Guide to investing in gold & silver, 3

by Mike Maloney


Chapter Three:
Old Glory

I hope by now you’re beginning to see a pattern develop. In all the examples I’ve shown you so far (and there are plenty more), the pattern is the same:

  1. A sovereign state starts out with good money (i.e., money that is gold or silver, or backed fully by gold and silver).
  1. As it develops economically and socially, it begins to take on more and more economic burdens, adding layer upon layer of public works and social programs.
  1. As its economic affluence grows so does its political influence, and it increases expenditures to fund a massive military.
  1. Eventually it puts its military to use, and expenditures explode.
  1. To fund the war, the costliest of mankind’s endeavors, it steals the wealth of its people by replacing their money with currency that can be created in unlimited quantities. It does this either at the outbreak of the war (as in the case of World War I), during the war or wars (as in the cases of Athens and Rome), or as a perceived solution to the economic ravages of previous wars (as in the case of John Law’s France).
  1. Finally, the wealth transfer caused by expansion of the currency supply is felt by the population as severe consumer price inflation, triggering a loss of faith in the currency.
  1. An en masse movement out of the currency into precious metals and other tangible assets takes place, the currency collapses, and massive wealth is transferred to those who had enough foresight to accumulate gold and silver early on.

But surely something like this can’t happen to the United States, you might say. We are, after all, the greatest country in the history of the world. Beyond that we aren’t an empire. We don’t conquer nations; we spread democracy.

We may not be an empire in the traditional sense of the word, but when it comes to economic issues, we operate like one in many ways. This is why I believe that not only will the United States decline and see its dollar crash; it’s already on its way. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see how the United States got to this point in history.
Dread the Fed, the Golden Rule is dead

The beginning of the end for the United States economy started with the inception of the Federal Reserve. The Fed, as it’s called, is a private bank, separate from the U.S. government, with the power to dictate our country’s fiscal policy. Since the Fed’s formation, the U.S. dollar has become nothing but currency.

From roughly 1871 to 1914, when World War I began, most of the developed world operated under what is referred to as the classical gold standard, meaning most of the world’s currencies were pegged to gold. This meant that they were also pegged to each other. Businesspeople could make plans and projections far into the future, ship goods, start businesses, and invest in foreign lands, and they always knew exactly what the exchange rate would be.

On average over the period when the developed world was on the classical gold standard, there was no inflation… none, zero zip, nada. Sure, there were a few booms and busts, inflations and deflations. But from the beginning of the classical gold standard to the end, it averaged out as a zero sum game. The reason? Gold: the great equalizer.

Here’s why: When countries experienced economic booms, they imported more goods. The imported goods were paid for with gold, so gold flowed out. As gold flowed out of the countries, their currency supplies contracted (that is monetary deflation). This caused these economies to slow down and the demand for imports to fall. As the economy slowed, prices fell, making these countries’ goods more attractive to foreign buyers. And as exports rose to meet foreign demand, gold flowed back into that country. Then the process started all over again, the value of currency—based on gold—always moving up and down, in a narrow range, maintaining the equilibrium.

During the classical gold standard our currency was real, verifiable money, meaning that there was actual gold and silver in the Treasury backing it up. The currency was just a receipt for the money. Then, in stepped the Fed, one of the most notorious and misunderstood institutions in the history of the United States.

The difficulty with the Fed is that there’s a lot of information out there, which is one reason why it’s so controversial. There are two very polarized camps when it comes to the Fed. On one end you have the government, which trusts it to regulate the U.S. economy. On the other end, you have the conspiracy theorists, who believe, in no uncertain terms, that the Fed will eventually bring about the collapse of the U.S. economy.

Well, I’m here to tell you these “crackpots” are not as crazy as they may seem. For one thing, the Federal Reserve is not a government agency. It is a privately owned bank that has stockholders to whom it pays dividends. It has the power to actually create currency from nothing, and it is shielded from audits and congressional oversight. As former senator and presidential contender Barry Goldwater pointed out, “The accounts of the Federal Reserve System have never been audited. It operates outside the control of Congress and manipulates the credit of the United States.”
Not so humble beginnings

Famed Austrian School economist Murray N. Rothbard, the vice president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, distinguished professor of economics, and author of twenty-six books, opens his book The Case Against the Fed with the following:

By far the most secret and least accountable operation of the federal government is not, as one might expect, the CIA, DIA, or some other super-secret intelligence agency. The CIA and other intelligence operations are under control of Congress. They are accountable: a Congressional committee supervises these operations, controls their budgets, and is informed of their covert activities.

The Federal Reserve, however, is accountable to no one; it has no budget; it is subject to no audit; and no Congressional committee knows of, or can truly supervise, its operations. The Federal Reserve, virtually in total control of the nation’s monetary system, is accountable to nobody.

Here’s how it all got started. You might call this the not so humble beginning.

In 1907 there was a banking and stock market panic in the U.S., aptly called the Panic of 1907. It was widely believed that the big New York banks known as the Money Trust had been causing crashes, and then capitalizing on them by buying up stocks from rattled investors and selling them for tremendous profit just days or weeks later. The Panic of 1907 was a particularly devastating one for the U.S. economy, and there was an outcry by the general public for the government to do something.

In 1908 Congress created the National Monetary Commission to research the situation, and to recommend banking reforms that would prevent such panics, as well as to investigate the Money Trust. Senator Nelson Aldrich was appointed chairman, and immediately set out for Europe, spending two years and $300,000 (that’s $6 million adjusted for inflation) to consult with the private central bankers of England, France, and Germany.

Upon his return, Senator Aldrich decided to take some time off and organized a duck hunt with some friends. The friends he invited on vacation with him were the who’s who of U.S. economic power, the very New York bankers he was supposed to be investigating: Paul Warburg (Kuhn, Loeb & Company), Abraham Pete Andrew (assistant secretary of the treasury), Frank Vanderlip (president of the Rockefeller-lead National City Bank of New York), Henry P. Davison (senior partner at J. P. Morgan), Charles D. Norton (president of the Morgan-led First National Bank of New York), and Benjamin Strong (head of J. P. Morgan Bankers Trust, and to become the first Federal Reserve head).

It is estimated that these men represented one quarter of the world’s wealth. The retreat took place on a little island off the coast of Georgia called Jekyll Island. But there wasn’t much duck hunting; instead Aldrich and his distinguished guests spent nine days around a table hatching a plan that eventually created the Federal Reserve.

Here is what some of the attendees had to say about that meeting:

Picture a party of the nation’s greatest bankers stealing out of New York on a private railroad car under cover of darkness, stealthily hieing hundreds of miles South, embarking on a mysterious launch, sneaking on to an island deserted by all but a few servants, living there a full week under such rigid secrecy that the names of not one of them was once mentioned lest the servants learn the identity and disclose to the world this strangest, most secret expedition in the history of American finance.

I am not romancing. I am giving to the world, for the first time, the real story of how the famous Aldrich currency report, the foundation of our new currency system, was written.

B. C. Forbes, Forbes magazine, 1916

The results of the conference were entirely confidential. Even the fact there had been a meeting was not permitted to become public. Though eighteen years have since gone by, I do not feel free to give a description of this most interesting conference concerning which Senator Aldrich pledged all participants to secrecy.

Paul Warburg, The Federal Reserve System: Its Origin and Growth

There was an occasion, near the close of 1910, when I was as secretive, indeed, as furtive, as any conspirator. I do not feel it is any exaggeration to speak of our secret expedition to Jekyll Island as the occasion of the actual conception of what eventually became the Federal Reserve System. We were told to leave our last names behind us… We were instructed to come one at a time and as unobtrusively as possible to the railroad terminal on the New Jersey littoral of the Hudson, where Senator Aldrich’s private car would be in readiness… The servants and train crew may have known the identities of one or two of us, but they did not know all, and it was the names of all printed together that would have made our mysterious journey significant in Washington, in Wall Street, even in London. Discovery, we knew, simply must not happen, or else all our time and effort would be wasted. If it were to be exposed publicly that our particular group had got together and written a banking bill, that bill would have no chance whatever of passage by Congress.

Frank Vanderlip, in The Saturday Evening Post, February 9, 1935

Secrecy was so important to the attendees of this summit because Aldrich, as the chairman of the National Monetary Commission, was charged with investigating banking practices and recommending reforms after the Panic of 1907, not to conspire with the bankers on a remote island. So the bankers who were under investigation for needed reforms got together with the chairman of the congressional investigating committee (the guy that was supposed to investigate the suspects) at a secret meeting on an isolated island and concocted a bill, the Aldrich Plan, for a private central bank that they (the suspects) would own. When the bill was presented to Congress, the debates raged.

In one debate, Congressman Charles Lindbergh was quoted as saying, “Our financial system is a false one and a huge burden on the people. I have alleged that there is a Money Trust. The Aldrich Plan is a scheme plainly in the interest of the Trust. Why does the Money Trust press so hard for the Aldrich Plan now, before the people know what the Money Trust has been doing?”

But the Aldrich Plan never came to a vote in Congress, because it was a Republican-backed bill and the Republicans lost control of the House in 1910, and the Senate in 1912.

Not accepting defeat, the bankers essentially took the Aldrich Plan and changed a few details. In 1913 a nearly identical bill, called the Federal Reserve Act, was presented to Congress.

Again the debates raged. Many saw this bill for what it was: a prettied-up version of the Aldrich Plan. But on December 22, 1913, Congress gave up its right to coin money and regulate the value thereof, which was given it by the Constitution, and passed that right to a private corporation, the Federal Reserve.

The Fed and the death of the dollar—fractional reserve banking

Since the Fed opened for business in 1914, the currency of the United States (the U.S. dollar) has been borrowed into existence from a private bank (the Fed). The reason I say “borrowed” into existence is because every single dollar the Fed has ever created is owed back to that bank, with interest. The Fed creates all currency, not the U.S. government, and lends it out to the U.S. government and private institutions—with interest. Now you may be asking yourself, “If we pay back all the currency that was borrowed into existence, but we still owe the interest, where do we get the currency to pay the interest?” Answer: We have to borrow it into existence. This is one reason why the national debt keeps expanding. It can never be paid off. It is mathematically impossible.

But even more disconcerting is the way the Federal Reserve creates currency:

  1. It makes loans to the government or banking system by writing a bad check.
  1. It buys something with a bad check.

In the Fed’s own words, published in a 1977 paper called Putting It Simply, “When you or I write a check there must be sufficient funds in our account to cover the check, but when the Federal Reserve writes a check there is no bank deposit on which that check is drawn. When the Federal Reserve writes a check, it is creating money” Of course, as you know by now, I would beg to differ. They are creating currency, not money.

And once those newly created dollars are deposited in the banks, the banks get to employ the miracle of fractional reserve banking.

Here is fractional reserve banking in a nutshell. All banks have a reserve requirement, meaning they must keep a certain amount of currency on hand for withdrawals and such. If the reserve requirement set by the Fed is 10 percent the bank must keep 10 percent of the currency deposited on hand just in case someone wants to make a withdrawal; however, they are allowed to loan out the other 90 percent of those deposits.

Here’s the kicker. They don’t actually loan out the currency that’s in the accounts. Instead they create new fiat dollars out of nothing and then loan them out, which means they too are “borrowed” into existence. In other words, when you deposit $1,000, the bank can create 900 brand-new credit dollars with nothing but a book entry, and then loan them out with interest.

Then, if those brand-new loaned dollars are deposited in a checking account, the bank is allowed to create another 90 percent of the value of those deposits, and then another 90 percent of that. Then the process is repeated, and round and round it goes.

Coincidentally, the same year that the Federal Reserve Act was passed, there was also an amendment added to the Constitution: the Sixteenth, which created the dreaded income tax.

Before 1913 there was no income tax. The entire government was paid for by tariffs (duties on imports) and excise tax (taxes on things like alcohol, cigarettes, and gas). These taxes, and only these taxes, generated enough income for the government to operate. However, because it didn’t generate enough income to pay the interest due to the Federal Reserve, the income tax was created.

To review:

  • Since 1914, we’ve borrowed every dollar into existence.
  • We pay interest on every dollar in existence.
  • That interest is paid to a private bank, the Federal Reserve.
  • The world’s largest banks, not the government, own the Federal Reserve.
  • The United States can’t pay off its debt… it can only borrow more to pay the interest.
  • Our government created income tax so we can pay this interest.

Welcome to the rabbit hole. Welcome to your new context.

Guide to investing in gold & silver, 2

by Mike Maloney


Chapter Two:
The wealth of nations

In studying monetary history to identify cycles, it is necessary to examine both sides of the coin so to speak. The temptation is for people to blame all their woes on their government. Certainly governments are often at fault when it comes to inflation through fiat monetary policy, but one must never forget that in the end we are ultimately the ones who consent to our government’s rule. History is full of examples of greed leading a populace to do incredibly stupid things. Indeed, we don’t need government to ruin our economy. We can get by just fine by ourselves, thank you.

The best example I can think of is the tulip mania of 1637.

A tulip is still a tulip…

In order to understand the absurdity of this moment in history I’m about to share with you, you simply have to ask yourself: Would I pay $1.8 million for a tulip bulb? If the answer to that question is yes, then please put this book down and get some professional help. Otherwise, read on and see just how crazy the public can become.

Everyone thinks of tulips when they think of Holland. Then they think of beer. What many people don’t know is that tulips are not indigenous to Holland. They were imported. In 1593 the first tulip bulbs were brought from Turkey to Holland. They quickly became a status symbol for royalty and the wealthy. This developed into a mania, and soon a tulip exchange was established in Amsterdam.

Very quickly this mania turned into an economic bubble. You may find this comical; in 1636 a single tulip bulb of the Viceroy variety was traded for the following: 2 lasts (a last is 4,000 pounds) of wheat, 4 lasts of rye, 4 fat oxen, 8 fat swine, 12 fat sheep, 2 hogsheads (140 gallon wooden barrel) of wine, 4 tons of beer, 2 tons of butter, 1,000 pounds of cheese, 1 bed, 1 suit of clothes, and 1 silver goblet.

At its very peak in 1637 a single bulb of the Semper Augustus variety was sold for 6,000 florins. The average yearly wage in Holland at the time was 150 florins. That means that tulip bulbs were selling for 40 times the average Hollander’s annual income. To put that into perspective, let’s assume the average U.S. salary is $45,000. That means that a tulip bulb in today’s terms would cost you $1.8 million.

Soon people began to realize how absolutely crazy the situation had become, and the smart money (if you can call anyone involved in this mania smart) began to sell. Within weeks tulip bulb prices fell to their real value, which was several tulip bulbs for just one florin.

The financial devastation that swept across northern Europe as a result of this market crash lasted for decades.

John Law and central banking

Another great example of a society replacing its money with an ever inflating currency supply is the story of John Law. John Law’s life was a true roller-coaster ride of epic proportions.

Born the son of a Scottish goldsmith and banker, John Law was a bright boy with high mathematical aptitude. He grew up to be quite a gambler and ladies’ man, and lost most of his family fortune in the course of his exploits. At one point, he got into a fight over a woman and his opponent challenged him to a duel. He shot his opponent dead, was arrested, tried, and sentenced to hang. Being the knave that he was, Law escaped from prison and fled to France.

Meanwhile, Louis XIV was running France deeply into debt due to war mongering and his lavish lifestyle. John Law, who was now living in Paris, became a gambling buddy with the Duke d’Orleans, and it was at about this time that Law published an economic paper promoting the benefits of paper currency.

When Louis XIV died, his successor, Louis XV was only eleven years old. The Duke d’Orleans was placed as regent (temporary king), and to his horror he found out that France was so deep in debt that taxes didn’t even cover the interest payments on that debt. Law, sensing opportunity, showed up at the royal court with two papers for his friend blaming the problems of France on insufficient currency and expounding the virtues of paper currency. On May 15, 1716, John Law was given a bank (Banque Générale) and the right to issue paper currency, and there began Europe’s foray into paper currency.

