J. Pierpont Morgan’s straightforward answer to a question about gold during a Congressional hearing on a financial crisis is probably the best-known expression among precious metal enthusiasts.
“Gold is money.”
The legendary financier’s retort could have made an excellent title for this chapter, as it has for many essays on gold. Alternative inspiration comes from Aristotle, who wrote more than 2,300 years ago, “Money is a guarantee that we may have what we want in the future. Though we need nothing at the moment, it insures the possibility of satisfying a necessary desire when it arises.”
Aristotle clearly believed that the concept of money implied a guarantee of purchasing power, but paper money, as we know it, is ...