of which are God-given rights under the U.S. Constitution.

The steady decline in the value of buying power throughout the past 80 years is a crime in my book. In fact, a 1900-dollar is worth less than 3 cents today due to inflation.

What can be done? How can we recover an honest foundation for economic stability - even if our government won't? One person at a time. The good news is that we still have options and rights.

Coined Freedom

Gold and silver coinage has been used as a medium of exchange and store of value throughout all recorded history. From Abraham in the Old Testament to your great grandfather - they all knew that real money represented true freedom and liberty. They also knew that freedom was not free, it often required waging a battle - which was anything but convenient.

Gold and silver coins represent true economic value because they have integrity by design and content. Prior to 1933, U.S. gold coins were the visible evidence of an honest money system. The denomination and value of the coin corresponded with the weight and fineness of the substance - gold. "A just weight and measure," as the Bible demands.

All of this changed overnight when FDR recalled the gold in 1933, making gold ownership illegal and allowing the Federal Reserve to issue fiduciary money, redeemable only in silver, not gold. This trust money was minted until 1965.

Since then America has functioned on debt, credit and fiat money. "Funny money," as G. Gordon Liddy once told me during a radio interview. The truth is that the systematic crushing of the middle class family due to long-term inflation is anything but funny.

In 1934 the government removed gold from circulation and in 1965 they removed silver. Notice that until 1964, U.S. silver coins still represented the economic mandate of just weights and measures. The amazing thing is how few opposed the Fed, perhaps because Americans still trusted the federal government.

Today we readily accept symbolic money instead of substance money with no thought. Our post-1965 copper/nickel tokens circulated today demonstrate a serious departure from our heritage of honest money and represent a gutted economic ethic.

Did you know that even our "copper" pennies are not even made out of copper anymore? Go ahead, scratch a penny with a nail - nothing but pop-metal. A pure copper penny is worth about 3 cents today.

Our money system today is symbolism, pure and simple, without any valuable substance to it. For this reason alone I feel that every American should diversify a portion of their fiat money into real money - gold and silver coins. As an added bonus, many historic U.S. gold and silver coins have maintained an above-average track record since the late 1960s.

The nature of our present economic and monetary environment requires decisive action - if not for ourselves, for our children and their sake. As R.E. McMaster Jr. puts it, this is "no time for slaves."

Today, monetary myth is so widespread that it appears that nothing short of a financial meltdown will rattle Americans enough to face reality. Is that what it will take? I hope not, but I fear so.

Remember 1979? The Carter deficits, double-digit inflation and feverish activity in precious metals? Most of us will never forget that year. Something similar or worse may await America - and the time to plan for it is now.

The preceding is an excerpt from Rediscovering Gold in the 21st Century by Craig R. Smith (Aug. 2001, Idea Factory Press)