The slightly increased currency supply brought a new vitality to the economy, and John Law was hailed as a financial genius. As a reward the Duke d’Orleans granted Law the rights to all trade from France’s Louisiana Territory in America. The Louisiana Territory was a huge area comprising about 30 percent of what is now the United States, stretching from Canada to the mouth of the Mississippi River.

At that time, it was believed that Louisiana was rich in gold, and John Law’s new Mississippi Company, with the exclusive rights to trade from this territory, quickly became the richest company in France. John Law wasted no time capitalizing on the public’s confidence in his company’s prospects and issued 200,000 company shares. Shortly after that the share price exploded, rising by more than 30 times in a period of months. Just imagine, in a few short years, Law went from a gambling addict and penniless murderer to one of the most powerful financial figures in Europe.

Again, Law was rewarded. This time the Duke bestowed upon him and his companies a monopoly on the sale of tobacco, the sole right to refine and coin silver and gold, and he made Law’s bank the Banque Royale. Law was now at the helm of France’s central bank.

Now that his bank was the royal bank of France it meant that the government backed his new paper notes, just as our government backs the Federal Reserve’s paper notes. And since everything was going so well, the Duke asked John Law to issue even more notes, and Law, agreeing that there is no such thing as too much of a good thing, obliged. The government spent foolishly and recklessly while Law was pacified with gifts, honors, and titles.

Yes, things were going quite well. So well, in fact, that the Duke thought that if this much currency brought so much prosperity, then twice as much would be even better. Just a couple of years earlier the government couldn’t even pay the interest on its debt, and now, not only had it paid off its debt, but it could also spend as much currency as it wanted. All it had to do was print it.

As a reward for Law’s service to France, the Duke passed an edict granting the Mississippi Company the exclusive right to trade in the East Indies, China, and the South Seas. Upon hearing this news, Law decided to issue 50,000 new shares of the Mississippi Company. When he made the new stock offer, more than 300,000 applications were made for the new shares. Among them were dukes, marquises, counts, and duchesses, all waiting to get their shares. Law’s solution to the problem was to issue 300,000 shares instead of the 50,000 he was originally planning, a 500 percent increase in the total number of shares.

Paris was booming due to the rampant stock speculation and the increased currency supply. All the shops were full, there was an abundance of new luxury goods, and the streets were bustling. As Charles Mackay puts it in his book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, “New houses were built in every direction, and an illusory prosperity shone over the land, and so dazzled the eyes of the whole nation, that none could see the dark cloud on the horizon announcing the storm that was too rapidly approaching.”

Soon, however, problems started to crop up. Due to the inflation of the currency supply, prices started to skyrocket. Real estate values and rents, for instance, increased 20-fold.

Law also began to feel the effects of the rampant inflation he had helped create. With the next stock issue of the Mississippi Company, Law offended the Prince de Conti when he refused to issue him shares at the price the royal wanted. Furious, the Prince sent three wagons to the bank to cash in all of his paper currency and Mississippi stock. He was paid with three wagonloads-ful of gold and silver coin. The Duke d’Orleans, however, was incensed and demanded the Prince return the coin to the bank. Fearing that he’d never be able to set foot in Paris again, the Prince returned two of the three wagonloads.

This was a wake-up call to the public, and the “smart money” began to exit fast. People started converting their notes to coin, and bought anything of transportable value. Jewelry, silverware, gemstones, and coin were bought and sent abroad or hoarded.

In order to stop the bleeding, in February of 1720 the banks discontinued note redemption for gold and silver, and it was declared illegal to use gold or silver coin in payment. Buying jewelry, precious stones, or silverware was also outlawed. Rewards were offered of 50 percent of any gold or silver confiscated from those found in possession of such goods (payable in banknotes of course). The borders were closed and carriages searched. The prisons filled and heads rolled, literally.

Finally, the financial crisis came to a head. On May 27, the banks were closed and Law was dismissed from the ministry. Banknotes were devalued by 50 percent, and on June 10 the banks reopened and resumed redemption of the notes for gold at the new value. When the gold ran out, people were paid in silver. When the silver ran out, people were paid in copper. As you can imagine, the frenzy to convert paper back to coin was so intense that near riot conditions ensued. Gold and silver had delivered a knockout blow.

By then John Law was now the most reviled man in France. In a matter of months he went from arguably the most powerful and influential force in society back to the nobody he was before. Law fled to Venice where he resumed his life as a gambler, lamenting, “Last year I was the richest individual who ever lived. Today I have nothing, not even enough to keep alive.” He died broke, in Venice, in 1729.

The collapse of the Mississippi Company and Law’s fiat currency system plunged France and most of Europe into a horrible depression, which lasted for decades. But what astounds me most is that this all transpired in just four short years.

The Weimar Republic—a painful lesson learned

By now you’ve learned the kind of damage fiat currency can cause. Now let’s look at another example and identify the silver lining (no pun intended), and how such extreme situations can actually present opportunities to acquire vast wealth.

At the beginning of World War I, Germany went off the gold standard and suspended the right of its citizens to redeem their currency (the mark) for gold and silver. Like all wars, World War I was a war of and by the printing press. The number of marks in circulation in Germany quadrupled during the war. Prices, however, had not kept up with the inflation of the currency supply. So the effects of this inflation were not felt.

The reason for this peculiar phenomenon was because in times of uncertainty people tend to save every penny. World War I was definitely a time of uncertainty. So even though the German government was pumping tons of currency into the system, no one was spending it—yet. But by war’s end, confidence flooded back along with the currency that had been on the sidelines, and the ravaging effects worked their way through the country as prices rose to catch up with the previous monetary inflation.

