Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Gold: a little perspective
3000- 1500 BCE Mesopotamia. Gold is money. Silver is money. Cunieform records record transactions of gold and silver as payment for all forms of goods and services. Units of measurement (according to translations into various languages) include talents, shekels, minas.
3000- 500 BCE Egypt. Gold is money. Silver is money. Heiroglyphs record transactions of gold and silver as payment for all forms of good and services. Units of measurement: Deben
600-200 BCE. Lydia, Persia, Greece: Gold is money. Silver is Money. Coinage is invented by the Lydians and spreads quickly thoughout Persia, the Black Sea Area, Macedonia, Greece and Italy. Unit of measurement: Shekels, Drachms, Staters, Litrae. Nomos.
200 BCE- 400 AD Rome. Gold is money. Silver is money. Unit of measurement: Aureus, Dinarius.
400 -1300 AD Byzantine Empire. Gold is money. Silver is money. Unit of measurement; Solidus, Siliquae, Nomisma
(1200 - Venetian banker introduce the Letter Of Credit which is used in payment to represent gold that is theoretically being held at the Venetian Banks. At various times these letters are abused leading to various bankruptcies.)
1100 - 1700 AD Venice, Florence. England. France. Holy Roman Empire. Gold is money. Silver is Money. Units of measurement: Ducats, Florins, Francs, Pounds, Thalers.
1715-1720 France. The first Western experiment with paper money established by John Law under Louis XV. Crippled by debt from the War of Spanish Succession Louis XV commissioned John Law to to stimulate industry by replacing gold with paper credit and then increasing the supply of credit, and to reduce the national debt by replacing it with shares in the Mississippi Company. The entire venture ended disastrously, bankrupting France.
1721 - 1920. Europe, South America, North America. Gold is money. Silver is money.
(Brief interludes of paper money occured as emergency issue during periods of war when precious metal was unavailable (US Revolution and Civil War periods) This money quickly became worthless and was replaced with gold and silver.)
1921 Post World War 1, The London Ultimatum of 1921 demanded Germany pay reparations in gold of 132 billion goldmarks which was far more than the total German gold and foreign exchange. Germany began to print money and issue coins of worthless base metal with nominal values. Hyperinflation led to a total collapse of the German economy.
1921-1933 World Wide. Gold is money. Silver is money. Paper money is convertible on demand into gold and silver.
1933 -45. US at the depth of the Great Depression the US iniated a Gold Confiscation. Private citizens were forced to turn their gold in to the Government, in the hopes of using paper to expand the monetary base and pay off national debt. The Depression persisted nevertheless through to World War II.
1945 -1971 World wide. Gold and Silver are theoretically still money though through the Bretton Woods agreement all currencies are convertible into the US dollar which is then convertible into gold.
1971. Nixon closes the gold window. Paper is money. Gold and silver become secondary currencies. Each economic shock during this period has been met with ever greater sums of paper money. Worldwide debt explodes from about 50 Million Dollars in 1970 to the billions to the trillions and is now measured in hundreds of Trillions. At the same time 90 percent of global wealth has become concentrated in the hands of 1 percent of the world citizens.
FIVE THOUSAND YEARS OF WORLD HISTORY. GOLD AND SILVER HAVE BEEN EXCLUSIVE MONEY THROUGHOUT FOUR THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED AND FORTY OF THOSE YEARS. EVERY EXPERIMENT IN PAPER HAS ENDED IN A CYCLE OF DEBT - INFLATION - DEFLATION - DEPRESSION.
WILL THIS TIME BE DIFFERENT?