The Case for Gold (LFB) by Ron Paul, Lewis Lehrman
This book remains the most eloquent statement for fundamental monetary reform ever penned. The Case for Gold is the minority report of the US Gold Commission, and lays out a thorough and comprehensive defense of sound money. Today, The Case for Gold remains a timeless piece of scholarship, offering successive generations both a prescient warning and a path to sound currency and a stable US dollar.
Ron Paul wrote a special foreword to this release just for the Laissez Faire Club. As he writes, "The need for reform has never been more urgent. I’m pleased that a revived Laissez Faire Books, an institution I depended on to provide literature in my early years in Congress, is bringing out a new edition of The Case for Gold to teach money and banking to a new generation and to show the path forward. The case for reform is fundamentally the same today as it was when it was first published. The principles never change. Freedom and sound money are inseparable. Money must be returned to the people to manage and be taken away from the government and its planning apparatus at the central bank. Socialism works in no area of life. Freedom works in every area."
This edition also includes an important appendix with detailed commentary by Lewis Lehrman from his Congressional testimony of Sept. 21, 2012. This addition brings the analysis up to date.
After Nixon cut the last strands of the US dollar’s tether to gold in 1971, price inflation exploded. In 1980, with the CPI running 12.5-15%, Sen. Jesse Helms was able to get a bill calling for the Gold Commission passed. The 17-member commission initially met in September 1981. The four-hour meeting produced nothing but arguments. “We can’t even agree on the historical facts,” Treasury Secretary Donald Regan told the press at the time.
The commission was stacked with monetarists and Keynesians who were hostile to gold. The only two pro-gold members were businessman Lewis Lehrman and Congressman Paul. In the end, despite President Ronald Reagan reportedly being sympathetic, the commission formally voted against reviving a gold standard. The fiat money orthodoxy remained. The vote was, as Ron Paul wrote, “a foregone conclusion.” But the commission was not all for naught. This book arose from those meetings.
Lehrman and Paul were fighting an uphill battle. They had to assemble a bulletproof case for a return to gold, and this book is that case. This issue is white-hot again after years of Federal Reserve monetary pumping. The gold discussion is no longer the territory of just conspiracy theorists and historians.
The continual monetary expansion during the 30 years since the Gold Commission met and rejected gold has seen a continual string of asset bubbles and ruinous crashes. Stocks, real estate, commodities, art, and so on have all taken turns at being the focus of money-induced manias, only to crash spectacularly, in turn destroying both precious capital and people’s savings and livelihoods.
Why gold, you ask? The authors didn’t choose it. The market picked gold centuries ago. The yellow metal emerged as best for indirect exchange. It is after all, marketable, divisible, portable, stable in value, durable, recognizable, and homogenous. The perfect money.
The use of paper money is only continued under the boot of government force and coercion.
The blueprint for change was written 30 years ago. The Case for Gold deserves a real second chance.
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