Just before the end of the war, the exchange rate between gold and the mark was about 100 marks per ounce. But by 1920 it was fluctuating between 1,000 and 2,000 marks per ounce. Retail prices shortly followed suit, rising by 10 to 20 times. Anyone who still had the savings they had accumulated during the war was bewildered when they found it could only buy 10 percent or less of what it could just a year or two earlier.

Then, all through the rest of 1920 and the first half of 1921, inflation slowed, and on the surface the future was beginning to look a little brighter. The economy was recovering, business and industrial production was up. But now there were war reparations to pay, so the government never stopped printing currency. In the summer of 1921 prices started rising again and by July of 1922 prices had risen another 700 percent.

This was the breaking point. And what broke was people’s confidence in their economy and their currency. Having watched the purchasing power of their savings fall by 90 percent in 1919, they knew better this time around. They were smarter; they had been here before.

All at once, the entire country’s attitude toward currency changed. People knew that if they held on to their currency for any period of time they’d get burned… the rising prices would wipe out their purchasing power. Suddenly everybody started to spend their currency as soon as they got it. The currency became a hot potato, and no one wanted to hang on to it for a second.

After the war, Germany made the first reparations payment to France with most of its gold and made up the balance with iron, coal, wood, and other materials, but it simply didn’t have the resources to meet its second payment. France thought Germany was just trying to weasel its way out of paying. So, in January of 1923, France and Belgium invaded and occupied the Ruhr (the industrial heartland of Germany). The invading troops took over the iron and steel factories, coal mines and railways.

In response, the German Weimar government adopted a policy of passive resistance and noncooperation, paying the factories’ workers, all 2 million of them, not to work. This was the last nail in the German mark’s coffin.

Meanwhile, the government put its printing presses into overdrive. According to the front page of the New York Times, February 9, 1923, Germany had thirty-three printing plants that were belching out 45 billion marks every day! By November it was 500 quadrillion a day (yes, that’s a real number).

The German public’s confidence, however, was falling faster than the government could print the new currency. The government was caught in a downward economic spiral. A point of no return had been passed. No matter how many marks the government printed, the value fell quicker than the new currency could enter into circulation. So the government had no choice but to keep printing more and more and more.

By late October and early November 1923, the German financial system was breaking down. A pair of shoes that cost 12 marks before the war now cost 30 trillion marks. A loaf of bread went from half a mark to 200 billion marks. A single egg went from 0.08 mark to 80 billion marks.

The German stock market went from 88 points at the end of the war to 26,890,000,000, but its purchasing value had fallen by more than 97 percent.

Only gold and silver outpaced inflation. The price of gold had gone from around 100 marks to 87 trillion marks per ounce, an 87 trillion percent increase in price. But it is not price, but value, that matters, and the purchasing power of gold and silver had gone up exponentially.

When Germany’s hyperinflation finally came to an end on November 15, 1923, the currency supply had grown from 29.2 billion marks at the beginning of 1919 to 497 quintillion marks, an increase of the currency supply of more than 17 billion times. The total value of the currency supply, however, had dropped 97.7 percent against gold.

[Note of the Ed.: In his books and audiovisual materials, Maloney loves charts. In “Chart 1. Price of 1 Ounce of Gold in German Marks from 1914-1923” he depicts the Weimar Republic hyperinflation from one to a trillion paper marks per gold mark. We won’t be reproducing his charts in this site, but the curious reader can see them: here.]

The poor were already poor before the crisis, so they were affected the least. The rich, at least the smart ones, got a whole lot richer. But it was the middle class that was hurt the most. In fact, it was all but obliterated.

But there were a few exceptions. There were a few who had the right qualities and cunning to take advantage of the economic environment. They were shrewd, adept, and nimble, but most of all, adaptable. Those who could quickly adapt to a world they had never seen before, a world turned upside down, prospered. It didn’t matter what class they came from, poor or middle class, if they could adapt, and adapt well, they could become wealthy in a matter of months.

At this time, an entire city block of commercial real estate in downtown Berlin could be purchased for just 25 ounces of gold ($500). The reason for this is that those who held their wealth in the form of currency became poorer and poorer as they watched their purchasing power destroyed by the government. On the flip side, those who held their wealth in the form of gold watched their purchasing power increase exponentially as they became wealthy by comparison.

Here is the important lesson: During financial upheaval, a bubble popping, a market crash, a depression, or a currency crisis such as this one, wealth is not destroyed. It is merely transferred. During the Weimar hyperinflation, gold and silver didn’t just win, but smashed their opponent into the ground, by delivering yet another devastating knockout blow to fiat currency. Thus, those who held on to real money, instead of currency, reaped the rewards many times over.

Guide to investing in gold & silver, 1

by Mike Maloney


Chapter One:
The Battle of the Ages

Throughout the history of civilizations an epic battle has always been waged. It is an unseen battle, unknown by most of the people it affects. Yet, all feel the effects of this battle in their daily lives. Whether it be at the supermarket when you notice that a gallon of milk is a dollar more than it was last time, or when you get your heating bill and it has unexpectedly jumped by $50, you are feeling the effects of this hidden battle.

This battle is between currency and money, and it is truly a battle of the ages.

Most often this battle takes place between gold and silver, and currencies that supposedly represent the value of gold and silver. Inevitably people always think that currency will win. They have the same blind faith every time, but in the end, gold and silver always revalue themselves and they always win.

