Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gold Through the Ages

I've never been on the "CONSTANTLY INVEST IN GOLD ALL OF THE TIME!" bandwagon that seems to exist for some inexplicable reason, nor have I decided whether or not I like the idea of a gold standard, in theory or practice. I like the idea of the Dollar being pegged to something, but I've always been worried that there's nothing stopping everyone from collectively realizing that gold isn't actually useful for anything. I was chatting with a buddy of mine over beers last week, and when I mentioned my trepidation about the intrinsic, actual worth of gold, he said something I found interesting. This friend of mine, I should say in advance, is a big gold standard advocate, so you may have to take this with a grain of salt, but here's, basically, the point that he made (I'm paraphrasing here, I don't typically carry around a tape recorder when I'm having beers with a friend):
  • In Ancient Rome, an ounce of gold would buy you the nicest hand woven cloth garment, likely died a beautiful and uncommon color.
  • In Viking times, an ounce of gold would buy you a coat of soft, warm, and sturdy furs well made and stitched together with intricate designs and fastened with beautiful artisanal leather work.
  • In the Wild West, an ounce of gold would buy you a Wyatt Earp type three piece suit with a frilly shirt imported from France and a perfectly steamed fur-felt cowboy hat.
  • Today, an ounce of gold will buy you a beautiful, custom tailored Armani suit with a silk neck tie.
The more things change...

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