Gold and the Grave Dancers

Back in the 1960s, Alan Greenspan wrote a well-known essay that to this day is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand the present-day monetary and economic system (which is a kind of “fascism lite” type of statism, masquerading as capitalism) and especially the almost visceral hate etatistes harbor toward gold. Greenspan’s essay is entitled “Gold and Economic Freedom”, and as the title already suggests, the two are intimately connected.


Alan Greenspan in the mid 1970s – although he later turned out to be a sell-out, his understanding of economics undoubtedly dwarfed that of his successors at the Fed (and we are not just saying this based on the essay discussed here).

Photo credit: Charles Kelly / AP Photo


What makes Greenspan’s essay especially noteworthy is that it manages to present both theory and history in a concise, easy to understand manner. There isn’t a word in it we would change. At one point, Greenspan provides a brief history lesson. Yes, the (relatively) free banking era in the United States in the 19th century involved fractional reserve banking and as a result, there were frequent boom and bust cycles. However, since there was no “lender of last resort” with an unlimited money printing capacity, these business cycles were sharp and brief, and the market economy quickly righted itself every time:


“A fully free banking system and fully consistent gold standard have not as yet been achieved. But prior to World War I, the banking system in the United States (and in most of the world) was based on gold and even though governments intervened occasionally, banking was more free than controlled. Periodically, as a result of overly rapid credit expansion, banks became loaned up to the limit of their gold reserves, interest rates rose sharply, new credit was cut

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