To understand how gold and silver periodically revalue, you first need to know the differences between money and currency.

Throughout the ages many things have been currency. Livestock, grains, spices, shells, beads, and paper have all been forms of currency, but only two things have been money. You guessed it: gold and silver.

A lot of people think currency is money. For instance, when someone gives you some cash, you presumably think of it as money. It is not. Cash is simply a currency, a medium of exchange that you can use to purchase something that has value, what we would call an asset.

Currency is derived from the word current. A current must keep moving or else it will die (think electricity). A currency does not store value in and of itself. Rather, it is a medium whereby you can transfer value from one asset to another.

Money, unlike currency, has value within itself. Money is always a currency, in that it can be used to purchase other items that have value, but as we’ve just learned, currency is not always money because it doesn’t have value in and of itself. If you are having a hard time grasping this, just think about a hundred-dollar bill. Do you think that paper is worth $100?

The answer is, of course, no. That paper simply represents value that is stored somewhere else—or at least it used to be before our money became currency. Later we will study the history of our currency and the gold standard, but for now all you need to know is that the U.S. dollar is backed by nothing other than hot air, or what is commonly referred to as “the good faith and credit of the United States.” In short, our government has the ability to, and has been, creating money at will without anything to back it up. You might call this counterfeiting; the government calls it fiscal policy. The whole thing is what we refer to as fiat currency.
Fiat currency

A fiat is an arbitrary decree, order, or pronouncement given by a person, group, or body with the absolute authority to enforce it. A currency that derives its value from declaratory fiat or an authoritative order of the government is by definition a fiat currency. All currencies in use today are fiat currencies.

For the rest of this book I will use these proper definitions. At first it will sound strange to you, but it will only serve to highlight, and bring greater understanding of, the differences between currency and money.

Hopefully, by the end of the book you will see that it is the general public’s lack of understanding concerning this difference between currency and money that has created what I believe will be the greatest wealth accumulation opportunity in history What you will learn about currency and money in this book is knowledge that probably 99 percent of the population has no clue about or desire to learn. So congratulations, you will be way ahead of the game.

When I talk about inflation or deflation I’m talking about the expansion or contraction of the currency supply. The symptom of monetary inflation or deflation is rising or falling prices, which I will sometimes refer to as price inflation or price deflation. Regardless, one thing is for sure. With inflation everything gets more valuable except currency.
Adventures in currency creation

Fiat currencies don’t usually start out that way, and those rare cases when they have were very short-lived. Societies usually start with high value commodity money such as gold and silver. Gradually, the government hoodwinks the population into accepting fiat currency by issuing paper demand notes that are redeemable in precious metals. These demand notes (currency) are really just “certificates of deposit,” “receipts,” or “claim checks” on the real money that is in the vault. I would venture to say that many Americans think this is how the U.S. dollar works today.

Once a government has introduced a paper currency, they then expand the currency supply through deficit spending, printing even more of the currency to cover that spending, and through credit creation based on fractional reserve banking (something we’ll cover later on). Then, usually due to war or some other national emergency, like foreign governments or the local population trying to redeem their demand notes (bank runs), the government will suspend redemption rights because they don’t have enough gold and silver to cover all of the paper they have printed, and poof! You have a fiat currency.

Here’s the dirty little secret: Fiat currency is designed to lose value. Its very purpose is to confiscate your wealth and transfer it to the government. Each time the government prints a new dollar and spends it, the government gets the full purchasing power of that dollar. But where did that purchasing power come from? It was secretly stolen from the dollars you hold. As each new dollar enters circulation it devalues all the other dollars in existence because there are now more dollars chasing the same amount of goods and services. This causes prices to rise. It is the insidious stealth tax known as inflation, robbing you of your wealth like a thief in the night.

Throughout the centuries, gold and silver have battled it out with fiat currency, and the precious metals have always won. Gold and silver revalue themselves automatically through the free market system, balancing themselves against the fiat currency in the process. This is a pattern that has been repeating and repeating since the first great currency crash in Athens in 407 B.C. Whenever an investor detects the beginning of one of these battles, the opportunities (according to history) to accumulate great wealth in a very short period of time are enormous.

It always seems to start the same way. Energy builds as the currency supply is expanded, and then, through natural human instincts, the coming crash is felt by the masses, and suddenly, in an explosive move and in a relatively short amount of time, gold and silver will revalue themselves to account for the currency that has been created in the meantime, and then some. If you see the writing on the wall and then take action before the masses do, your purchasing power will grow exponentially as gold and silver grow in value relative to an inflated currency. If you don’t, you’re in for a wipeout.

These heavyweight bouts between fiat currency and gold and silver can end one of two ways:

  1. A technical decision, where the fiat currency becomes an asset backed by gold or silver again.


  1. A knockout blow that is the death of the fiat currency.

Either way, gold and silver are always declared the victors. They are always the reigning heavyweight champions of the world. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Let’s see what history has to say.
It’s all Greek to me

Winston Churchill once said, “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” So in the spirit of Churchill, we are going to look back… way back to the time of the Greeks.

Gold and silver have been the predominant currency for 4,500 years, but they became money in Lydia, in about 680 B.C. when they were minted into coins of equal weight in order to make trade easier and smoother. But it was when coinage first made its appearance in Athens that it truly flourished. Athens was the world’s first democracy. They had the world’s first free-market system and working tax system. This made possible those amazing architectural public works like the Parthenon.

