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Somewhere in 18th century Scotland, a writer is making the rationalist case against gold and silver. I’ll conjecture such a counterpoint rebuttal to precious metal coinage (and convertibility of notes) has appeared on occasion during the entire 5000 year history of gold’s employment as money, if not longer.
Indeed, a modern version of the argument can be found today. You know the bullet points: gold has no earnings, no yield, cannot be valued by any reasonable metric, and is nothing more than a hunk of inanimate metal. More to the point of the rationalists is that gold has little value in use, and may actually be a religious object. Thus, gold trades in the medium of signs and symbols, and once discovered as such, will come in for a brutal puncturing. The problem I have with this argument is as follows: it’s irrational.