Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Privacy, Property, and Gold

I'm falling down a spiral, destination unknown
Double crossed messenger, all alone
Can't get no connection, can't get through
Where are you?
--Golden Earring

Extending yesterday's post, holding large currency preserves capacity for private transactions but does not prevent devaluation due to inflation. The problem with paper currency is that it always gets debased by government in order to obtain resources from its citizenry.

Preserving purchasing power requires a money that resists debasement. Over the years, that money has been come from precious metals--gold and silver. Money backed by gold and silver cannot easily be debased because concerns about inflationary practices of government will cause precious metal to move from government to private hands--thereby affording citizens protection against having their property confiscated by an 'invisible tax.'

1850 $20 Liberty PCGS XF40 CAC

Take, for example, the US 'double eagle,' a coin containing nearly one ounce of gold with a face value of $20 that circulated from 1850 until 1933. During that period, anyone could walk into a bank and exchange $20 worth of paper money for a gold double eagle. When concerns grew that the federal government was printing too many paper dollars, then more people would accumulate double eagles, thereby draining gold from government vaults until bureaucrats slowed down the printing presses.

Once gold backing was lifted from the dollar by FDR in 1933, then people could no longer sanction the federal government for inflationary practices. This gave the feds license to print $trillions at their discretion with predictable consequences.

1926 $20 Saint Gaudens PCGS MS65 CAC

Today, a $20 bill from the 1920s buys less than what a dime could from the same era. On the other hand, a double eagle from the same era, such the 1926 Saint above, has more than $1200 of purchasing power today based on its gold content alone.

Larger denomination currency, plus its backing by gold, rightly protects privacy and property.

position in gold, silver

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