Indeed for many years the Athens star shone brightly. If you’ve studied your history, then you know they are considered one of the great civilizations of all time. You’ll also know that their civilization fell a long time ago. So what happened? Why did such a great and powerful civilization like Athens fall? The answer lies in the same pattern we can see time and time again throughout history: too much greed leading to too much war.

Athens flourished under their new monetary system. Then they became involved in a war that turned out to be much longer and far more costly than they anticipated (sound familiar?). After twenty-two years of war, their resources waning and most of their money spent, the Athenians came up with a very clever way to continue funding the war. They began to debase their money in an attempt to soldier on. In a stroke of genius the Athenians discovered that if you take in 1,000 coins in taxes and mix 50 percent copper in with your gold and silver you can then spend 2,000 coins! Does this sound familiar to you? It should… it’s called deficit spending, and our government does it every second of every day.

This was the first time in history that gold or silver had a price outside itself. Before the Athenians’ bright idea, everything that you could buy was priced in a weight of gold or silver. Now, for the first time, there was official government currency that was not gold and silver, but rather a mixture of gold or silver and copper. You could buy gold and silver with it, but the currency supply was no longer gold and silver in and of themselves.

Over the next two years their beautiful money became nothing more than currency, and as a consequence it became practically worthless. But obviously, once the public woke up to the debasement, anyone who had held on to the old pure gold and silver coins saw their purchasing power increase dramatically.

Within a couple of years the war that had started the whole process had been lost. Athens would never again enjoy the glory they once knew, and they eventually became nothing more than a province of the next great power, Rome.

And the very first regional heavyweight bout between currency and money goes to the “real money,” as gold and silver are crowned the “heavyweight champions of Athens”.
Rome is burning

Rome supplanted the Greek empire as the dominant power of its day, and during its centuries of dominance, the Romans had ample time to perfect the art of currency debasement. Just as with every empire in history, Rome never learned from the mistakes of past empires, and therefore they were doomed to repeat them.

Over 750 years, various leaders inflated the Roman currency supply by debasing the coinage to pay for war, which would lead to staggering price inflation. Coins were made smaller, or a small portion of the edge of gold coins would be clipped off as a tax when entering a government building. These clippings would then be melted down to make more coins. And of course, just as the Greeks did, they too mixed lesser metals such as copper into their gold and silver. And last but not least, they invented the not so subtle art of revaluation, meaning they simply minted the same coins but with a higher face value on them.

By the time Diocletian ascended to the throne in A.D. 284, the Roman coins were nothing more than tin-plated copper or bronze, and inflation (and the Roman populace) was raging.

In 301, Diocletian issued his infamous Edict of Prices, which imposed the death penalty on anyone selling goods for more than the government-mandated price and also froze wages. To Diocletian’s surprise, however, prices just kept rising. Merchants could no longer sell their wares at a profit, so they closed up shop. People either left their chosen careers to seek one where wages weren’t fixed, or just gave up and accepted welfare from the state. Oh yeah, the Romans invented welfare. Rome had a population of about one million, and at this period of time, the government was doling out free wheat to approximately 200,000 citizens. That equaled out to 20 percent of the population on welfare.

Because the economy was so poor, Diocletian adopted a guns and butter policy, putting people to work by hiring thousands of new soldiers and funding numerous public works projects. This effectively doubled the size of the government and the military, and probably increased deficit spending by many multiples.

When you add the cost of paying all these troops to the swelling masses of the unemployed poor receiving welfare and the rising costs of new public works projects, the numbers were staggering. Deficit spending went into overdrive. When he ran short of funds, Diocletian simply minted vast quantities of new copper and bronze coins and began, once again, debasing the gold and silver coins.

All this resulted in the world’s first documented hyperinflation. In Diodetian’s Edict of Prices (a very well preserved copy of which was unearthed in 1970), a pound of gold was worth 50,000 denari in the year A.D. 301, but by mid-century was worth 2.12 billion denari. That means the price of gold rose 42,400 times in fifty or so years. This resulted in all currency-based trade coming to a virtual standstill, and the economic system reverted to a barter system.

To put this in perspective, fifty years ago the price of gold was $35 per ounce in the United States. If it rose 42,400 times, the price today would be just under $1.5 million per ounce. In terms of purchasing power, that means if an average new car sold for about $2,000 fifty years ago, which they did, the average car today would sell for $85 million.

This signaled the second great victory for gold and silver over fiat currency in history. So there you go, gold and silver are now 2 and 0.

In the end it was currency debasement and pure deficit spending to fund the military, public works, social programs, and war that brought down the Roman Empire. Just as with every empire throughout history, it thought it was immune to the laws of economics.

As you will see, debasing the currency to pay for public works, social programs, and war is a pattern that repeats throughout history. It is a pattern that always ends badly.

Guide to investing in gold & silver

by Mike Maloney



I believe the greatest investment opportunity in history is knocking on your door. You can open it, or not… the choice is yours.

For the past 2,400 years a pattern has continually repeated in which governments debase and dilute their money supply until a point where the common psyche of the populace and the collective mind of a country begin to feel that something isn’t right.

You probably feel that way right now.

As the debasement progresses, the population senses the loss of their purchasing power. Then something miraculous happens. Through the free market system, the will of the public causes gold and silver to automatically revalue. In doing so, it accounts for all the currency that was created since the last revaluation.

It’s automatic, and it’s natural; gold and silver have always done this, and they always will. People have an innate sense of the rarity of gold and silver. When paper money becomes too abundant, and thus loses value, man always turns back to the precious metals. When the masses come rushing back, the value (purchasing power) of gold and silver increases exponentially.

