Cowboys and Aliens and Jerusalem 700 BC

The new Spielberg/Favreau movie, Cowboys and Aliens, tells a story about a town named "Absolution ... about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known."  Arguably, it is a political allegory about Republicans (cowboys) vs Progressives (aliens) much as James Cameron's blockbuster Avatar was an allegory of environmentalism. 


But its interest, here, has nothing to do with its politics.  The movie is predicated on the aliens' motivation to get gold:  "Aliens, in this film, come to earth for a specific purpose rather than invading the whole of humanity. We are told that these aliens want ‘gold’, so they steal anything which is made out of gold – coins, shields and they even resort to extracting gold directly from earth deep in the mountains."

Gold holds such an enduring fascination for the human imagination that finds its way even into the predicate of a science fiction movie.  Conversely, the 1951 science fiction classic Foundation, by Isaac Asimov, posits a planet on which the currency is forged not of precious metals but of stainless steel.  From pages 48-49 of the Doubleday edition: 

"Let's get back to business," urged Hardin.  "How would you take these so-called taxes, your eminence?  Would you take them in kind: wheat, potatoes, vegetables, cattle?"  The sub-prefect stared.  "What the devil?  What do we need with those?  We've got hefty surpluses.  Gold, of course.  Chromium or vanadium would be even better, incidentally, if you have it in quantity."  Hardin laughed.  "Quantity!  We haven't even got iron in quantity.  Gold!  Here, take a look at our currency."  He tossed a coin to the envoy.  Haut Rodric bounced it and stared.  "What is it?  Steel?"  "That's right.""  "I don't understand." 

In 1951, an iconic novel by one of the three most famous science fiction writers of the era considered that the oddest and most alien concept for currency would be to forge it from base metal. 

Odd how science fiction so often anticipates reality.  And how reality often repeats itself.  As the prophet Isaiah wrote, around 700 BC, complaining of Israel's debased standards, "thy silver is become dross."   That is, its coinage was adulterated with base metal:

 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.

 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:

 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto  them.

In every era, past, present or most distantly imagined future, gold connotes value and integrity.

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The Most Important Thing Holding Up the US Dollar

by Ron Paul

Today’s economic conditions reflect a fiat monetary system held together by many tricks and luck over the past 40 years. The world has been awash in paper money since removal of the last vestige of the gold standard by Richard Nixon when he buried the Bretton Woods agreement — the gold exchange standard — on August 15, 1971.

Since then we’ve been on a worldwide paper dollar standard. Quite possibly we are seeing the beginning of the end of that system. If so, tough times are ahead for the United States and the world economy.

Yellen’s Missing Jobs

March 31, 2014

The new Federal Reserve chairman, Janet Yellen, gave a policy speech today at Chicago, where, in a startling gesture, she mentioned three working individuals by name — Jermaine Brownlee, Vicki Lira, and Doreen Poole. They lost their jobs the Great Recession and have been struggling ever since. It was a refreshing, even affecting demarche by Mrs. Yellen, who has made a return to full employment a public priority. She underscored her sincerity by telephoning Mr. Brownlee and Ms. Lira and Ms. Poole before delivering her speech.

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The Rueffian SynthesisJohn D. Mueller

Publisher's Note: Originally released in June/July of 1991, this detailed report discusses Jacques Rueff's economic theories and applies them to modern economic events.

By John D. Mueller

Who Was Jacques Rueff?

... Trained in science and mathematics at the Ecole Polytechnique, Rueff devoted his first theoretical work to showing that the same scientific method applies to “moral” or “social” sciences like economics as to the physical sciences (Des Sciences Physiques aux Sciences Morales, 1922). In both cases, he pointed out, individual acts can be “indeterminate,” but the pattern of large numbers of individual acts can be predicted as a matter of probability. And so in economics no less than physics, as he later wrote, “A scientific theory is considered correct only if it makes forecasting possible.”

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Excerpts From:

by Lewis E. Lehrman

"Forerunners of man lived upon the planet several million years ago. But the unique, modern, social order of man – civilization – emerged only four to five thousand years ago. Historical and archaeological evidence suggests that the institution of money evolved coterminously with civilization. From the standpoint of the 100,000-year history of Homo sapiens, civilization and money are but young and fragile reeds. Today their very existence is threatened by financial disorder."

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Passing Pesos

Kathleen Packard  |  Apr 16, 2014
The New York Times’ Jonathan Gilbert reported: “Argentines endured price rises of nearly 30 percent last year, according to an unofficial index published by opposition politicians; the government, which has been accused of manipulating economic data in the past, claims inflation reached only 10.9 percent in 2013. In 2014, inflation...

From Virgil to Keynes to Krugman

Ralph J. Benko  |  Apr 15, 2014
Virgil, in Book 3, line 56 of the Aeneid, Polymnestor kills Polydorus. Engraving de Bauer for Ovid's Metamorphoses reflecting upon the the treacherous murder of Polydorus: Quid non mortalia pectora cogis, Auri sacra fames? Fell lust of gold!  abhorred, accurst! What will not men to slake such thirst? (translated by John Conington) The phrase "auri sacra...
Jacques Rueff, a key figure in European economic circles from the 1930s until the 1970s, was, first and foremost, an...
Apr 26, 2011
Key Monetary Writings
Lewis E. Lehrman

Monetary Reform: The Key to Spending Restraint

Paul Ryan's plan won't succeed without legislation to prevent the Federal Reserve from monetizing the national debt. No man in America...
Prosperity Through Gold
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