Blogs: Ralph J. Benko
Olympic gold medals are silver with just a patina of gold. The last solid gold gold medal was awarded in 1912.
1912 Olympic Gold Medal courtesy of AmericanHeritage1.com
As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes in a story entitled "Olympic medals miss gold standard":
The coveted first prize medals are actually made of silver and plated with a micro-thin layer of gold to distinguish them from the silver and bronze awards.
This year's gold medals are the largest and heaviest ever produced -- 4 inches in diameter, 0.4 inches thick and weighing 1 pound each. If they were solid gold, each one would be worth about $21,500 at today's prices. Since they actually contain only 6 grams of gold layered on top of 525 grams of silver, they're worth about $550.
The last time athletes in Olympic games received solid gold medals was at the 1912 summer games in Stockholm, Sweden, more than a century ago, according to the website Resource Investor.
There has long been a dispute as to whether Keynes's attribution to Lenin of the statement that “the best way to destroy the capitalist system [is] to debauch the currency” was authentic or apocryphal. It has been resolved.
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress
Research by two eminent monetary scholars, Michael V. White and Kurt Schuler published in a 2009 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives as Retrospectives: Who Said “Debauch the Currency”: Keynes or Lenin? concludes that Keynes’s attribution to Lenin was authentic.
They introduce the controversy by noting:
"Nearly 60 years later, the economist and economic historian Frank W. Fetter (1977, pp. 77, 78) observed that “the story [about Lenin’s remarks] has circulated among economists, journalists, businessmen, politicians and bankers” since then. Fetter doubted, however, that Keynes was really quoting Lenin. After extensive inquiries, Fetter reported that no such statement could be found in Lenin’s published writings and that the “first attribution in English, and probably in any language,” was by Keynes.
Given the hostility of classical liberals both to Lenin and Keynes it is of more than passing interest to note, as did the scholars, Lenin's use of, and hostility toward, Keynes who he termed "British philistine," observing that Keynes had "arrived at conclusions which are more weighty, more striking and more instructive than any a Communist revolutionary could draw."
Lenin argued that Keynes had concluded that “Europe and the whole world are headed for bankruptcy. He has resigned, and thrown his book in the government’s face with the words: ‘what you are doing is madness.’” Lenin (1920 , pp. 220, 227) approved of Keynes’s proposals for settling intergovernmental debt, sardonically suggesting that they were equivalent to the Soviet government’s: “As you know . . . these [Russian] debts do not disturb us, because we followed Keynes’s excellent advice just a little before his book appeared—we annulled all our debts (Stormy applause.)”
George Washington, in a letter to Edmund Pendleton, Esq, dated Nov. 1, 1779 made an passionate critique of the "depreciation of our Money."
Image courtesy of nationalcurrencyfoundation.org
General Washington leveled an indictment of speculators who he anathematized as 'black gentry" ... here transcribed at Wikiquote:
... but I am under no apprehension of a capital injury from ay other source than that of the continual depreciation of our Money. This indeed is truly alarming, and of so serious a nature that every other effort is in vain unless something can be done to restore its credit. .... Where this has been the policy (in Connecticut for instance) the prices of every article have fallen and the money consequently is in demand; but in the other States you can scarce get a single thing for it, and yet it is with-held from the public by speculators, while every thing that can be useful to the public is engrossed by this tribe of black gentry, who work more effectually against us that the enemys Arms; and are a hundd. times more dangerous to our liberties and the great cause we are engaged in.
Curiously, according to Wikiquote, this quotation was tampered with to create: "a classic anti-semitic hoax, evidently begun during or just before World War Two by American Nazi sympathizers, and since then has been repeated, for example, in foreign propaganda directed at Americans. In fact it is knitted from two separate letters by Washington, in reverse chronology, neither of them mentioning Jews."
Of course, Washington, author of an iconic letter to the Jews of Newport sanctioned no bigotry. But his hostility to the speculators, "this tribe of black gentry, who work more effectually against us that the enemys Arms; and are a hundd. times more dangerous to our liberties and the great cause we are engaged in" is not a matter of religious or any other form of bigotry.
It is a tribute to George Washington's integrity.
The capital city named after him would do well to emulate the kind of integrity in monetary affairs he commanded.
Horace White, on June 20 1893, addressed the Congress of Bankers and Financiers at Chicago. His topic, "The Gold Standard. How it came into the world and why it will stay. A historical sketch with some practical reflections thereon."
Horace White. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
"As a reporter for the Chicago Tribune he accompanied Abraham Lincoln in 1858 in his campaign against Stephen A. Douglas, his account being published in Herndon's Life of Lincoln. As a result, he became friends with Lincoln and Henry Villard. Villard was covering the debates for the New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung. In 1861, White became the Washington correspondent of the Tribune. He headed a syndicate for the publication of Civil War news during 1864. From 1864 to 1874 he was editor in chief and one of the owners of the Chicago Tribune."
The most impressive fact in the world of finance is
After devoting approximately 28 pages to a meticulous historical study of the adoption of the gold standard in various jurisdictions, White observes:
If we find a movement of civilized mankind going
White's arguments may well have helped hold back the "free coinage of silver" movement which propelled William Jennings Bryan into the national spotlight.
Yet White could not and did not foresee the far off approach of the breakdown of the world's classical liberal order that would burst upon the world on June 28, 1914 with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.
Nor could he foresee the ensuing rapid descent into the hell of the Great War. Or the prompt shattering of of the classical gold standard, a monetary order that had brought unequaled prosperity to the workers of the world.
The world, a century later, still is emerging from the anarchy unleashed by Gavro Princips hail of lead.
On January 13th, the Senate's #2 Republican, John Cornyn (R-Tx)...
Sen. John Cornyn Official Portrait
... and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tx), chairman of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, published an op-ed in the Washington Times entitled The Federal Reserve needs a 100-year checkup. It describes their proposed Centennial Monetary Commission.
Some select observations:
Maintaining the purchasing power of the dollar is critical to a strong U.S. economy and to the economic well-being of middle-class American families. The Constitution grants Congress power over our nation’s currency. One hundred years ago, Congress assigned this responsibility to the Federal Reserve. The Fed’s centennial anniversary, reached last month, marks an appropriate time for a constructive and bipartisan review of America’s central bank’s performance over its first century and the proper role for the Fed in the future.
History proves that a sound and stable dollar is the best foundation for robust economic growth.
Most importantly, what is the best role and rules for the Federal Reserveto ensure America remains the strongest economy on earth through the 21st century? These are the thoughtful issues and long-term view the members of the Centennial Monetary Commission would address. Both Republicans and Democrats have a common interest in getting monetary policy right. Good monetary policy provides the foundation for a strong economy that is essential to eliminating our fiscal deficit. Given the centennial and the experience of the recent crisis, there has never been a more appropriate time to re-examine the Fed’s role in American life.
The prime sponsorship by Mr. Cornyn in the Senate of Centennial Monetary Commission legislation is a signal, and perhaps watershed, event. It promises a thorough, empirical, overdue reassessment of monetary policy and review of which monetary policies have been most conducive to fostering a climate of equitable prosperity, job creation, and deficit reduction.
BY RALPH J. BENKO: