Doug Casey on Gold
September 23, 2009
Louis: Doug, we’ve talked about cars, cows, and cash, but the investment world thinks of you as a gold bug, so let’s give that a go. Why gold?
Doug: Sure. First of all, it’s because gold is actually money. It’s an unfortunate historical anomaly that people think about the paper in their wallets as money. The dollar is, technically, a currency. A currency is a government substitute for money. Gold is money.
Now, why do I say that?
Historically, many things have been used as money. Cattle have been used as money in many societies, including Roman society. That’s where we get the word pecuniary: The Latin word for a cow is pecus. Salt has been used as money, also including in ancient Rome, and that’s where the word salary comes from: The Latin for salt was sal (or salis). The North American Indians used seashells. Cigarettes were used during World War II. So, money is simply a medium of exchange and a store of value.
By that definition, almost anything could be used as money, but obviously, some things work better than others; it’s hard to exchange things people don’t want, and some things don’t store value well. Over thousands of years, the precious metals have emerged as the best form of money. Gold and silver both, though primarily gold.
There are very good reasons for this, and they are not new reasons. Aristotle defined five reasons why gold is money in the fourth century BC (which may only have been the first time it was put ...