During these events there is always an enormous wealth transfer, and it is within your power to choose whether it is transferred toward you, or away from you. If you choose to have it transferred toward you, then you must first educate yourself, and second, take action.

This book is about both education and taking action. In its pages you will find both historical perspective and practical advice about how to take advantage of what I believe to be the biggest precious metals boom ever. At first you might be surprised by the amount of history I’ve laid out here, but I assure you there is a reason to my rhyme. For it is only by understanding our past that we can truly know the present. And presently we are faced with a very rare opportunity to increase our wealth exponentially—if we are armed with the right knowledge.

This book will equip you with all you need to become a successful precious metals investor, and will equip you with the knowledge you need to take your financial future into your own hands.


This book will change and expand your context—if you let it. We will explore some very “contextual” stories of how gold and silver have revalued themselves throughout history as governments abused their currencies, just as the United States is doing today. We’ll talk about bubbles, manias, and panics because every investor should have some understanding of mass psychology and dynamics. After all, it is greed and fear that move the markets.

After we’ve explored the stories history provides for us, I will show where we are today economically, which is on the brink of economic disaster, what we will call the perfect economic storm. In the United States, the recklessness with which we spend and the poor planning our government employs has created an economic momentum that is unsustainable. As you will see, our currency (the dollar) is on its way to crashing, and this can only lead to far higher values for gold and silver. Together we will study the current state of the U.S. and global economies, and the supply and demand fundamentals of gold and silver versus the U.S. dollar.

You will also learn about two of the many natural economic cycles that repeat and repeat throughout history. One is the stock cycle, where stocks and real estate outperform gold, silver, and commodities, and then the cycle reverses and becomes a commodities cycle where gold, silver, and commodities outperform stocks and real estate. The other cycle is less known, less regular, and less frequent: the currency cycle, where societies start with quality money and then move to quantity currency and then back again.

These cycles swing like a pendulum throughout time, and they provide an economic barometer for the astute investor.

The greatest wealth can be accumulated in the shortest period of time when gold and silver revalue themselves. I believe this has already begun, and I believe that this revaluation will be staggering in its economic impact as the perfect convergence of economic cycles are brewing the perfect economic storm.

These cycles that ebb and flow throughout history are as natural as the coming of the tides. And while betting against them may be hazardous to your financial health, investing with them can bring you great wealth.

This book will unfold in four parts:

Part 1: Yesterday

In Part One of this book we will study some of the lessons history teaches us about economic cycles, paper currency, and their effect on gold and silver. I will give you examples of how gold and silver have always won out over fiat currency (a fancy term for money that is not backed by something tangible like gold or silver). I will also show you how manias and panics can change economic conditions in the blink of an eye. It is important to understand the dynamics of each because they will both play a role in what I believe will be the greatest wealth transfer in history.

Part 2: Today

In Part Two we will cover the financial shortsightedness of the United States government today, the dangerous game that the United States and China are playing with trade surpluses and deficits, and the potentially disastrous economic results. We will also see how inflation of the currency supply is not only hurting you financially, but ushering in the demise of the U.S. dollar and the economic power of the United States as we know it. Then I’ll wrap it up with the fundamentals of gold and silver.

Part 3: Tomorrow

Once we are done learning what history has to teach us, and have gained an understanding of the economic conditions we face today, we will explore how that information impacts our tomorrow, our future, and our family’s future. I’ll show you how to not only protect yourself from the coming perfect economic storm, but to also prosper from it by applying lessons we’ve learned from the past and the things the present is teaching us now. As you’ve probably guessed, this will have something to do with wisely investing in gold and silver. That’s probably why you’ve bought this book in the first place!

Part 4: How to Invest in Precious Metals

If you intend purchasing precious metals before finishing this book, please skip ahead to this section and read it first. As you’ll see, and I hope come to believe, the best possible investments given today’s economic environment are gold and silver. In the last section of this book, I’ll give you some good sound advice on the ins and outs of precious metals investing.

For many, precious metal investing is an alien environment with a reputation for being populated by a bunch of kooks and conspiracy theorists—and it is to some extent. But don’t let a few bad apples ruin the whole barrel. As you’ll see, history is well on the side of these “kooks” who love their gold and silver. Part Four will demystify the concept of investing in gold and silver. Investing in these metals is not only relatively easy, but it is also very safe.

Above all, as I mentioned earlier, this book is about changing your context.

The reason precious metals investing seems so alien and out there is because there are very powerful and wealthy companies and individuals that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. They want you to play their game. What I mean by that is that they benefit financially by making sure you keep your money in their hands.

Precious metals essentially eliminate the middleman. They are the only financial assets that do not have to be “in” the financial system. No financial advisor gets a bonus for pushing you into them like when you buy stocks and mutual funds. One of the reasons I’m proud to be part of the Rich Dad family is because it makes a point of exposing the game that the financial industry plays with your money. In the process they stress the importance of increasing your financial IQ by reading books like this one and others in the Rich Dad series. Once you are equipped with knowledge, you can recognize how the system plays you, and you can take control of your own financial future.

Playing their game is all fine and dandy—if you don’t care to increase your financial intelligence or to invest wisely. But when the whole system comes crashing down, don’t say I didn’t warn you. After you’ve finished reading this book, if I’ve done my job correctly, you will never be able to look at our financial institutions the same way. Your context will be changed, and a new horizon as bright as the morning sun will be before you.

I’ll see you on the other side.